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Winter break options abound

Looking for something the kids can do during winter break?If so, the local area offers several camps on most days school is closed. The Camas Community Center is hosting two holiday-themed camps on Dec. 23 and 24 and Jan. 30 and 31. “There are always so many last minute things for parents to get done before Christmas so our first session of camp is great for that,” said Tammy Connolly, recreation coordinator. “Get the rest of your shopping and wrapping done, clean house or just enjoy some quiet time. And then you always need a few days to clean up afterward, so the second session comes in handy there.”

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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.

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School honored for achievement

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.”

School campus vandalized

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.”

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‘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.”

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Helping feed those in need

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.

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An opportunity to help others

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.”

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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.”

WSD approves sportsmanship agreement

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.”

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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.”

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Students honor those who served

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.

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Cups for a cause

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.”

School Board incumbents retain seats

Incumbents kept their seats in both local school board races.

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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.

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New childcare option opens in Washougal

Two childcare programs are joining forces to offer local families increased options. The Southwest Washington Child Care Consortium is partnering with the Washougal Community Education’s Safe Place Activities Center to bring before- and after-school care to kindergarten through fifth-grade students. It is housed at Hathaway Elementary School. SPACE operates out of Gause Elementary, but is not open on non-school days such as teacher in-service times, or winter break. However, SWCCC is only closed for major holidays and is open during all school break times. Unlike SPACE, it also accepts state subsidies.

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A Thrilling Performance

It’s close to midnight Something evil’s lurkin’ in the dark Under the moonlight You see a sight that almost stops your heart You try to scream But terror takes the sound before you make it You start to freeze As horror looks you right between the eyes You’re paralyzed ‘Cause this is thriller Thriller night These lyrics to Michael Jackson’s 1982 mega-hit “Thriller,” are some of the best known on the planet. And every year, performers from around the globe, including a group from Camas, participate in “Thrill the World,” an international dance event and world record breaking attempt, in which participants simultaneously emulate the zombie dance seen in the music video. Sarah and Steve Bang began what has now become an annual tradition in the Lacamas Shores neighborhood, by participating in “Thrill the World.” Not wanting to limit their dancing to just one performance, the group also puts on a show for neighborhood trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. “We practice and practice and practice, and just don’t want to stop doing it,” Sarah said. “We also started doing it on Halloween night because if we didn’t, the festivities would go until midnight here. It’s a very popular place to trick-or-treat. This makes it fun for the kids and no one feels bad about turning their lights out at 8:30 p.m.”

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Newest member named to School Board

A longtime community volunteer is now the newest member of the Washougal School Board. Jocelyn Lindsay, 41, was appointed to the position vacated by Terri Hutchins, who moved out of her director district. Lindsay will serve in this role through 2015. “I’m looking forward to working with the school district,” she said. “I care deeply for Washougal. I believe in quality education for the children of our community.” Lindsay is past president and current foundation president of the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club. She has co-chaired several of its programs, including the Ducky Derby and the Young Women in Action at Hathaway Elementary School.

CHS choir sets fundraiser Oct. 29

Fundraiser will benefit choir's upcoming international show

Local woman will help lead changes at Clark

In anticipation of upcoming statewide changes to the community and technical college system, Clark College recently hired Camas resident Jane Beatty to help guide the college through the new transition. Beatty has been hired to oversee changes occurring across campus, including the college’s adaptation of ctcLink, a new, standardized system of online functions that will replace the current 30-year-old computer system used by Washington state’s 34 community and technical colleges. It is a single, centralized system of online functions that will give students, faculty and staff 24/7 access to information. In this position, which is expected to run for about five years, she will identify organizational changes required to make ctcLink successful at the college, represent Clark in statewide discussions and ensure that it adheres to its schedule for ctcLink implementation.

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Fright night

Local residents can experience the fun of a professional style haunted house without a long drive, lines, or expensive pricing.That’s because Mike Allen, known as “Coffinguy” to his friends, puts up an elaborate display and walk through haunted house in his Washougal yard. It is free for anyone in the community to attend. “Many of the people that live here simply can’t get to or afford the experience,” he said. “It’s a lifelong hobby of mine that brings a lot of joy and entertainment to the area I call home.” Recently, he joined forces with Shawn Garrison of Vancouver, who also had a yard display. She did much of the staging for Allen’s haunted house this year.

