Stories by Heather
On Monday, Nov. 18, the city of Camas will hold a public hearing on its proposed $66.7 million 2014 budget.
To fund the budget as recommended, the City Council will need to boost its property tax levy and use its banked taxing capacity, which has accumulated since 2009 because the city did not use its 1 percent annual property tax levy increase that is allowable by state law.
The amount of money the city can increase its levy by each year is limited to 1 percent of the previous year’s levy. The city is also limited by a statutory maximum rate of $3.60 per $1,000 of assessed value.
It might be an understatement to suggest that in Camas and Washougal, high school sports are a big deal.
Friday night football games draw hundreds, if not thousands, of screaming fans — students, parents and community members alike — to Fishback and Doc Harris stadiums. This is also where crowds faithfully cheer on the soccer teams and track and field teams. Volleyball and basketball supporters also pack local gymnasiums to the gills.
Due to the Legislature going into a special session today, Sen. Ann Rivers and Rep. Liz have cancelled a town hall meeting, which was scheduled for Saturday, at the Camas Public Library. Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday he is calling lawmakers back to Olympia to pass legislation that would benefit the state's aerospace industry. Lawmakers were unaware of the governor's plans until he made the announcement. Pike said the town hall will be rescheduled.
Following a public hearing during which just one person testified, the Camas City Council directed its legal counsel to prepare an ordinance that if approved on Dec. 2 would implement a series of utility rate increases starting in January 2014.
Ken Hadley, a Washougal resident who owns property in Camas, said the increases are justified.
“I, along with other taxpayers, don’t like to pay additional fees,” he told the City Council Monday night. “But at the same time I recognize that we need to maintain our facilities and have adequate things for our needs, so I would recommend that council adopt these rates tonight.”
“I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith.”
This quote from the Timothy 4:7 of the King James Bible, could be seen engraved on Alexander Stuber’s marble headstone at his gravesite, until it was destroyed by vandalism at the Camas Cemetery more than a week ago.
But thanks to donations from local individuals and businesses, a new monument for the man who was born in 1866 and died in 1908 will be erected. It will include the quote as well as the image of a rose that was also a featured in its original design.
The new headstone has been ordered by Vancouver Granite Works, which is owned by Joey Fuerstenberg and his parents, Washougal residents Bruce and Vicki Fuerstenberg. The family agreed to pay for half of the $1,000 cost to replace the monument.
The city of Camas has begun the recruitment process for a new city administrator, and officials hope to select a successor to Nina Regor in December.
Regor, who had been the city administrator since January, died unexpectedly on Oct. 6 following an ongoing illness. A celebration of life service — led by Mayor Scott Higgins, who is also a pastor — was held Saturday at Journey Community Church in downtown Camas.
“We were shocked and saddened by Nina’s passing, but celebrate the time we had with her and the skills and talents she brought to our organization and community,” Higgins said
According to a press release, the city plans an expedited recruitment process that will make use of the results from the city administrator selection process completed within the past year.
Youth suicide. It’s an issue that no parent ever wants to imagine could touch their lives.
But statistics prove that the unfortunate reality is that it does. Often unexpectedly.
The Washington State Department of Health’s 2012 Healthy Youth Survey, released earlier this year, unveiled some surprising statistics when it comes to youth suicide. As part of the survey, students in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12 answered questions about safety and violence, physical activity and diet, alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, and related risk and protective factors.
The city of Camas has begun the recruitment process for a new city administrator, and hopes to have a successor to Nina Regor in place by January.
Camas city officials are hoping the community will step forward to help replace a century-old headstone damaged by vandalism last week.
On Wednesday, it was discovered that approximately 15 headstones, many of them in the southeast “pioneer section” of the cemetery, had been pushed off of their pedestals and onto the ground.
On Friday, city of Vancouver public works crews joined those from the city of Camas, with the help of equipment from the Port of Camas-Washougal, to re-mount 14 of the headstones onto their bases. Only one was damaged to the point that it will need to be replaced.
Recent vandalism perpetrated at the Camas Cemetery has tugged at the heart strings of many local residents.
Last Wednesday, it was discovered that approximately 15 headstones, many of them in the southeast “pioneer section” of the cemetery, had been pushed off of their pedestals and onto the ground.
On Thursday, Michael Garwood, 21, of Camas, was arrested on charges relating to the vandalism. He remains in the Clark County Jail on 15 counts of violating laws governing the protection of cemeteries and one count of second degree malicious mischief. The case remains under investigation by the Camas Police Department. Additional arrests are possible.
Claudia Bennett was 45 years old when she got her first mammogram. As a woman working in a time-consuming and demanding job in the health care industry, she barely had time to fit the test into her busy schedule.
It was January 2001, and she was a radiation therapist at Wenatchee Valley Clinic.
“They had everything right there to do the mammogram, so I just ran over on my break and had it done,” she said.
