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Camas, WA — Mixed Media Artist Heidi Jo Curley is celebrating the grand opening of her new studio this Friday at 5 pm in Downtown Camas. Her studio is located in the space above Arktana Shoes, at 417 NE 4th Avenue.

The new studio represents the success Curley has enjoyed as a relatively new professional artist.

Curley, who has been painting for eight years, didn’t have any formal training outside of taking local art classes, but after the sudden passing of her husband, Ed, in 2010, art became an outlet, a form of expression, and a source of healing.

“There’s no educational reasoning for my art,” said Curley. “It’s an expression of my feelings, and what I want to do. While renovating the Ferrell House after Ed died, I would go down to Caffe Piccolo every day, and I created a whole new set of friends. That’s when I considered doing art.”

Curley went to Italy in 2012 and that’s when she really started painting while being instructed by Camas artist Elida Field, and Father Bruno through the Art, Women and Wine Tour.

“When I went back, I realized I really needed to get into art,” said Curley. “Then, when my mom died, I remember asking ‘how do I go from here?’ So, I struggled for about a month, and then decided to get up. I did the Chair series because of my mom. I planted all my mom’s favorite flowers and they’re inspiring.”

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Fellow artists and critics encourage her to choose one style and stick with it, says the self-proclaimed Mixed Media Artist.

“I want to keep learning and growing,” she added. “In my art, I think of circles and people. I do a lot of studying of colors and textures. I use my fingers and hands anytime I can, and I don’t want to be pigeon-holed into doing a certain kind of art. I’ve dealt with so many emotions since those two passings.”

Her portfolio grows along with her fan base.

“Everyone loves Heidi, she’s kind to everybody, she’s as real as they get,” said Marquita Call, owner of Camas Gallery. “For such a relatively newcomer, she has a signature look. When when see her work, we know it’s Heidi’s. She’s become recognized through her art.”

As part of her signature look, Curley is known for her famous “Chair” series. So, why the chair?

“Gathering people around the table is really important for me,” said Curley. “I think the Chair series represents that there’s always a chair for you. At the holidays, if someone doesn’t have a place to go, we welcome them.”

To learn more, visit www.HeidiJoCurley.com

Curley

Heidi Jo Curley shows one of her pieces.

George, Washington — A bus accident in Central Washington changed many lives on Thanksgiving Day, including Battle Ground City Councilor, Shane Bowman, his family, and the small town of George.

Moments after bus three in a six-bus caravan transporting University of Washington Marching Band and Spirit Squad members to Pullman slid and rolled on the icy highway, Bowman said he heard the sirens of fire trucks and ambulances passing through George.

“I grew up in Central Washington four miles from George, we were visiting for Thanksgiving, working outside and we heard some police sirens and ambulances, so we assumed there was an accident,” said Bowman. “We finished our work and pulled up the news and learned that a UW band bus rolled over just six miles from us. My son said we should go see if we they need any help.”

So they did.

Within moments, the Bowman’s found out they were triaging victims at George Elementary School. So, they called the fire chief and asked if they needed anything.

“They said they needed food and blankets,” said Bowman. “We rounded up everything we had and headed down there. All the buses were there, five in total. So, we just took in everything that we had, we called a few friends to gather food, and we went to the gas station and cleared out all the hot pockets and burritos we could buy. We bought a couple hundred of them.”

Bus

Local community members brought everything they could to feed the 325 students and staff.

Using the tiny school’s kitchen, they heated up the food, put out the snacks, and watched local community members bring in their delicious Thanksgiving food.

“We fed all of them,” said Bowman. “We had enough water and people showed up with everything — soups and enchiladas. Everything.”

From 6:15 pm until the UW buses departed at 10:30 pm, Bowman’s family, including his son, Trey, and his parents, Alan and Sue (and a total crew of about 10) stayed for the duration. Another 15-20 families came in and dropped off food.

“We’d been down there quite a while, and a whole bunch of food came in — the kids just snacked on anything we had,” said Bowman. “Then a bunch of people brought in more food, blankets and mattresses. A couple even came in from Wenatchee on those icy roads. We thought they were going to spend the night at the school at first. It was chaos, but I was impressed with how professional everyone was. The UW students and staff are incredible. They had a lot to deal with. No complaining from anyone. The whole group was very professional.”

Bowman also got to spend time with Union High School graduate, Tommy Strassenberg, who used to live in Battle Ground. Strassenberg was a phenomenal wrestler who is now part of the UW Cheer team.

