The Intercom

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The Intercom
United States -- Army. -- Corps of Engineers. -- Walla Walla District ( issuing body )
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Walla Walla, WA
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District
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"Serving the military and civiliam members of the Walla Walla District".

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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This item is a work of the U.S. federal government and not subject to copyright pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §105.
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on10228 ( NOTIS )
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Vol. 39 No. 1 January March 2012 US Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District USACfEiWllWllDiti t


F r o m W h e r e I S i t . From Where I Sit... I NTERCOM The District installed a new tailrace gantry crane with a 40-toncapacity in December at Ice Harbor Lock and Dam in Burbank, Wash. I I I I I I I I N N N N T T T E E E R R R R C C C C O O O O M M M M N N N N T T T T E E E E R R R R C C C C O O O O M M M M Th Th e Di Di t st i ri t ct Th e Di st ri ct Contents 4 ConstructionIt’s not for lightweights 6 Ice Harbor’s New Crane Ice Harbor replaces fty-year-old tailrace gantry crane 8 Spotting Eagles District partakes in midwinter bald eagle survey 10 Eagle’s Eye View Check out photography of eagle life along the Clearwater River 12 Seven Sketches We have plenty of musical talent in the District 14 Around the District Ranger saves life; Clover Island completed; Idahoans plunge for charity 16 I’m With the Corps Mechanical Engineer Art Maldonado shares his mission with the Corpsis an unof cial publication authorized by the provi sions of Army Regulation 360-1. It is published bimonthly by the Public Affairs Of ce, Walla Walla District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It has a distribu tion of 1,500 copies. Contents of the INTERCOM are not necessarily the of cial views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, or the Walla Walla District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Commander Lt. Col. David A. Caldwell PA Chief Joe Saxon Editor PA Specialist Terri A. Rorke Stephen Doherty PA Specialist PA Specialist Gina Baltrusch Bruce HenricksonOn the coverphoto by Gina BaltruschFor more information, contact: Public Affairs Of ce U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 201 N. Third Avenue Walla Walla, WA 99362 Phone: 509-527-7020 E-mail: website: My of ce is located on the second oor of the Dworshak Visitor Center in Oro no, Idaho. I have an amazing view of Dworshak Reservoir and wildlife here. It’s such a great view; I have to place my computer monitor away from the windows so I can get my work done sometimes. Dworshak is truly a special place to live and work. As in all workplaces, co-workers come and go. But at Dworshak, many workers come and stay. The Dworshak area is not for everyone, especially those who need nearby shopping, fast food and paved roads. Those who do choose to stay work hard to be able to play hard in this incredibly beautiful environment. Many of Dworshak’s attributes make it a very special place for the public, too—mountains, forests, wildlife, boating, camping, shing, hunting and more. As the Corps’ natural resources manager for Dworshak, providing these public recreation activities has brought various natural resource and recreation challenges. We’ve met those challenges with a lot of dedicated effort and innovation during my 13 years here. Let me explain. The cool abundant water from Dworshak has been used to support the recovery of endangered salmon downriver since 1996. The reservoir must be lowered each summer by 80 feet to provide that cool water. But lowering the reservoir signi cantly impacts recreation and the local economy. The biological opinion for the recovery of salmon does not consider economic impacts to local communities. That severely frustrated our local community. The dam and reservoir became a perceived source of all things wrong with the government. Recreation visits plummeted, and negativity about the lake and the Corps gained popularity in local conversations and newspapers. Our biggest challenge has been to re-engage the community, turn that negativity around, and nd new ways to better utilize this resource at any given water level. We needed to have our community once again see Dworshak as an asset to the community. At the time of construction, Oro no-area residents understood they were promised excellent lake-based recreation and signi cant economic gains from the reservoir. This was the case for a number of years, and long-time residents have strong memories or perceptions of these promises that they feel were broken. For a atlander kid from Minnesota, this was a pretty dif cult playing eld for me to enter. Wearing my uniform, I was frequently challenged in the grocery store, at the bait shop, in the restaurant, and even after church service by residents who wanted to give me a piece of their mind. They needed to express frustrations and be heard, so I listened. In INTERCOM 2


