NewsCastle - January 2012

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District and Heal the Bay partner for a pilot environmental program and an inspirational “Fit to Win” weight loss story as LA District continues BUILDING STRONG and Taking Care of People.

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NewsCastle - January 2012

  1. 1. NewsCastle Los Angeles District BUILDING STRONGVol. 42 No. 1 A monthly publication of the Los Angeles District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers January 2012District and Heal the Bay partnerfor pilot environmental programBy Greg Fuderer partnerships can occur for betterment of region. I feel LOS ANGELES — The this will be the first of manyU.S. Army Corps of Engineers creative solutions needed forand Heal the Bay held an environmental problems.”informal ceremony here The pilot program willFriday acknowledging the install a series of trash racksorganization’s commitment designed to catch and removeto provide a cash contribution debris from a segment of thetoward the installation of Los Angeles County Drainagetrash racks in Compton Area that flows throughCreek, the start of a pilot Compton. Each trash rackprogram to determine how consists of a grated metalmuch debris they can remove screen mounted on a framefrom a segment of the Los that measures 37.25” highAngeles River. and 60” wide. The grated “This agreement is of rack assembly is mounted onmajor significance on two four 48” long metal bars withlevels,” said Heal the Bay’s swivels and held in place byMark Gold, president of shear pins that break away District and Heal the Bay partner on an environmental effort to in-the organization whose to allow the catch to fall flat stall a series of trash racks designed to catch and remove debris,mission is to make Southern during heavy water flow. keeping it from reaching the ocean. (USACE photo by Dave Palmer)California’s coastal waters Col. Mark Toy, commanderand watersheds, including of the Corps’ Los Angeles looked for new ways to do just talk about public/privateSanta Monica Bay, safe, District, said the agreement is things,” Toy said. “Today’s partnerships, but actuallyhealthy and clean. “It creates partially the result of a recent agreement is the result. It’s have an example of how it’sa project that will reduce Senior Leaders Conference. nice to come up with ideas, done. Things like this area major pollution problem “We talked about how but they have to be put into really important.”that really needs help, and it we’re operating in a different action. We were able to dodemonstrates that, although environment with today’s that right away. This is highlyit’s not easy, public/private funding constraints and symbolic. We don’t have to — See HEAL, page 2 — Page 2 Page 3 Page 6 District is home to one of 15 new Turning “Adversity to Advantage” from District employee doesn’t wait for New ECCVs located across the U.S. Indian Bend Wash to the LA River. Year’s Resolutions to make changes.
  2. 2. Page 2 NewsCastle Heal from Page 1 District gets state-of-the-art The impact of a successful his assignment to the District emergency response vehiclepilot program will provide just how important a cleanbenefits far beyond the and environmentally safe Losimmediate of Compton Angeles River is to the area.Creek, the signatories said. “My second day on the “Long Beach spends job, my team brought me toseveral million dollars to Compton Creek,” he said. “Inremove thousands of tons two weeks, the Acting Chiefdebris from its port yearly,” of Engineers will visit ourGold said. “We don’t know district. We’re taking him toexactly how much comes the LA River.”down the river, but each year The Corps expects workduring the Compton Creek on the pilot project to startcleanup, volunteers remove Monday.about ten tons of trash in three “Let’s get to work andhours. Debris creates issues get this project done,” Goldwith flood control basins and said. “We have a creativewreaks havoc on the habitat. means to move forward. It’s By Greg FudererIt’s especially detrimental community that needs this. LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. — The Los Angeles District willto aquatic resources and the This is the first step into be well prepared for its next disaster response with the recentenvironment.” turning Compton Creek into acquisition of one of the Corps’ newest Emergency Command Toy said he learned early in a community resource.” and Control Vehicles. The ECCV, built on an International truck chassis, is a 47- foot vehicle designed to serve as a temporary mobile command post. It provides 11 work stations that each have a computer jack, 110- and 12-volt power sockets, and a phone that has cell, Voice over Internet Protocol and satellite capabilities. There is also onboard Wi-Fi capability to provide access for additional computers, and a rear compartment that houses a conference table, video camera and large screen TV for video conferencing. Deploying four side-compartments, a satellite dish, radio antennas and emergency floodlights is a two-man, 15-minute evolution that allows responders near-immediate access to the equipment and capabilities necessary to conduct response and recovery operations in a disaster environment. According to the Corps’ website, ECCVs provide an expedient tactical operations and communications platform for first responders where there are no available facilities or communications to support response operations.Mark Gold (left), president of Heal the Bay, and Col. Mark Toy sign The Corps has 15 of the new ECCVs located across thethe agreement whereby Heal the Bay will contribute funds for a continental United States. Mobile District maintains six,pilot program designed to study the benefits of debris removal Sacramento District