Camas, WA —The City of Camas has announced that four finalists have been named in the search for the City’s next Administrator.

Under the authority and direction of the Mayor, the City Administrator assumes full management responsibility for all City operations, while also implementing policy decisions made by City Council, preparing recommendations, and advising on matters requiring legislative action.

The four finalists and their brief biographies are listed below, in alphabetical order:

Jeff Niten

Jeff Niten has served as the City Manager for the City of Shelton, Washington since 2019. Prior to his time in Shelton, Niten was the Community Development Director for the City of Ridgefield, Washington and spent nine years at Clark County, Washington in various planning roles. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and an Executive Master of Public Administration degree from the University of South Dakota.

Kira Peters

Kira Peters has served as the Community Services Administrator/Library System Director in the City of Scottsdale, Arizona, for the past four years. Prior to her current role, she held multiple positions for the City of Scottsdale, including the Parks and Recreation Manager. Peters holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree from Arizona State University and a Master of Organizational Leadership degree from Northern Arizona University.

Administrator

Keith Stahley

Keith Stahley currently serves as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Olympia, Washington. Prior to serving as the Assistant City Manager, Stahley served as the City of Olympia’s Community Planning and Development Director. He holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Syracuse University, a Master of Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University, and is an International City/County Management Association Credentialed Manager (ICMA-CM).

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas currently serves as the City Manager for the City of Amity, Oregon. Prior to his time in Amity, Thomas served as a Lieutenant Colonel and Squadron Commander in the United States Air Force. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science in Management degree from the United States Air Force Academy, a Master of Business Administration degree from Trident University International, a Master of Military Operational Art and Science degree from Air University, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oregon.

The candidates will partake in a two-day interview process with various groups in and around the City, including department heads, City Council members and members of different community groups.

The public is also invited to meet the candidates and provide feedback. The Community Meet and Greet will take place, Thursday, May 12 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., at the Lacamas Lake Lodge.  Attendees will be able to mingle with the candidates in a more casual setting, and then provide their feedback to the City at the event, or electronically. 

Camas, WA — A weeklong investigation following allegations of racial slurs from Camas High School (CHS) JV baseball players against a black Skyview athlete concluded today confirming micro-aggression behavior occurred at an April 20 game. For a week, rumors have swirled about when it happened, if it happened, if it was intentional, how long the actions took place, and why the game wasn’t stopped.

A micro-aggression is a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority. CHS students have been saying on Lacamas Magazine social media sites the school does have issues with students and faculty who regularly put down racial minorities, and are frustrated administrators don’t take any action.

Camas parents who attended a 4 pm team meeting today with CHS administrators said Skyview’s claims stem from comments overheard during pre-game warmups. As the Papermakers were doing grave digger exercises they were chanting “grave diggers” as they regularly do. Skyview said the Camas players were yelling “grave n——s,” a racial insult aimed at a black Skyview baseball player.

Camas players insist they didn’t say that harmful word, but Skyview stands by their claims. Camas players felt today’s statement was rushed, and didn’t give players an opportunity to be heard. Several left the meeting feeling slighted.

Although CHS Principal Tom Morris and Athletic Director Rory Oster didn’t go into specifics in their statement, they did confirm evidence of racial slurs.

Morris and Oster issued this statement today, which was authored by Dr. Charlene Williams, Assistant Superintendent of Camas Schools:

Dear Camas Community,

You may be aware of allegations made about racist actions that took place at a JV baseball game between Skyview HS and Camas HS last week. Below is a message from Camas HS that was shared with Skyview High School athletics and administration today. 

Now that the investigation is complete, we want to share this with you in an effort to keep you informed. Please know that we cannot share information about student discipline. 

This is not how we want to be represented in our community, and we continue to be committed to our equity work.

Rory Oster, Athletic Director

Tom Morris, CHS Principal

Dear Skyview Baseball Team and Administration,

After a week of investigation, while we were not able to confirm all allegations, we do know that our players engaged in racial micro-aggressions at the April 20, 2022, JV baseball game. Their actions and the inaction of the athletes who witnessed these acts, clearly illustrate that a problem exists in our team. We are deeply sorry this occurred and apologize for the harm our players caused to Skyview team members.

Therefore, all JV games will remain canceled until the situation with Skyview and Camas JV baseball teams is resolved. Looking ahead, Camas staff will be working with its students to determine how the harm they caused can be repaired. Our plan is to engage with you to restore relationships and build a path forward. Additionally, WIAA recently created a policy around halting games when racist acts are reported; we will ensure all staff and athletes are aware of this policy and how to respond to and interrupt racist acts.

