Protecting those who cannot protect themselves

The Camas-Washougal Post-Record recently chronicled the story of Camas sisters Kimberly Abell and Jennifer Chilton, two incredible women who lived through brutal childhoods to become strong wives, mothers, individuals and citizens. After years of abuse at the hands of their father, they testified against him and he was put in prison. After being released early, he attempted to contact them. Disturbed that this was not against the law, Abell and Chilton worked to change the laws first in California and recently here in Washington.

Port, cities consider New Markets Tax Credit Program

A potential new endeavor involving the cities of Camas and Washougal, and the Port of Camas-Washougal could provide the seed money to take part in a federal tax credit program aimed at supporting local economic development projects. Consultant Don Mazziotti and Stephen Brooks, principal with Portland-based Pilot Management Resources, Inc., recently presented information on the New Markets Tax Credit Program to both city councils, and the port commission.

Northwest Sixth Avenue will undergo repairs soon

During the past few months, Northwest Sixth Avenue in Camas has become an obstacle course of potholes. Rain, snow and ice this winter wreaked havoc on the road, which serves as a main arterial funneling traffic east and west between Highway 14 and downtown Camas. Potholes of all shapes and sizes formed when water seeped into cracks and froze, acting as a wedge and breaking the pavement apart. Last night, the Camas City Council approved a $66,400 contract with low bidder Granite Construction of Vancouver to perform what Public Works Director Eric Levison describes as “grind and patch repair” work. It will fix 91 potholes equalling 14,000 square feet, located between Adams and Norwood streets.

‘Selfie’ project will inspire important discussion

There is no doubt that women have made some incredible strides during the past century. Once denied the right to vote, own property, attend school or hold jobs in certain professions, all of these opportunities are now open to both men and women without discrimination. And they now represent just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what women can and do achieve through hard work and determination.

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Lacamas Lake Lodge opens its doors to the community

The Lacamas Lake Lodge and Conference Center is now open. A dedication ceremony is planned for Tuesday, March 25. The event, emceed by Camas Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Brent Erickson, will begin at 4 p.m. Speakers will include Mayor Scott Higgins, Camas City Councilman Tim Hazen and Friends of the Camas Community Center President Nan Henriksen. Contractor JWC Construction began work on the new facility in July. The 5,000 square foot building offers a main banquet hall that seats 150 people and overlooks the lake. There are two conference rooms, a large covered patio and a warming kitchen.

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It’s a wonderful life

During the past 80 years, Jacquie Svidran has transformed herself into a menagerie of unique and memorable characters. On stage she has played roles ranging from a jovial Catholic nun to a Jewish matchmaker to Queen Victoria. Television audiences in Alaska knew her as “Mother Moose,” a role that required her to wear a 75-pound puppet head. “I had a brake cable inside that I pulled to make the eyes roll, and these bosoms were as big as basketballs,” she said, describing the costume. “I could only wear it about 15 minutes, then I’d have to take it off and rest.”

Camas seeks input from citizens on I-502

The Camas City Council is interested in knowing exactly what citizens think about Initiative-502 and how its implementation should — or shouldn’t — impact the local community. During last night’s Camas City Council meeting, Mayor Scott Higgins said he would like more information, so that he can gauge whether the community has a strong feeling about the issue one way or another. “I don’t believe we’ve heard from a lot of our community yet,” he said. “I personally haven’t received much feedback at all as far as what course of action the community should take on that, and I think I’d really love it if we invited it.”

Drug addiction is a community problem

Dianne and Darin Van Dyken are lucky to be alive. As profiled in an article in today’s Post-Record, before the two met in 2012, they had both had serious addictions to drugs and alcohol. The destructive paths they chose to take in their lives led to very dark places. Darin ended up in what he describes as “the ghetto,” essentially homeless and dealing drugs to survive, while Dianne had attempted suicide and was eventually arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants — her blood alcohol level pushed to a point that could have been deadly. Both had several unsuccessful attempts to get clean.

