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NewsCastle                                          FINAL LOOK                          By Kim MatthewsEngineering the pat...
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NewsCastle - April 2012


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Corps builds for Nation’s security, District commander meets partners, prospects to continue Building Strong and Taking Care of People!

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NewsCastle - April 2012

  1. 1. NewsCastle Los Angeles District ® BUILDING STRONGVol. 42 No. 4 A monthly publication of the Los Angeles District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers April 2012Corps builds for Nation’s securityBy Daniel J. Calderón WELLTON, Ariz. — The Customsand Border Protection Agency cut theribbon to officially open the new borderpatrol station here during a ceremonyMarch 22. The U.S. Army Corps of EngineersLos Angeles District broke groundon the facility in March 2010. OklandConstruction was the contractor for theproject. More than 100 people attendedthe ground breaking and the CBP hostedan equivalent crowd for the ceremonysignaling the beginning of the newfacility’s fully operational life. “I think this is the nicest station andfacility in the Border Patrol right now,”said Justin Bristow, Acting Deputy ChiefPatrol Agent for Yuma Sector. The new station will support up to 375 Justin Bristow, Acting Deputy Chief Patrol Agent for Yuma Sector (left), and Wayne Preston,Customs and Border Protection Agents. Assistant Patrol Agent in Charge for Wellton Station, cut the ribbon at the new Border Patrol StationThe facility includes several buildings in Wellton, Ariz., March 22. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District broke ground onon the site. The primary station building the facility in March 2010 and team members were on hand for the ceremony. (USACE photo bycontains office space; a muster, quiet Daniel J. Calderón)room and training area; a detentionarea and an exercise and locker room. working during the construction phase. Polanco explained. “We knew the taskThe second building is a maintenance He praised Troy Olsen, the resident at hand was not going to be easy, but itfacility for vehicles and electronic gear. engineer for the Arizona-Nevada Area could be handled if we worked togetherOther buildings on site are essentially office, and said the District team, who and broke up the big issues into morecanopies for vehicle refueling operations worked well together and were ready to manageable problems and tasks toand a vehicle wash area. face any challenges. tackle.” Rick Polanco, E.I.T., was the on-site “I could tell from the moment I CBP agents in attendance had highengineer who processed modifications stepped foot on the site we had a great praise for the facility. The Yuma Sector,for the project. Among his tasks were group of USACE personnel, from of which the Wellton station is a part,creating the initial change request to Ray Salas and John Mallin – our chief patrols 126 miles of border with Mexico,estimating, negotiating, and ensuring construction representatives – and Rob between the Yuma-Pima County line inthe Arizona-Nevada Area Office received Crist – our project engineer – to our Lisa Arizona and the Imperial Sand Dunes inchange packages. Polanco began Robinson – our admin support staff,” California. South Pacific Division commander March Air Reserve Base opens 26,000 District honors Kevin Inada through his promoted. Page 4 square foot facility. Page 5 favorite pastime. Page 14
  2. 2. Page 2 NewsCastle TEMPLE SENDS Suspicious Activity ReportingUSACE Teammates, We are fortunate to live in a democratic society where we are guaranteed unalien- SPL True Story:able rights, including Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Unfortunately,there will always be those who seek to threaten or harm our way of life. I was contacted by an old Army friend Because of these threats, it is important to increase our awareness and vigilance of mine who is an insurance under-in order to protect our critical resources – including our most critical resource, our writer for a large insurance company.people – from acts of terrorism. A key element of preventing terrorism is under- A large health group had asked themstanding current and emerging threats. Army leaders have designated Suspicious Activity Reporting as the antiterrorism to insure an agricultural crop of castortheme for the quarter. As such, I encourage every member of the USACE workforce beans. Apparently these beans are veryto be situationally aware of their surroundings and recognize and report indicators high in nutrition and they were studyingof suspicious activity. them for use as animal food. Listed below are several categories of potentially suspicious activities that war-rant reporting: If you are not familiar with castor • Unjustified attempts to acquire expertise/information that could cause a beans, a by-product is Ricin, a deadly threat to DoD personnel. poison. Even in very small amounts, • Breach or attempted intrusion in restricted and controlled areas. inhaled or if it comes in contact with • Suspicious questioning of personnel concerning DoD structures, personnel your skin, it can kill you. or procedures. • Expressed or implied threats. • Suspicious flyover of or landing near DoD facilities. Allegedly, the Mexican drug cartels • Acquisition of unusual quantities of precursor materials. have placed this substance on top of • Misrepresentation using false documents, insignia, etc. drug shipments as a deterrent to rival • Recruiting efforts for illegal or questionable activities. gangs and for retaliation against law • Sabotage, tampering, or vandalism. enforcement should they intercept the • Unwarranted tests of personnel and systems to reveal physical, personnel, or shipments. cyber capabilities/vulnerabilities. • Theft, loss or diversion of DoD property. Needless to say, this was reported to • Discovery of illegally owned or found weapons/explosives. the appropriate authorities and the is- Together, we must be capable of detecting and reporting a full range of threats, sue resolved!including terrorist attacks. I urge you to report suspicious activities to your secu-rity managers, supervisors, and local law enforcement personnel. You should alsoextend this vigilance in off-duty activities. By integrating increased awareness with Bottom line: If you see something thatreporting, we will positively contribute to the safety and security of our valued work- doesn’t look right, report it! Simplyforce while ensuring mission success for the Nation. get it to me, be willing to stand by your story and we will take care of it! Essayons! Jeffrey E. Koontz Temple Chief, Security & Law Enforcement Maj. Gen. Merdith “Bo” TempleApril 2012
  3. 3. April 2012 Page 3 COMMANDER’S MESSAGEDear District Teammates, I’ve had were not workaholics, but divided and devoted them- selves in a responsible manner between work and family. I’ve Although one cannot tell from the weather, it is Spring Time tried to follow a similar work/family ethic, especially duringin the Los Angeles District! The Southern California weather the times when I was in a position of leadership. Even now,has been colder than usual and after just return- as your Commander, I make it a point to departing from a quick trip to Phoenix and Tucson; work at a decent hour so that I can have a din-the summer Arizona weather has not yet hit its ner with my wife May and my children Bran-stride! But despite the fact that the weather is don and Kayla. For me, having dinner withon the cooler side, we’ve “sprung forward” on my entire family is always the best part of myour clocks and we are definitely out of the win- day. I love hearing each of my family member’ster gloom (although does that really exist in the stories, especially the ones that make all of usSouthwest?). Regardless, with Spring’s arrival, laugh. This year, my kids’ Spring Break is fromit’s time for Spring Break! For many of us with April 