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Camas, WA — Chocolate treats, fun themed activities, art shows, crafts, games,  prizes, and more will all be a part of this 12th annual “A Chocolate Affair to Remember” First Friday event in Downtown Camas on February 1.

Downtown businesses will be serving and selling chocolate goodies and other romantic gifts with wine tastings and specials at select locations, as well. The event, from 5-8pm, is hosted by the Downtown Camas Association (DCA) and downtown merchants.

In addition to the fun that is traditionally had at this First Friday event, this year there will also be a celebration of the First Anniversary of the First Friday Wedding of Nick & Tami Calais. The wedding was held on February First Friday 2018 in Downtown Camas and was themed “A Wedding Affair to Remember.” The community was invited and it was a strong example of people supporting each other, loving our town and coming together in community.

The evening’s activities include:

  • Guess the candy jar amounts in each participating location and be entered to win the candy and other great Valentine’s themed prizes!
  • Find “Nick & Tami” and get your picture taken with them and be entered to win a romance prize basket.
  • Art receptions with refreshments and live music: Attic Gallery; featuring Camas artist Mike Smith and a jewelry trunk show with Leslie McMillan who will be showcasing hearts in silver leaf and contrasting metals for Valentine’s Day; Camas Gallery featuring painter Gary Watson and complimentary sangria and champagne; and Second Story Gallery upstairs at the Camas library featuring 24 artists in the show “From the Heart”.
  • FREE ballroom dance lessons with certified ballroom dance instructor Daniel Martinez in Lisa Le Properties, 418 NE 4th.
  • Kid’s Valentine’s crafts and games at the DCA tables in Journey
  • Take the Candy Bar Challenge. Guess the candy bar types and win one
  • FREE hair glitter strands & sparkles at The Wild Hair, 418 NE Cedar
  • Kissing Themed Photo Booth at The Artful Attic, 217 NE 3rd, as well as FREE Valentine grab bags with every purchase
  • FREE chair massages by Therapeutic Associates-Camas at Arktana Shoes, 415 NE 4th
  • Special Sales and chocolate treats throughout downtown shops and restaurants
  • Earn tickets to win for every $10 you spend in downtown!

“We’re of course excited to taste delicious chocolate around town,” says Carrie Schulstad, Executive Director for the DCA, “but also be able to wish a Happy 1st Anniversary to the darling wedding couple Nick & Tami Calais from the February First Friday wedding last year! They still come to every First Friday and this time they’re bringing all their friends to join in again! We’ll have some new games and activities as well as the beloved candy guessing game in the businesses and truly spectacular art shows in the galleries. Come enjoy with us in Downtown Camas!”

Passport & Activity lists are available at the DCA tables in Journey.

First Fridays are Art, Activities, Dining, and After Hours Shopping themed family friendly events coordinated by the DCA each month of the year to support downtown and develop community. For more information, visit https://downtowncamas.com/event/chocolate-affair-remember or the Downtown Camas First Friday Facebook page

Camas, WA — Ali Alquraisha, the owner of Camas Produce, said his store plans to be open in about one week after a large portion of his business was demolished following Thurday’s night SUV accident.

Camas Police said that Terra Stark, 39, of Camas, accidentally put the car in drive while parked at Camas Produce, and plowed through the front center of the building. Her teen son was in the vehicle with her.

”It went all the way into the store,” he said. “Fortunately, nobody inside was hurt.”

Several people, including the tow truck team, spent time Thursday cleaning up debris and boarding up the store. Alquraisha said they need time to rebuild, which will require a city inspection before they can re-open.

”There are so many great people in this community, and they ask how they can help us,” he said. “You can help us by coming back next week and shopping here. We are so grateful for you.”

He said right now they’re going through the process of contacting Stark’s insurance company, and figuring out where to go from here. She was driving a corporate fleet vehicle.

Stark is an active member of the community, and is always willing to lend a helping hand. Her two sons are active in local sports.