Everyone was equally impressed with the first responders — especially given the resource constraints an accident this size causes in rural Washington. Bowman said each little jurisdiction has ambulances, but they don’t have the resources here to deal with something this big.

The UW students are dealing with a spectrum of injuries — from sore backs and lacerations to broken bones and concussions, however, Bowman said it could have been a lot worse.

“I spoke with the bus driver of bus 4 who said he nearly hit bus 3,” he said. “A second collision would have made things a lot worse. We’re very grateful there were no fatalities. There was a lot of ice on the road. We have four-wheel drive pickups and the roads were slick. It was bad out there. There was freezing rain and sleet for about an hour.

“Regarding the response, I don’t expect anything different. I was in Battle Ground when we had the tornado come through, and we had the same thing there. People just stepped up, and put aside all their differences, and that’s what was cool. All the Fire Departments here are volunteers. It’s refreshing to see everyone help out.”

The UW students spent the night at Moses Lake, and will likely return to Seattle tomorrow morning. They won’t attend the Apple Cup, which was their destination.

8:00 am UPDATE: Edie Myers-Power has been discharged, as have most, and reports are the UW students spent the night at a nearby hotel in Moses Lake. Her dislocated shoulder will require a surgeon when she returns to school. More information will be reported.

11:00 pm UPDATE: Austin Miller has been discharged from the hospital. He will be OK, but will be very sore for a while.

10:25 pm UPDATE: Camas High School 2015 graduate, Austin Miller, sustained injuries in the accident.

”When talking to him he feels like his injuries are minor compared to others — cuts on hand and chin, sore back and pieces of glass in his scalp that need to be cleaned up,” said Mia Miller, Austin’s mother.

Edie Myers-Power is getting X-rays. Other names haven’t been released yet.

9:36 pm UPDATE: There was a total of 6 chartered buses carrying UW band members. The bus that went off the roadway was # 3 in the group. Also, the numbers transported to area hospitals is closer to 40-45 plus.

Local families are asking for your prayers. Please share this article. We will keep updating this story as more details unfold.

BREAKING NEWS: Icy road conditions caused one of three buses carrying members of University of Washington’s marching band and spirit squad headed to the Apple Cup in Pullman to roll on its side, injuring at least 25 people. 

The crash happened at 5:20 pm today on eastbound 1-90 about three miles west of George. The injured were taken to the area hospitals to be treated, which are being reported as not life-threatening. Injuries include lacerations, broken collar bones, sore backs, bruises, and glass shards in scalps.

According to Jennifer Myers-Power, her daughter, Edie, and several Camas High School graduates, are among those injured. 

“Right now, there are 20+ kids at the Quincy Valley Medical Center,” said Myers-Power. “From talking to the other Camas moms of Husky Saxes, Edie’s might be the worst. Of those not hospitalized, there was still lots of broken glass, so lacerations and bruises. Some hand injuries so I’m pretty sure they won’t be playing.”

According to Grant County Sheriff’s Office: “Chartered bus carrying part of the U of W band lost control and rolled about 5:20 p.m. east bound I-90 MP143. Bus came to rest on a frontage road. All people on board accounted for. Injured all have non-life-threatening injuries. Around 25 victims transported to several area hospitals. That number subject to change as we work to verify all information. Remainder of students on the rolled bus have been taken to George Elementary School to be re-evaluated by EMS. Working on plan moving forward.”

There is currently no need for any volunteers, food or donations at the George Elementary School school, but families are asking for prayers.

We’ll keep you updated on this story.

Photos by Seattle Times and Washington State Patrol.

 

 

Camas, WA — After deliberating for about 25 minutes Wednesday night, the five remaining Camas City Councilors unanimously voted to appoint sitting councilor, Shannon Turk, to fill out the remainder of the term of former Mayor Scott Higgins, who recently retired from public service. She will be sworn in on November 19.

The announcement followed interview sessions with all four candidates: Turk, Pastor Georerl Niles, former Camas Mayor, Dean Dossett, and Camas City Councilor, Melissa Smith.

”Right now I’m glad the process is over because it was very stressful,” said Turk. “There were four very equally qualified candidates, and I spoke with them and they are very smart, likeable and would have been great mayors. I don’t know how Melissa is doing, she seems to be handling it very well. She’s a good person, and she wants what’s best, I’d hate for her to feel that she doesn’t have as great a value due to the votes. There is some benefit to having a unanimous vote.

