Volume 36, Issue 4, Fall 2021

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If you require any of this information in an alternate format, such as large print, braille, email, or audio format, for example, please submit your request to info@northcountryil.org

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A Note From the Executive Director

I want to take a moment in this issue to share that September is National Self-Care Awareness Month. Self-Care is a term we have heard frequently over 2020 and into 2021.  As we enter a new season I hope we can all use September as a reminder of the need for continued self-care, or possibly the need to begin this in our lives. In looking at resources for self-care, one of the simple ideas I often came across was this, “Be kind to yourself as you would be to others.”  It may be a simple concept but it is an important one. In July we experienced a sudden and sad loss at North Country. The value of kindness during this time has been key. We take a moment later in this issue to honor this individual. In July we also took a moment to celebrate as you can see below this article. We had our long-awaited ribbon cutting for our new office space in Superior. The event was a huge success with many supportive community members, including a longtime friend of North Country, Senator Janet         Bewley.  We are excited for the day we can share an invitation with you to the open house we will host in the future. Thank you for your ongoing support and kindness!

Thank you to all for your support! – Jill Nyberg, Executive Director

NEW Pilot Project Partnership!

North Country Independent Living (NCIL) and Age Well Arrowhead are partnering to support individuals with disabilities and older adults living in Douglas County, WI with grocery shopping and delivery through Age Well Arrowhead’s Groceries-to-Go program at a discounted rate! Groceries will be shopped from Super One by volunteers and delivered to your home. This Pilot Program is supported by funding through Essentia Health’s Community Contributions.  For more information about the Groceries-to-Go program or to volunteer as a shopper for those in need, please visit Age Well’s website. If you are interested or have any questions, please contact Peter Hafften, at Age Well Arrowhead at (218) 623-7800 and tell them that NCIL sent you!

31st Anniversary of the ADA & NCIL Ribbon Cutting

On Monday, July 26, 2021, North Country Independent Living (NCIL) celebrated the 31st anniversary of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) with a ribbon-cutting of our 2911 Tower Avenue, Suite 9 location. NCIL moved into this location in March of 2020, but due to COVID, an official celebration in 2020  wasn’t possible.  Many wonderful people came to show support and celebrate with the NCIL staff and board members! NCIL’s doors are open and the staff is eager to assist you!

History of the Independent Living Movement

The history of independent living is closely tied to the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s. Basic issues-disgraceful treatment based on bigotry and stereotypes in housing, education, transportation, and employment—and the strategies and tactics are similar. This history and philosophy also have much in common with other political and social movements of the country in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Deinstitutionalization, the Civil Rights Movement, the “Self-Help” Movement, Demedicalization, and Consumerism all contributed to the Independent Living Movement’s philosophy of consumer control and empowerment.

The independent living paradigm proposed a shift from the medical model to the independent living model.  This theory located problems or “deficiencies” in the society, not the individual.  People with disabilities no longer saw themselves as broken or sick, certainly not in need of repair. Issues such as social and attitudinal barriers were the real problems facing people with disabilities.  The answers were to be found in changing and “fixing” society, not people with disabilities. Most important, decisions must be made by the individual, not by medical or rehabilitation professionals.

Using these principles, people began to view themselves as powerful and self-directed as opposed to passive victims, objects of charity, recipients of services, or not-whole in some way. Disability began to be seen as a natural, not uncommon, experience in life. Empowering people with disabilities continues to be the mission of North Country      Independent Living for years to come.

Parkinson Disease? You Are Not Alone!

A Parkinson’s diagnosis can be scary. Over 1 million people have   Parkinson’s – more than MS, ALS, and Muscular Dystrophy combined – and here in Wisconsin, over 20,000 people live with Parkinson’s. The primary symptoms are resting tremor, muscle rigidity, slowness of movement, and postural instability. You may also experience problems with swallowing, smaller handwriting, constipation, soft or slow speech, depression, and anxiety. These symptoms can feel uncomfortable and alienating, but with 1 in 100 Americans over age 60 affected by Parkinson’s, it’s important to remember that you are NOT alone.

Wisconsin Parkinson Association (WPA) offers educational programs that are an important avenue for people with Parkinson’s and their loved ones to learn more and feel empowered. During these education programs, experts share information on Parkinson’s symptoms, treatments, management, and more. These free programs are also recorded and available on WPA’s website.

Support groups and exercise groups are other ways to connect with other people with Parkinson’s. WPA supports a network of over 200 support groups and exercise groups around the state. Every support group is different, and many groups alternate between informal “sharing” meetings and bringing in speakers and local experts to share information, tips, and ideas for managing your symptoms.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, connect with WPA at wiparkinson.org or 414-312-6990 to learn about the free programs and services.

Transportation Talk

Happy Fall!! 

I want to thank all our consumers who sent letters supporting our program.  Your letters were submitted to help our application for 2022 Transportation funding.  We heard from over half of all our Transportation Voucher users!!  Your kind words are appreciated, THANK YOU!

As you know, our new Transportation Program Assistant is Jenny Zylka.  She will now be handling all your voucher requests.  She is     

in the office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  Please contact Jenny at 715-392-9118 ext. 115 when you need new vouchers and she will be mailing them out on those days.

Some more good news to share, we will be providing additional mileage for November and December 2021.  Mile users will get an additional 150 miles per month and    Courtesy Cab/Senior Connection users will get an additional $25 per month.  I hope these miles will help make the holiday months a little more enjoyable for you!! As always if you have any questions, please contact me at 715-392-9118 ext 124.