With no history of breast cancer in her family, she was shocked by the results.
A journey shared with a great friend is always an enjoyable one.
That’s the thinking of Imy Durfee, a Vancouver artist who shares the space in Second Story Gallery in November with her friend and fellow watercolorist Cheryl Robertson. The two women, who met in an art class 15 years ago, will present their “Reflections from the Brush” from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30 in the gallery on the second floor of the Camas Public Library.
Halloween is on Thursday, and several churches and other organizations are opening their doors for community celebrations
A memorial service for Camas City Administrator Nina Regor has been scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 2. The celebration of life will be held at 10 a.m., at Journey Community Church, 304 N.E. Fourth Ave., in downtown Camas.
A 21-year-old Camas man was arrested Thursday on charges relating to vandalism at the Camas Cememtery. Following a police investigation, Michael Garwood was arrested was booked into the Clark County Jail on 15 counts of violating laws governing the protection of cemeteries and one count of second degree malicious mischief.
Ballots for the Nov. 5 General Election have been arriving in mailboxes during the past week. Of the 246,000 that have been mailed to homes across Clark County, about 9,400 have so far been returned to the Clark County Elections Office.
Visitors from countries around the world have descended on Camas this week, to attend the CID Bio-Science international distributor meeting.
Nineteen people from 14 countries, including South Africa, Indonesia, Japan, Brazil, Chile, Spain, Pakistan and Australia, arrived in town over the weekend for a week-long training and sales development meeting.
CID, a high-tech equipment manufacturer, has been headquartered in Camas for 25 years, but only recently relocated to downtown when the company completed an award-winning renovation of the American Legion Hall for their new company headquarters.
Following more than five hours of public testimony on Thursday, residents of the Livingston Mountain area of Camas got the response they were hoping for from the Clark County Planning Commission.
The room erupted in applause as the commissioners voted 5-0 to remove all Livingston Mountain area land parcels from the proposed surface mining overlay map, and require a traffic study. Two other significant areas, Bell Mountain and Yacolt Mountain were also removed.
Fall is in the air, and with that comes Halloween — the spookiest of holidays. Special events and activities are happening throughout the month, most geared toward kids, but at least one has some adult fun in mind.
East County Fire and Rescue Commission, Position 2
It’s time for a change on the East County Fire and Rescue Commission.
The Nov. 5 general election is right around the corner, and a handful of forums will give local residents opportunities to learn more about candidates running for office and a proposition that will be on the ballot.
In the Camas City Council race for Ward 1, Position 2, it is incumbent Melissa Smith who during the past nine years has earned Camas residents’ vote.
Smith, 54, is a third-generation Camasonian and has lived and worked in the Camas community for many years. In March 2004, she was appointed to the Camas City Council, and was then subsequently elected to the seat by voters twice in uncontested races.
Camas Mayor Scott Higgins announced Monday that City Administrator Nina Regor died following complications from ongoing medical issues.
Higgins said during last night’s City Council meeting that Regor, 51, passed away Sunday night at her home in Camas, “surrounded by her family and at peace.”
Regor had been on medical leave for the past two weeks. She had last attended the Sept. 16 City Council meetings.
The Nov. 5 general election is right around the corner, and a handful of forums will give local residents opportunities to learn more about candidates running for office and a proposition that will be on the ballot.
Under the direction of Mayor Sean Guard, Washougal has slowly been building a stronger foundation that was left cracked and broken more than four years ago by mismanagement and poor leadership. Guard is up for re-election as part of the Nov. 5 General Election, and he should be allowed to continue to build on that growth and be elected to a second term in office.
It was only a year ago that Chris Dierickx and Nick Brown were working in two separate funeral homes in the small community of Camas.
Dierickx is a fourth generation funeral director and current owner of Straub’s Funeral Home and Columbia River Cremation, while at that time Brown was a third generation funeral director at Brown’s Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
“We were both managers of our own family firms,” said Brown. “We really had only talked in passing. It wasn’t that there was any hostility between the two of us, we just didn’t know each other.”
Camas leaders focused on projects, partnerships and prosperity during the presentation of the first “state of the community” address.
The Sept. 24 event was a joint venture of the city of Camas, Camas School District, and Port of Camas-Washougal. Speakers focused on the positive, and outlined recent accomplishments and future endeavors.
Camas Mayor Scott Higgins highlighted a number of construction projects that have likely been visible to local residents, or soon will be — the most significant being the 38th Avenue extension.
“If you just drive around the geographical area of the city of Camas, you can’t help but run into construction project after construction project,” he said. “Things are going on in our community.”
During a short and somber meeting on Friday afternoon, the Camas City Council approved a consultant contract in the wake of an announcement early last week that City Administrator Nina Regor had taken immediate medical leave.
The contract is with Ridgefield based consultant Paul Lewis. According to Mayor Scott Higgins, as part of the contract Lewis will assist the city with duties that will include bringing the consolidation of the Camas-Washougal fire departments to a conclusion, assisting with union contract negotiations, working on the 2014 budget, and being available to department heads, if needed.
