Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: August, 2017 (21) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 21

August 4, 2017 at 6:21am

JBLM team wins Army Medicine 3Q Wolf Pack award

Army Medicine Col. Michael Place, middle, and Col. John Marley, second from right, accept the Army Medicine 3rd Quarter Wolf Pack Award July 28.

Army Medicine recently announced one of the 3rd quarter winners of the Wolf Pack award as a 14-member team from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The team was recognized for its efforts in launching a program to treat some active-duty sleep apnea patients using an obstructive sleep apnea dental device fitted by military dentists. The program is projected to save more than $600,000 annually within the Puget Sound Military Health System.

In a message to the field, Lt. Gen. Nadja West, U.S. Army Surgeon General and Army Medical Command commanding general, said this team of active-duty military and civilians “had an immediate positive impact on Soldier readiness.”

Obstructive sleep apnea dental devices are effective in treating mild to moderate sleep apnea and snoring, especially in those who cannot tolerate continuous positive airway pressure therapy. Active-duty patients diagnosed with sleep apnea and undergoing treatment are nondeployable until they demonstrate clinical compliance with a course of treatment.

Colonel John Marley, commander, JBLM Dental Health Activity, said he is honored this group was selected.

“This is extremely important for readiness and keeping our Soldiers deployment ready,” Marley said. “There is an added bonus to be able to save significant amounts of money, as well as saving significant additional amounts in the way ahead.”

The idea for this program came from Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kirt Nilsson, former director, Clinical Operations, Puget Sound Military Health System. His doctor referred him to a civilian dentist for a dental device to treat sleep apnea. Curiosity led Nilsson to ask if it was possible to offer obstructive sleep apnea devices within the Puget Sound Military Health System.

Through research, it was discovered the average cost for an obstructive sleep apnea dental device through civilian partners is $5,000, and often involves a lengthy process to authorize, treat and receive results.

Nilsson presented an internal treatment option to the Puget Sound Military Health System Medicine Consortium — comprised of medical specialists from Madigan and Naval Hospital Bremerton, including sleep medicine specialists.

A work group was formed, comprised of members from medical, pulmonology, dental, managed care and Puget Sound Military Health System, to develop a work flow and identify solutions to various barriers.

“Without the cooperation of the JBLM and Bremerton dental teams, this project would not have been successful,” Nilsson said. “This initiative is a perfect example of service lines working together to achieve those objectives.”

A finalized work flow to route patient referrals from pulmonary/medical providers to JBLM and Naval Hospital Bremerton dental clinic providers was implemented in September 2016.

“Their efforts and dedication demonstrate how collaboration between the services and across the Puget Sound Military Health System drive excellence in outcomes that better serve our patient population,” said Navy Capt. Denise Holdridge, chief operating officer, Puget Sound Military Health System.

The Wolf Pack award recognizes an integrated team of military and civilian members whose accomplishments demonstrate excellence and effective teamwork resulting in significant products or services with the potential for broad impact in support of Army Medicine. Members of JBLM team represent the JBLM Dental Health Activity, Madigan Army Medical Center, Naval Hospital Bremerton and Puget Sound Military Health System.

JBLM Wolf Pack Award recipients:

Col. Shan Bagby, former commander, JBLM Dental Health Activity;

Lt. Col. Kevyn Wetzel, officer in charge, Hospital Dental Clinic, Madigan Army Medical Center;

Sherry Bice, Supervisory Health System specialist, JBLM Dental Health Activity;

Danielle Macomber, Health System specialist, Supplemental Care, Madigan Army Medical Center;

Danielle Lamon, former chief of Access Services, Madigan Army Medical Center;

Darrell Griffin, chief, Systems Branch Information Management Division, Madigan Army Medical Center;

Lt. Col. Herbert Kwon, chief, Pulmonary-Critical Care-Sleep Service, Madigan Army Medical Center;

Maj. Brian Oreilly, Sleep Medicine physician, Madigan Army Medical Center;

Lt. Col. Cristin Mount, chief, Department of Medicine, Madigan Army Medical Center;

Dave Smith, administrative officer, Department of Medicine, Madigan Army Medical Center;

Lt. Cmdr. Kirt Nilsson, former director Clinical Operations, Puget Sound Military Health System;

Kathleen Munoz, market integration officer, Puget Sound Military Health System;

Lt. Col. Bing Tanwinters, director Clinical Operations, Puget Sound Military Health System;

Jeanne Hlebichuk, RN, nurse consultant, Puget Sound Military Health System.

