The Camas-Washougal Rotary Club is encouraging local Camas and Washougal High seniors to apply for college scholarships. Each year, the club sets aside $10,000 to award to deserving seniors, and this year’s deadline is April 28.

“Our volunteers are very generous, and always willing to help out in the community,” said Aaron Reiter, CW Rotary president. “We can award up to $10,000 in scholarships to students who will be attending technical school, or two or four years colleges and universities. All you need to do is apply, and we’ll review the application. We love doing this, and there are so many deserving students. Just go to our website, apply.”

Here’s the process:

  • Complete the online application at www.cwrotary.com/2692
  • Meet the April 28, 2019 deadline.
  • Submit recent unofficial high school transcripts.
  • Submit two letters of reference.
  • Winners will be notified on or before June 1, 2019.
  • Winners/families will be invited to an awards presentation in June.
  • Winners will participate in the Ducky Derby booth at Camas Days from July 26-28.
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Scholarships are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Financial need
  • Local community involvement
  • Education/Career aspirations
  • Academic achievement

“It’s a great opportunity,” said Reiter. “We hope to hear from many students.”

CAMAS, WA — After several years, Camas City Council is bringing back ward meetings to encourage residents to share ideas, concerns, and questions with the elected officials who represent their geographic area.

“As community and regional growth continues, the City of Camas wants to make sure that all residents keep having a voice in the issues that affect them,” said Mayor Shannon Turk. “I believe the smaller setting of local ward meetings will have a big impact on making valuable connections across Camas.”

Residents are encouraged to locate their ward by visiting the Clark County Maps Online website, clicking the Search tab and entering their street address or tax ID number.Ward meetings will occur twice this year, once in the spring and once in the fall. The first set of upcoming ward meetings will be held in April and May 2019, as follows:

  • Ward 1 – Sat., April 27, 1-3 pm, with Council Members Deanna Rusch and Melissa Smith, at Camas City Hall Council Chambers, 616 NE 4th Ave.
  • Ward 2 – Sun., May 19, 12:30-2 pm, with Council Members Bonnie Carter and Steve Hogan, at Camas City Hall Council Chambers, 616 NE 4th Ave.
  • Ward 3 – Mon., April 29, 7-8:30 pm, with Council Members Ellen Burton and Greg Anderson, at Dorothy Fox Elementary Library, 2623 NW Sierra St.

The format of the spring ward meetings will be casual to allow residents to bring their own ideas, concerns and questions for discussion with their council members as well as the Council Member at Large Don Chaney and the mayor. The format of the fall meetings will be more structured, with a set topic that is specific to the ward. Council members from other wards will attend one another’s meetings to get a sense of key themes across the community; however, they will not take part in the discussion.

“By trying out various formats, we hope to see what works best for the citizens and council/mayor to communicate on ideas and issues,” said Turk.

Starting in 2013, the annual September State of the Community event was launched to replace ward meetings, which ceased in 2011 due to decreased attendance. The event is held each September and features presentations by the mayor, Camas School District superintendent and other local leaders such as the Port of Camas-Washougal director. The event is expected to remain part of the City’s public outreach continuum.

The decision to reinstate ward meetings was inspired by the success of recent town hall meeting with state legislators.

About City of Camas

Located in eastern Clark County, City of Camas is home to approximately 23,000 residents. Camas boasts a vibrant historic downtown, approximately 60 miles of trails, numerous hi-tech manufacturing industries, and a state-leading educational system. From its origins over 100 years ago as a paper mill town, Camas continues to successfully blend a mix of cultures, values, and vision. For more information, visit www.cityofcamas.us

Lifetime Promotions, the region’s Dippin’ Dots distributor, is pleased to announce they’re managing the snack bar at Harmony Sports Complex as part of a multi-year agreement with the Washington Timbers Football Club.

