Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

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March 3, 2014 at 3:10pm

8th Brigade ROTC at Pacific Lutheran University wins MacArthur Award

Congratulations 8th Brigade ROTC at Pacific Lutheran University for winning another MacArthur Award, this time for the school year 2012-2013.

Let's read the U.S. Army Cadet Command's news release:

Fort Knox, Ky. (Feb. 28, 2014) - The U.S. Army Cadet Command announced today the eight winners of the MacArthur Awards for the school year 2012-2013.

The award recognizes the eight schools, selected from among the 275 senior Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) units nationwide, as the top programs in the country.

The awards, presented by Cadet Command and the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Foundation, recognize the ideals of "duty, honor and country" as advocated by MacArthur.

The award is based on a combination of the achievement of the school's commissioning mission, its cadets' performance and standing on the command's National Order of Merit List and its cadet retention rate.

Cadet Command and the MacArthur Foundation have given the awards each year since 1989.

This year's eight winners are:


February 28, 2014 at 12:40pm

Service Academy Night for Tacoma and Peninsula school districts

While many are feeling anxious over the proposed Pentagon budget cuts, U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, the Democrat out of Gig Harbor, wants students to consider the armed forces. Kilmer will host a Service Academy Night Wednesday, March 19 at Foss High School in Tacoma.

"As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I'm looking forward to extending this exciting opportunity to students in our region who are considering a top-tier education with service to our nation in our armed forces," stated Kilmer in a news release.

The night is dedicated to those students attending high school - public or private - in the Tacoma and Peninsula school districts, and who live within Kilmer's 6th Congressional District.

Those in attendance will also see bright and shiny faces from U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and ROTC representatives.

We haven't confirmed the rumor of a post-event screening of Taps at nearby Cheney Stadium. It's unlikely.

SERVICE ADACEMY NIGHT, 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, Foss High School Auditorium, 2112 S. Tyler St., Tacoma, 253.272.3515

February 28, 2014 at 9:29am

Lakewood student shows heart at JBLM, earns top science fair honors

Tillicum Elementary School third-grader Zinessa Patton gave a human heart science presentation to 514th Ambulance Ground Paramedics at JBLM. Courtesy photo

There's no doubt that Tillicum Elementary School third grader Zinessa Patton loves science. The youngster has been an avid science fair participant for the last four years at her school; for the last two of those years, she's been a science fair award winner and has received a number of accolades for her work.

In 2013, her school science fair project "Brain Freeze" was awarded first place at school. She then went on to participate in the Clover Park School District's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Fair (STEM), where the young scientist received public recognition from Lakewood's mayor for her efforts.

For the 2014 fair, Zinessa created the presentation, "The Human Heart." She took first place again. Her project will be featured in the upcoming STEM Fair Saturday at Lakes High School.

It gets better.

Members of the 514th Ambulance Ground Paramedics from Joint Base Lewis-McChord served as judges for this year's Tillicum Elementary School science fair. Impressed with Zinessa's "Human Heart" project, the team invited her to give her presentation to other team members at JBLM. The student scientist was thrilled by the invitation and graciously accepted. Along with her family, Zinessa visited the base on Feb. 21. According to Zinessa's mother, Zina Cockrell, Zinessa absolutely cherished the experience. The family thanks all of those involved at the 514th Ambulance Ground for making this event happen.

It doesn't stop there. Zinessa is not only a budding scientist and a straight-A student, she's a philanthropist, too. She raised $250 for the American Heart Association.

Zina Cockrell says Zinessa's love of science and school is in the genes.

"My mother taught science for 37 years in Gig Harbor," says Cockrell. "I was exposed to science at an early age. The same thing happened for Zinessa. She started loving science at a young age."

February 26, 2014 at 12:37pm

Found on Craigslist: Plagiarism Paul, righteous TV and free romaine lettuce

Can anyone help Plagiarism Paul?

Here at the Weekly Volcano, we love to crack a few cold ones and dig through the weird world of Craigslist. From stripper poles and hobbit feet, to marijuana and awkward walking partners, we've reported our favorite finds.

It's time again for another installation of "Found on Craigslist."

Let's start with the nut that inspired the hunt for more Craigslist gems. (Thanks for the lead, Vince.)

Meet Plagiarism Paul, who lives in Elma and takes selfies while dressed in capris to help solicit some sap to do his college essay. Compensation is "up for discussion." 

Perhaps the best category - freebies! Sifting through the free toilets and other garbage, here are a couple that grabbed our eye:

Free: Righteous wood encased TV from the 80s

"Are you throwing an 80s party and short on decorations? Are you infatuated with wood encased electronics? Are you retro? Do you like to watch old music videos on a TV that would bring back some memories? What about playing your original Nintendo on this bad boy? Are you still hanging on to that old cable box from the 80s with the dial on front of it that will let you watch contraband cable channels through the lines when you hold it between channels or cram some baseball cards in behind the dial? If you're into bringing back old memories and providing yourself with hours of joy, this TV is for you! Help this TV fulfill its final destiny with one last hurrah before it heads off to the appliance recycling pile!"

Kudos for your efforts on a marketing plan, Craigslister, but something tells me you will be taking it to the recycling pile after all.

This one just has a funny headline: Large Collection of Pain used in various projects (Spanaway)

Next: We all know you can buy "greens" on Craigslist these days, but what about this bag? Any takers? Hmm? Beuler? 