August 4, 2017 at 1:14pm

Raising morale

Sgt. Michael Jatta, a shower/laundry and clothing repair specialist with the 242nd QM Co., maintains a Laundry Advanced System during the two-week 2017 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise at Fort Stewart. Photo credit: Maj. Brandon R. Mace

Members of the U.S. Army Reserve 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), provided laundry and shower services during the two-week 2017 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise, July 14-27, at Fort Stewart, Georgia.

QLLEX allows U.S. Army Reserve units to provide real-world fuel and water support while training at the tactical, operational and strategic level. These types of events give units an opportunity to demonstrate their capability and combat-readiness.

Among the many unsung heroes of the U.S. Army Reserve are the soldiers providing laundry and shower services to units in the field. While they may not be doing the most glorious or glamorous job, it is an essential part of maintaining good hygiene and lifting morale.

The 242nd Quartermaster Company, based in Conroe, Texas, set up laundry and shower services at Fort Stewart, supporting the soldiers conducting QLLEX in that location. U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Michael Jatta, a shower/laundry and clothing repair specialist with the 242nd QM Co., said his unit plays an important role in supporting the overall mission.

"If you are not well taken care of, the mission is not going to be supported," said Jatta. "We are always going to support the mission, and for us that means we provide laundry so our soldiers do not have dirty clothes for their operation."

In Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the 340th QM Co., was hard at work providing the needed services. U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Leslie Bennett, a training sergeant with the 340th QM Co., said they were supporting 10 separate units with their services.

"Right now, we are supporting 539 soldiers," said Bennett. "They are very happy because they went quite a few days without a shower. They were about to go find a river or a lake, but they are happy now."

U.S. Army Reserve Pvt. 1st Class Sondra Scales, a utilities equipment repairer with the 340th QM Co., said she loves the reactions she sees when soldiers come in.

"It is great to see them happy," said Scales. "Soldiers come in here and they say ‘Yes! Finally showers. Finally a clean uniform'."

Showers may not seem like much, but to soldiers in the field they can mean the world. Sgt. Arturo Flores, a shower and laundry non-commissioned officer with the 340th QM Co., said it is a service the soldiers need to keep them pushing forward on their missions.

"It's a small thing, but it's a big thing, actually. At home, you don't see it as a big thing, but out here it's a big thing," Flores said. "Everybody is always out there, always sweating, always doing missions. At least they get to be clean during the night and can sleep good. They wake up better and are ready for another hard day."

Flores said it provides a big boost to morale and he can see a physical difference as soldiers leave the shower tent.

"The faces going in change as they come out," said Flores. "It's a morale booster. Everybody comes out and it's like they've had a weight lifted; they just feel way better."

These soldiers may not have the kind of job you think about when you picture the Army Reserve in your mind, but they are still excited to push ahead with their mission.

"We just have to make sure we have water and fuel so we can do laundry and run our operation," said Bennett. "As long as they continue to bring us stuff and we have work, we are good to go."

The 340th and 242nd Quartermaster Companies are a part of the 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). The command is made up of soldiers, civilians and their families in units headquartered throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. As part of America's Army Reserve, these units are trained, combat-ready and equipped to provide military and logistical support in any corner of the globe.