9th to the 13th. So, I’m taking that weekchildren, Spring Break means that our kids will off for some good “family time.” I’ve wanted tobe home from school; I hope that many of you take my kids to Universal Studios since we’veare taking advantage of this fact. But even if been back in California; Spring Break is theyou don’t have school-age kids, I hope that you perfect time!can take advantage of a Spring Break. There- I urge all of you to strike a similar balance be-fore, this month’s Commander’s Message is all tween work and family/friends so that you areabout “Maintaining Balance in Your Life.” maintaining balance in your own life. Work- After almost two years as your Commander, I’ve come to re- ing hard daily with “reasonable” hours; and planning periodicalize that, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas, vacations to recharge throughout the year will ensure thatthere never is a good time when the work stops or slows down you are efficient and effective district employees. And that’sso that we can take a vacation. In recent years, with Continu- a good thing as we continue Building Strong and Taking Careing Resolutions leading to the late arrival of our budgets, the of People!sprint to the end of the fiscal year and the full execution of ourbudget makes it almost impossible to take time off. But we Warm Regards,have to take time off, if not completely for ourselves, but forcontinuing the investment of time in our family and friends. COL Toy “Maintaining Balance in Your Life” is something that Ilearned early on in my Army career. In fact, the best bosses Col. R. Mark Toy Hope you “Like” us on Facebook @ District Commander: Col. R. Mark Toy The NewsCastle is published monthly under the provisions of AR 360- 1 for the employees and extended Engineer Family of the Los Angeles Public Affairs Officer: Jay Field District, USACE. Editor: Dave Palmer Views and opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the District or of the Department of Defense. Staff: Jennie Ayala, Daniel J. Calderón, Greg Fuderer, Brooks O. Hubbard IV, Address mail to the Los Angeles District Public Affairs Office, ATTN: Richard Jung, Kim Matthews NewsCastle Editor P.O. Box 532711, Los Angeles, CA 90017-2325 Administrative Assistant: Beverly Patterson Tel: (213) 452-3922 or Fax: (213) 452-4209. E-mail the Public Affairs staff at: NewsCastle
  4. 4. Page 4 NewsCastleCapt. Chris Herold (right) unfurls the one-star flag of Brig. Gen. MichaelWehr during a frocking ceremony March 15 at the San Francisco WarMemorial Veterans Building. (USACE photo by Ryan McClymont)South Pacific Division CommanderPromoted to Brigadier GeneralBy Torrie McAllister SAN FRANCISCO — Acting Army Chief of Engineers Maj.Gen. Merdith “Bo” Temple promoted South Pacific DivisionCommander Col. Michael C. Wehr to the rank of brigadiergeneral March 15 in a ceremony at the San Francisco WarMemorial Veterans Building. Wehr said his career as an engineer officer has been anincredible journey made possible by family, friends and faith.There have been numerous teachers and colleagues whocoached him to deliver on his potential. This has motivatedhim to actively seek out the potential in others. Acting Army Chief of Engineers Maj. Gen. Merdith “Bo” Temple “We’ve all had opportunity to help one another deliver administers the officer’s oath to newly promoted Brig. Gen. Michael Wehr, South Pacific Division commander, at a frocking ceremony Marchon potential,” Wehr said. “Life is full of opportunities where 15 at the San Francisco War Memorial Veterans Building. (USACE photoeach of us takes up the torch, carries it well, and then passes by Ryan McClymont)it on to others to carry into the future. There is tremendousconnection with our history along the journey. We are so response.much better together than alone.” Wehr grew up in a military family and considers California His wife Deborah and his father retired Army Lt. Col. Arthur home having graduated in the Jesuit High School Class ofWehr pinned on his new rank amidst applause from family, 1981 in Sacramento. He studied civil engineering and wasfriends and a full house of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commissioned a second lieutenant through ROTC at Santasenior leaders and employees, including the commanders of Clara University in 1985. Additional education includes athe Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Albuquerque Master’s of Science degree in Civil Engineering from theDistricts. Special guests included members of American University of Texas, and assignment to the U.S. Army WarLegion District 8 who offered the hospitality of their historic College as a Military Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute ofhall in the War Memorial for the celebration. The hall is Technology in the Security Studies Program.distinguished as the historic site of the United Nations Charter Recent assignments include service in Afghanistan assigning in 1945. the engineer director for the NATO Training Mission, and As division commander, Wehr is responsible for the Corps command of the Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District.of Engineers’ $1.2 billion military and civil works programs in His overseas tours also included Saudi Arabia, Iraq and JapanCalifornia, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and parts of Engineer District.five other western states. Key missions include engineering,construction, environmental restoration and emergencyApril 2012
  5. 5. April 2012 Page 5Indoor firing range serves communityBy Brooks O. Hubbard IV MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE,Calif. — The U. S. Army Corps of En-gineers Los Angeles District completedconstruction of a new indoor small-arms firing range. Rep. Ken Calvert,along with Corps, base and local com-munity officials, celebrated the mile-stone during a ribbon cutting ceremonyhere March 10. The $8.5 million facility will providea safe and secure 28,000-square footrange, complete with 28 firing lanes.Twenty-one of the lanes will be used for9 mm and 5.56-caliber weapons, whilethe other seven lanes will be used for7.62-caliber weapons. The facility willalso have an administrative area with acontrol room, classroom, storage area,weapons cleaning room and offices. Officials toured the new indoor range facility at March Air Reserve Base. The U. S. Army Corps of March is the largest Air Reserve base Engineers Los Angeles District completed construction of the new indoor small-arms firing the United States, and one of the Rep. Ken Calvert, along with Corps, base and local community officials, celebrated the milestoneoldest airfields operated by the U.S. during a ribbon cutting ceremony here March 10. (USACE photo by Brooks O. Hubbard IV)military. It is home to the 452nd AirMobility Wing. has had a partnership with March only those Department of Defense mili- The previous base range was built in Air Reserve Base, contributing to the tary members will use the range, but1942; a remotely located outdoor range national defense mission with projects also members of the local county andbuilt six years before the establishment that improve readiness and enhance city communities can use it to do theirof the Air Force Reserve. the quality of life for Airmen and their indoor small arms qualifications.” “I can’t help but wonder about all families. Officials anticipate that the rangethe great military leaders that passed General contractor P&S Construc- will be a great asset for the base andthrough our base and honed their tion, Inc., of North Chelmsford, Mass., other governmental agencies to usemarksmanship at our old range,” said constructed the indoor range. With for training of their law enforcementCol. Mary Aldrian, vice wing command- initial construction complete, the range, 452nd Air Mobility Wing. “This must now go through a Department of “It’s important that our youngnew facility will be a demonstration of Defense firing range and safety certi- Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Navyour commitment to provide the very fication before the facility can begin personnel can use this facility,” saidbest training to our military members operations. prepare them for combat anytime, “This facility is really an example Calvert further remarked aboutanywhere.” of building strong and taking care of construction projects that are occurring The completion of the range con- Airmen and Soldiers,” said Col. Mark at the base, as well as a planned new $30tinues to reflect that for more than 50 Toy, commander, U.S. Army Corps of million air traffic control tower project.years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineers Los Angeles District. “Not MARB 50 1 Years USACE has been March is the largest Air partnered with MARB... Reserve base in US... BY THE NUMBERS 42 30 28 Year the last range Million dollars for the Thousand square foot was built here... next project here... facility... 28 7 20 Firing lanes provided Lanes for high powered March 1918 dedication by the new facility... 7.62-caliber weapons... of March Field ... NewsCastle