“One of our goals is to raise $20,000 for the Washington Timbers,” said Dennis Beffehr, the owner/operator of Lifetime Promotions. “The snack bar will proudly serve Dippin’ Dots and a whole lot more. We’ve been working on the menu, and want to provide good service to all the athletes, and all their family and friends.”

Their big opening is this Saturday, April 20, and the snack bar will open at 7 am every Saturday and stay open until the last game — all throughout the summer season. And, they’ll proudly be serving Hidden River Roasters coffee, which is based in Camas.

“Dennis and the Timbers already have a nice partnership with his ice cream entity and his donations to the club, and we thought it would it great to continue that relationship long-term and give them a permanent location,” said Michelle Beard, Soccer Operations Manager for the Timbers. “The money they will raise will go toward our scholarship program to help those in need to play soccer. I would encourage families to check it out, and know that it’s part of the Washington Timbers program. There will be more options. Money spent there is a direct benefit to the club.”

Washington Timbers FC serves thousands of youth throughout Clark County with their numerous athletic programs and events. To learn more, visit www.WashingtonTimbers.com

Menu items:

Lifetime Promotions
Snack Bar Menu.
Concessions
Lifetime Promotions will be managing the concessions stand at Harmony Sports Complex.

As Camas School District (CSD) grapples with an $8.2 million budget deficit, the School Board listened to a budget committee update Monday night that outlined nine major considerations to resolve the challenging financial issues.

Mike True and Mary Tipton, who volunteer on Superintendent Jeff Snell’s special budget committee, explained in detail the methodologies used to analyze the thorny issues in front of them, as well as their commitment to finding the best possible solutions.

The special budget committee was formed to take a deep dive into how CSD spends its money, find ways to reduce expenses, and ultimately provide Snell with overall considerations on how to balance the budget, which was thrown into chaos following “McCleary” legislation, legislative fixes, loss of voter-approved levies, and collective bargaining agreements. Approximately 225 of the state’s 295 districts are dealing with similar budget deficits.

School board member Connie Hennessey said that although the process is painful, she also sees this as an opportunity to shine light on inefficiencies throughout CSD. Seventeen community members, from various and diverse backgrounds, are on the committee who meet regularly to find solutions. The urgency of their work is in part because the current bargaining agreement stipulates certificated staff must receive layoff notices by May 15.

“We’re dealing with extraordinary circumstances and I appreciate everyone on this committee,” said True. “This isn’t easy work, but we don’t want to bury our heads, this is our community, and we want you to know our desire is to preserve as many programs as possible — we don’t want to cut programs entirely as they will be hard to bring back.”

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He also emphasized this is a year-to-year approach, as CSD doesn’t know how future legislation could change the funding model.

True addressed the first four points, which are as follows:

1) Use of Fund Balance:
a. Using fund balance allows CSD to address the budget gap over two years.
b. Access fund balance in year 1 (2019-20) at a reasonable level, but could potentially lead to additional reductions in 2020-21.
c. The committee believes it’s important to maintain the fund balance at 5 percent of the annual operating budget. This allows for emergencies and 2-4 weeks of continued operations in the event the state doesn’t provide funding in a timely manner.
d. Future justified uses of fund balance may include preservation of programs, additional of staff to reduce overload, where justified and appropriate, and short-term opportunities where there is a known strategy to refund.
e. Future uses reducing unrestricted fund balance levels below 5 percent are not recommended for addition of programs, addition of staff, or compensation increases for existing positions.

2) Advocate for legislation that provides sustainable district funding.

3) Work towards preservation of CSD program opportunities for students during the funding model transition, which includes the following:
a. Avoid cutting entire programs.
b. Establish program evaluation metrics for future analysis of impact and efficiency.
c. Pursue opportunities to enhance program support funding from PTA/CEF/Boosters and other supporting organizations and initiatives.

4) Preserve student access to counselors.

Budget Deficit
School board members listen to budget committee members Monday night.