Her husband, Ben, reported this morning that “she’s fine” but wouln’t elaborate any further.

“She was issued a traffic infraction, and is still under investigation for DUI,” said Debrah Riedel, Camas Police Public Information Officer. “There will be no arrests or further charges until we get blood results, but she was obviously impaired. And, she wasn’t cooperative with any statements. When we have probable cause for DUI we do handcuff a person, but it may take a few days or even weeks pending blood test results before we know anything conclusive.”

Several witnesses say that prior to the accident, Stark was in attendance at a middle school basketball parent meeting where she was “red-faced, had slightly slurred speech,” and “kept dropping papers.”

 

 

Camas, WA — In their ongoing effort to support local artists, Tyson and Lori Morris, owners of Artful Attic in Downtown Camas, are sponsoring a fun youth art contest.

The art contest will run now until February 5 when all submissions need to be delivered to Artful Attic, which is located at 217 NE 3rd Avenue, Camas, WA 98607.

Rules:

  • The art contest is open to all Camas youth ages 11-18.
  • Artwork needs to fit on 10×10 wood canvases, which will be donated by Artful Attic.
  • Each canvas may be picked up at the shop.
  • Any medium is acceptable (wood burning, painting, metal, etc.) as long as it fits on the canvas.
  • Theme is “what Camas means to you.”
  • All works should include #MyCamas.
  • All submissions must be returned to Artful Attic by Feb 5th.
  • Each winner will receive a $25 gift card to Artful Attic.

There will be six winners in total, and their names will be announced during the Feb 7th reception at 6 pm, which will be held at the boutique. Winners will have their art featured in the Artful Attic gallery during the month of February.

Artists may choose to sell their piece at Artful Attic for 30 percent commission fee.

To learn more, call 360.210.4927 or email: info@artfulatticboutique.com

Shopper’s

Custom engravings are available at Artful Attic.

Camas, WA —  State Senator Ann Rivers, Representative Brandon Vick, and Rep-Elect Larry Hoff met with 18th LD constituents Saturday at four separate town hall meetings to answer voter questions ahead of the next legislative session in Olympia.

The 90-minute session started off with introductions to provide voters a sense of the work they will be working on this year. Rivers, a Republican, said she will work as Minority Whip.

Vick, also a Republican, who is entering his fourth term, says “it’ll be an interesting year with 43 Republicans and 57 Democrats, which means I’ll have to figure out how to do my job differently, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be effective.”

He said he’ll be serving on the Finance and Tax Policy committee, and thinks gambling may turn into a major issue this year.

Republican Hoff, 67, who was elected to public office for the first time in November, said he will serve on the Appropriations Committee, which oversees how money is spent.

”We need to be better stewards of that charge,” said Hoff. “I have a passion for small business, and I want to reduce regulations to help small businesses operate more efficiently. I really look forward to starting to work. My calendar has been jammed with 15 minute appointments in Olympia. It’s fun to listen to people in those meetings.”

Mental Health

The session got started with Rivers answering a question about mental health, drug addiction, and rising suicides among the elderly.

“I’m not generally a fan of the governor’s policies, but I am working closely on mental health legislation with Governor Inslee, and I look forward to that. Mental health isn’t sexy, it’s not fun, but it’s really important. Mental health will be the focus of this legislative session, and to fund mental health issues in the schools, and in particular, special education.”

Rivers continued: “It’s about creating housing for those folks who aren’t capable of managing. Our jails are full, and you see they’re housing mentally ill citizens. It’s a very comprehensive plan to provide housing and counseling. If you are very poor in this state you can get services. The rich can, too, but the middle class really can’t. I’m excited what the Governor is putting forward. You will see a ton of activity around mental health.”

Vick said every session has a theme, and this will be about mental health.

 

 

 

 

McCleary Legislation Causes Public School Funding Deficits

Camas resident Aunna Elm had a 12-minute exchange addressing school district funding issues that have stemmed from McCleary.