  6. 6. Page 6 NewsCastleEarth Day 2012 economic growth and environmental protection should not be surprising. Prado Dam, located in Corona next compensatory mitigation is implemented and focuses on the application of the watershed approachBy Greg Fuderer to one of Southern California’s most and sustainability. Regulators heavily-trafficked highways, is a primary consider the hydrologic and physical LOS ANGELES — In 1969, an oil component of the Santa Ana River conditions, such as soil type andplatform six miles off the coast of Mainstem project. It is undergoing a geologic characteristics, of a proposedSanta Barbara experienced a blowout, major modification that will increase its compensatory mitigation site withreleasing up to 100,000 barrels of oil storage capacity from 217,000 to 362,000 emphasis on natural self-sustaininginto the ocean and affecting nearly acre-feet and its release capacity from hydrologic sources and connectivity.400 miles of California shoreline, from 10,000 to 30,000 cubic feet per second. They incorporate watershed featuresPismo Beach to the Mexican border. Construction taking place includes such as landscape scale, habitatThe nation’s largest oil spill at the construction and improvements to diversity and connectivity and itstime, it now ranks third behind the several levees within the basin to compatibility with adjacent land uses,Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of protect homes, factories, highways and and include local and regional goals forMexico in 2010 and the Exxon Valdez public utilities, and fortifying the banks restoration or protection of particulargrounding in Alaska in 1989. downstream from the dam to allow stream, floodplain or wetland resources. Following the Santa Barbara spill, them to handle the increased discharge In order to meet the requirementsWisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson rates. of the Mitigation Rule, mitigationannounced the idea for a “national “What we’re doing here is beefing must be designed to suit the physicalteach-in on the environment.” That idea up the protection so the channel conditions of the site and shouldled to the nation’s first Earth Day in can deal with those releases that are maximize connectivity with upstream,1970, the creation of the Environmental substantially larger,” said Chris Jones, downstream and adjacent habitat areas.Protection Agency later that same a Corps biologist who works on the “The rule requires the Corps to takeyear, and the subsequent passage Santa Ana River project. “Reach 9 (the a watershed approach when evaluatingof the Clean Air, Clean Water, and downstream area) has a very healthy mitigation proposals for unavoidableEndangered Species acts. vireo population. So we’re trying impacts that result from a permit There has been and still is a strong to recreate the habitat we’ve had to approval,” she said. “The goal is for thenational debate about the necessity of disturb in order to put in our flood risk Corps to be better at replacing impactedenvironmental laws and their impacts management project. We want to leave areas with naturally functioningon business, development and quality the habitat as good as or better than we wetlands to meet the requirements ofof life, and whether it’s better to found it.” the Clean Water Act for no net loss ofsupport development or protect the Jones pointed out one of the acreage, functions and services.”environment. many measures the Corps routinely “We know development is going to Dan Sulzer, assistant chief of implements to minimize the impacts of occur. Our responsibility is to balancePlanning Division for the U.S. Army project construction. the need for economic growth with theCorps of Engineers Los Angeles Fabric fencing along river reduces requirement of the Clean Water Act toDistrict, doesn’t see the situation as noise to adjacent riparian habitat maximize avoidance and minimizationchoice of either-or. that harbors nesting birds. The fence of impacts to aquatic resources to the “It’s not necessarily a question of ‘do’ includes gaps that enable wildlife to extent practicable,” Mattson said.or ‘don’t,’ but rather ‘how’” Sulzer said. access habitat in Chino Hills and the When the impacts of development“How do we accomplish these things Santa Ana Mountains. are unavoidable, the Corps works within a sensible manner that is compliant “It’s important that we preserve applicants, their consultants, andwith environmental law?” the ability for wildlife to move other resource agencies, to develop The Los Angeles District comprises between habitat areas and preserve mitigation pursuant to the Mitigationterrain unlike any other within the those linkages in an otherwise urban Rule. To facilitate this process theCorps. It covers nearly a quarter-million environment,” Jones said. South Pacific Division, led by the Lossquare miles, is home to the highest Sulzer said the Corps in decades past Angeles District, has developed or is inand lowest elevations in the contiguous had developed a reputation an agency the process of developing three toolsUnited States, and features rivers, a that built large structures, using a lot of to maximize compliance and successcoastline, mountains, deserts, open concrete, with environmental concerns of mitigation sites. These include aspaces and densely populated urban being less considered. Compliance with Mitigation Ratio Checklist, which is aareas. Within those confines live 134 the enacted legislation led the Corps thought process to assess mitigationthreatened or endangered species and to become one of the nation’s leaders proposals relative to impact sites andtheir habitats. The region is also home in environmental protection and determine appropriate mitigation. Thisto one-tenth of the nation’s population, restoration. tool is currently available to the public.three of its 10 most populous cities, “A significant change to the way In the near future, updated Mitigationport facilities that conduct commerce the Corps does business took place in and Monitoring Guidelines andworld-wide bringing in the nation’s June 2008 with the implementation Performance Standards will be availablelargest volume of manufactured goods of the Mitigation Rule,” said Michelle including a summary of the Mitigationand transportation infrastructure that Mattson, a senior project manager at Rule, site-selection and designdelivers those goods to the rest of the the Corps’ Carlsbad Regulatory Office. guidance, and example performancecountry. The Mitigation Rule provides That there are conflicts between guidance for where and how — See EARTH, page 16 —April 2012