Tipton addresses points five to nine, which are as follows:
5) Close staffing alignment to the state prototypical school funding model while preserving the goals of CSD. Reduce teacher on special assignment staff to a minimum level that keeps support for target district initiatives.
a. Protect class size — contractual class size target
Elementary: 24
Middle School: 30
High School: 31
b. Manage staffing to avoid increased overload, as defined in collective bargaining agreement.

6) Maintain appropriate security levels and protocols.

7) Reduce non-staff expenses: 7.5 percent reduction goal.

8) When pursuing capital projects, continue to consider the impact on operating expenditures.

9) As future funding becomes available, consider the following:
a. Prioritize service levels to our students, community and staff.
b. Prioritize program and extracurricular funding for students.
c. Growth of fund balance to appropriate levels.

“This is our report about our guidance to Jeff, who will be finalizing his recommendations to the board in the next few weeks,” said Tipton. “We’ve had a board member at every budget committee meeting, for which we are grateful.”

True said the committee members all come from different places and levels of understanding.

“I’ll go on the record and say that Mary and I have made a three-year commitment to be a part of this,” said True. “As processes move on, we’ll continue to look at fund balance and uses within that fund balance. It’s not an enjoyable process. There will be reductions.”

School Board member, Corey McEnry, said: “We’re thankful for so many stakeholders as we wrap our heads around this.”

Budget committee members present in the meeting acknowledged the challenges they face with making the considerations. “It’s really hard to understand,” said one member.

The School Board voted unanimously in favor of Resolution 12-03, which is a Modified Educational Program that authorizes Snell to move forward with a budget model.

Snell said he will continue to work with legislators advocating for better funding, and that CDS staff will work through the budget committee’s considerations to draft staffing models for the upcoming school year.

Camas, WA, —On Sunday, April 28th from 1-4pm, Downtown Camas will have a “spring cleaning” with weeding, litter pick up and flower planting. The Downtown Camas Association (DCA) invites community members to come share in this annual grass roots effort. Journey Community Church in downtown invites the volunteers to come early at 12:30pm for a grilled burger and hot dog lunch served by Journey volunteers.

In honor of Earth Day, which was started by Camas native Denis Hayes, the Downtown Camas Association, volunteers, local students, Journey Church, City of Camas staff, and other community members will be helping with:

•  Sidewalk and landscape bed clean-up

•  Weeding

•  Planting flowers and plants

•  Bark dust spreading

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Volunteers meet in front of Journey at 4th & Birch (304 NE 4thto sign in. Journey will be serving lunch to volunteers starting at 12:30pm. All ages welcome to volunteer. Bring your own shovels, spades, buckets, wheelbarrows and garden gloves. Wheelbarrows are especially needed. Garbage bags and rubber gloves are provided for litter pick up. 

“We love to see the transformation of our town within just a few hours,” says Carrie Schulstad, DCA Executive Director. “Everyone comes together in a grass roots way, has fun and gets to see what a difference they make in the aesthetic and charm of our downtown. All ages can participate. Thank you to the City of Camas for all your help, to Journey Church for providing lunch and to all the wonderful volunteers that come rain or shine to beautify the town we love.”

The downtown improvements are done just in time to make downtown shine for the Annual Camas Plant & Garden Fair in Downtown Camas on Saturday, May 11th.

At the Camas City Council workshop meeting Monday night, the council unanimously gave direction to city staff to prepare a general obligation bond this November to fund the construction of a new aquatics center.

The news is a major breakthrough in the years-long battle to build a new aquatics center to accommodate the growing demands of all competitive and recreational swimmers, as well as address learn-to-swim and health-related programs.

“We gave staff direction to look at the Buhman property, which is adjacent to Fallen Leaf Lake, across from Heritage Park,” said Camas Mayor, Shannon Turk. “The land, which is just over six acres, is already owned by the City of Camas, and Camas residents have made it very clear they want a new pool. I feel this is a positive step forward.”

