If all goes as planned, the Camas Municipal Pool will have a new manager come summer. Lacamas Swim & Sport is negotiating an agreement with the city to operate the pool, which could open as early as Memorial Day weekend.
If not for an army of volunteers, Krista Bashaw estimates it would take her two weeks to stuff the 10,000 eggs for the Camas Parks and Recreation annual Easter egg hunt. “That’s a lot of work time,” Bashaw, recreation coordinator, said. “The volunteers are instrumental in the success of the egg hunt.”
“You use the trail, right? Come here, I have something for you.” It’s 9 a.m. on a Thursday at Heritage Trail. Spring is in the air, along with the usual crowd of runners, walkers and nature lovers. Don Larson, 85, is passing out handmade bowls and plates in the parking lot, which are carved from wood he’s found walking, “here and there.” Nearly every trail user is invited to pick one out, free of charge.
Looking at photographer Cindy Kassab’s work is similar to gazing into a kaleidoscope of color, light and breathtaking natural beauty. Kassab, 61, is the featured artist at the Camas Public Library’s Second Story Gallery in April. She first caught the photography bug in her teens, when she moved from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles to the clear mountain air of Switzerland.
When Tami Grant headed into the offices of Sorenson Communications on March 6, she was expecting a routine staff meeting. But that day was anything but routine. Grant, who works as an American Sign Language interpreter, found out she had been named Sorenson Communications 2013 Interpreter of the Year for the Western Region. Grant is also a full-time American Sign Language teacher at Washougal High School. “I walked into the room, and they announced that someone in our center had won, and that it was me,” she said. “There was a lot of emotion. I was totally in shock because I work with some really fantastic interpreters. Being nominated by my peers was awesome.”
In an effort to increase awareness, the Washougal School District has clarified, in detail, what constitutes acceptable behavior between students and staff. Some of the document is fairly standard, such as refraining from inappropriate physical conduct, showing pornography to a student or making jokes of a sexual nature. However, other portions of it may come as a surprise to some: For example, it is not acceptable to employ a student, such as having them baby-sit any staff member’s children.
Meghal Sheth’s research about hearing loss has allowed her to do things most high school students only dream about. The Camas High School junior presented her findings with mentor Dr. Allison Coffin at the Association for Research in Otolaryngology conference in San Diego last month. The invite came about after Coffin asked Sheth to join her and co-present their research on BPA (Bisphenol-A). “She wanted me to experience going to a big conference and she also wanted me to be able to showcase my research project as first author,“ Sheth said. “We’ve spent a lot of time together working on the project and she said that since I did a lot of the work, I should be able to present it.”
With scantily clad, perfectly toned models on magazine covers, pop music stars with skin that appears flawless and television shows dedicated to exploring which “hot” woman will snag the even-hotter bachelor, it’s tough to be a girl these days. However, students in Jennifer Bohn-Snapp’s classes at Jemtegaard Middle School in Washougal aren’t letting these images define beauty for them. Instead, they are reshaping it, along with the help of their mothers and modern technology. Inspired by Dove’s Real Beauty campaign and its documentary “Selfie,” which features real mothers and daughters talking about how they feel about their appearance, Bohn-Snapp challenged her students to use their cell phones to take an “honest” self-portrait, known as a “selfie,” with no filters or editing. She asked their mothers, or other influential female figures, to set an example by doing the same.
When one hears the phrase, “Japanese Festival,” places like Portland, Tacoma or Seattle typically come to mind. However, Washougal High School has its own festival, the only one of its kind in the Clark County area. For the past eight years Japanese teacher Shoko Parker and her students have spent several months preparing for the March 29 event, which includes entertainment by Japanese performers, swordsmanship lessons via Skype, food and activities.
Every 68 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in three senior citizens dies from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. With statistics such as these, it is likely that most people will deal with this deadly disease at some point. Jeri Warner of Camas experienced the devastating impacts of Alzheimer’s after her mother, Laurie Snoey, was diagnosed in 2005.
Several Papermakers and Panthers put their musical talents to work at the Washington Music Educators Association conference recently. The event, held Feb. 14 to 16 in Yakima, included a 300-voice symphonic choir, 200-piece concert band, 250-piece symphony orchestra and 65-piece chamber orchestra. Students were selected to perform in the all-state groups based on auditions, which included thousands of entries.
“I think about the years I spent just passing through I’d like to have the time I lost and give it back to you But you just smile and take my hand You’ve been there you understand It’s all part of a grander plan that is coming true. Every long lost dream led me to where you are Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars Pointing me on my way into your loving arms This much I know is true That God blessed the broken road That led me straight to you.”
When Camas High School won $10,000 in a Cash for Schools contest, the students could have easily held onto the money.Instead, they decided to share some of it with Rosa Parks Elementary in Portland. The school is starting up an orchestra program, and was in need of funds. It also has one of the highest free- and reduced-price lunch rates in the area. Cash for Schools is a contest sponsored by McLoughlin Jeep in partnership with KATU News. The contest asked schools to bring the most Facebook “Likes” to McLoughlin Jeep in a given week. CHS was the first school to win, and the students were given the check by anchors Carl Click and Natali Marmion.
