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Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL) Program Begins in the North Fork Valley

Strength and balance training for older adults has proven to help reduce the risk of falls. With over 3 million treated in emergency departments each year for fall injuries, fitness classes for adults 65+ are extremely valuable to communities. In the North Fork Valley, over 20% of 9-1-1 calls are for people who are not taken to the hospital, but need help getting up after a fall. Doing regular strength, balance and flexibility exercises is a great way to relieve stress, sleep better, grow stronger, and maintain a healthy, independent life.

Starting this fall, North Fork EMS is excited to offer the Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL) program to the North Fork Valley. SAIL is an evidence-based falls prevention program designed for older adults. In 2007, a foundational research study for the SAIL program was published in the Journal of Gerontology. In September 2012, SAIL was recognized as a Title IIID – Evidence-Based Program by the Administration on Aging, meeting the highest level of criteria for an evidence-based program.

The SAIL program is able to accommodate people with a mild level of mobility difficulty (e.g. people who are occasional cane users), and may be done sitting or standing. The class consists of the following components: warm up, aerobics, balance exercises, strength exercises, stretching and education.

The one-hour class will be held in Hotchkiss, Crawford and Paonia, two times a week in each community beginning September 28th. Classes will be led by Elise Wages and Lindi Mereness, who completed the SAIL Instructor training this summer. All classes are offered for free as the program is funded by a North Fork EMS grant through the State of Colorado. Donations are welcome to help sustain the program once the grant runs out in June of 2022. See the class schedule below for details on times and locations.

With Falls Prevention Awareness Week happening September 20-24, this is a wonderful time to check out the SAIL program. Let’s support our community in staying active and independent! For more information on the class, contact Katie at 970-201-3423 or

SAIL Class Schedule




Monday & Thursday • 10 – 11am • Memorial Hall




Tuesday & Friday • 10 – 11am • Paonia Senior Center




Tuesday & Thursday • 5:30 – 6:30pm • Crawford Town Hall

*Note: The Crawford class is an advanced level class

Significant US 50 road detours and closures start the week of April 19

MONTROSE & GUNNISON COUNTIES – Construction on the US 50 Little Blue Creek Canyon 4-mile critical safety improvement project began mobilization this week, with roadway closures and detours starting the week of April 19. The project location is between Montrose and Gunnison (Mile Points 123 -127) and is approximately 30 miles from each community. The project, a priority for improving safety along the US 50 corridor, is estimated to be complete by November 4, 2022. The most impactful construction, roadway, and traffic operations are anticipated to take place during the first year. Click here to continue reading.

For more information on road construction in our area please click here.

Local detour map