Nenana Wellness Coalition
January 15, 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.
There were 19 in attendance today, including: Kat McElroy, Jessica Durtsche, Penny Forness, Miles Martin, Margret Sanders, Robin Campbell, Nine Alexander, Mary Alexander, Evelyn Verhagen, Bonnie Reed, Tim Horn, Audrey Roth, Jeannie Bennet, Art & Terry Thompson, Virginia Young, and Rebecca, Bill & Emily Troxel.
We enjoyed king salmon chowder, whole grain bread with butter, and Ritz crackers with a variety of sliced cheeses and raisins & pecans for lunch.
WELCOME followed by the READING OF MISSION STATEMENT, by this week’s chair-person: Jeannie Bennet
PRAYER was led by Terry Thompson, followed by the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIENCE
PRESENTATION OF AGENDA AND CALL FOR MODIFICATIONS: There was one addition to the agenda.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: No minutes generated last week.
INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: We were all glad to see Margaret Sanders
Nenana Native Council: Robin Began her presentation by mentioning that she has lived in Nenana since 1982, went to school here, has three children she raised in Nenana and now has three grand-children. She has worked for the tribe for the past 15 years, in every in a variety of positions. She is currently the tribal administrator. Additionally she has served on the school board, been a member of the Johnson/O’Malley grants committee and is serving her third term on the city assembly. Robin said she believes in the value of volunteerism and public service.
The tribe’s latest project is Tribal Transit. They applied for a grant and hope to be running a van from Nenana to the Rex Bridge, leaving here at 8 AM. They would then double back, picking up at the A-Frame at ten. The van would travel up to Fairbanks, and riders on the van would receive free passes to utilize the Fairbanks bus system. Four hours later, the van would return to Nenana, thence to the Rex Bridge. Round trip tickets would be ten dollars and the van would run Monday through Saturday. They will find out about the grant by the end of February.
Robin said there have been some problems. They did not receive requested funding for a garage and will need to figure out where to keep it during cold weather so it will start. She is looking into a couple of possibilities with the city. This project will provide several positions: driver, relief driver, office coordinator and a half-time maintenance position.
Robin said that the community planning process is in its final stages; they are in the process of drafting the final comprehensive community plan. The tribe and city have held a half-a-dozen community meetings over the past year-and-a-half to complete this laborious task. Robin could email the draft plan to Kat, it can be forwarded to the WIN e-list to be perused by those who have been unable to attend all the meetings.
Robin mentioned several vacant jobs currently available: Health Aide which is full-time with benefits and training; a part-time Behavioral Health Aide position; a Head Start/Early Head Start floater position which ends up being full-time. Speaking of Head Start, they are looking into extending their hours to provide day care, to 7 AM- 6 PM. This would be helpful for working parents. Robin suggested people looking for work check the TCC web site. She has suggested that TCC coordinate with Wanda Haken at the school to put on a career day as we have students who do not intend to go to college upon graduation and they need to know about work available in construction and in the trades.
Speaking of the trades, Robin told us that the tribe has been focused on job readiness and work-force development. They held a 40 hour HAZWOPER training which graduated 22 participants. They had 15 people complete the heavy equipment repair training.The next goal is have a flagging class for DOT work. The class would cost 45 dollars but the certification qualifies a person to work on any road job around the state and is good for two years.
Work continues on the roads programs. The current focus is erosion control. They are trying to get a T-Tap program training through the Interior-Aleutians campus with UAF. Robin mentioned they had a big teleconference trying to organize trainings for people to get their driver’s license and CDL’s. She said that the new council members are doing very well; they have a good council, she feels, with a lot of energy, who are able to work within the policies and procedures to accomplish the tribal goals.
The tribe has refurbished another house, three-bedrooms, that is now available. Robin said that the tribe is not building any new house as the cost is around 300 thousand per unit while existing structures can be weatherized and brought up[ to code for significantly less money. They are working towards developing their own Housing Authority. To do this, they need to get three annual audits conducted over the next three years.
The Recycling program has been refunded. They are in their fourth year doing solid waste and will need to seek independent funding to continue beyond that. They are looking into
doing a Clean Water program which would test river and ground water, They continue recycling aluminum, card board, paper and plastic. Robin said they are looking to obtain a shredder and compressor to recycle cardboard on site into burnable pellet fuel and to adding glass as a recyclable.
