Camas, WA — Wrestling is traditionally known as a male sport, but over recent years girls wrestling has been making an upward trend, and Camas and Washougal are no exception. This is the part one in a two-part series that looks at the sport; part one will focus on Camas, and part two, on Washougal.

The Camas High School (CHS) Girls wrestling program had a good showing at the recent Clark County Wrestling tournament, with Eliana Sabatini, a Camas sophomore, winning her weight class (135). Sabatini is a team captain with Autumn Aho, and the team is determined to make a statement.

The Washougal Panthers Wrestling team won the meet outright, with Emma Seekins, a Washougal freshman, winning her weight class (100), pinning her opponent in the second round, which helped Washougal win. The Panthers are also tremendously proud of Abby Lees, a two-time state wrestling champion.

”We’re so pleased with the team,” said Seekins. “I like wrestling because it is a very difficult and challenging sport, and it pushes you to your limits.”

But, back to Camas.

“In the final, I wrestled McMillan from Hudson’s Bay,” said Sabatini. “And, Kiana Pullen won third place at 190. Ava Weatherl, placed fourth at 115 pounds. As a team, Camas took sixth place, and a total of eight Papermakers attended the tournament.”

Winning at such a major meet is quite prestigious, and it’s even more so given Sabatini’s relatively new exposure to the sport. She has just been wrestling for a year.

Girls Wrestling

Washougal won the Clark County Wrestling Tournament.

Girls Wrestling

The Camas Girls Wrestling team at the Clark County Wrestling Tournament.

Why wrestling?

“A coach at Skyridge got her interested,” Sabatini said. “And, I love being the only girl in my grade to wrestle. All the wrestling boys tell me that girls shouldn’t wrestle, but that got me motivated. I have an uncle who has wrestled and he taught me new moves. I feel like boys are always talked about, and the girls aren’t really acknowledge a lot, so it’s time to get the word out. Nobody knows about it.”


Sabatini said she wrestles boys in practice, which helps her.

“It’s not weird, it’s just an opponent, and boys wrestling is different than girls,” she said. “The types of moves they use.”

What does wrestling teach the youth?

“It teaches me a lot, it teaches me how to work hard, and gives me confidence, and it makes me want to help teach others to help grow the girls wrestling team,” said Sabatini. “I think girls are afraid to wrestle because it’s so new. They’re afraid of the toughness.”

Mark Yamashida is the girls wrestling head coach, and he works hard to teach his team the skills required to win — and learn.

He also is working to get the word out about the sport, and spends time at each match teaching the girls, and making sure they feel positive.

“He gives me self-confidence before a match, and helps the girls out with everything,” said Sabatini. “With school, with wrestling and it helps me push myself and reach my goals. I love the sport so much. I love the competition and I love to win. Getting my hand raised after a match is the best feeling I’ve ever felt in life. My coach always tells me I’m always smiling through everything even when I’m in so much pain trying to make a move or push myself in practice. I’m always smiling and having a good time.”

Their next tournament is next Friday, which is the RA Long Invite.




Camas, WA — “Mission accomplished,” said Ed Fischer, owner of Camas Bike and Sport in Downtown Camas. “We wrapped up with the local adopt-a-family here in Washougal, and what a nice family! And with the RV camper, the trip went smoothly and after the Chico DMV visit, we got the trailer up there right before nightfall and it was placed on the house pad where the lost home once sat. We did not get much of any time to take a look around, but the devastation was real and evident, and the recent flooding there really left the roads in shambles.”

When Fischer first heard about the Paradise, CA fires he became a big advocate in helping out, so he spent considerable time and money trying to locate a family that needed help, and would purchase an RV camper. But, even though his heart was in the right place, it ended up being a major challenge.

”I learned that it’s not easy to do all that stuff,” said Fischer. “It was very hard to organize, it took a lot of coordinating, planning, and communicating. There’s a lot more than the monetary portion. Procuring the trailer was very challenging. There were a lot of scams and misleading people out there, but ultimately we found a good trailer that would really help out this family.”

Fischer said about two-thirds of the cost of the RV was received through local donations following its purchase. He said many donations were $10, and one man gave $300.


”Every amount helped,” said Fischer. “And, it was great to see all the support. All of it made this possible.”

Community members are contributed home essentials to fill the trailer, which was delivered several days ago.

Jeff Paul accompanied Fischer to California to deliver the trailer, and the two witnessed the fire’s devastation.

