Nenana Wellness Coalition
November 29, 2011
The Nenana Wellness Coalition is an alliance of representatives from various organizations, government agencies, community groups and individuals that meets weekly to discuss, evaluate, coordinate, consolidate, celebrate and help implement plans for improving the wellness and quality of life in Nenana Alaska.
We had 8 participants today, including: Kat McElroy, David Poppe, Mary Alexander, Jeannie Bennet, Tara, Bill Troxel, Miles Martin and Virginia Young. We enjoyed pork curry with rice, cole slaw, and cranberry/orange jell-o for lunch.
WELCOME by this week’s chairperson, Jeannie Bennet, followed by the READING OF MISSION STATEMENT.
PRAYER was led by Bill Troxel, followed the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIENCE.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Minutes were submitted electronically to the WIN e-list as generated last week with one correction.
INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: No guests today
Nenana Food Box Project: Kat reported that Christine called her this morning with the following information. Christine has gained approval by the Fairbanks Food Bank to be designee for picking up food boxes for our area for those who do not have transportation to Fairbanks to pick up their own. People needing this service can contact Christine at 322-4217. Plans proceed to utilize Dave Shaw’s one ton flatbed pickup truck for hauling the food; St Marks will be used as a staging area and for the time being as storage site for the freezers donated by the Senior Center. This “Morsels In Motion” project is envisioned as being a community-wide effort; volunteers will be needed. Our hope is to have designated volunteers mapped out in advance, by the year or by the quarter, to avoid having last-minute scrambles.
Borough Formation: Miles reported on discussion at the last City Assembly meeting in regards to borough formation. The primary concern continues to be that as an unincorporated area, Nenana is at risk of being subsumed by the Denali Borough or the North Star Borough at any time if it would be of economic advantage to either of those entities. There was a suggestion made that merely by entering into a dialogue and fact-finding process ourselves, we would effectively block any other borough from incorporating us. We could conceivably take 10, 15, 20 years to explore the issue but by entering into that process we would protect ourselves from being subsumed. There are concerns and opinions pro and con. Mary mentioned reading how Healy has been able to fund their public services using a bed tax on hotels and an extraction tax from Usibelli. A huge fear people have is that the only way we might be able to fund a borough would be property taxes. These issues need to be explored. The next assembly meeting will be December 8th, 5:30 PM, at the Senior Center.
Bio-Mass Fuels Project: Virginia mentioned she had interesting conversations at our community thanksgiving dinner about the bio-mass project. She is interested in how we can further exploration of a bio-mass fuel project for our community. What can we do to encourage the major players in that project: the school district, the city, the tribe. She asked, would it be beneficial as private citizens interested in this to address these entities in public comment during meetings? How would one go about being added to the agenda? Discussion ensued regarding some of the barriers to this project as well as the possible benefits. Jeannie mentioned that in Tok there is a group called The Tok Umbrella which pushed their project from inception to completion.
The next school board meeting is in January. It was suggested to ask Susan Kaufman how to get this placed on the agenda. David asked about the fire suppression aspect of the Tok project. He thinks the state spent 14 million dollars a couple years ago fighting the wild fire out on the highway and he knows they spent another 26 million fighting the wildfire out on the other side of the Nenana River; perhaps the state forestry department should be brought into the dialogue. David was very interested in what the Tok Forestry fellow had to say at the Community Pride/Village Safety meeting last week. Discussion ensued regarding some of the concerns people have voiced: Will there be workforce development/jobs for our people? Will there be clear-cutting? Who are the major beneficiaries? Jeannie suggested that it would be smart to invite Catherine from DNR to any future community biomass project meetings.
David: Looks like our last pig will be going to town for butchering. Cows are all well tho they have been slow to grow their winter-coats this year for some reason. David is supplementing their hay rations with barley. David has taken on the task of delivering weekly for Full Circle, picking up boxes in Fairbanks and delivering to Nenana, Healy and Denali Park.
Kat: has submitted a request to the city to bring block 42 up for sale as she would like to purchase this to be used for a barn and for pasturage for the cows.
Bill: We are all so glad to be back. He’s getting the place battened down for winter. Tho it was 27 below zero outdoors, the temperature inside their chicken coop was 22 degrees and the chickens are finished with their molt and have begun laying eggs again. Miss Emily is six months of age now, can sit upright, and has begun to grab things.
Virginia: Encourages everyone to show up at the next school board meeting.
WELLNESS THOUGHT: There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation. Herbert Spencer
ADJOURNMENT: 2:00 PM