Local book author Sandy Calwell and her family will be featured on a radio show, FamilyLife Today, on June 25.  Sandy is the author of “What if Parenting is the Most Important Job in the World?”

The show is hosted by Dennis Rainey. Sandy will talk “about her decision to stay home with her son and invest herself in her family, rather than pursuing the career she loved. Joining her is her supportive husband, Ken.”                                                                       

Go to www.familylife.com to listen to a transcript of the program.


Vancouver, WA – Vancouver’s newest theatre, Pacific Stageworks, opens its doors with the well-known script of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Directed by Vancouver’s own Tony Bump, the production features a cast of seasoned performers acting “in the round” at the Heathman Lodge (7801 Northeast Greenwood, Vancouver, WA 98662), July 6-8. Performance times are: Friday July 6, 7:30pm; Saturday July 7, 2:00pm and 7:30pm; Sunday July 8, 2:00pm and 7:30pm.

Adopting the mottos, “A great city deserves great theatre,” and “We take the drama out of drama,” the new theatre wants to lure in a younger generation of audience member and make their theatre a cultural center-point for Vancouver. Currently looking for a permanent home, the decision to perform The Importance of Being Earnest in a non-traditional venue shows that Pacific Stageworks is not afraid to think outside the box.

Tony Bump, the Board President, hopes Pacific Stageworks will revitalize the community artistic atmosphere. “Our society is losing the hang of face-to-face communication,” he says. “We look for ways to bring people together to express ideas and experiences in a positive and fun environment. Theatre is the best median to achieve this. We don’t want to just put on plays, though that is a large part of what we will be doing. We want to create an artists’ hang-out – a fun place to go on a date, to meet new people, to try new things and develop talents.”

Says producer, Jennifer Johnson, “Among the performers and staff members, we have decades of theatrical experience and an enormous amount of talent. Earnest is full of word-play and social satire and is incredibly funny. The actors do a fabulous job of bringing it to life.”



From left to right, Brett Johnson, Jillian Sternke, Ashley Hall, and Will Johnson.


Set in England in the 1890s, The Importance of Being Earnest follows two eligible bachelors attempting to balance pleasure and responsibility. Adopting the name of “Ernest” while adventuring, they are unsure of which name to use when proposing to two headstrong, yet romantic heiresses. In comes Lady Bracknell with her own ideas of what constitutes an eligible match, which has everything to do with money, family, and deception.

The cast includes: Kevin Gordon, Brett Johnson (of Camas), Will Johnson, Julie Dole, Ashley Hall, Kathleen Jung (of Ridgefield), Mike Heywood and Jillian Sternke (of Portland).

Though Earnest is officially a fund raiser, the theatre is keeping ticket costs low to make art more accessible to the community in this financially difficult time. Tickets are $12 (adults) and $10 (students/seniors). General seating tickets can be purchased at the website, www.pacificstageworks.com, or at the door with cash/check. Donations will be cheerfully and enthusiastically accepted at the performance.

The Red Caboose Getaway, located in Sequim, WA is a romantic getaway with a twist.  Once you check in at the “Station” the manager shows you to your very own caboose.  From the outside it looks like your typical on-the-tracks caboose, but once you hop aboard and open the cabin door you’ll see a warm and inviting surprise.

Each caboose has its own theme.  On track one is the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad car.  Featuring items of a railway theme you’ll be ready to sport your conductor’s hat and holler “All Aboard”.  Don’t be deceived, if you look closely you can find many modern conveniences including your own refrigerator, TV/DVD, and natural gas stove to give your caboose that cozy feeling.  These conveniences along with the beautiful original hard wood floors, and fresh flowers are found in each of the cars.  It’s a great way to get away without leaving modern convenience behind.

Track two is a representation of the Orient Express, and even if you can’t tell from the outside one look through the cabin door makes it all clear.  The fabrics bear an Asian look, and the overstuffed bed and Jacuzzi tub call out begging you to come in and relax.

Track three is the circus car, but you won’t find any animals in this caboose.  Painted in sky blue and accented with bright colors this car is sure to be a hit with the kid inside all of us.  If you can’t leave the kids behind, don’t worry, this car has room for four. Steal away your own private getaway by enjoying the Jacuzzi tub also found in this car.

Then there’s the Western Car, complete with saloon swinging doors and an authentic antique claw foot tub.

