By Jeff Fox

Leroy Autenreith had a bad knee.

He didn’t want surgery, so the Independence resident, 82, wore a brace, and he says that worked OK.

But so does stretching and working out, and since September he’s been a regular at the Palmer Center in Independence. The PEPPI class meets at 10 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the center (part of the old Palmer School), 218A N. Pleasant St., just west of the Square. The idea is focus on core strength to improve balance and prevent falls.

“It helps a lot,” Autenreith said.

The other day, Barbara Lakebrink of Independence, a regular who also helps with serving lunches at the Palmer Center, filled in to lead the class.

“Now if the Chiefs can do this, so can we,” she told the class.

Bob Hutchins of Independence said he also gets a lot out of the group.

“And I feel better for doing it, and I look forward to it,” he said.

Lakebrink said usually 18 to 20 people attend sessions, which are held in the gym as walkers – 20 laps to the mile – pass by. The sessions usually go about 45 minutes, she said.

“We may not be kicking as high as we used to,” she said, “but we’re still kicking.”