Nenana Wellness Coalition Minutes

November 11, 2008

Veteran’s Day

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 ten in attendance today, including: Walter & Andrea Tommy, Bonnie Reed, Tim Horn, Miles Martin, Bill & Rebecca Troxel, Kat McElroy, Mike Anderson, and Dana Hills. We had beef stew and cornbread and raisins & pecans for lunch.

WELCOME: By this week’s chairperson, Bill Troxel, followed by the READING OF MISSION STATEMENT.

PRAYER: Was lead by Rebecca Troxel, followed by the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIENCE.

PRESENTATION OF AGENDA AND CALL FOR MODIFICATIONS: There were three items added to the agenda.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Minutes were submitted electronically to the WIN e-list and posted on the web site with no noted suggestions for changes.



Free-cycle: Bill & Rebecca Troxel will be making soup for the Recycle meal which will start at 5P.M. at George Tribal Hall on Saturday, November 15th. Miles will get firewood and start the fires in the heat stoves at George Hall Saturday morning. Rebecca will talk to John Grimes to see if NSLC students can attend. Mike Anderson says this would work out better than an early afternoon event as he will not have to make another evening meal for the students. Walter and Andrea Tommy will bring home-made bread. Rebecca will get flyers out this week.

Adult Education/Community Development: WIN at large. We have yet to connect with Tim Barker regarding this concept he has forwarded. However, we have several identified projects that fall under this heading.

We discussed starting a Biggest Loser-type contest open to everyone in the community. Mike said he would talk to Joe Kraus to see if we could get permission to use the school for walking in the evenings. Eight times around inside the school is one mile. We all agreed it is more fun to do this kind of activity as a group. Kat noted that people doing the TCC Fitness Program were encouraged to use graphs to “map” their progress; some were walking the “Iditarod Trail” charting each day’s progress mile by mile. Rebecca would like to see some nutritional information offered as well as organized exercise activities, perhaps with monthly segments on healthy meal preparation and food combinations for ideal nutrition. She said, “Small Steps are the way to go, with small goals and one week commitments so you don’t feel overwhelmed by too large a goal. Dana Hills mentioned that she had attended an eight week course in Willow offered for free by the American Cancer Society on cooking and eating healthily. She said that by following their guidelines she has lost 70 pounds in the past year. She is willing to contact the ACS to see if they would be willing to do this in Nenana. The classes are each 1.5 to 2 hours long including the cooking demonstration. Miles Martin suggested contacting Sarah McDonnell at UAF to see if she would be willing to do a “refresher course” on the 2-day diabetes prevention nutrition class she taught here last year. Mike suggested that the kitchen at the Meda Lord Senior Housing would be ideal for this. Bill said that a good start is simply keeping a food log every day, “If it goes into the mouth, write it down.”

Another project discussed is the ongoing desire to have an Athabascan drum and dance group again in Nenana. Tim Horn said how nice it was to see the NSLC Fry Bread Shakers on live TV feed from the Alaska Federation of Native Quyanna Celebration, but it only makes her want all the more to see Athabascan drumming and singing. She has brought this up a couple of times at community dinners. It seems that no one wants to take on so daunting a project single-handedly. “It doesn’t seem to be a priority,” she said, and yet people continue saying they would like to see this happen. She asked Walter if he would be willing to help by drumming and singing. Walter said that he remembers Paul George tried to get a drum group going years ago but it needed more support. No one person can make this happen. “You need more people. You need people who know the songs. You need people who know how to organize. You need people who know how to network.” Tim agreed, this was one of the problems when we had the grants for teaching the youth drum group, there were not enough adults for the number of children. It became overwhelming. Rebecca suggested that we bring drums to the next Free-cycle and “Just do it.” Andrea said that Walter has some traditional Athabascan songs on cassette tape and suggested it would be nice to have them playing. Tim mentioned that there are youth who will remember the songs from the youth drum group. We could name Leon McElroy, William Horn, James Olin, and Caroline & Sammy Ketzler.

Lastly, Bill said that the church had approved an expenditure of $190.00 to purchase a one year CVLI license which allows them to publicly show movies for groups up to 500 people. They want to have family nights, with movies and pop corn, on a regular basis. Venues were discussed including the big room at Meda Lord, the Pit at the school, George Hall and the YERC. Railbelt has a large pop corn machine that could be used.

Envisoning Wellness: Tim Horn has scheduled Karen Lord, Tribal Administrator for NNC, to speak to us on November 25th. Kris Capps from Healy is confirmed for December 16th. Tim suggested Kat and Walter might want to do a presentation about addiction for January, a sort of Alcoholism 101. Andrea suggested we might want to invite some of our friends from the party house to the discussion to address the issues they currently face.

Sober Housing: Kat is very excited about the workshop she will be presenting this weekend in Miami at the National Harm Reduction Conference. She noticed going through the program agenda that there are many workshops offered about housing. She will attend as many as she can and bring back any information or hand-outs she can find.

WELLNESS THOUGHT: Never underestimate the kindness of your fellow man.


Thanksgiving meal at the school will be Monday, November 24th.They usually start serving the meal, which is open to the whole community, about11:30 A.M.

There will be a Memorial Pot Luck for Frank Gallo November 22 at the Senior Center.

Kat handed out the Pink Resource Information Sheets sent to us, per her promise, by Kathy Halverson.

Open floor for comments/questions/discussion:


Adjournment: 2:20 P.M.