Camas, WA – Varo Interior Design just announced that the Motor Yacht Chasseur has won best power yacht in the 40m to 65m category by the International Superyacht Society.

The M/Y Chasseur was built by local Vancouver, WA based Christensen Shipyards and designed by Tonya Lance of Varo Interior Design, a Camas company. Chasseur was also the recipient of a ‘Special Achievement’ award at the at the Showboats Design Awards earlier this year.

“When we started the process, I met with the owner to see his vision, and learned he loves the modern design,” said Lance. “I got his reaction to every sample, which included fabrics, carpets, wood, and stone. I brought as many materials as I could for him to view, and then started to build pallets for each room. We selected every piece of wood and stone, and every door is custom.”

Lance said most communications with the owner were by email, but that major presentations were made at Christensen Shipyards, which is located right on the Columbia River. The project took 36 months to complete.

The yacht’s interior really is the pinnacle of refined luxury. Each detail was mindfully designed to pleasure the most selective connoisseur. Milk glazed figured Sycamore walls filled with an abundance of impressive windows graciously surround Chasseur’s light, modern, elegant interior. Her classic teak interior flooring is beautifully accented with holly inlays and adorned with plush silk area rugs. Each piece of furniture is customized to offer the highest level of comfort and performance.

Her handcrafted Santos Rosewood casegoods are embellished with elements of polished stainless steel and shagreen. Chassuer’s main stairwell is a sculptural work of art showcasing glass and woven leather walls with floating glass treads. Her six luxurious staterooms with en suite bathrooms comfortably accommodate 12 guests. Each stateroom is equipped with autonomous control of an extensive movie and music library, U.S., Caribbean and European satellite television, iPad interface, and the fastest internet speeds available. Every guest bathroom aboard the vessel is clad in exotic onyx stones sourced from the finest quarries around the world. The interior and exterior bar surfaces are composed of backlit crystal agate and mirrored glass. The outdoor living areas provide abundant opportunities for dining, entertaining and basking in the sun. The Sun Deck arrangement features a full height bar, large Jacuzzi tub and lavish lounge areas. The bridge deck will offer two alfresco dining arrangements as well as a chic open air lounge area. The main aft deck provides a lavish seating arrangement and a full height service bar area. All exterior decks will be fully equipped with ample room designated for a helipad and toys.

“The yacht has a natural progression from the outside to the inside,” said Lance. “There’s no tinting on the windows, which keeps it in harmony with nature.”

The yacht is owned by a U.S. resident, but will be docked in the Mediterranean, and is currently en route to France.

M/Y Chasseur is 160 feet long, has a range of 4,000+ nautical miles, and has a maximum speed of 16 knots.  It is powered by two CAT 3512C series engines with a C-rating 1650 HP at 1800 RPM maximum continuous rating.


Chasseur Sky Lounge.

About Varo Interior Design

Varo Interior Design was started in 2007 in Vancouver, WA by Lance. Varo Interior Design’s mission is to gracefully design, plan and manage optimal environments through inspired collaboration and interactive process. Varo Interior Design takes a client-driven approach to every project.

“We are guided by integrity to create designs that will last and be loved,” said Lance. “We accomplish this by carefully detailing interiors in ways that encourage the highest levels of flexibility, durability, performance and appreciation. Our designs capture the spirit and vitality of the surrounding context, focusing on the integration of the project goals with the heritage of the built and natural environment.”

She said from client to client the context may vary, but they always produce designs inspired by the surroundings and reflect the uniqueness of each individual situation. Their inherent nature is to be creative and artistic problem solvers, and believe that only through a collaborative process can excellent design be achieved. To that end they are open and inclusive, welcoming inspiration from all. They also like to challenge the status quo.

About Tonya Lance

With over 17 years of professional experience, Lance is eager to help clients achieve optimal comfort and visual harmony. Tonya is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with a wide range of clientele. She is noted for achieving high echelons of design within any budget. Tonya continually strives to develop strong working relationships to foster open communication and overall clarity. She is continually developing and in search of innovative design solutions. Her formal education includes a Bachelors of Art in Interior Architecture for Marylhurst University as well as a Certificate in Architectural Project Management from Portland State University.

To learn more, visit


John, Oliver, and Tonya Lance, of Camas. Photo by Jennifer Barnes.