Shirley Bishop walked into the office at her Portland interior design job last September and received the shock of her life.“After 30 years in the industry, I was laid off. Never thought it would happen to me. It was a total shock.” Reeling, she began packing up her work area. “Thankfully, they let me come back in to finish taking my files off the computer,” she said. Sometimes, it takes a life-altering event to make you realize what you really want. Bishop used her free time to focus on her fledging business, Studio 13 GlassArt. She now hosts regular classes in her Washougal studio and experiments with all types of fused glass projects. Bishop also joined Made in Vancouver, a group of 200 artisans.
Despite a recent levy failure, Mount Pleasant School District officials are confident. “Voter turnout was very low and we were pretty much the only thing on the ballot,” said Peter Tarzian, superintendent. “So, the no voters voted no, and the yes votes probably still have their ballot on the fridge.” Voters were asked to approve a two-year, $310,000 levy. It failed by earning 43.48 percent support.
Think you know a lot about Camas?
One of the first things one notices when speaking to Lindy Treece is her goal-oriented nature. The 17-year-old Hayes Freedom High School senior will graduate with an associate’s degree and then begin Portland State University as a junior, where she will major in speech and hearing services. So, to learn that Treece is autistic may come as a surprise. It is something she keeps private. Opening up about it has been a process.
Alan Stogin and Tyler Schroeder were supposed to be doing research for their U.S. history class.The two WHS students and the rest of the class were studying the 1930s gangster era. However, instead of researching information on organized crime, they were looking at photos from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. “Basically, we weren’t really paying attention,” said Schroeder. But it was then that they came upon an idea: What would happen if the dark elements from the 1930s underworld were combined with another tale of greed, murder and power? Specifically, Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”
Washougal School District officials are likely breathing a sigh of relief as both of its levies passed in last Tuesday’s election. “I am extremely appreciative of the support of the community,” said Dawn Tarzian, superintendent. “Levy dollars bridge the critical gap between our state allocation and the basic program needs for our students.” Added Les Brown, technology director, “I’m super excited that voters supported the increase in our technology levy.”
Phones will be ringing across the city soon as the Camas Educational Foundation launches its annual phone-a-thon fundraising campaign.
Washougal School District officials are celebrating today as both district levies passed by significant margins.
Like many things in life, inspiration for their band name came about at an unexpected moment.“We had been trying to come up with something original that would come up first on a Google or Youtube search,” recalled lead singer John Doyle. “I was at a Fourth of July party with Joseph Kashas (bass player) and he looked around and said, ‘There’s a lot of medium size kids here.’ I thought that described us well, and would make a cool band name.”
Taylor Vincent walks carefully between the lines of excited, energetic kindergartners coming in from recess.From time to time, she’ll gently remind the young students to stay in line and keep their voices down. Vincent, a Hathaway Elementary fifth-grader, is a member of the Peacemakers program, designed to help decrease playground conflicts among younger students and promote positive behavior. “It’s also an opportunity for our older students to pay it forward,” commented Molly Hayes, school social worker. “They’re learning to problem solve and in turn, help the younger kids resolve their own conflicts.”
Camas resident Natalie Burton was one of four students who participated in Portland Piano International’s “Up Close with the Masters,” last month. The master was Vladimir Feltsman, one of the best known concert pianists in the world. Feltsman was in the area to play sold-out recitals for Portland Piano International. His style of music encompasses everything from Baroque to 21st-century composers. He has appeared with all the major American orchestras and at musical stages and festivals worldwide. “Up Close with the Masters” are work sessions to promote music education. They are offered to the public free by Portland Piano International and provide an opportunity to see and hear a “master” teach and the student learn.”
“Like my car…
The Camas School District is hosting a “Big Learning for Little Learners” event from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3 at Helen Baller Elementary, 1954 N.E. Garfield St., aimed at parents and their children ages 3 to 6.
Natalie Wilson is definitely not singing the blues. The Grass Valley Elementary School music teacher and vocal jazz instructor has received regional and national accolades for her work.
Local equestrian center takes in abused horse
When some of your book subjects include ghosts, Big Foot and aliens, fact checking and reliable sources are very important aspect of the research process. Author Kelly Milner Halls writes non-fiction, science based children’s books, several of which deal with these topics. Recently, she spent a day at Dorothy Fox Elementary School in Camas. A highlight was the author’s lunch, which included fourth- and fifth-grade students. Her book, “The Tales of the Cryptids,” is currently one of the most popular choices in the school library. “I don’t tell you for sure Big Foot is real, I don’t tell you for sure aliens are real. I don’t tell you for sure ghosts are real. I give you the evidence that I found through years of research, and I leave it for you guys to decide,” she said. “You have to control the rest of your lives what you believe. You’re smart. People forget how smarts kids are. You can take that information and you can make a decision for yourself, or you and your parents can sit down and you can say ‘Hey, Mom and Dad, look at this book, what do you think’?”
