Hometown

Eclectic friends

Katey Sandy and Judith Howard knew each other professionally for several years before either realized that they shared a love of painting.Both women worked in the field of early childhood education and met at an Association of Christian Schools International conference.

Osprey Walkers are all-weather friends

Anyone who has ever ran or walked the Round Lake trails knows it is a challenge with its switchbacks and rolling hills. But there’s a local walking club, with many of its members in their 70s, 80s and even 90s, who traverse the terrain five days a week, rain, shine, hot or cold.

Managing life transitions

Students with special needs at Camas High School are developing academic, social and vocational skills for life after graduation.Additionally, young adults ages 18 to 21 can also participate in a program that helps them learn the basics of living independently: How to use public transit, obtain job skills, budget, do yard work and navigate a grocery store, to name a few. Program participants can often be seen around the downtown area, washing windows, interning at local businesses or researching at the library. At the high school level, students in Henry Midles and Cory Vom Baur’s Life Skills classes focus on academics in the morning, then on social and vocational skills in the afternoon. With the support of the local community, the students receive work experience that can help prepare them for integration into the adult workforce.

For the love of dance

Hannah Gutkind loves ballet.Since she was 2, the Washougal resident has fostered a passion for dance. As the years have gone by, this has meant giving up soccer and other sports, missing out on youth group and a lot of the high school experience. But she wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s hard to put into words how much I love dance,” Gutkind said. “I love how I can express myself through it and tell a story through my movement. I never liked talking in front of people, so this is a way I can express myself without words.”

Merry bright

Several local residents spent Thursday decorating Christmas trees, which this time of year is nothing unusual.However, their adorned evergreens were for the fourth annual Festival of Trees in Washougal. The event, held Friday and Saturday at Hathaway Elementary School and organized by the Washougal Lions Club, featured 19 decorated trees. These were auctioned off to raise money for local schools.

Bridging the gap

What do you do when you’re hungry? For most of us, it’s a simple matter of deciding what to make or buy.But imagine how it would feel to have your stomach growling, not enough to satisfy it and being unsure of when or what you would have for your next meal. Then, consider how it would feel to be expected to sit still and focus all day when you hadn’t had a full meal for more than 48 hours? This “food insecurity” is a reality for many children in single-parent families, of the working poor or unemployed. However, there are programs in place at several local schools in Camas and Washougal, to help bridge the gap between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.

‘Within a day’s drive’

What is there to see in the Northwest? Plenty, according to Washougal photographer Mark Forbes. His upcoming exhibit, “Within a Day’s Drive,” showcases the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest in a series of pictures. The show will begin Friday, Dec. 6, at the Second Story Gallery at the Camas Library. Forbes, who is also a travel enthusiast, considers a day’s drive to be 12 hours or less, and includes places ranging from the Columbia River Gorge to northern California. “This exhibit focuses on what we often ignore, our own back yard,” he said. “The variety of geology and scenery within that day’s drive radius is stunning.”

Education, empowerment, support

“When life throws you lemons, make lemonade.”Almost everyone has heard this popular quote at one time or another in life. In 2010, two Camas doctors took it to heart and created the Pink Lemonade Project, which provides “critical support” to women impacted by breast cancer. Dr. Allen Gabriel, a plastic surgeon with PeaceHealth Medical Group, and his wife, Cassie, with Columbia Anesthesia Group, saw there was a noticeable lack of information regarding breast cancer and women’s rights. In addition, Allen Gabriel noticed that many of his patients struggled with the emotional and psychological aspects of diagnosis and recovery. “I have always had an interest in working with breast cancer patients and helping them,” he said. “During my residency, training and fellowship I noticed there was a real lack of emotional support. They needed help, but that which had nothing to do with family or a doctor.”

An old fashioned farce

Students in Kelly Gregersen’s dramatic literature class have been begging him to select Thornton Wilder’s “The Matchmaker” as an upcoming play.After a year spent rallying fellow classmates, the student-led production will open this weekend. “A lot of the senior drama students asked for the show,” Gregersen said. “When the kids keep requesting something, it really brings a nice energy to the piece.” The musical is set in 1880s New York City and Yonkers, where grouchy store owner Horace Vandergelder refuses to let his niece marry the poor artist she loves. Meanwhile, he himself is tired of being lonely and plans to re-marry, using the talents of local matchmaker Dolly Levi, who is scheming to wed Vandergelder at the same time she pretends to find him a suitable bride. The story is the basis for the musical, “Hello, Dolly!” which ran for years on Broadway and is still one of its longest-ever running shows. “It’s a really cute story,” said Gregersen. “If people like, ‘Hello, Dolly!’ they will know the characters, and the story will be very familiar.”

The spirit of the season

Just when you thought fall would stretch on endlessly, November hits.This month typically kicks off a flurry of holiday bazaars for those looking for one-of-a-kind gifts. During the next month, several bazaars are coming to churches, schools and civic centers. Local shoppers will have the chance to help local non-profit groups, support the local economy, buy handcrafted items and have fun. For the environmentally conscious, there is a bazaar featuring recycled and reusable items.