Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: June, 2014 (102) Currently Viewing: 71 - 80 of 102

June 22, 2014 at 1:29pm

Words & Photos: Veterans Resource Fair at the Tacoma Dome

Alexander Pow Sang gives Army veteran Douglas Thomas’ a blood check during a Veterans Resource Fair June 21 at the Tacoma Dome. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Two veterans worked hard to make a difference for other veterans.

"We veterans have a unique relationship," explained Army veteran Scot Pondelick. 

"It's a kind of love that we have."

Pondelick and Navy veteran Tito Medina organized the first annual Veterans Resource Fair at the Tacoma Dome's Exhibition Hall June 21.

"I knew there were plenty of resources in the area, but it was a matter of publicizing them and gathering them at one time in one place," explained Medina.

He emphasized that some of the service providers don't have a large network, so the fair would help them get to know each other.

"This event is for veterans, but it will also allow providers to get to know each other in order to better help veterans."


Filed under: Veterans, Community, Tacoma,

June 22, 2014 at 1:49pm

Words & Photos: 64th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration in Olympia

Col. Paul Bontrager, deputy commanding general, 7th Infantry Division, helps a member of the Korean delegation lay a wreath. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Retired Maj. Gen. John Hemphill captured the mood of the moment when he said, "Old soldiers may fade away, but we haven't done that."

He made the remark during the 64th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration held on the campus of the State Capitol in Olympia June 21.

Often referred to as the Forgotten War, approximately 400 veterans, family members and friends attended the event.

The Washington Korean War Meritorious Veterans League, the Washington-Tacoma Korean American Association and the Seattle Chapter of the National Unification Advisory Council sponsored the event.

The Korean War was a war between the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). 

The war began in June 1950 when communist forces from North Korea invaded South Korea. The United States intervened in support of South Korea. Fighting ended in July 1953.

>>> Honor Guard soldiers assigned to 17th Field Artillery Brigade don ascots just prior to the beginning of the 64th Korean War Commemoration in Olympia. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

"Sixty-four years ago the attack marked one of the first actions of the Cold War," said Col. Paul Bontrager, deputy commanding general, 7th Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"We have a heritage of respect; we have forged an alliance that continues today."

Reminiscences amongst Korean War veterans, speeches of remembrance and renewed friendship and numerous wreath layings characterized the hour-long ceremony.

>>> Retired Col. Don Roberts, who served two tours of duty in Korea and 26 years in the Army.  Note the two stars on his Combat Infantry Badge. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

"It's really good to be here," commented Col. Don Roberts, a 26-year Army veteran who served two tours during the Korean War.

Above his ribbons was a rare Combat Infantry Badge with two stars.  He said only 400 have been awarded and that only 100 awardees are still alive.

Korean War veterans will fade away, but they will not be forgotten for the bravery and sacrifice they demonstrated that created today's free South Korea.

>>> Korean War veterans placed white chrysanthemums and saluted at the Korean War Memorial during the 64th  Korean War Commemoration. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

June 22, 2014 at 2:34pm

JBLM soldier killed during training exercise at Army National Training Center

A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier Pfc. Andrew J. Sass, 23, was killed June 21 in an accident at the Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.

The 7th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office has sad news to report:

A 2-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division Soldier was killed during a training exercise at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., June 21.

The Soldier has been identified as Pfc. Andrew J. Sass, 23, of Fremont, N.C.

Sass was an infantryman assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment.

Sass entered military service in May 2013 and attended One Station Unit Training in Military Occupational Specialty 11B (Infantryman) at Fort Benning, Ga.  He arrived to 2-2 SBCT at JBLM in Oct. 2013.  He had not served on an overseas deployment.

His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

"[This is] a true loss to the Lancer team. He was a husband, warrior, and true friend to all. He will be missed, but we will not forget him," said Col. Louis A. Zeisman, commander of the 2-2 SBCT. 

The incident is currently under investigation.

The 2-2 SBCT deployed to the NTC in early June to conduct a month-long training exercise.

June 23, 2014 at 7:09am

Monday Morning Joe: Obama talks Middle East, Special Forces on horseback, military X-ray guns, Starbucks carbonation space

Fleet Combat Camera Group Pacific throw flashbang coffees into a shoot-house during Quick Shot 2010. Quick Shot is a Fleet Combat Camera Group Pacific semi-annual field training exercise. Original Photo by Seaman Martin Carey


The militants' capture of Turabil late Sunday followed the fall of three more towns in Iraq's western Anbar province.

U.S. advisers sent to Iraq will likely find an army so lacking that it may not be able to win back significant chunks of territory from militants.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Baghdad to press Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to form a more inclusive government in response to the Sunni insurgency that is sweeping Iraq.  

