Folk duo Fox and Bones offers custom songwriting services for the perfect contact-free gift

Camas, WA — With lockdowns and quarantines affecting many long-standing holiday traditions this year, local band Fox and Bones has come up with the perfect contact-less gift that allows people to express their love from a distance. The duo, who previously made their living touring internationally but moved home to Camas when the first wave of lockdowns hit, put their minds together to create “Our Custom Song”, a boutique personalized songwriting service where they are commissioned to write what they call “the ultimate expression of love” —  a highly personalized, radio quality song.

Though Fox and Bones, aka Sarah Vitort and Scott Gilmore, launched this new service in the wake of COVID-19 shutdowns, the idea for Our Custom Song initially came to the real life couple three Christmases ago, when Gilmore wrote Vitort a song and gave it to her as a Christmas present. 

“To this day it’s the best gift I’ve ever received, truly a gift that keeps on giving. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being someone’s muse,” said Vitort. 

Vitort realized that equipped with 20+ combined years of songwriting experience that feeling was one they could offer to others and became more valuable than ever when COVID changed everyone’s lives.

The custom songwriting process begins with an hour-long ZOOM consultation, where Vitort and Gilmore ask thought provoking questions in order to step into their customers’ shoes before writing the song. In addition to the initial consultation, customers get two rounds of edits between the first and final drafts to ensure the song is exactly what they want. Customers also get to choose the genre, feel and instrumentation of the song, and are offered add-ons like their own photo slideshow music video, an engraved lyric plaque, or a CD of the song.

“It didn’t feel somebody created this song just because it was purchased, it felt like you guys really could understand how we felt, and took all the stories and things that we talked about and made them come to life,” said Shelby Cinnamon, who, with her siblings, commissioned a song for her mom for Mother’s Day. 

Her sister Carley, a Camas resident, added, “I wish I had the words to convey to people how special and how meaningful the entire process was. It’s such a priceless song that we will treasure forever.”

In addition to custom songs, Our Custom Song also offers a more budget-friendly option in the form of “Song-Grams,” where clients can choose any song for the duo to cover with a special dedication to the recipient, a nostalgic cross between a singing telegram and a radio song dedication. 

Our Custom Song was created by Vitort and Gilmore as a way for people to commission personalized songs for the people they love most. Vitort and Gilmore use their 20 years of combined songwriting and music industry experience and their deep ability to empathize to create heartfelt, radio quality songs for their customers. The pair has been lauded for their songwriting in outlets such as Parade Magazine, No Depression, and Pop Matters since they formed in 2016.

Interested parties are encouraged to learn more and book their song at


Sarah Vitort and Scott Gilmore of Fox and Bones.

Washougal, WA — The eerie sound of chains rattling, footsteps across a wooden floor, actors voicing character dialog and a healthy dose of imagination.  These are just some of the elements that will bring “Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol – A Radio Play” to life by the Jemtegaard Middle School Soundstage students and staff.

“Last spring our Soundstage club was supposed to perform The Box by Lindsay Price and then of course COVID happened,” said Diana Larson, Soundstage creator and advisor.  “It was a big disappointment.  We had the scenery ready and everything.  We considered a mini version, but it just would not have been the same.” 

Not wanting to disappoint the students again, it was decided to perform a radio play this fall.  “We found that there were a lot of radio show scripts out this year,” said Larson.  “We were excited to find this classic holiday story and it even came with sound effects.  We decided to do it!”   

Soundstage club members were ready for the challenge, having met over the summer with upwards of 20 students attending the weekly sessions.  Larson used her connections with actors, singers, and dancers from New York through her years in vocal training to connect her students on Zoom to professionals in the entertainment industry.  “We had online dance instruction, sing-a-longs, monolog sessions and even had a very special guest, Juliana Conte, a singer/dancer who has appeared in New York in Spring Awakening and the Adams Family,” she said. John Armor, Shakespearean actor and stage combat choreographer for Portland Opera and other theater companies, also provided virtual lessons over the summer.

The radio show was cast via virtual auditions in October. “The great thing for students is that no one has to work to memorize the lines,” said Larson. “They will read them as their character.  There will be no visuals, just the listeners’ imagination.” 


Rounding out the cast will be several notable special guests. John Hugill, a local Portland actor, will anchor the show and perform the lead role of Ebenezer Scrooge.  JMS principal, David Cooke, will read the part of Bob Cratchit and WSD Superintendent Mary Templeton will voice Mrs. Cratchit.  Other JMS staff participating include History teachers Scott Rainey and Scott Hoisington. 