Suicide Prevention: Kat McElroy reported that she has had a series of conversations via telephone and email with Cynthia Erickson in Tanana. Cynthia has been working with the Governor’s Council on Suicide Prevention; they will be having a community gathering in Tanana in Conjunction with the Iron Dog race. What they would like to do is have some focus groups, such as meet with students in a roundtable type discussion to listen to their perspectives, and also potentially the same thing with elders. And then have a larger town hall meeting with the community open to everybody to hear from them about how the people and communities can assist in suicide prevention efforts, hear about what has been successful, and what obstacles are in place that the Suicide Prevention Council can advocate for on their behalf. They want to meet with and learn from youth and adult community members as well as behavioral health people, school staff and VPSO and first responders in the area. The Prevention Council wants to do this in other Interior communities, too. She had been trying to get Galena interested in doing something similar but no one picked up the suggestion. Someone gave her Kat’s number and said Nenana may be interested. Kat provided Cynthia with contact information for the city, the tribe, and the school and promised to bring this to the wellness meeting. Kat emailed Jan Hnilicka to see if this is something the school prevention program may be interested in, as 90% of all completed suicides in Alaska are alcohol related. Jan said although it doesn’t fit directly with the parameters of the prevention grant that she would forward the idea to the planning committee.
Nenana Health Fair: Tim has talked to the new coordinator of the Alaska Health Fairs, Inc in Fairbanks, Sharon Phillips, who has affirmed our tentative date for our next fair of March 27th. She will coordinate their end of the fair so it is time for us to get organized to coordinate our end. First off we need someone to volunteer to be the site coordinator. We also need to get the scheduled date to Health and Science teachers to enthuse student presentations. The Fair will be held at the school this year with a focus on youth health issues and everyone always most enjoys the student’s displays. Sharon Phillips will be here February 5th to tour the school, which is a Tuesday, so we hope she will join us for WIN meeting.
WELLNESS THOUGHT: Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Anonymous
Rebecca: Has been scheduled for a C-Section February 19th. Hoping baby doesn’t decide to appear before then. Will be attending a women’s retreat this weekend and hopes she returns as only one person still.
Bill: Also will be attending a men’s retreat before Feb. 19th and hopes baby stays in place until the scheduled delivery.
Has a small freezer and electric stove on the porch of the church’s office building free for the taking. He isn’t sure if either works.
Virginia: Is back from her family reunion in Boise and McCall Idaho. Thoroughly enjoyed her visit
Miles: Seed catalogs have arrived ;>) .
Tim: Friday will be the next home basketball game, scheduled she believes for 6:00 and 7:30.
Nenana Invitational Tournament is set for Thursday the 31st and Friday the 1st and there will be no school either of those days.
The book club will meet February 4th at her house to discuss The Whole Five Feet.
Bonnie: The city and the post office will be closed Monday, January 21st, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr, Day.
The Senior Center board will meet 01-21-13, 5:30 PM, at the Senior Center.
Robin: Don’t forget the ASAOP (Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline) meeting tonight at the tribal hall at 6 PM.
Mary: Is pleased to note that Nenana was mentioned in an article in the News Miner about school gardens.
The next school board meeting is Wednesday, 6:30, in the Pit.
She would like to thank Robin and everyone else who volunteered to make our New Year’s Eve such a success. Bub mentioned that Nenana was the only community in the interior to have no police or EMS call out.
Kat: Lost ten chickens yesterday to a great horned owl, which really startled Leon when he went out to do chicken chores before going to school. Leon called Kat and David who got out there just in time to see the stare-down, then the owl swooped off. That big bird got into the coop thru a very small vent hole which David is now covering with wire mesh.
Leon is very pleased to be working with Big Mike in the cafeteria towards his goal of getting his food safety certification and food handler’s card.
Evelyn: Looking forward to doing the Food Storage presentation February 19th. She will show us how to store food for periods from one to thirty years and have information on using the food stuffs to prepare meals.
Josh has gotten engaged.
Jeannie: They enjoyed their trip Outside.
The next Freecycle will be Friday, February 8th, at the tribal hall. There will be a community dinner. Jeannie will bring baked potatoes, etc. No Chili Cook-off ; she is too busy to organize, although people are certainly free to bring chili to go with the bakers. All side dishes welcome; bring your recyclables and be prepared to take them home again if they do not go away.
ADJOURNMENT: 2:00 PM