”What I’ll do next is a lot of listening and continued learning, my own self-improvement, but also learning the things I don’t know. I have a lot of listening to do. I know my opinion and I know the people who I directly talk to — mothers with kids in the schools near Dorothy Fox. I know my ward, but I need to know the greater city.”

Turk will spend the next days and weeks deciding city priorities.

“My priority would be the pool/community center, and I need to lay out the options and let them choose what the priorities are. We don’t communicate processes well, so we need to work on that.”

Turk acknowledged the city has a public relations problem stemming from the departure of former City Councilor Tim Hazen and the ill-fated Senior Center project on Everett, and the lingering perception the council is a good ‘ol boys network.”

”We need more open communication,” said Turk. “Get all of the information out there that we have. Addressing the ‘Good ‘ol boys network’ perception, I will say this: Until I was appointed on council I didn’t know any of the city council members. I’ve grown with them, I hope they see my knowledge and potential leadership. The mayor is the city’s executive and needs to know how the city operates, so you would need someone with experience as opposed to someone from the outside.

“I am going to lay out a vision that would be to just get the city to focus on something — whether it’s firefighters, the pool/community center, police, or change the form of government. The executive provides the leadership and it’s a give and take. Some things they will bring up to the mayor and others will be from the mayor’s initiative. We need to talk about diversifying revenue. I see six options that we need to discuss.

“In the next 12 months, by the end of November 2019, I want people to understand where the city is going. I want actual progress toward whatever initiative we choose. I want development of a strategic plan.

“In 12 months, I don’t know if we can solve all the problems on the table right now. We can have the firefighter funding plan, but solving that issue is not what I see happening. We’re still talking about where to build the new community center/pool. It just takes time. I want to do all those things, I wish I could do everything.

“We have disparate points of view on Crown Park and the splash pad. Should I proceed with making a fantastic asset at Crown Park, or should I only focus on the pool? Lots of things to get done.

“It’s a leader’s job to proceed with the Crown Park Master Plan, and build a new pool with a community center. We need to have the competition pool centered there with sports fields. That’s what I want to do.”

She wrapped up her first interview as “Mayor-Elect” by praising a council colleague.

“Don Chaney acting as the mayor for the past six weeks has done a fabulous job of holding the line and making progress on communication issues,” Turk said.  “They’ve already made some changes internally. He just didn’t fill a seat, he tried to make improvements, and I appreciate that.”

She said she will run for a full term in 2019.

Turk

The four mayoral candidates. From left: Councilor Melissa Smith, Georerl Niles, Councilor Shannon Turk, and former Camas Mayor, Dean Dossett.

The Interviews

Each candidate was peppered with seven questions during their 20-minute sessions, and each finished with a 60-second closing statement about why they wanted to be the next Mill Town Mayor.

Chaney presided over the sessions, and councilors also had opportunities to ask questions.

The first question was really about personal introductions and professional backgrounds.

Turk explained her professional background in budgeting for local governments. She currently works full-time for the City of Vancouver doing budgeting analysis, and has 25 years of government experience.

“I have a strong sense of local government,” said Turk, who was nervous through about two-thirds of the interview. “I believe what I do is important. This is so nerve-wracking.”

The second question had to do with leadership and management style, and each candidate was asked to provide some examples.

Turk explained that she’s collaborative, and doesn’t always believe she has the only opinion.

“You have to listen to get buy-in and get to the common good,” she said. “I would like there to be a community center here in town. I would have to go out and see what people want.”

Turk

Camas City Councilor, Shannon Turk, during her formal interview with five of her colleagues.

The third question was about the city’s challenges over the next five years.

“Our biggest challenges are funding services — and going through the needs versus the wants,” said Turk. “We have many opportunities facing us. What are our options for paying for public services, for police, fire, etcetera? How do we pay for it? Parks and Rec has needs with limited resources — do we create a new taxing district? Then I look at growth north of the lake. We will have to pay for infrastructure improvements. I’m concerned about growth and there are many here that are upset about it.”

The fourth question was about candidate perceptions and opinions of the various forms of city government. Camas operates under a strong mayor form of government and there’s been discussion about shifting that to a councilor-mayor, aka “weak mayor” form of government.

Turk said she’s comfortable with both forms.

“There are benefits to both,” she said. “Some strong mayors forbid council to interact with staff. I think that both forms of government are pretty similar — it’s just how they’re implemented. I would be comfortable working under wither form. I‘ve watched Mayor Higgins.”