“The student actors were outstanding,” said Templeton.  “They came to the recording prepared.  They knew their lines, their characters and had vocal presence.  They created a presentation that is artistic and engaging.” 

Each actor will record their part via Zoom and then it will be professionally edited together, with sound effects, for the final product.  “Our sound engineer, Vic Sorisio, is doing the recording and editing,” said Larson.  “He also coached the students to understand how they need to sit and speak during their recording for the best sound quality.” 

Recordings took place November 2 and 5 and the show will be available online on the Washougal School District website on December 4.  Just in time for the holidays. 

“My goal is to provide these students an opportunity to be a part of a production and experience that joy and satisfaction,” said Larson.  “I also hope that the show brings our community together with a shared holiday experience.”

Camas, WA — Lara Blair Photography in downtown Camas is offering limited Holiday Sparkle & Wonder session to capture the spirit and joy of the season.

Blair answers some questions about this fun, new project.

What is a Sparkle & Wonder session?

For 45 minutes, we capture your family in a choice of holiday sets (super creative…think “Target ad”) and also on a plain white backdrop. We want you to have some original holiday images for your cards and social media, but we also feel everyone should have up-to-date, fun family images to display at home.

When are the sessions?

We are shooting only a handful in November. We are providing evening appointments (a rarity at our studio) so everyone can make it. We’re booking now—first come, first booked.

What’s the investment?

This session is $250, a savings of $100 from our usual sessions. Our portrait design specialist will walk you through our products (including fabulous holiday cards!). With a $600 order, you receive 25 complimentary cards.

Call 360.980.2413 or email [email protected] to schedule your session today!


Camas Author Seth Sjostrom released his latest book, The Tree Farm, a holiday novel, on November 1st. 

When the Shepherd family loses everything right before the holidays, they find joy in what matters most, rekindling fading Christmas traditions for themselves and for their town. They find that like trees, Christmas miracles come in all shapes and sizes.

“I wanted to write a story the depicts the struggle that a lot of families have during the holiday season. While they strive create the ‘perfect’ Christmas for their family, there is a lot more to the season than presents and an elaborate meal,” Sjostrom shares.

In the Tree Farm, the Shepherd family struggles to keep up with bills and maintain a roof over their heads never mind fashion a magazine-worthy holiday. A local tree farm with struggles of its own, presents as a safe haven for the Shepherd family. Forced to live simply, they discover a great gift, the magic of the holiday is accessible to all, regardless of material offerings.

A serial entrepreneur, adventurer and author, The Tree Farm, is Sjostrom’s ninth novel. The romances Finding Christmas, The Nativity and Back to Carolina along with the thrillers Blood in the Snow, Blood in the Water, Blood in the Sand, Penance, and recently released paranormal thriller Dark Chase were his first books published. All of Seth’s books are available anywhere books are sold. 

For more information regarding Seth or his books, visit  

Author Seth Sjostrom.

Camas, WA — Attic Gallery, located in historic downtown Camas, is featuring for the month of October a Solo Exhibit with 15 new paintings by Earl Hamilton.

“Earl’s been really busy during the pandemic and he brought over some stunning new work, and we’re so happy to feature him all month long,” said Maria Gonser, co-owner of Attic Gallery. “His new work is amazing! Please come see it.”

About Earl Hamilton

Earl, now in his sixties, spent most of his childhood living in a small cabin in the Rodgers Mountain area outside the town of Scio (Oregon) in the Willamette Valley, with his parents Satsuko and George Hamilton, both successful artists. The family lived self-sufficiently on their secluded homestead, painting together in their cabin’s living room. Thus, from an early age, Earl was influenced to enter the art world. Living a frugal lifestyle, hauling water, milking goats, collecting eggs from their chickens and minus TV and radio, he was encouraged to read and talk a lot about art. Earl learned self-sufficiency and a desire to follow his own artistic instincts. He now lives in Lebanon, another small Oregon town, where he works on his paintings every day and usually most of the night. 

Earl studied art in high school where he won a Scholastic Gold Key award for the State of Oregon and a National Gold Medal Scholastic Award for a competition in New York City. He won an art scholarship while studying art at Oregon State University. In 1980, Earl won The Grumbacker Award for the Northwest Watercolor Society, and 1981 the First Place Sweepstake Award for the Watercolor Society of Oregon. 

Earl’s paintings are filled with a kind of whimsical lightness reflected in many images such as castles, clowns, children, animals and lovers. He layers acrylics and uses collage materials in many of his abstract works. Earl’s paintings whether abstract or whimsical objects, could be called meditative, mystical, contemplative, energetic, bold and confident in brushstroke. “I knew that I would always be an artist. Art has become a way of life for me, of perceiving and being. You take art with you whether you paint or not. It’s in your eyes and in your hands.”

