Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Memorial Day Vigil

For members of the armed services and their extended families, especially those who have felt the sting of, or live with, the scars of war, Memorial Day isn’t just another day for hot dogs, hamburgers, and cold beer. It’s a day to pay homage to the brave men and women who fought and died so the rest of us could bear the freedoms safeguarded by their sacrifices.

In a Memorial-Day Vigil held in the Albany campus courtyard Thursday, May 20, from noon to 12:30 p.m., the student body and surrounding community was given the privilege to hear from LBCC's Veterans Club, as they shared what Memorial Day means to them.

The atmosphere was somber, with 50 plus in attendance. The crowd varied in age and demographic. Sandwich boards were spread throughout the courtyard displaying death rates from various wars that the U.S. has been involved in. All branches of the military were represented with flags hanging from the second story balcony. Current and past service members, some in uniform, were among the spectators.

Many students could be seen listening in awe from the second floor balcony as instructor Lewis Franklin, retired first sergeant Iraq War Veteran and club advisor, began to speak. He pulled two coins out of his pocket, each representing a tour of duty that he served in Iraq.

Lewis Franklin, addresses the Memorial Day Vigil crowd.

On his second tour, his unit was lucky enough not to sustain any casualties. His inaugural tour wasn’t as fortunate. Attached to a unit out of Corvallis, Franklin lost four fellow soldiers, three of whom he knew personally. Two died in the same IED attack. With tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat, Franklin had to pause for a moment. As he mustered the courage to continue speaking, numerous members of the audience were crying and sharing his pain.

As he continued his story, the crowd’s anguish and empathy was only amplified as Franklin revealed that one of the young men who died in the IED attack was two weeks away from going home to his fiancee.

Franklin’s brother, a retired Major and veteran of the Gulf War and Hungary, James Franklin, also donned the podium.

“What does Memorial Day mean to me? Washington, Chamberlain…these are names that inspired us to fight for our country.”

James continued to express why soldiers/heroes do what they do.

“Country, honor, God...they do it in hopes that younger generations don’t have to face the terror of the world, or current battlefield.”

Veterans Club President Steven Olson, an Afghanistan combat war veteran, addressed the Battlefield Cross displayed in the courtyard. An American flag standing to the left and a POW flag to the right, the cross is made up of a soldier's rifle inserted bayonet first into combat boots with a helmet on top. Three dog tags hang around the rifle, each representing fallen comrades.

“They’re not here with me anymore, they’re in my heart.” Olson later added, “If my brothers were here with me, we’d be celebrating, having a barbecue.”

After each speaker finished, the audience was given a chance to say what Memorial Day means to them. With his wife and two kids present, former club President Mica Smith jumped at the chance to say that, to him, the day is a chance for “family and freedom to assemble, to honor those who served.”

Before Smith concluded he asked that while spectators are barbecuing, camping, or enjoying a cold one over the holiday weekend to “raise a glass to the ones who never came home.”

Following Smith, Chris Wenger took to the microphone with passion. Her son is LBCC artist Shane Kohfield. Kohfield served two tours of duty in Iraq and is on disability from the VA for a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and PTSD. Wenger and Kohfield just happened to be on campus, and had no idea the vigil was being held. She spoke about veterans still suffering at home.

“The cost of war is great. The war never ends for some of them. They come home, but it doesn’t stop.”

Wenger ended by thanking all veterans.

The ceremony came to a close with the Albany American Legion Post 10 Color Guard taking down the American flag as taps played in the background.

Following the vigil, Wenger had one more thing to say.

“I about cried when I saw the boots and the gun and the dog tags. My god…I had no idea I was going to get up and speak, but I don’t want people to forget. I don’t want them to ever forget.”

Albany American Legion Post 10 Color Guard member, Robert Sechrest, 
prepares to take down the flag.

At A Glance

Who: LBCC Veterans Club

What: Memorial Day Vigil

Where: Albany campus courtyard

When: May 20, from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Seasonal Beer Review

As the sun begins to shine and the weather gets warmer, we see a change in seasons—and
in our fridge.