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Spook-tacular Halloween fun

The sounds of delighted children intermixed with the aroma of Dutch oven crisp and the smell of fresh air at Camas Camp-n-Ranch Saturday. For the fifth year in a row, the ranch offered hayrides, horse rides, pumpkin bowling, crafts, a forest walk, homemade apple cider, dutch oven apple crisp and other events to celebrate the Halloween season. “I love looking over the crowd and seeing happy faces,” said owner Tina Goodnight. “It is a place for families, and kids of all ages.”

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CHS musician to perform at nationals

Isaac Hodapp is making quite a name for himself in the arts. The Camas High School sophomore was recently selected as a member of the 2013 All-National Symphonic Band by the National Association for Music Education. As a freshman, he made all-state symphony orchestra, and won the district solo and ensemble contest in the trumpet solo category. Hodapp, 15, will travel to Nashville, Tenn. and join more than 670 of the most musically talented high school students in the country Oct. 27 to 30.

Camas School District website nears completion

Two weeks after the Camas School District website was compromised by an unwanted software application, the new site is nearing completion.

Seat available on Washougal School Board

Interested in serving your community by impacting local schools? If so, there is an open position available on the Washougal School Board.

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Camas woman offers costumes free-of-charge to kids and adults

Raina Kennedy has always loved Halloween.Since she was a little girl, growing up in Staten Island, New Jersey, with eight brothers and sisters, she has eagerly anticipated this time of the year. Her favorite costume was a mermaid that she made at the age of 11. “I remember most the fun we had getting ready to go out: Finding the costume and pulling it together with my brothers and sisters,” Kennedy said. “The late nights of trick-or-treating with a pillow case cover was another highlight.” Now, she helps other families find just the right costume for their child. “It is so much fun to dress up and create,” said the 37-year-old Camas mom of three. “My kids and I love playing with costumes.”

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Local teens team up to stop diabetes

This time of year, most 14-year-olds are busy playing sports, participating in activities and getting back into the routine of school. Two Camas residents and friends Ka’iulani Warren and Luke Bruno, are doing all of that and raising money for diabetes research. Warren and Bruno, both 14, organized a team for the recent Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes on Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Vancouver Landing. Although the weather was stormy throughout the walk, it did little to dampen their spirits.

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Police arrest two suspects for vandalism

Two suspects have been arrested in connection with several acts of vandalism which took place during a 48-hour period last week

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The ‘joy and art’ of cooking

You could say that cooking is a career for Heidi O’Connor, but that might be selling it short.O’Connor, of Vancouver, lives and breathes the culinary arts at The Kids Cooking Corner, a school that teaches children, “the art and joy of cooking.” The 45-year-old mother of three opened the school three years ago, when she realized her son didn’t know how to make a box meal because he didn’t understand how to measure ingredients. “The schools don’t have the budgets for home ec anymore, and with parents having full-time careers, it is challenging to find time to teach kids in the kitchen,” she said. O’Connor speaks from personal experience. She balanced a full-time career in the restaurant industry and then in sales while raising her family. She was searching for a new business to start when the idea for a cooking school came about. “A light bulb went on,” she said. “Why not teach other people’s children how to cook? You get to a point in life where you start wondering, ‘What am I really here for?’ This was the answer.”

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Elevating the arts

Over the past 15 years, the Camas Educational Foundation has given more than $1 million to local schools.The organization is hoping to continue that tradition with its annual auction on Saturday, Oct. 19. “CEF on Broadway” is a celebration of the arts in any form, whether written, performed, drawn or otherwise experienced, said Mandy Huth, auction chair. “Our special appeal this year, in line with the theme, is to ‘Elevate the Arts,’ giving voice to our students’ stories,” she said. “The arts are a crucial aspect of children’s education that we want to support this year. We will have some very special performers from our very own Camas High School. It is a show you don’t want to miss.” Registration for the auction is available online at www.cefcamas.org or by calling 335-3000, Ext. 79915. Information and registration fees can also be mailed to CEF at 841 N.E. 22nd Ave, Camas, WA 98607.

