Stories by Heather
“You should never, ever give up.”
These were the first words of Diana Nyad yesterday when, on her fifth try, she became the first woman to swim from Cuba to Florida without the help of a shark cage.
After jumping into the waters of Havana, it took her 53 hours to complete the 110-mile swim. And even more amazing, is the fact that this woman recently celebrated her 64th birthday.
Two men, including one from Washougal, have been arrested on charges including kidnapping, assault and robbery.
According to a press release from the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office, Markus L. Bedell, 25 of Washougal, and Charles W. Sample, 32 of Vancouver, were arrested for allegedly kidnapping at gunpoint Vancouver resident Robert Downey, 27, against his will and transporting him to the upper Washougal River area off North Fork Road on Thursday, Aug. 15.
They stripped him of his clothing, tied him to a tree, physically assaulted and them robbed him. Downey was left there by Bedell and Sample overnight. He was able to work himself free and make his way to North Fork Road where a passing motorist picked him up the morning of Friday, Aug. 16.
A renowned Camas artist will soon begin the work of creating the city’s first outdoor mural in recent history.
Maria Repetto will paint the 3 foot by 30 foot mural, which will be mounted on the facia above the Ballard & Call Fine Art Gallery, located at 408 N.E. Fourth Ave.
The artwork will be inspired by a photograph of downtown Camas taken in the early 1900s that belongs to Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brent Erickson, a longtime Camas resident.
“When we saw it, we were so excited,” said Marquita Call, who owns the gallery with Sharon Ballard.
Fire that closed Highway 14 yesterday likely started by mechical issues with a vehicle hauling hay
The elected officials who make up the C-Tran Board Composition Review Committee are now testing the waters with their respective city councils, to get feedback on what, if any, changes should be made to the makeup of the C-Tran Board of Directors.
Following discussions at the committee’s meeting last week, three options are on the table.
The first option would maintain three seats for Vancouver, and then have two for Clark County, one each for Camas, Battle Ground and Washougal, and one combined seat for the three smallest jurisdictions — Ridgefield, La Center and Yacolt.
The second option would produce two representatives each from the Clark County Commission and the Vancouver City Council, and one representative each from Camas, Washougal, Ridgefield and Battle Ground and one for La Center/Yacolt.
The third option would maintain the current composition of three each from the Clark County Commission and the Vancouver City Council, and one each from paired cities and towns: La Center/Ridgefield, Washougal/Camas and Battle Ground/Yacolt.
During the past three months, Clark County elected officials who are part of the C-Tran Board Composition Review Committee have met a handful of times to discuss the possibility of changing the C-Tran Board’s power structure. In a nutshell, several of the smaller cities represented on the Board — including Camas and Battle Ground — have expressed strong interest in having their own seats. Currently, smaller cities are grouped together in twos, with Camas-Washougal, La Center/Ridgefield, and Battle Ground/Yacolt each sharing a seat. Vancouver and Clark County each have three seats.
They say a person is never too old to try something new, and five local women are proving that by living their twilight years to the fullest.
The latest adventure taken on by these ladies in their 70s and 80s had them suspended in the air and zipping from tree to tree in the rain forest of Skamania County.
In July, longtime friends Lois Schroeder and Mary Stencel, of Camas, and Oleta Platt, Helen Moore and Carol Phillips, of Washougal, took the Skamania Zip Line Tour, based at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson.
Camas officials are hoping funding for a federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant will be extended, so that the three people hired with the help of those monies in 2012 can continue to be employed by the Camas-Washougal Fire Department.
“In August 2014, the funding for those three positions expires,” Camas-Washougal Fire Chief Nick Swinhart said during last night’s Camas City Council meeting. “As part of the financial forecasting for the merger efforts we are undergoing with the city of Washougal, those positions are indeed still forecasted to go away at this time.”
In June 2012, Swinhart announced that the fire department had earned a $490,000 SAFER grant that would pay the salaries and benefits of three new firefighter/IV technicians for two years.
Now that the Primary Election has come to a close, local political watchers have begun to eye the upcoming General Election. And based on the number of candidates and issues that will be on the ballot, it’s going to be a busy election season.
