Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

December 22, 2014 at 2:16pm

"Holiday Magic" at Tacoma VFW Post #91

"Holiday Magic" at Tacoma VFW Post #91 / photo credit: Gary Lott

"Christmas this year has been hard on us, especially Thanksgiving," a young Washington National Guard specialist stated while gripping a holiday meal in the main room of the Tacoma VFW Post #91. "We haven't had enough funds to buy our 2-month-old son any gifts."

The holidays cause financial stress: shocking holiday credit card statements, elaborate holiday meals, late-night runs to grab last minute tape or name cards for or a slew of other stressful reasons.

The stress can be harder for that young servicemember who has returned from deployment with a growing young family.

That soldier is on the minds of the dozens who run this year's Washington National Guard's Family Programs' "Holiday Magic" service. Family Programs spends hundreds of hours distributing donated holiday meals, hams and, of course, toys at the Tacoma VFW Post #91 at 2000 South Union Ave. in central Tacoma. Post #91 members donate their post location and hours of volunteer time - often spent cleaning and sorting toys - to the Joint Services Support Family Programs, which primarily assists the servicemembers of the Washington National Guard and Reserves, as well as servicemembers from other branches. This year's "Holiday Magic" program sets aside a day to serve active-duty servicemembers, veterans and wounded veterans.

"The 'Holiday Magic' program has been an amazing gift," said the spouse of a deployed servicemember. "It has given me the joy and stress relief of knowing that I can give to my kids with a happy and relieving heart."

Although Pierce County residents make up the majority of the program's users, "Holiday Magic" volunteers have received requests from outside the county - and meals and toys were bagged, sorted and delivered by Family Assistance Specialists (FAS) who are stationed throughout the state near Washington National Guard unit locations such as Spokane, Vancouver, Everett, Port Orchard and Marysville. These FAS are also available to provide assistance throughout the year in forms of emergency grants, education assistance, employment assistance, resiliency matters and more.

"The program that is being ran by you is amazing," a private first class stationed on Joint Base Lewis-McChord stated to the volunteers at Tacoma VFW Post #91. "It has been a real tough year on me and I have been really stressed the last couple of months on what I was going to do for Christmas. The fact that this is available has been a huge relief and has helped very much. Thank you and everyone involved with this program very much. Merry Christmas!"

December 22, 2014 at 7:56am

5 Things To Do Today: Creative Colloquy, Bert Wilson Re-birth, Brian Lee Trio, Santa Hat Takeover Party ...

"It was a dark and snowy night. ..."

MONDAY, DEC. 22 2014 >>>

1. If you want to see an entertaining winter play - but are going to puke nutcrackers if you see A Christmas Carol one more time - head to a special early edition of Creative Colloquy at 7 p.m. in B Sharp Coffee House. Michael Haeflinger, Titus Burley and William Turbyfill will perform jolly dramatic performances. Santa will read stories, as will local scribes Burley, Ellen Miffitt and Jennevieve Schlemmer. This CC will include the usual open mic opportunities, as well as special CC stocking stuffer zines created by Nearsighted Narwhal on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue. Yes, this is the yuletide spectacular we've been praying to Winston Churchill for.

2. The moths are on to something. Lights are awesome. Especially holiday lights. Make tonight the night you check out Zoolights or Fantasy Lights - both South Sound institutions. Zoolights, the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium's holiday light show and extravaganza, offers a stroll through more than half a million lights, crafted whimsically throughout the zoo from 5-9 p.m. Take a driving tour of Fantasy Lights in Spanaway Park, where carloads of travelers can see more than 300 stunning displays of lights and imaginative animation over a two-mile stretch of Spanaway Lake Park from 5:30-9 p.m. Tune in to a special holiday radio station for a little holiday music to add to the mood. A Monday evening would be a nice time to take the family out and see some bright shiny things.

3. Bert Wilson was one of the underground legends of the jazz world - and he lived in Olympia. He was a survivor of polio in the 1940s (although it has left him confined to a wheelchair), the New York jazz scene of the mid-1960s, and the California underground of the 1970s. At 8 p.m. in Rhythm and Rye, Nancy Curtis, Michael Moore, Michael Olson, Steve Luceno, Steve Bentley and Jim Pribbenow will re-birth the music of the late Bert Wilson. Righteous.

