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Camas, WA — The City of Camas will host a virtual Town Hall, June 14, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The meeting will take place via the Zoom platform, like the current City Council meeting setup.  Residents can log on using the following link  https://zoom.us/j/94538163839  and the following webinar ID: 945 3816 3839.

“I’m very excited to get together as a community again and to hear their questions,” said Camas Mayor, Barry McDonnell.

Camas Mayor Pro Tem, Ellen Burton, said this is a unique opportunity for residents. 

“We’re inviting our community to join us for this important conversation,” Burton said. “Unlike council meetings where we only listen to comments, this allows us to discuss your ideas, comments and concerns in the virtual town hall. We hope you participate,” she said.

Residents can ask questions live during the event or they can provide questions in advance.  For advance questions, residents can either send them to[email protected] or via Engage Camas, using the “Mayor Barry McDonnell’s Q&A” section. Please mention the Camas Town Hall in the subject.

Gresham, OR — Gresham Mayor Travis Stovall said today his city council selected Nina Vetter, a city administrator from Colorado to take over as city manager this June.

Vetter, who has worked in local and federal government for a dozen years, made the cut from a search that included 37 candidate applications. 

“After thoughtfully considering the priorities of our Council, the needs of our employees, and the input from the community, we believe that Ms. Vetter’s skills will be critical to moving us forward,” Stovall stated in today’s news release.

Camas City Administrator Jamal Fox, who’s been in this position since August 2020, was a top three finalist for the Gresham city manager position. Camas Communications Director Bryan Rachal said Fox has been pursued by multiple municipalities in recent months.

Fox, along with Vetter, and Patrick Quinton, a former director of Prosper Portland, made their case to Gresham City Council on April 21. Council made their deliberations and the decision was announced today.

Fox was hired by Camas Mayor Barry McDonnell after an 8-month search to succeed former city administrator, Pete Capell, who ran mill town 2013-2019.

“Knowing what type of leader Jamal is, we completely understand why. Jamal’s skills, talent and leadership have been much appreciated and they have been an important part of the success the City has experienced during the pandemic. While we are saddened to possibly lose Jamal to another city, we’re also excited for the opportunity for him and his family,” Rachal said. 

It’s unclear at this time what the status is regarding Fox’s other municipality candidate applications, or how long Fox intends to stay in his position. An email has been sent to then city of Camas asking for further clarification.

Camas, WA — Camas City Council member and Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Burton will not run for re-election this year. Burton announced her decision on Wednesday, April 28.

“It was a really tough decision,” said Burton.” It’s an honor to serve our Camas community as the council and administration worked together to strengthen our city operations and community. My intent throughout my term was and is to keep the communities’ best interest in the forefront and ask the questions citizens want to know about city plans and investments.”

Appointed to the city council in 2019, Burton was then elected in 2020. Her fellow council members selected her to serve as Mayor Pro Tem in January 2021. In total, she will serve three years.

“I want to thank Mayor McDonnell, City Administrator Fox and staff for their on-going commitment, especially during this difficult year so we emerge stronger on the other side.” Burton says she believes all of us need to work together to create the community where we live.

So, why is Burton leaving?

“Lifestage. I retired from my career in 2018 and started serving on the council in 2019,” she said. “Now, my youngest son is graduating from high school.”

Are there issues within the city that make you want to leave?

“There are no issues with/at the city causing me to leave. It’s a personal decision,” she said.

Burton
Council member/Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Burton.

What have you learned since being appointed in 2019 about the city and how it operates?

“I’ve learned so much about our community and our staff, and our fellow council members,” Burton said. “If you’re open to learning you can learn a ton. Running a city is highly complicated. There are many conflicting stake holders, and there are unfunded mandates which conflict with the desire of our community, for example the North Shore development. There are restrictions about funds, they can’t be crossed over, and the planning horizon is very long. For example, the Brady Road expansion was planned 10 years ago and it’s just a mile.”

She said drafting a plan is required to get grants and state funds, and low interest loans, which is why the city often hires consultants to help make effective plans. 

“There are so many nuances that are buried to the public,” Burton said. “You have caring, confident people that have navigate this huge system. You have to approach this as a system.”

What direction do you want Camas to take with how it operates?

“I think with city operations we need to make the investment in people and resources and systems to automate some aspects of city business,” she said. For example, we are using a Y2K accounting system. We need to increase efficiencies so we can better manage our assets. People are on top of it, but we have a very lean staff and we need the tools to do the job.”

Do you think Camas is heading in the right direction?

