“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’?”
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.
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.”
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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
Incumbents kept their seats in both local school board races.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Fundraiser will benefit choir's upcoming international show
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Two weeks after the Camas School District website was compromised by an unwanted software application, the new site is nearing completion.
Interested in serving your community by impacting local schools? If so, there is an open position available on the Washougal School Board.
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.”
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.
Two suspects have been arrested in connection with several acts of vandalism which took place during a 48-hour period last week
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.
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.”
“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.”