WILLOW AREA COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION, INC.

Your local forum for discussion, participation and comment in matters of concern to the community. WACO promotes the social, cultural and economic welfare of the Willow area.
WACO EventsVolunteer
This website is a service for the community of Willow, Alaska. Find WACO meeting minutes and agendas as well as information about committees, the community center and, local groups. Committee and group news or announcements are also posted as received. View the calendar for the schedule of local activities/events.

WACO meetings are the first Wednesday of every month at 7:00 PM at the Willow Community Center.

WACO Meetings

WACO Community Meeting

The first Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM

Willow Community Center

Latest News

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Notes on information provided by Sabrena Combs, long time MEA employee at WACO informational meeting September 1, 2021.

Being offered to the community because of concerns surrounding electricity outages and length of time for service to be resumed in areas of Willow service area.

Please call MEA directly for your specific home’s electrical issues: 907-745-3231 (main line) 907-746-7697 (outage line)

MEA will be having two Lunch and Learn seminars on net metering (solar, wind, etc.) on 14 and 21 September. The links to the Zoom sessions are on MEA Facebook page and website.

Electric charging stations are being installed in the Parks Highway corridor between Homer and Fairbanks.

There are currently 12 job openings with MEA. See MEA.COOP for more details regarding application.

Operation Roundup - apply for grants for nonprofits online. Third quarter deadline is September 30th.

Outages experienced in Willow-
Response time:
Crews are on the clock usually until 7pm. When an outage occurs after hours, crew members must be called in and there must be at least 2 people to go on a call. Crew members need to respond to the MEA stations within 40 minutes but holidays can take longer. Then the crew assures truck ready to go; usually takes about 2 hours to get to the area of the outage once MEA aware.

Planned outages are communicated to affected customers by email and website. Crews will do as much work as possible while the lines are live before having to cut power to finish maintenance.

Finding/fixing the acute problems:
Pings to towers can make it easier to isolate an outage but outside of their range, walking the line is required. Spruce bark beetle falling trees is a high cause of outages. Many spans of wire have been replaced that were over 35 yrs old with newer and bigger conductors installed, this has helped reduce overall numbers of outages.

MEA redirects current from the different substations which gets the power back up for many customers once they have narrowed the area for searching the outage source.

Communications staffs are on call 24/7 to update the website about outages. The on duty staff must notify these folks within 15 minutes who update from home computers.

Other info:
There were several scheduled outages during the early summer for various upgrade projects.
The July outage for 1000 customers was a giant tree down that required manual work including getting the equipment across the creek. This took significantly more time to resolve.
Danger tree requests can be filled out online for free removal of trees near residential power lines.
Damage from power surges can also sometimes be reimbursed by filling out an online form.
Off peak pricing is currently not cost effective but they are evaluating for the future.
...
September 2021 Willow eBreeze - https://mailchi.mp/871788026113/d9hig9tko3

Comment on Facebook

There are no FDA approved shots in the U.S. so quit misleading people

View more comments

September is National Preparedness Month and the Mat-Su Borough is holding its 13th Annual Emergency Preparedness Expo, which is FREE to the community! See live demonstrations, gather supplies and make a plan.
Visit ready.matsugov.us for more information on how to be READY
...
WACO COMMUNITY MEETING SEPTEMBER 1, 2021 7PM
AT NEWMAN MEMORIAL PARK

MEETING AGENDA:

A. CALL TO ORDER
B. DETERMINATION OF QUORUM
C. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
D. APPROVAL OF MINUTES FROM PAST MEETING
E. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
F. CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS
1. Board Officers' Reports – Attached
a. Chair, Linda Oxley
b. Vice-Chair, Lisa Schooler-Nuss
c. Secretary, Debbie Cook
d. Treasurer, Al Felt
e. At-Large Representative 1, Tryge Erickson
f. At-Large Representative 2, Chris Stitt
g. At-Large Representative 3, Barbara Ensley
h. At-Large Representative 4, LeaAnn Reicks

2.. Committee Reports – Attached
a. Carnival
b. Trails
c. Youth Forum (40-acre park)
d. CERT
e. Recycling
f. Lions Club
News from the Borough – Tam Boeve
H. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
1. MEA and electricity issues
J. NEW BUSINESS
1. Holiday dinner

K. Community Groups/Clubs
Fire Service Area, Library, Community Enrichment, WDMA, Lion’s Club, PTA,
WHO, WHWF, Garden Club, Willow Ice
L. ANNOUNCEMENTS/PERSONS TO BE HEARD