“I think we need to improve our processes and have an equitable approach in funding parks across the city,” she said. “We need to make sure we continue to be welcoming to newcomers and long-term residents alike. We have many people over 65 so what does that mean? Do we need to accelerate the ADA corner replacements which cost $8,000 to $10,000 each? The city is well run, we are very financially conservative. We need to invest in our future. Where do we do that? For example, downtown infrastructure and the storm drains need to be fixed, but that will require tearing up the roads for several years, and people don’t want to see the streets torn up.” 

“We have to make the right decisions but we need to do that with great community input, such as what we did with the Lake/Everett Road roundabout. We need to co-create with our citizens, our business, non-profits and regional partners.” 

Burton is 64 and would be 68 when she’s done with a full term serving Ward 3 along with Greg Anderson.

“That was it, it was adding up the numbers,” she said. “One of my friends said ‘you’re done for now, but that doesn’t mean it’s forever.’”

What surprised her most about serving on council?

“I’m very team oriented and due to the open public meetings act you’re not able to pull together a team and solve a problem. Take a topic, such as the GP Mill, and I can only talk to two council members and we’re the only three that can talk about it privately. We do this because we follow the law, but the trade off is you can’t just pull the right people, good honest people in the room and solve a problem.’

Camas, WA — The City of Camas confirmed today that City Administrator Jamal Fox has been pursued by multiple municipalities, and has been named as a finalist for Gresham City Manager.

“Knowing what type of leader Jamal is, we completely understand why,” said Bryan Rachal, City of Camas Communications Director. “Jamal’s skills, talent and leadership have been much appreciated and they have been an important part of the success the City has experienced during the pandemic. While we are saddened to possibly lose Jamal to another city, we’re also excited for the opportunity for him and his family.”

Gresham City Council has selected three finalists, which includes Fox, Patrick Quinton, and Nina Vetter for the position of city manager and is seeking community input and involvement in next steps.

Mayor Travis Stovall will host a virtual community forum on Wednesday, April 21, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. to introduce the finalists.

In total, 37 candidates who applied by March 22 were considered for this phase of the process.

Fox has been employed by the City of Camas since late August, prior to which he worked as deputy Chief of Staff for Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

Camas, WA — Nail Evolution Pro, a nail salon owned by Irina Anderson that frequently comes up with new designs, has recently moved the business to 417 NE 2nd Avenue in downtown Camas (in the blue house behind Riverview Bank).

An authentic Russian Manicurist with 13 years of experience, Anderson invites you to try the Original Russian Manicure and see all of her amazing designs.

“Nails are my passion,” says Anderson. “I have 13 years of experience as a nail technician and instructor. I’m always learning and experimenting with new nail designs, techniques, and processes, pushing the boundaries of my knowledge and skills. My top priority is to provide you the clean, beautiful, high-quality nails you deserve with the best nail training or service.”

Anderson is a certified instructor, nail technician, and Masura educator who is originally from Russia.

“I have worked in all types of salons from nail bar boutiques to exclusive VIP salons, and I’ve operated my own salon,” she says. “I’ve been an instructor for over 10 years and operated my own nail school for eight years.”

In 2016, she was chosen to work at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, in Moscow, Russia, where she personally did 21 manicures in less than five hours, and also helped do nail designs for many of the models.

To see a price list, visit the Nail Evolution Pro website: nailevolutionpro.com 

To set an appointment, it’s best to text Anderson at 360-833-3575, or you send an email: [email protected]

Social media sites:

insta: @nevo.pro

fb.com/nevo.pro

phone: 360-833-3575 (text)

Evolution

Camas, WA — Downtown Camas is hosting its inaugural Third Thursday event on April 15 from 5-8 pm.

According to the Downtown Camas Association, these events occur monthly, like First Friday, but have a “grown up” feeling which includes after-hours shopping, dinning, sipping and special activities or menus at participating downtown businesses.

April Third Thursday activities will include:

A Creative Twist (223 NE 4th):  “MOCK” Birthday Party– a chance to see what is offered at parties hosted here and different styles to choose from.  Parties booked this night are 20% off

Allure Boutique (407 NE 4th): Jewelry trunk show

Arktana (415 NE 4th): Extra 50% off sale racks;

Clover Podiatry (405 NE 6th Ave): Pop-up with foot health and shoe fit advice and shoe insert sale

Attic Gallery (421 NE Cedar): Wine, cake and live music by John Stowel for owner Tommer’s 60th B-day

Camas Antiques (305 NE 4th): Pop up shop with Brenda Calvert from Half Moon Farm

Camas Gallery (408 NE 4th): Camas Gallery Tax Relief Day–they will pay your sales tax on all purchases

Caps N Taps (337 NE 4th):  Special Battle of the Sexes Trivia Night starting at 8pm!