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Colleagues, friends and students remember Tom Hays

“What we do for ourselves, dies with us. What we do for others and the world, is and remains, immortal.” This quote by Albert Pine sums up the man Tom Hays was during his time on earth, Washougal High School Principal Aaron Hansen said. Hays, 59, passed away on Saturday, Sept. 14. The Jemtegaard Middle School history teacher was a longtime coach and community volunteer, along with a “tireless” advocate for using technology in education. Hays also served as a building representative for the Washougal Association of Educators, and was a longtime member of the Washougal Lions Club. “You are here today because Tom was in your life in some way,” Hansen said during a memorial service at Washburn Performing Arts Center Thursday. “Maybe he taught you, maybe you grew up with him or played football in college with him. Whatever he was to you, thank you for being here.”

School district sets levy amounts

The Washougal School District has set amounts for its upcoming three-year maintenance and operations levy, as well as a technology levy. Current levies are due to expire at the end of 2014. These were approved by voters in 2010 and provide additional funding to areas such as school safety, textbooks, special education, sports, music and technology. The levies will go before district voters in February 2014. The M&O levy will be set at $6.3 million, which is 23 percent more than the current $5.09 million levy. Additional levy dollars are needed to maintain current programs for increasing enrollment, and fund expanded learning opportunities and programs, such as all-day kindergarten district wide, summer school, instructional coaches and safety improvements at all buildings, according to business manager Brian Wallace.

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Increasing international understanding

When asked what he enjoyed most about Camas, Michael Wagener, mayor of Wissen, Germany, said “the people.”“It’s the contact with the people that is most rewarding,” he said. “When you come to another country, you can learn a lot of things by listening. We can learn how a city gets a vision, and comes up with ways to make it happen.” Wagener needed no translator to communicate his statement. He speaks fluent English. He was part of a Partner Cities delegation visiting Camas. The group arrived on Sept. 13, and included professionals from the cities of Krapkowice, Morawica and Zabierzow in Poland; Lipova Lazne in the Czech Republic and Wissen, Germany. The official partnership between Poland and Camas has been in existence since May 2004, when then-Mayor Paul Dennis signed a declaration of cooperation with the intent to: “Seek to establish and develop effective cooperation between the towns’ communities, institutions and trade. We are aware that this cooperation is a major factor in popularizing and promoting our town and that it opens up new perspectives for European and transatlantic integration.”

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Being aware on the road helps save lives

With school in full swing, there are an abundance of children walking and cycling through Camas and Washougal compared with the summer months.This means drivers need to be more alert near schools, bus stop locations and student commute areas, according to Scot Boyles, a sergeant with the Camas Police Department. “Oftentimes, children can be inattentive or unaware of the rules of the road and this can cause dangerous situations,” he said. “We are asking drivers to be extra vigilant in both obeying the traffic laws and also in being aware of the students who might be walking/riding near them. The beginning of the school year is a time when children are at increased risk of transportation-related injuries from pedestrian, bicycle, school bus, and motor vehicle crashes.” This includes parents dropping off their children at school, added Laura Bolt, principal at Hathaway Elementary in Washougal. “Please don’t double park on the street,” she said. “Children run out and may not see oncoming cars.”

School district enrollment numbers increase

The Washougal School District will be hiring additional staff, including a new kindergarten teacher, due to higher-than-expected enrollment numbers in the primary grades. After the first week of school, full-time (FTE) enrollment in the district was 2,975, which is 57 more students than projected. Most of the growth was at the kindergarten through second-grade level at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School. There will be a half-time kindergarten teacher added, and a full-time teacher for a first- and second-grade combination classroom. “It’s an exciting time,” said Mary Lou Woody, principal. Enrollment numbers at the high school were also slightly higher than last year. “There weren’t any big surprises,” said Brian Wallace, district business manager. “We expect enrollment to increase slowly over the next few years. This has been the trend in Washougal the past three years.” Enrollment last September was 2,887 FTE.

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Students explore future careers in CHS internship program

While some teens were spending their summer kicking back with friends, others were working up to 40 hours per week in professional internships. These students, from the CHS Math, Science and Technology Magnet program, worked at internships ranging from designing a program at Underwriters Laboratories to spending time in the operating room of a plastic surgeon’s office, to measuring the health of local waterways. The internship program was spearheaded by CHS Magnet teacher Ron Wright and community volunteer/business organization developer Chad Stewart four years ago, as a way for students to gain real-world experience in potential future careers before going to college. Students are paired with businesses or experts in various fields and also had mentors.