Obama: Only Iraqi political leadership, and not U.S. military force, could help solve sectarian divisions threatening to plunge the country into a civil war.

Obama: Afghanistan could be gripped by Iraq-style sectarian violence after the full withdrawal of American troops by the end of 2016.

Fighting flared between Ukrainian and pro-Moscow separatist forces.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been moved to outpatient care at a Texas military base.

The U.S. missile defense system managed by Boeing Co. on Sunday hit a simulated enemy missile over the Pacific in the first successful intercept test of the program since 2008.

Military now has X-ray guns.

Special Forces conducts naval training as Army emphasizes amphibious.

The Army is evolving its current Integrated Training Environment into a single synthetic training environment that combines constructive, gaming and virtual systems.?

New horsepower for war zones: Special Forces saddle up.

5 revolutionary American weapons of war that never happened.

One handcrafted soda, please, barista. Venti. Light on the fizz. Iced, with a touch of anise.

A haunting look at some of America's abandoned shopping malls.

Slingshot is Facebook's second attempt at trying to jump onto the ephemeral messaging bandwagon.

Cool: YouTuber The Unusual Suspect has released a GotG-style trailer... for Star Wars!

Astronaut Reid Wiseman tweeted this Vine a few days ago from the International Space Station.

See what the women in Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" video look like today.

John Landis talks about the Close Encounters trailer on the latest ep of Trailers From Hell.

Watch Pearl Jam cover Let It Go from Frozen.

Finally: Interviews the voice actors for the classic Peanuts specials.


LINK: Original Photo by Seaman Martin Carey

June 23, 2014 at 7:25am

5 Things To Do Today: Comedy night, Kareem Kandi Band, Palmer Junction, Rockaraoke ...

Eric Puddin Lorentzen leads the comedy banquet tonight at The New Frontier Lounge. Photo courtesy of Facebook

MONDAY, JUNE 23 1014 >>>

1. Comedy open mics are where performers cut their teeth, develop their chops and other folksy idioms meaning "possibly suck to get better." Comedians nervously testing out premises they thought of while parking. These baby-steps are often tucked into weekdays as not to compete with the weekend's bigger events. Do you smell an opportunity? Or is that the Pabst sloshing around on the bar? Local comedian and host Eric Puddin Lorentzen want you to indulge in both with the brand new, weekly, Monday Madness Comedy Night with Puddin at 9 p.m. in The New Frontier Lounge. Expect 6-10 minute sets, each recorded. The audience will choose a winner, who will headline the following week. It was the great Bill Cosby who said, "Puddin, you can't be a comedian without him," or something.

2. Get out your dancing shoes and join in the whimsy of a country western shuffle dance, hosted by the Evergreen Country Dancers. What is a shuffle, you say? It's the country western version of polka - the primary difference being that the style of shuffle is less hoppy than the polka - and there's nothing wrong with that. The feet hit the Olympia Elks Lodge floor at 6:30 p.m.

3. With three different singers, dual lead guitars and one of the best rhythm sections around, Palmer Junction is heavily influenced by blues artists such as Freddie King, Peter Green, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers, Robben Ford and Joe Bonamassa. Named best blues band in the Weekly Volcano's 2013 Best of Tacoma issue, the band will perform at 8 p.m. in The Swiss.

4. Saxophonist Kareem Kandi and his band will fill Olympia's Rhythm and Rye club with the enthusiastic tradition of Joshua Redman as filtered through Dexter Gordon and Sonny Stitt, original material and funky delight at 8 p.m.

5. Every Monday at 9 p.m. Jazzbones is packed to the brim with college kids. Party types. The type that wear tight shirts and trucker hats. Throngs of Chad Fratguys and Sarah Sororitysisters swarm the bar, line up for the bathroom and dance to the Rockaraoke - live band karaoke. The Rockaraoke band is skilled, too. Expect $2 PBR drafts, $3 Sinfire shots and $4 Smirnoff flavor vodka bombs.

LINK: Monday, June 23 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

June 23, 2014 at 1:59pm

Save the Date: 2014 Annual Boots2Work Military Career Fair in Tacoma

Get ready to mark your calendars and save the date: an innovative and robust military career fair will be back again this summer to help transitioning and retired military personnel who are seeking employment.

WorkForce Central, in partnership with the Tacoma Rainiers Baseball Club, is pleased to present the 2014 Annual Boots2Work Military Career Fair Wednesday, Aug. 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at historic Cheney Stadium in Tacoma.  Last year's event provided more than 600 transitioning and retired military personnel and their spouses access to a number of military friendly businesses. This year's career fair will continue to feature employer exhibitors that are ready to hire, as well as provide expert help to assist job seekers obtain tools, resources and support in their employment journey.  