M. ADJOURN

Reports for 9/21/21 WACO meeting Consensus Agenda:
Chair
I am delighted to see that the Pfizer Covid 19 vaccine has been given full approval by the FDA! Over the next few weeks to months the same process should be completed for the other US vaccines, Modern and J&J. The rigorousness of the data collection and data analysis for the millions of doses already given should allow those who have been waiting for this step the confidence that yes, it is safe and now a normal vaccine against a very dangerous and deadly virus. Please go get your vaccine shots. Our economy and usual activities remain negatively impacted by the virus, the numbers of those who are ill and the poor vaccination rates in the MatSu Borough.
MEA representatives plan on attending the Sept 1 meeting to discuss the numbers and types of power loss experienced by a significant number of homes in Willow. Please plan to attend to hear the facts directly.
I have also started working with the DOT planner for our area on the Parks Highway plans. Given the advancement of the 4 lane, divided highway with frontage roads to past the Big Lake cutoff as you come north, that is not so many miles away from us. Per initial conversations, the current and only active plans for our area are for culvert improvements and things like that. Any road expansion plans remain about 20 years away. However, many of you will recall from discussions about 10 years ago, that there is a huge community divide: those who want the highway to stay where it is even if and once widened and those who want a bypass option. We should start, slowly, to discuss and plan now for what will happen and what can happen to our community. My goal is to invite some key DOT folks to join a WACO meeting once we are back in the WCC and once covid is controlled; obviously this will be in the future sometime…..
We are fortunate that our finances remain relatively stable. At a point in the very near future we will need to decide on building use and whether there should/will be controls on how many can be in there at a time. We will discuss the Holiday dinner at this Sept 1 WACO meeting but I predict that we will cancel as too dangerous for becoming a super spreader event.
Please attend the meetings. We surely need all voices represented from our diversely opinionated community….

Carnival
We are, for this year only, delaying the 60th year of the Annual Willow State Winter Carnival to March. The dates are now March 11-13, 2022 and IF we hold a 2nd weekend, March 18-19.
One of the negative impacts of the covid pandemic situation is on our Carnival. It is likely that we will not be able to hold any indoor events altho we will add back some indoor events if our covid situation improves significantly between now and then. Key indoor events that we hope for are the kitchen and indoor dining, bingo, and perhaps a few other events that can be spaced out.

Our focus this year will again be on outdoor events and we hope to expand our options. Hence the March dates when it is usually warmer and makes outdoor events easier to promote and conduct!! And yes FIREWORKS remain on the schedule but the Kick Off dinner is not.
One improvement we are actively working on is using our website and FB to sell on line the tee-shirts, hoodies, pins, and maybe the major raffle tickets!! We are also exploring being able to conduct the Art Auction on line!!! Stay tuned as we learn about these programs and formats!!
We would love to include YOU in the planning of the events. Please join our meetings, the third Monday of each month, Sept 20 being next, from 6-8p at Newman Memorial Park!!

Youth Forum
We are so excited to announce that Newman Memorial Park will now have geocache sites! Many thanks to Susan Bartel who is our local advocate for this delightful way to get outside and enjoy what is available in Willow and around the world. She was supported at both the August WACO meeting and the August Youth Forum meeting to establish some sites in the Park!!
Thanks to Steve Charles, the community received funding to buy the equipment for Pickleball gear for courts and use in the WCC once we can let all that happen again!! Initially the grant request went to the AARP and we appreciate their advocacy for us!!
We did not receive AARP funding for park benches. Our goal is 5 benches distributed along the Shem Pete Trail, with a bench near the dog park and another near the pavilion. The goal is to encourage folks to get out and walk more, know there are some resting spots along the way in beautiful surroundings. Thanks to Vic Fiztgaireld who has been taking down dead trees and having a friend of his mill them into halves. We will be using those for benches at least for now. Stay tuned.
We still hope this summer to hold a brush chipping day to further support the trails in the dog park, apply for monies to build the bike park next summer and refinish some bare spots on the deck railing. The decision about our grant request to the Alaska Dept of Ag for monies to build a community greenhouse and raised beds has been delayed until Sept. Fingers crossed.
We meet the first Thursday of each month, next on Sept 2, 7-9 at Newman Memorial Park.

Linda Oxley

LIBRARY

The Willow Library will be closed for moving from August 30th to Sept 13th. Books may be returned at the book drop at the post office or at the Library.

WHWF

The Willow Historical and Wildlife Foundation will be resuming our monthly meetings on September 8th. We will meet at 7 o’clock at the home of Jim & Kathy Huston.