the view from Dworshak illuminates a special place addition to a lot of one-on-one dialogue, the key to changing this perception was active engagement of in uential community leaders and challenge them to be creative and see different opportunities the reservoir can provide. We encouraged our community and its leadership to take the debate over water levels off the front page and instead focus on working together to nd productive, creative solutions to improve recreation at all water levels. Little by little, working together, we’ve engaged the community, changed some opinions, built relationships and re-created recreation and natural resource management at Dworshak. For example, we installed oating toilets because lakeshore facilities are a long way up the steep banks. We installed destination and safe harbor docks to help offset the loss of shoreline camping. These are oating patios for boaters to swim, picnic, sunbathe and socialize away from other boat traf c, and they’re very popular. The docks were purchased and installed through a combination of grants, donations, partnerships, and Corps labor. As another example, ATV trail-riding is the fastest-growing recreation segment in Idaho. Dworshak does not have designated motorized trails or the authority to build any.But we were able to update the Public Use Plan to include motorized trails as an alternate method to get to lakeshore campsites that had become dif cult for boaters to reach. We are partnering with the ATV user groups in the area to design, develop and maintain new trails. Also, shing is a very important recreational pursuit on the lake. But the reservoir is aging, and as a result productivity and sh health are declining. In 2000, a local community leader and avid sherman proposed that we improve shing conditions similar to what was done at Canadian mountain reservoirs. As a result, the Corps and Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) are now partnering on a nutrient supplementation pilot project to re-balance critical nutrients and jumpstart the reservoir food chain. We expect this will lead to improved water quality and better shing. Dworshak has 30,000 acres of forest surrounding the reservoir. Much of this forest is overstocked, provides marginal wildlife habitat, and is threatened by unnatural res large enough and hot enough to take out the entire forest. To help alleviate this condition, we’ve completed two stewardship forestry projects and are planning a third. Trees are sold to local mills, further supporting the local economy by supporting jobs. Revenue above what it costs to restore the harvest site after a timber sale is used for planning and environmental compliance of the next forest improvement project. As recreation budgets continue to tighten, how can we decrease operational costs and still provide quality recreation facilities? In a word, the answer is VOLUNTEERS! The Dworshak recreation team has been able to run the visitor center, reinstate dam tours, mow lawns, clean restrooms and campsites, replace trail bridges, resurface picnic tables, paint the visitor center and much more. But we couldn’t do all this without our volunteers. This year we’ll have 12 volunteer couples, all living on site either at Dent Acres Campground or at the visitor center, keeping facilities open and running for the public we serve. Our maintenance crew is top notch. This small crew handles everything from pumping sewage at lakeside campsites to designing and maintaining self-adjusting anchor systems for docks and a marina. The key to their success is a strong work ethic, exibility, innovation and always recognizing who they work for—the visiting, taxpaying public. There are very few tasks these folks cannot do, especially when they partner with support from the powerhouse mechanical, electrical and engineering crews. The Corps is a strong local community member that cares about people and natural resources. Challenges will continue to arise and Dworshak Natural Resources will persevere through dedicated teamwork, creativity, communication and innovation. We’ll continue to engage the community, build strong trust-centered relationships, and provide quality recreation and natural resources management for the public for years to come. It’s been a challenging pleasure to represent the Corps and be a member of the Oro no community for the past 13 years. I look forward to many more. We’ve made a lot of progress. I wear the same uniform proudly, and folks approach me a bit differently than when I arrived. Yep, Dworshak is truly a special place. Paul Pence, Natural Resources Manager Dworshak Dam and ReservoirJanuary March 2012 3


C o n s t r u c t i o n Construction Constructing national infrastructure isn’t for lightweights. This heavy-duty work requires complex planning, contracting and engineering expertise. To carry this load, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District has a 35-member Construction Branch team of engineers, construction managers, and other support personnel on point, focused and executing $40 million worth of projects annually. Together, the team helps maintain hydropower systems that produced 19,820 gigawatt hours of residential electricity in 2011, enough to provide 32 percent of the electricity used in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. In addition, the District’s navigational operations help enable 40 percent of the Nation’s wheat to pass through the Columbia-Snake river system. “A high performance construction program results from the success of many elements coming together—the most important is a dedicated, experienced and capable workforce,” District Construction Branch Chief Cliff Steele said. The Construction Branch divides its responsibilities among Resident Engineers, a Regional Technical Hydropower Specialist and a Quality Manager/Value Engineer who manage projects based on locations within the District boundaries. These specialists are responsible for all phases of construction contract activities— inspecting the contractor’s work for compliance with government requirements, processing pay requests, enforcing safety, reviewing submitted materials to be supplied, and estimating and negotiating contract change orders. “We are the eyes and ears of the project delivery team tasked with supervising and administering contracts with the goal that they are constructed as speci ed, accident free, delivered on schedule, and within budget while minimizing impacts to opera-Story by Terri A. Rorke and Joseph SaxonLoad-testing at Lower Monumental Lock and Dam near Kahlotus, Wash. Lower Monumental Lock gate rehabilitation project. INTERCOM 4