Learn more at

421 NE Cedar St
Camas, WA 98607


Email: [email protected]

Earl Hamilton is the Attic Gallery solo exhibit for the month of October.

Columbia River Gorge Elementary Music teacher, Amy Switzer, stands alone in her classroom in front of her computer screen filled with tiles of smiling first grade students.  She leads them in the Good Morning song complete with hand clapping and stomping.  When asked for suggestions on other movements they can do, student hands fly into the air.  Gideon is called on, unmuted and suggested adding hopping to the song.  Another verse is sung.

“It’s great to see the students once a week in live zoom lessons,” said Switzer. “I really miss them!” 

Since traditional elementary music class is such a participatory, whole-group experience, Switzer said it was a challenge to figure out how to accomplish music goals remotely. 

“Kindy, 1st and 2nd Grades traditionally spend time exploring music through singing, listening and moving,” she said.  “I have found it is possible for me to continue much of that in Zoom Music Class.”  

In addition to Zoom Classroom, the SeeSaw educational app is an effective tool allowing students to create videos and other multimedia items.

“Our first SeeSaw lesson was a musical scavenger hunt to find things they could shake, hit or scrape and collect in a box to use in music class,” Switzer said. “Then ‘Ta da!’  They now have their own instruments to practice playing steady beats and rhythm in Zoom Music Class.” 

Switzer’s music lessons have become more project based with upper grade level students.  For example, her 3rd, 4th and 5th grades have started a project called the “World Music Tour.”  Their Google Classroom assignment is to interview an adult in their family or adult of their choice to see what continents and countries their ancestors came from and do they know any songs that have been passed down in their family. “Once the information is collected, we will ‘visit’ those places through music,” Switzer explained.  “It has been so much fun getting to know my students through this project!”

In fact, knowing students better has been one of the surprising benefits that Switzer has seen. 

“It is nice to connect with each and every student who participates in Seesaw and Google classroom,” she said. “I get the chance to see and read their work in depth.  I really enjoy seeing and reading each and every one of their assignments and can respond to them with thoughtful feedback. Some students also find they are braver when communicating with teachers through Google Classroom.”  

Columbia River Gorge Elementary Music teacher, Amy Switzer, stands alone in her classroom in front of her computer screen filled with tiles of smiling first grade students.

Switzer’s students are reacting positively to the idea of remote learning music classes.

“They are so grateful to have live special subject classes again,” she said. “For some students, special subjects can be the reason they get up and go to school.”

But still, it has been tough for her to not be able to see her students in person. 

“It’s also hard not being able to have kids up and moving around interacting together playing singing games, recorders, band instruments, choir, ukuleles, and Orff instruments and experiencing the language of music,” she said.  

Teaching music remotely presents many challenges, but Switzer said she is fortunate to have the support of the WSD elementary music team. 

“Becky, Anna, Frank and I are a strong team,” she said. “We each have our strengths and collectively we help each other figure this out.  We spend each week brainstorming and sharing ideas. We communicate through email daily and try out new approaches on each other before trying with students.  They have been my rock through this whole experience.”  


When asked if music class can play a role in helping students cope with the situation around remote learning, Switzer said she believes music gives students connections to the world they live in and to each other. 

“It takes them to creative places in their brain that other activities cannot,” she said. “Music is a powerful antidote that can relieve anxiety and get our minds back in an even rhythm to cope with whatever life throws at us.  Kids too.” 

A student gave Switzer a plaque that read: Music is life, that’s why our hearts have beats. “You don’t have to understand that to experience it,” she explained.  “Our work is called ‘play’ for a reason.  It’s important to visit that part of who we are, especially for growing and developing minds.”

Ellie Cook, a 2016 Camas High School graduate, is in the top 15 of the Broadway World Next On Stage dance competition and is seeking as many votes as possible this week to move onto the top 8.

Here is the voting link:

“I have been dancing since I could walk and doing musical theatre seriously since I was a sophomore in high school when I was in CHS’s production of ‘Grease’,” said Cook. “I was then Sally Bowles in ‘Cabaret’ as well as being featured in other shows. I graduated in 2016 from CHS and went onto pursue my BFA in Musical Theatre from Central Washington University.”

Following the immense success of their musical theatre singing competition for student performers, they are moving from the recording studio to the dance floor to shine the spotlight on talented, young musical theatre dancers.

