Arjay-ProtacioOffering advice to other transitioning military veterans, Arjay Protacio stressed the importance of utilizing available education benefits.

“As I look back, I feel I made the mistake of giving up on finishing school,” Arjay said. “Before I knew it, my education benefits had expired. But because I’m a disabled veteran I also qualified for vocational rehabilitation education benefits.”

Last year Arjay put those benefits to use and enrolled in CityU’s School of Management. Although he had plenty of work experience, Arjay said it was difficult to find employment without a college degree.

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Former City University of Seattle student Anthony Craig was recently named Outstanding Young Educator of the Year by the Washington State Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. Anthony received the 2014 recognition because of his commitment to students and staff, his leadership, and his personal achievements.

“I am honored to have received this award. I believe, though, that my work is only made possible by the collaborative work I am able to do with my community, my colleagues, and my students. I wish there were ways to honor our entire school community for their hard work! I am thankful we’re being acknowledged for our efforts to establish a school that truly serves our community.”

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Everyone can pinpoint influential figures in their lives, but even at a young age Jonathan Stutz reached beyond his community and pegged national and world leaders as his personal role models. One of Jonathan’s earliest memories is watching John F. Kennedy deliver a televised speech—an event that inspired his lifetime of interest in leadership. Last year Jonathan graduated from CityU’s Master’s in Leadership program, and is currently working with organizations to apply ideas pulled from his master’s thesis.

“Being a person who wants to make a difference in this world and have an impact beyond myself, City University’s MAL program was super attractive to me, and provides an avenue to deliver greater meaning and purpose to my life,” he said.

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It had been a while since I talked to kids about bees, and I forgot what great questions they come up with. On Friday I volunteered at the Washington State Fair at the Bee Booth, and spent four hours talking about how cool bees were, pointing out the queens in our two observation hives and stamping tiny hands with rubber bee cut-outs.

It must have been field-trip-to-the-fair day because it seemed like every 15 minutes another group of tiny people showed up, shepherded by their taller teachers with the neon yellow flags. With little kids you give them the run-down of what the worker bees, drones and queen look like, ask them how many eggs do they think the queen lays, and then ask if they know what bees make.

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Eric Mussen, the recently retired, extension apiculturist at UC-Davis spoke at yesterday’s meeting of the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association. While his focus was on honey bee nutrition, Mussen stunned the group by opening with the results of his varroa mite study. Mussen explained he and his colleagues had been monitoring several colonies in California, recording the number of mites to fall through the hive in a given week.

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For the majority of the summer that tally stayed around one to two mites per day, but near the end of the season, Mussen said the mite number exploded to 1,700 in one week. He said these were perfectly healthy colonies throughout the summer, but with the dearth of pollen as winter approached, the bees began robbing honey from other mite-infested colonies.

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After about a week of traveling — beginning in Minneapolis and hanging around Glacier National Park for a few days — we arrived in Seattle on Monday. (But really I’ve been traveling since last August when I left DC, and Dave since May 2012 when he left Pennsylvania.) The city has been Dave’s holy grail for the past two years. Essentially he always knew he’d end up here but in true engineer fashion he had to take a systematic approach to determining a new home and visited every major U.S. city in order to make a decision.

A bit more on the impulsive side, I put full faith in his decision-making process and am happy to say “Great choice Dave!” So far the weather has been gorgeous — very much like San Diego. And our neighbors in our temporary Columbia City home are extremely nice and welcoming and jumped at the chance to tell us which neighborhoods we should explore. But, while the niceness and scenery hasn’t disappointed, for me, the best part so far are the fruit trees, everywhere!

On our run this morning I had to dodge sprawling Himalayan blackberry branches, jump over purple plums that were staining the sidewalks and kick through apples that made part of our route look like a McDonald’s ball pit. In fact, the blackberries are so prolific, it seems even the birds have forgotten to eat them — or maybe they’re too full. Either way, you pretty much can’t go two blocks without spotting some delicious berries.

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The downside, however, is that this species is highly invasive, and takes over frontyards pretty quick, making the block look a little defunct. Maybe this is why one of our neighbors told us yesterday that Columbia City was the “ghetto” of Seattle. Though, to be fair, he said “if Seattle has a ghetto, then this would be it.” I had to laugh at his comment this morning, as we ran past exquisite flower beds overflowing with blue bachelor’s buttons, orange cosmos, asiatic lilies and pet roses. Even the stereotype of pitbulls behind chain-link fences (sorry Star) didn’t hold up. Instead of ferocious, barking dogs the only things that stood guard were several chickens who were happily pecking at the dry grass in search of bugs.

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Flower beds, free plums and berries galore? Sounds more like paradise than the projects.