Walking is good for you.


Who knew!


Some of us had moments of doubt, these past few months, when we were wading through snow, taking pratfalls that Dick VanDyke would have pulled off for laughs, and wondering whether the sidewalks really had been rolled up since the last time we saw them.


But now we have something official to reassure us concerning the benefits of walking. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has linked arms with, or fallen into lockstep with, the University of Pittsburgh Center for Rural Health Practice, which seems to be a part of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. That is mentioned elsewhere in this very issue of your favorite weekly paper.


What was not mentioned, but I will let you in on it, is that the agency and the institutions mentioned above are beneficiaries of a grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (3U58DP001987-0152). It says so on the brochure.


It also mentions, in caps, on the glossy, quad-fold brochure, that THE PATH TO FITNESS STARTS AT YOUR DOORSTEP. I wish I had realized that earlier this month, when I took two steps out my side door, lost traction and slid off the porch. Fortunately I landed in a deep snow bank. I did not have a sense that I was on the path to fitness.


The brochure devotes two of its eight panels to disclosing the counties where WalkWorks is in operation. Did I mention, WalkWorks is the actual program that promotes this beneficial walking? It is in six counties. (Don’t worry, walking is still permitted in places outside the six counties. It just is not being promoted, sponsored and provided with special signage everywhere else.)


Where the sneaker latex meets the road, or actually the sidewalk, is along special routes which have been chosen, I know not how, in each participating community, and which will be designated by signage.


The signage will be provided, presumably through a portion of the grant funds, and borough crew persons will install them.


The borough council got to choose the signage, from among styles A through I. They chose tall, green banners, which are illustrated as being affixed to lamp posts. The banners say WalkWorks and bear a circular logo which contains stars, a three-leaf clover and some gears.


Two of the designs would have involved co-branding, according to pages handed out to borough councilpersons by the project coordinator, Claudia Caminite. The council rejected co-branding, I am glad to say.


As I understand it, co-branding is like when two cowboys (or cow girls, or let’s call them cowpersons) simultaneously rope the same maverick for the purpose of branding it. Or it can be when a previously branded steer is stolen by rustlers, and they cleverly alter the original, legitimate brand, such as the Bar C, so that it becomes the Bar O.


One example of co-branding shown on the print-out relegated the WalkWorks sign to a vinyl flap, below another banner. I don’t know what all the banner and flap would say, but I’m guessing that the banner would have some commercial content, while the flap would keep the WalkWorkers on course. Some enterprising business might want to co-brand with WalkWorks—let’s say, one that specializes in applying highly original stencils to buildings, and calls itself WallQuirks.


Another co-branding option was sharing one post with a rail/trail sign. Our local route does not utilize a rail bed. We remember the filming of “Unstoppable” too well for that.


Another sign design appears to depict a person, spread-eagled and supine, as seen from above, and bears the admonition, Eat Smart, Move More. Good advice, lest we, too become road kill, like the two-dimensional chap in the logo.


The photo of that sign also contains a seeing eye dog in harness, and the dog’s human partner. The dog is the kind I plan to get when I absolutely have to have one: one that can read signs. It and the owner are headed in the direction the arrow points, along a 1-Mile Route.


The local route will be 1.8 miles in length, according to the Google Maps screen-print supplied by Ms. Caminite, complete balloon symbols. It appears to go from the Port Office up Mill to Oak, thence to Arnold, down to Pine and over to Chestnut, along Church back to Arnold, back to Pearl and over to Mill.


What, no picnic lunch in the Gazebo? End up practically in Moe’s Bar and Grill, hungry and thirsty?