Enjoy the cooler weather and stay safe and well!

                  – Sunshine Lemieux, J.D. NCIL Transportation Program Coordinator

Transportation—Volunteer Drivers Needed

North Country’s drivers get $0.58 cents per mile (the Federal Rate). We are looking for drivers to help provide rides to elders and people
with disabilities.

For more information or an application, call or email: Sunshine at (715) 817-4646 or (800) 924-1220 V/TTY or sunshine@northcountryil.org

Personal Care Program Update

North Country Independent Living’s (NCIL) Personal Care Program is looking for caring, committed people to provide
one-on-one, consumer-directed caregiving services for people with disabilities in Douglas County, Wisconsin.

We understand how difficult it can be to find a job that balances your time with school, kids, or other priorities. We’ll do our best to provide flexible options that work with your schedule.

As a Personal Care Worker at NCIL, you will build relationships and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. Your goal will be to work alongside individuals assisting them to perform daily functions which may include meal prep, errand running, shopping, dressing, bathing, medication reminders, and light housekeeping. Your compassion and diligence as a caregiver will make a difference in the lives of the
consumers you work with and help them feel encouraged, involved, and empowered.

If you have had a job or experience as a caregiver with similar goals and responsibilities, we’d love to connect with you!

Call or email us today – Jodi at 218-393-9976 Voice/711 Relay or jodi@northcountryil.org or Ann at 218-590-1242 Voice/711 Relay.

New Skills Trainer

Hi, my name is Cara Croteau. My new role at NCIL is Skills  Trainer for Ashland County CCS Program. I have a BSW degree and my work experience has been primarily in non-profit and healthcare settings. My husband, two children, and I moved to Washburn, Wisconsin from Vermont about four years ago. We enjoy many of the outdoor activities the Northwoods has to offer. I am grateful for the opportunity to work and support a wonderful team and organization with such a vital mission! 

 New Skills Trainer

Hi, my name is Jennifer Ottman, I am a new Skills Trainer for

Ashland and Bayfield Co.  I have a background in education and have worked as an Employment Specialist in the past.  I enjoy assisting individuals with their goals and teaching skill(s) needed on the path to mastery of those skills.  I look forward to using my degree to provide individualized instruction and hands-on teaching of the skills consumers have indicated are their goals.

I am happiest when I’m with nature.  Whether volunteering at the Chequamegon  Humane Association or walking in the woods, I find balance with mother nature. I was born and raised on a dairy farm outside of Ashland. I learned patience, hard work, and the love of the land and animals. I think I carry the significance of the circle of life with me in all that I do. 

I am also a proud mother of two boys that keep me always going.  One has recently moved to North Dakota. My other son keeps me learning about Legos and the latest technology!  My husband and I have been married for 24 years.

I am excited to be a part of the NCIL team!

In Memory of Jordyn Chowning

It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of our beloved coworker and Skills Trainer, Jordan Chowning. Jordan has been a part of our staff since November 2020. Her dedication to North Country Independent Living and the consumers she worked with is appreciated. On a personal level, we will remember Jordan’s infectious smile, her love for family, and the positive energy she would bring to staff meetings. 

Grassroots Efforts

North Country coordinates a network of individuals known as DARING (Disability Advocacy Resources and INclusion Groups) their focus is to receive and share information on disability topics such as new technology, requests for assistance, training, legislative updates,
action alerts and more!

Do you struggle with using the telephone? 

The Telecommunications Equipment Purchase Program (TEPP) helps people with disabilities buy equipment they need in order to use telephone services. TEPP is paid for by the WI Universal Service Fund (USF) which is money collected from WI          telephone service providers.  There is no age or income limit, but an individual can only get a TEPP voucher once every three years for the same type of disability.

To qualify for the TEPP an individual has to meet the following minimum requirements:

· Be a Wisconsin resident.

· Be a person who is deaf, hard of hearing, speech impaired, or mobility or motion impaired.

· Needs special equipment to use the telephone in the home or when traveling (like a TTY, amplification, visual alert system, etc.).

For more information about the TEPP program, assistance with applying for the program, and demonstrations of equipment/devices, contact the

Independent Living Specialist below for your county.

North Country Independent Living’s mission is to empower individuals living with disabilities, and we are available to assist ALL ages and disabilities.  We are not a vendor and do not sell any products, but we are here as a resource. 

Ashland, Bayfield, and Iron Counties
Leighann Granados, Independent Living Specialist
Call/text: 715.919.6775
Email: leighann@northcountryil.org

Douglas County
Angie Musolf, Independent Living Specialist
Call/text: 715.919.4451
Email: angiem@northcountryil.org

Burnett and Washburn Counties
Don Posh, Independent Living Specialist
Call/text: 715.919.4932
Email: don@northcountryil.org

Price and Sawyer Counties
Ann Belisle, Independent Living Specialist
Call/text: 715.817.2350
Email: ann@northcountryil.org

Donation for North Country Independent Living

North Country welcomes your support in fulfilling its mission of empowering people with disabilities.
Your contribution is tax-deductible. North Country Independent Living is a non-profit agency with
501(c)3 status.


When you shop at AmazonSmile, they will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to North Country! AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support North Country every time you shop, at no cost to you. AmazonSmile is available at smile.amazon.com and can be activated in the Amazon Shopping app.


If you’d like to make a cash donation to North Country Independent Living, please mail it to 2911 Tower Ave., Suite 9, Superior, Wi 54880 ATT: Accountant or donate to our PayPal.