Soft waves by Christina Carmen Crea

Timestamp: 1410712560

Soft waves by Christina Carmen Crea

New Elementary Schools Rainier and Meriwether open on JBLM

First day back to school for students

By Christina Carmen Crea
(published Aug. 29 2014)

With the new-building-smell still lingering in the hallways, students stepped into new elementary schools on Joint Base Lewis-McChord on the first day back to school Aug. 27.

Rainier, JBLM Main, and Meriwether, JBLM North, Elementary Schools were in construction for a little over a year and opened for students this school year.

“My kids just can’t stop talking about this new building,” said parent Yamily Miller on the first day of school. “It’s very nice.”

Yamily’s daughter Alyssa said her favorite part of Rainier is that now they have their own gym.

“Before, the lunchroom and gym was in the same area,” Alyssa said. “Now we have a separate gym and lunchroom. And, there’s stairs to a second floor; our old school didn’t have two floors – this is awesome.”

Parent Kevin Chambers said Rainier “is just fantastic.”

“It’s great for kids to be in a new building, it’s a change,” Chambers said. “I’m excited to see what new things they offer here.”

In Robin Langston’s 35 years as a teacher, she said she has never had such a large classroom to teach kindergarten in.

“It’s really laid out how a kindergarten classroom should always be,” Langston said. “I was amazed at how large it was and the new technology in here.”

Librarian at Rainier Beth Bruno said the technology they have in the new buildings is “above anything I’ve ever had in previous schools.”

The cost of building Rainier, which includes federal and state funding, is approximately $38.6 million. Meriwehther is approximately $35.7 million.

Updating schools

Children of service members living on JBLM fall under the Clover Park School District, which stretches throughout the base and into Lakewood.

This marks five out of six elementary schools on JBLM that have either been or is currently being renovated or rebuilt. Last year, Hillside and Carter Lake Elementary School opened on JBLM.

The only school that hasn’t been updated is Evergreen Elementary School.

“We are working with the legislatures on funding to be appropriated for Evergreen Elementary School,” said Clover Park School District Superintendent Debbie LeBeau. “It’s our last one for us to get (updated).”

Beachwood Elementary School, JBLM North, is currently under renovation and will open the next school year. Students are temporarily in Greenwood Elementary School this year until Beachwood opens next year.

Beachwood’s estimated cost is $39.5 million.

Clarkmoor Elementary School closed this year and Greenwood Elementary School will close after this year. Those buildings will be transferred back to the Army and used for different purposes.

“Just being able to replace these 50 to 60-year-old schools on a military installation has been a huge accomplishment,” LeBeau said. “Last year we opened Hillside and Carter Lake Elementary, then this year Rainier and Meriwether and now Beachwood is underway. It’s very exciting.”

LeBeau said the process of waiting for funding has been long since the legislature decided to help replace schools on military installations across the country.

“They went through a whole process of rating who needed it the most, and we ended up on the top 30 list. Which means we really needed it,” LeBeau said. “ It’s been overwhelming with so many changes recently, but also very exciting to see teachers unpacking in new classrooms.”

With a whole new look inside and outside the buildings also comes with new technology.

LeBeau said there are new security systems, bigger gymnasiums, new air conditioning and more.

“Some schools used to have the gym class and lunchroom in one area and had to use extra buildings for activities … it was just getting crazy,” LeBeau said. “The new murals, lighting and design features are so nice in the new buildings. There are lot of changes this year.”

More information

A list of bus routes for Clover Park School’s during the 2014-2015 school year is available online at

Clover Park School District uses FlashAlert Newswire for school closure information when the weather is bad or another emergency occurs. Parents and families can register up to three emails or cell phone numbers to receive closure information.

As an alternative, there is also a free phone app for iPhone and Android devices. As winter approaches, if Clover Park Schools are not listed by media outlets for closure or late start, assume the school is opening on time.

For more information, contact Clover Park Operations at 253-583-5481, 253-583-5482 or Clover Park Transportation at 253-583-5494.

