California coast photo with pelicans flying at sunset..

California operates nearly 300 state parks and recreation areas that offer forests, beaches, buttes and boating, historic military sites, railroads and everything in between. Of those state properties, all but three – Columbia State Park in Tuolumne County, Great Valley Grasslands State Park in Merced County and Robert Louis Stevenson State Park in the Napa […]

Vietnam veteran Michael VanCleemput at the mic of the ham radio equipment at the Veterans Homes of California-Redding.

REDDING – Michael VanCleemput is ham radio operator who makes friends through the frequencies, and would like to do so more frequently. The 80-year-old Vietnam-era veteran and resident of the Veterans Homes of California-Redding is looking for a few good men and women to converse with over the amateur radio airwaves. He is issuing an […]

Iconic photo of an Army guy with a tin cup waiting for coffee. There is a sign in the background that says "coffee."

Today is National Coffee Day, and no one appreciates a good cup of coffee more than members of the United States military. Why, you might ask?  Because they rarely get a really good cup of coffee. In galleys and mess halls, it’s brewed for the masses – thick, industrial and served from urns. No talls, ventis, grandes or trentas here, folks.  […]

Soldiers assigned to the 1st Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, await extraction via a CH-47 Chinook, Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.

Khaleel Yasir – a proud American citizen and Californian – watched the recent airlifts of refugees from Kabul, Afghanistan, with a greater understanding than perhaps the rest of us. He once had been in the same position himself—a refugee and an interpreter whose family would have remained in grave danger, and possibly faced death had […]

A B-29 bomber flying over the central valley of California.

On this day in 1942, the first B-29 Superfortress bomber made its maiden flight in Seattle. Built by Boeing and the brainchild of General Henry H. “Hap’ Arnold, this plane was a modern marvel. (Incidentally, Arnold learned to fly at the hands of the Wright brothers, but that’s another story.) It was the first U.S. […]

William McKinley was the 25th U.S. President

On this day in 1862, Union commissary Sergeant William McKinley braved enemy fire to feed Union troops during the Battle of Antietam – the single bloodiest day on American soil – and earned the praise of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes. McKinley, then just 19 years old and serving in the 23rd Ohio Volunteers, drove a […]

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Scott Jenkins interacts with Afghan children at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Aug. 30, 2021. The Defense Department through Northern Command and in support of the Department of Homeland Security, is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening and general support for up to 50,000 Afghan evacuees at suitable facilities, in permanent or temporary structures, as quickly as possible.

The 20-year war in Afghanistan is over. More than 2,400 American military personnel died fighting there. Four Californians were among the 13 servicemembers who perished in the evacuation operation’s final days. The war also claimed the lives of more than 3,600 civilian contractors and tens of thousands of Afghans since 2001. Many Americans who served […]

An illustration, pen on paper, of a bear sitting on a log near a campfire reading the headlines CA admitted into the union.

On September 9, 1850, California became the 31st state in the union, just two years removed from Mexican control and joining a nation in expansion mode. After Spain ruled Mexico and the West for 300 years, Mexico gained its independence in 1821 and with it, control of California among its realm. With the United States […]

A picture of the pilot and his plane from the Soviet Air Force who flew a MIG-25 to Hakodate, Japan, where he landed and requested asylum in the U.S.

As we celebrate Labor Day weekend, here’s a bit of background on the holiday, how it came to be, and some events that happened on Labor Days throughout history. In the spring of 1894 – and after several years of growing labor unrest across the nation – workers of the Pullman Palace Car Company in […]

Bee sipping nectar from the palm of veterans hand.

As a helicopter mechanic in the military, Jesus Toro’s primary duty involved keeping flying objects flying and performing optimally. Today, the 30-year-old husband, father of three children, and Marine Corps veteran still keeps things flying and performing optimally. He just handles more of them — as in thousands upon thousands more. Toro is a beekeeper […]