“He is a finance mind; that is his strength,” Higgins said. “He’s worked with a lot of different agencies.”
During a short and somber meeting earlier this afternoon, the Camas City Council approved a consultant contract in the wake of an announcement earlier this week that City Administrator Nina Regor has taken immediate medical leave.
A special meeting has been set for the Camas City Council to consider a consultant services contract. On Friday, at 4:30 p.m., the group will meet to consider the management consulting services agreement. The action is related to the announcement on Tuesday that current City Administrator Nina Regor has taken medical leave.
Amid an economy that has been in a recession for several years and is finally beginning to get back on track, now just isn’t the right time to ask East County Fire and Rescue voters to approve a capital improvement bond.
The $1.275 million, 20-year capital projects proposition 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.
It is estimated that the bond would cost taxpayers 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. This means the owner of a $300,000 home would pay an additional $27 per year, the owner of a $250,000 home would pay $22.50 per year, and the owner of a $200,000 home would pay $18 per year.
Camas officials announced today that the city’s top administrator is on medical leave. According to a statement from Humane Resources Director Jennifer Gorsuch, Nina Regor, who started work as city administrator in January, is “on medical leave effective immediately for the foreseeable future.”
A Washougal teen has been arrested on charges of animal cruelty. Through anonymous tips called into the Washougal Police Department, a 17-year-old boy was identified and arrested on charges of first degree animal cruelty following an incident reported to police last week.
Washougal voters have an important decision to make when their ballots arrive in the mail for the Nov. 5 General Election. It may, in fact, be one of the most important issues to appear on local ballots in recent history.
If approved, Proposition 1 would transition Washougal from its current mayor-council form of government to the vastly different council-manager system.
Currently, Washougal citizens have the right to elect a strong mayor, who is the chief executive officer of the city, along with seven city council members who form its legislative body. Washougal’s city administrator, appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council, carries out the day-to-day operations of the city.
East County Fire and Rescue is asking voters to approve a bond on Nov. 5 that would support the purchase of fire apparatus and equipment, and support repairs and improvements at three of its stations.
The $1.275 million, 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.
It is estimated that the bond would cost taxpayers 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. This means that the owner of a $300,000 home would pay approximately $27 per year.
Jimmie Rodgers, recording artist, author, actor and television personality of the 1950s and 1960s, grew up in Camas. On Friday, the street where he grew up was ceremonially renamed in his honor.
The city of Camas was recently issued a finding by the Washington State Auditor’s Office for failing to effectively manage its equipment rental and replacement fund. This, the auditor’s report states, could result in inappropriate use of restricted funds.
Through the equipment rental and replacement fund, equipment owned by the city is pooled together into one fund, then “rented” out to different departments depending on need.
In 2012, the city’s total revenue from user chargers was approximately $1.03 million.
The Camas City Council has unanimously approved an agreement that will guide development of 460 acres north of Lacamas Lake in the years to come. That development could include a variety of uses, from commercial and industrial to residential.
According to the comprehensive plan amendments, which were also approved on Sept. 3, the new zoning designations would include 314 acres for industrial business park development, 62.4 acres of multifamily high density and 38.1 acres of multifamily low density, 40 acres of single family medium density, and 5.62 acres of community commercial. Approximately 4 acres is set aside for open space that fronts Lacamas Lake.
During the public hearing on the development agreement, there were comments against and in favor of the proposal for the Lacamas Northshore properties, which are owned by approximately 11 different individuals and entities.
Two Camas residents were among three people injured in a head-on traffic crash in Oregon on Friday.
According to a press release from the Oregon State Police, at approximately 8:30 p.m. police responded to a report of a wrong-way vehicle heading eastbound in the westbound lanes of Interstate 84 near milepost 64 in Hood River. A short time later, a head on crash was reported involving that same vehicle at milepost 67.
Two big wins on the football field are great ways to start the fall sports season, and teams from both Camas and Washougal put on quite a show under the Friday night lights.
Perhaps the biggest win of the evening came from the Papermakers, who toppled Portland’s Jesuit High School with relative ease in a game that pitted the number-one ranked teams in Oregon and Washington against one another. In the end, as the 47-14 score suggests, it was really no contest and more than 5,000 fans got to see their hometown team shine at Doc Harris Stadium.
“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.
Camas “hometown boy” Jimmie Rodgers will be in town later this month to attend an event that will celebrate a street being re-named in his honor.
The ceremony will be held Friday, Sept. 13, at 3:30 p.m., in front of the singer’s childhood home at 725 N.W. 10th Ave. Jimmie Rodgers Avenue will be the new honorary street name for 10th Avenue in the Forest Home neighborhood.
Rodgers, who will turn 80 on Sept. 18, said the recognition is very special to him.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.