August 4, 2017 at 1:40pm

Army to field night vision paired with weapons

Master Sgt. Lashon Wilson demonstrates the use of the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III, paired with a Family of Weapons Sights-Individual, at Fort Belvoir July 27. Photo credit: Jalen Brown

In the next 18 months or so, the Army expects to field two new systems to dismounted soldiers that will allow for more rapid acquisition of targets, even those hidden by darkness, smoke or fog.

First out of the gate will be the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III, expected to be fielded sometime between April and June 2018. Shortly after, the Army hopes to field the Family of Weapons Sights-Individual, between January and March 2019.

The FWS-I and ENVG III are unique in that the FWS-I, which would be mounted on a soldier's weapon, wirelessly transmits its sight picture to the ENVG III, which a soldier wears on his helmet.

Additionally, the ENVG combines thermal imaging with more common night vision image intensification technology, which is recognizable by the green image it creates.

Under starlight, targets may blend in with the background. But with the thermal capability overlaid on night vision, targets can't hide in smoke or fog. They "really pop out with that contrast," said Dean Kissinger, an electronics engineer who is currently assigned to Program Product Manager Soldier Maneuver Sensors at Program Executive Office Soldier at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Lt. Col. Anthony Douglas, who serves as product manager for Soldier Maneuver Sensors at PEO Soldier, said the two sensors have benefits beyond helping dismounted soldiers better visualize targets. By pairing the two systems wirelessly - allowing what the weapon-mounted sight is seeing to be beamed directly to the soldier's eye - these systems help the soldier acquire a target faster.


"The capability gap that we were tasked with (closing) by developing this was the rapid target acquisition capability," Douglas said. "We are allowing the soldier to actually see what is on their weapons sight, saving them time from having to bring the weapon to his eye."

Master Sgt. Lashon Wilson, the senior enlisted advisor for product manager Soldier Maneuver Sensors, explained how the system will work and make it easier for a soldier to acquire a target.

"This weapon-mounted system talks wirelessly to the smart battery pack that is on the soldier's head, that then transmits a signal to the ENVG III, which now displays a reticle onto the soldier's optic," Wilson explained. "So now what this does is, while the soldier is on patrol and he has his ENVG III on and he is looking, he has a greater field of view of what is going on in the battlefield."

Soldiers wearing the ENVG III, which is mounted on their helmet, can choose to see both night-vision imagery and thermal imaging as well in their goggle. But they can also choose to see the image coming off the FWS-I that is mounted on their rifle.

A variety of modes allows soldiers to see in their goggles only the image from the ENVG III itself, only the image from the FWS-I, or a combination of the two. Using a "picture-in-picture" mode, for instance, the image from their FWS-I is displayed at the bottom right of the image that is coming from the goggle.

In another mode, however, if the FWS-I on the rifle and the ENVG III on the soldier's helmet are both pointed in the same direction and seeing essentially the same thing, then the image from the FWS-I can project a reticle into the goggle. The soldier can see the full image of what his goggle normally sees, but a circle representing the reticle from the FWS-I is overlaid onto that image, letting the soldier know where his rifle is pointed. What this means is the soldier doesn't need to actually shoulder his weapon to acquire a target. That saves time for the soldier in acquiring that target.

"We are saving him three to five seconds, and increasing their situational awareness on the battlefield," Douglas said.

Additionally, because the reticle is projected onto what the soldier is already seeing in his goggle - a much wider view of his environment than what he would see if he looked through his rifle scope - he is able to acquire a target while maintaining situational awareness of what else is going on around him.


At Fort Belvoir, members of the press were allowed to shoot an M-4 rifle that was equipped with the FWS-I, while wearing a helmet equipped with the ENVG III.

Several man-shaped targets were spaced out in the firing lane, each equipped with thermal blankets to simulate body heat. A pair of fog machines simulated battlefield smoke to make it difficult to acquire those targets using only day optics. Using night-vision goggles alone, some of the targets could not be seen. But when combined with the thermal imaging capabilities built into the ENVG III and FWS-I, those targets were easily visible.