three, and Baltimore, Ft. Worth, Losstructures in Compton Creek. (USACE photo by Greg Fuderer) Angeles, Nashville, Portland, Ore. and St. Louis districts one. District Commander: Col. Mark Toy The NewsCastle is published monthly under the provisions of AR 360-1 for the employees and extended Engineer Family of the Los Public Affairs Officer: Jay Field Angeles District, USACE. Views and opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the District or of the Department of Editor: Dave Palmer Defense. Graphics: Kim Matthews Address mail to the Los Angeles District Public Affairs Office, ATTN: NewsCastle Editor, P.O. Box 532711, Los Angeles, CA 90017-2325 Tel: Staff: Jennie Ayala, Daniel J. Calderón, Greg (213) 452-3922 or Fax: (213) 452-4209. E-mail the Public Affairs staff at: Fuderer, Brooks O. Hubbard IV, Richard Jung, Bev publicaffairs.SPL@usace.army.mil. PattersonJanuary 2012
  3. 3. January 2012 Page 3 COMMANDER’S MESSAGETurning “Adversity to Advantage” From Indian Bend Wash to the Los Angeles RiverBy Col. Mark Toy • A Willing Sponsor: The L.A. City Council, led by In 1959, the City of Scottsdale, Arizona took major steps to Councilman Ed Reyes, is helping generate momentum toaddress the flood control problems that had been plaguing ensure that the L.A. River Revitalization Plan is receivingit since the 1890’s. With the establishment of national attention. Furthermore, the sponsorthe Maricopa County Flood Control District, wants to advance $1 million towards the projectand through collaboration with the Federal to ensure its continued progress and eventualGovernment and the U.S. Army Corps of design completion.Engineers (USACE), a project was born. • A Multi-use Approach: While IBWIndian Bend Wash (IBW) is a 7-mile stretch of combined flood control (now flood riskdepressed land that runs north to south and management) and recreation in its design,bisects the city center of Scottsdale, AZ. Before the L.A. River Ecosystem Restoration Projectthe completion of the project, precipitation will similarly combine flood risk management,north of the city use to funnel through IBW recreation, and ecosystem restoration.causing the wash to turn into a raging torrent. • SPL Open to Different Approaches: Clearly, the City of Scottsdale, AZ wanted to Once again, it is not just about flood-control.protect their city from flash flooding and the SPL’s current leadership is engaging multipledamages that almost always resulted. While agencies to ensure a comprehensive and all-following the typical process for seeking federal inclusive approach to solving this problem.aid, the city ultimately secured authorization SPL has reached out to non-profit agencies likeand funding for the IBW project from Congress. By December Friends of the L.A. River (FOLAR) and Heal the Bay (HTB) to1961, USACE had completed its design for IBW; the result, a help continue the momentum and keep the L.A. River in theconcrete-lined channel very similar to the one that USACE national spot-light.built in Los Angeles, CA in the 1930’s. Unfortunately, this Once again, SPL finds itself at a cross-road; particularlydesign was not to the liking of Scottsdale Citizens and the with respect to its L.A. River Ecosystem Restoration Project.surrounding communities. Moreover, resource constraints in Given the similar circumstances that SPL faced in the 1960’sterms of limited budgets were plaguing the Nation at the time. at IBW, there is an incredible opportunity for a successful The project languished for several years while the City outcome. SPL senior leaders realize that the current economicof Scottsdale worked an alternate plan. However, through environment requires that USACE not continue to operate inan incredible effort by visionaries in the local government a “business as usual” mode. In order to be successful, SPLand the private sector, the City of Scottsdale developed a must continue to ensure that the L.A. River receives national“Greenbelt Idea” that proposed a series of parks, golf courses, attention.lakes and channels to replace the current design of a strictly Recently, the Urban Waters Federal Partnership Programconcrete-lined channel. Construction of the Greenbelt named the L.A. River a watershed of national significance.required a combination of public and private responsibilities Secondly, the Administration’s America’s Great Outdoor sand expenditures. With USACE approval in 1970, a phased initiative (turning all American’s to the great outdoors) beganconstruction began which led to the project’s final phase in Los Angeles along the banks of the L.A. River. Finally, forcompletion in 1980. the first time ever in collaboration with SPL, Angelinos were IBW is an outstanding example of how a willing sponsor, afforded the opportunity to kayak legally on the L.A. Riverpublic-private cooperation, and the technical expertise of through a pilot non-motorized boating program. As a result,USACE combined to design and build a multi-use Greenbelt this kayaking experience received national attention in the L.A.area that incorporated both flood control and recreational Times, National Public Radio, and the British Broadcastingopportunities. In 1975, the National Society of Professional Company. All of these actions have helped to highlight theEngineers selected IBW as one of the top 10 engineering benefits of the L.A. River Project.achievements in the United States. Positive relationships with all parties involved in the L.A. Today, the Los Angeles District, USACE finds itself in River Ecosystem Restoration Project are at an all-time high.a similar predicament that it faced at IBW in the ’60s and With adequate federal funding, the transformation of the L.A.‘70s with its “Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration River from concrete-lined channel to a “Greenbelt” similarProject.” Once again, National-level resource constraints to IBW is a definite possibility. Winfield Scott was the Armyare preventing the L.A. River project from receiving federal Chaplain who first had the idea of “turning the adversityfunding to complete the study. At SPL’s recent Senior Leader of floodwaters into the advantage of enhanced lifestyle”Conference (SLC) in OCT 2011, senior leaders recommended in Scottsdale, AZ. As a result of his vision, IBW became“public-private cooperation” as one of the many solutions to an incredible success story. SPL hopes to recreate a similaraddressing the funding shortfall. outcome with the L.A. River as it continues “Building Strong Other similarities include: and Taking Care of People!” NewsCastle