Monday’s motion gives staff direction to prepare a general obligation bond that will be presented to voters on the November ballot. The general obligation bond would fund the construction of the new aquatics center.

“Council will look at other sites in Camas, as well, and to look at getting a general obligation bond, which is putting a vote to the people on whether they would be willing to pay for a new pool,” said Turk.

Aquatics Center
Archived plans for a pool site near Fall Leaf Lake.

Over the past several months, Camas has been meeting with Washougal to build a community center that has a pool, and Turk said it was time to change the direction.

“Although we’re not saying no to a partnership with Washougal, we feel it’s in our best interest to go forward without them,” said Turk. “The meetings with Washougal weren’t moving this forward.”

City Council member, Melissa Smith, agreed.

“The bond amount hasn’t been determined, and this directs staff to look at property and put in a phased approach,” said Smith. “Timing is in November, and we would have to know the bond amount by August 6.”

Smith added there is potential to buy surrounding parcels, but that’s very preliminary.

“We could accommodate the needs for a 50,000 square foot pool facility,” said Smith. “If we went further and wanted to add more, there would be potential for that.”

Turk said this general obligation bond would be offset by the retiring of the Camas Public Library general obligation bond, which happens in 2019. “This bond would be offsetting,” she said.

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Smith said the city staff will also exhaust every possible site, and that preparing this for the November ballot is a super tight timeframe, but doable.

“We have to take advantage of the momentum,” said City Council member, Don Chaney. “Shannon embraces this. We have a chance to do it. If the people say no, they say no. The challenge will be to make the timeline. The community will see that we heard them.”

The city has made numerous failed attempts to build a new aquatics center over the years, but Turk is determined.

“We’re not going to fail anymore,” said Turk.

Chaney said this location is optimum.

“People talk about location,” said Chaney. “I have a different view, it has to be a destination. It’s like Crown Park, and a competitive pool will bring money to downtown. This plan has full council support. We are re-engineering the intersection there, and that will be a big improvement. It was a great meeting today. Everyone should be happy with that meeting.”

Aquatics Center
A pool concept used in Camas pool planning.

Camas has been feeling the effects of losing access to aquatic centers over the past two years. First, the Crown Park Pool was closed, and then Camas High School swim teams were no longer allowed to use the Lacamas Athletic Club’s pool.

“It’s been a real challenge,” said Dave Peddie, a part of the 2018 State Champion Camas High School Boys Swim team. “Losing our home pool hurt us.”

Local residents have also been dismayed at losing the Crown Park Pool, feeling like their children are missing out on great summertime experiences, as well as the loss of valuable swimming lessons.

“This is great news,” said Darlene Lumbard, Head Coach of Columbia River Swim Team. “This is a chance to build a pool for everyone. We can all come together with a good design to reach all the things our community needs. A center encompasses all kinds of things with a competitive pool. Building the right aquatics center will have everything from competitive to therapeutic. It should have all the necessary programming.

“A well-run aquatics center has a private team, a high school team, recreation, learn to swim, scuba, kayak training, water therapy, silver sneakers. I would prefer a deep end because you can do so much more with a deep end. You can do synchro, diving, and water polo. This is a great opportunity to build the right pool. There’s no diving in the community, and there are a lot of gymnasts here. The deep end should go into a five foot, and then maybe with an L to it, where you have your learn-to-swim pool. You can put in your therapeutic work there, as well. This is so exciting!”

The next article will look at aquatics center design options and what they can do for a community.

Gallery: Examples of Aquatics Centers

Washougal, WA — Dr. Mary Templeton, Washougal School District (WSD) Superintendent, was recently selected a 2018-19 “Superintendent to Watch” by the National Schools Public Relations Association.  She will be recognized this summer at the 2019 NSPRA Seminar in Washington D.C. with the 14 other honorees from around the nation.