On warm summer days, it’s not uncommon to find Heritage Park packed to the gills with vehicles moving boats in and out of the launch on Lacamas Lake, one after another.
Boat trailer parking often extends onto a grassy knoll adjacent to the paved parking lot, or onto street shoulders.
In an effort to improve this area’s safety and maneuverability, the city will soon begin a project that is being financially supported through a recently awarded state grant.
The former Camas city administrator was among the first Monday morning to file for election to one of the Clark County charter freeholder positions.
Lloyd Halverson, who retired from his appointed city post in March after 24 years on the job, is seeking one of 15 freeholder positions that will be on the Nov. 5 General Election ballot. He is hoping to be one of five people chosen to represent Position 2 in District 2.
More than 100 acres of open space, plenty of fresh air, lots of room to roam, completely natural surroundings.
For many city dwellers, even small cities like Camas and Washougal, these aren’t things they get to experience on a day-to-day basis. But fortunately, it’s not necessary to travel too far find to find them. And thanks to the efforts of one local couple, a popular youth summer residence camp will be preserved for current and future generations to have this kind of special outdoor experience for many years to come.
Stepping onto the grounds at Camp Melacoma is a lot like stepping back in time.The 142-acre heavily wooded site is tucked away in the hills of Skamania County, 13 miles up Washougal River Road. It has been a kids’ camp since 1948, when Robert Wineberg deeded the first chunk of the property to the Camp Fire Cascade Council.
Over the years, it’s been a place where literally thousands of kids of all ages and backgrounds have converged to explore nature first hand, and get the quintessential summer camp experience.
Dodi Jensen, a longtime Washougal resident, became the camp’s on-site caretaker in 2008. Jensen was looking for a change of pace and was familiar with the property, having volunteered at the site before.
“I had fallen in love with the camp long before I ever came to work here,” she said.
The Washougal City Council will hold a special meeting Monday, Aug. 5, at 5 p.m., in the Washougal Council Chambers, to formally appoint two committees to prepare statements for and against a proposition that will appear on the Nov. 5 General Election ballot.
When Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler gave birth to her first child earlier this month, doctors believe the little girl was likely the first baby to survive a diagnosis previously considered fatal.
Camas residents Herrera Beutler and her husband, Daniel Beutler, on Monday announced that their daughter, Abigail Rose Beutler, was born July 15 at 3:13 a.m., at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, Ore.
While in utero, Abigail was diagnosed with Potter’s syndrome, caused by bilateral renal agenesis. Potter’s syndrome is a condition associated with a deficiency in amniotic fluid often caused by a baby’s prenatal kidney failure.
According to a press release, Abigail’s case absence of the kidneys resulted in anhydramnios, or a complete absence of amniotic fluid in the womb, which is critical to lung development.
The condition often results in terminated pregnancy. Babies born with the condition suffer from pulmonary hypoplasia, or severely undeveloped lungs, and are unable to breathe once outside of the womb.
The man believed to be responsible for robbing the U.S. Bank in downtown Camas remains in the Multnomah County Jail after he turned himself in to police.
Christopher A. Arrington, of Washougal, surrendered himself to the Multnomah County Jail, Wednesday, at approximately 5 p.m.
His description and several photos were released to local media outlets Tuesday, and the Camas Police Department started to receive tips from the community soon after. Beginning Wednesday morning, those tips led detectives to Arrington.
According to the CPD, Arrington has a criminal history in Oregon and Washington and detectives found that he had valid arrest warrants out of each state.
With a controversial issue, its mayoral seat and several City Council seats set to be on Washougal voters’ General Election ballots this year, it certainly won’t be a boring election season in the small city of 15,000 people.
But on Aug. 6 Primary Election ballots, there’s just one city government issue to decide on, and really it’s a decision that shouldn’t be too hard at all.
For the Position 3 seat, voters have a choice between incumbent Paul Greenlee, city political arena newcomer Lisa Voeltz, and George Kolin, who unsuccessfully ran for Washougal City Council once before in 2011.
The East County Fire and Rescue Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to place a $1.275 million capital projects bond on the Nov. 5 General Election ballot.
After some discussion during its July 16 meeting, Jack Hoober, Gary Larson and Vic Rasmussen voted in favor of the resolution, while Martha Martin and Mike Berg voted against.