Using the system proved a bit challenging, however. When looking through the goggle, which was at one point displaying the image transmitted from the rifle-mounted FWS-I, it was hard to tell if it was the helmet that was crooked, the ENVG III that was crooked, or the shooter's own head that wasn't on quite straight.

"The gun is tilted," Wilson confirmed. He served as a trainer for members of the press who were allowed to shoot.

Maj. Kevin Smith, who serves as the assistant product manager for FWS-I, said there is a "steep learning curve," for the system.

"We just got through with the tests with the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson, Colorado, back in June," he said. "We only spent about forty hours of in-classroom training. But we also spent about a week on the range or so. That's where the soldiers were really starting to get it and understand it and feel it, on the range."

Smith said one such training event was held at Fort Carson, and two were held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"Once they get comfortable with it, they really love it," Smith said. "One soldier, a noncommissioned officer who didn't like it at first, later on during the last test we did, asked me when are we getting this fielded. He said he wanted it now. They want to take them to war and they want to use them."


The soon-to-field FWS-I is meant for the M4 and M16 rifles, and can mount on those rifles in front of day sights that have already been bore-sighted, Kissinger said. What this means is that soldiers can pop the FWS-I onto and off of their rifle without having to remove their day sights first.

The FWS-I will also work with the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, the M141 Bunker Defeat Munition, and the M136 AT4 Light Anti-Tank Weapon.

Kissinger said the FWS-I actually provides capability to both light and medium weapons. In the past, there had been sights fielded for both types of weapons. Now that FWS-I provides capability to both, he said, there will be less variations in weapons sights, and a smaller logistics trail.

More capability is also coming to this "family" of weapons sights, Douglas said. There will be a crew-served variant and a sniper variant as well. Both are still under development, he said.

Both the FWS-I and the ENVG III are currently in low-rate initial production. The Army hopes to buy 36,000 of the FWS-I, and about 64,000 of the ENVG III, Smith said. He also said that the new gear is targeted squarely at dismounted soldiers with infantry brigade combat teams and special operations forces.

For now, he said, he expects it will be squad leaders and two team leaders within a squad that might first see the FWS-I.

"This is a day or night capability," Douglas said. "We're talking about dismounted soldiers who would use this. For our mounted soldiers, those on the Stryker or Bradleys ... they do not operate without their thermal on all the time. So we are giving the dismounted soldier the same capability the mounted soldiers have."

August 10, 2017 at 10:14am

Brings out fighter in you

Soldiers from Group Support Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), conduct weapons training at Range 43 during Enabler Integration Program on Joint Base Lewis-McChord July 17. Photo credit: Spc. Garret Smith, Released

New soldiers from Group Support Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), completed 21 days of Special Operation Forces (SOF) integration training through the Enabler Integration Program (EIP) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Thursday, Aug. 3.

Pfc. Diana Ravelo, a supply specialist and participant from GSB, was among the soldiers to experience the intense training.

"It was very vigorous," said Ravelo.

While the course was a great challenge to her, Ravelo said that it pushed her to meet each challenge.

"The program brought out the fighter in me," she said.

The soldiers' average day began at 4:30 a.m. and concluded at approximately 10 p.m. Throughout the duration of the program, cadre lead participants through a series of events, such as land navigation, Tactical Combat Casualty Care, and military driver's training.

Master Sgt. Juan Contreras, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the training, said, "The soldier needs to understand that they have to get up at four in the morning, and they might not be able to lay their head down on their pillow until eighteen or twenty hours later."

Contreras ensured the ranges and training sites were available and scheduled, and he was also responsible for providing ammunition and resources to the soldiers.

His cadre were hand-selected to assess participants.

Sgt. 1st Class Viantha Chhim, a senior cadre member, saw the value in choosing highly motivated soldiers who were capable of pushing themselves.

"I think what we're doing is creating well-rounded and adaptable soldiers for SOF," said Chhim. "You got to be ready for anything. You got to be willing to put in the effort."