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Celebrating the land of a million pagodas

On Saturday, my Mt. Norway kitchen was overflowing with the aromas of delicious, savory delights — pork marinated in ginger and a thick, sweet soy sauce, then cooked for nearly two hours on a low heat with Asian chile powder to create a unique stew. Mint, onion, ginger and garlic later joined the flavor palate to create a potato salad tossed with gently seasoned oil. On Sunday, sweeter scents prevailed as a mixture of fresh pineapple, sugar, cinnamon and clove simmered on top of the stove in my favorite bright red dutch oven. The result was a ridiculously sweet, syrupy jam that I later spooned into a hot cup of English breakfast tea, and spread on top of a slice of crusty bread.

Knowledge is powerful

Knowledge, understanding and compassion are power. This concept can be applied to many facets of life, but particularly when it comes to those aspects that make us different from one another.

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Sisters, survivors

As children, sisters Jennifer and Kimberly never felt safe. Never. At a time when most youngsters are being loved, protected, cared for and nurtured, their reality instead was a home filled with abuse, mistreatment and secrets. While growing up in California, from the time they were toddlers to into their teen years, Kim Abell and Jennifer Chilton suffered sexual, physical and psychological abuse at the hands of their father, a former police officer, private detective and Marine.

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Impairment, speed cause Camas crash

Speed and impairment are being listed as factors in a multi-vehicle collision Feb. 13 on Pacific Rim Boulevard in Camas. According to a news release from the Camas Police Department, Andrew S. Colburn, 43, of Camas, was driving a 2012 Cadillac CTS eastbound at a high rate of speed on Pacific Rim, at approximately 8:35 p.m., when he collided with a 2007 Nissan Murano driven by Cheri M. Thomas, 45, of Camas.

Impact of additional school funding could prove pivotal

It didn’t come with a whole lot of fanfare, but on Tuesday night something pretty important happened in Washougal — something likely to have a significant impact on youth and the greater community for years to come.

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Driver impairment, vehicle speed cause Camas crash

Speed and impairment are being listed as factors in a multi-vehicle collision Feb. 13 on Pacific Rim Boulevard in Camas. According to a news release from the Camas Police Department, Andrew S. Colburn, 43, of Camas, was driving a 2012 Cadillac CTS eastbound at a high rate of speed on Pacific Rim, at approximately 8:35 p.m., when he collided with a 2007 Nissan Murano driven by Cheri M. Thomas, 45, of Camas.

Local author holds book signing

Costco will host a local author for a book signing event on Saturday. Rene Johnston Carroll, of Washougal, is the author of “Legendary Locals of Camas-Washougal.” She will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 19610 S.E. First St., in Vancouver.

School levies pass in Washougal

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

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Winter chill

After four days of inclement weather blasted the local area with snow, wind, freezing rain and ice, frigid conditions are finally beginning to thaw. According to the National Weather Service, Camas and Washougal received approximately 9 inches of snow during the past four days, and freezing rain arrived in force on Saturday night and continued into early Sunday morning, creating treacherous road conditions. Steve Pierce of Northwest Weather Consultants said the recent storm follows a five-year trend.

School levy issues will be decided today

Today is Election Day in Clark and Skamania counties. In Washougal, voters are being asked to cast their ballots on the school district’s two replacement levies that would fund maintenance and operations and technology. Although the levies are not new, the amounts have been increased to keep pace with increased enrollment and allow the district to expand in several educational areas, according to officials.

Give school transportation officials a break

The Clark County area is just now recovering from one of the longest stretches of nasty winter weather in recent years. City crews, including public works employees and emergency responders, were kept on their toes throughout the weekend, taking care of problems ranging from frozen pipes and sewer alarms to car accidents and other medical emergencies.

Camas-Washougal schools will be closed on Monday, Feb. 10

The Camas and Washougal school districts have announced Sunday evening that schools will be closed on Monday, Feb. 10, due to the threat of inclement weather.