C o n s t r u c t i o n Scenes from construction projects around the District including at Lower Monumental Lock and Dam near Kahlotus, Wash., and McNary Lock and Dam in Umatilla, Ore. See rst four photos on left page column for bridge crane rehabilitation project at Lower Monumental Lock and Dam. tions customers,” said Supervisory Civil Engineer Duane West, who serves as the District’s Upper Snake River resident engineer. Each year about two dozen construction contractors and their many subcontractors perform the actual work, and many of these rms have a long history with the District. Jobs may range from maintaining existing facilities or entirely new construction at Corps dams, powerhouses, navigation locks, high voltage electrical systems, recreation facilities, roads, sh hatcheries, river dredging, debris disposal and wildlife habitat improvements. Work for others missions included watershed improvement projects for the University of Idaho and Nature Conservancy, and emergency levee repairs in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The Regional Technical Hydropower Specialist (RTS) is an expert on using the power of stored water to generate clean, dependable electricity. The RTS for hydropower also reviews turbine and generator designs and speci cations, oversees construction methods and techniques, and provides expert advice and assistance developing contracts, resolving problems with contractors, assisting project operations crews and helping other Corps Districts and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Construction Branch leads the District’s quality management mission with an emphasis on products and implementation. The quality manager position is a dual role with value engineering responsibilities, and also chairs the Quality Management Board to oversee and guide District improvement processes. The Value Engineering/Value Management program is often described as a study of “functions” and is an orderly and creative method to increase the value of an item. Since 2008 the District has reported value engineering project savings totaling more $10 million. Quality management and value engineering both strive to continuously improve District products and processes. “The Walla Walla District is indeed fortunate to have resident of ces staffed with people who are adept in nding practical solutions, partnering with contractors and other District functions, and delivering real-time, or near real-time, solutions to problems arising in the eld,” Steele said. “These efforts provide a better quality product at a lower overall cost for our customers. Through these oriented efforts, Construction Branch employees are able to successfully serve the needs of our community, our nation and the world,” he added. C i v i l W o r k s Civil Works O p p o r t u n i t i e s Opportunities L o w e r M o n u m e n t a l Lower Monumental D i e s e l G e n e r a t o r Diesel Generator R e p l a c e m e n t Replacement L i t t l e G o o s e D i e s e l Little Goose Diesel G e n e r a t o r R e p l a c e m e n t Generator Replacement L o w e r G r a n i t e D i e s e l Lower Granite Diesel G e n e r a t o r R e p l a c e m e n t Generator Replacement M c N a r y J B S O u t f a l l McNary JBS Outfall R e l o c a t i o n Relocation L o w e r M o n u m e n t a l Lower Monumental J u v e n i l e B y p a s s S y s t e m Juvenile Bypass System O u t f a l l R e l o c a t i o n Outfall Relocation M c N a r y U n i t W i n d i n g s McNary Unit Windings R e p l a c e m e n t Replacement L i t t l e G o o s e a n d Little Goose and L o w e r M o n u m e n t a l Lower Monumental E x c i t e r s a n d P H D i e s e l Exciters and PH Diesel G e n e r a t o r s R e p l a c e m e n t Generators Replacement M c N a r y T r a n s f o r m e r s McNary Transformers R e p l a c e m e n t Replacement L o w e r G r a n i t e a n d Lower Granite and L o w e r M o n u m e n t a l S Q 2 Lower Monumental SQ2 S w i t c h g e a r R e p l a c e m e n t Switchgear ReplacementU.S. Army Corps of Engineers photos Juvenile Fish Facility Outfall Pipe project at Lower Monumental Lock and Dam (also pictured in far, left column at bottom of page). Oregon sh ladder traveling screen project at McNary Lock and Dam.January March 2012 5