”I’m a parent and I know you want to put McCleary to rest, but it can’t rest,” said Elm. “I started attending school board meetings this past Fall when I became aware of what the funding issues were during the statewide strikes. I’ve been watching my school board and my administration grapple with the realities of what’s about to hit us, effective immediately. We are using reserves to cover what was lost when this legislation was passed.”

Elm asked the legislators about loss of regionalization funding, the staff funding model, and budget deficits, and what is going to be done to resolve these issues. She also challenged them on why the 18th LD representatives didn’t attend a recent ESD112 education meeting.

”I’m imploring you to do a re-do,” said Elm. “Please come meet with superintendents and come to the table to help us prevent this crisis. McCleary is not a good law. I’m upset it was passed.”

Rivers said the law was designed to create equity over time, but what happened at the end of the session is that it took out the steady ramp-up in funding.

”All of the structure and guidelines that we put in were removed,” said Rivers. “So when that happened it became a big pot of money and all contracts were opened up. That’s where the strikes came from. I hope not to offend any of you, but this big pot of money was like dragging a doughnut through a fat farm. People dove in and they wanted it, and then you had the union reporting a 25 percent increase in pay, which was not truthful. Then other teachers saw that, and they wanted it. It was all based on mis-information. There was never a 25 percent increase, but that became the standard, so all of the structure that would have involved a steady ramp up was removed.”

Rivers said she meets with superintendents on a regular basis.

“The good news is there will be a renewed push for special ed because clearly we have to do that. That’s just morally and legally appropriate,” said Rivers. “I think we are headed toward another McCleary if what the Governor is proposing is adopted by the Legislature, then we will return to the have’s and have-nots for education.”

Town Hall

A Camas resident discusses affordable housing issues in SW Washington.

Property Taxes

Property taxes were also addressed as a result of the McCleary legislation. Rivers said she has “heard from many constituents who can’t afford to live in their homes because of increased property taxes, and I want you to know there will be a 30 percent cut in property taxes coming this year.”

Vick replied: “You have allies on this, as well. We need to do something that’s fair for everybody. We don’t want to see people losing their houses.”

Growth Management Act

Erin Alley, president of a local homeowners association said she has watched the Growth Management Act fail, and discussed the challenges of the Mount Livingston quarry. She asked about what action can be taken legislatively to prevent quarries from being developed. She said it’s a failure of land use planning.

Rivers replied: “GMA is not working, and it’s been a common thread during all our town halls today.”

Carbon Emissions Tax

“Washington is the 4th lowest state in carbon emissions,” said Rivers.  “The last thing we can do is hit the tailpipe, and I’m not in favor of that. We need to incentivize instead of punishing citizens.”

Hoff said he was against the carbon emissions tax because it would have “increased the cost of food and that would have hurt everybody, especially poor people.”

Town Hall

Citizens came to ask questions at Camas City Hall.

Infrastructure and Housing Density

Camas resident Bill Hewitt addressed the I-5 bridge, and housing density.

“Democrats want to increase housing density and it really doesn’t work,” said Hewitt. “When you consider affordable housing please consider the quality of life aspects. We need to encourage an infrastructure to go underground.”

That comment led to a lively debate about light rail, replacing the I-5 bridge, and improving overall infrastructure. Several complained that the U.S. infrastructure has been crumbling, and that not enough is being done to fix it.

Ann Rivers said light rail is old thinking and instead said we should focus on new technologies, like underground tunnels, driverless BRTs, and last mile connectors.

“For the record Clark County has voted light rail down every time it comes to a vote, expect for the little spot in the 49th District in Downtown Vancouver,” said Connie Jo Freeman.

That argument was countered by resident Doug Long.

“I’ve had the privilege of traveling around the world using light rail systems,” said Long.  “Many of our larger cities wouldn’t function without light rail. Light rail is the future. The buses are fine for arterials, but they’re not the best solution.”

