by Rick Francisco

Parenting during the holidays can be tough no matter the situation. From planning dinner to arranging the perfect family picture, meeting your obligations may require a little help. The holidays are also uniquely difficult for families going through divorce, undertaking new child custody matters, and those struggling with past or ongoing domestic violence.

The first step in providing a healthy home for your child is to relieve your own stress. If you are going through a divorce or simply unhappy with your current shared parenting time, speaking with an attorney experienced in managing these types of issues will provide a calm to the holidays when you need it most.

Second, planning ahead will reduce issues that can arise this year and the next. What happens if your tradition is to celebrate the holidays in Miami, but the child’s other parent wants to travel to Boston for New Years? We have helped countless clients determine the solution best suited to meet their family’s needs and the children’s school schedules.

Attorney Rick Francisco

Finally, holiday events can bring people together for better and for worse. If you believe an individual intends to harm you or your child, there are steps we can take to help you avoid situations which may be dangerous. When you feel secure in your home, you can truly enjoy the company of your loved ones.

Instead of worrying about meeting deadlines and filing paperwork, we want to get you back to the best parts of the holidays. Minus the fruitcake.

Contact the law firm of McKean Smith today for a consultation. Visit

What started in 2000 as a small construction company called Victor and Sons has grown into Vixon Cabinets, one of Southwest Washington’s largest and premiere cabinet makers.

Know for high quality cabinets and unique designs in some of the area’s best homes, Vixon continues to make strides in innovation and service.

Family patriarch, Victor Chernichenko, an inventor who is very hands on, organized the company with sons Roman, Alex, and Eugene, and over time they’ve found their unique places in the family business that now oversees 250 installations a year.

Victor runs the shop. He also enjoys gardening.

Roman heads design and engineering. He also makes great wine.

Alex runs quality assurance. He also loves to spend time outdoors in the great Pacific Northwest.

And, Eugene, who is also a bread maker by night, is the General Manager. He’s become the voice of Vixon, but the roles weren’t always so clear.

“I used to wear 15 hats,” said Eugene. “I built cabinets, did finishing and sanding. Alex and Oleg did installations. I took care of that part of running the business, then once we got enough people I managed the shop and did sales. At one point I was painting in the evening and managing by day. The jobs came together based on our personalities. I dealt better with customers and was willing to say what’s necessary to get things done. Roman likes the details and making sure things are perfect. Alex is a workhorse and has good customer service. He knows how to smooth things out.”

Vixon’s business continues to prosper because of the quality of their work, strict adherence to schedules, special designs, and commitment to customer service.

Those are some of the reasons why Vixon’s products keep making appearances in the Parade of Homes and in some of the best homes in the area. They’ve developed great relationships with many local builders.

A custom built bathroom.

“We’ve been using Vixon since 2015, and they’ve probably done around a dozen projects with us,” said Cheri Clarkson, of Soaring Eagle Homes. “We appreciate that they are a family owned, local custom cabinet shop. They are extremely creative and willing to tackle any request we have.  As a designer/custom home builder this is a critical element as each client is unique and every project is different.  Whether it’s a special design element, custom stain color, secret door.… you name it, they can figure it out. 

Their ever-growing business includes the expansion of their Vancouver showroom, which is located at 3315 NE 112th #60, Vancouver, WA 98682. Currently they have 15,000 square feet of shop space used to move in supplies, sand, cut, paint, finish, and assemble quality cabinets.

It runs like a fine oiled machine, using a combination of technology (laser-guided saws) and experienced craftsmanship paying attention to the tiniest of details.

You can see more at

Experience Matters: A Proud History of Craftsmanship

This is the fifth generation of Chernichenko carpenters with a rich history in the former Soviet Union.

“We came over to the United States in December 28, 1989,” said Eugene. “It was right before the full collapse of the Soviet Union. We saw it from here. We lived in Georgia, now the Republic of Georgia — in Batumi City. Georgia was the state. We lived on the Black Sea and it was a tourist place. When my dad got there with his parents, they moved and he worked in construction.”

Eugene parents felt a strong need to leave for the United States, and were sponsored by a church in Portland.