  4. 4. Page 4 NewsCastleJanuary 2012
  5. 5. January 2012 Page 5Train to change and succeedBy Dave Palmer LOS ANGELES — District Commander Col. Mark Toy toldhis leadership team during a strategic planning conference inOctober, “Training is an integral part of our strategic directionand the focus for my second year in command.” The conference theme and year-long initiate is “Train toChange.” Participants spent three days working to identifywhat can be done differently, as an organization, to prepareemployees for the District’s evolving mission. Keynote speaker, retired Lt. Gen. Robert Flowers amplifiedthe importance of education. “The organization has to buyin, in providing the opportunity for formal training sessions;leaders have to buy in for setting the proper climate fortraining; and individuals have to buy in by figuring out how tobetter do their jobs,” he said. Training takes on many forms; on-the-job, resident, intern The Learning Registry is a new approach for sharing, analyzing andand online, to name a few, the latter continuing to grow in rating resource content to benefit educators and learners.popularity. Problem is, how do you know what’s available andis it worth your time? “DOD was seen as a leader, and I think to this day remains In an American Forces Press Service interview about a leader, in really looking at groundbreaking technologies –“Learning Registry,” Frank C. DiGiovanni, director of training not only for the Department of Defense, but for the entirereadiness and strategy in the Office of the Deputy Under country,” DiGiovanni said.Secretary of Defense for Readiness, said “This is a place that DOD, in partnership with the Education Department,educators and individuals can go to look at online learning has served as the federal government’s executive agent forcontent. And what’s different about this particular registry online learning technologies since the late 1990s. It was theis that it uses networking techniques to … populate it from Quadrennial Defense Review of 1996 where DOD identifiedauthoritative sources and … for people to be able to rate how the need to provide on-demand training for individuals andgood they think the content is.” units worldwide. The Department of Defense and Department of Education To learn more about the Learning Registry visit theirannounced the launch of the new resource in November. website www.learningregistry.org/about Army finalizes STEM vehicle for recruiting trail The Army will unveil the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Asset Vehicle Jan. 6, 2012, during All-American Bowl Week in San Antonio. Before the vehicle’s official launch in January, students from seven Maryland schools will have an opportunity for a hands-on look. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson) NewsCastle
  6. 6. Page 6 NewsCastle BUILDING WELLNESSAn inspirational “Fit to Win” weight loss storyBy Cecy Ordonez Luis Perez, our Transportation Assistant, has undergonea transformation of both body and mind. I bring to you aninspirational snap shot of Luis’s midpoint journey and how hehas found the secret to weight loss. So far Luis has lost 28% ofhis weight and plans to continue until he meets his goal. Q: What made you decide to start a weight loss plan? A: Really it was something I have thought about doing fora long time now but I was either too lazy or always found anexcuse not to do it. I had convinced myself that I was happywith myself, when in fact I was not. But the initial reason Istarted was something of a challenge from our new SupplyTech and my co-worker, Carlos. You see, he was a Marine andI was in the ARMY; he wanted to take advantage of the Fit ToWin program and thought it would be more helpful to himif he had company. Being the competitive type, I couldn’t letsome Marine outdo me, so I said “yes” and I haven’t stoppedsince. Q: 312 pounds was a high starting weight, how did youmanage looking at the road ahead of you? A: On July the 26th of this year I weighed in at my heaviestI had ever been in my life. I was 312 lbs and I had no idea I wasthat big as I had always avoided the doctors office and a scalefor the last five or six years. I had tried losing weight beforebut always stopped as I thought “this isn’t for me” or “I can’tdo it” or “it’s too much”. During my health screening, afterfinding out that scary number, you sat me down and told meeven more horrible news. In addition to my weight, my bloodpressure was too high and you told me that I couldn’t exercisewithout a doctor’s consent. Luis Perez and his son taking a picture with Bobber at the 2011 Q: Why do you think you are able to stick to your weight Picnic on June 24th. 312 lbs.loss plan? A: I took your advice to heart and I was very concerned with or a beer for that matter.my health after my initial screening with you and then later Q: What are your new habits? New Foods?my doctor. I didn’t want anything to stop me at this point. The A: No wacky diets or pills. I eat more often and I typicallydoctor put