The award recognizes district leaders with less than five years of experience as a superintendent who exemplify dynamic, fast-paced leadership with strong communication at its core.  Templeton was hired in Washougal in July of 2018 and is a first-time superintendent. She previously worked as a teacher for 15 years and an administrator in Spokane for the last 11.

“Communication is critical for letting our stakeholders know about the great things that are happening in our schools,” said Templeton. “It is exciting to help Washougal rise to become one of the top performers in the state of Washington.”

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the transformational leadership, community engagement, and relationship building Mary is engaged in,” said Cory Chase, WSD Board President, in a letter of recommendation sent in support of Templeton’s nomination.  “She has demonstrated dynamic leadership, fast-paced decision making, and shown the value of strong communications in the district’s efforts. I’m proud of our district and am certain that Mary is on the right track to help us achieve great things.”

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In his letter he went on to site examples of Templeton’s efforts including her connections with civic groups, parents and staff, her work to lead development of a new strategic plan, and her communications efforts during and at the conclusion of bargaining with the local teacher union.

“As one of several new superintendents in the region this year, Mary quickly became a highly respected leader among her peers,” said Tim Merlino, Superintendent Educational Service District 112 in his letter of
recommendation. “Her knowledge and passion for education, coupled with a dynamic energy and warmth, has made her one of the ‘go-to’ superintendents in Southwest Washington.”

He went on to point out that Templeton’s style of “leading through listening” is a quality greatly admired by the more than 400 WSD employees she guides.

“Mary effectively utilizes all communication strategies, both new technologies and traditional vehicles, to reach her audiences,” he said. “While her involvement in big-picture state-level education issues is admirable, she also takes time to visit one-on-one with a variety of stakeholders. She has made it her number one priority to get to know staff, parents and community members through conversations and in informal settings. She is always present in schools, hallways, classrooms, and athletic and performing arts events.”

“Our future is bright in Washougal,” said Templeton.  “And with a continued focus on communication, we will make sure the community is involved with us as we exceed our own expectations and aspire toward excellence.”

CAMAS, WA — A 19-year-old Vancouver man died in a motorcycle accident on Friday night, according to Camas police.

The Camas police and Camas-Washougal Fire Department responded to the 700 block of NW Lake Road shortly after 7:30 p.m., and the victim was found dead at the scene. There were no other vehicles involved in the crash, which is under investigation.

Speed appears to be a factor in the motorcycle accident, police said, and the name of the man is being withheld until family has been notified.

Northwest Lake Rd. between Lacamas Lane and Lacamas Drive was closed due to the investigation.

This story will be updated as more information is released.

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Washougal, WA – The Two Rivers Heritage Museum reopened their doors March 1 to welcome visitors after their annual four-month closure for maintenance and display enhancements.  

“Winter is always a busy time for us,” said Camas-Washougal Historical Society President, Jim Cobb.  “Even though the museum is closed for guests, we have a lot cleaning, repairing and reorganizing to do to keep it looking good and our exhibits fresh.” 

In addition to new displays, a more modern security system was installed and additional space in the basement was organized for accessioning and curator work. 

One of the new exhibits is called “OH, Teddy!” and as might be expected, features Teddy bears. 

“While inventorying we found that we have lots and lots of dolls and Teddy bears,” said Karen Johnson, accessions volunteer and Oh Teddy curator. 

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Most of the collection came from the estate of Barbara Heriford, a local collector who had visions of opening a doll shop before she passed away.

“We decided it would be fun to replace the old toy exhibit and bring out these bears that had been packed away for so many years,” said Johnson. “All we had was a list, so we went to work locating them all.  It was a matter of pawing through boxes to find what we had.  It was actually pretty fun. You’d open a box and say, ’Oh, look what I found!’ Each box you opened it was like ‘oh look, oh look, oh look!’  The bears are all so different and cute.”

The process then took more than a month to decide which bears to display and figure out how best to show them. “We have so many bears we could not just line them up in a row,” said Johnson.  “I did research online to see how other Teddy bear exhibits were set up. I saw an exhibit from Japan which is the inspiration for the tight packed bears in the glass case we have now.” 