February 21, 2014 at 11:10am

Let's look at a list of McChord Field Julius A. Kolb Airman Leadership School graduates

Congratulations to the following airmen who graduated Julius A. Kolb Airman Leadership School last week at McChord Field.

Staff Sgt. Ryan Abel, 627th Civil Engineer Squadron

Staff Sgt. Ramsey Tesch, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron

Senior Airman Manuel Bowden, 62nd Operations Support Squadron

Senior Airman Cleat Cooley, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron


February 4, 2014 at 7:45am

Tuesday Morning Joe: Kickback scandal rocks Army National Guard, vet tuition rates, secret Taliban talks, happy birthday Facebook...

Seahawks spirit is still alive at Rain City Cafe in downtown Tacoma.


More than 800 soldiers are under criminal investigation for gaming a National Guard program that paid hundreds of millions in bonuses to soldiers who persuaded friends to sign up during the darkest years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been holding secret talks with Taliban officials in an effort to bridge peace with his government,


February 3, 2014 at 10:03am

New Army Tuition Assistance program rules

New year, new rules. The Army's Tuition Assistance (TA) program will be streamlining eligibility and making some cutbacks in 2014 and nearly 160,000 officers and enlisted soldiers across active duty, reserves and National Guard who have been pursuing college degrees with TA support could be affected.


Filed under: Army, Schools, Benefits,

January 30, 2014 at 2:51pm

Central Washington University launches mobile app for veterans

Just the other day Team Walkie Talkie was discussing the lack of veteran-related apps. We came up with several ideas, then went back to our day job of writing snarky preview blurbs.

When, what to our wondering eyes should appear, but a new veteran app originating across the Cascade mountain range. Central Washington University says it's the first university in the United States to use a special web and mobile application to help military veterans connect to colleges to earn degrees.

That's cool.

Here's an excerpt from the news release:

Key components of the Veterans App (VAPP), developed by Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, are a lockbox for online storage of military service records and the ability of users to browse veterans' service providers by major categories. The VAPP platform also provides a checklist of required steps needed to transition out of the military.

CWU is also specifically highlighted on the first-of-its-kind VAPP Checklist pilot program, a web-only application, limited to active service members at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) as they transition out of the Army. As a select sponsor of VAPP, CWU anticipates veteran recruitment and enrollment, both at Ellensburg and at CWU's campuses statewide, will grow.

"More than 20,000 veterans from JBLM will be going through the Active Duty Transition Process in the next two years. And those who investigate education through the VAPP checklist process will always see CWU's Preferred Sponsorship Logo linking to our VAPP Web page," said Swiney, adding that VAPP is formatted for both Web and mobile devices.

The Veterans App is available at www.vapp.com. The link can also be found on CWU's web site under Services, and on Admission's and the Veteran's web pages under Related Links.

January 7, 2014 at 10:18am

Army Emergency Relief accepting scholarship applications

Army Emergency Relief has announced the opening of its scholarship application period for 2014-15. Last year, the children and spouses of more than 4,600 Soldiers were awarded scholarships. Photo credit: C. Todd Lopez

As the eggnog begins to burn off, it's time to turn in applications for college scholarships. Army Emergency Relief has opened its scholarship application period for the 2014-15 school year. Applications from spouses and dependent children of soldiers will be accepted from now until May 1.

This year, scholarships will be awarded based solely on financial need, said Tammy LaCroix, manager for Army Emergency Relief, or AER's scholarship programs. In previous years, some scholarships were awarded based on scholastic achievement and leadership, LaCroix said. For instance, if students could demonstrate leadership - such as serving as class president, leading a Scout troop or serving in an ROTC leadership position - that in itself was worth a $500 scholarship. If their grade point average was above a 3.5 GPA, that could be worth another $500.??Those types of $500 scholarships have been eliminated however, so that larger awards to needy family members can be granted.

Read the rest of the report on the U.S. Army website.

Filed under: Army, Schools,

January 3, 2014 at 10:57am

Cool Kids Friday: Big Cadet, Little Cadet

Clover Park High School JROTC cadet Athziri Macias helps Park Lodge Elementary second-grader Elia Aguilar during the "Big Cadet, Little Cadet" after-school mentoring program. Courtesy photo

Keeping schools safe and creating positive learning environments for Lakewood children are critical concerns. Keeping Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps active while they wait to get their first planes is essential, too.

Wouldn't it be cool to kills two birds with one stone, so to speak?

The Clover Park School District has figured it out.

Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps sit with CPSD elementary students, helping the youngsters read, accomplish homework tasks and play games. Called "Big Cadet, Little Cadet," the JROTC troops base their operation out of Park Lodge Elementary School, as part of the Lakewood Family YMCA after-school program.

"It's really fun to work with the students," said sophomore Athziri Macias in a CPSD press release. "They may not have someone at home who can help them with homework."

Besides dealing with fraction equations, the cadets also stress the importance of volunteer work and community to the kids.

"It's really a win-win for the cadets and the elementary students," said Lt. Col. Gary Roberts, CPHS JROTC instructor, in the same release. "The students benefit from a having a positive role model and the cadets learn how to work with younger students."

Win-win, indeed.

Filed under: Air Force, Schools, Lakewood,

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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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