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Vehicle careens over embankment in Washougal

The driver of a vehicle that traveled over a 20-foot embankment escaped injury this morning. According to a press release from the Camas-Washougal Fire Department, at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 7, a passenger vehicle was attempting to drive down a steep hill in Washougal in the 1800 block of North Sixth Street.

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Local schools will be closed on Friday

The Camas and Washougal school districts have announced that all schools will be closed on Friday, Feb. 7, due to poor weather conditions. All before and after-school activities are also cancelled.

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Righting a wrong

A representation of the Camas community’s generosity was bolted into place on Friday. A new granite monument at the grave site of Alexander Stuber was secured into place at the Camas Cemetery by employees from Vancouver Granite Works. The original one, more than 100 years old, was destroyed by vandalism in October 2013. Vancouver Granite Works worked to replicate the original monument, which included an image of a rose and the Bible verse “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,” from the second book of Timothy 4:7.

Camas man killed in Vancouver shooting

A Camas man was fatally shot Monday in what law enforcement officials are describing as a case of workplace violence. At approximately 11:30 a.m., Vancouver Police responded to a report of shots fired at the Westside Business Center located at 1800 W. Fourth Plain Blvd., in Vancouver’s industrial west side in the Fruit Valley area. When officers arrived, they located the body of Ryan E. Momeny, 45, a manager at the Benjamin Moore Paint Co., in front of the business. They then found Robert R. Brown, 64, a driver at the company, deceased inside a vehicle in the parking from what is being described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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Two Rivers Heritage Museum reopens with new, updated displays

After a two-month closure, the Two Rivers Heritage Museum reopens today with a new display highlighting the local area’s fabric weaving history. The exhibit, “Early Fabric Making,” features a working counter balance loom set up to weave rugs with blanket selvage material donated from Pendleton Woolen Mills, which is located across the street. Every blanket woven at Pendleton is trimmed of selvage on two sides before finishing the edges. It is sturdy, colorful material that can be woven into soft rugs. “The loom appears to be handcrafted as opposed to manufactured and is estimated to be from the last part of the 19th century,” said Camas-Washougal Historical Society member Marilyn Brown. “It is the size that could be found in a family home and was used to weave material for clothing, linens and home decor.”

Caring for the Camas Cemetery

Three months after the Camas Cemetery was vandalized, the final step in the effort to make a wrong, right again was put into place.

Property owners propose 'Grass Valley Master Plan'

A group of property owners have expressed interest in working with Camas to create a master plan vision for the Grass Valley area on the west side of the city. Vancouver land use and zoning attorney Randy Printz, who represents the property owners making the proposal, spoke about the concept on Friday during the City Council’s annual planning conference. It was described as a unique opportunity to paint what is currently a “blank canvas.”

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Entertaining and inspiring students

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’?”

Lloyd Halverson would serve as the legislative lobbyist for Camas

Retired Camas City Administrator Lloyd Halverson could soon be returning to work for his former employer. During tonight’s City Council meeting, a contract with Halverson is on the agenda for approval. The agreement would have him performing governmental affairs consultation work, including developing lobbying strategies for the Washington State Legislature and U.S. Congress, lobbying the state legislature in support of the city’s annual legislative goals, and lobbying Congress for federal funding for infrastructure projects. As part of his duties, Halverson would be required to provide the city with written and oral reports.

Citizens can still have a voice in how marijuana businesses will impact community

At the close of the marijuana license application submission period on Dec. 20, paperwork for more than 60 retail, producing and processing licenses had been submitted from Camas-Washougal area based businesses to the Washington State Liquor Control Board. The backgrounds of the applicants seem to vary as much as the names they chose for their potential endeavors. But at their core, all for one reason or another have a desire to get into the marijuana business. And as the applications are being processed and scrutinized by the state agency, local cities are heavily involved in their own work to establish a framework for rules, regulations and zonings that will eventually guide how these businesses will fit into the community.

