Letters to the Editor for Feb. 22, 2011

Keep plant fair downtown

The Mother’s Day Plant and Garden Fair will not be held in downtown this year and downtown merchants and community members are shocked and saddened.

As a downtown merchant, I know what this event brings to Camas. And I know what downtown Camas brings to this event. Our charming downtown filled with shade trees, quaint boutiques, quality restaurants and coffee shops really help “make” the event. People can get a coffee, buy plants and chat with growers, have lunch, buy more plants, do a little shopping in the stores and make a whole day of it.

When my customers find out that the plant fair is moving, their eyes widen and they say, “What?! Having it in downtown is what makes it so great!” I couldn’t agree more.

The organizers of this event unfortunately decided to move it without feedback from those affected. For such a long standing community event, input from the City, the Downtown Camas Association (DCA) and merchants, the Chamber of Commerce and of course the citizens who have been loyal to this event should have been solicited. Working together, solutions can almost always be found. The City has already offered to waive all fees and the DCA has offered to help as needed to keep this event in the community’s core.

It is my hope as a merchant, DCA Board member, and as a Camas citizen that they will reconsider and move back downtown. I believe it would be the best for the community, for downtown, and for the event itself.

Carrie Schulstad, The Uncommon Gift, DCA Board vice president

CEF enriches local schools

Two weeks ago, volunteers from the Camas Educational Foundation visited every school in the district to award $25,000 in mini grant funds to teachers, parents, students and staff. We funded over 25 programs including elementary reading and school science programs, fitness equipment, musical instruments, assemblies, high-tech instructional equipment, and e-book readers.

CEF exists to help fund innovation and enrichment, and augment curriculum across the Camas School District. Our annual fall auction and our spring Phone-a-Thon are the primary sources of funding to support our annual grant programs and build our long-term legacy fund.

Given the way schools are funded, the recession felt last year by the private sector is now moving through our district. As austere measures are put in place, CEF’s role becomes even more vital. The Camas community continues to show their support for education even as many are still affected by the downturn.

For every dollar we are able to grant, we receive two dollars worth of requests. We do our best to partner with PTA/PTO’s to stretch every dollar we deliver, but it’s safe to say that many excellent ideas continue to go unfunded.

During the first week of March, middle school students will call district households in the hope of raising more money to fund the wonderful proposals CEF receives. Please respond generously when our kids call for donations and save the date of Oct. 15 to join us at Camas’ own Fairgate Inn for another amazing auction and evening.

CEF is a dynamic organization with a wonderful mission. We’re always looking for new volunteers and sponsors. More information about CEF can be found at www.cefcamas.org

Ron Gompertz, CEF president

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