Nine months after arriving in Portland, the family moved to Vancouver. Eugene was 7 years old.

“My dad learned English while he was preparing to move here,” Eugene said. “When he got here he started translating their newsletters into the Russian language. He did that for New Traditions owner.

He did that for a number of years then went back into mill work, and worked for New Tradition Homes. We built homes for a few years in the late 90s then transitioned into a full cabinet shop.”

It’s a company that’s really focused, said Clarkson.

“Their quality is excellent,” she added. “They stand behind their work and have a great attitude when resolving issues when they arise.”

And, Eugene makes great bread, too!

Lily Atelier, located in Historic Downtown Camas, is having a daylong Holiday Open House this Thursday, December 12, ending with a special Jewelry Trunk Sale with Caryn Michelle.

The Holiday Open House begins at 10 am, when the store opens, and continues all day, while Michelle’s Trunk Show runs from 4-8 pm inside the iconic women’s boutique.

“We will have treats and special pricing,” says Marilyn Reed, owner of Lily Atelier. “We think you’ll really like Caryn Michelle’s Trunk Sale. There will be 10 percent off all of her jewelry on Thursday night.”

The Holiday Open House also offers the following:

  • Three $100 gift certificates raffled off during the day. Customers simply put names in the bucket.
  • Buy any item and get the second like item at 40 percent off.
  • 50 percent off candles with every purchase of $100 or more.

Lily Atelier continues to receive new products on a regular basis. Be sure to visit their Facebook and Instagram sites to learn more.

About Caryn

Los Angeles-based Caryn Karotkin is a multifaceted artist, whose career in beauty and fashion spans more than 25 years. As a wife, mother, designer, entrepreneur, and athlete, she is equal parts feminine and fierce. Inspired by nature and the beauty of her surroundings, Caryn’s style embodies an effortless California chic, which translates brilliantly into her highly sought after jewelry.

Working with diamonds, semi-precious stones, and metals, Caryn puts a vintage spin on modern themes, resulting in an aesthetic that is delicate yet daring. Her statement pieces lend themselves toward collecting, as bracelets, rings, and necklaces, stack, layer and mix together beautifully.

Open House
Caryn Michelle Jewelry.

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, November 26, the Washougal School District (WSD) Board of Directors approved two levies — a replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EPO) and a replacement Technology Levy to be placed on the February 11, 2020 ballot.  

The levies would replace the current levies, which are set to expire December 31, 2020.  

The Educational Programs and Operations Levy funds services and operations not funded by state or federal funding. These services include: health and safety; instructional support; athletics, musical after school activities, coding club (and other enrichment activities); student learning and staffing; security personnel; and operations and maintenance.

Levy dollars cover innovation projects, such as a Strings (orchestra) program. They could also cover a dual language immersion program. 

The proposed Educational Programs and Operations Levy rates are projected to remain flat over the next three years (2021, 2022, and 2023) at $2.14 per $1,000 of assessed value (is projected on assessed value growth).  They levy is projected to collect $7,392,656 in the first year of collection, $7,984,068 in 2022, and $8,622,793 in 2023. 

“What was right for our district was also right for Camas School District,” said Dr. Mary Templeton, Superintendent of Washougal School District. “The Levy provides the funding that allows our district to invest in students, gives us capacity to innovate, and ensures we keep programs that let us nurture and challenge all students so that students rise every day. We are just trying to restore the pre-McCleary dollars that voters agreed to.

“We think the $2.14 allows us to grow and stay fiscally responsible. We think this investment that the local dollar makes in that is critical. This all lines up with our vision statement. We value the dollars that we get greatly, and we don’t want to collect one more dollar that we need knowing we must be responsible and efficient.”


Technology Levy dollars pay for the district’s 1:1 initiative, up-to-date computers and devices, classroom instructional technology, professional development and coaching, technology infrastructure and staffing, and curriculum and software.

“We’ve been very successful with the use of technology,” Templeton said. “We’ve see great student achievement with how we’re using tech in the classroom. We are, of course, hoping voters will support these efforts in the district. We do appreciate the opportunity to let the voters know this investment will support our children to be prepared for college. What you need to know as you graduate into the world has change significantly in the last 10-15 years.”