To be successful in a SOF environment, soldiers were not only required to be adaptable, but capable of exceeding the physical fitness standard.

The next EIP is slated for Oct. 10. Following the program, participants who meet all standards can receive an identifier and are prepared to take on SOF challenges.

August 10, 2017 at 10:56am

Take an avatar to the field

A Stryker vehicle commander in a local training area interacts in real time with the avatar of a soldier participating remotely from a collective trainer. U.S. Army illustration

The development of advanced learning technologies for training is underway. Linking augmented reality with live training will enable units to achieve the highest levels of warfighting readiness and give valuable training time back to commanders and soldiers.

The U.S. Army must train to win in a complex world that demands adaptive leaders and organizations that thrive in ambiguity and chaos. To meet this need, the Army has developed Force 2025 and Beyond, a comprehensive strategy to change and deliver land-power capabilities as a strategic instrument of the future joint force. The successful implementation of this strategy requires a new training environment that is flexible, supports repetition, reduces overhead and is available at the point of need.

A joint effort between the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and several entities -- University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, Combined Arms Center-Training and Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation -- are working to research, prototype and eventually deliver the Synthetic Training Environment, otherwise known as STE.

STE is a collective training environment that leverages the latest technology for optimized human performance within a multi-echelon, mixed-reality environment. It provides immersive and intuitive capabilities to keep pace with a changing operational environment and enables Army training on joint combined arms operations. The STE moves the Army away from facility-based training, and instead, allows the Army to train at the point of need -- whether at home-station, combat training centers or at deployed locations.

"Due to the rapidly expanding industrial base in virtual and augmented reality and government advances in training technologies, the Army is moving out to seize an opportunity to augment readiness," said Col. Harold Buhl, ARL Orlando and ICT program manager. "With STE, the intent is to leverage commercial advances with military specific technologies to provide commanders adaptive unit-specific training options to achieve readiness more rapidly and sustain readiness longer."

Buhl said the intent is to immerse soldiers in the complex operational environment and stress them physically and mentally, in order to "make the scrimmage as hard as the game," as Gen. Martin Dempsey, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, once remarked.

This training environment delivers the next generation of synthetic collective trainers for armor, infantry, Stryker and combat aviation brigade combat teams. These trainers will result in lower overhead costs and will use advanced learning technologies with artificially intelligent entities to simultaneously train BCT-level and below. This multi-echelon collective training will be delivered to geographically distributed warfighters, at the point of need, for both current and future forces.

"As the Army evolves with manned and unmanned teams, and other revolutionary battlefield capabilities, STE will be flexible enough to train, rehearse missions and experiment with new organization and doctrine," Buhl said.

Leveraging current mixed reality technologies, STE blends virtual, augmented and physical realities to provide commanders and leaders at all levels with multiple options to guide effective training across active and dynamic mission complexities. STE will provide intuitive applications and services that enable embedded training with mission command workstations and select platforms.

"This capability coupled with the immersive and semi-immersive technologies that bring all combat capabilities into the same synthetic environment, add to this quantum leap in training capability, the geo-specific terrain that STE will use in collaboration with Army Geospatial Center and you have the opportunity to execute highly accurate mission rehearsal of a mission and multiple branches and sequels," Buhl said.

STE adaptive technology supports rapid iterations and provides immediate feedback -- allowing leaders to accurately assess and adjust training -- all in real time. With a single open architecture that can provide land, air, sea, space and cyberspace synthetic environment with joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multi-national partners, Army multi-domain operations are inherent with STE.

An increasingly complex element of the land domain is the expansion of megacities. In the coming decades, an increasing majority of the world's population is expected to reside in these dense urban areas. Technologies in development by ARL for STE will provide the realism of complexity and uncertainty in these dense and stochastic environments. STE is intended to evolve and enhance readiness in megacities by replicating the physical urban landscape, as well as the complex human dynamics of a large population.

