Stories by Danielle
When Azita Footohi strolls through downtown Camas, she often finds herself doing a double take at the Ballard & Call gallery.Footohi’s paintings, including her grand prize winner from the Camtown Youth Festival, are displayed in the entryway, a first for the budding artist.
A former Mount Pleasant School District employee pleaded guilty to third-degree theft in Camas-Washougal Municipal Court Thursday.
Since Rosemary Knapp announced her retirement earlier this year, she’s been asked the following question more times then she can remember:“What are you going to do when you retire?”
And her answer?
"Whatever I want to: Travel, spend more time taking care of my grandson, exercise more regularly and read more grown-up books," Knapp said. "About 80 percent of my reading for the last several years has been young adult books. I'm looking forward to more grown-up books."
The 2012-13 Camas School District budget includes the addition of 10 new teaching positions as well as a full-time registrar and data coordinator.
Business Manager Donna Gregg presented the $54.1 million general fund spending plan to the School Board Monday night. The 2011-12 general fund budget was $51.7 million.
Every year, a group of dedicated walkers and runners comes together to celebrate life and putting an end to cancer with the Relay for Life of East Clark County event.The 24-hour relay, a benefit for the American Cancer Society, draws people from all walks of life: Cancer survivors, those who have lost a loved one to the disease, or people who just want to help out and have fun while doing it.
“Tonight, we have a clean slate, an opportunity to pursue anything we want. Let’s move on to the next stage of life and push back our comfort zones,” said Alex Pien, Camas High School valedictorian.Pien certainly understands pushing the comfort zone as a distance runner, but on Friday he was addressing his 359 classmates participating in CHS commencement ceremonies at Doc Harris Stadium.
When Camas resident April Sutherland found out the special needs camp her autistic son attends would be eliminated due to budget cuts, she and other moms rallied to save it.They went to Vancouver City Hall and gave officials a proposal: They’d provide the funding for staff and make reductions, such as eliminating field trips, and volunteering to set up and clean up, if the camp could be saved.
The city agreed with a few conditions, including one that seemed quite daunting: Raise $25,000 in 30 days. Undeterred, Sutherland and other moms did what seemed almost insurmountable. They raised $27,411 in 26 days.
"It was a huge collaboration," she said.
After months of meetings and review, the Camas School Board has approved district boundary changes at the elementary and middle-school levels.
Board members essentially kept the proposal that the Camas School District's boundary review committee decided upon, with one change.
Phase seven of the Deer Creek neighborhood is now included in the Prune Hill Elementary attendance boundary. In the original proposal, students who live in that area of the subdivision were slated to attend Dorothy Fox Elementary.
Shane Chen almost always has inventing on the brain.Whether he’s skimming through an in-flight magazine, cruising the aisles of a local grocery store or even enjoying his favorite hobbies, Chen is thinking of ways to make products work better.
When a Camas resident approached Marilyn Boerke to ask if she’d like to have a piece of history, the Liberty Middle School principal was intrigued.“Eunice Abrahamsen contacted me to see if I was interested in procuring and displaying a ‘piece’ of a Liberty ship in order to teach our students the history of the local mill and the reasons why Liberty’s name was chosen,” she said. “I anticipated a small piece of the ship, so I was astounded and thrilled to learn the salvage company was offering to donate one of the ship’s anchors.”
The anchor came from a decommissioned Liberty ship known as the SS Davy Crockett, which had been turned into a flat deck barge. Last summer, an extensive recovery and destruction process began on the ship after it went aground in the Columbia River near Cottonwood Beach. That effort lasted 211 days.
The ship was built between 1941 and 1945, when the United States increased its shipbuilding capacity during World War II. At the Camas mill, now known as Georgia-Pacific, workers built ship rudders, cranes and other wartime materials for the Liberty ships being constructed by Kaiser Aluminum in Vancouver.
A long-time bus driver for the Mount Pleasant School District has resigned after being charged with third-degree theft for allegedly using a district credit card to purchase gas for her personal vehicle.
“Kids don’t care what I know until they know I care.”This tagline is included at the end of every e-mail John Condon sends out.
"I have always had a challenge for myself to build that trusting relationship with classroom kids on an individual basis," said Condon, who teaches seventh-grade at Skyridge Middle School.
Most adults remember learning about the Lewis and Clark expedition in their textbooks, which is not always the most exciting or memorable way to experience history.But fourth-graders at Dorothy Fox Elementary School in Camas had the opportunity to learn about the famous “Voyage of Discovery” through an Oregon Museum of Science and Industry interactive outreach workshop.