A Heavy Lift A H e a v y L i f t U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff at Ice Harbor Lock and Dam received a rather large Christmas present. It’s a new crane weighing 58 tons that can lift even heavier loads than the crane it replaced. The new 40-ton-capacity gantry crane was installed in December and replaced the dam’s 35-ton-capacity crane located on the tailrace deck just outside the powerhouse on the downstream side of the dam. After 50 years serving the dam’s heavy-lifting needs, the old crane was beginning to show its age, creating potential safety concerns. Corps of Engineers quality assurance representatives from Walla Walla District’s Engineering and Construction Division monitored a series of nal tests which included running the new crane through all mechanical and electrical component functions and movements while bearing different amounts of weight up to 125 percent (or 50 tons) of its rated capacity. Ice Harbor’s Operations Project Manager Roger Golladay pointed out that as Ice Harbor Lock and Dam nears 50 years of service, tending to or replacing aging components of the dam’s equipment and infrastructure is critical to maintaining the facility. “Ice Harbor has produced enough power and enabled economical commercial river transportation to more than pay for what the public originally invested to build it,” he said. “If we take good care of it, Ice Harbor will continue providing power, navigation, irrigation and recreation bene ts to the region for years to come.” In March 2010, the Corps awarded a $1,866,179 contract to Advanced Crane Technologies (A.C.T) LLC from Reading, Pa., to design, manufacture and install the new crane. A.C.T. designed the crane and subcontracted out component and Corps replaces Ice Harbor’s 50-year-old tailrace gantry crane Story and photos by Gina BaltruschINTERCOM 6


Lift factsExterior dimensions are about 40 feet high and 30 feet wide on all sides, weighing about 58 tons. The crane has built in load cells to indicate the weight being lifted. Variable frequency drives control gantry and trolley speeds. Flux vector hoist control for very accurate positioning of the load (to within thousandths of an inch). The hoist control can also “ oat the load,” meaning hold the full load electrically, without any brakes, at a constant position. Amount of steel recycled from the old crane was approximately 127,000 pounds.U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District members and contract workers install a 58-ton tailrace gantry crane at Ice Harbor Lock and Dam in December. The crane replaced the old one after 50 years of service. The new crane has a 40-toncapacity — ve more tons than the old crane. District Civil Engineer Fernando Aguilar (left page, bottom, right photo) manages the crane replacement project at Ice Harbor Lock and Dam in Decemberstructural fabrication to several Washington State businesses, including one in the Tri-Cities area. Structural fabrication and initial assembly was done at Thompson Metal Fabrication in Vancouver, Wash. Electrical work was subcontracted to Atomic Electric of West Richland, Wash. Removal of the dam’s old crane and nal assembly of the new crane was subcontracted to Machinery Installation and Maintenance, Inc. of Mill Creek, Wash. The new, silver-colored crane is positioned on railroad-like tracks which run the length of the powerhouse, standing about 40 feet tall, its stilt-like, steel structural columns spanning an area roughly 30 feet square. The tailrace crane is primarily used to raise and lower bulkhead sections (also called “stoplogs”) into and out of the turbine draft tube gate wells on the downstream side of the dam. The crane is also used to transport many other types of materials and equipment necessary to maintain powerhouse operations.January March 2012 7


“We got a golden to our right,” Billie Drewery calls out on the intercom above Dworshak Reservoir near Oro no, Idaho. Despite the bright January sun glaring off the helicopter window, seasoned eagle spotter Drewery points to a golden eagle ying above the trees. It’s one of many eagles counted as part of an annual nationwide midwinter eagle survey coordinated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The Corps maintains the long-term database while jointly reporting survey data with USGS. The purpose of the midwinter eagle survey is to monitor the status of bald and golden eagle wintering populations in the contiguous United States by estimating national and regional count trends and monitoring threats to habitat. On Jan. 13, the crew found a mix of 18 bald and golden eagles. In the past 20 years of data collection on Dworshak Reservoir, the Corps counted 651 eagles—an average sighting of 32 eagles a year. Ever since Drewery started working as a Corps forester at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir in 1978, he’s been on the eagle survey team. Nine years after retiring in 2003, Drewery is still Dworshak’s choice eagle spotter. Over the humming helicopter blades, Drewery and other Corps personnel can’t hear the call that the majestically known bird makes nor hear the sound of its wings apping before soaring toward prey. But a sense of freedom is evoked while airborne alongside a living symbol of resiliency. It was only about ve years ago that the eagle was formally delisted from the Endangered Species List. When the bald eagle’s population was dwindling in the 1960s, the raptor was declared an endangered species under a law preceding the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Even though the bald and golden eagles are no longer listed under the ESA, they are still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940 and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Years of damage done to the eagle population by pesticide use and habitat destruction have been reversed by decades of conservation efforts. Since 2005, Natural Resources Specialist Sam Martin has been rotating recording eagle observation responsibilities every other year with co-worker Forester Bob Tardif at the reservoir. This year was Martin’s turn to observe. Martin said he values his role in the survey because “the eagle has always been a symbol of national pride for me and countless other Americans.” While positioned in the background of our culture— etched on coins, perched atop ag poles and used as the subject for patriotic artwork with wings wide—the eagle is at the heart of the resilient American spirit. Most Americans still nd an eagle sighting remarkable. Ever since those rst days of national eagle protection laws, the midwinter count has been a way for Americans to protect the national emblem. “It lls me with pride and hope to see the bald eagle come back from near extinction and to see the species adapt and overcome changes to its environment,” Martin said. “Like the spirit of the bald eagle, the United States will always be able to come back and thrive, regardless of future challenges.” S p o t t i n g Spotting e a g l e s eaglesStory and photos by Terri A. RorkeINTERCOM 8