4. Since the beginning of time, The Swiss has hosted live blues every Monday at 8 p.m. Factor in the free pool on Mondays and guitar legend Brian Lee Trio on the stage, and you have yourself a night.

5. Every Monday at 9 p.m. Jazzbones is packed to the brim with party types who swarm the bar and dance to Rockaraoke - live band karaoke. The Rockaraoke band is skilled, too. Tonight, the first 200 people through the door will receive a free custom printed Jazzbones Santa Hat. Bad Santa will be in the house along with Pro Photo booth plus $1 beers and no cover.

LINK: Monday, Dec. 22 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 21, 2014 at 7:24pm

Words, Photos & Video: Dixie Highway live at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink

Dixie Highway performed at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice-skating rink Saturday, Dec. 20. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Dixie Highway. Remember those words. You may already know them, but in a year you'll know them better. At the bluegrass family picnic, Dixie Highway is the loud and brash kid brother, the noisy upstart from down south who would just as soon stand on your sandwich and scream into your face as slink quietly back from whence he came - deep in the woods, behind the still.

Last night was no picnic. As 20 police cars chased bad guys past the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice-skating rink on Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma, Dixie Highway ripped through songs from The Barleywine Revue's repertoire and Forest Beutel's new CD, If You Label Me, You Negate Me. There were several times during Dixie Highway's two riveting sets at the rink when you had to remind yourself that this was only half and not a full-throttle Barleywine Revue. As a duo, Forest Beutel on banjo and Julie Campbell on fiddle - half of the Revue - craft some of the finest bluegrass around. Unfortunately, Forest and Julie don't book many gigs around the Sound, so here's hoping this duo gets the exposure they deserve.

Dixie Highway performed "Good Ol' Boy" off Forest Beutel's CD, which I sort of captured on video.

The word on the street is this year's Polar Plaza numbers will beat previously year's totals. Last night, the rink was packed with young and old - and a whole bunch in the middle as the photos below show.

The Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink at Tollefson Plaza is open to public ice-skating sessions across the street from the Tacoma Art Museum daily through Jan. 11.

The Weekly Volcano presents Rhythm & Ice: Down Home Holiday Hoedown every Saturday night from 7-9 p.m. at Polar Plaza. Saturday, Dec. 27, banjo musician Forest Beutel tells his other bands - The Rusty Cleavers, The Barleywine Revue and new favorite band Dixie Highway - to take a flying leap as he's performing solo at the ice rink. Ice skate in front of Beutel and show him your new clothes you scored for Christmas. In the meantime, enjoy a few photos and a video (above) from Dixie Highway live at Polar Plaza Dec. 20.


Words, photos and video from The Rusty Cleavers' live performance at Polar Plaza

Words, photos and video from Shotgun Kitchen's live performance at Polar Plaza

Words, photos and video from SweetKiss Momma's live performance at Polar Plaza

Words, photos and a video from The Cottonwood Cutups' live performance at the Polar Plaza ice rink

The backstory and band schedule for the Weekly Volcano's Rhythm & Ice music series at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink

December 21, 2014 at 10:33am

5 Things To Do Today: CD Woodbury Band, Winter Solstice Beer Parade, Polar Plaza ice rink, Battle of the Sexes ...

CD Woodbury Band will perform at The Spar in Old Town Tacoma tonight.

SUNDAY, DEC. 21 2014 >>>

1. You can bet the CD Woodbury Band will be celebrating at 7 p.m. in The Spar. Sure, the blues band is down with the holiday spirit, but more importantly, they are about a month away from the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. The band won the South Sound Blues Association's "Back to Beale Street Competition," which means the Tacoma-based organization is sending them to Tennessee to compete with blues bands around the nation. Our fingers are crossed the band's eclectic array of originals and obscure "gem" covers encompassing roots, blues,rock, old school R&B, funk, jazz, jump swing and Americana - all flavored with the spirit of Jam Band improvisation - will blow the judges' minds. In the meantime, indulge in great blues and tasty brews tonight.

2. A Winter Solstice Parade will be held in Tacoma's Sixth Avenue neighborhood today. It's doubtful the druid and pagan communities will be out in full force, dressed in magnificent costumes and singing incantations while waving luminous willow lanterns. No, this parade is a staggering affair between The Red Hot's Darkest Day and Engine House No. 9's 2014 Snow Cru release party. There are many ways to celebrate the solstice, but only the souls at The Red Hot and Engine House No. 9 could, by chance, create an observance loaded with symbolism, and robust, full-bodied beers with rich color and flavor. For complete details, click here.