The proposed Technology Levy rates are projected to decline over the three years of the levy, with the rate per $1,000 of assessed value at $0.25 in 2021, $0.24 in 2022, and $0.22 in 2023.  The Technology levy is projected to collect $845,000 in the first year of collection, $870,000 in 2022, and $898,000 in 2023.

For more information about the levies, visit the WSD website:

As part of a Camas High School DECA marketing and fundraising program, several teams of students designed coffee labels and continue to sell coffee through Thursday, December 5.

The coffee bags cost $10 per bag and are roasted locally from BJ’s Coffee Roasters in Vancouver, WA

There are two offerings:

  • Primo Blend (Ground/Whole Bean) — One of their most popular blends. Smooth, mild and crisp for an excellent morning coffee. Medium Roast.
  • Espresso Blend (Whole Bean) — Their espresso blend consists of four very distinct origins. Together these coffees produce an espresso that is rich in flavor, with full body and luscious crema. Medium Roast.

Please make checks payable to Camas High School.  Students must collect money and turn it in for full order fulfillment.  There is an option to pay with the CHS online system, but your order must be paid no later than Thursday, December 5th. Click this link:

Your order will be ready for delivery (by students) or pick up at CHS Lunch Box by Friday, December 13th. 

Camas DECA
Some of the coffee labels CHS students created.

“Camas DECA is donating 60 percent of their profits ($3 per bag) to the C.A.R.O.L. program that is coordinated with the Camas Fire Department,” said Camas DECA adviser, Suzie Downs. “The program provides food and gifts to families in Camas and Washougal who are struggling to make ends meet. The other $2 profit will go to Camas DECA to help offset competition travel costs.”

If you have any questions, please contact Suzie Downs at:

The Camas DECA coffee project is part of the Marketing 1/Intro to Business curriculum to teach students about product branding and entrepreneurship. Each class is marketing and selling their own unique brand label to compete with the other three participating classes. This project helps students understand what it takes to brand a product, take it to market, sell it. They also have to deal with competition, as there are three other businesses selling coffee to their target market — you!

Camas DECA

Holiday Circle: Reflect & ReInvent is coming to Camas on Monday December 16 from 6-8 pm at Salud Wine Bar, and is an invitation for women to reinvent themselves, says event organizer, Christie Ribary, who founded 100 Women Who Care Clark County. 

“Don’t let another year ago by without being the woman you want to be, feeling empowered to actually become her, and having the plan to reinvent your life to achieve it,” says Ribary.

The Holiday Circle costs $60 and includes a glass of wine, 40-page full journal workbook, two-hour live event guided by Ribary, a one-hour live video conference on Dec 30th at 6 pm PST, and six email journal prompts from Christie focused on the themes of mindfulness, alignment and reinvention.

“If you are ending this year frustrated because you lost sight of your dreams in the ‘busyness’ of life, or your self care was non-existent, if the demands of family or friends came entirely before yours, or if overall things are ‘good’ but you want incredible in 2020, or if you feel plain stuck then you need to join us,” says Ribary. “If you daily reality aka your ‘status quo’ doesn’t align for you anymore than we want you to join our circle of disrupters — women who are intentionally planning to make big and little changes in their lives for 2020 so that they can live bigger, better, and more joyfully.”

You can register through December 13 at

“In our time together you review your life in 2019 and start planning, dreaming, and scheming for 2020,” she says. “You will be taking your life out of autopilot and REDESIGNING it exactly like you dream for it to be next year.”

Ribary insists the evening will have no judgment, and will simply be a room of supportive, caring and like-minded women who want to make positive changes in their lives. 

Holiday Circle
Christie Ribary

It was a full house Monday at Journey Community Church for the annual Downtown Camas Association (DCA) Awards night.

In attendance were local merchants, business owners, DCA board members, city council representatives, and Camas Mayor Shannon Turk.

Emceed by DCA Executive Director, Carrie Schulstad, the evening began by reviewing statistics about the growth and successes of Downtown Camas.