Rivers countered.

“The problem with rail is that it’s fixed,” said Rivers. “You need massive density in order to get enough riders to pay for itself. Tri-Met doesn’t pay for itself. People in favor of light rail are also against building tall buildings to house people who would use light rail. It doesn’t make fiscal sense. We just don’t have the population density.”

Hoff said he’s optimistic something can be done to remedy these issues.

“We’ve been talking about solutions for a long time, now we need to act,” said Hoff.

Hoff encouraged citizens to be active and to let their voices be heard.

Town Hall

From left: Representative-elect Larry Hoff, Senator Ann River, and Representative Brandon Vick.

Camas, WA — Many of you love the game CLUE and now is your chance to play the First Friday version! Join in the “Case of the Missing Cupcakes” today from 5-8 pm. Dress in CLUE inspired game suspects attire and get extra tickets to win!

First Friday Activities:

  • Find fun clues in participating merchants to solve the “Case of the Missing Cupcakes” and earn tickets to win prizes!
  • Get a FREE mini-cupcake sponsored by Cake Happy when you solve the mystery!
  • Art Receptions & Shows at Camas Gallery and Attic Gallery!
  • Enjoy the movie “Clue” at the Liberty Theatre – Friday 1/4/18, show time will be 8pm … don’t forget the popcorn!
  • Fun Kid’s winter crafts and Lego table
  • Get 5 free tickets to win if you dress like one of the characters in the Parker Brothers “CLUE” game!
  • Earn extra tickets to win with every $10 spent in downtown!
TWO Ribbon cuttings! Come welcome Lori and Tyson from The Artful Attic as we celebrate the ribbon cutting for their new shop at 5 pm. Salon Magnolia will also have a ribbon cutting to celebrate their spa addition – their ribbon cutting will be at 5:30 pm.

New menu launch with tequila pairings at Mesa!

Friday

New menu at Nuestra Mesa launches today.

ALSO: You can also pick up your panels (if still available! Come early at 5pm–we only have a few sets left!)) for the “Little Art Camas” event at the DCA table in Journey Church (please bring your completed form).

Start your night at the DCA tables at Journey at 4th and Birch.

 

 

Camas, WA — Amanda Brinkman, host of The Small Business Revolution’s “Main Street” web TV series, and several members of their talented film crew will be visiting Camas this Wednesday and Thursday to see what makes Mill Town tick.

As part of their visit, city leaders will host the “Main Street” team at 6 pm Wednesday at Grains of Wrath, which is located in Downtown Camas. The public is invited to attend.

On December 11, Camas became a Top 10 contender to be chosen as the focus town for season four of their ground-breaking series, which is helping to reinvigorate small towns and businesses across the United States. They’re coming to Camas to learn about its accomplishments, history and current struggles. Following their visit, they will travel to Arlington, WA, another Top 10 contender, and all other cities on their list. Camas is their first stop.

”We have such a compelling story to tell,” said Carrie Schulstad, Executive Director of the Downtown Camas Association. “We have a great history and we’re also a town in transition with the mill closing in the next couple of years.”

Schulstad said she hopes that Camas will make Top 5. Once that happens, those five cities will be subject to national voting. It’ll be a matter of which city gets the most votes.

It’s also one reason why Camas citizens have been posting #MyCamas on their social media posts and sharing stories about what it’s like living in Mill Town. It’s also a reason why Lacamas Magazine continues to produce the #MyCamas videos.

”It’s about getting the word out about what an amazing place this is,” said Schulstad. “We also have many businesses who could use the help that the Small Business Revolution provides.”

The winner of the contest will be featured in Season 4, in which six businesses will receive a total of $500,000 in revitalization funds. The show features Brinkman, and Ty Pennington, of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” fame.

”I’m so excited they’re coming,” said Camas Mayor, Shannon Turk. “I really look forward to meeting them, and showing them what we’re all about.”