“When you cross the finish line, no matter how slow or fast, it will change your life forever.”This quote comes from the movie, “The Spirit of the Marathon.” Anyone who has ever trained for a challenging race, be it an Ironman, marathon or half-marathon, understands exactly what it means to push past your limits and cross the finish line victoriously.
Students at Hathaway Elementary School are reaping the benefits after their teacher secured grants to purchase nearly $4,000 worth of xylophones, metallophones, and other mallet instruments.Amy Switzer applied and received a $1,000 Creative Classroom Grant from the Washougal Schools Foundation, and more than $3,000 from the school’s Booster Club.
"It is awesome to work in a district that supports its music programs," she said.
Citing an inequitable socioeconomic balance and the unnecessary splitting of neighborhoods, several parents voiced their concerns regarding the Camas School District’s proposed boundary changes at a meeting last night.
"Really, what we want for our district is to have everyone be treated fairly," said Emily Gillespie, a Helen Baller parent. "My children attend the fourth closest school to our house. All the surrounding neighbors attend other schools. Our neighborhood is being used to socioeconomically balance Baller. There's a bus that goes by my house that drops kids off at Grass Valley."
In an effort to define what makes a healthy community, Washougal has been selected for a statewide grant that will focus on prevention and intervention.
It is one of two cities in Clark County, and 12 in the state, that were chosen for the 4-year Prevention Redesign Initiative.
"Washougal was selected based on community readiness and responsiveness," said Camille Saari, who will coordinate the local grant.
Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of some people like the thought of preparing a meal from scratch.Local chef Karen Lasher is hoping to remove some of that anxiety by offering classes aimed at taking the trepidation out of cooking.
"I just love teaching," said Lasher, a Camas resident who works as personal chef at the PeaceHealth Corporate Cafe in East Vancouver.
Lasher, former owner of Around the Table restaurant in Camas, has taught everything from kids cooking classes to gourmet meal preparation for adults.
The Camas School District boundary review committee is expected to have a final recommendation this week.
According to a school district newsletter, the final recommendation will be posted on the committee's website.
"It is our hope that the final recommendation will be posted on our website and e-mailed to families (today)," said Doreen McKercher, public information officer. "Additionally, we plan to publish an update to our 'Frequently Asked Questions' document to address more neighborhood-specific topics."
The boundary review has been brought about by the addition of Woodburn Elementary School, set to open at Crown Road in the fall of 2013.
Summer. It’s a time for kids to kick back, relax and enjoy themselves. There are several camps in Clark County that offer options ranging from a few hours to several days.
Camps include everything from how to improve sports skills to how to improve outdoor skills. Best of all, there are choices for all ages, stages and price ranges.
When her local Girl Scout troop needed to plan a community service project to earn a merit badge, 14-year-old Devyn Wilson knew exactly what she wanted to do.“My friend, Brooke Mosier, has a cousin named Hope, who has cancer,” she said. “Her story was really inspiring.”
After sharing the story of the Vancouver 10-year-old's battle with the disease and radiation treatment, she and the members of Camas Cadette Troop No. 41864 decided to do something to help the young patients at Randall Children's Hospital in Portland.
"When asked what we could do to help, she suggested we help the children find something to do to pass the time and keep their minds occupied," Devyn said.
Whenever Robyn Pfeifer puts on her costume for play rehearsal, she has an “ah ha’ moment.“We really take some things for granted today, such as being able to wear comfortable clothing,” she said.
ExCEL Academic League is living up to its name by winning the statewide middle school Science Olympiad for the third year in a row.The team of 14 homeschoolers from the Camas and Washougal “Alpha” team, beat the second-place team by 41 points to secure a spot at nationals in Orlando, Fla., in May.
In addition to the winning team, ExCEL had another team, "Beta," compete at the state tournament, placing 11th overall.
The theme of Earth Day 2012 was "Mobilize the Earth." Organizers encouraged participants around the globe to attend a local event or start one. "Together we will stand united for a sustainable future and call upon individuals, organizations, and governments to do their part," the Earth Day website states.
Locally, the call to action was answered.
On Saturday, May 19, hundreds of local residents will lace up their running shoes and prepare to hit the road in what has become a signature Washougal event.
The Student Stride for Education began in 2004, with just 300 participants. In its ninth-year, organizers are expecting twice that number for the 5K run/walk.
:It has grown and evolved into a community mainstay," said Stephanie Eakins, race director. "The Stride has been a favorite event with my family for years. We have all participated, whether in the 5k run or student runs over the years. We put it on the calendar and make it a family affair."