Those moving on to the next round each week will have Friday through Monday to record and submit a new song, fitting within a specified theme, for the next round of the competition.

As they move forward in the competition, they will feature weekly live shows on Facebook with Broadway judges who will provide feedback and have the opportunity to move one of the contestants on to the next round by unanimous decision.

“If I win I am donating to the Fund for College Auditions,” said Cook. “It is a charity that gathers funds to make sure students can pursue their passions in Theatrical Higher Education.”

Both the college and high school winner of The LaDuca Achievement Award for Excellence will receive a Broadway prize-pack with merch from the BroadwayWorld Theatre Shop, shoes from LaDuca, a scholarship to Steps on Broadway’s summer programs and a $1000 donation to a charity of their choosing.”

Both the college and high school winner of The LaDuca Achievement Award for Excellence will receive a Broadway prize-pack with merch from the BroadwayWorld Theatre Shop, shoes from LaDuca, a scholarship to Steps on Broadway’s summer programs and a $1000 donation to a charity of their choosing.

Winners will receive either:

-The classic LaDuca Y-strap adorns an additional support strap in the Alexis. The design provides added support across the top of the foot concentrated at the bunion-area. A 2.5″ heel is perfect for students, dancers new to heeled character shoes, and those looking for a stable shoe to guide them through their choreography. Alexis has a soft suede sole to ensure maximum foot articulation. All LaDuca shoes are handcrafted in Italy to ensure our dancers have all the comfort and flexibility they desire.


-Made with master jazz dancer and choreographer, Luigi, in mind, this shoe provides maximum flexibility and articulation of the foot. The thin suede sole allows the movement of a jazz slipper. Hidden elastic gussets carry flexibility throughout the foot and a gummie heel provides a perfectly stable platform for dancers to land on. All LaDuca shoes are handmade in Italy to provide dancers with the comfort and quality they desire.

New flavors are coming to Downtown Camas! To bring some extra culinary excitement to the community in September, participating downtown restaurants will be offering Fair Food Week from September 4th – 11th and The Secret Menu Event from September 15th – 30th

Fair Food Week:

Since Camas Days and the Clark County Fair couldn’t happen this year, Downtown Camas restaurants are offering nostalgic and much-missed fair foods and treats on their menus for a full week starting on First Friday, 9/4. Funnel cakes, mini corn dogs, ice cream, caramel apples, cannolis just to name a few. There will even be cotton candy margaritas and Smoked BBQ ice cream to add unique twists to traditional fair options.

“We’re wanting to bring some fun and unique dining options to downtown and add a little extra zest to late summer,” says Carrie Schulstad, Executive Director of the Downtown Camas Association. “We have amazing restaurants and coffee houses that are working so hard to serve the community during these challenging times. We want to take advantage of the good dining weather and we truly hope people enjoy all the food options and have fun with it. You can have something new to try every day in September!”

The Liberty Theatre will also be serving their famous popcorn on First Friday and Saturday (9/4 – 9/5from 5-8pm and Caps N’ Taps will kick off the Fair Food Week with free fair games out front of their taproom during the evening. Cedar Street Bagel Co will be selling “Clark County Fair” scent candle wax melts with notes of cotton candy, funnel cakes and deep fried twinkies.

Fair Food Week participating restaurants and offerings:

  • A Beer At A Time – Giant pizza by the slice and giant pretzels with beer cheese and stone ground mustard
  • Adams Street Bar & Grill – Ribs with beans and Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese
  • Caffe Piccolo – Nachos (with jalapenos or salsa)
  • Cake Happy – Cake in a Jar, ice cream sandwiches, caramel apples
  • Cedar Street Bagel Co. – Peach hand pies and organic lemonade made with lemonade-ice cubes (add mango or blackberry as desired!) 
  • Feast 316 – Smoked BBQ ice cream with corn flake crusted chicken tenderloins
  • Grains of Wrath – Cotton Candy Margaritas
  • Hidden River Roasters – Cold brew floats, root beer floats
  • Liberty Theatre – Popcorn served First Friday and Saturday (9/4 – 9/5from 5-8pm
  • Mesa – Churro fried ice cream with chile infused caramel and Mexican spiced chocolate topping options
  • Mill City Brew Werks – Mini corn dogs, funnel cakes, churro-doughnuts
  • Natalia’s Cafe – Candied bacon on a stick
  • Salud Wine Bar & Italian Restaurant – Mini cannolis, zeppole (filled Italian donuts)
  • Squeeze and Grind – Chocolate malt milk and Oreo cookie shakes
  • Tommy O’s at the Camas Hotel –  2 offerings: Kalua pork loaded fries all week and Malasadas (Hawaiian donuts similar to elephant ear flavors) on Saturday 9/5 from 10am-2pm

For all the details, visit or


The Secret Menu Event:

For two weeks starting 9/15, participating Downtown Camas restaurants will offer secret menu items. Just ask for the secret menu offering and it will be a surprise until it is brought to your table. Items will be available for takeout as well. The goal is to bring new flavors, fun engagement for customers and some culinary adventure to the community.