"It enables our formations to train as they fight using their assigned mission command information systems, and all other BCT and echelons above BCT warfighting capabilities," Buhl said. "Operational informative systems and the training environment systems will share an identical common operating picture; enabling seamless mission-command across echelons."

Ryan McAlinden, director for Modeling, Simulation and Training at ICT, said his team has been working with ARL, the TRADOC capabilities manager, Combined Arms Center for Training and PEO STRI for the past year to help inform the requirements process for the STE.

"The team has been researching and prototyping techniques and technologies that show feasibility for the one world terrain part of the program," McAlinden said. "The hope is that these research activities can better inform the materiel development process when the STE is formally approved as a program of record."

By leveraging technology to provide the means to train in the complex operating environment of the future, integrating technologies to optimize team and individual performance, and providing tough realistic training that is synchronized with live capstone events and gives commanders options for accelerated and sustained readiness, STE is transforming Army training to achieve readiness and win in a complex world.

"As we develop, demonstrate and transition technologies across the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command that provide solutions to tough Army problems, we never lose sight of focus on soldiers and commanders," Buhl said. "These men and women deserve the very best in technology, and more importantly, in our respect for their leadership, initiative and ingenuity in the use of that technology. STE has tremendous opportunity for the Army if we develop and deliver with that focus."

August 11, 2017 at 5:28am

New DOD autism center to provide ‘important bridge’ to JBLM families

U.S. Army Photo U.S. Congressman Denny Heck, left, speaks with Col. Michael Place, right, Madigan commander, and his wife, Jackie Place, before the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new JBLM Center for Autism Resources, Education and Services Wednesday.

The 1,000 military children with autism in the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community, and their families, will receive enhanced care and resources thanks to the opening of the new JBLM Center for Autism Resources, Education and Services Wednesday.

“As a Soldier, and having raised a child with autism, I’m enormously proud to be the commander of the (Department of Defense’s) first facility dedicated to care of these amazing kids,” said Col. Michael Place, Madigan commander.

Autism affects one in every 68 children; the JBLM community has an even higher concentration of children with autism — one in 40 — as an Exceptional Family Member Program hub.

“We all know that military service poses unique challenges for all of our service members and their families,” Place said. “But for those families who are also facing the unique demands of raising a child with autism, those challenges are compounded due to a national shortage of providers to care for these kids and the difficulties that they typically have with transitions.”

Place went on to say wait times for autism care in the local area are typically six to nine months. The opening of JBLM CARES is expected to reduce these referral times.

JBLM CARES will provide complete care coordination and support services for more than 150 patients a month, said Brig. Gen. Ronald Stephens, the U.S. Medical Command’s deputy chief of staff for support. The center will help families who just moved to JBLM and need support in initiating and organizing services for their child, who need support and direction accessing care following a new diagnosis, or who need assistance locating services for children on the autism spectrum disorder during a developmental or school transitional period.

The center, run by the Pediatric Specialty Department at Madigan, offers speech language, occupational and physical therapy on site. It also provides bridging services for autism families until they can begin therapy with civilian providers so that families living off-base can receive long-term autism care at locations convenient to their homes.

In addition, thanks to a partnership with the Armed Forces Community Service, JBLM CARES also offers system navigators to ensure families know how to use their military and community resources. Providing improved care for military children with autism can mean less stress for their families.

“This center is not just about patient care; it’s also about readiness,” Stephens said. “Service members can focus on their mission knowing that their family will receive timely, compassionate and world-class care.”

From figurative blueprints to reality, it took a dedicated team of Madigan and AFCS staff nearly two years to plan for the center, renovate the building and staff the program.

“Without their vision, tenacity and advocacy for our children and their families, this would’ve never come to fruition,” Place said.

The resulting center offers children with autism social skills, play skills, feeding groups and life skills.

“JBLM CARES is going to be a very important bridge so that no family faces that stressful gap in treatment and progress,” said Congressman Denny Heck, who spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “In time, every single one of those kids is going to find their way in the world and they are going to realize their full potential, and we will all benefit from it.”

