Stories by Danielle Frost

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August 17, 2010
Adam Neiffer warms up before an event at the CrossFit games.

Local CrossFitters take first at national championships

If those who participate in CrossFit training have one phrase hammered into their heads, it's, "expect the unexpected." And never did that phrase ring more true than during a three-day contest where local gym members pushed themselves to the limit in a variety of physical challenges. "It was a super high energy environment," said Adam Neiffer, CrossFit Fort Vancouver owner. "The events varied and it was just tons of fun and constantly changing." The team's persistence and adaptability paid off big time, when they captured first place at the international competition at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

August 10, 2010
Brandon Hanks, 15, built shelves, and painted and organized the storage area at the Jack, Will and Rob Boys & Girls Club for his Eagle Scout project. At right is program director Mandy Cervantes.

Teen dedicates project to Boys & Girls Club

At 15, Brandon Hanks is on the young side to earn his Eagle Scout badge, Scouting's highest and most coveted honor. But the Camas High School sophomore had two motivating reasons to do so. "I really wanted to finish my Eagle Scout project before my Dad is deployed again," he said. "And my Dad told me I couldn't get my driver's license until I finished it." Hanks has been going to the Jack, Will and Rob Boys & Girls Club since he was a fourth-grader, so he decided it was a great place to do his Scouting project. "Dad and I were talking, and he asked what I thought about fixing up the storage room and making it more usable," Hanks said.

August 10, 2010
Greg Laird poses in Key West, Fla., the starting point to the Hoka Key Challenge.  The 9,000 mile race, in extreme conditions, took 12 days for him to complete.

Pushing the limits

There is a quote that comes to mind when thinking about people who do any kind of extreme racing activity. "Even in the most crowded races, the point is reached when fatigue drives us back into ourselves, into those secluded parts of our souls that we discover only under times of such duress and from which we emerge with a clearer perspective of the people we truly are." Camas resident Greg Laird understands this quote all too well after finishing the Hoka Key Challenge, a 9,000 mile trek with people described as "some of the world's most fearless riders."

August 3, 2010
Campers and leaders inspect plants at Fern Hollow, part of Camas Camp-n-Ranch. Pictured clockwise, from left, is camper Raegan Brandy, counselors Tracy Frost and Sharon Barney, and camper Meagan Shellman. In the background are, left to right, Kathryn Sudbeck and Lexie Leyden.

Sharing a love of the farm life

At Camas Camp-n-Ranch, there are no strangers. "Come on in," director Tina Goodnight says. "Everyone is a friend here." Known as "Grandma Tina" to many, she is busy running a variety of local, farm-based summer camps, hoping to encourage a love of animals and the outdoors. The farm even has a mascot: Sugar, the one-legged rooster who greets everyone and loves to be held by children. "Everyone that comes here is looking for something," Goodnight said. "The parents are looking for quality programs for their kids, and the kids are looking for new experiences. Many of them have never even seen a chicken or a goat up close before."

August 3, 2010
Washougal High School is getting an upgrade to its heating and cooling systems in the hope of becoming more energy efficient. The move is part of a district-wide energy conservation plan.

District hires resource conservation manager

In an effort to both think green and save green, the Washougal School District has begun several energy conservation initiatives. These include putting a 'green team' of staff, students and parents at every school, and completing energy audits in all facilities with the goal of reducing energy consumption and costs. "Perhaps one of our most important gains has been in the area of staff and student awareness that energy conservation is a priority," Superintendent Teresa Baldwin said.

July 27, 2010
After marching in the Kids Parade, members of Virtuosity Performing Arts Studio performed an interpretation of "Alice in Wonderland."

Locals enjoy Camas Days

People from all over the region flocked to downtown for the Camas Days festival. Everyone from tots to grandparents spent time sampling festival fare, perusing vendors booths and watching the various parades. The weather also cooperated, with temperatures in the 80s for most of the weekend. Children had their pick of activities to choose from at Kids Street, where ticket lines stretched around the block and young participants literally bounced from one activity to the other. Some of the choices included a bounce house, two bouncy slides, a rock wall and fast pitch area. Jennifer Harness came with her three young daughters. She has taken them to the festivities every year. "I love all the rides and especially the caterpillar (bounce ride)," 7-year-old Andie Harness said. "And I love the candy and horses in the parade." Her sister Alyssa, 5, enjoys the kids parade. "I love all the horses and the chicken," she said.

July 20, 2010
Local artist Elida Field helps third-grader Tony Kajino put the finishing touches on his painting.  She recently moved her business from her home studio in Washougal, to Northeast Cedar Street  in Camas, where Workshed Interactive was located. That business has moved into a smaller space. Field plans on using the space for a "working gallery," where the community will be able to take classes and have parties.

Making art accessible

Elida Field is definitely not what you'd call an uptight artist. "I have three kids," she said. "I'm used to seeing the spaghetti fly through the air and hit a painting. If you can't just wipe it off, then it's not something I'm likely to have in my home." Field, who lives in Washougal, is taking that free-spirited concept into her latest venture, opening a downtown Camas art gallery. "I don't really have a name for it yet," she said. "I'm usually good at coming up with catchy little titles, but this has been difficult."

July 20, 2010

WHS grad is attending leadership institute in D.C.

This summer, Patrick McCarthy, a recent Washougal High School graduate, will be joining more than 200 of his peers from across the nation to participate in Bank of America's Student Leaders program. McCarthy has participated in the Presidential and Governor's Award Planning Committee, American Cancer Society "Relay for Life", Red Cross Club and Share House. As teens are searching for ways to spend their summers in a down economy, Bank of America is investing $1 million in paid, eight-week summer internships for students at community nonprofits in 44 neighborhoods across the country. McCarthy is spending his summer in Portland, at the Evergreen Habitat for Humanity site. In addition to the paid internship, he is attending Bank of America's weeklong Student Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. this week.

July 13, 2010
This artwork is among several pieces displayed in the Second Story Gallery this month. It includes Barbara Queen's "Red Rhodies Crying in the Rain #1 and #2," Nathaniel Maszak's "View From Livingston Mountain," and Anamaria Campbell's "Bicyle By Fence," (shown above) which was also a contest winner.  Other photos at the show are "Ice Cream Outing at Top Burger," where Susan Maszak took three pictures of one of her sons, Alex, holding his 2-year-old brother Benjamin and helping him select a flavor. Later, they ate it outside during rare sunshine on Memorial Day, 15-year-old Kierney Fogg's "Fern Prairie Pioneers," a winning entry, Kathleen Doyle's "Daisy" and Campbell's "Iris."

What they love about Camas

From an ice cream outing at Top Burger to Lacamas Lake at dusk, local photographers captured what they love most about Camas, in a contest sponsored by the local library. "It's an idea we've been kicking around for a number of years," Library Director David Zavortink said. "It really fits in with our mission of enriching lives and enhancing people's creativity." Several local residents submitted photographs, which are being displayed in the Second Story Gallery in the library. "The goal of the Second Story Gallery is really to promote the arts, which they are doing through this contest," Zavortink said. "They manage everything for us. "We've had a lot of people come in to look at the pictures and ask if we are doing it again next year, so there is a lot of interest."