For the “We Love Our Presidents” walk on Feb. 18, two groups of about 40 people each trekked from Edison High School along 22nd to Central Avenue, then north to 29th Avenue for the eastward journey to Northeast Middle School. At each intersection, the groups paused as young readers (Northeast Royalty in one group, Urban 4-H’ers in the other) shared their research on one of the presidents.
As previous walks had only involved the earliest presidents, they mixed it up a little, doing the 23rd president on 23rd Avenue (and so on), and Barack Obama at Lowry and Central. Recovery Bike Shop at 26th and Central served as the mid-way warm-up spot with hot chocolate, water and cookies. A police escort accompanied, and the Mt. Carmel Lutheran Church bus was available in case someone couldn’t walk any farther.
Paul Ostrow and his mother Hilve introduced us to Mariann Tiblin (in red coat waiting for chili) who they explained is actually the person who planted the seed of the idea for the President’s Day walk. At a conference the three of them attended, she mentioned her tradition of celebrating President’s Day by walking the Northeast streets.
The event ended with a chili lunch, door prizes, trivia contest and recognition for winners in the “paint the White House” coloring contest. This year, with a challenge issued to schools, close to 1,000 entries were received, up from less than 100 last year. Northeast Bank gave $500 to the art program at the school producing the most entries, Waite Park. Marcy Open School came in second.