The 20-year capital projects bond would fund two new fire engines, one brush truck, new fire fighting and medical equipment, an emergency generator at Mount Norway Station 94, parking lot repair at Sunnyside Station 93 and a water well at Livingston Mountain Station 92.
After many years of discussion and speculation, during this most recent session state legislators and ultimately Gov. Jay Inslee approved funding in the state operating budget that will allow for a greater number of schools to offer full-day kindergarten to some students.
As detailed in a article in today’s Post-Record, the funding is a step toward compliance with the Supreme Court McCleary decision, which mandates that lawmakers must fully fund basic education, including kindergarten, by 2018. In its first year, grants for full-day kindergarten at schools with the highest rates of poverty were given first priority.
It’s officially “Summer in the City.” The cities of Camas and Washougal, that is.
And next to the beautiful weather that has graced the area during the past few weeks, the best indication of this are the many events and activities on the calendar that bring these communities together, and welcome visitors to see all that this corner of Southwest Washington has to offer.
A proposal mentioned at the recent C-Tran Board Composition Review Committee meeting has Camas Mayor Scott Higgins feeling optimistic that a change could be on the horizon.
At the end of last Tuesday’s meeting Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart suggested a new configuration of the C-Tran Board that would reduce Clark County’s representation, and give Camas, Battle Ground and Washougal their own seats.
Stuart proposed that a possible makeup could maintain three seats for Vancouver, and then have two for Clark County, one each for Camas, Battle Ground and Washougal, and one combined seat for the three smallest jurisdictions — Ridgefield, La Center and Yacolt.
Thousands of racing fans will descend on the Washougal Motocross Park this week, for round eight of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series. The local venue is a longtime host of the national event that draws the world’s fastest motorcycle racers.
“We are ready to welcome the world to Washougal,” said Motocross Park spokesman Brian Barnes.
He said staff has been working feverishly to get the track ready for the high-profile, nationally televised event that typically attracts more than 20,000 people to the unique course that is known for its rolling hills and green forests. It is one of only three natural terrain raceways in America.
“Everything we are doing right now is preparing for nationals,” Barnes said. “Every year it gets better and better. This year we are adding more dirt to the track. The crew does an amazing job.”
A biotechnology company has submitted engineering and building documents to begin construction of a new facility in Camas.
According to Paul Dennis, president and CEO of the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association, Clark County based Alpha-Tec Systems, Inc., plans to construct a 42,000 square foot building on Northwest Camas Meadows Drive. The new facility would initially employ 50 to 55 people, and provide space for the company to grow.
“It’s definitely being built for them to be able to increase their operations,” Dennis said, adding that he has been told the company does not plan to leave its current leased facility at 12019 N.E. 99th St.
East County Fire and Rescue district residents are being encouraged to fill out a questionnaire regarding a proposed capital projects bond issue that could end up on the ballot.
One generation inspiring another.
This theme is weaved throughout the pages of today's Post-Record.
A World War II and Korean War veteran going out of his way to share his story and American history with Washougal High School students. The First Friday car show that brought car aficionados of all ages together to share their expertise with each other, and pass a love for the classics on to others. A father and his teenage son who have traveled to Omaha, Neb., to participate in the Senior U.S. Open -- the chance of a lifetime. The owner of a cutting edge design and invention business who wants to give back to his community and the next generation of innovators through an internship program.
Camas and Washougal are great towns with lots to offer and lots of potential.
This was one of the overriding themes emphasized during a town hall meeting in Washougal on Saturday, where among the discussion items was promotion of the city's current festivals, events, businesses and activities, as well as the possibility of developing new opportunities and attractions.
Many ideas were bounced around. Washougal city officials and citizens suggested a fishing derby, boat races, car shows and scavenger hunts. Discussion also centered on working to promote at a regional level what is already available in the "gateway to the Gorge."
Last night, the Camas City Council approved an ordinance that will help facilitate the purchase of a new ambulance for the Camas-Washougal Fire Department.
Funding for the $174,046 vehicle will come from a six-year, 1.25 percent interest loan from the state Local Option Capital Lending program.
Fire Chief Nick Swinhart recommended this option, rather than using the $150,000 earmarked for the purchase in the 2013 budget.