Aug. 26, the day prior to the event, there will be a variety of workshops to help participants prepare for the career fair. The workshops will also be held at Cheney Stadium.


June 24, 2014 at 7:19am

Tuesday Morning Joe: VA hid deaths, Special Forces vs Iraq, another MOH, Guided By Voices beer ...

Marines with Company L, Battalion Landing Team 3/8, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, throw coffee during non-lethal tactics training on the flight deck aboard USS Carter Hall in the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet Area of Responsibility. Original photo by Lance Cpl.


The White House announced former Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts will receive the Medal of Honor for his combat actions during an enemy engagement in Wanat in the Waygal Valley of northeastern Afghanistan, July 13, 2008.

Iraq: Residents of farming villages describe being gunned down by Sunni militants and fleeing their homes amid shelling.

The al Qaeda-splinter group, Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant, has bragged about its capture of Iraqi army equipment, including Humvees, blast-resistant trucks and tanks.

U.S. teams of special forces going into Iraq after a three-year gap will face an aggressive insurgency, a splintering military and a precarious political situation as they help Iraqi security forces improve their ability to battle Sunni militants.

Iraq has offered legal guarantees to shield U.S. special operations forces sent to the country as advisers to help its forces battle Sunni radicals who have seized tracts of territory.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that two-thirds of Americans oppose sending U.S. troops to Iraq.

Jordan has reinforced its border with Iraq after Sunni Arab militants overran a crossing with Syria.

The last consignment of declared chemical weapons has been handed over by the Syrian government.

The U.S. military is expected to significantly increase the number of troops, ships and watercraft rotating through Australia.

President Vladimir Putin asked Russia's upper house on Tuesday to revoke the right it had granted him to order a military intervention in Ukraine.

VA hid deaths, whistleblowers says.

Report: VA overlooked whistleblowers.

House lawmakers expressed displeasure that the VA has not been more transparent in its efforts to improve patient wait times and pressed the agency's senior leaders to move faster to solve the crisis.

A Scary Scenario: Fewer nukes, lots of missiles.

A U.S. Air Force F-35 Joint Strike Fighter caught fire when attempting to take off from a Florida Air Force base Monday morning.

GI Bill benefit unlikely to be cut, acting VA secretary says.

Army looking for new ways to provide training and education materials.

Too Much Free Time: The biggest companies from each state in the U.S.

Cooking eggs Benedict according to science.

This city from another world is right here on earth.

Video: Is this the most offensive red-carpet interview of all time?

Some early Talking Heads recordings have surfaced.

AMC has renewed Turn.

Mental Floss explains obscure references in classic rock songs.

Finally: Guided by Voices beer!

Finally: Every national anthem in the world mixed into one single song.

He's Batman ...

LINK: Original photo by Lance Cpl. Santiago G. Colon Jr.

June 24, 2014 at 7:38am

5 Things To Do Today: Alan Partridge, new visitor center, wolf lectures, Elvis ...

Any Yanks concerned that the Brits outclass us may find relief in "Alan Partridge."

TUESDAY, JUNE 24 2014 >>>

1. Before Larry David and Ricky Gervais cornered the market on cringe-inducing comedy, there was Alan Partridge. For those unfamiliar with Partridge, he is a fictional pedantic media whore portrayed by English comedian Steve Coogan, who started out as a sports reporter before graduating to a TV host. Partridge has had many ups and downs in his life. National television broadcaster. Responsible for killing a guest on live TV. Local radio broadcaster. A nervous breakdown in Dundee. The Grand Cinema screens the self-titled film portraying the events of the greatest low-to-high-ebb spectrum in Partridge's life to date - specifically how he tries to salvage his public career while negotiating a potentially violent turn of events at North Norfolk Digital Radio. See Coogan's awesome comic timing at 2:30 and 6:45 p.m.

2. The Tacoma Regional Convention + Visitor Bureau is opening up a brand-spanking new visitor center and is at the ready to celebrate. From 10 a.m. to noon, the general public is cordially invited to the grand opening and unveiling of the new Tacoma Visitor Information Center at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center in downtown Tacoma. Admission is free and all are welcome. Games, prizes, personalities and a mayoral welcome are the orders of the day. 

3. Pastels have a bad rep, often deserved, but not always. The name is associated with soft and pretty colors, and pastel as a media has long been thought of as a media of sweet grandmothers who take it up as a hobby - despite the example of Edgar Degas, who revolutionized pastel art with layered and heavily textured works as far back as 1880. That influence is still very evident in the NW Pastel Society's 28th Annual International Open Exhibition from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at American Art Company.