We condemn all forms of racism and will continue our work to eliminate racism in our system.

Sincerely,

Rory Oster, Athletic Director

Tom Morris, CHS Principal

Racial

Camas, WA — All games between Camas and Skyview High School baseball teams have been postponed— some say indefinitely — due to allegations of racist taunting at Wednesday’s junior varsity game at Camas. Both teams are Class 4A Greater St. Helens League contenders.

Eyewitnesses from both teams allege that a Camas JV player hurled racial taunts at a black Skyview player during Wednesday’s game.

“He made ape sounds against a black Skyview player,” a Camas parent said, on condition of anonymity.

At least two Skyview parents, and one Camas parent, have the alleged incident on video. Lacamas Magazine hasn’t seen those videos.

“I didn’t actually hear it myself,” said another Camas parent. “I was there to watch, but I know other parents do have evidence of what happened.”

He said this case is similar to a recent racial taunting incident at a Vancouver youth soccer game.

Skyview Baseball issued the following statement on Thursday: “We are postponing tonight’s game with Camas due to some serious incidents that took place at yesterday’s JV game at Camas. Skyview families, please watch for a message from Principal Andy Meyer. The message will be sent to Skyview staff and families.”

Baseball

Camas High School Athletic Director, Rory Oster, issued this statement Thursday afternoon:

“Hello Papermaker Families,

“This morning, we received a report that CHS athletes on the field used racial slurs during a baseball game against Skyview HS. We take these reports seriously and are currently working with Vancouver Public Schools to determine precisely what happened during the game. As a result, today’s Skyview/CHS Varsity and JV games have been postponed. 

“All students deserve to feel respected and supported, including students visiting our campus.  Harassment, intimidation, and bullying, including racial slurs, are not tolerated in our school community. We will work to make sure that we get to the bottom of this, including assigning discipline as appropriate. Our goal is to make sure that learning happens for our students and that repair and restoration are made to those harmed.”

Skyview High School has filed a complaint with WIAA, and there’s been limited discussion about cancelling all games with Camas for the remainder of this season.

Camas, WA —After two years of a web event and activity bags, Camas’ egg hunt event is back, live and in person!  Join Camas Parks and Recreation for the 31st annual Easter egg hunt, with an updated fun event name of “The Camas Egg Scramble!” This special event will take place in Crown Park, Easter Sunday, April 17 at 1:30 p.m., sharp.  Don’t be late, as we start on time! 

Candy and prize-filled eggs will be hidden in designated egg hunting areas, which will be color-marked for age groups 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, and 10-12.  All ages start at the same time, at 1:30 p.m., in their designated age-hunt areas. Make sure you open all of your eggs at the park to see if you collected a prize token; you’ll turn those tokens in at the park to claim a prize and return the eggshells to us to be used again next year!

All abilities are welcome to join for this fun event.  A designated “Egg Stroll” has been developed to prioritize accessibility and enhance this inclusive activity for all ages.  If you have needs that we can help accommodate, please contact Krista at the number listed below.

The Easter Bunny will be at Scout Hall in the park for photographs from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. 

Children must be accompanied by an adult and should bring a basket or bag in which to collect their eggs.  Adults are not allowed in the hunting areas, except in area for ages 2- 3 or accompanying a participant with special needs.  The Traditional Easter Bonnet and Contemporary Hat contest will take place at 2:00 p.m., at the covered shelter.

Easter

No registration is required for the egg hunt or the bonnet/hat contest.  This is a popular event, so please allow time for parking.  An accessible parking and drop-off area has been arranged along NE 15th & NE Dallas St.  Spaces are limited. Crown Park is a six-acre park located at NE Everett & NE 17th Ave.

Thank you to our Easter Event Sponsors: Soroptimists Intl., VFW Post 4278, VFW Auxiliary, and Winco. 

For more information or an event map, visit www.cityofcamas.us/parks, or contact Krista Bashaw at 360-817-7991.

Camas, WA — The team at Natalia’s Cafe invites you to their Malt Shop Grand Opening event this Friday evening! The city of Camas is blocking off part of 4th Avenue for the festivities, which includes fun from all several merchants, including Juxtaposition, Arktana, Camas Gallery, Caffe Piccolo and many more!

Here’s what will be happening:

• The DJ will start playing music at 4 pm.

• Professional artist Anna Norris will begin her live painting at 4 pm. Guests may purchase $5 raffle tickets to purchase Anna’s painting and at 8 pm Friday a raffle ticket will be drawn to determine the winner of the painting. All proceeds to benefit our local food bank.

• The official malt shop ribbon cutting starts at 5 pm.