Councilor Deanna Rusch asked: “The prior mayor was very active — Do you have any challenges to your schedule?”

Turk’s reply: “Scott set a strong example. I would not have those same opportunities, but I have a very flexible job. I see this as positive, but we need to rely on the strategic plan and decide what our goals are. Staff should feel empowered to make the decisions. It would be a hinderance to have me in here all the time.”

Turk

The waiting game. Camas City Administrator, Pete Capell, talks with Camas School Board member, Erika Cox, while Shannon Turk looks on.

The candidates were also asked about social media, how it’s changed the way in which society communicates, and how they approach adversity and criticism on the Internet.

“I have never responded to criticism on social media,” said Turk. “You don’t win when you engage in social media. Never engage because it creates more opportunity for vitriol.”

She encourages personal communication, face-to-face, and said sometimes people need perspective. She discussed the issues and concerns around Crown Park Pool, and how people didn’t realize there were nine months of communication on that topic.

Each candidate was also asked about their greatest strengths and weaknesses.

“I’m very aware of the functions of city government,” said Turk. “I love what I do, I would love to be the mayor because I see so much opportunity. My challenge is we need to communicate more, which is my biggest challenge. Sometimes I cringe at things attributed to me. When you are trying to represent the city that’s not the image I would want. Scott was such a masterful speaker. That’s not me, that’s my biggest challenge. It means I can’t speak.”

Turk

At the beginning of the Mayor interview sessions. Five Councilors would appoint Turk as Mayor.

 

Camas, WA — At Tuesday’s Camas School Board meeting, supporters of the district’s Equity Policy, which is currently being drafted, spoke passionately about the need to improve relationships in Camas schools, and to ensure all students feel welcome in the classroom.

“We have to ask ourselves and look at the demographics and see are outcomes proportional to the demographic?” said Hayes Freedom High School teacher, and Camas Education Association Lead negotiator, Mark Gardner. “And so if a segment of our population is not represented in roughly the same segment of an outcome there’s a suggestion that we have some systemic issue. When our special education students and Hispanic males are excluded at double the rate that really got me thinking. I realized that equity begins with teacher practice so I encourage you to adopt this policy, and then to hold our staff accountable for what we do as professionals …”

CSD has had a focus on serving each student as part of their 2020 Strategic Plan, and CSD Superintendent Jeff Snell said “it’s become clear that we have students that are not being served as well as they should.  We launched an equity committee to better understand what’s happening in order to ensure we are serving each student.”

Veronica Copeland, a longtime school volunteer, spoke passionately about racism in Camas schools, and said she’s being forced to move to a place “because they (her daughters) don’t have women to look up to here.”

Equity

Hayes Freedom teacher and CEA lead negotiator, Mark Gardner, talks about racial issues in Camas.

“This community has its issues, of course, and I have faced it in my own house,” said Copeland, an African-American woman. “Let alone my girls facing it, but they’re at this age where they notice people’s color and race. I appreciate the teachers, they make the girls feel loved and supported. I knew my girls would need a guard around them, I knew they would need someone to always make sure someone listened to them, watched for them, and they’re twins, and they look very much alike, and (the teachers) know it’s important they can tell them apart because they are not the same person, and that right there is equity. I have twin girls who are not identical, they’re just Black, and they look alike, and everyone thinks they are identical, and it ends up giving them a complex …”

“I have told many parents about this equity policy and I’ve gotten more “why” and to know that I’m moving because my girls don’t have equity somewhere is sad, and I love you guys.”

Snell said the driver of the Equity Policy is to ensure each student feels welcome and supported in Camas schools.

“Experiences like Ms. Copeland described in our schools and community are not acceptable,” said Snell. “Community members are passionate about moving forward with language that describes what welcome and supported means.”

Snell said the aim of equity work in CSD is to facilitate paradigm, practice and policy shifts so that every student is seen, respected, and celebrated in a way that promotes love of self and love of learning.

Outcomes/Outputs:

  • Share common language, definitions, and general approach regarding equity work in Camas School District
  • Facilitate opportunities to hear from stakeholders regarding their hopes and concerns with respect to equity in order to shape the work
  • Conduct opportunities for stakeholders to learn together with respect to equity
  • Provide concrete strategies and recommendations for stakeholders to use in order to eliminate oppression, marginalization, and predictable disparity

“The equity policy was an action items from the committee,” said Snell. “We will have the policy ready for board review at the November 26 School Board meeting.”