“It was amazing to see the random destruction, the fires took a few homes, then you’d see a couple that didn’t even look touched, then back to piles of debris where houses once stood.” said Fischer. “It really gave me a flashback to the fire’s I worked in back in Malibu in 1993, same thing happened where floods would come in soon after and reek further havoc on the area. In the end, the camper is now helping the family live on the property and rebuild, and it felt like we did the right thing for the right people! And last, could not have done it without all the support and contributions from so many that rallied around the cause. I didn’t get a lot of pictures because I want to respect people’s privacy. It wasn’t a staging photo moment. We got there kind of late, and the whole family wasn’t there.”

He also appreciates the local support of their adopt a family, who lives in Washougal.

Washougal, WA – First grade students at Gause Elementary recently explored use of the scientific method with a sweet holiday-themed assignment. The teacher team of Marvina Bugajski, Lyndsey Russell and Heather Hopkins guided students through the planning process to construct their very own gingerbread houses.

“They were asked to identify the steps they would use, develop a materials list and create a scale blueprint of their ideas,” explained Bugajski. “They also asked themselves a scientific question and made a prediction of what they thought might happen or a problem they may encounter. One student was concerned the walls might fall.  Afterward, students will be asked what their building challenges were and what changes they might have made to improve their build.”

The classrooms were filled with happy, smocked children, helpful parents and all types of candy to use as décor on Monday, December 17. Graham crackers were walls, peppermint sticks became chimneys and M&Ms lined sidewalks as students created their masterpiece gingerbread houses — just in time for Christmas. They were all smiles as they worked on their designs, many with frosting on their chins from sneaking a quick taste.

“We wanted to introduce students to approaching a project with a plan and the considerations of the scientific method. But mostly, it was about having fun,” Bugajski said.





Vancouver, WA – Nearly 70 teens from three Southwest Washington counties will learn from nationally-trained youth leaders how individuals can make a difference in their communities through policy-making and laws. The Use Your Voice workshop, held at the Excelsior building of Washougal High School on December 21st, is completely led and organized by youth facilitators. Participants will experience working with decision-makers and government leaders.

Middle and high school students from Clark, Klickitat and Skamania Counties who attend the workshop will be invited to put their learning into practice in Olympia on Prevention Policy Day (February 18) by the Washington Association of Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention (WASAVP). They will have meetings with their own senators and representatives to share their youth voice around substance abuse, prevention and building healthy communities.

Youth facilitators presenting at Use Your Voice include:

Madison Langer, Tobacco Free Kids Youth Ambassador
Jesse Jimenez, Police Activities League Coordinator and Prevent Coalition Committee Chair
Bridgette McCarthy, National Youth Leadership Initiative and Advocacy and Policy Training

Also, on the agenda is Washington State Representative Paul Harris to share a short speech about youth empowerment, using your voice and getting involved in government.

Hosted by Youth Now (an initiative of Prevent Coalition) this workshop is funded through the Washington State Department of Health dedicated marijuana account funding. This workshop is offered in partnership with Unite! Washougal Community Coalition. For more information about Unite! contact Margaret McCarthy, 360-954-3203,


About Prevent Coalition

Founded in 2006, Prevent Coalition is a group of diverse community members working together using an evidence-based framework to prevent youth substance abuse in Clark County, WA.  Working in collaboration with parents, youth, schools, media, business, government, faith communities, law enforcement, youth-serving organizations, civic groups, health care professionals, and prevention organizations, Prevent Coalition is focused on improving the environment surrounding youth to create a community culture that promotes prevention and honors healthy living. Find toolkits, resources, and information about addiction, prevention, and resilience for adults and youth at


Listening at a past Use Your Voice workshop.

Washougal, WA — Inspiration is all around Columbia River Gorge Elementary school, and a single kind act has grown into a school-wide Kindness Project to shine a spotlight on positive behavior.

“This all began with creation of a holiday giving tree at the school to help a few local families,” said Christa Kornoski, CRGE Booster.  “It was tagged with 30 gift requests that our school community would volunteer to purchase.  The tags were depleted in two days so we added more families and, by the end, had a total of 74 gift requests.  Every one of them were fulfilled!  This tree demonstrated to students what a caring, giving, and supportive community we have here.”

With the success of the giving tree, the Boosters began thinking about ways to extended kindness beyond holiday giving and create something that could involve every child.

“We began looking at ways of organizing and recognizing random acts of kindness,” Kornoski explained.  “A sample calendar featuring daily kind acts was brought to us by fellow Booster Laura Kelly and we loved the idea.” The group brainstormed simple things students could do at school or at home to develop three calendars; one for young children, one for older and one that is a combination.