me on blood pressure medication; I changed my eat better, three meals a day and two snacks in between. I eatways and started exercising. It became a game for me and I a lot of chicken compared to the red meat I would eat before.became addicted to the results. It’s all math and numbers. I wouldn’t really say I eat a lot of new foods, I just mostly haveThere was no reason why I couldn’t lose weight at this point changed my portions and I have cut out all sweets and don’tin my mind, no cheat days and no breaks from exercising. No drink anything but water or an occasional glass of milk onmore excuses. the weekends. My big secret is - calorie intake. I monitor and Q: What were your eating habits like before? log everything that I put in my body using an app that you A:Its pretty embarrassing actually. I was the type to pile recommended called myfitnesspal on my iPhone. It helps mefood on my plate until there was no room left. Then when track my food, my workouts and my weight. To be honest II was done, I would get seconds. I used to skip breakfast for don’t feel hungry ever. I also completely cut out alcohol fromthe most part or I would have some coffee and a muffin/bagel/ my diet, that alone was a major help to me loosing the weight.donut or anything that was bad for me. I would sit and watch Also I make sure to not eat anything three hours prior to goingTV with my bowl of chips and dip and a beer. I really didn’t to bed.overeat every meal but I typically would make up for it during Q: What are some of the new ways you are physically active?dinner and my late night snacks. Another big factor with my A: Well besides working out religiously three times a weekweight was my occasional, or more than occasional, drink. I in the wellness center, my wife talked me into going on a hikenever really knew how many calories was in a typical cocktail at a nearby trail. I admit, at first it was really rough and IJanuary 2012
  7. 7. January 2012 Page 7worked up a mean sweat and got my heart rate up. Not evenmy gym workouts compare when I hit a long steep hill and Ibecame obsessed. I now hike at a minimum once every weekand sometimes two to three times a week. I have a local set oftrails that are a 20 minute walk away from my house so I go asoften as I can. On Sundays the whole family goes with me andwe go to new trails and try our best not to get lost as we exploreplaces and enjoy the views. I have also bought my whole ganga paintball gun and all of the accompanying equipment forChristmas and can’t wait to introduce them to it as I lovedthis sport when I was a teenager. One of my favorite things wedid this year was participate in Aids Walk LA. It’s a 10K walkthrough Hollywood and my wife and oldest daughter loved it. Q: What are things you can do now that you couldn’t before,or were really difficult? A: One of the things that I really use to hate was walk upthat hill from the subway up to 915 Wilshire and now it’s apiece of cake (that I won’t eat by the way). Its helped my catchmy regular subway and train more often than I can rememberas I am more nimble and quick on my feet. The hiking wasdefinitely something that I could have never imagined that Iwould be able to do let alone enjoy so much. Q: What are you looking forward to as you continue yourweight loss journey? Luis has challenged himself to try new things... like hiking. A: I look forward to looking good and wearing a pair ofjeans, I haven’t worn them in years because I hated the way A: Exercise regularly, drink a lot of water, eat less (and watchthey looked. I look forward to looking and feeling my age every bite), get off the couch, have supportive people aroundand I look forward to maintaining my weight once I reach my you and prioritize what is more important to you!ultimate goal of 165. Ask yourself, what is more important to you? One more Q: Do you have any quick take home weight loss tips for bite... a piece of pie... or do you want to look and feel better andother members? live a longer and happier life? Luis, 92-pounds lost so far, pictured with the Army Health Promo- tion Coordinator Cecilia Ordonez. (USACE photo by Dave Palmer) NewsCastle
  8. 8. Page 8 NewsCastle WINNERS REPORT Los Angeles District Golf Club NEWS Hansen Dam Booze Shoot, Dec. 17, 2011 FLIGHT A B C 1ST G. Mashburn D. Cheung J. Goldstein 2ND J. Reeves R. Andujo M. Evasovic 3RD G. Beams A. Shak W. Ong Putts: D. Sulzer G. Ruiz S. Murphy Closest #7 J. Reeves A. Shak J. Goldstein Low Gross – G. Beams (83) Low Net – D. Cheung (69) Birdies: Cheung (2, 5, 10), Goldstein (7), Mashburn (3) DON‛T LEAVE YOUR NEXT TOURNAMENT Encino Golf Course (Sepulveda Dam) CAC CARD BEHIND Sat., Feb. 4 @ 8:45 am. Cost: $44 if walking FOR DATA SNIFFERS Mike Evasovic, Secretary/Treasurer TO FIND! L.A. District Golf Club mmeasla@aol.com, (562) 592 - 4610 Corps Profile: Victoria Guilloty Victoria is an engineering student working in the Logistics Management Activity over the past five months. • In your own words, what is your job? As a Logistics Management Student, my primary job is to learn all of the logistics maagement functions which include: Facili- ties Management, Transportation, Supply and Property Accountability. • What do you love about your job? I enjoy the environment that I work in and I love how friendly and helpful everyone is. I also enjoy being the only female in my department!! • Any special moments/memories about your job you’d like to share? Since our office works with practically everyone at the District, I enjoy moments when people think that I work for other divisions or organizations such as ACE-IT. Spending quality time with everyone in my office is always fun. Korean BBQ is amazing!! • What do you do to make USACE great? I assist everyone in our office and all of the District employees in all areas of logistics. Our office is working to automate and streamline some of processes and I will bring the knowledge and skills from school to improve on those processes.January 2012