About Christensen Shipyards

Christensen Shipyards was founded in 1983 in Vancouver, Washington by Dave Christensen, and builds state of the art yachts of 120’ and more for discerning clients who recognize Christensen’s global reputation. Christensen Shipyards has been a staple in the yachting community and the Pacific Northwest for over 30 years. The shipyard encompasses over 300,000 sq. ft. of climate controlled manufacturing space and employs over 100 craftspeople. State of the Art facilities and modern manufacturing techniques enable Christensen to adhere to high manufacturing standards and build yachts of unsurpassed quality and beauty.

To learn more, visit

Yacht Image Gallery

All photos by Jeff Brown.

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Join the fun this Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) in downtown Thanksgiving. In celebration of shopping locally, many downtown Camas  merchants will each have a little box of coupons, special gifts, and other surprises for you to draw from.

The event goes from 10 am to 6 pm on November 24.

It’s their way of giving you a little something extra for supporting local businesses.

You will also receive a free raffle ticket in each location and an extra ticket with any purchase to be entered to win a gorgeous holiday merchant basket.

If you spent $100 in downtown on Little Box Friday, you will receive two free regular movie tickets from the Liberty Theatre. You will need to turn in receipts to the theatre on November 24 by 8 pm. The free tickets are good for any regular show through December 31 — one set per person.

It’s a great way to kick off your Christmas shopping.

Participating merchants:

  • 4Ever Growing Kids
  • Allure Boutique
  • Arktana Shoes
  • Attic Gallery
  • Caffe Piccolo
  • Cake Happy
  • Camas Antiques
  • Camas Beauty Bar & Boutique
  • Caps N’ Taps
  • Lizzabeth A
  • Navidi’s Olive Oils and Vinegars
  • Salon Magnolia
  • Salud Wine Bar – Event Center – Wine Storage
  • The Soap Chest
  • The Wild Hair Camas

To learn more, visit

RIDGEFIELD, Wash. – ilani, a premier gaming and entertainment destination in Southwest Washington, has garnered two dozen awards since opening this past April. Developed by Salishan-Mohegan LLC in collaboration with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, ilani has attracted gaming aficionados from all along the I-5 corridor and is poised to continue its streak of good luck. With a new event center slated to open in 2018, the destination will enhance its offerings with a state-of-the-art facility for hosting meetings, conventions and some of the best entertainment in the Pacific Northwest.

“Open for less than seven months, ilani has clearly made an indelible impression on the local community and our guests,” said Kara Fox-LaRose, president and general manager of ilani. “We are honored to be counted among the best casinos in the region, and we are excited about our evolving offerings.”

ilani’s premier 100,000-square-foot gaming floor has something for everyone. More than 2,500 slot machines and 75 table games include favorites like blackjack, roulette, midi baccarat, craps and pai gow poker. ilani dealers and staff are ready and willing to offer advice and guidance for new players, and the excitement of slots doesn’t end after a trip to ilani: online casino games are available via ilani’s Play4Fun Casino site.

Strictly Slots Magazine Awards and Feature

As the winner of 13 awards in the Native Northwest category from Strictly Slots Magazine, ilani will be featured in the edition published today. The reader’s choice awards are the result of national voting from April to July, with ballots cast by mail or online. ilani received eight first-place wins, including:

  • Best Overall Casino
  • Best Reel Slots
  • Best Nickel Slots
  • Best Dollar Slots
  • Casino Where You Feel Luckiest
  • Best Slot Club, Momentum
  • Best Players Club Lounge
  • Friendliest Casino

Second-place wins for ilani included Best Video Slots, Best 50-cent Slots and Best $5+ Slots. ilani came in third for Best Video Poker and Best Comps. Additionally, the editorial staff of Strictly Slots Magazine named ilani their favorite casino in the region, granting the Editor’s Choice Award for the Northwest.


“We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll…” Starship featuring Mickey Thomas comes to Muze for a free show on Saturday, November 25.

Casino Player Best of Gaming Edition Awards

Ilani recently took home 10 awards from Casino Player Magazine’s Best of Gaming edition published in September. The casino nabbed numerous 2017 Native Northwest Honors, including four first-place wins:

  • Best Casino
  • Best Players Club, Momentum
  • Best Comps
  • Best Video Poker

Second-place finishes with Casino Player Magazine included Best Hosts, Best Reel Slots and Casino Where You Feel The Luckiest. ilani ended up third in the categories of Best Promotions, Best Dealers and Best Roulette.

Finally, Casino Player Magazine’s awards come on the heels of another big win in July’s Best Bets edition. ilani was named among Best Bets: Casino Player’s Expert Picks.

