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.
A local elementary school has made the prestigious statewide, “Schools of Distinction” list for the second year in a row.
Grass Valley Elementary in Camas was one of six schools in southwest Washington to receive this honor, by being among the top 5 percent in the state posting improved student achievement in reading and math over a 5 year period.
“The School of Distinction is a great honor,” said Sean McMillan, principal. “Grass Valley has now won this award two years in a row. I am very honored to be joining this wonderful school and community.”
Police are investigating an incident at the Cape Horn-Skye Elementary and Canyon Creek Middle School campus after a firearm was used to shoot out several exterior lights.
Maintenance staff were repairing lights around the building last week when they noticed the vandalism. Bullet casings were found nearby.
The schools are located on rural Washougal River Road and share a campus. The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident, which is estimated to have occurred prior to Nov. 14.
“The district is very concerned and we will work with the sheriff’s office to hold accountable the person or persons responsible,” stated a letter, which was sent home to parents on Nov. 21. “To the best of our knowledge, no students or staff were on campus when this occurred.”
Since 2008, the Stuff the Bus food drive has raised more than 339,000 pounds of food for people in need.It began as a friendly competition between Camas and Washougal high schools to support The Children’s Home Society of Washougal and the Christmas Activities Relief Organization Limited.
The event, created by the Camas-Washougal Business Alliance, designated those two organizations in an effort to keep all donations in the local community.
As Stuff the Bus enters its sixth year, there are changes in store. The biggest one is that the two high schools, in conjunction with elementary and middle schools, will work together toward a common goal of 85,000 pounds of food and personal care items.
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.”
When it came time to pick an eighth-grade project, Canyon Creek Middle Schoolers Eli Crabtree and Tanner Howington wanted to do something to make a difference.“It seemed like most everyone was doing easy stuff, and we wanted to do something unique and help people who really needed it,” Howington said.
The two, who are now ninth-graders at Washougal High School, decided to raise money for the American Legion Cape Horn Post 122 holiday food basket program.
Crabtree’s dad, Vince, a Navy veteran, is the finance officer for Post 122.
“They really needed funds for the food basket program,” Crabtree said. “So we decided to ask businesses for donations and have a raffle.”
“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.”
After some inappropriate spectator behavior at local high school athletic events, as well as other incidents in the area, the Washougal School District is taking action.
A code of conduct agreement has been drafted and will be given to parents of all student athletes at the start of every sports season.
It requires refraining from using profanity, obscene gestures, berating players and coaches, showing excessive displays of anger or frustration, possessing or being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco, complaining or arguing about officials’ calls, arguing with coaches, or refusing to obey the instructions of security officers, among others.
Spectators do not have to sign the agreement in order to be held to these standards.
“We have had enough situations come up between this year and last year, as well as situations occurring in Clark County, around the state and nationally involving unsportsmanlike behavior by parents and spectators,” said Aaron Hansen, Washougal High School principal. “We have expectations and standards for our coaches and for our athletes, but we haven’t had any for our parents or guardians until now.”
A Washougal business is offering the opportunity to own a unique, hand-designed coffee cup while supporting a local school.
Michelle McKnight, owner of Michelle’s Coffee Corner, is auctioning off reusable cups designed by community members. All styles and ages are represented.
“I was wanting to do something fun and thought that taking cups and letting my customers draw, paint and color them was a good idea,” she said. “Then I decided to auction off some of the better ones and donate all proceeds to Excelsior High’s art program.”
With this past Monday being Veteran’s Day, several schools in Camas and Washougal marked the occasion with assemblies, brunches, patriotic singing and guest speakers. This year, the Post-Record will focus on Hathaway Elementary School’s efforts. Next year, another local school will be selected.
Hathaway fifth-graders had the opportunity to hear first-hand from World War II veteran and Washougal resident, Duncan MacDonald.
MacDonald, 86, told the students about running away from his home on Mount Pleasant at age 16 to join the Navy. With his keen eyesight, he was given the assignment of range finder, and would help shoot down enemy planes that were threatening his ship.