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Fire destroys garage in Camas

A detached garage and all of its contents were destroyed in a late night fire in Camas on Wednesday, Jan. 15. Camas-Washougal Fire Department units were dispatched to reports of a structure fire at 2525 N.E. Everett St., in Camas.

Downtown Camas success story

When it comes to downtown revitalization, there is a common thread among the documented success stories: Make the experience unique for shoppers, diners, strollers, movie-goers, and other visitors and they’ll continue to come back for more — and they’ll bring their friends and family. With this idea in mind, during the past dozen years downtown Camas has slowly evolved to become an emerging success story, with the potential for much more on the horizon. What makes downtown Camas unique? An illustration of that answer can be found illuminated above the front door of the Camas Gallery on Northeast Fourth Avenue.

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BNSF prepares to replace Washougal River railroad bridge

A Camas railroad bridge that is part of a line that is more than 100 years old will soon be replaced. Originally built in 1908, the 550 foot long BNSF Railway railroad bridge that runs above the Washougal River and parallels Southeast Sixth Avenue is on tap for replacement, said BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas. Over the years, work has been done to improve and maintain the bridge, but it has never been replaced. “This is an upgrade and enhancement,” Melonas said. “It’s an upgrade for safety and efficiency.”

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Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders

“The future depends on what you do today.”These words once spoken by Indian civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi were the inspiration for the winning Voice of Democracy essay written by Camas High School student Amanda Felipe. Felipe and 14 other winners of the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars District 6 competitions were recognized during an awards ceremony on Sunday afternoon, at the Camas Community Center. Entries submitted by high school students in the Voice of Democracy essay contest responded to the theme: “Why I’m Optimistic About Our Nation’s Future.”

A day to remember

Elementary schools are special places in the hearts and minds of youngsters who fill their classrooms. It’s often a child’s first experience with having teachers, classrooms, classmates and homework. They learn how to be good friends and responsible students, and they also receive that initial critical base education that serves as the foundation for a lifetime of learning.

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Fire damages Camas home

A Camas family’s home was heavily damaged by fire Dec. 26. The blaze at 203 N.W. 22nd Ave. was called in at approximately 1:10 p.m., after one of its residents returned home and discovered a couch on fire in the family room. Upon arrival, crews from the Camas-Washougal Fire Department entered the house and found the entire rear half of the structure on fire.

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Crews battle house fire in Camas

A Camas family's home was heavily damaged by fire Dec. 26. The blaze at 203 N.W. 22nd Ave. was called in at approximately 1:10 p.m., after one of its residents returned home and discovered a couch on fire in the family room.

Agreement represents a major accomplishment

“Failure is not an option.” This statement was made by Mayor Scott Higgins following the recent approval by the Camas City Council of the 10-year inter-local agreement that officially merges the Camas and Washougal fire departments to create one unified entity. The unanimous vote was the final step in a process that has spanned more than two years.

City Council will discuss I-502 strategy

In early 2014, the Camas City Council is expected to begin considering how it will handle the new reality of legalized recreational marijuana in Washington.

Fire department consolidation is official

Action by the Camas and Washougal city councils has made permanent a formerly temporary contract that has been more than two years in the making. Last night, the Camas City Council unanimously approved an inter-local agreement with Washougal that officially establishes the consolidated Camas-Washougal Fire Department. The Washougal City Council approved the same agreement, 6-1, last week. For the past several months, an Ad Hoc Fire Consolidation Committee has guided the development of the agreement, focusing on hashing out key policy issues and creating a cost-sharing model.

Committee delays decision on C-Tran Board composition

A decision about whether to change the makeup of the C-Tran Board of Directors will be delayed until a separate decision is made on a corresponding legal issue. On Thursday, after some debate, the 10-member C-Tran Board Composition Review Committee opted to approve a motion to postpone making any changes to the C-Tran Board until a Clark County Superior Court judge makes a ruling on the legalities surrounding bloc veto power held by Clark County and Vancouver. “I think it would be premature for us to change the makeup until we get clarification,” said Clark County Commissioner David Madore.