About ilani 
Located on a 156-acre site in Clark County, Washington, ilani, developed by the Cowlitz Tribe and Salishan-Mohegan, a partnership that includes Mohegan Sun, one of the world’s foremost gaming and entertainment developers and operators, is the West Coast’s premier gaming, dining, entertainment and meeting destination. With 368,000 total square feet, ilani includes 100,000-square-feet of gaming space with 2,500 slots and 75 gaming tables; 15 restaurants, bars and retail outlets; and a 2,500-seat meeting and entertainment venue hosting nationally recognized performances. For more information, visit and follow ilani on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

On Thursday, Fuel Medical, a locally-owned and operated company, met at the Camas Fire station on Parker Avenue and did their part in making a child’s Christmas wish come true.

The company purchased, assembled and then donated 13 bikes to the CAROL program, which is a 50-year Camas/Washougal giving program that helps out needy families at Christmastime.
“It’s part team-building, part giving back to the community,” said Stewart Lyon, Fuel Medical’s Marketing Director. “Our entire team is here assembling bikes and we’re having a lot of fun doing it.”
The CAROL program, which is run by the Camas Fire Department receives, organizes, and distributes food, toys and other items to needy families in the Camas and Washougal communities. It’s a long-standing tradition that will help 175 families in the coming days.
Camas Mayor Scott Higgins said Fuel Medical came to him, inquiring about local needs.
“It was great to get the call,” said Higgins. “So, I pointed them to CAROL, and here we all are. It’s a great feeling. It’s a great program and it goes straight to Camas and Washougal families. It helps our people right here, and we’re excited Fuel is partnering with us on this program.”
Fuel co-founders Brendan Ford and Shawn Parker assembled a child’s bike together, with Ford blind-folded while receiving verbal instructions from Parker. The build was successful.
Fuel staff worked in teams to assemble the 13 bikes, which will be distributed to families in the coming days.
Alicia Ramsey, of the Camas Fire Department, was on-hand and was grateful for the support.

“We’re thankful for Fuel Medical, for the purchase and donation of these bikes,” she added. “It’s great to have the help.”

Ramsey said their next task was organizing the delivery boxes in preparation for this weekend.

“This is our first year participating – we’re very excited,” said Parker.
Ford was appreciative that the Camas FD allowed them to use this space to build the bikes.
“It’s been a great experience for our team and we’re happy to help,” Ford said.
  Fuel Medical
Fuel Medical team members complete a bike on Thursday.














Fuel Medical
Fuel Medical finished their bike assemblies Thursday morning and donated the bikes to the CAROL program.

Some facts about United States manufacturing:
  • Manufacturing in the United States produces $1.8 trillion of value each year, or 12.2 percent of U.S. GDP. For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.48 is added to the economy, the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector.1
  • The industry supports an estimated 17.2 million jobs in the United States—about one in six private-sector jobs. Nearly 12 million Americans (or 9 percent of the workforce) are employed directly in manufacturing.2
  • In 2011, the average manufacturing worker in the United States earned $77,060 annually, including pay and benefits. The average worker in all industries earned $60,168.3
  • Manufacturers in the United States are the most productive in the world, far surpassing the worker productivity of any other major manufacturing economy, leading to higher wages and living standards.4
  • Manufacturers in the United States perform two-thirds of all private-sector R&D in the nation, driving more innovation than any other sector.5
  • Taken alone, manufacturing in the United States would be the 10th largest economy in the world.6
  1. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Industry Economic Accounts (2011).
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012), with estimate of total employment supported by manufacturing calculated by NAM using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis(2011).
  3. Bureau of Economic Analysis (2011).
  4. NAM calculations based on data from the United Nations, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the International Labour Organization.
  5. National Science Foundation (2008).
  6. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Industry Economic Accounts (2011) and International Monetary Fund (2011).

Snowbird Joe Pleckinger has taken recycling to another level.

An avid baseball fan, Pleckinger turns broken, worn out professional bats into handy must-have household items and gadgets that catch your eye. You’ll never know which major leaguer crushed it to the fences when you salt your fries, flip your burger, or cut your pizza.

Pleckinger’s shop in Arizona has become his center of innovation, as he turns bat handles into a putting iron grip, a unique spatula, or pen holder. His latest is a towel rack that is a must-have for anyone who loves baseball.

Repurposing these Louisville sluggers has become a passion for Pleckinger, who along with his wife, Carole, spends the harsh Northwest winter months in sunny, warm Arizona. That’s where he has his shop, and that’s where he’s built relationships with professional baseball teams who travel to the land of sun for Spring Training.