The crew arrives mid-day on Wednesday at a private reception, and then they will be visiting local shops and store owners to hear their stories.

Schulstad is also grateful to Maria Gonser, owner of Attic Gallery, who nominated Camas to appear on the show.

”Camas would be great for Season 4 of ‘Main Street,’” said Gonser. “There’s so much to see here, and we have some real struggles.”

To learn more, visit www.smallbusinessrevolution.org

 

 

Camas, WA — Hosted and organized by the City of Camas, Hometown Holidays includes the downtown tree lighting, photos with Santa, crafts, hay rides, Camas Schools entertainment, hot cocoa sponsored by Journey Church, holiday shopping, art shows, and more! Tree lighting is at 6:30 and yes, there will be snow and fireworks again!

And, great news!  There will be a free shuttle service sponsored by Camas School District to the Tree Lighting event as well as a new pedestrian corridor to maintain a thoroughfare for ease of movement.

Five parking lots within one mile of Downtown Camas will be incorporated into three separate shuttle routes. The routes are color-coded and all will drop off riders on the street between Camas City Hall and Camas Library. The shuttle is free, and details are in this link:

Click here to read more about it and to see the shuttle routes and pedestrian corridor

Also new will be a “pedestrian corridor” on the south side of NE 4th Avenue, between NE Birch and NE Cedar Avenues. In an effort to maintain a thoroughfare for ease of movement during the highlight of the tree-lighting ceremony, the south sidewalk will be used for pedestrian flow only — no stopping or standing will be allowed — from 5:30 pm to 6:45 pm. The area will be roped off, posted, and arranged with staff and volunteers to keep people in that corridor moving at a constant flow.

Dining

Hey Jack Special!

 

Last Christmas season, in an effort to support locally owned and operated businesses, I made a point to shop FIRST in downtown Camas, Washougal, and other small companies in Vancouver. My goal was to buy as much as I could without going to the mall, or into the traffic congested streets of Portland — or even going online.

The results amazed me! I was able to make 80 percent of my purchases before going anywhere else. I found some really cool treasures, some really fun gifts that my sons continue to enjoy. Once I did all I could at these sweet little shops, I ventured to the malls, struggled to find a parking space, listened to the madness, and made other purchases.

Yes, the mall has some great things, too, and I was happy to support the local business there, as well. But, I was all too pleased to leave and return to the peace of Downtown Camas to sip a hot chocolate at Caffe Piccolo, or enjoy a burger at Feast.

Small

Inside Lily Atelier, in Downtown Camas.

I see daily the up’s and down’s that local small businesses contend with, and I appreciate their steadfastness and continued hard work to serve us. So, I went to several local shops, and asked them what we can do to support them.

Here’s the list:

  1. When you visit the store, check-in on social media.
  2. Snap a photo of a product you like.
  3. Post the photo and tag the store on social media.
  4. Share your favorite store’s social media posts. Like, follow, share, share, share.
  5. Bring in your out-of-town guests.
  6. Follow the store on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).
  7. Word of mouth. Simply tell your friends to shop there for Christmas purchases.
  8. Get to know the retailers and how they support other businesses, including local artists, jewelers, card designers.
  9. Choose in-store products that give back to charitable foundations.
  10. Boost a store’s Yelp presence by giving them a positive review.

And, of course, buy, buy, buy!

 

Camas, WA — Life is just beginning for the The Artful Attic, a new Downtown Camas artist cooperative full service boutique, but some of the treasures they’re selling have a long history.

Case in point: Co-owner Lori Lander proudly holds a hand-turned wood bowl by local artist Ron Wiltsey, who created it from a burl from a sweetgum tree that was planted at Esther Short Park in the 1890s. He works with wood only.

“I just love this piece,” said Lander who opened the boutique with her soon-to-be-husband, Tyson Morris, just a few weeks ago. “It tells a story. Our store has many sweet treasures like this.”