Local schools show gains on state tests

Students in Camas and Washougal have posted gains on several state tests recently released as part of an overall Washington State Report Card. The 2012-13 results include the Measurements of Student Progress, the state’s exam for third- through eighth-graders. Students are tested in reading and math, with fourth- and seventh-graders also taking tests in writing, and fifth- and eight-graders taking tests in science. Tenth-graders take a proficiency exam to assess overall knowledge in reading and writing, as well as end-of-course exams in biology, algebra and geometry. The end-of-course exams are also offered to students in lower grades who are taking those classes. Washougal posted impressive gains in math, with 78 percent of students passing the algebra exam, and 92 percent passing the geometry exam, compared with 64 and 66 percent the year before. The biology exam increased from 72 to 80 percent of students passing.

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Sean McMillan is looking forward to getting to know Camas' Grass Valley community better

Very few of us know in elementary school what our future career choice will be.As a young student at Francis Willard Elementary in Rock Island, Ill., Sean McMillan made that decision. “Mrs. Turnbull, my second-grade teacher, and Mrs. Findley, my third-grade teacher, kept me on the straight and narrow,” he said. “I always knew they really believed in me and held me accountable.” McMillan is hoping to do the same for the students at Grass Valley Elementary School, as its new principal. He replaced Patricia Erdmann, who retired in June.

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Broadening their perspectives

It has been said that if one wants to broaden their perspective on life, volunteering is the way to begin. Several local teens are doing just that by making a difference in the lives of homeless animals. Eric Hou, Malini Naidu and Julia Bedont, all of Camas, participate in the Humane Society for Southwest Washington’s teen volunteer program. With only 30 spots available each term, and approximately 80 applicants, it’s a highly competitive process. Hou, 16, was motivated to apply because of his love for animals. “I have a dog of my own, so it really made me want to help animals who don’t have a home,” he said. “They really need love and attention.”

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Sharing a love of color

Two artists who share a passion for color and form will fuse their interests with a September art show at the Second Story Gallery. Will Ray of Vancouver is a dedicated watercolorist, while friend Luane Penarosa of Washougal is branching out into oils. Their show, “Kaleidoscope,” will feature their different mix of artistic styles, but also similarities in their love of color, and dedication to their craft. “It takes me a long time to paint,” Ray said. “We’re both planners, we paint a little, then look at it, then decide what to do next.” Penarosa, 68, said she gets a lot of composition advice from Ray, 66, who has been painting for 25 years and has an art history degree. “I visualize what I want, then I go for it,” she said. “Both of us really like color and form, and that’s why we named our show ‘Kaleidoscope.’ It is all coming together.”

Washougal School District approves budget

The Washougal School Board adopted its 2013-14 budget last week with little fanfare, a marked change from years past when cuts were more apparent. Brian Wallace, business manager, described the spending plan as reflective of School Board priorities. Last year’s budget was $28.8 million. The current budget of $30.14 million is based on an estimated enrollment of 2,918 full-time equivalent students, 48 more than the budgeted enrollment for 2012-13. “It is a fiscally responsible budget, and at the same time, increases resources that support technology integration, new curriculum, improved facilities, safety and staff development,” Wallace said.

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Riding for a cure

Nine-year-old Paige Maas was all smiles after crossing the finish line of the Tour de Cure bike course in Hillsboro, Ore. Not only did she ride her bike 26 miles, a personal record, but she and other team members raised money for the American Diabetes Association. Paige, a Washougal resident, has type 1 diabetes, which requires that she check her blood sugar six times a day and carefully monitor her food and fluid intake. For the first year, she used a syringe for blood sugar monitoring but now has an insulin pump. She first participated in Tour de Cure as an 8-year-old with her team, Paige’s Pilots. Inspired, Paige set two personal goals after the event: Double the team fundraising from $5,000 to $10,000; and ride 10 miles instead of 5.

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Hay fire shuts down Highway 14

A hay truck fire that closed down both lanes of Highway 14 near the Pendleton Woolen Mills on Aug. 20 is likely due to a mechanical issue. According to Camas-Washougal Fire Chief Nick Swinhart, a hot exhaust pipe from the engine may have ignited the hay, based on observations at the scene. “We do not know the precise cause of the fire and, in fact, we likely will never know, simply because the truck was destroyed,” he said. According to witnesses at the scene, motorists on Highway 14 spotted a truck carrying a load of hay that was on fire just before 3 p.m.