The bald eagle almost went extinct in America partly because: -eagles were historically thought of as vermin by farmers and shot. -widespread use of insecticides, like DDT, built up in adult eagles and caused them to lay thin-shelled eggs that cracked before hatching. -habitat was lost when forests were cleared. -overhunting resulted in a decline of animals that eagles eat (shorebirds, ducks, etc.). The bald eagle is the only eagle unique to North America. Bald eagles pair for life. Nests are sometimes used year after year and can weigh 4,000 pounds. Bald eagles may live 30 years in the wild (longer in captivity). Bald eagles get their distinctive white head and tail after they reach maturity at four or ve years old. An eagleÂ’s wingspan is about 7-feet long. Eagles can y up to 30 miles an hour and dive at 100 miles an hour. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there were only about 400 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the lower 48 states in 1963. The eagle was one of the original species protected by the Endangered Species Act enacted in 1973. For more information on the Midwinter Bald Eagle Count, visit For more information about bald and golden eagles, visit U.S. Fish & Wildlife ServiceÂ’s website at midwest/Eagle/index.html. E a g l e f a c t s Eagle facts(Far left) Dworshak Natural Resources Specialist Sam Martin records eagle sightings along Dworshak Reservoir in January during the annual Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey. (Right) Dworshak Reservoir.January March 2012 9


story by Terri A. RorkeResidents of North Central Idaho, Roger and Janice Inghram, have been taking in the scenery for decades on the Clearwater River by Dworshak Dam near Oro no, Idaho. Through their photography, patience and dedication is rewarded with a closeup look at life often missed on the ground--nesting raptors. “Photographic opportunities abound in this beautiful environment and it’s a way to connect directly with what we love,” Roger said. Roger’s career as a lineman with a rural electrical power company rst prompted his interest in photographing osprey. With climbing skills he could access a tall tree above and near a nesting tree. The Inghram’s rst tree stand was erected in 1969 and the couple spent the next 42 years building bird blinds in various locations in the Clearwater River Basin. “We exercise determination and patience to capture natural behavior by respecting birds and animals,” Roger said. Blinds are built while birds are out of the area, and when birds return ground blinds and long lenses are used to minimize disturbance. The Inghrams turned their attention to bald eagles in 2004 when they began seeing the species year-round. In that same year, the team also changed how it erected bird blinds. Now the couple perches on a steep hillside above an eagle nest with a ground blind to capture normal behavior. That was when they photographed two bald eagle nests during nesting season (Mile 6 on Middle Fork Clearwater River and near Clear Creek on the Middle Fork) and a golden eagle nest on Lawyer Creek. “The couple photographs other raptors year-round when they can locate them including Red-tailed Hawks, Kestrels, Northern Goshawks, Northern Harriers, Rough-legged Hawks. For more than 42 years, the Inghrams conducted bird surveys for many agencies and institutions, erected nesting platforms on private and public lands, shared outdoor photography and in greeting cards, made presenta-photo by Roger and Janice Inghram photo by Billie Drewery agleEeye view INTERCOM 10


tions at schools, civic and social organizations and agency campgrounds. If you ask Roger, the years of effort yield many awards. “Keeping up with improvements in photographic equipment has been challenging technically and nancially over the years, but it keeps us young in spirit,” he said. “Celebrating the dynamics of nature through the art of photography gives us great joy, and we hope that sharing images makes a difference in how others view the natural world.”photo by Roger and Janice Inghram photo by Terri A. Rorke photo by Roger and Janice Inghram photo by Roger and Janice Inghram photo by Roger and Janice Inghram January March 2012 11