3. Franciscan Polar Plaza is the place to be once winter hits. Think you can find something better to do than busting out some ice skates? Yeah, good luck with that. Polar Plaza is on its fourth year of setting up an ice-skating rink decked out in wintery goodness at Tollefson Plaza, just across from the Tacoma Art Museum in downtown Tacoma. With three fabulous years behind them, the Plaza folks put their heads together and found a few key ways to make this ritzy rink even better for 2014. Skate from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

4. Hello, holiday tradition! The Nutcracker ballet performance is a holiday forever classic. The Tacoma City Ballet does it up right and with a delightful twist. Did you know that there's a "prequel" to The Nutcracker called Tale of the Hard Nut? Celebrating its 31st performance season, the ballet company takes on The Nutcracker performance in its entirety, which includes the prequel. In short: prepare to be dazzled, delighted and enchanted at 3 p.m. in the Pantages Theater.

5. Remember that time in high school when your parents went away? You know, plot line of every teenage movie ever made - except this time, you blew up the house. Standing in the ashes as your parents roll up, what do you do? Say it with us now -iiiiiimprovise. Take notes at 8 p.m. in the Tacoma Comedy Club when male and female comedians battle with improv and sketch skills.

LINK: Sunday, Dec. 21 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 20, 2014 at 2:40pm

Air Mobility Command to inactivate 10th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

This just in from the Air Mobility Command Public Affairs Office. ...

12/20/2014 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Air Mobility Command will inactivate two  C-17 squadrons over the next two years - one at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., and one at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. - based on the President's Defense Budget for FY15.

"In this fiscally constrained environment, we have to balance readiness, capability and capacity," said Major Gen. Michael S. Stough, AMC's Director of Strategic Plans, Requirements and Programs.

"To best preserve this capability, the intent is to fund these aircraft back into primary mission aircraft inventory in future years, and transfer them to the Reserve Component -  and we're working with our Air National Guard partners to do that, perhaps even as early as FY16.  We rely on our Total Force partners to meet our global mobility requirements; we couldn't do the mission without them.   We'll continue to leverage the unique strengths of the active and Reserve components to meet current and future requirements with available resources."

The Air Force plans to make adjustments over the next few years to the active duty, Reserve, and Guard components to ensure successful transitions to a leaner force that remains ready for future operations.

The FY15 President's Budget converts 16 AMC C-17s (eight from each base) from primary mission aircraft inventory to backup aircraft inventory. As a result, AMC will inactivate the 17th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., in FY15; and the 10th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., in FY16.   These inactivations are not new actions, but additional detail on the previously announced budget submission released in March.

Backup aircraft inventory are assigned with no manpower or flying hours. However, they will continue to receive funding needed to support weapon system sustainment. Converting 16 aircraft to BAI removes funding for the personnel and flying hours associated with those aircraft, for a savings of approximately $110M per year.

December 20, 2014 at 11:20am

"Holiday Bizarre!" - Dr. Lauren is good for what ails you

Dr. Lauren / photo courtesy of Lauren O'Neill

The phrase triple threat, meaning a person who excels at acting, dancing, and singing, is among the most overused in all entertainment. Oh, sure, any number of actors can carry a tune. I've even met trained opera singers who can manage a waltz without requiring emergency services. All the same, it's rare to meet a performer who's better than average at all three - yet the phrase seems an understatement when applied to Lauren O'Neill. I have to be careful when I refer to her, as she wears so many hats in Olympia's live entertainment scene that it's important not to use her right stage name for the wrong occasion. She's an improv artist, a fixture in the local burlesque scene, and a go-to when, say, a sassy mistress of ceremonies is required. Her performance as Glenn Danzig (of all people) was a highlight of Oly's Night of the Living Tribute Bands a few years ago.