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Rising above the obstacles

At first glace, Dakota Watson looks like any other 11-year-old boy. He banters with his sister, loves basketball and is growing out of clothes faster than his mom can buy them.But the fact that Dakota is even alive is a miracle in itself. The Camas resident was born with serious medical complications, including a cross-fused ectopic kidney. By the time Dakota was two days old, he had been through two surgeries. “He wasn’t expected to even survive,” recalled his mom, Samantha. But Dakota was a fighter and still is, she added. “The doctors thought he would have to get a kidney transplant by the time he was 2,” Samantha said. “Every time it sounds really bad, he just finds a way to pull through it.”

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Hay fire closes Highway 14 Tuesday

Fire that closed Highway 14 yesterday likely started by mechical issues with a vehicle hauling hay

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Helping students stay healthy at school

Jill Conley’s lower lip began trembling as the nurse prepared her chicken pox vaccination.“Is it going to hurt?” she asked her mom, Bettina. “A lot less than chicken pox,” Bettina replied. Jill, 9, and her younger sister, Isabel, 8, were at the free immunization clinic offered by Lacamas Medical Group last week. It was coordinated for families who are without a regular health care provider. A free immunization clinic will be offered at the Free Clinic of SW Washington, 4100 Plomondon St., Vancouver, on Wednesday, Aug. 28 beginning at 5 p.m., on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Camas' Woodburn Elementary design incorporates nature into the school

After three years in the making, the Camas School District’s newest building will open its doors to eager students and teachers. Woodburn Elementary, which can accommodate up to 600 students, is located off of Southeast Crown Road and surrounded by nature. “People ask which classroom has the best view, and I can’t really give them an answer,” said Jan Strohmaier, principal. “There are fantastic views everywhere.” The 12-acre site is adjacent to the Lacamas Creek trail system. To keep with the natural setting, outdoor elements were incorporated into the design.

Budgets on the level for new school year

For the first time in several years, school district budgets are looking up in both Camas and Washougal. The Camas School Board adopted its budget last week, while Washougal is set to adopt its on Tuesday, Aug. 27. The biggest change at both districts is the expansion of kindergarten instruction.

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Cape Horn Trail hosts international visitors

The Cape Horn Trail recently provided the setting for international interaction with individuals hailing from Georgia, a sovereign state located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Four professionals, representing Georgia’s Agency of Protected Areas (Imereti Caves, Mtirala National Park and Tusheti Protected Areas) were accompanied by two interpreters. At the trail, the group participated in maintenance and stewardship efforts in removing invasive species. Teresa Robbins, Cape Horn Conservancy president, provided information, strategies and historical context in response to questions. She said several themes emerged though the conversations, including the need for successful collaboration of non-profits and government agencies, the ethic of volunteerism, and “how to” in attracting and engaging volunteers.

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Camp Currie gives youth the chance to explore nature close to home

Nestled amid a canopy of towering Douglas firs, with a rustic lodge and cabins, Camp Currie feels like it is a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.In reality, the 300-acre site is located just five minutes from downtown Camas and has been home to summer youth camps since 1943. The semi-wilderness setting includes a woodland chapel, large natural amphitheater, winding forest trails, covered outdoor eating area, and is home to a variety of wildlife. Last week, the Girl Scouts of Oregon and Washington hosted Currie Twilight Camp, which gave attendees the opportunity to learn outdoor cooking, fire safety, crafts and more. Although the camp is 300 acres, youth organizations only use about 30 of those, with the rest being kept in its natural state.

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Veggie Derby encourages young participants to build unique cars with vegetables

There was excitement in the air as youngsters assembled zucchini, potatoes, green beans, carrots, radishes, cucumbers and peppers into race cars at the Camas Farmer’s Market last week. The Kids Connections booth was overflowing with children and veggie cars in all shapes and sizes during the fifth annual Veggie Derby. The derby is an annual highlight at the market, organizer Marilyn Goodman said. “The market kids look forward to playing with their veggies and making them ‘vroom’ once a year,” she said. “Kids worked very hard making their cars and vying for prizes.”