No matter which caboose you stay the night in everyone comes together in the Burlington Dining Car for breakfast. With owners Olaf waiting tables, and his wife Charolette in the back cooking up breakfast you feel like a VIP.  Of course the menu is always changing, but a visit this time of year could provide a menu as delicious as baked Washington apples, and Dutch baby pancakes filled with freshly picked black berries.  Even before that you can start off with one of the many flavors of hot chocolate, coffee, or tea while enjoying a loaf of cinnamon roll bread.  Whatever the menu, you’re sure to enjoy Charolette’s fantastic cooking and Olaf’s warm and inviting personality.

Every moment from the time you board to the time you disembark will be filled with character, personality, and most of all, FUN. To book your reservation, call 360.683.7350.  Visit the website at www.redcaboosegetaway.com


Red Caboose Getaway
The Red Caboose Getaway is for people who love trains
and want something different for their vacation.


Red Caboose Getaway
Red Caboose Getaway Dining Car
The Dining Car
Red Caboose Getaway
Inside one of the train cars.

Meet Colleen Hord: Teacher, Writing Specialist, and Book Author.And during the last two years, she’s been extra busy writing 12 books, five of which have been published, with the remaining seven being released later this year. The books cater to grades K-3 and have simple but meaningful titles, such as “My Green Lunch” or “My Safe Community.”  Other titles are: “Clean and Green Energy,” “Need it or Want It? and “What’s my Role?”

“I absolutely love to write,” says Hord. “It’s my passion.”

The books are fun and teach children about recycling, re-using material goods, conserving energy, and being safe. Hord currently teaches second grade at Grass Valley School in Camas, and it’s clear from spending time with the class, they enjoy her books, too.

Student Tyler Vanderwood, 7, says he thinks “the books are good, and they’re good for the earth.”

Kennedy Linton, 8, calls Hord her “favorite person” and loves to read Hord’s books. “She teaches us how to write better,” she adds. “And I like that.”

Hord has cultivated her 30 years of teaching experience and love for writing into a mission. “I want all these kids to learn how to write properly,” she said. “And I get so much joy from that.”

Hord’s teaching career began in 1982 at the Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana.  Her career took her to Wyoming, Arizona and ultimately, Camas, where she started teaching in 1990 at Lacamas Heights.


Colleen Hord
Colleen Hord is a teacher, writing specialist and author of 12 books.

Since then, she has taught at Helen Baller and Dorothy Fox, where she served as a writing specialist. She spent three years in Washougal, and then returned to the Camas School District. She is in her second year at Grass Valley.Grass Valley is a green school and Hord serves on the Eco team, which helps the school maintain its green certification. “It’s fitting given some of the books I’ve written,” she says.

Rourke Publishing, based in Florida, approached her several years ago to write children’s books. She started the process in 2010. During the course of 18 months, she wrote the 12 books in collaboration with Rourke’s Editor-In-Chief, Luana Mitten.

“Colleen is just wonderful,” says Mitten. “We work well together, and she really has a way of getting content to the right reading level.”

Mitten says Colleen’s experience suited her for the writing projects.

“We choose writers who know the content we seek,” says Mitten. “So we frequently work with teachers who specialize in a given subject area.”

Book production begins in the fall, says Hord, so “I work pretty hard on the weekends between September and December writing the books.”

By Christmas, Hord’s books go into a final manuscript, and then Rourke’s artists go to work on photos and illustrations. The design process lasts until May and the book goes to the printer by July.

“It’s a fun process,” says Hord. “I really get into it and do a lot of research.”

Hord says her experience in the classroom teaching the beginning reader is very helpful to the book writing process. “I can see where the needs are and I address them in the books,” she says.

The exact content of her seven books in production is hush-hush, but we can say four are children’s stories and three are biographies.

Rourke Publishing has been in business for 33 years and caters to both US and international markets. Consumers can buy directly from www.rourkepublishing.com or www.amazon.com (with individual books or collections) and schools can purchase collections by going to www.rourkeclassroom.com, which sells the paper back versions. They come out simultaneously with the hardcover versions.

Mitten wasn’t able to provide exact sales figures, but did say Hord’s books have been re-printed several times already. “They’re good sellers,” she said. “She does an excellent job.”

Scott McCoy, one of Hord’s Grass Valley School colleagues, agrees. “I’ve been impressed with her books and what they teach the children.”

As for what’s next? “More writing,” she says. “And more teaching – I love it!”