Now there's a new persona, "Dr. Lauren," who'll probably look a lot like Lauren O'Neill but say things distinctly less practical. I write "Dr. Lauren" in quotes for the same reason Ms. O'Neill adds an asterisk to her title: "*Dr. Lauren is not a licensed therapist or cosmetologist." In actual fact, I'm not sure what subject Dr. Lauren's doctorate is in. She may have earned it sketching that turtle in the back of TV Guide, or ordered it from an online church group. Whatever the case, O'Neill's press release for her show promises "a vehicle for self-discovery and worldwide growth and healing," along with "advice! Music! Makeovers! Therapeutic happenings! Catharsis!" So yeah. Whatever that means. Your guess is good as mine. But relax! Try not to worry about the specifics. I've seen O'Neill's brand of holiday cabaret merriment before, and it's always a joy to behold. Fans of dearly deported (not a typo!) entertainer Saul Tannenbaum will remember O'Neill's appearances as sultry chorine Kitty Beaujolais-but again, different hat, different character. She's a slippery one, that Lauren O'Neill.

Of course there'll be acting, dancing, and singing; and yes, there will probably be charming little holiday ensembles. Her show will be campy in the best way, amusing in an intentional way, and in every way, good for what ails you.  Plus there'll be catharsis! - as Dr. Aristotle intended. Oh, and drinks. Let us not dismiss the power of drinks.

DR. LAUREN'S HOLIDAY BIZARRE!, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 26-27, Urban Onion Lounge, 116 Legion Way SE, Olympia, $7, drlauren.brownpapertickets.com

Filed under: Theater, Comedy, Olympia,

December 20, 2014 at 8:09am

5 Things To Do Today: Dixie Highway on Ice, Urban Shopping & Cocktails, Trees and Timber, hip-hop extravaganza ...

Dixie Highway performs at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink in downtown Tacoma from 7-9 p.m.

SATURDAY, DEC. 20 2014 >>>

1. Well, hidee, thar! The Tacoma Art Museum put theyselves up a big ole ice skatin' rink over at Tollefson Plaza called Polar Plaza. It's finer'n a can o' snuff, with all them little 'uns jess skatin' roun' in circles. Shoot, they's prolly ketchin' their death o' colds, but they's grinnin' like a mule eatin' briars. The Weekly Volcano has put together a bluegrass show fer the skatin ‘rink from 7-9 p.m. With Dixie Highway, the fiddle and banjo dance together to create a sound that harkens the spirit of down home Americana. Whether they are playing a barn dance or an ice-skating rink, Dixie Highway will have you on your feet, unless you slip on the ice.

2. Maybe you are done shopping for discount TVs or maybe you've just got better things to do on a Saturday than join the masses at the mall. Whatever the case, Urban Shopping & Cocktails is a breath of fresh air. Every third Saturday from 2-6 p.m., Christy Reedy of Libertine Tacoma, provides a local shopping experience inside her house on Sprague Avenue. Check that. Reedy and rock star Jensen Charnell open up their house, as he is pouring drinks from the kitchen(!). In addition to Reedy's interesting and eclectic variety of artisan salts and salt blends, other local vendors include Shroom Brothers wearable works of art, EarthNerd works, Caps "N' Scraps upcycled creations, Singe and Pepper Pot Polish candles and nail polish line and Leah Marie's jewelry - served up in an intimate space ... with refreshments.

3. The Fabulous Downey Brothers are aggressively, endearingly strange. Half performance art, half spiky art-rock, the Olympia band always bring a surging current of off-putting energy to their live performances. Calling on the daring New Wave of late '70s/early '80s groups like Talking Heads, Devo, and Adam Ant, the Fabulous Downey Brothers clothe their jumpy music in bizarre costumes and jerky dance moves. Usually, the band members wear what looks like cut out pieces of shag carpeting molded into geometric shapes around their heads, making them resemble a sort of warped children's band. This show will also feature a rare performance from the video game-obsessed, pop-punk-worshipping Cutwinkles, who always bring a goofy vibe to their live set. Also, there will be a band called Jurassic Twat, and how great is that? See it all at 9 p.m. in Half Pint Pizza Pub.

4. Like Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello, Trees and Timber have a knack for writing perfect pop songs that don't get just get by on production sheen. There's a tactile feel to Trees and Timber that lends weight to songs that are otherwise light as a feather. On their new LP, Hello, My Name is Love, their '70s AM pop-indebted songs skate by like long-lost favorites. The bouncy, piano-led opener of "Wolf & Sheep" is an ideal lead-in for an album full of music that sounds like it's been played for years, while simultaneously sounding fresh enough to stick in your brain for long after your first listen. It's not easy to record an album that feels like it's assembled entirely out of singles. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on Trees and Timber in the Music & Culture section, then catch the band with The Jilly Rizzo at 9 p.m. at The Valley.