He’s friends with staff and players on two professional teams — the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals, and he manages to collect their broken, worn out bats destined for the trash heap.

“I do this for fun,” says Pleckinger, who spends the late spring and summer months in Vancouver/Camas, where he enjoys watching his grandsons, Jake and Zach Blair, play baseball.

“It’s a hobby,” he said. “I just love creating these handy gadgets for people. I’m told how much people love to have these in their homes, so I just keep making more.”

Grandpa Joe, as some call him, continues to expand his line. He recently installed a towel rack in the Camas Little League Snack Shack, and now has a walking cane in his product line. The salt and pepper shakers, though, are fun conversation starters.

“People love the salt and pepper shakers,” said Pleckinger. “And you never know which major league baseball player swing these bats. It’s all about having a good time.”

And for those who are interested in seeing Pleckinger’s products, or would like to hear a good baseball story, are welcome to call him. He can be reached at 623-792-8740 or 360-892-8740.

You’re bound to have a good time. Play ball!


Photo by Kris Blair.

By Seth Sjostrom

Today’s economy is tough. That’s no secret. We all find ways to cinch the purse strings and do more with less. But are we doing the most with the dollars that we spend within our communities? One local organization has been created to answer that question.

Buy Vancouver is a collective of small, independent businesses that strives to educate the buying public that where and how they spend their dollars impacts their very community and local economy. The group’s premise is three-fold: locally-owned, independent businesses contribute to the unique character of the community; for every $100 spent, $45 spent with a local business remains in the community versus $15 spent at a chain; local, independent businesses create higher-paying jobs.

Mary Sisson, owner of Vancouver-based Kazoodles toy store and founder of Buy Vancouver firmly believes in the organization’s stance, “I have been promoting ‘shop local’ since we opened in 2006.” Mary developed great depth of experience in cultivating independent businesses through editing the ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailing Association) national newsletter.  Pulling together similarly minded business owners like Paper Tiger Coffee Roaster’s Kenny and Sue Fletcher and Vintage Books’ Becky Millner, Buy Vancouver was born.

“Our goal is to raise awareness among local buyers that where they shop makes a difference in their community,” Mary states. Many buyers prefer to buy American when they have the choice; in fact, they are often open to paying a premium for to do so. The same goes for supporting local shop owners, but buyers have to be aware of their options.

Early manifestations include a group effort in a coupon exchange where several businesses hand out the coupons of other local businesses. To further make connections in the minds of Vancouver shoppers, 21 businesses took part in a “Where’s Waldo” scavenger hunt. Each participating store had a hidden Waldo that children and families could seek out in celebration of Where’s Waldo’s 25thanniversary.  Those who submitted entries with a least 16 Waldos found were eligible for a drawing where the winner would receive the complete collection of the famous seek and find books. While not technically a Buy Vancouver event, it represented what the group of businesses could accomplish together.

Buy Vancouver has begun to take shape with fifteen official current members, with more adding on each week. Any Vancouver business that is locally owned, independent to the point where “they could change their name if they wanted to without running it up the corporate chain”, and is not publicly traded is eligible for membership.  A mere $25 fee used to cover marketing costs is the only dues demanded.

Buy Vancouver is looking towards the near term future, sponsoring a booth at Vancouver’s Peace and Justice Fair, September 8th. The booth represents their first public forum to espouse their call buy local message. Kenny Fletcher is impressed with the collaborative effort of the businesses involved so far, “Some groups can tend to be a bit passive. All of the members of Buy Vancouver are very active in the organization, each of us taking on a needed area. Even at the Peace and Justice booth, we are all ready to be involved. We will be bringing coffee for the booth’s staffers, at the very least.”

Beyond the Peace and Justice Fair, the group is in full growth mode, feeling membership is ready to explode as their early efforts are recognized. Putting together a comprehensive list of local independent businesses with a corresponding guide is on the docket for the immediate future as is increasing their presence in the community. A pair of related goals includes supporting calls for tax fairness for online merchants and for manufacturers to enforce minimum pricing – both things issues negatively impacting local independent businesses.

As you are wandering around Vancouver or in town for a shopping trip, take note of the circulating salmon sign in the window of local merchants denoting they are an independent purveyor and member of Buy Vancouver. As Vancouver’s neighbors struggle with the same challenges, there are surely lessons to be gleamed from banding together to support local independent businesses, the building blocks of the American dream.

About the contributor: Seth Sjostrom is a local resident and author. His thriller Blood in the Snow, is currently available and Seth releases his holiday title Finding Christmas in September. For more information on Seth or his books, visit

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