4. Known as a premiere wolf facility in the United States, Wolf Haven is also one of the most unusual, both in its work for restoration and protection of wolves and because formerly captive wolves are not allowed to breed out of the fear of contributing to captive populations. Wolf Haven educators, Skie Bender and Cindy Irwin, will be at the Tumwater Timberland Library today to present two programs: a workshop on the wolf's role in nature and a discussion of the current status of wolves in Washington. "The Wolf Café," a workshop designed for children and families, will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. Participants will learn about the wolf's diet and how the animal is adapted for its role as a key predator. The Wolves of Washington, which is geared to adults, will be from 6 to 7 p.m. The presentation covers the history of wolves in the state, what happened to them, where our wolves are coming from today, current numbers, legal status, and conflicts.

5. Usually when you go to the casino you just lose money - but tonight could be different. Danny Vernon's Illusions of Elvis will be at the Red Wind Casino. Travel out to Yelm and have a great time with the King's likeness, starting at 6:30 p.m. 

LINK: Tuesday, June 24 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

June 24, 2014 at 9:57am

Tacoma Music and Art in Wright Park rolls out a compilation, celebrates with concert Saturday

When was the last time you rocked out to Queer the Pitch?

The sprawling park, with its green grassy hills, where families picnic in the shade, or groups of friends share a smoke, where dogs sniff the air in anticipation, and where a rock band tunes up on stage.

This is Music and Art in Wright Park, MAWP, Tacoma's annual summer event - one that brings out droves of people ready to rock.

But before we can enjoy the outdoor fair, with local vendors, good eats and live art, we gotta pile into The New Frontier, we gotta bang heads and slosh beer, and put cash in the bucket. Saturday the Tacoma Dome music venue hosts a fundraiser to help raise money so we can rock come Saturday, Aug. 16 in Wright Park.

Not only will Ex-Gods (former Mahnhammer), Cody Foster Army (C.F.A.) and Infinite Flux rock the house this Saturday, but there will also be a new element to MAWP's fundraising ... and archiving. For the first time, a MAWP compilation CD, Vol 1: Organic Arsenic, a collection of the festival's past performers - including Tacoma bands from the 1990s such as Queer the Pitch, Portrait of Poverty, My Name, Spuj, Swelter, Poppa Wheelie, to name a few - together in a pretty little package for your listening pleasure, will be for sale.

"The mix is great," says Cody Foster of C.F.A. and curator of MAWP. "If you grew up listening to comps jam packed full of bands, you will love this. From pop to punk to rockin' to heavy ... nostalgic tunes, I must say."

While additional funding for MAWP is a motivator to release the compilation series - yes, Volume 2 is in the works - Foster feels the conservation aspect is most important. Fifty copies will be put into Puget Sound libraries. Out of 29 songs, 15 are unreleased.

"Some of these recordings had never left analog format," Foster explains. "We had to restore some of the tracks. In one case, we got ahold of an entire lost, never-released album that the band members didn't even have."

"I really do believe that the compilation is a rare treat to all," said Micah Hembree of Ex-Gods, formerly of Swelter, who made it on the comp. "It not only has bands that you know and love on it, but it also has some hidden things that you may not remember hearing. Those bands that you may have forgotten about, that truly made the music in Tacoma what it is today."

So come get your hot little hands on the mix ($10), or grab a MAWP T-shirt ($20) and get your rock on with C.F.A., Infinite Flux and Ex-Gods.

"As far as MAWP is concerned, I feel very fortunate to be a part of a community that cares so much about art and its staying power," Hembree said."As far as Ex-Gods is concerned, we are ready to make love to you the only way we know how. By crushing you."

For more information on Music and Art in Wright Park, click here.

MAWP FUNDRAISER, w/ C.F.A., Infinite Flux, Ex-Gods, 9 p.m., Saturday, June 28, The New Frontier Lounge, 301 E 25th St, Tacoma, $5, 253.572.4020

Filed under: Music, Benefits, Tacoma,

June 24, 2014 at 12:30pm

Outdoor Expo returns to Joint Base Lewis-McChord Saturday


A military ID gets you in. Without it, you're stuck outside the gate, watching Northwest outdoors expert after expert drive through the gate with their sports utility vehicles loaded with the latest outdoor toys. Clutching cups of scalding coffee in camouflage travel mugs and shouldering backpacks better suited for navigating trails than city traffic, they'll set up booths at Joint Base Lewis McChord's Main Exchange. Indeed, Saturday, June 28, hunting and fishing guides, vendors and outdoor experts - including representatives from Twisted Horn Outfitters, Heroes on the Water and JBLM Northwest Adventure Center - will be on hand in the Exchange parking lot as part of the JBLM Outdoor Expo. Included will be 10 Northwest hunting and fishing experts on hand to answer your questions and offers tips. Let's read a press release from Joint Base Lewis-McChord Public Affairs. ...


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News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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