Sirens and Musicians People may know Marv Cramer as one of the mechanics at Ice Harbor Lock and Dam in Burbank, Wash. But when he’s not at work, you may nd him with his classic rock ‘n’ roll and country band based out of Richland, Wash. Cramer is a bassist and vocalist in the band. How did they come up with the name? One night when it was their turn to play at an “open mike” night event, someone asked what the band’s name was. Rhythm guitarist Jim Conant replied, “We drive old cars and play old songs. We’re just an old bunch of retreads.” Cramer commented on how music plays a role in his life. “I have done many interesting things in my life and have had great accomplishments but music tops the list,” he said. Check out the band at lter=12. The Retread Band Pitch the WooIn 2009, friends got together for living room jam sessions. The sessions turned into perfecting a combination of jazz, blues and metal-inspired backgrounds. This is when Pitch the Woo was born. The Tri-Cities, Wash.-based band ties individual styles together to form something uniquely mused. After a year of recording songs in Thomas Andes’ living room, the group is now ready for various live shows in the Tri-Cities this spring. For drummer Andes, music is a constant thing in his life. In college, Andes said he had to slow down his musical career, but now achieves a good balance between career, music and family. “I’m back on track to improving as a musician. Whether I’m playing on stage in front of a crowd, or just jamming in my living room, music will always play an important role in my life.” Check out Pitch the Woo on Facebook or at Andrew Dankel-Ibez comes from generations of musicians. His grandfather, Ulices, played for two popes and two presidents, including President John F. Kennedy, as a member of the Colombian Presidential military band, while his dad, David Dankel, a former Corps employee, plays guitar, trumpet and ugelhorn. Dankel-Ibez has played trumpet and ugelhorn for 28 years. “I played backup trumpet with my dad’s band, Powerswing, and played lead trumpet with my pops in the Mill Creek Jazz Band.” He now plays with the Walla Walla Valley Bands, and once was on stage playing before Lionel Hampton, but it’s family connections that elicit the best in the music. “My grandpa Ulices is 97 years old and still blows his sax occasionally, especially whenever we visit Colombia,” he said. He also said the “opportunity to play with my father every week, to share that is pretty special. Certain things are nite– you can only shoot hoops with him for so long, but music is everlasting and now I get to do that with my seven-year-old son who’s been playing the piano since he was three.” Andrew Dankel-Ibez Larry Gesler It wasn’t long before Larry Gesler’s mother realized her son was musically inclined. As a one-year-old, Gesler was already a singer. “My mom called me her little songbird,” Gesler said. “When I was about nine, I started piano lessons.” One day Gesler’s cousin showed him a few chords on the guitar, and that became his choice instrument. “Even though I had few formal lessons on the guitar, I learned to play both the acoustic and electric guitars quite well. The piano background came in handy. I eventually got a used electric guitar at a music shop. I didn’t have enough money for an ampli er, but gured out how to play my guitar through the family radio. I set the dial between stations, plugged in the guitar, turned up the volume all the way and it worked like a champ.” Today Gesler plays gospel, oldies, folk, blues and rockabilly. He plays on church worship teams, at community events, “open mike” nights and plans to sing at the local cancer walk this year. “When I play with a group, I usually talk to the sound person. I tell them that I don’t care how they mix this thing just as long as I’m louder than anyone else!” Seven cians Soft Sket c story by Terri Rorke and Joe Saxon


