Nenana Wellness Coalition
December 13, 2016
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, masticate and help implement plans for improving the wellness and quality of life in Nenana Alaska.
We had 7 participants today: Bonnie Reed, Kat McElroy, David Poppe, Miles Martin, Natalie Chong, Virginia Young and Mary Alexander.
We enjoyed lunch at Nenana City Public Schools, chicken a la King with green salad, pies, and a variety of beverages. The students seemed to be enjoying having visitors.
WELCOME and READING OF MISSION STATEMENT: By this week’s chairperson: Bonnie Reed.
SPIRITUAL MOMENT: was lead by Bonnie, with a short prayer.
PRESENTATION OF AGENDA AND CALL FOR MODIFICATIONS: There were no formal agenda today.
MINUTES: Minutes generated last week were posted at the WIN link at http://www.railbelt.org and submitted electronically to the WIN e-list.
INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: No new guests toda .
Envisioning Wellness: Natalie Chong is scheduled to do an Envisioning Wellness presentation at WIN December 20th. Tim has made a flyer which Kat will print and Miles has graciously agreed to post around town. Natalie reminds us the activity will involve water color so casual clothing would be appropriate.
Nenana Cultural Center: Miles has been doing a lot of foot work around finding some viable solution for Oh How To Run The Cultural Center. He has spoken to all of the previous managers over time and to the employees as well as those in the city office who have been in charge of daily activities. Operations have run the gamut through the years, with policy just kind of made up as they went along by the various entities involved. Some of the problems identified are: no clear line of authority, no one knows who is responsible for what or accountable to whom; book-keeping has been erratic over time and no one has systematic understanding of what the gross nor the net income have been. We do have a clearer idea of what the costs have been, however some of the employees have been paid with tribal funds through youth employment and economic development grant monies, so this also muddles the finances. The collective thinking is it would be better if the city were to either lease the operation to someone to run, or sell it outright. No one has ever thought it was a good idea for the city to be operating a commercial project but everyone is agreed we want to keep the enterprise operational.
An obvious issue if the city were to sell the Cultural Center outright is that the community would lose say in how it is run. Another very serious issue Kat anticipates is that over time many objects have been donated from community members to the museum which if sold could create difficult feelings as the gift was intended to go to the Cultural center as a community entity. Another problem is attracting anyone interested in purchasing, as the city owns the buildings but they are on property owned by the Alaska Railroad, just one more complication.
Miles has spoken extensively with city and has made multiple efforts to contact Toghotthelee per previous discussion with the CEO there who had said at the last Community Pride/Village Safety meeting that Tog was seeking economic and community development projects. Miles has learned that the current CEO apparently will be exiting next month so that is all up in the air. Miles spoke with Marie Monroe to see if Doyon Tourism might be interested in taking on the Cultural Center, as there are many potential commercial projects there. He has also been told he might ask the UAF small business development if they have anyone interested. Lastly he wonders if any local entities such as the Nenana Saturday Market might be interested in running the operation,
Kat said there are in essence three different operations involved in the Cultural Center. There is the gift store which in reality is one of the few tourist oriented gift shops in the Interior that features local, Alaskan and Native arts and crafts. This is a huge selling point. There is the museum which over several decades and under Alex Ketzler’s management houses quite a collection of Alaskana and Nenana historical objects and displays. Again, this should be very attractive as it draws visitors in and gives them some sense of our culture. Lastly, there is the Salmon Bake building that sits next door and for the past few years has been used solely as auxiliary bathrooms for the tour busses. Kat thinks this is a shame as it is a huge building, has a commercial kitchen, and could house artists at work giving demonstrations of their various crafts, cultural activities such as singing/drumming/dancing or additional vending space for local artists and crafts people.
Miles would like to have an ad hoc committee meeting sometime next week to discuss these options and come up with some kind of game plan. One thing that seems apparent is that the project needs an ambitious person to take lead who is willing to spend time and energy and this should be remunerated at a level commensurate to that level of effort and expertise as it involves managing the employees, purchasing, tracking revenues and expenditures, a lot of work. We are trying to identify such an individual in our community who is willing to devote four or five months each summer to the enterprise.
And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
WELLNESS THOUGHT: “We are responsible for the condition of the Earth. We are the ones who are responsible and we can change that. If we wake up, it is possible to change the energy. It is possible to change everything.” Hunbatz Men, MAYAN
Natalie: Has forwarded a list to interested others about getting good winter gear for four of our students as a Christmas project. .
Next Friday, December 16th, will be the last day of school for winter vacation; early release that day, 1 PM. Teachers resume work January 4th, with students returning January 5th.
Miles: Christmas is arriving quickly. He thought the Xmas Bazaar went well last week.
David: Looking forward to a break in this cold and some warm weather heading our way. It was 3o below at the house last night when he went out to do evening animal chores.
Kat: There will be a retirement to-do for Kat at Rose Allen’s house December 30th, 4-7PM. Kat is going to Anchorage Friday to attend an event Saturday and hopes to see Leon in Palmer as she [passes through. Leon has exited Job Corps with his certification in building facilities maintenance. He is living with his girlfriend in a sparsely furnished apartment there. Young love!
Virginia: She will be leaving Christmas through New Year’s Eve for Anchorage for a house party at Brooke’s. They will make a trip to New York City at the end of January.
Annalee Coy is spearheading the Angel Tree project; contact her at the school if you would like to donate gifts or food for Christmas boxes.
Bonnie: Thursday, December 8th, there will be a community pot luck luncheon at Noon at the Senior Center to honor the veterans. This will be pot luck.
Tribal Council elections will be held December 17th.
People wanting to sign up for the Christmas Gift Exchange at the tribal hall should contact Jeri at NNC by Wednesday the 14th at 4:30 PM. The Gift Exchange will be December 22nd, at the Tribal Hall, 6:30 PM. There is a 20 dollar limit on gifts and Jeri will let you know for whom to buy once names are drawn.
Wednesday, December 21st will be the Christmas lunch at the Senior Center at Noon. No meal on the 23rd, nor the 26th.
Open House at the Troxel’s house on 7th Street, December 23rd, starting at 4 PM.
Caroling will be the evening of December 18th, starting around 6 PM, from the Senior Center. Participants will gather back at the Senior Center afterwards for cookies and hot chocolate.
Friday, December 23rd at 7PM, Santa Claus will be at the Civic Center to give presents to our youngsters.
Mary: She and Wes will be playing at the dance at the tribal hall celebration of New Year’s Eve. Hurray!
AJOURNMENT: 1:50 PM