As each new season approaches, breweries everywhere release seasonal brews. So I asked myself, what makes a seasonal and why? If it’s good enough to drink during one of the four seasons, then why isn’t it good enough for the rest of the year?

With some help from the manger at University Market, better known as the Orange Store in Corvallis, I selected three seasonal beers one from California, Washington, and, of course, Oregon.

The first beer I cracked into was Summer Solstice Ale brewed by Anderson Valley Brewing Company located in Boonville, Calif. Once this brew hits your lips it’s so good. The brewery describes it as, “Rich copper color floating a lacy, white head. Rich aroma of malt and caramel. Creamy, satin-smooth body envelops a pleasantly sweet caramel flavor with a subtle spicy hint.”

If this was my beer of choice, I’d be pissed-off that they don’t brew it year-round. I give it five out of six beers. As much as I like caramel, it’s a little rich. If the brewers came out with a slightly lighter version, it would complete the six-pack.

The second beer I previewed hails from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Ore. Another summer seasonal, Twilight Seasonal Ale’s label states, “Down goes another brewing dogma selected malts and a hearty dose of bold Amarillo hops deliver full-on flavor and crafted nuance in a spry summer style. Enjoy chilled as the days linger.”

This is a very drinkable beer that can easily be enjoyed on a hot summer day. I give it a four out of six beers. It’s flavorful, but not flavorful enough.

The final beer I tasted was Elysian Brewing Company’s SuperFuzz Blood Orange Pale, hailing from Seattle, Wash. Many folks like a fresh squeezed orange, lime, or lemon in a beer. Elysian’s attempt at fusing orange flavors into beer failed. A fresh squeezed orange is better than this horse-piss.

Nice try Elysian, but no thanks; if I want an orange in my beer, I’ll put it there myself. In the words of my former employer Dave Hufford, “Tell em to go get f***ed,” because this beer sucks. I wouldn’t drink SuperFuzz to piss out a burning building. Elysian needs to go back to the drawing board with this one. I give it a half a beer out of six.

Seasonal beers do have a place in the fridge and that is when the freshest ingredients are available for that seasonal taste. My only advice to brewers everywhere is if it’s good enough to drink in winter, spring, summer, or fall, then it's good enough to drink year-round. So whichever season it may be, brew on.

At a glance:

What: Seasonal Beer Review.

Where: Washington, Oregon, and California.

When: Spring/Summer 2015

Lane Evans: Meet the RoadRunner Reliever that made Coach Gipson a Believer

At six-foot-three and 210 pounds, Lane Evans doesn’t look like a right-handed reliever for the RoadRunners pitching staff. He looks like the type of linebacker that OSU football fans wish their team had on the field.

Far removed from the gridiron, Evans isn’t supposed to be in the Runners’ dugout. He wasn’t even invited to the team's only open tryout in July, but he showed up anyway.

A Reynolds High School graduate and currently dual enrolled, Evans thought his baseball career was over after high school. During his senior year, and after a wrist injury that only allowed him to play half-a-season, he was named second-team all-league. But, he wasn’t recruited by colleges out of high school.

Despite the rejection, Evans wanted to be a RoadRunner and reached out to the coaching staff via email. He never received a response. By chance, a fellow Reynolds High alumnus and friend of Evans, David Dodson, was invited to the open-tryout. Evans caught wind of the email, and despite his rejection, showed up.

Dodson didn’t make the team; Evans did.

Evans caught Head Coach Ryan Gipson's eye. He was one of only a few out of 50 would-be walk-ons to make the team.

“He threw a bullpen, and he was plenty good enough for me to dictate that he was going to help our club,” said Gipson.

After the tryout, Coach Gipson asked for Evans’ contact information, but Evans didn't hear back from him for almost a month. Unexpectedly, while on his way to the river, Evan’s received a phone call from Coach Gipson asking him to join the team.

With one more year of eligibility at LB, Evans is excited by the thought of finishing the school year and baseball season, and being able to take the mound again next year firing his favorite pitch, a slider past an unsuspecting batter.

“I went from thinking my baseball {career} was over, to that’s what I’m gonna do for the rest of my college years.”

An Education major, after next year Evans would like to continue his teaching degree and baseball career at Western Oregon University.

