WIN Minutes 05-01-12

Nenana Wellness Coalition


May 1st, 2012

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.


There were nine in attendance today, including:  Kat McElroy, David Poppe, Bonnie Reed, Audrey Roth, Harriet Borst, Joe and Penny Forness, Gabe Blair and Virginia Young. We enjoyed moose/barley soup, crackers, sliced cheese and raisins and walnuts for lunch.


WELCOME by this week’s chair-person, Bonnie Reed, followed the MISSION STATEMENT.


PRAYER was led by Virginia Young, followed by the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIENCE.




APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Minutes were submitted electronically to the WIUN e-list and posted on the WIN link at as usual.


INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: Penny introduced her son, Joe Forness, who is our new fire chief.




Nenana Fire Chief: Joe Forness stated that basically he wants the people the Nenana Fire Department serves to “help us help you.” He passed out a flyer with suggestions for community members regarding things they can do that will help Fire and EMS First Responders. Some of these suggestions include: clearing a space around the house at least thirty feet in all directions, to allow fire response equipment adequate space to approach and turn around during fire response; trimming trees of branches to a height of ten feet; trimming limbs of trees back at least ten feet from the chimney; making sure there is clear access in the house for EMS to be able to transport a gurney. Joe said a good way to judge this latest is to see if you can move a rolling office chair through your house as this would reasonably approximate the space EMS transport would require.

Joe handed out flyers about burn permits which are required for any open fire from April 1st through September 30th. They are free, available at the city office or the fire department and they are valid for three years upon issuance. People burning without a permit are subject to a one hundred dollar fine. People are asked to check with the fire department before starting any fires to check on fire conditions.

Joe provided a flyer with some interesting current Alaskan fire facts: Between 01-01-12 and 05-01-12, we had eleven fire-related deaths in Alaska; alcohol use, careless smoking and lack of functional smoke detectors are common factors; all but two of these deaths occurred in residential structures. Working smoke alarms could have alerted the victims in time, he noted, and many fire departments (including Nenana) will install new, working smoke alarms upon request.

Joe mentioned that he had just acquired a new (2nd hand, ten year old), four thousand gallon pumper truck for Nenana. It has some body damage from a fender-bender accident but otherwise is in good shape. He has written a grant request; he wants eight fire fighter/medics. They are lacking in forestry equipment hence cannot respond to off-road brush fires. He is applying for a grant for a six-wheel drive, 150 gallon fire response truck which would allow them to respond to brush fires. He is working with the city, the native council, the state and feds to get funding to build a new fire hall at some point, sooner rather than later, as they have outgrown the present facility which also is costly to heat. Our fire department responds to incidents from milepost 315 down the Parks Highway to Anderson. They will respond outside that area if requested.

Joe said that Life Flight International, located out of Scottsdale, Arizona, has done a site visit to Nenana with the stated intention of putting a medevac facility here that would respond to medical emergency transports for a hundred and fifty miles radius around our community, which includes many villages as well as the Denali Park area which is very busy during the summer season. Life Flight is already a Banner Health preferred provider and they would be placing pilots, flight crews, medical and administrative personnel in Nenana. They are looking at the old Quonset hut currently owned by Crowley as a potential hangar site. Statistically, the DOT estimates approximately 1500 vehicles per day during the summer drive by Nenana. This doesn’t count the people who travel by via the Alaska Railroad, which also transports methane and fuels through our community.  Joe envisions ultimately the creation of a small trauma center in Nenana.



Virginia: She and Mary Alexander are continuing with their farm to school food program. They will be going to Head Start tomorrow to help the kids plant squash seeds.


Kat: She and Rose are working on the RHS grant which Rose, Maryellen, Laura and Liz Reeves have graduated from previously.

Kat will be gone next Tuesday; she is attending the Annual School in Anchorage. She will make soup and David will bring it to WIN.


David: has made about 250 bales of hay in the past couple of days from grass he cut last autumn. He is in the process of drying up the two cows due to calve in June. Two geese are laying on clutches of eggs so they anticipate having goslings in a month.


Gabe: Will be graduating from the Emergency Trauma Training next week. Later this summer she will take the EMS I training.


Bonnie: Wednesday, May 2nd, they will celebrate the 12th Day of Ridvan. They will be grilling all afternoon.

Some of the Seniors are going in to Fairbanks Thursday to attend the Senior Recognition Day at the Carlson Center.

Thursday evening, 6:30, grades K-4 will have their Spring Music Performance in the Pit.

Saturday, May 5th, at 5:30 PM is the Grand March for the Senior Prom, in the Pit.

May 7-11 is the Book Fair at Nenana City Public School; family night is May 10th with Bingo For Books and a Luau.

May 10th at 5:00 PM at the Senior Center the Board of Equalization meets.


Joe: We need to write a letter of thanks to Wes Alexander for helping on a fire call; he flew fire response personnel to help spot a brush fire.


Book Club Monday, May14th at 7 PM, at Kat and David’s place.

Friday, May 18th, will be the annual Nenana Fun in The Sun Run.

Sunday, May 20th is NCPS graduation; the last day of school is the 24th.

Don’t forget to attend Carl Horn’s Transit of Venus bar-b-que on Tuesday, June 5th; this is an alcohol-free event, at the Horn’s residence.


Charlie Stevens funeral service will be held at the tribal hall tomorrow, May 2nd, 2 PM, with a pot luck at the hall following immediately afterwards.



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