5. Heretic The Heathen aka Colin McGee aka the leader of the south Puget Sound battle scene (For MCs By MCs) hosts his annual at 9 p.m. in the 4th Ave Tavern in downtown Olympia. The Olympia holiday/birthday hip-hop extravaganza will include performances from QP, AKA featuring Maya Terry, Zikki, Drumatic, Miz and Akeem. Oh, yeah ... the party will include a live lyrical roast of Heretic. Nice. All proceeds to Olympia charities.

LINK: Saturday, Dec. 20 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 19, 2014 at 7:52am

5 Things To Do Today: Celtic Christmas, Stacy Jones Band, Northwest Women in Rock, Bam! ...

Violinist Geoffrey Castle hosts a Christmas bonanza tonight at the Temple Theatre. Courtesy photo

FRIDAY, DEC. 19 2014 >>>

1. The winter holidays' bells, lights and trees are upon us, and along with them the holiday-themed shows. Nutcrackers and Christmas Carols of various stripes are rife and often beloved, but alternatives are out there, too. This week we look to Geoffrey Castle's Celtic Christmas Celebration, an all-ages, revue-style ensemble show put on by legendary violinist Geoffrey Castle at 8 p.m. in the Temple Theatre. Helping Castle bring the magic is a cast of renowned musicians and dancers, including Beth Quist from Cirque du Soleil and the Seattle Irish Dance Company. It's a safe bet Castle's will be performing tunes off his holiday CD, Underhill's Angel: A Treasury of Songs for the Season. It's a safer bet the man in the red suit will be in the house. It's the safest bet the after party will be held across the street at Doyle's Public House.

2. At 28, Stacy Jones had released five CDs, played hundreds of shows and won multiple awards, including Washington Blues Society's "Best Female Vocalist of the Year" in 2010. Her band will play Jazzbones at 8 p.m. Finding a flow of funk, blues, rock and jazz appears to come easy to The Stacy Jones Band. Its presence, talent and raw soul weave seamlessly on stage.

3. Want to drink a Cozy Sweater while wearing an ugly holiday sweater? Twisted Kilt Irish Pub hosts an ugly sweater party with an emphasis on Iron Horse Brewery beers, including Irish Death, Mocha Dream and said sweater. Expect a DJ spinning and giveaways, beginning at 9 p.m.

4. Rhythm and Rye club in downtown Olympia has launched a new monthly series called Northwest Women in Rock. Held every three months, R&R will be featuring talented women who can rock your pants off. The first showcase, at 9 p.m., will feature Alison Marie Baker, Dr. Luna, Grace Hansmeier with her band Solar Sin and rock and roll band John's Daughter.

5. Bam! - Tacoma's first cover band super group - will perform at 9 p.m. at The Swiss. We have no idea what that means, but EXCITING!

LINK: Friday, Dec. 19 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 18, 2014 at 6:59am

5 Things To Do Today: Tacoma Art Bus, Sub Pop story, REVIVE, Ugly Sweater Run, Andrew Rivers ...

The December Tacoma Art Bus is our favorite. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

THURSDAY, DEC. 18 2014 >>>

1. Can you smell it? Holiday shopping panic. (You smug bastards who already finished your shopping can just keep it to yourselves. No one wants to hear how organized and on top of things you are.) But panicking doesn't help; it just makes you drink more and understand why suicide rates go up around the holidays, and no one wants that. What you need is a little break. A third Thursday hits this week, which means the Tacoma Art Bus will hit the streets of Tacoma, toting around art enthusiasts to art shows in galleries, spaces and businesses - away from the gridlock and parking nightmares. And, most likely, you'll happen upon that perfect gift for picky-ass Aunt Edna whose good side you're trying to get on for inheritance reasons. Holiday ugly sweaters are encouraged, awesome Puget Sound Pizza will provide pizza and the tour begins at 5:45 p.m. in front of the Tacoma Elf Storage.

2. Spaceworks Tacoma partnered with property owners Jori Adkins and Rick Semple to help launch a collective of furniture makers - REVIVE, locally crafted custom furniture close to the Tacoma Dome. The beautiful 2,500 square foot showroom, right on the corner of Puyallup and D Streets, is a perfect fit along "Furniture Row." The five businesses are: Alchemy Concrete, birdloft, reply Furniture, Spring Fever Upholstery and Wane + Flitch. The grand opening is from 5-9 p.m.