Budget Woes

CSD is also holding a budget process workshop on November 26 to address ways to overcome the district’s $3.2 million deficit problem. It’s a deficit that Gardner, who as the lead union negotiator during the bargaining sessions, said was “a scare tactic by the District.”

The deficit is a reality now.

Equity

Addressing the Camas School Board.

Lori Keller, Master Aesthetician, and owner of Vancouver Laser Skin Care Clinic, located in Downtown Camas, answers common questions about laser benefits.

Why are laser aesthetics so effective?

It reverses the signs of aging and sun damage with minimal to no downtime.

When you come in, we will do a complimentary consultation to create a program for your skin care needs. For example, if a client wants to reduce wrinkles, we do a combination therapy which includes laser, microneedling, and peels, depending on the severity of the wrinkles or sun damage.

What are common myths and misconceptions about aesthetic laser treatments?

Does it hurt is the most common question. The answer is sometimes there is none to minimum pain level, depending on treatment being performed.

Another common question is “does it work?” The answer is yes — we have lasers that correct and ultrasound to lift and tighten the skin without surgery.

Going on the Internet and seeing mistakes being done by people who are unqualified or inexperienced. I have more than 30 years of experience.

What kind of equipment do you have?

The Cutera XEO platform is the laser we use, which I’ve been using for 20 years, and I’m happy with the results this awesome technology offers. We also have the Ultherapy ultrasound for lifting and tightening the skin without surgery.

Laser

BEFORE/AFTER: Limelight treatment for brown spots and sun damage.

What makes our treatments a good Christmas gift?

Start the New Year with renewed self-confidence! You can see the results pretty quickly, depending on skin type. We feel that lasers offer great results in skin rejuvenation. Bring in the New Year with your best face forward. It’s about giving the gift of confidence at any age — male or female, young, middle-aged or more mature all benefit from our services at Vancouver Laser Skin Care Clinic! Lasers produce fabulous results, as well as facials,  microdermabrasion, chemical peels and ultrasounds for lifting and tightening without surgery.

We have special offers that are very affordable. It’s giving the gift of beauty.

What services does Vancouver Laser Skin Care Clinic offer?

Intense Pulse Therapy (IPL), Chemical Peel Treatment, Microneedling, Ultherapy, Face/Leg Vein Treatment, Botox/Fillers, and we offer Jane Iredale mineral makeup (makeovers), and medical level skins care products that perform!

We invite you to contact us for a complimentary consultation today. 360.823.0795 or visit us at www.VancouverLaserSkinCareClinic.com

Laser

Lori and Jen hard at work at the clinic.

Camas, WA — At Thursday’s Camas-Washougal Rotary Club meeting, member Tina Simmons announced she would be having a book signing for her book, “Zandreal.”

Wait, what?

Simmons, who works for a wine labeling company, and whose pen name is Tee Griffen, spent a year writing and editing “Zandreal,” and got it published in 2016.

“It’s really not a new book,” said Griffen. “But because of life issues, I had to delay its marketing, so we’re doing that now.”

“Zandreal” is young adult fantasy fiction about a young girl named Andrea and she finds out she’s not quite human. So, she must figure out why she’s here, and she ends up doing a lot of external travel,” said Griffen. “The book is about our responsibility to share our gifts with the world, taking care of the Earth, and working together.”

Griffen’s no stranger to writing, as she previously was the ghost writer for two books — the first was “Tracks: Memoirs of a Vietnam Veteran” by Clyde Hoch. The second one was a book called “Turbo Charge Your Life,” by Troy Spring. Those were written in 2011 and 2012.

“I’ve always liked to write, but being an author wasn’t my goal in life,” said Griffen. “I went to school for Graphic Design at Cazenovia College in upstate New York. ”I wrote this as part of self-exploration. I’m an observer, a healer, a worrier, a wanderer, and a seeker. All the elements were there. I couldn’t write it fast enough. Once those five parts came to me, they formed the characters and the storyline came together.”

Initially, she worked with a publisher, but it didn’t move fast enough for her, so Griffen chose the self-publishing route.

“It was hard to self-publish,” said Griffen. “I felt more out there on my own, because with the publishing house I felt I would have had more support. The Kickstarter campaign was set in 2016 and I raised $4,000. It wasn’t hard to get, but it took a lot of marketing. They told you to find champions ahead of time. They also supported me. I had a community. It was an emotional roller coaster because it feels like baring my soul to the world.”