At a glance:

Who: Right-handed relief pitcher for the RoadRunners, Lane Evans.

What: LBCC Baseball.

Where: Albany, Ore.

When: 2015 RaodRunners Baseball.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Support Your Local Nurses

This coming Saturday, May 9, the LBCC nursing program will participate in the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence’s (CARDV) thirteenth annual Mother's Day run/walk for Safe Families.

After winning the event in 2014, the LBCC nursing team is looking to win back-to-back trophies for “Largest Team,” and for the team that raises the most “Friend Raising Funds.”

This is the third consecutive year that the nursing program has participated in the event. The team already has over 40 members, consisting of first and second year students, staff members, and graduates of the program. Even with 40 plus members, nursing faculty member and team captain Sherrilyn Sytsma welcomes anyone interested in having some fun and helping out for a good cause.

“We had a great time [last year]. We won lots of prizes and the trophy,” said Sytsma.

Proceeds for this event will support CARDV’s shelter programs, advocacy services for victims of domestic and sexual violence, and community education programs.

“[This event] helps us to exercise our social conscience. We’re able to support important causes that affect patients,” said Sytsma.

Registration and other related festivities are located in the parking lot at Second and B Street in downtown Corvallis.

The event features both a 5K run/walk and a “Fun Walk” course on which walkers may choose a one or two mile loop. The event is family friendly, but strollers are only welcome on walking trails.

There will also be a race just for kids. Every child who joins in the “Kid’s Dash” receives a participation ribbon.

If you would like to join the nurses or participate solo, you can register for the event at Look for the team name: LBCC Nursing, Team Captain: Sherrilyn Sytsma. Pre-registration is $25 and the deadline to join a team is noon Friday, May 8. For solo participants, registration is $30 on the day of the event. If you don’t wish to participate, but would still like to make a donation you can do so online by becoming a “Virtual Runner.”

Day of registration is from 8-8:30 a.m. pre-register check-in is from 8-9:30 a.m. The 5K run starts at 8:45 a.m. followed by awards at 9:15 a.m. All walking events start at 9:45 a.m. and the Kid’s Dash is at 10:30 a.m.

Oregon Declares Tom McCall Day

Rarely seen in modern politics, democrats and republicans in both the Oregon Senate and House unanimously approved Senate Bill 333, designating March 22 as Tom McCall Day.

The bill was signed into act by interim Governor Kate Brown in the Ceremonial Office at the Oregon State Capitol, on Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

McCall, former Oregon governor, served two terms running the state from 1967 to 1975. The thirtieth governor of the state and a republican, he is credited for many state initiatives including land use laws, the beach bill, and bottle deposit bill.

McCall died of cancer in January of 1983 while fighting for land-use planning laws up until the end. His son Tad McCall represented the McCall family at the signing of the bill.  

“My dad taught me to fish; he taught me to love nature; and he taught me to have respect for words and thoughts and people...He was the nicest man you could meet and one of the most interesting."

Tom McCall Day is meant to commemorate the former governor and encourage school districts to educate children about Governor McCall’s legacy.

After graduating from the University of Oregon, McCall worked as a journalist and got his first big break working for the Oregonian during WWII. This led to broadcasting positions in radio and eventually TV, which helped to propel him into the Governor's office.

A strict environmentalist, in 1969 McCall helped form the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). McCall was never afraid to speak his mind and had the vision to help protect Oregon’s natural habitat for future generations.

“Oregon should not be a haven to the buffalo hunter mentality. The interests of Oregon for today and in the future must be protected from the grasping wastrels of the land.”

Tom McCall Day will only add to his legacy which already includes two elementary schools named after him in Forest Grove and Redmond. Named in his honor are also Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland and Tom McCall Nature Preserve in Wasco County, which includes Tom McCall Point Hike. And there's also a Bronze statue of McCall fishing, located in Salem Waterfront Park.

An advocate for the environment and promoter of tourism, he worked to preserve Oregon's natural environment for generations of not only Oregonians, but people everywhere.

“We want you to visit our state of excitement often. Come again and again. But, for heaven’s sake, don’t move here to live.”