  7. 7. April 2012 Page 7 HUMAN RESOURCESAre Your Beneficiary Forms Current? The Hatch Act Q&A The beginning of a new year is a good time to review and It’s early in another Election cycle, Army Civilian Employeesupdate your designation of beneficiary forms. Too often these need to be mindful of restrictions in political activity, asforms are completed, filed and never thought of again! But defined in The Hatch changes and the most recent designation may not reflectyour current intentions or information such as addresses Q: Valerie is a new hire to the Navy. Before becomingfor named beneficiaries. You should make it a practice to a federal employee, Valerie had always been active inperiodically review these forms to ensure the designations politics. She was recently selected to lead the fundraisingreflect your intentions and the beneficiary information (name efforts in her community for her party’s presidentialand address) is correct. candidate. Can she do this? Designating a beneficiary is optional. If a valid designation A: No. The rules that govern the political activity of civilianis not filed, monies are paid according to the order of legal employees are known as the Hatch Act. Under the Hatchprecedence: Act, federal employees are not allowed to solicit and receive 1. Court order political contributions in a partisan election, but they may 2. Spouse make them. Members of the military are not subject to the 3. Children (equal shares) Hatch Act. However, restrictions regarding their political 4. Parents (equal shares) activity are governed by DOD Directive 1344.10. Like federal 5. Executor or administrator of the estate employees, members of the Armed Forces are not allowed to 6. Next of kin under applicable state law solicit and receive political contributions, but may make them. To be a valid designation, the form(s) must be signed and Q: Eugene was recently promoted to an SES positionwitnessed (witness cannot be a named beneficiary), free of from a GS-15. His neighbor, Joe, is running for re-electionerasures or alterations and be received and certified by your to Congress. Eugene did a wonderful job helping Joe getCivilian Personnel Advisory Center or your Human Resources elected 2 years ago and Joe has asked Eugene to campaignOffice prior to your death. for him this year. Can Eugene do this? Remember, a will has no effect on payment of Federal A: No. Members of the Senior Executive Service, as well asbenefits and does not take precedence over a designation of the military, are subjected to additional restrictions to whichbeneficiary. It is also important to note that step-children and other civilian employees are not subjected. Some of thesedomestic or same-sex partners are not considered to be in the additional restrictions include:“order or precedence” and must be specified as designated • Campaigning for or against candidates in partisanbeneficiaries to ensure benefits are received in the event of elections.your death. • Distributing campaign material. The following forms are for designating beneficiaries: • Organizing or managing political rallies or meetings. • SF 1152, Unpaid Compensation of Deceased Civilian • Circulating nominating petitions. Employees • Working to register voters. • SF 2823, Federal Employees Group Life Insurance • Making campaign speeches for candidates. • SF 2808, Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Q: Sam, a GS-12 contract specialist, has just arrived to • SF 3102, Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) work after voting in his first presidential election. He • TSP-3, Thrift Savings Plan is very excited about the race and wears his candidate’s Forms must be completed and mailed as directed. The SF button at work. Is this permitted?2808 is maintained by the Office of Personnel Management A: No. Federal employees (whether civilian or military)and the TSP is maintained by the Thrift Savings Plan. All other are not allowed to engage in partisan activity at work. Thisbeneficiary forms are maintained in the Official Personnel includes wearing political buttons on duty, or even displayingFolder (OPF). a campaign poster or bumper sticker in one’s office. Federal Information on designation of beneficiary and links to the employees would be allowed to wear political buttons off dutyforms can be found on the ABC-C website. and off work premises. Military members cannot wear these buttons while in uniform. Q: Louise is an employee at the Pentagon. She has Thrift Savings Plan Maximum never been interested in politics, but this year the Contribution Amount For 2012 presidential election has captured her interest. She has even gone so far as to put her candidate’s bumper sticker Each year the Internal Revenue Service determines the maxi- on her car which she drives to work every day and parks in mum amount that can be contributed to a tax-deferred retire- the garage. Must she remove the sticker? ment savings plan such as the Thrift Savings Plan. The 2012 A: No. The Hatch Act and DoD Instruction 1344.10 do not elective deferral limit for employees participating in TSP is prohibit federal employees from displaying a bumper sticker $17,000. on their private vehicle on Government spaces. However, the vehicle cannot be used to perform official functions. Downloading the NewsCastle from home? Visit NewsCastle
  8. 8. Page 8 NewsCastleDistrict commander meets partners, prospectsBy Daniel J. Calderón TUCSON, Ariz. — Col. Mark Toy, theU.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los An-geles district commander, was in TucsonMarch 28 to meet with a local partnerand potential prospects. His first stop was at the Tucson VAhospital. The District is currently work-ing on more than $8 million in projects.The work includes an energy project andsite improvements to the hospital. Toymet with David Alvarez, the programmanager for Veterans Integrated ServiceNetwork 18 in Tucson. Alvarez said eachhospital is unique, like a military base,even though they all operate under thesame guidelines. He said he appreciatesthe District for understanding the cul-ture in the Tucson facility and values theDistrict’s ability to be a force multiplier Jessica Work, a project engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District in Tucson,for him. Ariz., talks with a group of University of Arizona engineering students Mar. 28 during a visit by Col. “I just don’t have enough contracting Mark Toy (right), district commander, to the university. Work was a Department of the Army internstaff,” Alvarez said. “I love having your when she joined the District two years ago and was on hand to discuss opportunities available inhelp, from a staffing extension perspec- the District to the students. (USACE photo by Daniel J. Calderón)tive. You have the ability to turn thingsaround, to award contracts, on a dime.” Engineering, for the university. Among they’d get in the civilian sector,” Toy said. “We’re really proud of our team here,” the items Goldberg discussed with Toy Toy also took time to speak with ArmyToy said. “We’re ready to surge to meet were a misperception among students ROTC students about their career pathsthe needs of the VA now and in the fu- and some faculty regarding employment as Army officers and opportunities –ture.” with the Corps of Engineers. both military and civilian – in the Corps Toy and District team members “You have an identity problem here,” of Engineers. Students learned aboutfrom the Tucson Resident Office – Goldberg said. “People think you have to transitioning from command of militaryShari Brand, resident engineer; Brian be in the Army if you want to be in the units in engineering battalions to usingChilders, project manager and Jessica Corps of Engineers.” those skills as project managers or lead-Work, project engineer – toured the Goldberg and Toy discussed options ers in USACE districts around the grounds to see some of the to help counter those misapprehen- “What makes us unique in the Corpswork the District has done in the past. sions, including outreach from the Dis- of Engineers is that we have the ‘greenHe was also able to take a look at areas trict to faculty and students. Toy felt suit’ side,” he said referring to the uni-the District might be working in the fu- increased visibility among the Engineer- formed military personnel that make upture. ing department would help students un- a small percentage of the District’s to- Following his visit to the VA facility, derstand the value of the opportunities tal workforce, “and we have the DistrictToy met with Maj. Ben Walters, com- in the Corps. side. At the end of the day, though, it’smander of the Army ROTC detachment “The responsibilities they’d get in the all about people and relationships. Youand with Dr. Jeff Goldberg, Dean of Corps of Engineers are unlike anything have to take care of your people.” Toy gave a similar message to engi-Col. Mark Toy, district neering students in a meeting later incommander for the U.S. the day. He discussed the mission of andArmy Corps of Engineers opportunities with the Corps. JessicaLos Angeles District, Work was on hand to talk with studentslistens to Brian Childers, as well. She had come into the Districta District project through the Army Internship Programmanager in Tucson, Ariz., and remained onboard with the the VA Hospital discuss Students said she helped bridge the gapthe District’s work at the between what Toy was explaining andhospital facility during how they could apply it to their own ca-Toy’s Mar. 28 trip to reers following school.Tucson. (USACE photo by Anyone interested in more informa-Daniel J. Calderón) tion on employment opportunities can visit the District’s website.April 2012
