Substitute bus driver fired

A substitute bus driver for the Washougal School District has been fired after he got into a verbal altercation with students on the afternoon of May 23. The district reported the incident and the driver to the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, which oversees standards for the state’s bus drivers.

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A connection to conservation

Determining whether a middle schooler appreciates something can pose a challenge for adults at times. However, local outdoor school organizers are convinced that the program makes a big impact with the students, even if they don’t display it outwardly. “You may not see it now, but we’re hoping that in the future, they can draw from this experience and the memories,” said Maegan Jossy, outreach coordinator for the Friends of the Columbia Gorge. “There’s something special about this experience, something you can’t get in a classroom.”

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Photographer Brian Christopher captures an ancient people in modern images

Brian Christopher has always been able to blend in with his surroundings. At more than six feet tall, that is no easy accomplishment. But it isn’t something he tried to do, it’s instinctive, which helps the photojournalist capture scenes as they unfold. “I was born a documentary photographer,” Christopher, 53, said. “Despite my size, I can blend in and seem invisible.”

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Supporting the community

The Camas-Washougal Rotary Club motto is “service above self.” So, it makes sense that the 57 member group has earned the title of “Citizen of the Year” by the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce. “It’s great that they can be recognized as a whole for what they all do for the local community,” said Chamber Director Brent Erickson. “They’re a real well-rounded group.”

Dedicated learners and educators

A special education teacher with a passion for his craft, along with a fifth-grade teacher who supports both students and colleagues, are being recognized for their efforts. Mike Brasch and Marie Klemmer are being recognized as Teachers of the Year by the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce. They will be honored at a banquet on June 4. Brash is a special education teacher at Hayes Freedom High School in Camas, while Klemmer teaches fifth-grade at Gause Elementary School in Washougal.

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Camas Farmer’s Market prepares to open for seventh season

Every Wednesday, a myriad of tantalizing aromas, music and conversation floats through downtown Camas when the Farmer’s Market opens. Located between the library and City Hall, this local market includes fresh fruit, produce, cooking demonstrations, wine and food vendors, beverages, kids activities and much more. “I really like to see the spirit of community come alive every Wednesday when the market is just bustling with energy and happiness,” said Marilyn Goodman, program coordinator, who began her job with the market two years ago. “It has been so exciting to see how much people love this small town market,” she said. “I enjoy talking with customers about what brings them back each week and hearing their stories. We are so fortunate in having an excellent crew of volunteers who set up the market each week and help us tear down and our board members, some who have been with the market since it started out seven years ago.” On a typical Wednesday evening at the market, families can be found eating dinner together and children are often running around on the lawn of the library, a book in one hand and a treat in the other."

Jenkins resigns from Washougal High School

Math teacher Jay Jenkins has resigned from Washougal High School. The School Board accepted his resignation, effective at the end of the school year, at a special meeting on Thursday. This came about after a flurry of publicity about Jenkins’ allegedly touching students inappropriately during instructional time. The reported incidents dated back to 2008.

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Remembering Mrs. Champion

Hathaway Elementary School has lost a beloved teacher. Susan Champion, 59, passed away from cancer on Friday, May 9. Principal Laura Bolt describes the third-grade teacher as “vibrant and energetic,” even in her final months. She was in the classroom until winter break.

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Transporting precious cargo

Driving a school bus can be a tough job, but also incredibly rewarding. Just ask Connie Allred. After a few weeks driving a bus for the Washougal School District, the driver was ready to quit. “I came to the office in tears, thinking, ‘I’m too slow and too short and too stupid to figure out how to do this right.’”

Jenkins resigns from Washougal School District

Math teacher Jay Jenkins has resigned from Washougal High School. The School Board accepted his resignation, effective at the end of the school year, at a special meeting on Thursday.

Friends of Excelsior selling desserts at 'Phantom'

Friends of Excelsior will be selling homemade desserts at the Saturday showings of "Phantom of the Opera," on May 17 and May 24 at Washougal High School.

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A Dark Tale

Obsession. Madness. Love. Forgiveness. All of these will portrayed on stage for audiences with the opening of “The Phantom of the Opera” at Washougal High School this Friday. Based on a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux, it is partly inspired by historical events at the Paris Opera during the nineteenth century. Its plot revolves around a beautiful soprano, Christine Daae, who becomes the dark obsession of a mysterious, mentally ill musical genius with a severe disfigurement.

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Remembering ‘Grandma Veda’

Veda Grace Frothinger Lanz was the third of 12 children born to a farming family in South Dakota. The number of kids was not at all unusual for the early 20th century, especially in a rural area. What was eyebrow raising was that there were four sets of twins among the 12. At one point, there were eight children, all 5 years of age and younger, living in the small home of George and Ella Frothinger. This was in a time before washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, disposable diapers, grocery stores, and for many, electricity.