Knowledge Bowl. DECA. And now Science Olympiad.Camas High School students continue to bring home the honors. The most recent one was when the Science Olympiad team competed and won the state championship at Eastern Washington University for the second year in a row.
The Papermakers sacked the competition with a 40 point lead over second place team Union High School. Bothell High School, near Seattle, came in third.
"This was quite a team effort, and a very well-fought tournament by many good teams," advisor Ron Wright said. "Twenty-nine students medaled at this tournament, the most we have ever had bring home individual medals from state."
By ordering computers earlier in the year, using open-source software and purchasing larger servers, the Camas School District saved approximately $230,000 in technology costs.
"Thinking outside the box this year has saved hundreds of thousands and has increased our student-to-computer ratios district wide, allowing students more access to technology at school and from home," said Sherman Davis, server administrator for the district.
Davis gave a technology update at a recent School Board meeting.
Talking on your cell phone during lunch? Being rude to the server? Wrinkling up your nose while looking at the menu? While this may sound like an episode of a bad reality television show, it was actually a demonstration of what not to do while dining out.The lesson about appropriate (and inappropriate) restaurant manners was conducted by Linda Haines and Jocelyn Lindsay, who are spearheading a program for fifth-grade girls at Hathaway Elementary School in Washougal.
After two years of success, the Camas Iron Chef contest is returning for a third time.Hosted by the Camas Educational Foundation, last year it raised $2,200 for local students.
Organizers are hoping to exceed that amount this time around. They are also changing the event's location from Camas Meadows to Journey Community Church in downtown Camas.
After several parents questioned why school was closed when it was simply raining, the Washougal School District is taking a second look at its snow routes.
With sometimes drastically differing conditions in the outlying areas of the district versus the middle of town, the School Board is contemplating putting changes into place to allow school to be in session more, while keeping children safe on their way to class.
Camas High School showed that science is tops with a successful finish at the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair Saturday, March 31.
There were 540 projects entered in this year's fair.
The Camas School District was represented with one project from Dorothy Fox Elementary and 15 from Camas High School. Nine parents accompanied their students to the fair.
Mention the term “4-H” to most people, and an image of kids in rural farming communities raising livestock typically comes to mind.But 4-H is much more. While raising animals continues to be a core function, local leaders are also encouraging young participants to give back to the community by doing outreach and service projects.
The Silver Star Stockmen 4-H group in Washougal mainly focuses on large animals for market and breed projects, but has also branched out into community service projects.
Washougal High School student David Choi won the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award for his essay on American history.
“We do not farm for the money...it is the appeal of the lifestyle, an appreciation of the moments of calm while embracing those that are hectic and above all, it is a love of the land and animals.” This is one of the “farm philosophies” of Lorrie and Shaun Conway, owners of Conway Family Farm.
When Woodburn Elementary School opens its doors in the fall of 2013, it will be the sixth elementary school in Camas. The addition of a new building will mean a boundary revision at both elementary and middle school levels.
"We need to redistribute the student population of the district, that is what is driving this," School Board member Doug Quinn said. "It also coincides with our long range facilities improvement. We are figuring out what the demands on our buildings are and trying to distribute students before we have to deal with more growth related issues."
After three days full of twists and turns, Team Mean Machine came out on top.
Alan Bosse was at a truck stop in Long Beach, Calif., in 2009 when he made a seemingly insignificant decision. With a few extra minutes to spare, the long-haul trucker and graphic design student took his new camera out and snapped a few photos of passion flowers growing along a nearby fence.A few months later Bosse, 50, entered the photo, “Passion and Bee” in a nationwide Earth Day photo contest sponsored by the website Bing. It won first-place out of approximately 17,000 entries.
Firefighters make final preparations for the controlled burn of the former Riverside Bowl building in Camas along Northeast Third Avenue.
A “three-peat” is often considered the crown jewel in team achievement: To win a state title three years in a row takes accomplishment to a whole new level.It’s the exact feeling the Camas High School Knowledge Bowl Team had when they realized they’d won the state tournament again.
"It was really exciting," said Marcus Bintz, team captain. :State was a really good opportunity for us to showcase our strengths well. We're very happy."
Knowledge Bowl is a competition which quizzes students on topics relevant to their education.
"Basically, it's everything you ever learned in school if you never forgot anything," said team member Griffin King. "It's all related to school topics."
The members of the Camas High School Knowledge Bowl team are all smiles after capturing their third state championship in three years.
The team traveled to Marysville-Pilchuk High School to compete in the 30th annual Knowledge Bowl state championship over the weekend.