Karen Kelly“High on a hill was a lonely goatherd,” Karen Kelly sings. “I’ve had that song in my head all day.” It’s no wonder why Kelly has The Sound of Music show tune on her mind. By day she serves as a programmer for the Corps, and by night she accompanies many multiple events in the community as a pianist and vocalist. She’s currently rehearsing with Walla Walla High School for The Sound of Music production set to debut in May. Beyond her debut as a musician playing the piano at age ve, Kelly branched out to other instruments throughout the years and even earned her bachelor’s of music degree in vocal performance with enough credits for a piano performance minor. “Music is my love and my passion,” Kelly said. “I’ve discovered that I work well with the students in our community and love working with them. It’s not always easy to put in a full eight hours at work and then go rehearse every night for another three or more, but it’s what I do.” For more information on Walla Walla High School’s production of The Sound of Music production, visit event/7067/The-Sound-of-Music. GreyWolf Eleven years after forming a “pack,” Greywolf is still entertaining the Tri-Cities crowd in Washington. The rock’n country band hits many venues in the region. While inspired by everything from country to ZZTop, Greywolf has a deep-rooted Americana rhythm and “a wonderful throaty romantic country tone” according to the band’s website, Greywolf bassist Roger Bowen is a utility worker at McNary Lock and Dam in Umatilla, Ore. After 35 years of federal service, he is now making retirement plans. “When I retire at the end of 2012, music is the only thing I will be doing,” he said. “The band plans to take the show on the road and enjoy life. If the Rolling Stones can do it at their age so can Greywolf.” t ches of SongCarl & Katie ChristiansonCorps employees have a rich history of contributing to the arts in Walla Walla. Former District employees Larry Pfefferle (retired) and Mark O. Marty (deceased) started the Walla Walla Community Band (now the Walla Walla Valley Bands) in the late 1980s. The band started with less than 30 members and ourished to more than 70 members in ve different bands. Carl and Katie Christianson met in one of those Corps-inspired bands 20 years ago, and they’ve been making beautiful music ever since. District Biologist Carl, a Philadelphia native and classically trained pianist, plays keyboards, alto and soprano saxophone, clarinet and percussion cajon. Katie is a vocalist from Seattle who also plays piano and bass, acoustic and electric guitars. Together with the two other members of their band, Bizarre Love Triangle, they perform at venues around the Walla Walla valley including tasting rooms, outdoor festivals and the farmers market. Their sound ranges from southern rock, country to modern acoustic, but they have the most fun with blues. “What we are doing now is something we always wanted to do,” Katie said about their focus on small venues and piano cocktail bars. “It’s a nice creative outlet after dealing with engineering all day,” Carl added. “Performing allows us an emotional outlet,” Katie said. “It connects us as a couple and allows us to make a public declaration of how we feel about each other while keeping us connected to the community.” They rehearse weekly at a minimum and “ramp it up when we know we have a gig,” she said, and “put in a solid two or three hours the day before.” They also constantly work on their repertoire by including new songs. “We prepare a set list and try to add a new song or two for every gig,” Katie said. In seeking an audience connection they know they’ve found it when the audience is participating by bobbing their heads or dancing. Otherwise, we’ll know if we don’t hear anything but us,” she said. That was evident at a recent performance downtown at Walla Faces. “It was a good sound and we were connecting with the audience. When the audience is engaged, it’s a very intimate feeling, satisfying and gratifying,” she said. “We would do this even if we did not have an audience,” Katie said. “It’s excellent for our two children who are musically inclined. Performing is less intimidating for them when they see the old people doing it, she laughed. You can nd them at or on Facebook.


Park Ranger Doug Vogel began his evening patrol on Oct. 8 just like any other day. Little did he know that he would receive a call that lead to him saving a life. When Vogel arrived to the levee bank at Mountain Dew Park in Lewiston, Idaho, he found a 30-year-old woman half-submerged in water along rip rap. Vogel’s years of training and experience kicked in. He quickly called for police and emergency services and removed her from the water until services arrived. “At this point her level of consciousness was low. She wouldn’t respond to verbal questions,” Vogel said. Within ve minutes, emergency services arrived and the woman went unconscious. “I can say without a doubt that she would have drowned if she was not removed from the water,” Vogel said. Vogel received the District’s rst Water Resources Lifesaving Award and was honored by the Lewiston Police Department with a First Responder Award for his response efforts. “Doug’s response shows the level of commitment and training that all of our park rangers have,” said District Park Manager Joseph Maxwell, who is Vogel’s supervisor. “He may say that he was ‘just doing his job,’ which is true, but his actions were typical of his personal character as well. When there is a need, Doug always steps up and gets it done.” Natural Resources Specialist Darren Opp, also commented on his co-worker’s actions. “Doug is a role model,” Opp said. He understands the meaning of public service, and he does it.” Park Ranger Vogel saves life; receives first District lifesaving award A little cold weather did not stop 20 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District members from competing in the second annual Turkey Bowl ag football game at Martin Field in Walla Walla, Wash. in December. District Commander Lt. Col. David Caldwell lead his team, the Black Knights, to victory with a 3-1 win against the Golden Knights captained by Deputy Commander M aj. Rodney Baker. photos by Scott Keller photo by Rita Greene round the istrict ag youre i t a INTERCOM 14