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It's time for summer fun

With the area’s first taste of warm weather recently, summer is on the minds of many, particularly children. And what to do during the long months without school is a question now being considered by parents everywhere. There are several camps in Clark County that offer anywhere from a few hours to several days of activities. Camps include everything from how to improve sports skills to how to improve cooking skills.

Sharing their love of music

Two Washougal High School seniors had the opportunity to perform with professional musicians in a benefit show for children recently. T. Walker Anderson and Mikayla Harris participated in the Ten Grands for Kids event at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland on Friday, April 18. It is a free, 75 minute matinee created by Michael Allen Harrison, a well-known professional pianist who lives in Portland. The goal of the event is to have a show that inspires students to follow their dreams and exposes them to music “at a very high level of proficiency.”

WHS student files tort claim against district

A Washougal High School sophomore has filed a tort claim against the school district, seeking $50,000 in damages, for allegedly failing to protect her and other students from inappropriate touching by math teacher Jay Jenkins. “This student is now in counseling and her ability to trust has been disrupted,” said the student’s Vancouver attorney, Josephine Townsend.

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Celebrating Earth Day

Since 1970, people from all walks of life have gathered to do their part in making the Earth a better place. Last week, Camas and Washougal students continued that tradition with a variety of Earth Day projects. At Grass Valley Elementary, students participated in a nature walk to a local park, where they studied different plants, animals and insects, recording their observations on a checklist.

WHS student files tort claim against district

A Washougal High School sophomore has filed a tort claim against the school district, seeking $50,000 in damages, for allegedly failing to protect her and other students from inappropriate touching by math teacher Jay Jenkins.

Camas pool will have new manager

The Camas Municipal Pool will have a new manager come summer. Last night, the Camas City Council unanimously approved an agreement with Lacamas Swim & Sport to operate the pool. It could open as early as Memorial Day weekend, weather permitting. “Swimming is important for everyone to learn and if the pool doesn’t stay open, then it overloads our club,” owner Denise Croucher said.

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Community connections

Nearly every Thursday, volunteers from Columbia Ridge Senior Living board a van and make a quick trip to Woodburn Elementary School, a mile away. There, they spend the next hour or so reading with second-grade students. It’s a partnership that works well for all involved. “It’s a real benefit for both the students and the volunteers,” said Melissa Dolan, school counselor. “The kids love the one-on-one attention and the volunteers feel appreciated.”

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A time for service

What started out as a trip to build a house for three orphans has changed the direction of one man’s life. Paul Heberling, 24, of Camas, traveled to Baja, Mexico, during spring break with a group from Central Washington University. They rebuilt a home for three children after it was destroyed in a fire, which also killed their father. Adding to that suffering, their mother lost her battle with cancer last year. “It was my first time in Mexico and it was a very humbling experience,” Paul said. “Traveling from San Diego to Tijuana, you saw the world change. It filled my heart with compassion.”

Camas kindergartener brought bullets on bus

A school bus was searched following a report of a Camas kindergarten student carrying bullets in a backpack. At about 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the driver of a school bus on a Prune Hill Elementary route was alerted by a student that a bullet was discovered.

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Science Olympiad top in state

Winning state once? Awesome. Twice? Fantastic. Three times? Almost never. But Camas High School’s Science Olympiad teams hit a new record Saturday, taking first-place at the State Science Olympiad Tournament for the fourth year in a row.

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Advocating for a cure

Paige Maas may only be 10 years old, but the petite fourth-grader is making a big impact in the fight against diabetes. Paige, a Washougal resident, has Type 1 diabetes, which requires that she check her blood sugar several times a day and carefully monitor her food and fluid intake. She was diagnosed three years ago.

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New management proposed for Camas pool

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.

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It’s time to hunt for Easter eggs!

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.”

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A trail of friendships

“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.

District clarifies boundaries between students, staff

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.

CHS student presents work at professional science conference

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.”

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An ASL leader

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.”

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Capturing nature’s majesty

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.

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Redefining beauty

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.

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A unique cultural experience

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.

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Young musicians fare well at state conference

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.

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Understanding Alzheimer's

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.

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The road to recovery

“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.”

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Color & light

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.

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WHS and CHS receive 10k in cash for schools program

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.

Mount Pleasant officials react to levy failure

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.

Camas library sets trivia night

Think you know a lot about Camas?

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Understanding social differences

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.

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A new twist on a dark tale

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 levies pass

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.”

Phone-a-thon begins Tuesday

Phones will be ringing across the city soon as the Camas Educational Foundation launches its annual phone-a-thon fundraising campaign.

School levies pass in Washougal

Washougal School District officials are celebrating today as both district levies passed by significant margins.

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Local band, big dreams

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.”

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They’re promoting playground peace

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.”

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A dedicated Papermaker

“Like my car…

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Piano with a master

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.”

School notes

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.