3. Ho, ho, hold up - where's your ugly holiday sweater? Don't show up to Tacoma Runners Ugly Sweater Run tonight without one, because some sort of ugliness - be it a deck-the-halls display or a simple Santa face - is mandatory. The event will kick off with a 6:30 p.m. check-in at Slappy's Garage - North End Tavern. The Christmasy 3-mile run will wind through Tacoma's northend, with the runners returning to Slappy's to toss back a bunch of drinkies. You've finally got a use for that reindeer sweater grandma knitted you, so Febreeze off the mothball odor and come run around the Proctor District to spread some Christmas cheer.

4. Bruce Pavitt helped put the Pacific Northwest on the music map in the 1980s with his record label, Sub Pop, with business partner Jonathan Poneman. Pavitt has written a book about his experience at Sub Pop. He will talk about and read from that that book, SUB POP U.S.A.: The Subterranean Pop Music Anthology, 1980-1988, at 7:30 p.m. in the Olympia Timberland Library. K Records founder Calvin Johnson, a.k.a. Selector Dub Narcotic, will DJ 45s following the reading and book signing. This program will occur after regular library hours and no other library services will be available. 

5. As the son of longtime Seattle DJ Bob Rivers, Andrew Rivers got accustomed early to the not-always-flattering spotlight. "I was the butt of so many jokes on the radio show," he says. Maybe that's why - despite his jokes about how he's not tough enough to walk those female friends to their cars - Rivers seems to have a pretty thick skin. Catch him tonight with local comedian Nate Jackson at 8 p.m. in Little Creek Casino in Shelton.

LINK: Thursday, Dec. 17 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 17, 2014 at 2:46pm

Servicemembers held for Ebola monitoring at JBLM go home

Technical Sgt. Joe Greene happily returned home to Montana late Tuesday afternoon.

"I was ready to get back to my family for Christmas," he said during a telephone interview from his home in Montana. "I missed Thanksgiving with them."

One of 15 individuals monitored for Ebola symptoms, Greene spent 21 days in isolation at Joint Base Lewis-McChord North.

The monitored group of servicemembers came from the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force. None were from JBLM.

Assigned to the 819th Red Horse Squadron at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, Greene had been deployed to West Africa as this country attempts to tamp down the spread of the deadly disease.

About 2,600 servicemembers are deployed to West Africa, building and operating a number of Ebola-treatment facilities.

A deployable, heavy operational repair squadron, the unit is commanded by Col. Ron Pieri.

The servicemembers entered isolation on Nov. 25 and were released on Dec. 16.

It wasn't as though Greene didn't he know would be held and monitored for the symptoms of Ebola when he returned from his deployment.

"I understood. It's one of the things we gotta do," he said in a matter-of-fact way. "It is what it is."

Greene and the others were not exposed to Ebola-infected patients, and the risk that they are infected was minimal, Maj. Mary Ricks pointed out in an earlier press release.

JBLM could house up to 1,000 quarantined military members and civilian contractors in World War II vintage barracks that until recently were used by Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets during Warrior Forge.

"Yeah, we were in these older barracks," continued Greene. "It wasn't bad.  We had open bays like basic training, a large separate bathroom and showers and a pretty decent dining facility. We were set up pretty well."

Other accommodations included Wi-Fi, cable, movies, video game consoles, books and a tent gym with exercise equipment.

In November, the Department of Defense announced that JBLM would be one of five installations that would provide a monitoring site for servicemembers and civilians returning from missions in West Africa.

The other four locations are the Army's Smith Barracks in Baumholder, Germany; Fort Bliss and Fort Hood in Texas; Fort Bragg in North Carolina; and at an Army base in Vicenza, Italy.

According to the World Health Organization most recent statistics, there have been approximately 18,500 cases of Ebola with more than 6,800 resulting in death.

Back at JBLM and with plenty of time on their hands, the monitored servicemembers did a lot of reading, working out, and in Greene's case, working with wood.

"Yes, I had time so I built some furniture," Greene said.

A medical team from the Madigan Army Medical Center checked the monitored servicemembers twice per day and asked if there was any fatigue or muscle pain.

"The medical folks were superb," Greene added. "In fact, everyone I encountered here at JBLM was very professional, and I think the Army did a great job."

About this blog

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

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