Willow CERT Consent Agenda for WACO September 2021

Did you know there are five CERTs in the Valley? Willow, Talkeetna, Palmer/Wasilla, Glacier View and Butte.
CERTs were activated by MSB EOC 19 times in 2020 to work cooperatively in the set up & take down of one day Public Health Covid test sites acrossthe Borough. In 2021 all teams worked together at the PHN mass vaccination clinics.
How many volunteer hours has Willow CERT contributed Covid pandemic response? 14 team members have donated 314 hours so far.
In 2021, 215 hours was spent inside & outside the vaccination clinics, January through March at the Palmer Fairgrounds.
In 2020, 99 hours of set up/take down at Covid test sites in Houston and Talkeetna.

CERT at the 55th Founders Day Celebration in Houston on August 21st
Providing the community info about Emergency Preparedness and Safety has always been a main focus of our team.
Willow CERT, Mat Su Borough Emergency Services and Horseshoe Lake Firewise partnered to share valuable info about Emergency Preparedness at Founders Day.
We were very pleased with how many children and adults participated in our Spin and Win disaster game!
We were impressed how Mat Su Borough children are amazingly well versed in what to do in an earthquake, fire or tsunami!
We had several Houston residents that were interested in hearing more about CERT and expressed interest in signing up for the FEMA CERT Basic training required to join a CERT. Hopefully Houston will have a CERT!
Willow CERT CPR renewal
Training is always a priority for our team volunteers. Thanks to Talon Boeve, Mat Su Borough Emergency Operations Specialist, the majority of our CERT will be able to accomplish our CPR renewal this week with a creative combination of a Zoom class followed by an in-person test and “hands-on” skills class at Newman Park.

September 10th the last Willow Farmers Market is going to be exciting!
Willow CERT will be hosting the State of Alaska DHSEM staff with the Earthquake Simulator trailer and the State Mobile Emergency Operations Center (MEOC).
Trying out the Earthquake Simulator and touring the MEOC will be an interesting experience for all. Save the date!

Interested in CERT? Contact Brenda McCain at: HYPERLINK "mailto:[email protected]" [email protected] or call 907-355-1418
Brenda McCain Willow CERT Program Manager/Team Leader

Willow Trail Committee Report

We have had wonderful volunteers initiating trail projects and maintaining our existing trails this summer. One project is the new Almond Lake Loop which circumvents Almond Lake and surrounding wetlands. This new rustic 2 mile hiking trail winds through the trees with great views of the lake. Thank you Cheryl Fuglestad for initiating this project and leading the construction. She had great help from Marty Spinde plus local and visiting volunteers from Tennessee and the 1st Baptist Church of Willow.



The Willow Trails Challenge will have their annual picnic at Newman Park on September 18,
3-5pm. There will be ice cream and a raffle drawing based on the passport stamps. The last day for the Challenge is September 6th but you can get the passport stamped when the new library opens on the September 13th.

To get good information on Willow’s winter and/or summer trails, , visit:
www.waco-ak.org/committees/trails/


The Willow Trail Committee meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month, 7pm at Newman Park.
All are welcome. Ask to join us at [email protected]
Join us on Facebook: Willow Trail Committee
...
***********************************************
***********************************************
The Willow Area Community Organization is currently soliciting designs for the 2022 Willow Carnival t-shirt. The theme is "60TH WITH FIREWORKS".
Designs must be submitted electronically by August 31, 2021 to [email protected] Show off your creative talents and have your design out for all to enjoy.
***********************************************
***********************************************
...
Willow eBreeze August 2021 - https://mailchi.mp/1a6ccf5c87fc/v3nd3e30jw
*** 2022 CARNIVAL MEETING***
MONDAY 2 AUGUST
***NEWMAN PARK 6-8PM***
...
WACO COMMUNITY MEETING AUGUST 4 2021 7PM
AT NEWMAN MEMORIAL PARK

MEETING AGENDA:

A. CALL TO ORDER
B. DETERMINATION OF QUORUM
C. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
D. APPROVAL OF MINUTES FROM PAST MEETING
E. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
F. CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS

1. Board Officers' Reports – Attached
a. Chair, Linda Oxley
b. Vice-Chair, Lisa Schooler-Nuss
c. Secretary, Debbie Cook
d. Treasurer, Al Felt
e. At-Large Representative 1, Tyge Erickson
f. At-Large Representative 2, Chris Stitt
g. At-Large Representative 3, Barbara Ensley
h. At-Large Representative 4, LeaAnn Reicks