NFL Bound: Players form around the state prepare for draft

The 2015 NFL Draft kicks off April 30, Heisman winner and University of Oregon’s football Jesus, Marcus Mariota, is predicted to be a high first round pick. Jameis Winston is predicted to be the overall No. 1 pick, even though some critics rank Mariota above Winston.

Regardless of Mariota’s draft position, he will be one of many “impact” players to come out of this year’s draft, but he won’t be the only player or quarterback to be drafted out of the state of Oregon.

Completely off the radar is Western Oregon University wide receiver Tyrell Williams. Williams competed at Oregon State’s pro-day running the 40 in 4.42 and 4.44 seconds, the 20-yard short shuttle in 4.11 seconds, and the three-cone drill in 6.55 seconds. He had a 10-foot-7 broad jump and 39 1/2-inch vertical jump.

He is unlikely to be drafted, but NFL Senior Media Analyst Gil Brandt said, “Williams is a potential free-agent pickup for a team following the draft.”

All time Pac-12 passing leader, Oregon State’s Sean Mannion, is ranked as the No. 6 quarterback in the draft by ESPN and will likely be a mid-to-late-round pick. He will follow previous Pac-12 passing leaders such as USC’s Matt Barkley (Philadelphia Eagles), Carson Palmer (Arizona Cardinals), and No. 5 on the list and fellow OSU alumni Derek Anderson (Carolina Panthers) into the NFL.

Mannion won’t be the only Beaver to come off the board.

Steven Nelson, a speedy cornerback, should be a solid fourth-round pick. Defensive end Obum Gwacham joined teammates Mannion and Nelson at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and could be a late-round pick, or possibly get picked up in free agency.

If there is a Civil War rivalry on draft day, the Ducks’ success on the field is directly reflected through the draft. The Ducks had seven players invited to the NFL Combine: cornerback Troy Hill, linebacker Tony Washington, center Hroniss Grasu, offensive lineman Jake Fisher, defensive lineman Arik Armstead, and of course, Mariota. Cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu was invited, but is rehabilitating his injured knee.
The Ducks’ first-round talent doesn’t stop at Mariota with the possibility of several Ducks being plucked off the board in the first round. Armstead is ranked the tenth best player overall in the draft by ESPN and could join Mariota as a top ten pick.

Fisher could be spreading his wings a mile high, projected by to be the twenty-eighth overall pick landing with the Denver Broncos. If he joins Mariota and Armstead in the first round of the draft, 2015 will be a record setting year for UO football. Never have they had three players selected in the first round.

Even if the Ducks don't soar to first-round heights, they should tie a school record with at least six players drafted. With a possibility of a seventh, this could be the best Ducks draft class in history.

What About Bill?

To the surprise of almost no one, Hillary Clinton has announced her candidacy for the White House. Just as the 2008 election saw social change with America’s first African-American president in Barack Obama, the 2016 Presidential Election could see the first woman to win the oval office.  

With the passing of Measure 89 last November, gender equality in the workforce has been a hot topic of discussion, and the social justice implications of a woman president are enormous. But what about equality for men? More importantly, what about Bill? Bill Clinton, that is.

With the media and water cooler conversations centered around the first female president, what about the social justice implications of the First Gentleman to stand by Mrs. President’s side? There have been 46 First Ladies. Martha Washington may have been the first, but Dolley Madison was the first to be referred to as the First Lady. Bill could be the first to take the title of First Gentleman.

Hillary’s politics aside, there’s not a better man for the job: A sitting ex-president.  A vote for Hillary is a vote for Bill to become the First Gentleman.

[If Bill was able to run the free world throughout the 1990s all while not having sexual relations, and not inhaling, think about what he can accomplish as the First Gentleman. Bill’s going to have so much time on his hands for activities; I can almost see world peace and an end to world hunger on the horizon, or maybe I’m seeing cigar smoke and sex scandals.]

So what about Bill? The cigar smoking, intern banging, saxophone playing Bill Clinton, whom America either loves or loves to hate, could make a comeback with even more time on his hands for shenanigans. This leaves only one question: If Hillary does win the presidency, who will play the role of Bill on Saturday Night Live?