WIN Minutes 4-08-14

Nenana Wellness Coalition

April 8, 2014

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 11 in attendance today, including: Kat McElroy, David Poppe, Virginia Young, Bonnie Reed, Miles Martin, Tim Horn, Gia Parker, Darlene Jensen and Carol Thomas.
We enjoyed moose and barley soup, raisins and pecans, and Ritz crackers with sliced cheese for lunch.

WELCOME followed by the READING OF MISSION STATEMENT, by this week’s chair-person: Jeannie Bennett.

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

PRESENTATION OF AGENDA AND CALL FOR MODIFICATIONS: There was one addition to the agenda.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Posted on the WIN link at and submitted electronically to the WIN e-list, with one correction noted, Audrey’s last name is Roth, not Borst.

INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: Carol Thomas was introduced by Darlene Jensen. Carol is originally from Chalkytsik.


Be Prepared for Allergy Season: Patty McKenna began her presentation by giving some basic information about allergies, which she said are basically a heightened sensitivity to certain substances (foods, pollen, pet dander, molds) and thus an over-reaction by the immune system to these substances resulting in skin rashes, swelling, itching, sneezing, snotting, etc. Allergies can become so severe that they are life-threatening. An antibody called IGE over-produces in reaction to the sensitivity which causes too much histamine to be released and it is this immune over-response that creates the allergic reaction symptoms.
All allergies are caused by exposure to a substance with a subsequent reaction. What is puzzling is that different people are sensitive to different substances. Some people have no allergies whatsoever. Other people may have multiple allergies simultaneously. An allergy can also develop slowly over time. An allergy can also spontaneously remiss. In Industrial nations, 10-30% of the population may have allergies of some type. These numbers seem to continue rising.
Asthma is an extreme form of allergic reaction. It seems to affect 8-10% of the population. Risk factors for allergies include: genetics (if you have a parent or sibling with an allergy, this increases the odds that you will develop an allergy yourself), C-section rather than vaginal delivery birth, exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke, over-use of antibiotic medications. Steroid medication therapy is the standard treatment. Another is the use of antihistamine medications.
Alaska has some of the world’s highest birch pollen counts, and Interior Alaska is the highest in the state. Birch pollen occurs primarily in May, can last two to three weeks, and is worst on warm, dry, breezy, days. Alder trees can spew pollen for up to two months, but in nowhere near the quantities as birch. You can find out more about local pollen counts at this web site: which gives pollen alerts and counts by zip code.
There are strategies you can utilize to reduce seasonal allergy symptoms. Avoid outdoor activity on high pollen count days. Obtain and use a high efficiency air filter system. Keep your doors and windows closed on high count days. Bathe or shower frequently, especially before bedtime. Utilize Immune response inducing therapy. There is anecdotal information that using raw local honey may help reduce allergic reactions to local flowering plants, but this is not backed by any substantial peer-reviewed research. Proponents of this method advise strongly that the honey be uncooked and not served in scalding hot tea as theoretically that would reduce its effectiveness.
Discussion ensued regarding personal experiences with allergies and problems with black mold locally which became a great concern after our flood.

Nenana Health Fair Debrief: Jeannie provided information from the debriefing session the planning committee had last week regarding our recent health fair. It was suggested that letters requesting donations to the fair ought to be generated and sent at least six weeks before the event. It was also suggested that WIN solicit the Nenana Native Council for a letter of support of our health fair to include in our begging letter to Doyon. It was felt that flyers ought to be brighter and that a week before the event a large addition, like an arrow in a florescent color, be added to the flyer to remind people that the event would occur. It was felt that the signage provided by the Alaska health Fair, Inc. hung outside the Civic Center was effective and it is hoped this can be repeated next year when we have the health fair at the school. All agreed the exercise activity was a good addition to the fair and we want to do this again, and maybe move it to the center of the room instead of over in a corner. It was requested to have Sonny Luke again to demonstrate drumming and dancing. We would like to have a presentation on helmet safety and maybe the young man whose helmet saved his life recently would be a good candidate to do the presentation? There were questions about the volunteers who did blood pressure; many people seem to have questions about the procedure, what the two numbers represent, etc. Perhaps Joe Forness could help script the people who are doing blood pressure checks. We know the volunteers cannot offer medical advice but what can they tell people about the procedure? It was suggested that the local site coordinator call all local volunteers a week before the health fair begins to firm up assignments and answer any questions they have. It was also suggested that we draw for door prizes earlier in the event and more often as having all the prizes at the end seemed cumbersome.

WELLNESS THOUGHT: Just Keep Breathing. Crazy Jane

Darlene: Says she has allergies for the first time ever. “My nose keeps running.”
Tim: The Youth Activity Group is holding a lock-in sleep over at the Recreation Center, April 11th, starting at 8 PM, to run through 11 AM Saturday.
Tae Kwan Doh tournament Saturday at the school. School Board meeting Wednesday night. Lil Dribbler’s game tentatively scheduled for 18th April.
Music Fest April 24-26 in Anchorage. Prom is May 3 and graduation will be May 18.
Patty: Looking for input; she is going to try to make her travel schedule more routine.
Miles: His seedlings are doing very well in the window. He got some of that shredded compost from Kat and David and suggests that others give it a try.
David: Just got a new nine month old pup, a Hawaiian cow herding dog, of the Australian breed Kelpie. She’s skinny and scared but he hopes she’ll grow up to help him herd the cows. His pig came back into heat so seems the AI didn’t take. He has a calf due next week.
Kat: Yes there was an earthquake in South America but No our Miss Laura was unaffected. Jessica inherited Leland Alexander’s cat and immediately went off for two weeks to RHS training so Kat is feeding the critters meanwhile.
Gia: Is looking for a reliable used vehicle for around 2 thousand dollars.
Bonnie: Tomorrow a National Service Officer will be at the Seniors to answer military veteran’s questions.
Jeannie: Audrey Roth has moved. Her 2011 Prius is up for sale, for 19 thousand dollars. It is in excellent shape with low mileage.


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