2.. Committee Reports – Attached
a. Carnival
b. Trails
c. Youth Forum (40-acre park)
d. CERT
e. Recycling
f. Lions Club

News from the Borough – Tam Boeve

H. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
1. MEA and electricity issues
J. NEW BUSINESS

K. Community Groups/Clubs
Fire Service Area, Library, Chamber of Commerce, Community Enrichment, WDMA, Lion’s Club, PTA,
WHO, WHWF, Garden Club, Willow Ice

L. ANNOUNCEMENTS/PERSONS TO BE HEARD

M. ADJOURN

WACO Consent agenda reports
Aug 4, 2021

Chair report
Sadly I need to make sure that as many Willow residents as possible are aware of the increasing risk (again) of Covid 19. The newest known variant called Delta, is even more transmissible than the other variants. That means that the amount of virus living in a person’s nose and being distributed with breathing, etc. is a much bigger volume of virus than the available volume of previous variants. As of this writing, CDC has also alerted us to the fact that even vaccinated people who catch a mild case or even a case of Covid with no symptoms are passing it along to other people (another aspect of the Delta variant; the virus will continue to evolve in an effort to survive – only when enough people are vaccinated or have had the illness, only then will our pandemic be over... ) As of today, CDC is recommending that everyone wear masks indoors again. It is a tough thing to think about; here we thought we’d made enough progress with vaccinations to be able to stop that infection control measure. Please take care of yourselves, your families and your friends and contacts. As I heard recently, each of us has freedoms, but those freedoms end at the intersection with another person’s health… Shared air space makes everyone vulnerable….

Complaints have come forward from folks who live in mid Willow with regard to power surges, power outages and communication to/from MEA. I am in communication with Jennifer Castro, their Community Outreach contact. She has provided some info on the rash of outages this summer and I will bring a copy for folks to the meeting. I have invited her to attend but I do not know at this time what her plans might be. For sure she welcomes anyone to call her about their specific situation: 907-761-9317

Library construction and Willow Community Center renovations continue. We have no firm completion date – still somewhere between Sept and Nov…
Please join us for WACO meetings. We are having nice evenings in Newman Memorial Park. Bring a chair and your favorite bug spray although lately the mosquitos have quieted a bit. Maybe we have bats….. First Wed of each month, 7-9P… See you on Aug 4!!!

Youth Forum
This next week we will meet 7-9 on Aug 5 at Newman Memorial Park. We have received word that the AARP forwarded our application for pickle ball equipment to a state agency and we are funded!! This is a growing indoor sport good for all ages of folks…
Unfortunately, we did not get the grant from AARP to put benches on the Shem Pete trail, but a couple of ideas are being discussed about benches.
And we are still waiting to see if we got a grant to build a community greenhouse and raised garden beds. Maybe we will hear by the meeting….
Put on your calendar!: Shem Pete Trail Ribbon Cutting after a fun run/walk… Saturday Aug 7… Watch for further information…

Also, Susan Bartel, an Alaska Geocaching enthusiast will be discussing with us the option of using the park as a geocache site!!
Come join us!!

Carnival Committee
We have started planning for the 60th year of the Willow Winter Carnival!! Next meeting is Aug 2, 6-8p at the Newman Memorial Park…
So far decisions include: any outdoor activity that can otherwise be held will go forward if they have leaders (cost and insurance coverage issues may arise). Each of the usual indoor events/activities is being discussed and we are identifying what modifications might be available if Covid remains difficult. We had some really creative thoughts come forward about those modifications and the beginning a timeline for final decisions has been started. And yes, we are working to bring the Fireworks back!!!!
Please consider joining the planning – it’s a fun activity in itself!!!

Willow CERT Consent Agenda WACO August 2021
Community Safety Day at the Willow Farmers Market - Willow CERT was invited to be part of this wonderful event and we asked Talkeetna CERT to join us. CERT, Willow and Caswell Fire Dept, Mat Su Borough Emergency Operations Center (MSB EOC), Red Cross and AK Solstice Search Dogs all partnered for a great day of sharing information on emergency preparedness with the community.
CERT volunteers brought our new educational “spin and win” disaster game, We had 12 community members sign up interested for more info on CERT training.
Red Cross signed people up for free smoke alarm installations, MSB EOC offered property Firewise assessments, Willow & Caswell Fire Dept were recruiting for Firefighters and AK Solstice Search Dogs were there with their humans explaining their valuable work.
We are working with the State to return on the last day of the Farmers Market and it will include the State of Alaska Earthquake Simulator trailer.
July 4th WACO Parade. Per Request of WACO, for the 6th year Willow CERT enthusiastically worked to promote safety at the Parade. Our team met prior to the parade line up to practice with our radios, assign our positions and plan our strategies. Working in pairs our team met with each group of parade participants as they lined up and reviewed the WACO Parade Safety Guidelines. We then spread out with 2-3 CERT volunteers at each road crossing and the school parking lot and a rover on a bicycle along the Parade route. Our CERT volunteers enjoyed helping keep the parade safe and fun!