Located at 217 NE 3rd Avenue, Artful Attic sits across the street from Salud Wine, and is just a stone’s throw from the mill.

Lander says the store features 17 local artists, roughly 65 of the store’s inventory.

“We wanted a platform for all kinds of art,” said Lander. “Our goal is to feature 100 percent local art. We could easily handle 40.”

Valerie Eliason does all the grain designed for her decorative wall art, handcrafting the stencils and applying a resin with a nice think veneer.

Artful

Come see this bowl, made from an old tree at Vancouver’s Esther Short Park.

Laura Koppes does a lot mixed media paintings. Uta Zuendel creates bamboo art using thin shavings resulting in stunning wreaths, ornaments, and other decorative work.

Chris Brodigan handcrafts the pottery (matching cups, plates, oil containers, bowls, etc) for an elegant table setting. Kathy Marty weaves stunning rugs out of Pendleton scraps.

“It was a challenge to get artists on board without a storefront,” said Lander. “The concept from opening was six months. We opened October 20.”

Artful Attic also does laser engravings, which costs $1 per square inch, plus a $10 setup fee. They can do cork, wood, metal, plastic, and glass.

“I love to create, and didn’t want to sit at a cube anymore,” said Lander. “I’ve dreamed about being a small business owner since I was a kid. I’ve had many ideas I just wanted to do. Come visit us and support the local artists. Let’s celebrate them!”

To learn more, visit www.artfulatticboutique.com

The Downtown Camas Association (DCA) announced today that Camas is a top 20 national finalist to appear in the next season of “Small Business Revolution – Main Street,” which is a streaming Hulu web series hosted by Amanda Brinkman and Ty Pennington.

Camas made the top 20 out of 12,000 applicants, said Maria Gonser, owner of Attic Gallery in Downtown Camas.

“I’m a big fan of the show, and I submitted an online application to get Camas to be on ‘Main Street’,” said Gonser. “The show really understands small towns, and they’re big on restoring them.”

Gonser explained that Small Business Revolution will choose 10 of those cities to come visit. And out of those 10, they choose five, then the show’s viewers will vote on the remaining five. The top vote getter will be the focus of season four.

The top 10 will be announced on December 11, and the town visits will take place in January. The top five will be announced in mid-February, and the public vote takes place the end of February.

“I was drawn to it because we have so many projects but don’t have all the funding for them,” said Gonser. “If we win, we’d get $500,000 in funding. Six businesses would get a major makeover, plus we need to send more love to 3rd and 5th Streets in Camas. I want to feel good when I go on those streets.”

Main Street

Call 360.696.9877

Once the show’s producers contacted Gonser, she directed them to the DCA’s Executive Director, Carrie Schulstad.

“I spent about 40 minutes on the phone talking with them,” said Schulstad. ”I told them all the great things about Camas, but also the areas that need major improvement. If we get picked, they will go into each business for a month and help them out. They all have their own expertise and help each business revamp their whole branding, their space, etc.”

To get to the Top 10, each town is encouraged to promote why they should be considered. Schulstad wants Camas residents to use the hashtag #MyCamas on social media posts.

“Please like their Facebook page (go to @SmallBusinessRevolution) and post a photo to their timeline with a message about why you love Camas and be sure to use the hashtag #MyCamas,” said Schulstad. “Our town can do this! Please use this hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, too!”

Main Street

The show is hosted by Amanda Brinkman and Ty Pennington.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Small Business Revolution Main Street?

This is what the show’s producers say: “As we traveled the country, capturing the inspiring stories of 100 small businesses, we recognized that nowhere in America are small businesses more critical, and more under siege, than in our small towns.

“We created the Small Business Revolution – Main Street to help those small businesses, and in turn, those small towns, reignite the spark that drives them and keeps people coming back.

“Each season, we seek out America’s most inspiring small towns, and award the winner – and six of its small businesses – a $500,000 revitalization and feature the transformation in an original series.”

To learn more, visit www.smallbusinessrevolution.org