  9. 9. April 2012 Page 9 BUILDING WELLNESSDebunking the exercise excuses luxury that we don’t need. Go back to when you would play outside as a kid – running, jumping, walking, etc. We have stopped moving our bodies like we once did, that is the problem. “I live in a bad neighborhood and can’t exercise outside” – no problem. You can buy a fitness DVD, check out a DVD for free at the library or go walk at your nearby mall. For those of you located at Los Angeles headquarters, the District Wellness Center is on the 14th floor. Come and visit me, I promise I won’t bite. “I don’t want to get sweaty at work” – this one has an easy solution. There are multiple showers conveniently located at the districtOn St. Patrick Day, Saturday March 17 a few of our teammates participated in their first 5K, the wellness center.LA Big 5K in Dodger stadium and scenic Elysian Park. With all the gloomy weather elements they “I feel intimidated when I amfaced, they were quickly humbled when they befriended Caesar. Caesar was a participant who on a at the gym” – I understand howdaily basis practices “no excuses”, not even the fact that both of his arms are amputated. Pictured it you may feel out of place andare: Caesar (left), Carol, friendly guy, Jackie Jones, Al Moreno, Carmen and Ralph Lara. uncomfortable, but the only thing you need to think about is everybody wasBy Cecy Ordonez caregiver, being a mother etc. However, once a newbie. You may also think that the last time I checked we all manage these fitness fanatics are looking at LOS ANGELES — Most of you know the same 24 hours in a day. The only you but they are not. In fact, they arethat exercise is imperative to long- difference is, some make exercise a thinking the same thing you are - howterm health, yet why is it that exercise priority and schedule it into their day. can I better myself, am I eating the rightis so easy for you to excuse from your “I am too tired” –Work, commute, foods, is the intensity of my workoutdaily life? The problem becomes when and family obligations not only keeps where it needs to be, is my workoutyou give into your excuses because you stressed all day long but extracts going to accomplish the goal that Ithen you begin a cycle of inconsistent any energy you have left. Of course, want, etc.exercise and endless creative excuses after being tired and stressed, you Be that person who makes ato justify your actions. Next thing you don’t feel like going to the gym and COMMITMENT to their health andrealize is you are secretly disappointed exerting energy you have left. However, is running or walking on the sidewalkin yourself. You become consistently consistent exercise will increase your while others look at you wishing theyreminded of this when you see someone energy and will help you lose weight, too can prioritize their health. The sadjogging or walking their dog and you which may be the reason you are tired fact is that young, old, fat, skinny andrealize that you should be doing the in the first place. even those with disabilities can exercise;same thing. Let’s look at the most “I don’t have a membership to a all you have to do is decide to. That maycommon excuses and debunk them gym” – If you are using this one, you sound a bit simple, but it is the truestonce and for all. need to seriously contact me. Join the way to break through the excuses and “I don’t have any time” – I don’t Fit to Win program and I can get you a justifications. Make a decision thatdoubt for a second that you have a club membership to a state-of-the-art your health is a top priority, and thenbusy schedule. Maybe it is working facility. Some of you may be saying, “I take responsibility and action for yourlate hours, commuting, your child’s don’t have a fitness center close to me” own health and well being.extracurricular activities, being a – no problem. A gym membership is a ARMY FAMILY COVENANT: KEEPING THE PROMISE NewsCastle
  10. 10. Page 10 NewsCastle SAFETYIf it can happen to me,it can happen to you!By Steve McCombs LOS ANGELES — If you read my monthly articles regularlyyou’ll know that I like to inject real-life experiences. It helps toput a real face on an issue. If you read the Safety Chief’s monthlySafety-Grams, you may recall that he just sent one out on theemail that discussed slips and falls. By know you should be realizing what’s coming. Yep - SafetySteve had a workplace accident. Yep - it was a fall. Yep - it wasa lost-time case and I spent some time in the local Urgent Careand several days in the “Arms of Morpheus.” Morpheus was theRoman god of sleep and dreams. The pain killing compoundMorphine is named after him. Hence, you get the picture. Threedays on prescription pain killers that make you groggy andsleepy. So here’s what happened. I’m at one of my projects, inspectingthe contractor’s safety program and looking for hazards on thesite. I found a number of them. One in particular I found thehard way. Walking down a stair, the last step was not, in point offact, the last step. As I stepped down thinking my foot would belanding on the concrete floor my heel caught on that last step(the one that wasn’t supposed to be there) and down I went.As you can see by the picture on the right, that last step waspretty difficult to detect. Hint – it’s not the one with the orangeelectrical cord and battery charger. Now, I weigh in at just over 200 pounds. I landed solid onboth knees on the concrete floor. That’s like lying down on yourback with your knees bent up and having someone drop a chunkof 150-plus pound concrete on your knees from about three feetup. Do you think that would hurt? I can assure you it does! I will not get into the level of my injuries any further thanto say that just one week later I am walking and relativelypain free. However, it cost me, and the District, three days oflost time. Then there’s the entire worker’s comp stuff. Nowadd the embarrassment of entering my own accident intoENGLink (Engineers Link Interactive), and the PowerPoint forthe quarterly Executive Safety Council. That’s going to be aninteresting meeting. I therefore publicly plead guilty to being a member of thatsmall club of “Safety Bubbas Who Get Hurt at Work.” I’d rathernot be a member, but too late for that now. So watch yourselvesout there – it’s dangerous. And, as always, drive safe, drive sober and buckle up! Safety Steve SAFETY BY THE NUMBERS 3 Days Safety Steve lost due to his injuries.... 12 49 People die on construction sites every Lost time claims in USACE for the day in America.... FY12 period ending Feb. 29....April 2012