New Elementary Schools Rainier and Meriwether open on JBLM First day back to school for students New Elementary Schools Rainier and Meriwether open on JBLM First day back to school for students…

Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS 2014

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 9.58.57 PM

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 9.58.57 PM


As if you hadn’t seen enough, here is mine (click the photo).

Since I’m a reporter, at the start of the video (for about a minute or so, I tried to keep it short) I talk about why people are doing this challenge and how it raises awareness. No one (respectively) knew about ALS before this challenge, now the world knows about it. No matter how silly it is, it…

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Youtube Channel


I started a Youtube channel!

Thanks to my friend Courtney Coleman for convincing me!

I have made personal videos in the past just for fun, and now it might be time to actually make a Youtube to expand my skills personally and professionally.

On my channel I want to let out some of my creative video skills and have some fun.

I plan on it being creative and on a variety of topics including:…

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Among more than 58,000 names, Don Taylor was staring at one.

“We’re standing on hallowed ground right now,” Taylor said.

Taylor visited his cousin, Pvt. 1st Class Daniel W. Margrave II, Saturday at The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall in Chehalis.

“He was only in Vietnam for six weeks when he passed away in 1969,” Taylor said. “They said it was non-violent, maybe an accident … but to this day, we’re still not sure.”

Taylor is a retired U.S. Navy chief hull technician who spent four years on active duty and 20 years in the Navy Reserve.

He’s seen the original Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C., but said no matter what, every time he sees the wall, it’s always a spiritual experience.

“These brothers made the ultimate sacrifice and we cannot do enough to express our gratitude,” Taylor said. “We need to carry on what’s necessary to carry on the freedom. It’s critical that our elected officials maintain that which is so precious and dear.”

Hosting The Wall

And that’s what the 9,000 square-foot Veteran’s Memorial Museum, which hosted The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, in Chehalis intends to do.

This is the Traveling Wall’s second time at the Chehalis museum.

“We had the Traveling Wall in 2007 and we bring it to heal and honor — that’s our purpose,” said Chip Duncan, executive director of the Veterans Memorial Museum.

The Traveling Wall is the largest of the five around the country. It’s 360 feet long and 80 percent of the size of the original Wall. The original was founded and created to acknowledge and recognize the service and sacrifice of all who served in Vietnam. United States’ involvement began during the Eisenhower administration in 1954 and ended in 1975.

“I remember last year, there was a story about someone kneeling down near a name and another person asked if he knew that guy and he said ‘yeah that was my brother,’ and the other guy had served with him and was there the day he died,” Duncan said. “The man’s brother was only 8 years old when it happened, so he had never met anyone his brother served with. It was a really moving moment and they went over to Denny’s and talked for eight hours. It’s really about a time for healing. I don’t know anyone that hasn’t been touched by the wall.”

Events for the Traveling Wall at the museum ran from July 31 through Sunday.

Recognizing heros’

Vietnam War Veteran and retired Sgt Maj. Dennis L. Thompson, who was in the Army for 23 years, was recognized Saturday. In 1968, Thompson was assigned to the Lang Vei Special Forces Camp when it came under an enemy attack. He was knocked unconscious and taken prisoner.

His story of almost escaping, but never leaving behind a Soldier, awed the crowd. He escaped with another prisoner who was wounded. But after a few days, they were spotted.

Thompson refused to leave the other prisoner so they were caught and put in prison for a second time – resulting in five more years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement. Once he was finally out of prison, he completed Ranger School and served as a 1st. Sgt. in the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

Attendees at the event applauded his story and bravery and shook hands and took photos with him.

Also on Saturday, retired U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier and Vietnam War veteran Special Forces Maj. John L. Plaster, spoke during the event and said he was impressed when he walked through the museum.

“This is a national level museum,” Plaster said. “They should take great pride in this. Today I noticed this is a commitment of the museum – that (service members who fought in Vietnam) will not be forgotten.”

Plaster co-founded a sniper school that trains military and law enforcement personnel in highly specialized sniper tactics.

Plaster said the only reason he is alive today is because of some of his friends.