  9. 9. January 2012 Page 9 SAFETYMy very last New Year’s resolution (in 2005) was as follows: “I will make no further New Year’s resolutions.” It has workedout quite well, thank you. I have been able to keep this one now for almost seven years and I intend to continue doing so.Sounds bizarre, I know, but there is a method to my madness! You see, the percentage of folks who actually keep theirresolutions every year is not very good. Estimates vary from 50 percent to 90 percent – I guess no one has actually donea very good study – and those are not very good odds. If you’re in that group, I suggest a different approach. Make somesmall but relevant resolutions throughout the year that have a greater chance of success. As time goes by, you’ll buildupon those achievements and, one day, you’ll look back and realize that you’ve accomplished a great deal!So, for your post-holiday cogitation, here are some easy-to-do suggestions (in no particular order) for resolutions you cando that will improve your life, health and safety, and keep your sanity in a warm, fuzzy place. My wife and I have four adult children, so there’s no longer a need to cookin mass, but I very much enjoy cooking. I still cook enough to feed everyone and then freeze the leftovers in single-portioncontainers to bring to work. The result is a considerable amount of money saved and a healthier diet. Fast food may beconvenient, but the health quotient is usually pretty poor and I’m sure you can find better uses for the money you save. Whether you’re behind the wheel or on a project, or even on vacation, relax and take adeep breath and throttle yourself down to a realistic level. Superman and Wonder Woman are cartoon characters. Youare not. If you’re constantly pushing your limits, even the healthiest of us will hit a breaking point sooner or later. Find agood balance and do your best to keep it. These beasties have become seemingly indispensableattachments to the modern human being. In essence, we’re becoming cyborgs! Look around any place you go and half thepopulation is playing apps, answering emails in the middle of a conversation, texting as they cross the street, etc. I have arule at home – “dinner’s on, cell phones off. No like? No eat.” And for heaven’s sake, put it away when you’re driving!! We’vesurvived just fine without them for thousands of years. A couple of hours a day without it won’t make or break you. Regularly and with gusto! Do you know anyone who goes through life grumpy? If so, I’ll bet they aren’tvery healthy, not to mention happy. There’s a direct link between good health and laughter. Everyday life is full ofamusing moments!! Embrace them, laugh and enjoy!! No matter how young or healthy you are, you need enough sleep to recharge your physical and mental batteries. Regularly, for pleasure. I combine this with #5 and read fantasy fiction novels almost every night in bed. Ithelps to calm me down, makes me sleepy and, most importantly, allows my brain to turn off all the business of the day. and show it. I cannot overemphasize this enough. One cannot be happy without havinggratitude. Regularly show that gratitude by sharing your blessings with others. Even the smallest kindness to othersmakes the world a better place and you a better person. It’s a Win-Win. Influenza is largely preventable by being immunized. And if you do catch the flu,having had a flu shot will usually lessen the length and severity of the disease. Many of you may remember that we lost aco-worker during the swine flu pandemic two years ago….Rest in Peace, Joe.So, if you’d like, pick one and get started. I recommend the Flu Shot first – low hanging fruit is the easiest to pick.Happy New Year to all!And, as always, drive safe, drive sober and buckle up!Steve NewsCastle
  10. 10. Page 10 NewsCastleFamily Matters Blog: Top 10 Military Family Moments of 2011By Elaine Sanchez be a source of inspiration to and mobile application, and Express Scripts Inc.American Forces Press Service the families as well, to say encourage elementary launched a TRICARE Express good things do happen and school-aged children to RX mobile app and mobile- WASHINGTON - It’s you’ve just got to be patient express their emotions and to optimized website in July.that time of year when top and have a great co m m u n i c a te These tools allow TRICARE10 lists seem to proliferate attitude.” as they undergo beneficiaries to manage theiracross nearly every web and Martinez challenging prescriptions and accessnews page in the nation, recently scored m i l i t a r y important health informationproclaiming everything from another big transitions. The safely and securely fromthe best movies and TV shows win: he and his resources are a anywhere using their smartto the most memorable girlfriend, Diana team effort by phone.photos and celebrities of the Gonzalez-Jones, Sesame Street These are just a fewyear. are expecting and The Electric examples of the leaps in Since I find it tough to their first child, Company, and technology-based militaryencapsulate a year’s worth of a girl, in the are provided in support this year. Frominformation into a tidy list, spring. cooperation with the Defense smart phone apps to virtualI typically steer away from 9. The Office of Centers of Excellence for counseling and support, I’llthe concept. However, this Servicemember Affairs Psychological Health and be excited to see what sproutswas such a momentous year opened for business. As the Traumatic Brain Injury. up this year and in the yearsfor military families that I military arm of the Consumer Sesame’s previous efforts ahead.decided it