Community Briefs for Nov. 21, 2019

Camas student's mural installed; Washougal police catch students obeying law; Thanksgiving events set

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Camas student’s mural installed at middle school

A mural created by Camas High School freshman Tara Hansen has been installed at Skyridge Middle School (SMS).

The mural “incorporates a visual interpretation of sound, music and the ‘feeling’ of jazz, as well as humor (with) space aliens,” according to Jane deForest Hansen, Tara’s mother.

“I want to inspire kids to think outside the box and follow their dreams,” Tara said. “Anything is possible.”

Tara was inspired to improve the aesthetic of the school and morale of the students with art, deForest Hansen said.

“She used bright colors, a large format and innovative design to achieve her goal,” she said.

SMS dean of students Joshua Altmiller sponsored and coordinated the installation, and art teacher Laura Richards “helped greatly with supplies and her ‘can-do’ attitude,” deForest Hansen said.

“Remarkably, Tara hatched the mural idea, created a scale rendering of her original design and proposed it to the school administration,” she said. “Joshua Altmiller recognized the importance of this art project and made it happen, and by all reports the mural is well-received and appreciated by both students and staff alike.”

Thanksgiving events set

The annual Thanksgiving Day Run for the Hungry event will begin at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 28, at Fishback Stadium in Washougal.

The run, organized by Washougal’s Gateway Church, feeds hungry people in east Clark County. Last year, more than 1,000 people who registered for the run raised more than $20,000 and donated hundreds of pounds of food, which was distributed through multiple local agencies in Washougal and Camas, according to the church’s website.

The run will wind through the parks and neighborhoods of east Washougal before returning to the stadium finish line.

Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. at Washougal High School, 1201 39th Street.

Pre-registration, which can be done at gatewayweb.org, costs $25 for adults, $15 for children younger than 10 and $115 for a five-member team. Pre-registration includes an event t-shirt.

For those seeking a community meal on Thanksgiving Day, Refuel Washougal will provide a free meal from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Washougal Community Center, 1681 “C” St., Washougal.

Students rewarded for seat-belt use

Washougal police offers were out in full force on the morning of Nov. 13 at the Washougal High School (WHS) parking lot to catch students. Catch them doing good, that is.

Students who were found wearing seat belts were rewarded with a $5 gift card from Dutch Bros. Coffee as part of the Target Zero Safe Driving Task Force “Click it Bro” program in partnership with Unite! Washougal.

“It feels good to be out here to reward good behavior,” Washougal School District resource officer Kelly Anderson said in a news release issued by the Washougal School District. “It is great to be working with Target Zero on this and reinforce the importance of seat belt use.”

WHS juniors Olivia Dinnel and Brianna Ruth were stopped on their way into the parking lot as a part of the program.

“At first I wondered what the officers were doing and did not know what to expect,” Ruth said. “I think it is really cool that they are giving rewards for wearing seat belts. I think it will work to encourage other students to wear them.”

“We need to collectively make safe driving not just normal, but admirable,” Torres said. “Together we can improve safe driving beliefs and behaviors until we reduce the risk of death and serious injury to zero — because every life counts.”

The Target Zero Washington Strategic Highway Safety Plan, introduced in 2016, endeavors to motivate people to aspire to become safe drivers.

“We need our culture to embrace, celebrate and promote the responsibility each of us has to be a safe road user,” Hillary Torres, Region 6 Target Zero manager, said in the news release. “When we reach this place, being a safe driver will not only be important for our own self-esteem and sense of belonging, but it will also be the foundation to ensure the safety of our family, friends, neighbors and colleagues.”

Through a grant from State Farm, Target Zero provided 100 $5 Dutch Bros. certificates for high school drivers “caught doing the right thing” by wearing their seat belts at five area high schools throughout Clark County. Dutch Bros. provided an additional $500 worth of gift certificates which were given out by school resource officers at each location.

“Unite! Washougal is excited to be leading on the organization of this project,” Margaret McCarthy, Unite! Drug Free Community program coordinator, said in the news relaese. “This is also an excellent way of promoting positive relationships between law enforcement and our youth.”

Torres and McCarthy attended statewide prevention training and through discussions, discovered opportunities to work together and are planning to bring several future programs to Washougal.

“A group of WHS students called PEP Unite! are the leaders of this project,” Megan Kanzler, Unite! Drug Free Community Youth Engagement coordinator, Washougal Youth to Youth advisor and WHS Interact advisor, said in the news release. “They are a leadership workgroup that is focused on positively engaging people in their community. A part of their work was to collect data on student seatbelt use at the high school before (the Nov. 13 event) and then follow up to see if the program helped to change behavior.”

On Sept. 26, PEP Unite! members volunteered to stuff envelopes with the Dutch Bros. certificates and appreciation awards to be distributed by school resource officers at WHS and other schools. Washougal mayor Molly Coston, also volunteered to help.

“Steps like Target Zero are moving us in the right direction around safe driving to make our community a better place to live,” Coston said. “I appreciate the idea of saying thank you for positive behavior.”

“It’s all about community,” said Brianna Gonser, WHS Interact president. “It is about being positive and about being safe. All the Target Zero partners have the same mindset and values, which is cool. It is great to notice the positive. The positive does exist and is worth celebrating.”

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