Sunday’s book signing at Caffe Piccolo in Downtown Camas is the only book signing she has scheduled for now. She’s been talking to the school districts about getting into the classrooms.

“I think it’s time to get the book out there,” said Griffen. “I feel like our country is very polarized, and I think we could use a little bit of unity.”

The book is available at www.Amazon.com and you can learn more at www.teegriffen.com

 

Camas City Councilor Shannon Turk is one of four candidates who recently applied to be the city’s next mayor.

The September resignation of former Mayor Scott Higgins leaves the office vacant, and it will be filled by City Council appointment. Four have applied for the job — City Councilors Melissa Smith and Turk — as well as Georerl Niles, who is Chair of the Camas Parking Commission (a volunteer position), and former Camas Mayor, Dean Dossett.

A 2011 city resolution requires the council to interview them all.

“We have seven on council and so the five remaining council members will decide who becomes the next mayor,”said Camas City Administrator, Pete Capell. “They will interview all the candidates with pre-prepared questions. They will work it out until a candidate has a majority.”

Applications were due Friday, October 26, and the special interview meeting is scheduled for November 14. There will be a public swearing-in at the council meeting on November 19. The new mayor will complete the existing term, and then run again next Fall.

Turk, who has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, was appointed to the council in July 2011 to fill the vacant seat left when Scott Higgins became Mayor. Turk would run on her own in November 2011 to finish the Higgins term, and then ran again in 2013, then again in 2017.

“People call me a four-term councilor,” said Turk. “But it’s really two terms that I’ve been representing Ward 3, Position 2 with Greg Anderson. That’s the area by Dorothy Fox, west of Sierra.”

With seven years of experience on the council, what has Turk learned?

“I’ve learned that even though I knew things take time to happen, they take more time than I anticipated,” said Turk. “It takes time to get good policy passed. I think a good strategic plan may help shorten it. Right now, it feels like the community has varying goals. People are moving in many different directions. The firefighters, the pool, the budget.”

Is there a leadership vacuum?

“There’s a lack of leadership focus, because I think there’s a tendency to respond to every email, to every citizen concern that comes up, but when you do that it’s bad from a comprehensive view. I think it’s more lack of focus. People are sincerely trying to help, but there’s a lot going on. There’s a tendency to take too much on. There are big things going on, but we’re going in many different directions. It’s hard to always resolve everything so quickly.”

Turk says in a small town “it’s easy to get bogged down by multiple initiatives because you have to be all things to everybody. You have to know a little bit about a lot of things.”

Turk said she would start using the city’s strategic plan, and would go further into the community and identify the goals of what people want us to focus on time on.

“Do we need another firefighter station? I really want to know what we need to do. Then we can set our priorities,” Turk said. “With the pool — it’s a funding issue. First we have to decide what we want. I agree with John Spencer, we need to go big or go home. We need a competition pool. We have a need for more sports fields, too. If you build it they will come.

“We have to first get public input and then we have to decide if people are willing to pay for it. How do we get the rest of the people to agree on it, and pay for it. This council is exceptionally good at compromising. They always find a middle point to get things done so everyone gets a little piece of victory.

“I would agree we should have a plan, or an idea of what we should be doing. We also need to have a plan for a firefighter district, or a regional fire authority. It’s essentially a tax for just a fire service. These two things need to happen concurrently.”

Tree

Alicia King addresses the City Council during a public hearing on the Camas Urban Tree Program.

What Are Turk’s Skill Sets?

“Primarily, I’ve worked in government and have done that for 25 years as a budget analyst,” said Turk. “It’s about making recommendations to leadership with full knowledge of the subject. I know this well. I have a way of bringing diverse opinions together and coming to a consensus. I don’t have any problem being yelled at when I know we’re doing the right thing.”

Turk, a mother of two adult children, Emma, 18, and Lanie, 20, touts her volunteer activities as a basketball and cheer coach. Her family makes a point to deliver meals on Thanksgiving, and encourages her daughters to be involved in the community. As an animal lover, she helps out at West Columbia Gorge Animal Shelter.

She’s worked at City of Vancouver for 11 years, and previously worked for Multnomah County, and for the city of Gresham — in budgeting and as a management analyst. Currently, she oversees warehouse and support staff.

“I’ve had a lot of opportunities to grow professionally and I’ve learned from them,” said Turk. “If we had a good strategic plan, we could make decisions based on that plan. I feel very comfortable having a full-time job and being the mayor. The employees would feel that empowerment.”