was time to hop on Financial Protection Bureau, to help military children have 6. Veteran employmentthe list-making bandwagon. this office is intended to been aimed at preschoolers. initiatives. In November, So, here’s my top 10 strengthen military families These new products will President Barack Obamamost memorable military financially and to serve as an enable them to reach older announced executivefamily moments of 2011. It’s advocate on their behalf. The children in an entertaining orders to give tax credits tocertainly not all-inclusive, office has a threefold mission: way, H. Melvin Ming, Sesame employers who hire post-but I’m hoping it at least hits to ensure families are given a Workshop president and 9/11 veterans and woundedthe highlights. quality financial education, CEO, told me during the warriors, as well as enhanced 10. JR Martinez – Warrior to monitor consumer launch event in November. career counseling and relatedInspiration. This Army complaints and the response “One size does not fit all,” he services for veterans.veteran and wounded warrior to those complaints, and to noted. “Children learn best As reported by mydanced his way to the top work with other federal and when the message is age- colleague Donna Miles, thespot on ABC’s “Dancing With state agencies to help resolve appropriate.” president announced a newthe Stars” -- and inspired a issues. 7. Technology boosts Returning Heroes Tax Creditnation with his strength and In an interview this support. This year, we’ve seen that will provide companiesresilience along the way. In summer, Holly Petraeus, the the Defense Department up to $5,600 in credits for2003, Martinez was injured office’s assistant director, and other organizations each unemployed veteranby a roadside bomb in Iraq, told me she’s thrilled to be launch a host of technology- they hire. Similarly, a newsuffering severe burns to in a position to help service based tools aimed at helping Wounded Warriors Taxmore than 40 percent of his members and their families. troops, veterans and their Credit offers employers upbody. He went on to share “My ultimate dream is that families. For example, to $9,600 for each veteranhis story with audiences no service member signs a DcOE’s National Center for with service-connectednationwide. In 2008, he contract that they end up Telehealth and Technology disabilities they hire.landed a role as an Iraq war regretting for years or signing developed mobile apps The president alsoveteran on the ABC soap one that isn’t fair,” she said. that help users cope with unveiled two new Internet-opera, “All My Children,” “We can write rules and psychological concerns, and based job search tools forwhich led to his “Dancing enforce at CFPB, and I’d love aid providers in diagnosis of unemployed veterans: Mywith the Stars” appearances to see the real bad actors that post-traumatic stress disorder Next Move for Veterans,this year. go after service members -- and TBI. One example is where veterans can browse “I have been able to be a break the law to harm them Life Armor, a mobile app career options and translaterole model and a voice for financially -- I’d like to see that serves as a resource their military experience toa lot of [troops] who don’t them enforced against.” for families experiencing a civilian application, andfeel that they have a voice for 8. Sesame unveiled common post-deployment the Veterans Job Bank, wherethemselves,” Martinez said “Military Families Near and issues. Find out more about veterans can seek jobs postedduring a Pentagon Channel Far.” These products, which these helpful apps here. by companies committed tointerview. “I’ve been able to include a bilingual website Additionally, TRICARE hiring them.January 2012
  11. 11. January 2012 Page 11 5. The Job Fair Movement. plan to strengthen military together as Americans to giveAlso aimed at employment, family support. The plan was back to the extraordinarythe U.S. Chamber of based on a yearlong review military families who serveCommerce sponsored about summarized in the report and sacrifice so much every75 veteran and spouse hiring “Strengthening our Military day so we can live in freedomfairs around the country, with Families: Meeting America’s and security,” the first lady Army FAmILy COVENANT:a goal of hosting 100 hiring Commitment.” said at the White House’s Keeping the Promisefairs within a year. And the The report outlines four campaign launch. Honoring our Commitment to Soldiers and Familieschamber has committed to key areas which the whole- The campaign has madehosting 300-400 additional of-government effort plans tremendous inroads inhiring fairs for veterans and to address: enhancing tackling veteran and spousemilitary spouses around the military families’ well- employment in recentcountry in 2012, Navy Capt. being and psychological months, Cooper said. InBradley Cooper, executive health; developing military about three months, the Learn more, visitdirector of the Joining Forces spouse career and education campaign went from teaming ArmyOneSource.comcampaign, told me in an opportunities; increasing with 100 companies to more to see what theinterview last month. child care availability and than 1,500, and from 1,500 Army Family Covenant can In mid-January, the quality; and ensuring people hired to nearly 20,000. mean for youchamber will host its first excellence in military These companies aim to hire or someonemilitary-spouse-only hiring children’s education and upward of 135,000 veterans you know.fair and career forum, looking development. and spouses over the nextto bring together more than In total, Obama said, couple of years, he added.100 employers and more than his administration is 1. Iraq War Ends. After1,000 spouses. making nearly 50 specific nearly nine years, the