Remember the Alamo? Poll shows GOP voters torn as to whether Texas is under military attack

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According to a May 14 story on Texas’ KVUE.com, a poll by a “left-leaning polling firm” found that 32 percent of would-be voters in the Republican primary feared that the Jade Helm 15 military training exercise was actually a government conspiracy to invade Texas. The conspiracy theory, notably backed by actor Chuck Norris, has garnered national attention, despite the fact that civ-mil training exercises take place on a regular basis throughout the U.S.. This piece did a great job of tracking the national political implications of a local military story that happened to pick up national traction.

Read it here.

Columnist lends local context to the logic behind California’s drought

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In a May 13 piece for latimes.com, columnist George Skelton breaks down some of the geographical context behind California’s intense drought conditions for non-locals attempting to understand the root cause of the issue. The column touches on everything from rainfall averages and climate to changing topography and how different bodies of water within the state are connected.

The piece is a prime example of how localized geographical expertise can lend much-needed context to a national security issue – in this case, water security. It also proves that you can incorporate hard data and still create a compelling read.

Check it out here.

The soldiers behind the storms: Meet Fort Bragg’s 18th Weather Squadron

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An April 27 story by Chick Jacobs for The Fayetteville Observer’s website, fayobserver.com, gives the local audience a crash course on Fort Bragg’s 18th Weather Squadron – whose job it is to generate weather forecasts ahead of military missions to determine whether they’re safe to carry out.

Check out the story, which does a great job of increasing the public’s understanding of what could otherwise be a mysterious military unit and contextualizing its core job description in layman’s terms, here.

Hemp-ering military readiness: Utah columnist examines obscure Air Force base regulation’s implications

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An April 20 story by Mark Saal for Utah’s Standard Examiner takes a playful, yet informative, look at the implications of Hill Air Force Base’s ban on certain hemp-containing products in the name of force readiness. But though the breaking of this rule could potentially land airmen with a dishonorable discharge and a criminal record, Saal explains that committing the infraction could be as simple as consuming the wrong kind of yogurt. Read the column, which presents an innovative and fun angle for covering military readiness on a local level, here.