“Who knows who decides who survives or not,” Plaster said. “It’s a commitment they make and they shall not be forgotten. God bless you, God bless all Veterans and God bless America.”

Veterans Memorial Museum

The Veterans Memorial Museum is a 501c3 nonprofit corporation.

The museum is located in Chehalis off of Exit 77 and open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

During the months of June through September (Labor Day Weekend) the museum is also open on from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Admission to the main gallery is $6 per adult, $5 for Veterans and seniors and $3 per student or child from 6 to18 years old. Active duty Soldiers are always free and group tours are always welcome. Interested parties can call in advance to make an appointment.

For more information on the Veterans Memorial Museum, call 360-740-8875 or visit their website at

Bringing hallowed ground to life Among more than 58,000 names, Don Taylor was staring at one. “We’re standing on hallowed ground right now,” Taylor said.

2014, I need to be honest

2014 Started off promising, but as time went on, I realized 2014 wasn’t going to be what I expected.

I had all of these plans.

I knew exactly where I was going.

I knew exactly who the people in my life were and that they would be there for me.

Turns out,

I was wrong.

This year I’ve been hurt by a lot of people,

people I loved and trusted and people I respected.

Personally and Professionally. And it’s baffled me.

I’ve always been one to care for people too much, and oftentimes I’m left getting hurt. Sometimes it sucks being an emotional person. How do I turn it off?

I’ve also had to deal with death, seeing and feeling, death for the first time. I think that really affected me and started my anxiety really bad.

I miss my grandpa very much and wish I didn’t live so far away from extended family because I feel like so much time was lost through distance. But I couldn’t change that. I live in Washington and he lived in New York and my other family lives in Korea and Italy and Australia. 

Sometimes though, that really sucks.

I have had a whirlwind of things going on in my life and I haven’t had time to sit down and deal with everything. I’ve had to leave my previous job early to go to New York for a Catholic funeral then comes back and start my new job the next day. 

The year hasn’t been what I expected and I’m dealing with a lot of anxiety.

I have always been “the planner” person - ever since middle school.

I plan out my days and years and I know where I’m going - and when things don’t go according to plan I get really anxious. 

I get scared when things divert or don’t go as planned in my career, friendships, love and in general all things in life.

But I’ve also been really blessed with an awesome new job that I enjoy and I know I am going places. I don’t need everyone’s approval because I know who I am, I know I am a talented reporter and I am passionate about everything I care about and I shouldn’t have to apologize for it.

I guess the biggest lesson out of this is I need to learned to be okay with being a passionate and emotional person (even if sometimes it seems like a curse), forgive people because holding onto anger is like drinking poison and to sometimes, be okay that I’m not where I thought I was going to be. 

I don’t know what the rest of 2014 has in store for me, but I hope it gets easier from here. It’s heartbreaking to lose people in your life physically and mentally. I’ve learned I don’t deal with that well. And even if it doesn’t get better, I know that God has an awesome plan for my life and I hope that this just strengthens my faith even more. 

That was a ramble of emotions and text, but it felt good to write it all down.

2014, you were not what I expected. But, I think it’s a year for growing. And sometimes, growing hurts.

Cheers, 2014 - Bring it on. 

Also, here’s a great song about forgiving people. Tenth Avenue North is a great band, I really enjoy their messages!

"But still I wrestle with this
To lose the pain that’s mine
Seventy times seven times”


It scares me.


some nice things my therapist wrote down for me that i think everyone needs to be reminded of at times

(Source: ayyymayy, via barely-half-asleep)

Timestamp: 1407304387


some nice things my therapist wrote down for me that i think everyone needs to be reminded of at times

(Source: ayyymayy, via barely-half-asleep)

4 AM rambles

I’m really very tired.

Of the tossing and turning.

Thinking about who said what and when and why and “it’s your fault anyway”

I’m really very tired

Of trying for perfection

And never quite being good enough

For apologizing for feelings and anxiety

I’m really very tired

Of being consumed by why and what ifs and the last words

I don’t have the answers

And I certainly don’t have the solution


I’m really very tired

I’m just looking for peace