  11. 11. April 2012 Page 11Corps’ Arizona team members get back to natureBy Daniel J. Calderón PHOENIX — Members of theU.S. Army Corps of Engineers LosAngeles District spent two sunnydays participating in the annual TresRios Nature & Earth Festival held inGoodyear, Ariz. March 10 and 11. The festival focuses on thebiodiversity in the area and how thehistories of Phoenix and surroundingcommunities have affected theecosystem. Various organizations useddisplays to show attendees how theycan positively interact with the localenvironment and have fun at the sametime. “I think we had a great turnout,”said Ann Palaruan, a Regulatory team Vic Bartkus, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District team member, speaks with amember with the Arizona-Nevada Area family March 10 about the District’s involvement in ecosystem restoration at the annual Tres RiosOffice. “We had quite a few people at Nature & Earth Festival held in Goodyear, Ariz. The festival draws in government agencies andour booth. They were very interested in organizations from across Arizona interested in promoting awareness of the history and habitat inwhat we do and I was very happy to talk the Phoenix area. (USACE photo by Daniel J. Calderon)to them about our job.” The Los Angeles District is involved projects and interacted with members about the three rivers—the Salt, Aguain the Tres Rios Ecosystem Restoration of the public who were curious about Fria and Gila Rivers – making up theproject. It started in the 1990s and how the Corps of Engineers fit into the Tres Rios area. They also participated incontinues to this day. The basic concept ecosystem picture. assorted cultural events, a canoe ride onis taking treated water from the 91st “It was neat to see so many different the river and even a “Recycled FashionAve. Wastewater Treatment Facility and groups coming out to talk about the Show,” where kids had the chance tofeeding it into a constructed wetlands. environment,” said Palaruan. “Some strut their stuff in outfits made fromThe wetlands “polish” the water and people think because we live in the recycled materials.bring it to natural levels. The water and desert, there’s no real need to protect The final numbers for attendancethe wetlands together create a riparian anything. After all, what could live in are still being tallied; but, organizersecosystem where native flora and fauna a desert environment like this? A lot estimate there were more than 4,000thrive. The District and its partners of people are really surprised by the people at the festival. Plans arehave more than 500 acres of wetlands diversity of life out here and I’m glad underway for next year’s event. Thein place. we can be a part of that educational Los Angeles District is planning to At the Tres Rios Festival, the District process.” participate in that one as members talked about their At the festival, attendees learnedPictured at right, a bird walks through the TresRios Wetlands on dedication day May 10,2010. The city’s water services department andthe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los AngelesDistrict reached an environmental-restorationmilestone that not only established andrestored an historical habitat along the banksof the Salt River, but integrated cost-effectivewater quality improvement, storm watermanagement, water conservation and reuse.(USACE photo by Lee Roberts) NewsCastle
  12. 12. Page 12 NewsCastleOfficials (with scissors), including Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar, Rep. Grace Napolitano, Corps Project Engineer Maj. Phillip Oster and Los AngelesDistrict Commander Col. Mark Toy, cut the ribbon officially opening the Sunburst Youth Academy facilities at Los Alamitos March 16 as Corps ResidentEngineer Mike Siu, Corps Quality Assurance Representative Jim Miller, Executive Officer Maj. Kenneth Shubert, Corps Project Manager Shawn Basuand Corps Project Engineer Greg Ripperger look on. (USACE photo by Capt. Lanh Duong)Corps, CalGuard open youth facilityBy Public Affairs Office arguably, a really positive impact on the considered at-risk. LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. — U.S. community.” The residential “military style”Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles Shubert said many local business academy is structured to promote anDistrict team members joined Rep. leaders and city officials participated academic environment where cadetsGrace Napolitano, Los Alamitos Mayor in the ceremony that featured academy earn 55 high school credits, developTroy Edgar and California National staff and cadets. leadership, cooperation and academicGuard officials to ceremonially open the “The dedication of these state-of-the- skills, while improving self esteem, pridenewest, state-of-the-art facility for the art classroom facilities was made possible and confidence.Sunburst Youth Academy at the Joint through the extraordinary efforts of theForces Training Base here March 16. governor, the state legislature and our The Corps managed the $1.6 million California federal delegation,” said Brig.renovation project constructed by Gen. James Gabrielli, commander ofcontractor Alpine Diversified, Inc., of the California National Guard’s YouthPalmdale, Calif. Alpine performed and Community Programs Task Force.the work within budget and nearly “The California National Guard valuesthree months ahead of schedule. The this opportunity to serve the youth ofcontractor renovated nine classrooms our state who demonstrate the greatestand several offices, turning dilapidated need, and we are committed to providingbuildings into world-class teaching the best learning environment possible.facilities. Sunburst Youth Academy changes lives.” “You could see the impact that it had According to its website, SYA,on everyone who was involved; that they established in 2008, is a community highput their hearts and souls into this,” school run by the California Nationalsaid Maj. Kenneth Shubert, Southern Guard, in partnership with the OrangeCalifornia Area Office executive officer. County Department of Education,“We gave them exactly what they for 16- to 18-year olds who have eitherwanted and now they can use it to make, dropped out of high school or who areApril 2012
  13. 13. April 2012 Page 13 AROUND THE DISTRICT District website to migrateBy Public Affairs Office LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Army Corpsof Engineers launched a refreshed publicwebsite on a new, cloud-based system inDecember 2011. The Los Angeles Districtwebsite is expected to go live in early April. “We are always seeking to improvethe way we communicate with ourstakeholders,” said Acting USACECommander Maj. Gen. Merdith W.B. ‘Bo’Temple. “Since our public website is ournumber one communication tool, we areoverhauling our Web presence to increasetransparency and deliver fast, accessible,relevant information to the Americanpublic.” The system provides the Corps witha consistent website look and feel,streamlines content management makingit easier to keep Web pages current, anddelivers a richer end-user experience thatmakes use of audio, video and other Webelements. The migration includes 58 Corpswebsites, with a plan to have all sites liveby the end of 2012. The South Pacific Division and all fourof its Districts began the Web migration inMarch. Migration is not expected to haveany adverse impact on posting fact sheets,public notices or other public information;however, it may result in changed Webaddresses, which means that individualuser bookmarks may no longer function. “I’ve been a long-time proponent forconsistency across all Corps websites,”said Jay Field, District public affairs chief.“Visitors to Corps pages will now knowwhere to look for information, whetherthey are visiting our page or any otherDistrict’s website. That will providepredictability and enhance our corporateimage.” The Corps is using the American ForcesPublic Information Management System,a content management system run by the Defense Media delivery of content to the end-user.Activity, which manages the website platforms for the DoD, Among many other improvements, the migration goalAir Force, Navy and Marine Corps. AFPIMS is scalable to is to provide site visitors with a visually appealing Webthousands of users and millions of content items, streamlines presence and disability access by compliance with Sectioncontent management and offers increased security and fast 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Downloading the NewsCastle from home? Visit NewsCastle