There, teams from all over the state competed at the 4A, 3A and 2A levels in three separate tournaments.
The Papermakers beat out 17 other teams in the 3A division to secure a win.
Instead of sifting through approximately 70 pages of documents during meetings, Washougal School Board members will be able to access needed information in seconds.
The district recently purchased five iPad2 devices for all five school board members at a cost of $3,833. It will cost the district approximately $530 more the first year than the traditional paper method, but will save $2,771 the next year, and the same amount the following year.
The factors in the decision to purchase the iPads were to become more efficient and earth-friendly, to integrate technology into board meetings, and to save staff time.
Tiffani Pekkala is serious about her efforts to secure donors for the American Red Cross Blood Drive.“I have bribed classmates to donate with food and movies,” she joked.
Spring break in the Northwest usually means stormy weather and cold days. But don’t let that keep the kids from getting the most out of it.Camas and Washougal offer several options for kids to be interactive and engaged during their time off from school, without spending several hours in front of the television or computer.
For those parents who don't have the week off with their kids, there is the option of an all-day or part-day spring break camp through Camas Community Education.
"Not everyone goes on vacations and many parents need childcare," said Director Mary Weishaar. "And if others are going to be home and just want their kids to have some fun, structured activities, there's a half-day camp option, too."
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”This famous quote by Mahatma Ghandi calls people to action. It is also the theme of Challenge Day, an event which provides participants with the tools to break down the walls of separation and isolation, and build new levels of respect and communication within their schools and communities.
Washougal and Excelsior high school students, along with teachers, administrators and community members, had the opportunity to participate in Challenge Day last week.
WHS counselors Christina Mackey and Owen Sanford first heard about it from a student intern, who said he'd participated in it at another school and it, "changed his life."
"When we heard that, we had to investigate," Sanford said. "I started researching it, and got pretty overwhelmed by the costs and how to make it all happen. Then we heard there was a grant opportunity through Clark County Department of Community Services, and so we applied and got it."
Walking through the hallways of Washougal High School last week, students were greeted by a large, orange and black poster congratulating various choir and band members.
And there were several reasons to give kudos: On Monday, Feb. 20, several students performed with the Washington Music Educators All-State Honor Symphonic Choir and Wind Ensemble.
In addition, many of the same vocalists and instrumentalists performed well at the Regional Solo and Ensemble Contest the following weekend.
“This is great,” said Jen Mahorney, choir director. “We’ve been preparing since right after Christmas. There are some pretty stellar schools in the region, It’s fortunate that we have this level of competition.”
Positive. Unwavering dedication. Heartfelt hope.
These are just a few of the adjectives people who know her use to describe Virginia Warren.
"Her personality has consistently been upbeat, vivacious, loyal, dedicated, fun-loving, and with a 'glass is half full' outlook on life," said Krista Bashaw, special events coordinator for Camas Parks and Recreation.
Bashaw has known Warren since she moved to Camas in 1995 and began volunteer work with the Friends of the Camas Community Center. Warren has served on the board since 1985 and is retiring for the third time.
There is a line in the movie, “The Shawshank Redemption,” where the main character, Red, finds himself at a crossroads. As he is contemplating which path to take, he utters a profound, yet simple, sentence.“You can get busy living, or you can get busy dying.”
A local group of students came home with two trophies after competing in the Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program FIRST LEGO League state tournament.The Camas Mechanickidz competed against 89 other teams, taking first-place in software programming and second-place in robot performance, coming in only one point shy in that category than the winner.
The team was selected for the state competition in December, out of 20 teams at a qualifying competition in Vancouver.
According to team co-coach Jeff Hendricks, the Portland region is the largest in the country with 400 teams.
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- by By Danielle Frost Post-Record Staff
- February 28, 2012
Years from now, Andrew Cottrell will be able to walk along the Washougal River Greenway trail and see trees he planted towering above.Cottrell, 14, recently added a colorful variety of 12 maples to the trail, located in Camas off Second Avenue, for his Eagle Scout project.
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- by By Danielle Frost Post-Record Staff
- February 28, 2012
“I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling. Our proudest moment is to save lives.”This quote by Edward F. Croker, written long before women were also firefighters, still rings true for many in emergency services today.
Washington State Volunteer Firefighter Recognition Week was recently commemorated. In the Camas and Washougal areas, many men and women serve countless unpaid hours as firefighters, responding to calls at all hours of the day and night.
Since both the city of Washougal Fire Department and East County Fire and Rescue rely heavily on volunteers, the Post-Record is highlighting some of them and what they do for the community.