More than 300 people “beared” the cold and jumped in icy waters at the ninth annual Great Polar Bear Challenge at the Spring Sh ores Marina at Lucky Peak Reservoir near Boise, Idaho, on New Year’s Day. About 1,500 people cheered on participants at the fundrais er event supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Idaho. Funds raised at the event are used to make wishes come true for Idaho children with lifethreatening medical conditions. The Idaho Chapter serves more than 90 children a year. “This year, due to the success of online giving, we raised funds to grant six wishes for Idaho kids,” Torene Bonner said who serves as the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Idaho president and CEO. “The children can wish to GO, to HAVE, to BE or to MEET; it is only limited by their vivid imaginations.” Three people who raised the most money were awarded water sports prizes. Since the rst Make-A-Wish Foundation New Year’s Day challenge in 2002, the event has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars. Lisa Krieger serves as a senior power plant operator at Lower Granite Lock and Dam near Pomeroy, Wash. Krieger went above and beyond her duties as the Hazardous Energy Control Program (HECP) Transition Coordinator for Lower Granite during its transition from tagout to lockout/tagout procedures. The transition involved getting all of the locking devices, locks boxes and locks organized and labeled in a two-week time frame. In addition to HECP, Krieger supported the commissioning of Unit 4 and Unit 6’s new exciters. She coordinated with various organizations including the Bonneville Power Administration and various contractors. Robert Eskildsen serves as an assistant District counsel attorney with his primary responsibilities in environmental law, real estate, cultural/historical properties and emergency operations. Eskildsen started working for the District in 2002, transferred to the Department of Energy as an attorney in Hanford, Wash., and has been back with the District since August 2010. C lover I slandphotos by Marv Grif th photo by Terri A. Rorke Port of Kennewick of cials recognized the Walla Walla District in January on its successful transfer of Clover Island property to the Port in Kennewick, Wash. Although the District of cially transferred the property rights in 2006, an omnibus bill signed by President Barack Obama in December lifted restrictions from the deed that prevented the Port of Kennewick from developing the land into an active waterfront. The 1.5 acres of land was previously a part of McNary Lock and Dam facility. The Port is now able to facilitate the growth of an active waterfront on Clover Island—one of Kennewick’s most visible portions on the Columbia River shoreline. (From left) District Realty Specialist Paul Shampine, Planning Branch Chief Rebecca Kalamasz, Realty Specialist Nancy Herres, Real Estate Division Chief Rodney Huffman, District Commander Lt. Col. David Caldwell, Port of Kennewick President Skip Novakovich, and Director of Governmental Relations and Marketing Tana Inglima.plunge for c harity olar Mo re of the q uarter mployees January March 2012 15


I  m w i t h t h e Im with the C O R P S CORPS A r t M a l d o n a d o Art Maldonado Name: Art MaldonadoPosition: Supervisory Mechanical Engineer, McNary Lock and Dam, Umatilla, Ore.Describe your job. My job is to work closely with project chiefs to manage the maintenance activities for hydropower, our spillway dam, fish ladders, fish pump house and navigation lock. I supervise about 60 employees, most of who are trades and crafts workers. The size of this project allows additional supervisors with three crew foreman and five working foreman.What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your current position? The biggest challenge I face is in the three B’s. That means for every maintenance employee to Believe that Balance in the workforce can lead to a Better life. For me, this happens when maintenance work done is consistently from a planned, scheduled and executed position, with having the ability to handle and manage emergency situations.Describe a few accomplishments you’ve experienced with your job. McNary maintenance takes pride in the ability to step up to challenges on emergency jobs. The maintenance crews last year repaired crane five misalignment problems after the recent rehabilitation. Six months ago the maintenance crew repaired a generator failure on main unit 7 within 60 days. Two years ago, the crews rehabbed the miter gate arm during the five-year dewatering outage. These things were never done before, and we had very little information on record how to do them.What is the most rewarding part about your job? Knowing I volunteered in 2005 for Hurricane Katrina Recovery Task Force. Katrina had made its final landfall near the state line, and the eyewall passed over the cities of Bay St. Louis and Waveland as a Category 3 hurricane. The devastation was awful, and our ability to help others was enormous for all who were there. I just recently completed the McNary Maintenance Program. It has been a mission of mine for several years to put something together that could take the best practices of using government tools in doing business to our advantage. This book will hopefully give future maintenance employees direction of what our maintenance mission is for the future.Please highlight a notable milestone or memory in your position. I had opportunities to work at two different districts and several project positions. I worked seven years for Operations at a District level and over thirteen years with the projects. As I get closer to retirement I realize I have an obligation to bring the Corps of Engineers to a higher level of productivity. As our former Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Van Antwerp said about bringing us from “Good To Great” and not being afraid of “swinging the bat,” opportunities are in abundance with the Corps.