Feast 316 (316 NE Dallas): A Rainer Tall Boy & a shot of Woodenville Rye Whiskey for $15 to take the edge off of ‘Tax Day’…keeping it local!

Grains of Wrath (230 NE 5th): Rolling out new cocktails for spring/summer! Cucumber Basil Smash, Gin Mint Refresher, Raspberry Lemon Drop Shot, Breakfast Shots

Jazzercise Camas(514 NE Dallas): Free class at 7:00pm to new customers; call 360-980-0022 to reserve spot

Juxtaposition (425 NE 4th): Local artist Nancy Carkin will be painting live with her art on display; sampling of spa products; featuring new relaxing “Retreat” home fragrance

Lara Blair Photography (411 NE Dallas): Showcasing BLOOM portraits and doing a model call for their next creative project.

Lily Atelier (237 NE 4th): Jewelry trunk show including: Carynn Michelle Jewelry, Amy Leiner Designs, Yedomi, Jessica Alexander, Crystal Quinn

LiveWell Camas (417 NE Birch): Will have three Black Women owned pop-up vendors in their space: Shoebox by Ki (clothing), Asiyah Rose Candles (luxury candles), FloraNior (plants)

Naturally Healthy Pet (335 NE 5th): Naturally Healthy Pet celebrates 12 years! Drop by and Enter to Win prizes with a “12” theme including a 12 month supply of dog treats, a 12 month supply of canned food (dog or cat), 12lb of dog food and more. See store for details. Free goodie bags (while supplies last)

Papermaker Pride (339 NE 4th): Art Pop Up with Heidi Jo Curley

Salud Wine Bar & Italian Dining (224 NE 3rd): Girl Scout Cookie and wine pairing for $12.

The Soap Chest (521 NE Everett): In keeping with the theme, they will feature their Stress Relief products made with their proprietary blend of essential oils. Sampling Stress Relief Blend Spritzer, Massage Oil and Bath Salts.

Tommy Os at the Camas Hotel (401 NE 4th): Cara Cara Orange Margarita drink special and Pan Seared Steelhead trout with Asian stir fry and black rice as food special.

Restaurants will be hosting special happy hour, food and cocktail options with more details to be announced closer to the event.

Sandi Onstwedder, National President of AFW Auxiliary, was honored at a dinner on Wednesday, April 6, by members of the Camas-Washougal VFW Auxiliary 4278, the Toutle VFW Auxiliary 10882, Vancouver Auxiliary 7824 and members of other Auxiliaries within the state. Her three-day visit to Southwest Washington included meetings with members as well as a tour of the Historical Museum in Vancouver. The members of the auxiliaries are united by a common theme: Honoring Our Mission to Serve Veterans.  It is a concept that reflects the common goal that brings every member of the VFW Auxiliary together and supports the passion and purpose of members to serve American veterans who gave up so much not only for us, but our nation.

Following a short welcome and presentation of a City Proclamation by Molly Coston, Mayor of Washougal, at the Black Pearl dinner, Onstwedder spoke to the members of the various auxiliaries.  Onstwedder stated that one of her personal goals this year is to listen to members.  “They are the backbone and reason the organization is still in existence today.  Members know what works and what doesn’t at the Auxiliary level.  They want their voices heard and I believe that National Headquarters has made great headway in opening those lines of communication for every member.  I will be the public relations ambassador and help to connect those entities even more.”

For her personal special project this year, Onstwedder’s has organized a Stars, Stripe and Support focus on combating food insecurity among veterans, service members and their families.  This project was necessary due to the fact that 25 percent of our nation’s total active duty and reserve personnel are currently seeking aid from food pantries across the nation.

To achieve this goal, Onstwedder implemented the Auxiliary’s Community Outreach Program, encouraging auxiliaries to take active roles in their local communities and to partner with other community service organizations on projects for the betterment of their community.  This brings awareness to communities about the Auxiliary mission and provides much-needed services to communities while creating a stronger bond between auxiliary members and local military families.  Onstwedder stated, “Respecting all veterans while Honoring Our Mission to Serve Veterans should be our number one priority.”

The Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce is kicking off its first Chamber Eats event this Thursday, April 8 at 5 pm at Salud Wine Bar in downtown Camas.

The twice-monthly Chamber Eats series is an informal networking event for Chamber members and the general public encouraging people to support local restaurants and reignite business connections.

“This is a step toward normalcy to begin networking in person and to support local restaurants,” said Jennifer Senescu, Executive Director of the CW Chamber. “We also think the food at Salud is fantastic.”

The Chamber Eats networking series is held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. The second one will be held on Thursday, April 22 at A Beer At A Time in downtown Camas.