Schulstad reported the following:

  • A 26 percent increase in First Friday attendance over 2018. 
  • First Fridays started in 2005, became more family friendly in 2014, and have steadily increased in popularity.
  • The annual Car Show, Girls Night Out, Boo Bash, Plant and Garden Fair all helped bring people into the downtown area.  
  • The first Camas Car Show started in 2006 with 10 cars as a First Friday event.  The Car Show moved to Saturdays, and in 2019 there were 250 cars with an attendance of 5,000+.  
  • It was the 10th anniversary of Girls Night Out. 
  • Boo Bash brought in 2,500+ kids with parents.
  • New events in 2019 were Little Art Camas and Picnic in Color.
  • The DCA has 175 volunteers.
  • There were 12 Downtown Camas ribbon cuttings in 2019.

“Little Art Camas was a huge success,” said Schulstad. “Picnic in Color happens on the Sunday of Camas Days, and it brought out 250 kids. It’s helping kids to find their inner artist. We do so many events so people have a compelling reason to come to downtown more often, but we really couldn’t do what we do in downtown if we didn’t have great merchants. They bring it every single day!”

Downtown Camas
Best DT Improvement-Exterior Award: Hidden River Roasters


DCA President, Caroline Mercury also chairs the design committee, which focuses on the aesthetics and tone of Downtown Camas.

“We hear often from newcomers who say how cute Downtown Camas is,” said Mercury. “We are Mayberry with a paper mill, which we love. We fund the flower baskets through community donations. We have extended the flower baskets on 3rd and 5th. And we really want to extend the whole look of downtown.”

Vega, Salud and A Beer at a Time put the baskets on their buildings.

Mercury also highlighted these points:

  • The DCA repainted the Downtown Camas sign on 4th and Adams. 
  • The lights on the buildings are a DCA project through a grant from PUD. 
  • They replaced all the light strands with LED. 
  • The lights costs $300-$500 per building depending on the footage. 

“The lights add to the aesthetics of the downtown,” said Mercury. “It creates an ambiance when you’re downtown at night. Thank you to the building owners who participate in this. It was Ken Navidi’s idea to string up the lights.” 


Mercury reported they have a public art grant to paint a mural at the US Bank parking lot, which will be a 10 x 20 collage.

“Work will be starting soon, and we hope to have that up the first part of 2020,” said Mercury. “It’s a tribute piece to the mill.”


Here are the award recipients:

  • Best DT Improvement-Exterior: Hidden River Roasters
  • Best DT Improvement-Interior: Attic Gallery
  • Outstanding Window Display: Natalia’s Cafe
  • Creative Local Marketing: Caps N’ Taps
  • Putting Camas on Map: Grains of Wrath
  • Change is Good: Camas Gallery
  • Something New in Camas: Cedar Street Bagel Company
  • Outstanding Customer Service: Hidden River Roasters
  • Exceptional Employee: Allie Baden of Caffe Piccolo
  • Downtown Spirit Award: Erica and Wendy of Natalia’s Cafe
  • Volunteers of the Year: Amanda Whitcombe and Lee Lapp
  • Student Volunteer of the Year: Emily Curry
  • Lighting Our Community Award: Ken Navidi, Greg Goforth, Doug Quinn, Craig Schulstad, Randy Curtis

To learn more, visit

Camas, WA — Not even open six months, BurgerIM, locally owned by Chanly Va and Sang Quach, is finding their momentum making quality burgers, sides, salads, and yummy milkshakes — but they also frequently give back 10 percent of their sales to benefit local schools.

When the Camas Athletic Boosters Club approached them about doing special promotions every third Tuesday, BurgerIM Camas quickly agreed to it. Same with Union High School, whose volleyball program has benefitted by special Union High School nights.

These special night promotions require customers to mention the event. Once noted, BurgerIM will donate 10 percent of every sale to the cause.

“We’re happy to help out,” said Va. “This community has been very good to us.”

BurgerIM continues to expand their menu, experimenting with new milkshakes, and they now offer waffle options on their menu.