• The Hula Hoop contest starts at 6 pm. The winner will receive a gift certificate from Juxtaposition.

• There will be a Pie Eating contest, and the cafe is still seeking volunteers for that. 

• There will be an Instagram contest — which is a take your photo in your 50s attire to win a free specialty ice cream — once a month for a year. You need to tag Juxtaposition and Natalia’s Cafe in your posts.

• The Special Grand Opening Menu is $5.99 burgers, fries and a drink; $4.99 hot dogs, fries and a drink; and $2.99 root beer floats

• Kids will receive free mini ice cream cones.

• Juxtaposition will be handing out tokens and kids can get toppings for their ice cream cones.

• There will be many kids photo opportunity!

• A Balloon guy will be making balloons. 

Come to downtown Camas this Friday to enjoy the experience! Natalia’s Cafe is located at the corner of 4th Avenue and Dallas St. in Camas.

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Natalia's Cafe
The Natalia’s Cafe Malt Shop.

Vancouver, WA — In their weekly COVID-19 report released today, Clark County Public Health says cases continue to drop countywide, with a 53.9 cases per 100,000 activity rates nearly two weeks after face mask mandates ended.

Here’s the latest data:

Cases

• 734 additional cases (confirmed and probable) since last update

• 73,305 confirmed cases to date (+699 since last update)

• 14,306 antigen probable cases to date (+35 since last update) 

Washington Department of Health continues to clear a backlog of cases caused by reporting delays during the omicron surge. As a result, some cases added to the total this week may have occurred earlier.

Hospitalizations 

• 5.1% of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 cases and persons under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 

• 3.6% of ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 cases and PUIs

• 96.4% of hospital beds occupied

• 96.4% of ICU beds occupied

• 17 COVID-19 cases and 10 PUI hospitalized

Natalia's

Rates

• COVID-19 activity rate is 53.9 cases per 100,000 over 14 days (March 6-19) – down from 77.9 last week

• COVID-19 new hospital admission rate is 2.6 per 100,000 people over 7 days (March 3-9) – down from 6.4 last week

Deaths 

• 782 total deaths to date (697 confirmed, 85 suspect)

4 additional confirmed deaths since last update:

• 2 men in their 70s

• 1 woman in her 70s

• 1 woman 80+ years oldC

Learn more at the COVID-19 data webpage: https://clark.wa.gov/public-health/covid-19-data 

Washougal, WA — Washougal High School released students for the day after experiencing a “small fire” in a bathroom in the building Thursday morning, according to a spokesperson for Washougal School District. 

After school activities are also canceled.

Students and staff were evacuated to a safe location due to a fire in the bathroom which was quickly contained. 

“Under the advisement of the first responders, it doesn’t appear we will be unable to resume school today,” the spokesperson said. 

The students were released from school at 11 am.

Students and staff are being asked not to re-enter the building. School administration will work with the fire department on a plan for students to collect car keys.

Buses were lined up for the transport of all students who usually ride the bus. Parents were asked to meet their children at their bus stop roughly 3 hours and 20 minutes before their usual drop off time. 

The spokesperson said they do not anticipate the school will be affected Friday but will provide more information Thursday afternoon.

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Washougal
Clean up and restoration crews at Washougal High School.

CAMAS, WA – The Camas Police Department will begin a full-time body-worn camera program starting in April, Chief Mitch Lackey announced today.  The department contracted with the AXON company last fall for the equipment, including software and data storage, which is necessary for a body-worn camera program to meet the new state requirements for recording custodial interviews.  Now, the department is ready to take the next step and institute a full, body-worn camera program, which will allow officers record all their field actions.

In February 2021, Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik, and the Clark County Prosecutor’s Action and Reform Committee, put out a joint letter to the community and all local governments.   In that letter, the Prosecutor’s Office stressed the importance of implementing body-worn camera programs for all local law enforcement agencies.  In addition to being a valuable tool for prosecutors, body-worn cameras also build community trust by demonstrating transparency and openness into the way police officers carry out their duties.  The Clark County Prosecutor’s Office hoped that local governments would work diligently to secure funding for this important tool.

Golik recently praised Camas PD for their quick work on establishing the program.

“I want to thank the Camas Police Department for their leadership in implementing a body-worn camera system,” Golik said. “The Prosecutor’s Office is in strong support of body camera systems. Our office’s mission to seek justice is a shared mission with law enforcement agencies. Our joint mission will be furthered through evidence that will be gathered by body cameras. Law Enforcement body cameras systems are a critical tool that will help ensure the public has confidence in our community’s criminal justice system. The Camas Police Department should be congratulated for moving forward on body cameras.”