war There’s also been an commitments to military in Iraq ended, and the finalemergence of virtual hiring families. But the government group of U.S. troops returnedfairs, which is an asset to can’t accomplish this mission home Dec. 20 -- just in timepeople unable to attend a alone. for the holidays.hiring fair due to distance “Government has its The nation owes a debt toor who want to see what’s responsibilities,” he said. all service members and theiravailable in other locations. “One percent of Americans families, President BarackMilicruit hosted a virtual fair may be fighting our wars, Obama said Dec. 15.recently that included more but a hundred percent “This moment of success isthan 24,000 jobs from nearly of Americans need to be because of their sacrifice,” he70 employers with more than supporting our troops and said. “More than 1.5 million30,000 veterans and spouses their families -- a hundred Americans have served inengaged in the process. percent.” Iraq. More than 30,000 of endured the terrible pain of 4. Military Spouse 2. The Joining Forces these brave men and women losing a military loved oneEmployment Partnership. campaign. First Lady were wounded. Nearly 4,500 to combat or illness. OthersThis DOD program is Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill gave their lives. America’s sat by a bedside day andaimed at expanding career Biden, wife of Vice President military families have borne a night, praying for the speedyopportunities for military Joe Biden, announced this heavy burden. recovery of their child orspouses worldwide, and landmark military-support “As we mark the end of spouse who returned hometo recognize the skills and initiative in April. Joining this war, we need to show with the visible or invisibletalents they bring to the Forces aims to raise awareness our veterans and their wounds of war. And still othersemployment table. The of military families and families that they have the held down home fronts,program’s website lists more spark all Americans -- from thanks of a grateful nation,” bolstering their childrenthan 70,000 jobs for military citizens and communities, he added. “Part of ending a through deployments andspouses. to businesses and nonprofit war responsibly is standing long separations. Since its launch in June, groups to take action to by those who have fought it. As in every year of thisthe partnership has grown ensure troops and their It’s not enough to honor our past decade of war, thesefrom 72 companies to 96, and families have the support heroes with words; we must families have weathered 2011has led to the hiring of more they need and deserve. do so with deeds.” with amazing resilience andthan 8,000 military spouses. The initiative focuses on That’s my top 10, but strength. 3. Strengthening Our three areas: employment, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add I’d like to join the rest ofMilitary Families. In January, education and wellness. a shout out to military the nation in saying thankPresident Barack Obama “This campaign is about families worldwide. In this you for your service and yourunveiled a governmentwide all of us, all of us joining past year, some families sacrifice. NewsCastle
  12. 12. Page 12 NewsCastleIn Memoriam: Kevin Inada LOS ANGELES — A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District employee with over 29 years of federal service passes. “It is with great sadness for me to inform our Corps Family of the passing on Jan. 1 of our Deputy Division Chief of Construction, Kevin Inada,” said Col. Mark Toy, District Commander. “Kevin was a wonderful husband, father and colleague. Forme personally, this is a tragic loss as I consider Kevin morethan just a professional colleague, but a personal friend,”added Toy. Kevin Inada was known for his warm smile and can-do attitude. Inada worked on a wide range of projects for the District;first as a Program Manager and the last four years as DeputyDivision Chief of Construction. “He was the best deputy that I’ve ever seen, certainly hadpotential to be a chief,” said John Keever, chief of the LosAngeles District Construction Division. “He was not onlysomeone that I worked with... he was a friend.” “What struck me most about Kevin when I saw him everytime was his incredibly positive attitude,” said Toy. “He wasalways an absolute pleasure to work with. I will approach 2012with a New Year’s resolution of always trying to maintain apositive attitude...Kevin did this everyday...I will honor him bytrying to do the same. I will miss him very much. Rest in peacemy friend.” Toy asked that the District keep the Inada family in theirthoughts and prayers during this very difficult time. Inada is survived by his wife Judy and their son Ben.TRICARE Beneficiaries Have Several Pharmacy OptionsBy Cheryl Pellerin use Walgreens to fill prescriptions should have been contactedAmerican Forces Press Service to advise them of their pharmacy options and to take action to ensure their pharmacy benefit remains uninterrupted. The WASHINGTON, - Despite questions about whether the health of our service members, retirees and their familiesWalgreens pharmacy chain will continue as a TRICARE remains my number one priority.”provider, beneficiaries will have several options for filling In addition to 56,000 network pharmacies, Lainez said,prescriptions, Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen M. TRICARE beneficiaries have other pharmacy options,Lainez said today. including military pharmacies at no cost; and convenient, The retail pharmacy contract between Express Scripts Inc., low-cost TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery.or ESI, and the Walgreens pharmacy chain is set to expire on Beneficiaries can check the TRICARE website at http://Dec. 31, she added. www.tricare.mil