“We hope to see you at Salud on Thursday,” said Senescu. “The fun begins at 5 pm, but you’re welcome to attend at a time that’s convenient for you.”

Salud Wine Bar is located at 224 NE 3rd Ave, Camas, WA 98607.

Salud Wine Bar serves Italian cuisine and offers a deep selection of wines. Its members are able to store their favorite wines in climate-controlled lockers and can enjoy outdoor dining in their back patio. Prior to the pandemic they offered live entertainment. The restaurant follows all COVID-19 safety protocols and recently expanded their kitchen.

Washougal, WA — April is “Child Abuse Prevention Month” and General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Camas-Washougal (GFWC) has a list of events that they will be participating in. GFWC will be planting pinwheel gardens in Camas and Washougal. Both Cities of Camas and Washougal have signed proclamations to help raise awareness about child abuse prevention.

“This is such an important issue that I feel passionate about raising awareness and getting the word out to our communities.” said Susan Bennett, Vice President of the GFWC Camas-Washougal. “We want families to know that there are resources and places to find help. We want families to feel supported in the important work of raising their children,” added Christine Kamps, President of GFWC.

Bennett serves as the Pinwheel Projects Committee Chair. In an effort to increase the reach and impact of the project this year, she reached out to Unite! Washougal Community Coalition to partner on this project and invited Unite! to plant gardens with the GFWC. “I was so excited to partner with the GFWC on this project!” said Ann Stevens, Unite! Washougal 501c3 President. “GFWC is such a hardworking and dedicated organization that really contributes to the good of our communities! In addition, improving the health and wellness of our youth, families and community is the core mission of Unite!, so this is a perfect project to partner together.”

GFWC, a 501c3 organization, has been serving the cities of Camas and Washougal since 1947. The General Federation of Women’s Clubs is one of the world’s oldest and largest women’s volunteer service organizations. GFWC is a vibrant and connected sisterhood of women who are creating better communities, expanding their own possibilities, and extending friendship and support to women near and far.

Unite! Washougal Community Coalition is a substance misuse prevention coalition that works with all sectors of the community to increase community connections and promote health and wellness. “We are always looking for community partners that want to promote connection, health and wellness in our community, remarked Angela Hancock, Unite! Vice President. “We also have other resources for parents and our community including parenting classes such as Incredible Years, and our semi-annual Drug Take Back on April 24th from 10 am to 2 pm.”

Both organizations are seeking new members who want to volunteer, learn new skills and serve their communities. For more information and resources to help prevent child abuse visit: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/preventionmonth/resources/resource-guide/  For more information about the General Federation of Women’s Clubs please email GFWC Camas-Washougal at [email protected], contact Susan Bennet at (916) 330-7932 or visit their Facebook page GFWC Camas-Washougal.  For more information about Unite! contact Margaret McCarthy at washougalunite.com or call (360) 954-3203. Unite! meets the 4th Thursday of every Month at 3 PM. Currently, meetings are by zoom. Check out our Facebook page or Website for more information. http://unitewashougal.org/

Seth Sjostrom’s Latest FBI Thriller Tackles the Horrors of Human Trafficking

Author Seth Sjostrom releases his latest FBI thriller this April, Penance: Unredeemable.

FBI Agent Alex Penance chases after a cartel’s human-trafficking ring, uncovering horrific scenes as the gang’s safe houses are found throughout abandoned farmhouses of rural Mississippi and swamps of Louisiana. Each location he uncovers reveals a more sinister treatment of a group of missing girls who find themselves in the middle of the cat-and-mouse chase. Working alongside Assistant District Attorney Annie Hunt, Penance zeroes in on the cartel’s headquarters outside of New Orleans.

Complicating Penance’s work on the case and his budding relationship with Annie, the agent is tasked with providing security for beautiful and flirtatious country music star Marla Hendricks. A promotional concert to benefit the beleaguered town of Sawyer, Mississippi, the star proves to be a distraction Penance doesn’t need as lives are on the line.

As kidnappings devolve into murder scenes, the race is on to save the girls before it is too late.

A serial entrepreneur, adventurer and author, Penance: Unredeemable, is Sjostrom’s tenth published novel. The thrillers Blood in the SnowBlood in the Water, Blood in the Sand, Penance, and Dark Chase, as well as the romances, Finding Christmas, The Tree Farm, The Nativity and Back to Carolina were his first books published. All of Seth’s books are available through Ingram.

View the video trailer for Penance: Unredeemable https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1qxF90iOyg.

For more information or to order his books, visit www.sethsjostrom.com.  

Penance
Camas author Seth Sjostrom.