Interested in CERT? Contact Brenda McCain at: HYPERLINK "mailto:[email protected]" [email protected] or call 907-355-1418
Brenda McCain
Willow CERT Program Manager/Team Leader

Willow Trail Committee Report

It’s been a great month for Willow trails. First, we were awarded $21K from the Recreational Trails Progam. Our project “Tracks for Trails” will be to purchase and install a set of Mattracks to a committee owned Nissan pickup truck. This will give us another tool to help groom and bust out some of the snow berms that plagued us last winter.

Other good news is that the Parkway Trail alongside the Willow Creek Parkway has been completed!
This latest 360’ segment crosses a salmon rearing stream feeding into Willow Creek which was a real challenge to design and build. Thanks to the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation, WACO and WTC funding this $27K project!



If you haven’t done so already, pickup your passports for the Willow Trails Challenge at the Willow Public Library. The mosquitoes are thinning out so it’s a good time to explore. Directions to and description of the trails are written in the passports.

To get good information on Willow’s winter and/or summer trails, , visit:
www.waco-ak.org/committees/trails/


The Willow Trail Committee meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month, 7pm at Newman Park.
All are welcome. Ask to join us at [email protected]
Join us on Facebook: Willow Trail Committee
...
WACO MEETING MINUTES
Date: July 7, 2021
Occasion: General Board Meeting

CALLED TO ORDER: 703PM
QUORUM: 6 BOARD MEMBERS – 12 COMMUNITY MEMBERS – BOARD AND COMMUNITY QUORUM REALIZED.

PLEDGE - deferred

APPROVAL OF MINUTES FROM JUNE MEETING: APPROVED
Changes to the agenda – comments from the Chair, Agenda approved as modified

CHAIR – LINDA – 4th of July parade great success. Thanks to to 3 churches involved. Thanks to Sid for cleanup and thanks to the band. Only costs were 250.00 for the port O potty and 309.00 for event insurance. Carnival meeting will be 19 July at 6pm.

BOROUGH ASSEMBLY REPORT – TAM BOEVE
There is a dumpster available for metal at the Willow Transfer site. Guidelines for disposal are posted online.
SIDNEY – Wanted to bring awareness to MEA to power outages when there is no weather disruption.
Linda will see if we ca get a tech out to answer questions.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
Agreed to have Lisa put together a committee to get the community more involved and informed.

FIRE DEPT. – 11 calls and a forest fire at mile 92 over the holiday weekend. Still working on recruiting.
Firewise surveys are going well.
LIBRARY – Summer reading has 4 more weeks. There are 45-65 kids a week participating. Looking forward to next year. Still have Trail Passes. People coming from all over the valley to try our trails. Library closed 24 July. Siding going up on 21 July.
*Note from Linda – taking Chamber off of the groups list.* Bird house experience postponed.
DOG MUSHERS – Chris Stitt officially resigned. Rabies clinic in October.
LIONS CLUB – Meeting 8 July. Willow Wild Program taking 10-12 kids out for events.
PTA – Tiffany – funded virtual trips. Farmers Market Kids Day.
HEALTH – Regrouping – new bylaws. Want to do more going forward.
WILLOW HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION - Putting the roof on the cabin. Hoping to finish in August.
Maybe we can have a WACO meeting in the finished cabin!

GARDEN CLUB –Garden Tour info TBA and coming out soon.
CERT – Firewise and Sound the Alarm going well. Thanks to Tiffany for Farmers Market involvement.
ICE – N/A
TOM PHILLIPS – Road service 14 July at 7pm. 6 August with Farmers Market bringing a trailer.
YOUTH FORUM – LINDA – will meet in August. DOT – Shannon will be at the Community Center this fall to talk about plans to bring the Parks Highway through Willow.

ADJOURN 825PM
...

Comment on Facebook

No one had brought a flag to the park and with no flag, no pledge.

What does it mean where it says Pledge: Deferred?

Hello can you tell me if willow has a council meeting? Thank you

View more comments

Willow eBreeze July 2021 - https://mailchi.mp/2a5a9e062949/willow-ebreeze-july-2021
Load more