for more information. If the contract is not renewed, Walgreens will no longer be ESI has mailed information or contacted beneficiaries whoa pharmacy network provider, Lainez said, but beneficiaries use Walgreens by telephone, and in December, they followedwill be able to find a nearby network pharmacy using the “find up with reminder letters.a pharmacy” feature at the ESI website, http://www.express- If needed, beneficiaries can take current prescriptionscripts.com/tricare. bottles to a new network pharmacy to have prescriptions “We are committed to ensuring all our pharmacy transferred.beneficiaries are aware of the many options that TRICARE Beneficiaries who need help finding a pharmacy ormakes available to them,” said Army Brig. Gen. Bryan Gamble, changing their medications to home delivery, or who haveTRICARE deputy director. “By now, all of our beneficiaries who other questions, can contact Express Scripts at 1-877-885-6313.January 2012
  13. 13. January 2012 Page 13 BREAK TIME NewsCastle
  14. 14. Page 14 NewsCastle FINAL WORDNew Year, old year – now is your timeBy Daniel J. Calderón predicting the end of the world since it began and no one’s been on the money so far), but I figure I’ll get all the fun in My favorite part of every day is dawn. I love seeing the sun while I can still draw breath.coming up over the horizon and knowing the light is shining What are some of the things on my list? I want to take anon a brand new day. It brings to mind the possibilities that the ocean cruise where I won’t have to wear my uniform. I want today might bring. I mean, most people do have a plan for the see if I can get a race car place where I can get going at moreday; but, as John Lennon sang, “Life is what happens while than 100mph just to see what it feels like. I want to finallyyou’re busy making other plans,” and life has a way of moving finish a book (that I’ve written) and get it off to a publisheryou through the day in ways you never really expect. With each to see whether or not I can get it put out to the public. I wantnew dawn, there are new possibilities, new to write a play and have it performed. I want toopportunities for life to surprise me. buy a full-sized video game or pinball machine I guess that’s why I like the beginning of the for my house. I want to learn to play the guitar.year, too. There are quite a few more things on my list; During the Christmas (or holiday) season, but, it’s my list after all and no one ever reallyI take time to reflect on what I’ve done or not knows all there is to know about anyone else.done during the year. I remember what we I want this year to be exciting. I am excitedused to do when I was a kid visiting family and about all the things that are possible. I amI take time to miss (as I reminisce) loved ones looking forward to new adventures –bothwho I’ll never see again. I use the closing of the expected and unexpected. I think it’s a greatyear to take stock of what has been and see if thing to have a plan for what’s coming; but, it’sthere are any opportunities I might not have how you deal with what you never envisionedutilized to their fullest. that really shows your character. I take a look at my kids and realize they’re What’s on your list for this year? Will yougetting older at a much faster rate than I finally get up the nerve to try that new littlelike. I look at the previous year’s Christmas restaurant you’ve had your eye on for the lastpicture and compare it to the one we just took and I see how several months? If you’re single and waiting to work up themuch they’ve changed. Then, inevitably, I take a look at older nerve to ask out that cute individual you’ve seen at the grocerypictures and then see just how fast time is passing. This year, store or at the gym, now may be your time. How about thatI look back in wonder at the fact that I have been back home special trip you’ve been promising yourself? Or, maybe it’sfor a full year from the war. That fact astounds me sometimes finally time to try an adventure like skydiving, learning to flywhen I consider some of the things I saw overseas; but we’ll a plane or maybe finally trying out mountain biking (becauseleave that for another musing. you do know DoD civilians can check out equipment from At the dawn of the New Year, I like to take a look at the most military base’s Outdoor Adventure Shop) in a Corpspossibilities that lie ahead of me. This is the last year I’ll be in recreation area or national park.my 30s so there is that clichéd Bucket List. I have things I want Whatever it is you’ve been wanting to try, as long as it’s notto try before I turn 40. Naturally, there are things I want to try going to hurt someone, I think you should give it a go. Whenafter that, but there is stuff I wanted to do before I hit that you reach the time in your life when your blood runs slowlystrange barrier between youth and middle age. As I ponder and you spend more time reminiscing than doing, that’s when2012, I don’t really feel a sense of loss or uncertainty as I stare you can look back at your accomplishments and wonder justat “the big four-oh” coming up at me. how you were able to squeeze so much living into your life. I see it as another challenge. Just how much can I get done That’s not the time to sit back and wish you’d tried something.this year before my birthday gets to me? Of course, I might not Now is the time to empty your bucket and get to crossinghave long to live after my birthday if the whole Mayan thing things off your list.is right (for the record, I don’t think it is. People have been Today is your present. Use it wisely. Just a thought… Hope you “Like” us on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/ladistrictJanuary 2012

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