Since the bears were mostly from a collection, there was not a lot of story behind each of them.  So, Johnson decided to tell the story of the how stuffed toy bears became known as Teddy Bears.

“It is quite an interesting story,” Johnson teased. “It all started with a bear hunting trip President Theodore Roosevelt took in 1902. That is all I’ll say.  I’d like to invite visitors to come in to learn the rest!”

To help explain the Teddy bear story, Sunni Lambert, a 4th grade student at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary, was recorded telling its history so it could be played back for guests at a push of a button.  “Sunni did a great job and her recorded sweet voice telling this story helps to bring the exhibit to life,” Johnson said.

Another new display “Toys That Teach,” is a thoughtful and fun look at toys through the past that educated through play.  “It is an interesting display and we think it will engage conversation,” Johnson said. Retired contractor and teacher, Walt Eby, curated the exhibit.

Museum
Teddy Bears!

“Window to Our Past” is also new this year. Curated and created by Ivar Godtilbsen, the museum’s new computer network and support administrator features old pictures and QR codes. “It’s a new way of engaging our visitors,” explained Johnson.  “They can use their smart phones with a QR code App to learn intriguing stories behind some interesting pictures from our photo collection.”

The Two Rivers Heritage Museum is located at 1 Durgan Street in Washougal and open March through October.  Regular hours are Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Admission costs are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $2 for students and free for children under 5 and all CWHS members.  Group tours are available any day of the week (by appointment only).  Call 360-835-8742 for scheduling. 

Once again, to celebrate spring break, students may visit the museum for free April 4-6.  They must be accompanied by an adult.

CWHS representatives will be at the April First Friday, on April 5, in downtown Camas in the lobby of Journey Church.  They will have interesting local artifacts and information about the work progressing on the Gathering Place at Washuxwal project. 

“Our community has so much to be proud of in this museum,” Cobb said.  “We hope local folks who have not had a chance to see the museum will stop in and look around at all we have to offer.”

CWHS is always looking for volunteers and new members to join and help support the preservation of local history. More information about the CWHS and the Two Rivers Heritage Museum can be found on their website at www.2rhm.com.

Following on the two town halls they held earlier this month in Yacolt and La Center, the three members of the 18th District’s legislative team will hold another town hall at the Port of Camas-Washougal on Saturday, March 16.

It’ll be the sixth town hall meeting of 2019 for Sen. Ann RiversRep. Brandon Vick andRep. Larry Hoff.

The town hall time and location on the 16th is:

12:30-2 p.m. – Port of Camas-Washougal, 24 S A St, Washougal, WA 98671

Rivers, Vick and Hoff will provide an update on the 2019 session and then take questions from attendees.

Freshman Rep. Larry Hoff has been busy learning the ropes as one of the newest lawmakers, and his bill to create a short form death certificate in Washington state has been unanimously approved by the state House.

Substitute House Bill 1799 would allow state and local registrars to issue a short form death certificate that does not list a decedent’s Social Security number, the names of their parents, or information about the cause and manner of their death. Those who would be able to request a short form include:

  • Specified family members, guardians and representatives;
  • Funeral directors or establishments;
  • A title insurer or title insurance agent handling a transaction involving property in which the decedent held a right, title or interest; and
  • A person who demonstrates that the certified copy is necessary for a determination related to the death, or for the protection of a personal or property right related to the death.
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Contact Your Lawmakers

Residents seeking more information may contact any of the legislators’ offices:

Sen. Ann Rivers
Email: Ann.Rivers@leg.wa.gov | Phone: (360) 786-7634

Rep. Brandon Vick
Email: Brandon.Vick@leg.wa.gov | Phone: (360) 786-7850

Rep. Larry Hoff
Email: Larry.Hoff@leg.wa.gov | Phone: (360) 786-7812