“This is when we heard that two 5th grade girls, Grace Hack and Bella Bradford, were also working on creating a kindness initiative,” Kornoski said. “So, we integrated their ideas and energy with ours. They created the calendar for the 4th and 5th graders.  We felt that this idea would be more influential coming from peers rather than parents at the upper elementary grades.” Suggested items on the calendar include writing a thank you note to your bus driver, sitting with someone new at lunch and cleaning out your parent’s car.

The next step in the project was recognizing the kindness students were showing. This is where Steve the Snowman came in.

“Steve is a life-size paper snowman on the hallway wall at CRGE,” Kornoski explained. “Each act of kindness a student shows can be written on a snowball tag and attached to him for all to see.  The goal is to have Steve completely covered with snowballs.”

And it is working.  The month-long CRGE Kindness Project began November 25 and will continue until the start of Winter Break and Steve is so filled with tags of good deeds that a new Sally the Snowman has been added.  Each tag lists the student, their teacher, their kind action and can be written by the student themselves or by a teacher or student who witnessed someone doing something nice.  A random tag is picked each morning to be read during the school news broadcast.  “The classroom with the most acts of kindness will be interviewed by the school’s morning news on why kindness is so important to them,”’ Kornoski said. “We decided it was best to reinforce this behavior by recognition rather than rewards or prizes.”

The plan is to continue after winter break with a Kindness Leadership Club that will meet once a month with a spring event before the end of school.  “We want to encourage kindness as something that will be in students’ thoughts throughout the year,” Kornoski said.  Her hope is that they will take this momentum with them into middle school.

Preparing for middle school is on the minds of Hack and Bradford and they feel this club will help ease that transition by reminding students about the importance of kindness.  “There can be a lot of unkind things that go on in middle school,” Hack said. “This club will help students understand the importance of being kind and inspire them to do their best to treat people nice.”

“We also hope our efforts will grow to the point that we could qualify for a grant to implement a large community project,” said Bradford.

“One of our goals is to change the narrative to focus on the positive things people do rather than the negative behaviors,” Kornoski said.  “We want these students to understand that one kind act can make a significant difference in a person’s life.”


Putting a spotlight on positive behavior.

Washougal WA — Volunteers at the Hathaway Elementary Gift Store are providing students the opportunity to learn the joy of holiday giving first hand. Now in its fifth year, the store is filled with new and gently used gift items that students “purchase” using “Pawsitives” coupons earned as a reward for positive behavior.

“You will find, normally before the holidays, kids can get anxious and excited and can lose some focus at school,” said Pam Clark, Hathaway Gift Store organizer. “The ability to earn Pawsititves to “spend” at the gift store for holiday giving is a powerful motivator to help students focus on positive behavior.”  The store is open each Tuesday and Thursday morning before school during the month of December.

Hathaway fourth grade student, Ruby Lacey, earned her Pawsitives by starting early on projects, being polite and listening in class. She was excited to be able to get a gift to put under the tree for her mother. “She is going to love it,” she exclaimed.

“It is really interesting to see how the kids make their choices,” said Clark.  “They will say they want something blue since it is their mom’s favorite color, or they see a type of toy or a book that they know a sibling would like. They seem to really enjoy the opportunity to surprise loved ones with a thoughtful gift.”

One year a student even bought a gift for the school principal.

Washougal School District Superintendent, Mary Templeton, also dropped in to assist shoppers on December 4.  “I love seeing how their positive behavior is rewarded in a way that allows them to give to friends and family,” she said.

“To stock and staff the store takes a large group of volunteers but each year the number of helpers grows,” Clark said. “Once you come and help you are hooked, and you’ll be back the next year.  That is just what happens!”

According to Clark it is the expression of excitement on children’s faces when they find that perfect gift that keeps the volunteers coming back.  “And the kids are always so polite and seem grateful for the opportunity we are providing,” she said.  “That is reward you feel deep in your heart.”

Finding items to stock the store takes place all year, with volunteers looking at garage sales and around their homes. The word has gotten out about the store and now local businesses and organizations are offering items.

One of the most popular gifts are coffee mugs.

“Last year we had 300 mugs and they all went!” Clark said. “Sometimes we’ll add a packet of hot cocoa mix, microwave popcorn or other small item to make them more special.”

Other gifts include ornaments, small toys, games, books, holiday décor, and even scarves and neckties.  To donate items, contact Clark at

“I just need to thank everyone who helps with this project,” Clark said.  “Without help from the community, volunteers, businesses and my friends, we could not do what we are doing.”

Washougal WA — Gause Elementary has a new team.  It’s the Green Team!  And, their goal is to make the school and world a better place by participating in Waste Connection’s Clark County Green Schools program to reduce school waste. Waste Connections works with Clark County Green Schools.