“The food tastes really good, and we do have good burgers, and lots of variety,” said Va. “We have so many choices: Angus, Dry-aged, Spanish beef (spicy), crispy chicken, salmon, falafel burger, lamb, and the Impossible Burger, which is plant-based. It’s not GMO.”

Grilled Chicken Salad.

“We also have gluten-free buns with lettuce options. As a customer, you can order a favorite or build your own. You don’t have to stay with a classic style. You can build whatever you like on the burger. We offer all the menu items that corporate offers. Whatever you can think of, and we have the ingredients, we can do it.”

The restaurant offers the aforementioned big burgers, and you may also order classics as duos or trios. You can match up your favorites and add your choice of toppings.

Sides include regular fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings, half and half, and styled fries with either garlic aioli, jalepenos and cheese, or bacon and cheese. 

BugerIM also cooks up a lot of chicken wings, which are available in buffalo, BBQ, and sweet crunchy garlic.

“People always say we have the biggest wings in town,” said Va. “We have really good milkshakes made from fresh milk and real incredible cream. Each are made fresh. We are not fast food, we make gourmet food fast.”

The chain opened in 2011, and the name BurgerIM means “many burgers” in Hebrew.

The restaurant is located at 155 NW 192nd Avenue, Suite 107, Camas, WA 98607. 360-952-8656. To learn more about the company, visit

Vancouver Laser Skin Care Clinic, located in the heart of Downtown Camas, is having some November specials — in time to pamper yourself before the holiday season.

Call today to schedule your complimentary consultation: 360.823.0795 

Here are the November specials:

Laser Genesis or IPL

Buy one laser genesis or IPL treatment get the second area free: Face, Neck, Chest or Hands. Laser Genesis Treatment for texture, pore size, fine lines, wrinkles, and scaring. IPL Limelight Treatment for brown spots and facial redness.

Laser Genesis or IPL.

VI Peel 

$50 off first 5 people! Come in for a free Consultation.

VI Peel.

Hair Removal Specials

Small Area $175 (for 6 sessions); Medium Area $275 (for 6 sessions); Large Area $375 (for 6 sessions).

Laser hair removal.

Botox $11 Per Unit


Experience Matters

With over 30 years of aesthetic laser and skin care experience and expertise, Master Aesthetician, Lori Keller, knows that looking and feeling confident play a big part in our well-being.

“If you like how you look, you feel more positive and content in your daily life,” says Keller. “But environmental factors such as sun exposure, and physiological factors such as genetics and aging, all can play a role in changing your outward appearance. We help restore confidence by repairing some of the damage our environment and aging can cause.”

When Vancouver Laser Skin Care Clinic (VLSCC) decided to move its offices to Downtown Camas, they brought more than 30 years of aesthetic laser and skin care experience and an array of treatments and products that rejuvenate skin and restore your youthful glow. They feel good when you look great. 

Their office at 715 NE 5th Avenue is charming, and peaceful, and is part of the history and future of Camas, a quaint and successful town that many say is a city about wellness.

“We love being part of this wonderful and historic downtown scene,” said Keller, who owns VLSCC. “And, we invite you to come see what we’re all about. — from pre-teen/adult acne sufferers to mature patients.”

VLSCC offers many services, including: IPL, Chemical Peels, Microneedling, Ultherapy, Face and Leg Vein Removal, Botox, and more!

To learn more, visit or read a previous article:

When Cassi Marshall decided to run for Camas-Washougal Port Commissioner, District 2, earlier this year, it wasn’t part of a planned career path.

She’s been employed at the Washougal School District for the past 17 years, working first in the highly capable student program, and for the past 13 years as Assistant to the Superintendent.

“To be honest, I wasn’t looking to run for a Port Commission position (a four-year term), but some trusted friends encouraged me to consider it, and I am so glad that they did,” said Marshall. “My learning curve related to ‘All Things Port’ has been pretty steep since May, but the more I learn, the more I’m convinced that it’s an incredibly good fit for me. Our Port contributes to our high quality of life in so many ways — providing space for local businesses to provide local jobs at the Industrial Park, a quality marina and airport, amazing parks and trails, and phenomenal community events.”

She’s running a competitive race to unseat incumbent CW Commissioner Bill Ward.