"We feel that it makes more sense right now to utilize the state loan program," Swinhart said. "The interest rates are so low that it is nearly like borrowing money for free. That allows us to keep reserves a little more intact."
Rep. Liz Pike (R-Camas) and Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center) recently announced that a public meeting will be held Friday, July 5, in Camas.
It's a meeting that is likely to be well attended, in the wake of an "open letter to public educators" posted on Facebook by Pike on June 21. The message criticized public school teachers for complaining about state legislators suspending cost of living increases.
"Congratulations on enjoying your last day of the school year," Pike's letter begins. "If I had the opportunity to choose my career all over, I would have opted to get the necessary degree and teaching certificate so that I too could enjoy summertime off with my children, spring break vacations, Christmas break vacations, paid holidays, a generous pension and health insurance benefits."
A pilot and his passenger escaped injury today when their small plane completed an emergency landing in a corn field west of Grove Field Airport north of Camas.
Beautiful, deep red bing cherries. Bunches of luscious, sweet scented lavender. Tall, bright green, crisp asparagus. Tender, light crepes stuffed with smooth, creamy peanut butter and drizzled with chocolate sauce. A cool glass of tart lemonade, with just a hint of sweet flavor.
These freshly picked and homemade items are just a sampling of what is available right now at the Camas Farmer’s Market. It was established six years ago and aims to provide the community with fresh produce, as well as freshly made items like breads, crepes, cupcakes, salsas, honey and juices.
As a non-profit organization, one of its primary goals is to make these kinds of fresh foods accessible to all people, no matter what their economic situation. In support of this mission, a partnership has been established with Clark County Public Health.
The Downtown Camas Association recently received special recognition from the Washington State Main Street program. The recognition came as a result of the mill artifacts fundraiser, which generated 18,000 for the DCA.
In the late 1800s, newspaper owner Henry L. Pittock decided to build a new paper mill and the town to support it. Lacamas, which would later be renamed Camas, was born. Nearly 130 years later, the mill continues its operation today at its site on Northeast Adams Street. It employs 500 people and remains one of the city's largest employers.
Earlier this month, some surprising results of a national study were released to the public.
According to the study funded by Reading Is Fundamental and Macy’s, only one in three parents read bedtime stories to their children every night. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, also found that 50 percent of parents say their children spend more time with TV or video games than with books.
The Fourth of July is right around the corner, and those who like to celebrate with fireworks should know that the rules and regulations governing their sale and use vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
In Camas city limits, a new set of laws was implemented in 2012. According to the guidelines, the sale, purchase and discharge of consumer fireworks are allowed July 1 through July 3, between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m., and July 4, between 9 a.m. and midnight. On July 5, fireworks can only be purchased and sold between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. — discharge is not allowed.
In unincorporated Clark County, fireworks can be legally discharged June 28, from noon to 11 p.m.; June 29 through July 3, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and July 4, from 9 a.m. to midnight. They can be sold from noon on June 28 to 11 p.m. on July 4.
Rep. Liz Pike (R-Camas) and Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center) announced this morning that a public town hall meeting will be held Friday, July 5, in Camas. It’s a meeting that is likely to be well attended, in the wake of an”open letter to public educators” posted on Facebook by Pike on Friday.
A Camas man was arrested Monday afternoon following a physical altercation that involved a handgun.
According to a Camas Police Department press release, earlier in the day Steven W. Timmons, 54, became upset when he found a note left on his door by city water department employee Tobin Reed Sr. regarding violation of city code. Timmons had painted a fire hydrant in front of his house red instead of yellow — the color all other hydrants in the city are painted. No one was home when the employee stopped by, so a note was left at the house advising them of the error, with suggestions on where the proper colored paint could be purchased.
Camas and Washougal are two communities that have changed drastically over the years.
Their active economic developments began when they became mill towns, and sites for dairy farming and logging, as well as other endeavors related to the timber industry. Over the years, they have both slowly transformed into so much more.
The city of Camas would like to have its own seat on the C-Tran Board.
That was the message delivered by Camas Mayor Scott Higgins on June 11, during a meeting of the C-Tran Board's Composition Review Committee.