Does The Mayor Position Need Full-Time Attention?

“We have a professional administrator, but the mayor administers the policy the council sets, and the administrator does the day-to-day operation of the city,”said Turk. “My job is very flexible. They have been very accommodating of my schedule. As long as I get my work done, and I account for every minute. It would be stressful, but no more stressful that having to come up with the other things I’ve been doing.”

So, what are her top three reasons for running?

1- Opportunity

“I see so much opportunity in Camas,” Turk said. “There are so many things — the community center/pool, which will drive me for a long time. I want to impact the community so that my kids want to come back here. We need to make changes to affordability. We need to have kids and seniors be able to afford to live here. If we had unlimited resources, we could make sure cost of living here is affordable. This is done through zoning and creating incentives for development to include affordable housing. I want to do this to make the community better.”

2- Professional Growth

“It’s just closely tied to opportunity and having a sense that I left the world better,” Turk said. “I’ve always worked for the councilor-manager form of government, aka ‘weak mayor’ so in a way being a councilor has prepared me as I’ve been exposed to multiple facets of city administration. I’ve learned a lot about policy and administration and the differences.”

3- Legacy Building

“I want to make the world a better place,” said Turk. “I want to build something that will outlive me. It’s about legacy building. I just want to be in the room when it happens. I want to be part of the decision-making. I’d like to get more people engaged in the community and to be more face-to-face. I think we’re also missing civility.”

Day One

Turk said the city has a public relations problem, and as mayor would encourage more face-to-face ward meetings.

“Hazen’s (former city councilor) resignation last year created a distrust,” said Turk. “We just need to become more transparent, and engage the citizens more. Have more meetings where you bring citizens in, and explain what we do. There’s a general distrust of government across the country. We need to explain how we do our work. This needs to be explained to the people. To get to truth is to come up with a plan, decide what it is, and then actually follow through and do it. Stick to the plan, and do what you say you’re going to do.”

Camas, WA — Imagination, determination, and overcoming adversity were the main topics addressed by 2008 Camas High School graduate, and new book author, LK Walsh, while addressing Liberty Middle School students Friday afternoon.

Her book, “The Lavender Soul,” released in April through PelianWords Publishing House, is a fantasy novel about a young girl born with lavender eyes, portending she will be the annihilation of evil, or the impetus of world-consuming darkness. It is an adventure through a fantastical world with reimagining of classical characters, such as fairies and dragons, along with new beasts crafted from Walsh’s imagination. It’s about the main character, Vera, who is seeking out her purpose.

Now living in Lompoc, CA, Walsh is in town for the Portland Book Festival, and was invited to spent time in her hometown.

“I’m here to talk about dreams and how you can help them come true,” said Walsh. “I was a senior, and had my life plan right on track, and I had already applied to several universities. I was set. I was ready to go to Chapman to study Music Therapy. Chapman said they were ending the program, and that affected my scholarship. I was high and dry, and my mother had to call and begged to get to other schools. I had worked for years to become a music therapist, so I decided to become a Humanities major and went to Concordia in Southern California.”

 

She appreciated the experience, and was able to explore many things.

“I went into journalism, but that wasn’t for me,” said Walsh. “Then I worked for an art newsletter. That wasn’t for me. So, I decided to get into publishing.”

After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities Creative Writing from Concordia in 2011, she spent 18 months writing “The Lavender Soul” after spending eight years imagining it. Once completed, she went through the agony of finding a publisher, and after 38 rejection letters, she found a home with PelianWords Publishing House.

“I am fully able to admit that I felt like a failure because it really hurts when people say no,” said Walsh. “But failure isn’t real. You can fail because you didn’t pass a test. If you choose not to learn from the failure, then it’s a real failure. You have to learn from it.”

She said there’s “one key to success in any field and that is imagination, which is key to making all of your dreams come true.”

She encouraged the middle schoolers to always have imagination.

Walsh

LK Walsh addresses students at LIberty Middle School in Camas.

“Logic, science and math are not separate from imaginations,” she said. “Sometimes people give up on their dreams because of money. Authors don’t make money. My dream is to create worlds. My dream is to spread imagination. Dreams have such great value because it takes courage to dream. Every time you have a thought it creates a physical pathway in your brain. The easiest thoughts are negative ones. It takes imagination to be positive. Imagination gives you the courage to dream. Dreams don’t always have to be those huge paychecks. They don’t even have to make sense.”

Walsh has spent the last several weeks traveling to promote her book, and is working on a prequel, which has been approved by her publishing house.

