Neighbor to Neighbor (copy)

Pictured is an example of past services Neighbor to Neighbor has done for the community. Community members and students from schools boroughwide came to the Tri-Valley Community Center to pack, load and help deliver food and gift boxes for families in need. A record 53 homes received boxes to help families enjoy a happier holiday during the 2018 holiday season. Kris Capps/News-Miner File Photo

The Neighbor to Neighbor program in the Denali Borough has new leadership.

Longtime director Amber Renshaw has passed the organizing baton to Vanessa Stone and Tallon Shreeve, after leading the nonprofit for more than 20 years.

Neighbor to Neighbor helps families in need year round. The volunteer group organizes food drives, solicits financial donations and spearheads the Angel Trees toy drive. It is best known for the food/gift boxes it delivers to families during the holiday season and is the first to help families who suffer house fires or other tragedies throughout the year.

“We believe that no one should be hungry and no child should be without a gift on Christmas,” according to the Denali Borough Neighbor to Neighbor website, denalineighbors.com.

Stone is currently the president of the Tri-Valley Community Library board. Tallon Shreeve operates the Nenana Cultural Center in Nenana. Together, they are spearheading a new nonprofit agency called the Spruce Network.

According to Stone, the new leaders may also focus on creating a food bank for families in the Denali Borough.

“It should be fun,” she said.

The board currently also includes Barb Walters and Danielle Mayo.

Proposed Tax

Only two people commented on the Denali Borough Mayor’s proposed tax on alcohol and marijuana at last week’s Denali Borough Assembly meeting. Both opposed the measure.

The meeting was also livestreamed and recorded a total of 86 views.

“It could be that people are just busy; it could be they are just figuring they are more effective if they oppose it at the ballot box,” said borough clerk Amber Renshaw.

The ordinance, introduced June 12, calls for a 5% tax on alcohol and marijuana in the Denali Borough, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2021. The intent, according to Mayor Clay Walker, is to think longterm and to prepare for the future, as state financial contributions decline. It’s also an attempt to diversify borough income. The borough government’s biggest share of income comes from a 7% accommodations tax.

In the Fairbanks North Star and Matanuska-Susitna boroughs, the accommodations tax is 8%. In Anchorage, it is 12%.

The measure will be discussed at the next two borough assembly meetings. If the borough assembly approves the ordinance, the proposal will go on the ballot. If the assembly votes it down, the proposed tax will not be placed on the ballot.

MSLC Programs

The Murie Science and Learning Center is now open 1-3 p.m. daily at Denali National Park, through August. Families are invited to enjoy self-guided exhibits that focus on science.

Exhibits include a case filled with animal skulls, a station with a microscope and magnifying lens for a special look at items from nature, animal pelts, nature journaling and reading nooks.

A short program will be offered at 1:30 p.m. every day about either animal adaptations or how to camp in bear country. Families with children ages 5-15 are especially encouraged to attend, but everyone is welcome.

Speaker series talks are held every Friday at 7 p.m., presented by park researchers and interpreters.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at kcapps@newsminer.com. Call her at the office 459-7546. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.

Locations

Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at kcapps@newsminer.com, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.