WN Minutes 05-29-12

NenanaWellness Coalition


May 29, 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.


We had 11 participants today, including: Kat McElroy, David Poppe, Elecia Frank, Art, Terry and Rebecca Thompson, Jeannie Bennet, Maryellen Robinson, Walter Tommy, Bonnie Reed and Tim Horn. We had Shepard’s Pie, mixed green salad, rhubarb crisp and brownies for lunch.


WELCOME: By this week’s chairperson, Jeannie Bennet




APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Minutes posted at WIN link at www.railbelt.org and submitted electronically to the WIN e-mail list.


INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: No new guests this week.





Project Overhaul: Jeannie is tentatively scheduling the first pick-up day for Saturday, June 16th. She needs strong backs and willing hands to assist her. She would like to be able to use up the remaining 4 tons of free dumping available still from Denali Borough Landfill before the end of their fiscal year, June 30th. Beverly Joseph has bags of debris she has gathered from around St. Marks and the community garden that need to be hauled away. Kat asked about old appliances. Jeannie’s understanding is that they can still be cached over by Crowley’s as well as behind the Nenana Native Council for disposal by those entities. There were questions regarding the Nenana transfer station; no one is sure when they will begin to accept trash, nor what the price will be for utilization.


Healing the Hurts: Maryellen mentioned an incident she experienced earlier this week of racist remarks being made; she has experienced this before because her children are half-Native. She feels as a community we need to do something to address racism. Discussion ensued. Beverley said she is aware of a reconciliation process that has been used previously by the Episcopalian church, which ends in forgiveness for past harms and wrongs. This is similar to a process that Phil Lane and the 4-Worlds Project have facilitated in various communities in Canada to address the aftermath of the boarding schools on the First Nations peoples there. Jeannie asked what can be done so many years later to address harms from long ago. Walter Tommy said that he saw a community reconciliation process between ranchers and Lakota and Cheyenne Natives that included a pipe ceremony. Beverly mentioned statements she heard from a five year old child about not being able to trust white people and incidents of distrust between Indian and Eskimo people that harken back to the “wars” between Athabascans and Inupiaqs a hundred years ago. She described an undercurrent in the Native community of people honoring old Indian ways quietly out of fear that it will be condemned. Beverley suggest Reverend Anna Frank as a person who might be willing to help with this. Kat suggested that we bring this issue to the next Community Planning meeting. Perhaps this issue can be addressed on a community basis. Kat mentioned land “up on the hill” that Moses Paul had indicated he would like to see returned to the Nenana community. Uncle Mo believes this land to be now held by the Alaska Mental Health Trust Fund; he said that originally it had been used by the indigenous people as a spiritual place. Maybe the tribe and the city could petition the Trust to have that land returned? Uncle Mo had been looking into this possibility several years ago. Elecia volunteered to ask Uncle Mo exactly which piece of land this is.

WELLNESS THOUGHT:  Keep your words sweet and tender, for someday you may need to eat them.                 Anonymous



Jeannie: Would like to schedule the next Freecycle for Friday 15th. Most likely at the RV Park; she will check to see if Civic Center would be available in case of inclement weather.

River Daze this week-end; no one is sure what the schedule is. Jeannie knows there is a pancake feed and prayer breakfast Sunday at the fire hall. David says he believes there will be a pancake feed on Saturday as well.

Saturday, June 9th, the Library will have a BBQ to kick-off their summer reading program.


Merrily: Her mother in law will be here Friday for a visit from Hawai’i; it has been several years since she has been in Alaska.


Tim: Carl’s mother arrives Wednesday for a visit; it has been over 30 years since she was last in Alaska.

Traditional Memorial Day celebration with BBQ and pot luck will be tomorrow, the 30th, starting at 2 PM, up on the hill.

Transit of Venus BBQ and celebration will occur Tuesday, June 5th, right after WIN, 2-6 PM,  at the Horn’s residence.

Nenana Book Club next meets at Virginia Young’s place, 7 PM, June 11th, to discuss The Iron House.


Bonnie: There will be a Themed Devotional at Bonnie’s house tomorrow, Wednesday the 30th, 7 PM; the theme is Life After Death.

The River Blessing will be Sunday, 10 AM, over by the Cultural Center.


Maryellen: Continues working on Clean Indoor Air policy. Has been talking to Nick out at the Monderosa who says he may consider going smoke-free. Interested people are encouraged to write a letter or talk to him in person to encourage him in that direction.

PINK in association with the school and the Native Council are planning a kid’s mini- carnival for June 30th, Noon-4 PM. The focus would be clean indoor air; a dog show is being organized and one of the requirements for entries is to demonstrate how clean indoor air would benefit your pet. They will also be focusing on reducing alcohol use. They will have a giant obstacle course and a bucking salmon among other activities. PINK will have posters up soon.


Beverly: Has sewer, running water, flush toilet and a shower at her house now.


Kat: They are getting ready to put a thousand strawberry plants in. She is all about the garden and the geese. And keeping the geese out of the garden!


David: Purchased at auction a small John Deere bull-dozer; aims to have the derelict trailers off their property and all that trash burned, buried or cleared out so they can put that area into cultivation. Got the chipper running, He used his tractor mounted roto-tiller and doubled the size of the garden. Some of the soil is just gravel fill but other parts are deep rich earth.


Elecia: Has meet an awful lot of very nice people in Nenana and is learning a lot about plants and animals. Got part-time work at Roughwoods.


Walter: Has been traveling the past month. Was down in Delta where he has a friend who has a ranch on 600 acres over there. Visited up in Circle. Says he saw, “ A lotta alcohol and a lotta pain there.” His health is getting better. He is staying at his place over at Four Mile; the glaciers must be melting, the slough is filling up with water.  Andrea called; she is homesick. He hopes she will be returning the 5th.


Rebecca: The Saturday market went really well. They had five vendors and three or four buses come thru. They are talking about doing it other days than just Saturday.


Art: City Assembly meeting will be June 14th, 6:30 PM.

He doesn’t know when the Transfer Site will be opened. There are questions regarding what days it will be open and how much it will cost to use.




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