Family Resource Center provides valuable services

Last night, the Washougal City Council made the right decision to include funding for the East County Family Resource Center in its 2014 budget, as it has done for the past several years. For the second year, the issue of whether the city of Washougal should provide funding to this non-profit social services organization became a topic of discussion and debate during budget talks. This time around, the concern primarily focused on where young women who think they may be pregnant and need a pregnancy test are referred to for additional services. The answer is Sea Mar Community Health Centers, which gives pregnant women information that lays out all options. This could include abortion, in addition to adoption and becoming a parent. According to Sea Mar officials, women are not encouraged to make a particular choice.

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Camas-Washougal history detective

For more than two months, Rene’ Johnston Carroll was a history detective. In February, the longtime Washougal resident signed a contract with Arcadia Publishing to write “Legendary Locals of Camas and Washougal.” Representatives from the company, which has published other historical books focusing on the local area in its “Images of America” series, contacted Carroll in January after discovering she is the editor of the Camas-Washougal Historical Society’s newsletter and reading online an article she wrote for the Post-Record. Carroll, who is a member of one of Camas’ homesteading and pioneering families, said she was excited about the prospect of writing a book about local history — but also a little nervous.

Capell named next Camas city administrator

A longtime Clark County employee has accepted an offer to become the next Camas city administrator. Camas Mayor Scott Higgins announced Friday that Peter S. Capell, current Clark County public works director, has been given a conditional offer of employment, pending reference and background checks. He is expected to start Monday, Jan. 6.

Capell will become the next Camas city administrator

A longtime Clark County employee will likely become the next Camas city administrator. Camas Mayor Scott Higgins said Peter S. Capell, current Clark County public works director, has been given a conditional offer of employment, pending reference and background checks.

Hometown Holidays is tonight in downtown Camas

The community will celebrate a snowy Hometown Holidays tonight in downtown Camas.

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Camas and Washougal school districts close

Snow began to fall early this morning in Camas-Washougal, and continues as of 9:45 a.m. Forecasters are predicting a dusting of up to 1 inch of snow in the Portland-Vancouver metro area.

Camas reveals city administrator finalists

Three men — two with ties to Clark County government — will be interviewed this week for the position of Camas city administrator. Mayor Scott Higgins said Monday that the three finalists are Peter S. Capell, current Clark County public works director; Joe Hannan, current Mukilteo city administrator; and Peter M. Mayer, former Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation director and current deputy director and chief operations officer of the Snohomish Health District in Everett. On Thursday, all three candidates will be interviewed by a panel composed of Councilwoman Melissa Smith, financial consultant Paul Lewis, Human Resources Director and Acting City Administrator Jennifer Gorsuch, former Camas Mayor Nan Henriksen, Port of Camas-Washougal Executive Director David Ripp and a representative from Sharp Microelectronics. Higgins will then interview the top two or all three of the candidates, depending on the feedback he receives from the panel.

Dream season continues

As the Camas High School football team prepares for the Washington State Championship game on Saturday, football fever is alive and well in Camas. It’s an excitement that has slowly built up during what has turned out to be a dream season for the 2013 Papermakers. The past three months have produced convincing wins against all 13 opponents Camas has faced, beginning with a 47-14 win in September against Jesuit High School — a team that is now playing for the Oregon 6A state championship against Central Catholic.

Camas narrows city administrator candidate field

A pool of 17 candidates for Camas city administrator is currently being narrowed to a field of three who will be interviewed next week. Higgins announced earlier this month that an expedited recruitment process that will make use of the results from the city administrator selection process completed within the past year would be used. This time around, the recruitment is being completed internally with assistance from Waldron, a regional human resources consulting firm that completed the city’s previous city administrator recruitment. The application deadline was Friday, Nov. 15. Finalists will be interviewed by a selection committee on the morning of Thursday, Dec. 5. Higgins will then interview the committee’s top two choices and make a final selection.