Why do you want to be a CW Port Commissioner?

“I have personal and professional experience with small business and development projects, so I’m eager to learn more about the Industrial Park tenants, products and services … and anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge parks/trails nerd (or maybe “advocate” is a better word), so the recreation related functions of the Port are super inspiring to me. And then there’s the Waterfront Development project! I’d be so excited to get to be part of the team that works to ensure development that complements both downtowns, is efficient and sustainable, improves public access to the water, and provides the amenities that the residents are looking for. I also love that the Port serves the entire Camas-Washougal area, since I’ve had one foot in each community for many years now, and really see the entire area functioning as one East County in so many ways.”


What role does the CW Port Commission play?

“The Commission meets twice a month, and is responsible for setting the Port’s policies, and Commissioners vote on recommendations brought to them by Port staff members. I’ve learned a great deal about the workings of a publicly-elected board from working closely for many years with the Washougal School District Board of Directors, and also from my time as an appointed member of the Camas Parks Commission. I have a true and deep appreciation of the importance of staff-commission trust and respect, and I think that I work well in such groups — I love the collaborative processes involved in group decision-making! Both WSD and Parks have also taught me how important public input, transparency, and equity are to all public agency decisions — great lessons that I’d love to be able to apply to future Port work.”

What direction is the CW Port going?

“I’m really excited about the proposed Waterfront development, which will have a huge and long-lasting impact in the community. I’d like to bring issues expressed in the community to these discussions — for instance, creating new spaces that complement both downtowns. Proper Port development is a huge boost to all of East County. I’d also like to see more focus on energy efficiency and sustainability in future Port projects, and RKm, the developer currently working with the Port, seems very supportive of such long-term efficiencies.”

Babe Ruth

“I’m also looking forward to working with the Port in the creation of new infrastructure and jobs, another really big contribution toward quality of life. Businesses at the Industrial Park already provide about 1,000 jobs, and there is room and demand for growth there. Local work means fewer people having to commute across the bridges daily, meaning less congestion for all. It also concentrates those workers’ taxes and spending dollars here in the community, which is another bump to our local economy.”

“Port taxes are a small percentage of our overall property taxes, but all of these funds collected go toward capital projects. Port staff is really savvy in obtaining matching grants, so they are able to multiply the benefits of these revenues. Plans are in the works to add another building at the Industrial Park, and historically, these spaces have been leased even before construction is completed.”

“The expansion options for Grove Field airport have been of interest in the community for some time. It’s my understanding that the full Commission and Port staff are in agreement that the Waterfront Development is the Port’s primary focus at this time. I don’t believe that there are current plans for a major expansion of the airport any time soon. That said, there are some smaller improvements, like the addition of space for a pilots’ planning office with good internet service, that I think should be a priority. The airport community contributes significant hours of volunteer service, specifically focused on the youth in our community, and I’d like to see them supported with these improvements in safety and convenience.”

Can you elaborate more about your background in public service?

“I’ve lived in Camas for 18 years, most of those in the Crown Park neighborhood. We just recently moved near Forest Home. During that time, I’ve been involved in PTA at Helen Baller, helped coach Little League teams, worked on the Festival of Trees Committee, and the Community Center Development Committee. Most recently, I’ve served on the City of Camas Parks Commission for a number of years now. It’s an appointed position, and we serve in an advisory capacity. I’m pretty active with Parks, as well as our non-profit group, Partners with Camas Parks and Recreation. As our name suggests, we work to support parks, recreation programs, and more. We’re in our third year of tackling our invasive English ivy problem through the Camas Ivy League. We have very dedicated volunteers who come out to multiple events per year, and our goal for 2019 is to remove ivy from (at least!) 2019 local trees.”

Personal Life

Cassi met her husband, Rick, at Prairie High School. After high school, they went to opposite coasts for school with Cassi earning an aeronautical engineering degree from MIT. She took a break from work when they had children, and then decided to work for the Washougal School District, which was a great fit for her family life, and incredibly rewarding work.

Her two children, Joe and Carly, now in their 20s, both attended Camas schools, Clark College and UW.