When Jim Price arrives for his volunteer shift at Bonneville Lock and Dam, he has two main goals.“I want to pass on information and inspire young people to consider careers in the engineering or technical careers.” Price, 73, a retired electrical engineer, is in his 10th year volunteering at Bonneville. “If people ask me technical questions, I have the knowledge to answer them,” he said. “It’s my way of helping people.”
The Washougal School District will be asking voters to approve two levies on Feb. 11. Ballots are expected to arrive in mailboxes this week. A three-year maintenance and operations levy and technology levy will replace the current ones, which expire at the end of 2014. Although the levies are not new, the amounts have been increased. This is in order to keep pace with increased enrollment and allow the district to expand in several areas of current focus, according to school district officials.
Gabrielle Roscher, a pre-med student, is raising funds for a March 2014 trip to Malawi, Africa, through Habitat for Humanity. The 21-year-old Washougal resident attends Clark College and is the vice president of student government. Her career goal is to specialize as an OB/GYN and work in Third World countries. “Participating in Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village program has been a dream of mine for years, and I finally built up the courage to apply,“ she said. “This trip is a perfect fit for me because it’s during my spring break and we will be working with their Orphans and Vulnerable Children Project.”
William Leamer loved coaching basketball.And for many of the athletes he mentored at Canyon Creek Middle School, it was their first real introduction to the sport. “Coach Leamer did more than coach our athletes in basketball, he also coached them in life,” said Sandi Christensen, principal. “He always modeled polite and respectful behavior, and he expected his athletes to act the same on and off the court. He was very supportive of academics and helped school staff send the message about the importance of learning and school.” Leamer, a Washougal resident, passed away unexpectedly on Christmas Day, at the age of 46. “He was like Santa Claus,” recalled his wife, Suzanne. “He loved to give people gifts and just got the biggest kick out of it. I think he chose Christmas Day because he knows I’m terrible with dates and it would be the day I remember because of what it meant to him.” An account for the Leamer family has been set up at Riverview Community Bank under William Leamer. To donate, visit any branch.
Having a business with graffiti on the outside gets you noticed.But not in a, “Oh, we’d better call the cops!” kind of way. Limitless Snow-Wake-Surf employs artist Bobby Johnson to create bold designs on the storefront. These change every six months or so. He uses Montana Gold paint, which is sold at the store. “What I enjoy about his work is that he has great unique designs and pushes himself to get better each time he paints,” said Eric Hargrave, Limitless owner. “He loves painting and has a passion for making people smile and to give the local kids inspiration through his painting.”
In 1964, The Civil Rights Act was signed into law, the “race to the moon” made headlines and a new home cost $13,050.In Camas, Lacamas Heights Elementary School opened its doors to 500 students for the 1963-64 school year. On Jan. 17, the school. located at 4600 N.E. Garfield St., will celebrate that milestone with a birthday party. Duane Freeman, a sixth-grade teacher that first year, will be attending the party, along with several alumni and current students and staff members. Principal Julie Mueller, a parent committee and school alumni have been working since last spring to create an event that all attendees will enjoy. “I think it is awesome,” Mueller said. “I started teaching at Lacamas in 1995 and was there until Liberty Middle School opened.
“It wasn’t a matter of if I would serve, just when I would,” he said. His older sister, Amy Schmid, who enlisted in the Air Force after graduating from Camas High School in 2000, also inspired him to join the military. “I saw how well she was doing and it made sense to me,” he said. “But it was after Sept.11 that it really hit me.”
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.
It seems as if most people run in about 10 different directions during the holidays. With gifts to buy, family in town and meals to prepare, other things often get put aside.But a group of 80 dedicated families spent a weekend baking a plethora of holiday treats for staff at Camas High School, which were served after school on Monday, Dec. 16. From cookies to banana bread to chocolate covered treats, the tables at the counseling center overflowed with goodness. Approximately 85 percent of staff members at the high school attended, according to Principal Steve Marshall’s estimate. “The adults were very excited and very appreciative of the parents’ thoughtfulness,” he said. “I overheard teachers say things like, ‘This is the best day of the year.’ ‘I have never seen anything like this!’ and ‘I am grading papers tonight so this might be my dinner.’ This is an event centered around giving, which is why it fits so perfectly with the holidays.”
Liberty Middle School trimester one honor roll
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.
The last day of school before winter break is always a festive one, but it was especially so for some local kids. On Friday, Dec. 13, student body officers at Hathaway Elementary, in Washougal, accepted a donation of 36 coats for fellow students in need.
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.
Every first Friday in December since 2008, students in the Camas and Washougal school districts have worked feverishly to see which among them could amass the most food for local charities during the annual Stuff the Bus food drive. With the win came a trophy and a year’s worth of bragging rights for their school. But this year, things were noticeably different in two regards. For the first time ever, Stuff the Bus was postponed due to inclement weather. Also, students from the high schools worked as a team instead of a competition. The only winners were the local charitable organizations, that received large quantities of food.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.