Hometown

YWCA volunteers help serve families and individuals facing traumatic circumstances

YWCA Clark County began as a lunch counter for working women who weren’t allowed to eat with the men. The year was 1916, and female employees were rare. Fast forward nearly 100 years. The YWCA's goal of assisting women remains the same, although services needed have definitely changed with the times. Currently, the non-profit organization provides services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, a child care program, independent living skills program for foster youth, advocates for abused or neglected children, and offers job training and support for incarcerated women making a transition back to society. Its mission statement is: "Eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all."

Kindergarten teachers use collaboration, research to teach Common Core standards

However, in today’s kindergarten world, the list would also need to include writing, reading and math comprehension. When Cindy Coons first began teaching kindergarten at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School, she was thrilled if students came in knowing how to spell their first name and recite the alphabet. "Now, I need them coming in knowing all the letters and sounds, the numbers one through 10 out of order, spelling their last name and finding it in a mix of others." The change is due to the Common Core Standards, part of a nationwide effort to align curriculum. Although it won’t be officially implemented in Washington state until the 2014-15 school year, teachers in Camas and Washougal are getting a head start by developing curriculum which aligns with Common Core Standards.

Safe at school

Student safety. With the recent rash of school shootings, it’s a topic that weighs heavily on the minds of principals, staff and parents.But how do administrators determine if their school is ready to respond in the event of crisis? Will the students know what to do? How will a police response be coordinated? Schools are formulating plans to address these issues by taking a close look at current safety protocols. Camas High School and Cape Horn-Skye Elementary in rural Washougal recently participated in lockdown drills with the police, hoping to get a better indicator of just how prepared they are in the event of an emergency. "We've been wanting to try this drill for a few years, and the recent shooting at the end of 2012 created an urgency to make it happen," said Steve Marshall, CHS principal.

Betty London’s friends, family remember her sense of adventure, kindness

Sometimes, it is not one extraordinary thing that leaves a mark on this world. It is a number of small ordinary kindnesses, which truly make a difference in the lives of others.Betty London was one of these “ordinary extraordinary” people. Her friends and family describe her in the following ways: Adventurous. Kind. Caring. Good listener. Earth-friendly. Active. Creative. Funny. London passed away recently at the age of 90. Active until the end, she could often be seen tending to a 2-mile stretch of Washougal River Road, picking up bottles, cans and other garbage that was carelessly tossed away by others. She encouraged her friends and family to, "leave this a better place than when you found it." "She had the gift to make the ordinary extraordinary, not only for herself, but for everyone with whom she crossed paths," said son Richard (Rit) London. "She said we had wings, so go fly."

Local bus driver dedicates marathon to her friend, qualifies for Boston

“Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic.”— Tim Noakes, author of “Lore of Running” When Sondra Grable made it to mile 18 of the California International Marathon, she felt done. Grable had been slogging through a series of storms which had dumped 3 to 6 inches of rain in 24 hours. Severe winds rocked the area, making it extremely difficult to move forward. She was exhausted, aching, chafing and her toenails were coming off. Grable desperately wanted to be done. Then she thought of her friend, Christy Quinn, who had been nearly paralyzed in a serious cycling accident over the summer. She remembered how Quinn had to relearn the basics of life most of us take for granted: How to sit up, stand and walk. "I just thought of how she would love to be out here right now, no matter what the conditions," Grable said. "I decided a little windstorm wasn't going to stop me from reaching my goal."

High school sweethearts reunite after 42 years

These lyrics to a popular Mumford & Sons song could easily describe the romance between two former high school sweethearts, Patti Jeannotte and Dave Raynor. The two reunited last winter after more than 40 years apart, picking up where they left off. It was almost as if the decades away from each other had never happened. Once again they are like teenagers in love, but with a mature appreciation only life experience can bring.

Local vendors share their antique show experiences

Antique and collectible shows attract those looking for everything from limited edition children’s literature to vintage clothing.Sometimes, there’s just an unexplainable appeal about certain nostalgic items which draws people from all ages and stages of life. The shows also brings local sellers, who are eager to display their wares to thousands of people. Palmer/Wirfs & Associates, who hosts antiques and collectible shows around the country, has been offering an annual show at the Clark County Event Center for the past eight years. It attracts approximately 200 vendors and 6,000 attendees, and the line of cars waiting to get into the parking lot rivals what one would see at a rock concert. "It's a very trendy business," said Christine Palmer of Palmer/Wirfs. "Right now we're enjoying some added popularity thanks to all the programming on T.V., like 'Pawn Stars' and "American Pickers."

A modern take on a surreal story

There’s something about the “Alice in Wonderland” story which is timeless. “Kids are still fascinated by it,” said Kelly Gregersen, drama director at Washougal High School. “For years, I’ve been looking for a fun version of it so we could perform it here. We haven’t had a fairy tale in a long time.” After a friend of his premiered a high school production of “Alice v. Wonderland” last year, Gregersen knew he’d found the play he wanted: A modern, rock ‘n’ roll take on a classic story. “Think ‘Alice in Wonderland’ meets Lady Gaga,” Gregersen said. “Alice is a teenager instead of a little girl, and all of the settings are very modern.”

Success through chess

Chess. When most people hear that word, they think of a challenging game that requires patience, skill and intelligence to master.While these descriptions are accurate, even the youngest elementary school student can learn, according to Alan Svehaug, chess instructor.

Artist Mike Smith has spent a career doing what he loves

Mike Smith may be a world-famous artist, but his studio, crowded with different projects, thank-you notes, golf balls and a Specialized mountain bike suggest a man with a plethora of passions.And that’s pretty much how he’s lived his life. In fact, Smith never planned on becoming an artist. He considers himself lucky to have been in the right place at the right time on any number of occasions.