WIN Minutes 8-20-13

Nenana Wellness Coalition

August 20, 2013
There were 8 in attendance today, including: Kat McElroy, David Poppe, Jessica Durtsche, Tim Horn, Bonnie Reed, Virginia Young, Eric Gebhart and Kathy Morgan.
We enjoyed baked chicken/black mushroom soup with wild rice and Ritz crackers with sliced cheese and raisins and walnuts for lunch and zucchini brownies for dessert..

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 followed by the READING OF MISSION STATEMENT, by this week’s chair-person: Jessica Durtsche

PRAYER was led by David Poppe followed by the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIENCE

PRESENTATION OF AGENDA AND CALL FOR MODIFICATIONS: There were no additions to the agenda.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Posted on the WIN link at and submitted electronically to the WIN e-list.

INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: No new guests this week.

Eric Gebhart was only with us for the first part of the meeting, as he was waiting for his ride to the airport. He is flying to Anchorage to provide testimony to state Finance Subcommittee chaired by Senator Dunleavy regarding school funding, Aug 21 Wednesday 8:00 AM. Carl Horn will also participate. Their portion of testimony is scheduled for 3:15-Single-Site School Districts, Cost of Doing Business, Eric Gebhart & Carl Horn, Nenana City School District
This will be live streamed on AlaskaLegislature.TV or go to for more information.

Meet Nenana’s New Behavioral Health Aide: Kathy Morgan told us that her grandmother was Mary Demientieff; she said that both of her parents were alcoholics. She told us that her own recovery journey began when her older sister, Shirley Demientieff became involved in the Adult Children of Alcoholics program. She took five of her brothers and sisters (including Kathy) from the parents to live with her and a room-mate in a small two bedroom apartment in Fairbanks, where kids slept in the bathtub and on the floor. Shirley would not let the parents have the kids back until they stopped drinking alcohol. When her parents got sober, they all stayed in Fairbanks. Kathy did not move back to Nenana until years later, at the request of her brother, Mitch.
Kathy has been hired by the Tanana Chiefs Conference to be the new Behavioral Health Aide in Nenana. It is a part-time position. Her hours are 9 AM – 2 PM, Mon-Thursday. She will be working with adults as well as youth. She will be involved in training to become certified so she can do assessments. She will be able to do referrals and she hopes to be able to provide after-care services for people coming back from residential treatment as being involved in continuing care after completing residential treatment increases the odds for a person to be able to remain sober long term.
Shirley Demientieff was always very active in suicide prevention efforts and it is an issue dear to Kathy’s heart also. Kathy completed the Safe Talk and the Assist suicide prevention trainings through Tanana Chief’s Conference in Fairbanks. Safe Talk is a three-to-four hour training intended to create and train a cohort of community members prepared to respond and intervene in situations of suicidal ideation. The Assist program has a two-day training and is intended to teach people how to assist others in crisis to access needed services and utilize existing support systems. Kathy has been trained to provide both of these trainings; there is interest amongst WIN members to take the trainings. There is also a program called Sources of Strength that she has been trained in to work with adolescents, to identify supports systems and strengths youth have to help prevent problems before they arise.
Kathy and the new tribal ICWA worker, Jo Nobel, are starting a monthly talking circle in Nenana. They have scheduled a lunch meeting this Friday, 8-23-13, at the tribal hall to begin planning. People interested in participating in the talking circles or who want to find out more about this are encouraged to attend. Kathy will also be teaching a Gun Safety course for children K-4th grades.
Kathy ended her remarks by stating that most of the people she grew up with were either dead or so alcohol-involved “They can’t even see the sun shine.” If she is able to help even one person get turned around to live a healthy life, it will be worth the effort.
Discussion ensued regarding scheduling with Kathy for WIN members and other interested community members to receive Safe Talk and Assist trainings.

WELLNESS THOUGHT: At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from someone else. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. -Albert Schweitzer
Virginia: She is getting ready to plant another 3,000 peony roots; the root stock should arrive around the first of September. She has planted about 9 thousand peony roots over the past five years. She is interested in trying to plant quinoa which is a traditional food from the Andes, which she says is closely related to Lamb’s Quarter.
August 22nd, they will be holding What’s Going On? an informational meeting in the cafeteria for parents to find out about the activities available for youth ages Kindergarten – 4th Grade.

Bonnie: Romaine Goldsborough passed away in Hawaii. His family is setting up a scholarship in his name. Joann Hawkins is in Providence Hospital in Anchorage; Aaron Shaw is in Denali Center in Fairbanks, recuperating from surgery.
August 27th will be the annual back to school BBQ, this year it will be a Pig-nic, down at the Pavilion off Front Street, 5:30 PM. Side dishes are welcome.
Tim: Baha’i themed devotional Thursday the 28th, 7 PM, at Bonnie’s. Evelyn Verhagen asked Tim to announce that they are hosting an end-of-summer BBQ at Evelyn & Sam’s place on the corner of First and D, 30 Aug., 7 PM.
The new principal at Nenana City Public School, Sherri Carattini, will be presenting to us on September 3rd.
Don’t forget, the next Blood Drive will be Wednesday, October 9th, at the school.
Kathy Morgan:
David: Says he’s tired from rounding up loose bulls and stray cows. He is worried about the hay situation and has been thinking about planting a wide variety of drought resistant grasses.
Kat: She reminded everyone about our month annual National Recovery Month celebration, Dancing In the Streets. It will be held September 13th, that’s a Friday, starting with the parade at five, followed by a community dinner and dance for everybody. Maryellen is in charge of the parade so contact her if you want to participate. Laura is in charge of getting the DJ. We are playing around with the idea of a luau theme; pig will be involved. Kat would like to have an open mic so people could talk about why they made the decision to be sober.

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