January 18, 2011
Camas High School senior Athena Cole is a talented artist who enjoys drawing, painting, costume design and graphic design, among other hobbies. She is hoping to have a career in video game programming but enjoys the relaxation art classes bring.

Her creative world

The arts have been a part of Athena Cole's life for as long as she can remember. Cole, a Camas High School senior, has a mother who is a professional artist, and a musician father who plays 15 different instruments. So, it's not a huge shock that Cole enjoys art as well. But what is surprising in the number of ways she uses her talent: Cole, an avid "gamer" is considering programming video games as a career. At the same time, she also loves to create costumes, build props from scratch, paint, design backdrops, play the piano and sing.

January 11, 2011
Local resident Sheri Allen recently published a book of her poetry. It is called, "The Poems of My Life: A Collection of Thoughts," and  is available on and  Allen decided to put the book together at the urging of friends and co-workers at Washougal Bi-Mart.

A collection of her thoughts

"My life is better, for you being in it. My day is brighter, for you being a part of it." This is the introduction to a poem called "Thank You," by local resident Sheri Allen. Allen, 50, has been writing poetry since she was in high school. It all began when she had to do a project for an English class. "I chose poetry, and I think I was the only one in the class who did," she said. "I received an 'A-' on it, and I wasn't happy because I wanted an 'A'.

January 4, 2011
Liberty Middle School students Ellie Cook (right) and Kelsie Ackerman pose with one of the Rockettes at a meet-and-greet on Christmas Eve.

Rockin’……with the Rockettes

When 12-year-olds Kelsie Ackerman and Ellie Cook first found out they'd been chosen to dance in the opening act of the Rockettes show, they were thrilled. "I was really, really excited," Ackerman said. "I wasn't expecting it at all." Added Cook, "I was so happy and so excited about it." And they weren't alone. Their dance instructor, Jen Filson, of Virtuosity Dance Studio, where both take classes, auditioned and was chosen as well.

January 4, 2011
Construction is well underway on the 51-unit Camas Ridge apartment complex at Northwest 28th Avenue and Logan Street on Prune Hill.  According to Vancouver Housing Authority officials, the project will be complete this summer.

Camas Ridge apartment complex scheduled for completion this summer

A currently under construction Camas apartment complex is among the $28.8 million in new development and capital improvement projects being taken on by the Vancouver Housing Authority in 2011. The $7.5 million Camas Ridge development broke ground on Prune Hill in August 2010, and is scheduled for completion in mid-summer. It will provide 51 apartments, both market rate units and apartments available to those earning 60 percent or less of median income, which is approximately $71,200 for a family of four.

December 28, 2010
Lieth Nippes, co-founder of the Acupuncture Relief Project, works with an interpreter to examine a patient complaining of breathing problems.

Natural relief

When most of us are feeling ill, it's a simple matter of calling our health care provider and scheduling an appointment. But there are people in other areas of the world who have never even stepped foot into a doctor's office or had a routine dental appointment. That's where the Acupuncture Relief Project comes in. Started in 2008, it is free clinic that treats up to 120 patients a day in Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world. In addition to acupuncture, providers look for other health problems and refer patients to a physician or dentist if at all possible. Acupuncturist Diane Wintzer, who works at Fearn Natural Health Clinic in Camas, recently returned from a five-week stint as a volunteer project coordinator in Nepal.

December 22, 2010
Rusty Wales of Camas has enjoyed wine making for several years. Here, he poses in what he has coined the  "wine wagon," a cherry red 1955 Chevy pick-up truck.

Transcending the senses

Rusty Wales is passionate about wine making. He can talk for hours about the various aspects of producing and enjoying a fine bottle of Cabernet, Merlot or Syrah.

December 14, 2010
Sammy and Sydney Mederos enrolled in art therapy classes at Legacy Emanuel Children's Hospital when the emotional trauma of Sammy's chemotherapy treatments became overwhelming for the sisters.

Finding hope in tragedy

One day, Sammy Mederos was a happy, 6-year-old girl playing soccer, climbing trees and enjoying kindergarten. The next day, she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. "Our world literally changed overnight," her mom, Michele said. "But one of the many things we learned was how real it is that in the face of tragedy, the best in humanity emerges." Co-workers from Canyon Creek Middle School and Cape Horn-Skye Elementary, where Michele is a school psychologist, rallied around Michele and her family, cleaning their house, cooking meals, running errands and organizing a benefit event for Sammy last spring, which raised $7,000 for her medical fund.

December 14, 2010

Cancer related support organizations

The following are organizations the Mederos family has found helpful during Sammy's battle with cancer, and they recommend these to others.

December 7, 2010
Tessa Condon of New Orleans inspects a mobile at Main Street Merchantile in Washougal while owner Heidi Kramer looks on. "It's great because you never know what you'll find or what you need," she said.

Local and unique

This holiday season, many shoppers will join the frantic rush at the "big box" stores and malls. But for those who prefer a slightly slower pace and a unique gift, there are many to be found in the shops of Camas and Washougal. Store owners say that buying locally adds up to more than a one-of-a-kind gift and not having to fight over a parking spot.

November 30, 2010
A visit with Santa is the highlight for many children at the various holiday festivals.  Other events include tree lightings,  concerts, crafts and "The Nutcracker."

Celebrating the season

It's time to dig out the lights from the garage, search for the perfect tree, drag out your ugly reindeer sweater and spend more time with family: The holidays are here. The local area has an abundance of events such as festivals and tree lightings that can help you get into the spirit. Krista Bashaw, special events coordinator for Camas Parks and Recreation, is planning the Hometown Holidays festivities for this Friday. "This is a fabulous fun event for the entire family, no matter what the weather," she said. She added that it wouldn't be possible without the help of loyal volunteers.