Secret Menu Event participating restaurants:

  • A Beer at a Time
  • Cake Happy
  • Feast 316
  • Grains of Wrath
  • Nuestra Mesa
  • Mill City Brew Werks
  • Natalia’s Cafe
  • Salud Wine Bar & Italian Restaurant
  • Tommy O’s at the Camas Hotel

For all the details, visit or

Camas author, Seth Sjostrom, releases his latest thriller this September. Dark Chase, an FBI paranormal thriller uses rural America as the setting for the novel.

Why are the residents of a quaint farm town inexplicably dropping dead?

An FBI team has been called to investigate why the population of the seemingly sweet town of Hope, ND appears to be being literally scared to death.

Professor Ryder Chase and his team of paranormal researchers have been assigned to assist with the 
investigation, much to the bane of no-nonsense FBI Special Agent Devon Jeffers. The oppositional mix of 
Professor Chase, Agent Jeffers and their respective teams struggle to manage their stark, at times comical, differences.

Faced with unexplainable events, weathering brutal storms and wild chases through cornfields, the team takes the case deadly serious as one of their own go down.

Can they pull together in time to solve the mystery before more people die? 

A fascination with finding scientific facts to explain the seemingly unexplainable inspired Sjostrom to write Dark Chase. A lifetime of family trips to Hope, North Dakota to visit his grandfather and extended family inspired him to make Hope the setting for his latest thriller. “I always love visiting Hope. There is such charm and the epitome of Americana. The kindest people you would ever meet, overwhelming sense of peace, just a wonderful town in the middle of our country. I wanted share it with my readers and pay homage to my family,” Sjostrom shares.


“I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous making Hope one of the stars of the book. After all, it is a thriller with unpleasant things happening there and a brash FBI agent with no qualms turning his nose up at the simple, hardworking community…I wanted to make sure that the town and the people of Hope were represented as the way I see them. Kind, generous and welcoming,” Sjostrom added.

A serial entrepreneur, adventurer and author, Dark Chase, is Sjostrom’s seventh novel. The thrillers Blood in the SnowBlood in the Water, Blood in the Sand, Penance, as well as the romances, Finding Christmas and Back to Carolina were his first books published.

Dark Chase all of Sjostrom’s books are available anywhere books are sold, including online through and

For more information regarding Seth or his books, visit  

Book author, Seth Sjostrom.

There’s a new card game in town, and it’s called “Cows In My Pants.” 

“Based off a joke, it’s a card game,” said creator, Kathi Sjostrom, a Camas, WA resident. “It can be a quick pickup game. You should be able to pick it up easy, but there is a strategy. In 20 minutes, you can sit around the table and play it.” 

It’s a game that Sjostrom says you can play with kids seven years and older. You need to understand numbers to be able to play. There’s a memory element in it that makes it more complicated. It’s designed to be a family and friendly pick-up-and-go game.

“I came up with the idea,” said Sjostrom. “I’ve always wanted to create board games, and we got to playing games regularly, and one night we had a funny, crazy game night and we decided to name our first game ‘Cows in My Pants’ and we sketched out a game.”

“Cows In My Pants” is a game about a bunch of cows that are dressed up, and you have to put them all back together.

The goal is to be the first player to create four of a kind, a flush, a run, or two pairs in your secret corral. Score points according to what you and everyone else has in their hand when “Cows in my Pants” is declared. 

“From there, we played it with our friends, and we decided to make a game company called Paodle Games,” said Sjostrom. “We did this before the virus outbreak. We thought about holding off, and thought we needed laughter and friends. I have multiple games we’re planning to release this year. 2020 will all be light pick up and go games, and I have heavier games, which will be released later.”

To learn more about the game, or purchase it, visit — go the Kickstarter link.

“We are local, we love local business, but the game world is a global platform so we’re putting it on Kickstarter, which allows us to produce it,” Sjostrom. “Our game can be pre-ordered through Kickstarter. After it’s funded, it can be purchase through the website. Once everything calms down we will also have local vendors that will have it.”

Rules of the game.