  14. 14. Page 14 NewsCastleGolfers show for Inada tournamentBy Jay Field LOS ANGELES — More than30 golfers played in the U.S. ArmyCorps of Engineers Los AngelesDistrict’s Engineer Day/Kevin InadaGolf Tournament held at the WilsonMunicipal Golf Course in Griffith ParkMarch 16. It was an overcast SouthernCalifornia day, with the threat of rainand temperatures in the mid-50s tolow-60s, as golfers raised funds tobenefit Engineer Day 2012. “We had a great turnout,” said DanSulzer, tournament organizer. “We had33 players show up, so we raised $330(for Engineer Day). There were somepretty impressive scores.” Nathan Scott carded the best scoreon the par-72, 6,695-yard course, ashe turned in a 7-over round of 79,four strokes better than the nearestcompetitor. Bill Blackburn was closest to thepin on the par-3, 138-yard, 15th hole.Blackburn’s tee shot landed about eight The fourth team to tee off March 16 in the Inada tournament at Wilson Golf Course included Artfeet beyond the cup. Shak, Mike Evasovic, Renee Vermeeren and Jay Field. More than 30 golfers played in the Engineer Two players, Sulzer and Oscar Day/Kevin Inada Golf Tournament to raise funds for the District’s picnic this year. (USACE photo bySiqueros, shot 11-over 83 and tied for Dan Sulzer)second; Scott Terry and Ken Bautistatied for fourth with 13-over 85; and fourplayers, Nick Erwin, George Beams,Glenn Arakaki and Rene Vermeeren,shot 17-over to tie for sixth place with ascore of 89. The annual tournament is oneof the many fundraisers sponsoredby the District each year to supportthe local Engineer Day activities inJune. The tournament was named forInada, a deputy chief of the District’sConstruction Division, who passedaway suddenly in January. Inada wasan avid golfer and member of the LosAngeles District Golf Club. “This was a great tribute to ourfriend Kevin Inada,” said Sulzer. “Hewould have been proud!” Waiting to tee off on the first hole at Wilson Golf Course March 16 is the team of Dan Sulzer, Juan Villalobos and Ken Bautista. More than 30 golfers played in the Engineer Day/Kevin Inada Golf Tournament to raise funds for the District’s picnic this year. (USACE photo by Jay Field)April 2012
  15. 15. April 2012 Page 15In Memoriam:Doreen Polequaptewa LOS ANGELES — The District desk so that there isn’t a way to turnsuffered a loss March 18 when Doreen in the cubicle without seeing them.Polequaptewa passed away from The phrase “selfless love” came upheart failure resulting from bilateral often when talking of Polequaptewa’spneumonia. Doreen had been with the affection for her children.district for more than 25 years, starting “My most admired thing aboutin Los Angeles and then moving to the Doreen was the love for her two girlsArizona-Nevada Area Office in Phoenix. and providing a better life for them,” Her friends and co-workers have said Sandra Estrada.many memories of her time with the Everyone who spoke aboutCorps – both at work and off the job. Polequaptewa reiterated her love forDoreen, according to those who knew her children. They spoke of the timeher well, was an avid sports fan. She she spent with them and the effort shehad season tickets for Phoenix Suns expended ensuring they had the kindgames; but, on a visit to her house, she of life she always wanted. She wouldwas apt to have on TV whatever sports spend time with Felicia in Las Vegasgame was on at the time. She was also a because, according to Lara, they wantedhuge Bon Jovi fan and had a cardboard to be “fancy girls.” They would spendcutout of the singer’s face at her desk. time around the city and then sample “She was very loyal,” said Carmen the buffets. Polequaptewa was alsoLara, who works at the Phoenix dedicated to her “And, she was dedicated. She “She also was very generous aboutwas dedicated to her job and she was donating her annual leave when deardedicated to her family. She was very co-workers were in need of donatedfamily oriented.” leave,” said Estrada. “I remember her Lara is one among many who spoke asking me about these co-workersof Polequaptewa’s intense love for her when the leave email would come outdaughters, Felicia and Victoria – who from HR for donations, and being veryfriends say she referred to as “Tori.” sincere about helping them with herPictures of her girls adorned her leave.” To honor Doreen’s memory and her significant contributions to the District, an account has been set up in the U.S. Engineers Federal Credit Union under the Executive Office Council Fund sub account “Doreen Polequaptewa Memorial Fund”. Contributions received will be given to Doreen’s daughters. Any contributions received will be greatly appreciated. Polequaptewa is survived by her daughters, her mother, father, sister and two older brothers. NewsCastle
  16. 16. Page 16 NewsCastleCorps plants more STEM seedsBy Jennie Ayala LOS ANGELES — Civil EngineerChadi Wahby is in the seed plantingbusiness. He began sowing interest andexcitement about careers in science,technology, engineering and math,as the guest speaker during a VivaTechnology program at BelvedereMiddle School here Feb. 9. “I remember how one career dayinfluenced my decision to be anengineer,” said Wahby, who serves inthe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers LosAngeles District. “That’s why I knowhow important these events are forstudents at this age.” Ninety students participated in thefull-day Viva program that includedhands-on competitive and educationalexercises like the Dream Invention,Rocket Science and the CatapultLauncher, designed to help themunderstand the connections between Civil Engineer Chadi Wahby of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District speaks to eighttheir math and science studies and grade students at Belvedere Middle School Feb. 9 about what sparked his interest in engineeringrewarding STEM careers. and about the type of work that still motivates him today. (USACE photo by Jennie Ayala) Since 2009, the Corps and itscontractor, Great Minds in STEM, programs like Viva Technology to 20 STEM Up Initiative, a DoD-fundedhave partnered to deliver educational schools in Los Angeles through the program.EARTH from Page 6criteria to monitor mitigation success. Coastal Commission and the Coastal Conservancy for the One example of a large scale project that achieves this development and authorization of the San Elijo Lagoonbalance is the City of San Marcos Specific Plan, which and Buena Vista Lagoon restoration projects and the Sanredevelops out-of-date industrial and commercial use Dieguito Lagoon expansion project. The regulatory agenciesproperties, provides flood risk reduction for existing are working to identify the goals and objectives of eachresidences and infrastructure, and integrates a watershed- lagoon system that maximize benefits to the region. Thesebased restoration project of 83 acres of riparian and alkali projects may be used to mitigate for impacts from futuremarsh habitats along San Marcos Creek. infrastructure projects such as the I-5 widening, or could be The City of San Marcos Specific Plan was redesigned to funded with other public money or grants if not needed toreduce impacts from 22 acres to 10 acres through a joint compensate for highway effort with the City of San Marcos, the Corps, EPA, “Environmental laws reflect public sentiment,” SulzerCalifornia Regional Water Quality Control Board and the said. “We want to strike a balance between protecting theCalifornia Department of Fish and Game (CDFG). In the environment and supporting necessary development. In anend, the project is expected to improve water quality from its area as environmentally sensitive as Southern California, thatcurrent condition and restore a high function creek corridor can be particularly challenging.”for the benefit of the public and wildlife. At the same time, Why does the Corps take these measures that oftenthe City of San Marcos will gain an improved park and trail increase project costs and extend their schedules?system, roads and flood risk reduction, and achieve a 20 “One, it’s the law,” Jones said. “Two, we’re trying to be goodyear goal of constructing a “downtown” in the heart of their stewards for the surrounding neighbors and for the Mattson also talked about large scale conservation and We do projects to protect people, but we also have to find therestoration planning taking place through partnerships with balance to preserve the remaining habitat.”the EPA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, CDFG, NOAAand the National Marine Fisheries Service, the CaliforniaApril 2012