Higgins said over the years Camas, with a current population of 20,020, has grown to become the second largest city in Clark County. It's seen a substantial amount of economic growth, including new jobs and residential housing. There is currently one job for every three citizens, he said.
The Lacamas Lake Lodge and Conference Center project is going to be more expensive than Camas city officials originally anticipated.
All four bids opened on May 13 were approximately $20,000 higher than the city engineer’s estimate of $1.79 million. Adding to the overall higher price tag for the project is fuel tank remediation work recently completed at the site. All told, Public Works Director Eric Levison said an additional $200,000 will be needed to fully fund the project.
The city had already secured a $1.65 million 10-year, 3 percent interest loan from the State of Washington LOCAL program. Another $350,000 is being provided by the Friends of the Camas Community Center.
This weekend, more than 600 seniors will go through commencement ceremonies in their quest to officially become high school graduates.
Washougal third-grader and cancer survivor Sammy Mederos got her long locks of curly hair shaved off during a fundraiser for St. Baldrick's Foundation this afternoon at Washougal High School.
At its heart, the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society is an organization that does an incredible amount of good work in the Camas and Washougal communities.
The no-kill shelter located in the Port of Camas-Washougal Industrial Park is a nonprofit group funded mainly through donations. The city of Washougal also contracts with the dog shelter to provide space for dogs brought in by animal control.
Eight years ago Mary LaFrance’s life changed forever when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She and other survivors will share their knowledge and experiences during a conference on Saturday.
The breast cancer awareness event will be held from 9 to 11 a.m., at Bethel Community Church, 1438 "B" St., in Washougal.
"It seems to be the perfect time," said LaFrance, the organizer. "It's time to do something to educate our local women here."
Camas announced on Thursday that Cathy Huber Nickerson will be the city’s next finance director. She will start on July 8.
She succeeds Joan Durgin, who after 24 years will retire on Friday.
For the past five years, Huber Nickerson has been the finance and information services director for the City of Battle Ground, which has a biennial budget of $54.8 million.
She previously was an employee of the Clark County Treasurer's Office, where over the course of 20 years she worked as a senior accountant and finance manager.
Construction will get underway in July on a new building located on the 150-acre Fisher Investments campus in Camas.
According to the Fortune 500 company's founder, chairman and CEO, Ken Fisher, the five-story structure will be identical to the one that currently sits on the property and is the workplace for 450 employees.
Construction is expected to take approximately one year to complete. The contractor will be Portland-based Howard S. Wright Construction, the same company that built Fisher Investment's first Camas building.
The new building will have the potential to house 700 employees, but Fisher said only time will tell how quickly it might fill up.
"We obviously envision we can use the building, or we wouldn't be building it," he said.
“Paying it forward.”
It's a term we've often heard used in the movies, but when one Washougal resident uses this term to describe some of her recent activities, she truly means it.
Mary LaFrance has overcome some serious medical issues in her life. Diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2005, she underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatments. And when doctors later discovered that some potentially cancerous cells were once again growing in her breast tissue, she made the incredibly brave decision to have a complete double mastectomy.
In Washougal, the Big Foot Inn is the place “where everybody knows your name.”
And that's just the way the tavern's longtime owners, Jerry and Berta Knott, like it.
The couple, who recently celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary, have owned the Big Foot Inn for 27 years. They attribute at least a portion of the restaurant's success to maintaining its "hometown hangout" qualities.
When Norm Paulson was a teenager growing up in Washougal, he remembers getting pulled over by a police officer who gave him two options: The officer could write him a ticket or Paulson could tell his father what had happened.
At the time, Washougal had a population of just a few thousand people. Everybody, literally, knew everybody.
"He knew telling my father would be the harder thing for me to do," Paulson said. "And he knew my dad, so he could check to make sure I had told."
Originally, Memorial Day was created to recognize the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the American Civil War. Today, however, it serves as a day to remember all Americans who have died while serving in the military, in past and present conflicts.
In Camas and Washougal, a number of services and ceremonies at local cemeteries are scheduled to commemorate Memorial Day. Those events are profiled in an article in today's Post-Record.
The conclusion of filing week revealed a few surprises, as citizens filed to be candidates for seats in local government.
In Washougal, Mayor Sean Guard will have an opponent in Earl Scott -- a longtime Washougal Fire Department captain.