August 11, 2017 at 6:13am

Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel Hosts Richard Rawlings At the Olympia Car Show

Rochester, Wash., August 10, 2017 –– Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel welcomes reality TV star Richard Rawlings to the Olympia Street Rod Association Annual Car Show this Saturday, August 12, 2017. There will be an open to the public Meet & Greet from 2PM-4PM.

Star of the reality television show Fast n’ Loud on the Discovery Channel, Rawlings is a motor mastermind and owner of the Gas Monkey Garage, based in Dallas, Texas, where he buys, restores, and auctions classic cars.

The Olympia Street Rod Association Annual Car Show takes place on Saturday the 12th of August from 9AM-5PM. The Car Show features more than 300 classic cars on display, a live DJ playing all your favorite oldies, and a beer garden where attendees can take a break from the excitement. Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel will also be collecting donations of non-perishable food items to benefit the Rochester Organization of Families. Visitors who donate 4 or more items will receive $10 in Slot Free Play.

“We’re really excited this year because we have reality star Richard Rawlings, from Gas Monkey Garage judging the show and meeting guests. He’s the perfect addition to this already amazing event and we’re fortunate to have him here,” said Lucky Eagle CEO Lisa Miles.

Miles concluded, “We have had an amazing summer with great entertainment offerings. We can’t wait for our guests to learn about future events like this that we have planned for them through the remainder of 2017.”

Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel is owned and operated by The Chehalis Tribe and features approximately 1,300 slot machines, 14 table games, exceptional dining, live entertainment and a 170-room hotel. More information can be found online at


August 11, 2017 at 1:33pm


Rhea Lana’s, the #1 Nationally Ranked Children’s Consignment Event, serves families in the Tacoma area. Families are invited to consign and shop. The event will be Sunday, September 24 Friday, September 29 at the Lakewood Cinema Plaza, 2310 84th Street S, Lakewood.

TACOMA, Washington (August 4, 2017) --- Rhea Lana’s of Tacoma will help get your kids ready for cool, rainy days in style at a fraction of the cost at our Fall & Winter event beginning Sunday, September 24. With over 100 locations and celebrating their 20th Anniversary, Rhea Lana’s is the most trusted name in Children’s Consignment. Rhea Lanas of Tacoma brings this spirit of excellence and service to Tacoma area families as 2017 Rookie of the Year, 2017 Top Growth Award recipient and ParentMap Golden Teddy Award Finalist.

Rhea Lanas specializes in consignment of name brand clothing, toys, baby equipment and furniture for children and moms-to-be. These community events help moms stretch their family budget, while allowing them to purchase high quality children's items for their families. Shoppers are guaranteed to find incredible deals for the family - all under one roof. Cash, credit and debit cards will be accepted. Admission and parking are always free.

As part of our Rhea Lana’s Gives Back initiative, following the event, thousands of children’s items are donated to non-profit organizations that directly give to families in need. “This season, we are thrilled to be partnering with local schools, teams, foster families, Tacoma Parents of Multiples and The Wishing Well Foundation to give back to our community. Rhea Lana’s of Tacoma is honored to help support and serve our community.” says owner, Josie Meyer.

Sale Dates and Times:

Sunday, September 24 Monday, September 25 Tuesday, September 26 Wednesday, September 27 Thursday, September 28 Friday, September 29

About Rhea Lana’s

10AMto9PM 10AMto9PM 10AMto9PM 10AMto3PM 10AMto9PM 10AMto2PM

Rhea Lana’s hosts semiannual children’s consignment events where consignors earn 70-80% of sales for gently used children and maternity items. The business has grown rapidly, from a living room in Conway, Arkansas 20 years ago over 100 locations in the US.


Rhea Lana’s offers management and real time tracking of merchandise through a computerized inventory system available anywhere with a website accessible by computer or mobile phone. Consignors can even enter items in half the time with the first voice recognition software in the consignment industry.