While Camas Police officers possessed the AXON equipment for the more limited purpose of the custodial recordings mandated by the state, there was always a plan to move toward implementing a full body-worn camera program, which is the program that will begin next month. 

Natalia's

“I am extremely grateful to former Mayor Ellen Burton, current Mayor Steve Hogan, as well as the entire Camas City Council, for their support for this program,” said Chief Lackey. “Without their guidance, and budgetary support, we would not have been able to successfully bring this to the community.”   

Last year, the Camas City Council authorized a five-year lease with AXON for the equipment and data storage, in the amount of $311,168.00.  In addition to the equipment costs, there will be some increased staffing needs in the police department’s records unit who will handle the public records requests for the videos. The department hopes to add a full-time Police Records Clerk later this year to meet that need.

The City was able to fund the start-up of the body-worn camera program through a combination of general fund dollars and one-time revenue provided by the State of Washington for criminal justice purposes.  In addition, the police department has also applied for grants, however, no grant funding has been received yet. 

Over the past few months, the department administration and City management team worked closely with the labor group representing Camas police officers to develop a body-worn camera policy, which is a critical piece of the body-worn camera program.  The new policy provides officers guidance on when they’re expected to use their cameras, and in what settings that they are allowed to turn the cameras off.  It balances the desire by the public for transparency along with protecting individual privacy rights. 

Officers will now begin training on the new program in small groups and will start wearing their body-worn cameras immediately after completing the training.  Because of this, the community may notice some officer with cameras, and others without during this initial period.  However, Chief Lackey stated that all Camas officers will likely complete the training by the end of April 2022. 

The video data created by the body-worn camera program is stored by the AXON company and is retained for the period of time mandated by the Washington State Archivist.  Depending on what type of incident was captured on the video, the retention of that video is mandated for varying amounts of time.

“This is a big step for the Camas Police Department, and more importantly, the right step,” Lackey said. “Our officers do outstanding work each day in this community and these cameras will now document that work for all to see. In law enforcement, disputes do sometimes arise about what was done, what was said or what actually happened. These cameras will now create a video record that should help resolve some of those disputes.”

Camas, WA — Team Mean Machine and Discovery High School worked for months on the Power Pivot Project, which this week won a National Finalist title in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition. 

This is a device that helps people with limited mobility. The Power Pivot™ is a portable motorized disk that can assist caregivers transferring persons with limited mobility between wheelchairs, seats, and beds. Unlike existing transfer disks, the Power Pivot™ provides rotation to move the patient without having to twist or apply force. 

In December, the team entered the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Competition, and won statewide. Then, in February they made a video submission for the chance to win $50,000 as a national finalist and $100,000 and a national overall winner. On Thursday, Samsung announced the National Finalist, and the Power Pivot was one of them. There is a bounce of $10,000 to the project that gets the most community engagement. 

You can vote for Discovery High School at https://www.samsung.com/us/solvefortomorrow/ 

Here’s the video submission: https://youtu.be/tTN3_SSdZ0w

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Power Pivot

Vancouver, WA — Clark County Public Health released their latest COVID-19 data, which illustrates a continued drop in the activity rate countywide. It currently stands at 77.9 cases per 100,000 over 14 days.

The statewide face mask mandate officially ended March 12.

Here is this week’s COVID-19 update. The last update was issued March 10. 

Cases

• 1,191 additional cases (confirmed and probable) since last update

• 72,606 confirmed cases to date (+1,181 since last update)

• 14,271 antigen probable cases to date (+10 since last update) 

Washington Department of Health continues to clear a backlog of cases caused by reporting delays during the omicron surge. As a result, some cases added to the total this week may have occurred earlier.

Hospitalizations 

• 96.3% of hospital beds occupied

• 93.6% of ICU beds occupied

• 6.7% of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 cases and persons under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 

• 6.4% of ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 cases and PUIs

• 22 COVID-19 cases and 12 PUI hospitalized

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Rates

• COVID-19 activity rate is 77.9 cases per 100,000 over 14 days (Feb. 27-March 12) – down from 135.4 last week

• COVID-19 new hospital admission rate is 6.4 per 100,000 people over 7 days (Feb. 24-March 2) – down from 6.6 last week

Deaths 

• 778 total deaths to date (693 confirmed, 85 suspect)

8 additional confirmed deaths since last update:

• 2 men in their 60s

• 1 man in his 70s

• 5 men 80+ years old

2 additional suspect deaths since last update: 

• 1 woman in her 50s

• 1 woman 80+ years old

You may learn more at the county’s COVID-19 data webpage: https://clark.wa.gov/public-health/covid-19-data