Cat Rushing, Walsh’s mother, created the cover illustration, based on vision provided by Walsh.

To learn more, or to purchase her book, visit www.lkwalshauthor.com

Camas City Councilor Melissa Smith is one of four candidates who recently applied to be the city’s next mayor.

The September resignation of former Mayor Scott Higgins leaves the office vacant, and it will be filled by City Council appointment. Four have applied for the job — City Councilors Shannon Turk and Smith — as well as Georerl Niles, who is Chair of the Camas Parking Commission (a volunteer position), and former Camas Mayor, Dean Dossett.

A 2011 city resolution requires the council to interview them all.

“We have seven on council and so the five remaining council members will decide who becomes the next mayor,”said Camas City Administrator, Pete Capell. “They will interview all the candidates with pre-prepared questions. They will work it out until a candidate has a majority.”

Applications were due Friday, October 26, and the special interview meeting is scheduled for November 14. There will be a public swearing-in at the council meeting on November 19. The new mayor will complete the existing term, and then run again next Fall.

Smith, who has served on the City Council since 2004, is a retired Purchasing Association Vice President, and has many years of leadership and civic experience. She’s fully committed to spending 40 hours a week to serve as Mill Town’s leader, which she says is crucial. The mayor’s role is generally a part-time position.

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“We need a mayor who can commit to 40 hours a week,” said Smith. “The staff is phenomenal, but we’re at a time in our city’s history where we need a full-time mayor. There are so many important issues happening in our growing city.”

So, what are the top three reasons she wants the job?

Life Experience

“For me it’s not a status thing, or a money thing,” said Smith. “$22,000 a year isn’t much. I have a lot life lessons. I have traveled extensively throughout the United Sates with my job and personal life. I’ve been to foreign countries. I have a broad outlook on life. I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen real racist things in the South, and I’ve been serving the city of Camas for many years. I know how things work.”

Collaboration

“Everyone has 24 hours in a day,” said Smith. “Because of health issues I’ve learned that how you manage your energy is more valuable in the long-run because it makes you more productive, more efficient, more balanced. Energy is more important than time. I’m very much about closing the loop on projects because of the different work experiences I’ve had. From conception to completion, you need to look at the glitches, then analyze them and so you need critical thinking. It’s having the ability to bring the right people together and do the what/if scenarios.”

Building the New Camas Pool

“Earlier this year, my request was if we close the pool by the end of 2018 we should identify the location for a pool,” said Smith. “Everyone agreed, and now it’s morphed into a community center project. I’m very much for a new pool, and I’m very open to the competitive part of swimming. I applaud what they do with football, but there are other sports that need the same support. I think the mill’s R&D property needs more research. We just need to get it done.”

State

Smith says the city needs a new pool — for competitive and recreational purposes.

Day One

“One of the first things I would do, if appointed Mayor is I would sit down with each council member, and ask them what things are working well within the city, and what things aren’t working well in the city,” said Smith. “It could be anything from how we’re being perceived. Then, I would repeat the same thing with the department heads. I would reach out to key business people in the community, and a few others. Then from there, if we could see a general theme of issues, then we go forward. Work on reviewing all the ad-hoc committees. We spend so much energy and time in these committees. There are efficiencies and effectiveness that need to be analyzed. We need to have actual Ward meetings. Bring those back, and just sit and listen. Even though the mayor’s position is a part-time position they still have a commitment to touch in on key issues. I want to get in there and stabilize the city and right the ship with full-time leadership.”

Smith was appointed March 2004 when Paul Dennis became mayor.

“There was a vacancy, and I applied for it,” Smith said.

She stepped down from her executive position, and went into the council role position. In 2005, she was voted in her for her first full term.

“I’ve been on council for 14 years,” said Smith. “It’s way more complicated than people know. There’s a lot. You have to come in with the mentality of having an open mind, a clean slate and let people share the roles and expectations and learn where to look and study — to gain perspective. It takes a lot in the beginning. There’s a lot of reading, ground work, and you have to learn to be an effective councilor.”

With two city councilors running, one will definitely lose, so will there be bad blood on the council?

“Shannon and I have talked, and when I made the announcement about seeking this position, we met and spoke for two hours or so,” said Smith. “We’re good. This could either be curse or a blessing either way, for either of us. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done. That person has to be accessible to give that sense of stability. Now I want to be on the other side. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll be disappointed, but I’ll still be on council for three more years.”