Entrepreneur Magazine has ranked Rhea Lana’s one of their Top 500 Franchises in 2017. Franchise Gator named Rhea Lana’s among the Top 100 fastest growing franchises in 2016. Rhea Lana’s has been recognized as a Top Retailor and Franchise Business by Franchise Business Review the past five years and was named a Top 50 Franchise for Women for 2017. Multiple Rhea Lana Franchises have been ranked as National Top 10 Consignment Event Sales by Consignment Mommies. The business has been featured by Fox Business, Fox News, USA Today, Bloomberg Business, WINC, Arkansas Times and other local and national publications. In the 2011 report from Franchise Business Review on Child Service Related Franchises, Rhea Lana's Children’s Consignment, Inc. ranked in the Top 10 nationally. Rhea Lana’s was also ranked in Inc. Magazine’s 5000 list of fastest growing privately held companies in 2011.


August 16, 2017 at 6:16am

Powers Funeral Home in Sumner to hold open house

To celebrate being a part of the Sumner and Bonney Lake community, Powers Funeral Home of Sumner is hosting a summer open house Tuesday through Thursday, August 22 - 24 from 11a.m. to 5p.m. at 15124 Main St, Sumner WA, 98390.

“We are looking forward to establishing relationships and letting people know we are here to serve the community,” location manager for the Sumner funeral home Diane Achord said.

Guests are invited to enjoy refreshments as they learn about the Life Well Celebrated services the Powers Funeral Home in Sumner provides. Funeral Director, Michael Thulin, and Administrator, Cheryl Knight, will be available to give tours and answer questions.

As Pierce County’s most trusted provider for cremation and funeral services, Powers Funeral Home in Sumner has served families for over 50 years. Pre-need counselors will be available at the event to discuss options for final arrangements with guests and their loved ones.

“Compassion and communication are critical in how we take care of our families,” Achord said.

For more information, please contact the location manager at (253) 863-6332 or Come out and join Powers Funeral Home in Sumner for an entertaining and informative afternoon.


August 17, 2017 at 5:47am

Discounts expanded on SBA Loan Fees for Veterans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is waiving 50 percent of their guaranty fee for some loans to veterans. While many lenders can offer these discounted loans, HomeStreet Bank is also waiving 50 percent of the guaranty fee to thank veterans for their service and provide them access to capital. And, HomeStreet has expanded their offer to cover all SBA loans up to $5 million.

There are two ways for veterans and their spouses to borrow under the SBA Veterans Advantage Program:

Loans up to $500,000

• 50 percent of fees waived by SBA (expires 9/30/2017)

• HomeStreet Bank waives the other 50 percent of fees (expires 9/30/2017)

• Terms up to 10 years for equipment and up to 25 years for real estate

For example, if a veteran took a $500,000 loan with HomeStreet Bank, the SBA guaranty fees would normally be $11,250. Now SBA waives half that, or $5,625, and HomeStreet waives the other half, $5,265. Net guaranty fee for the veteran? Zero!

Loans $500,001 to $5 million

• HomeStreet Bank now waives 50 percent of the SBA guaranty fee for veteran (expires 9/30/17)

• Terms up to 10 years for equipment and up to 25 years for real estate

Here, if a veteran took a loan with HomeStreet Bank of $5 million, the normal SBA guaranty fees would be $138,000. Now HomeStreet Bank will waive $69,000 of those fees to save the veteran 50% or $69,000!

For veterans who want to start, purchase, or expand their business, these savings are significant. Funds can be used to start, buy or expand a business with equipment, buy or construct a building, make leasehold improvements, purchase inventory, and other purposes.

To qualify for these discounts, businesses must be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by an individual or individuals that are:

• Veterans (other than dishonorably discharged)

• Service-disabled veterans

• Active-duty military service member participating in the military’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP)

• Reservists and National Guard members

• Current spouse of any veteran, active-duty service member

• Widowed spouse of a service member who died while in service or of a service-connected disability. 206-254-7280


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