WIN Minutes 01–08-2013

Nenana Wellness Coalition


January 8, 2013


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.

WELCOME: By this week’s chairperson: Tim Horn, followed by the


PRAYER: Was lead by Kat McElroy, followed by the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIENCE.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Minutes from last meeting were posted on the WIN link at and submitted electronically to the WIN e-list.

INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: Art Nash, Jr., is an energy specialist from University of Alaska/Fairbanks, Cooperative Extension Service.

SPEAKERS/TOPICS: Art will be talking to us today about Radon.


Nenana Blood Drive: The Blood Drive is scheduled for February 13th, 10 AM-2PM, at the school; people wishing to donate blood should sign up with Andy at the school office, 832-5464. The Nenana Health Fair will be held March 27, also at the school. Hey! We need to form a health fair planning committee.

Radon:  Art Nash Jr. began his presentation by telling us a little bit about himself and his work. He said that UAF is the mother-ship of Cooperative Extension Service offices in Alaska. He is Rich Siefert’s replacement at CES. Rich’s focus was always construction and retrofitting housing for healthy and energy efficient buildings/homes. Art mentioned that Siefert’s workshops are available on i-Tunes if you search for USAF ces. Art has been working for UAF/CES for a year now, coming most recently from a three year stint Outside, in Minnesota, where he worked for the CES there. Before that he spent four years working for TCC in geriatric care. The Environmental Protection Agency provides grant funding to the state for radon education; the state has provided funds to and tasked CES with this educational process.

Art provided a hand-out of CES workshops he currently provides: Home Energy, Energy in Alaska, Adaptations for Aging in Place, Practical Remote Energy Solutions, Radon, Solar Energy for Home or Cabin, Wind Power for Home or Cabin and Biofuels in Alaska. He would be glad to provide any of these presentations to groups in Nenana.

He provided various hand-outs about radon: Radon in Homes, the Alaska Experience; Radon Mitigation; and Radon Information (about detection and prevalence in Alaska). He explained that radon is a gas produced as the result of the presence and breakdown of uranium. Concern about radon in Interior Alaska was initially raised in the 1980’s when high levels were discovered in various places in the Fairbanks area. Radon is associated with a host of medical issues including cancer. There are four risk factors for radon: there must be adequate uranium to provide a source for radon transport; there must be enough permeability in the soil to allow rapid soil gas movement to carry radon from its origin to the interior of our homes; the house must have soil contact that has imperfections, holes, cracks or intentional perforations that allow for the movement of radon up through the basement or crawlspace; there must be lower pressure inside the house than in the soil so that the radon flows into the house. The absence of any one of these factors will usually rule out the danger of radon contamination in your home.

There are various ways to mitigate these dynamics. If possible, do not build directly onto bedrock or on thin soil. Soil eight feet deep or very dense soil will reduce the amount of radon that can come through. One identified factor in the high levels of radon in our area is our long cold winters which result in long heating seasons.  The heating system of a house tends to act as a pump, pulling radon into the bottom of the house and driving th3e exhaust out the top.

Art encouraged everyone to obtain a radon detection unit; they are available for a small price from the CES agents or you might purchase them from one of the box stores. They come in several types; some are designed to measure exposure over a short period of time, others detect long-range exposure. He stated that unless there was a compelling reason otherwise, he believes the long-range detection units are better as they would give you a more accurate picture of radon levels over time.  He said that the best time to measure potential radon contamination would be in the height of the cold weather when you building is the most closed up. They are simple to place and the results of the readings will be quickly mailed or emailed to you. Art also talked about carbon monoxide as a potential household hazard, usually from faulty heat sources. He urged everyone to obtain a high-end carbon monoxide detector which he said were available at Arctic Fire & Safety, Tesco or Brown’s Electric in Fairbanks.

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


Tim: Robin Campbell will talk with us next week about the Nenana Native Council and plans the tribe has put into motion. Andreas will speak with us January 29th. Evelyn Verhagan will present February 19th about food security and long-term food storage. David Poppe will present February 26th on Sustainable Agriculture.

The next book club meeting will be held February 4th, 7 PM, at Tim’s house; the book they are reading is The Whole Five Feet. Anyone is welcome to join.

David: We survived the holidays. They have been dealing with renegade cattle, cows breaking out from their fenced area. He has had to redo the fences and string electric wire around the winter yard.

Kat: City Assembly meeting is Thursday, January 10th, at 6:30 at the Senior Center.

Jessica: Really enjoyed her Xmas holiday in Wasilla but is equally glad to be back home to quiet Nenana.

Bonnie: NCPS community lunch will be Thursday, the 10th, at the school, starting at 11 AM and is open to all in the community.

January 18th is the next home basketball game; January 10, 11 and 12th there will be a basketball tournament in Healy.


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