  17. 17. April 2012 Page 17 FINAL WORDGetting a clue is not always easyBy Daniel J. Calderón Hollywood eventually put him in a fancy tuxedo. Have you ever been stuck for an idea? There are a few Today, we have Stephen King’s vampires from “Salem’sdifferent ways this can happen. Lot,” Anne Rice’s vampire Lestat and his ilk, the vampires One is when you look into your mental pantry and find of “Twilight” and, of course, Count Chocula. To be sure,the mice have run away with the last pieces of there are many more, but I wanted to stick withbread and crackers you were saving for that vampires that have crossed over from printproverbial rainy day. There’s nothing on the to broadcast (Count Chocula is just in the listshelves but ghosts of ideas gone past. You can see because I really used to love that cereal) andthe outline where that one big idea you had used are just a small sampling of that crowd. Youto sit before you trotted it out for the world to see. might have to work a bit to get a lot of familyDisappointed, you leave the empty space and turn resemblance; but, they are essentially drawn fromto the world in the hopes of filling yourself up the same soil of legends that have been aroundonce again. longer than the printed word has been easily Then, there is the bottleneck problem. This when you’ve got so many ideas trying to get That doesn’t mean that ideas and thinking arethrough the opening of your mental window, that dead. Instead, it’s a challenge to anyone who wantsnone of them can get through. You can see the to think and come up with ideas. It’s easy to lookshapes and outlines struggling. There are big ideas and little at the world as it is and believe there’s nothing new to thinkones all jammed in, but none of them can seem to break past about it. It’s easy to accept what you hear, see and read sincethe barrier because none of them will yield any space. So, someone has already done the thinking and processing fornothing comes out. you. One of the worst for me is the (how to say it delicately?)… The challenge is taking in all the information at ourhalf-formed problem. It’s when you have these great-looking fingertips and coming up with our own ideas about whatideas that come to you and you start working based on what it means. How does what we find on our daily trip throughyou see at the beginning. Then, somewhere along the way, the world of information apply to us and how much of ityou realize the idea wasn’t really complete. You’re left out has been altered? What do we make of it and what ideas canthere with the tail end of a partial idea and no clue where to we come up with to make what we see better for the nextgo to finish because you began on faith that your idea would generation of people who will travel these roads once we’resee you through. done walking? Maybe some of you don’t really know what I mean. Fair Being stuck for ideas is a temporary thing. No matterenough. how intense and heavy the writer’s block, I always know it The trouble with ideas is that no one really knows where will eventually break and what’s behind will come surgingthey come from, why they’re there and why some people through. It’s not always the great ideas that come. It’s notseem to have more of them than others. It’s not really like always the big ones that make it to the front before the rest.working out to develop muscles, coordination or stamina. A lot of them are grand in scope (I do like thinking big),Maybe people can start reading more to try and stimulate but many of them lack the details that will keep them goingwherever it is in the brain that generates ideas. I don’t know beyond the initial “gee-gosh” stage. But, I still like turninghow well that might work since that would seem to generate those ideas over in my head and seeing whether I can make arepetitions of ideas that have already gone before. go of them. Then again, it’s been said there are no real new ideas. What about you? What fun little ideas do you have hidingThere are simply variations on ideas that have come before. behind your eyes? I’ve decided to try and get as many ofIn that sense, everything we do and everything we have is just them out on paper as possible. Some will be dismissed asderivative. I can see that point. After all, Ancient Greeks did soon as they’re out. After all, who really wants to try a tamalehave ideas of celestial abodes and people flying. The airplane made from seasoned pork and chicken with some honey and(and by extension, the starship) is a logical progression of syrup in for good measure? But your ideas might look lessthat idea since it incorporates new understanding gained ambiguous in the light of day. You only get one chance at thisthrough the evolution of thought. Wow. That was heavy. little dust-em-up called life. When you think you’re stuck In pondering stories, I’ll take vampires as an example. for an idea about how to live it, learn from it or love it, justThe idea of vampires is ancient. Egyptians had their sit still for a minute. It’ll come to you. When it does, take abloodsuckers, as did Greeks. By the time Bram Stoker wrote chance if it looks like fun. Sometimes those ideas come along“Dracula,” the notion of the vampire was firmly in collective only once and if you don’t seize on it, you may regret it. Just alore around the world. Stoker just dressed up the vampire and thought… NewsCastle
  18. 18. NewsCastle FINAL LOOK By Kim MatthewsEngineering the path to success LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles District Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Steven Sigloch introduced Lisa Ruben of United Way at the National Women’s History Month program at the district headquarters, March 27, by saying that today, women outnumber men in colleges and universities. Ruben’s talk focused on United Way’s participation in education, especially in the Los Angeles Unified School District, stating that “education is the best pathway out of poverty.” She emphasized that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is a major part of the way to economic growth. She went on to describe various ways schools, families and communities play important parts in the success of children and in keeping them in school. Ruben also listed how United Way works toward this, including research, grants and Makoto Taiko, a Japanese drum ensemble from Pasadena performed. partnering with school officials. (USACE photos by Richard Rivera) Ruben was followed by a musical program by Makoto Taiko, a Japanese drum ensemble, including District employee Jane Grandon, located in Pasadena. Some of the group members construct their own drums. The Makoto Taiko website (http:// states, “Makoto is a fundamental character trait that includes such higher qualities as sincerity, truthfulness, altruism, reliability, and integrity. Makoto has a broad, yet profound, meaning that cannot be summarized in just one or two words because its meaning varies according to specific context. A person has makoto when his actions are in alignment with his words and ideals, and these words emulate the basic foundation of our drumming.” The Women’s History Month program concluded with the second annual Women of the Los Angeles District Art Show. Displays included textiles, ceramic works and paintings by women and family members of the The second annual Women of the Los Angeles District Art Show featured District team. textiles, paintings and ceramics works. (USACE photos by Richard Rivera)April 2012