“It is important for kids this age to learn about how to care for the environment and understand the importance and benefits of recycling,” said Ellen Lancaster, Gause Day Custodian and Green Team Adviser.  “We want to start good habits and build a culture of recycling at Gause.”

As a part of the Green Team program the school received receptacles for use during cafeteria meals to sort waste.  “These containers make the process of separating food scraps from garbage and recycling easy to do and understand with colorful bins and clear labels,” said Lancaster.

And this is where the Gause Green Team, comprised of around a dozen third to fifth graders, springs into action.

“Our members monitor the containers at lunchtime and watch to help make sure students are sorting items properly and using the correct receptacles,” Lancaster explained.

Waste Connections picks up the food waste from a cart left with regular recycling and garbage containers.  Waste Connections partners with Dirt Hugger to transport food waste to Dirt Hugger’s composting facility in Dallesport, Washington. Once there, food scraps decompose and are turned into a nutrient-rich soil additive.

“The production of waste has enormous impacts on environments, economies, and societies throughout the world,” said Ellen Ives, Waste Connection Sustainability and Waste Reduction Educator. “Each of us has a responsibility to understand the impacts of the waste we produce, how much we produce, and how we can make choices to reduce waste and protect natural resources and human health.”


An important step in Gause earning Green School Certification, is to perform a waste audit that took place on December 5 after school.

“We worked with Ellen Ives and Clark County Green Schools staff to look at a day’s recycling and garbage from classrooms and the cafeteria,” said Lancaster. “Students sorted out each waste stream and determine what is recycling and what is garbage.  They also asked themselves, ‘Was this put in the right place?’”

Fourth grade student, Olive Krysak, was a part of the audit and was amazed at how much recyclable materials and reusable items were in the classroom trash.

“It was really kind of sad,” she commented.  “A crayon might be broken, but you can still use it!  People need to learn the proper way to throw away things, so recyclable items and everything are in the right place.”

Washougal School District Superintendent Mary Templeton was also on hand to help sort trash during the audit.  More Washougal schools are becoming involved in the Clark County Green Schools program.

“These school waste audits help students recognize the enormity of solid waste production, disposal, and issues, the impacts of waste produced at their school and community and feel empowered to make choices which reduce these impacts,” said Ives. School waste production data collected during the audit will be used to create a plan for improving waste reduction and disposal at the school.


Students place waste in the proper receptacles.

“A part of the process is to understand how many dumpsters we fill on a regular basis and then work to have less going into the land fill and more in recycle but also to create less waste overall,” said Lancaster.

As a part of the Green Schools program the students will take a field trip to a Waste Connections transfer station.  Waste Connections Clark County pays all program costs for school participation.

“I want kids to look up, look out and see what’s there and take care of it,” Lancaster explained.  “I want to help teach them how to be responsible and aware of their world.”

Gause Green Team members meet before school on the first Tuesday of each month. “We also discuss ways to reduce, reuse and recycle,” said Lancaster.

Other initiatives include encouraging use of school water bottle fill stations with a reusable bottle rather than drinking from a carton or plastic water bottle; Crayola ColorCycle program to collect and repurpose used Crayola markers; and the Trex Challenge, to collect plastic grocery bags, bread bags, dry cleaning bags, newspaper sleeves, ziplock & other re-sealable bags, produce bags and more.

“Everyone who participates in the Trex Challenge gets a plaque, but the school who collects the most bags in a region will earn a Trex plastic bench for their school,” Lancaster said.

One of three Clark County schools Green Team advisers that is a custodian, Lancaster feels that it is a good fit.  “The club is a great way for me to connect with the kids at Gause in a different way,” she said. “They are all my kids.”Green

Lancaster’s goal for the program is to inspire students to help them understand their impact on the environment and know how they can make this a better place.

“There’s just one world!” she said.

Washougal, WA – Unite! Washougal is proud to announce that Washougal High School Senior Chloe Connors has been awarded the 2018 Washington State Exemplary Substance Abuse Prevention Award for Youth Leadership. Connors and other awardees were honored on November 6, 2018, at the 2018 Washington State Prevention Summit in Yakima, Washington. The award recognizes the efforts of dedicated individuals and professionals in the prevention field.

“Chloe was chosen for this prestigious award because of her dedication to our community and to healthy choices for youth and families,” said Margaret McCarthy, Unite! Washougal Drug Free Communities Grant Coordinator.

Nominees for the awarded had to demonstrate notable participation in community and/or school prevention activities for a minimum of one year and have demonstrated quality peer leadership, teamwork, and volunteerism.

Dedicated to Prevention work since she was 11 years old, Connors helped coordinate “Challenge for Change” to bring resources and awareness to substance abuse issues in our community. She serves on the Unite! Leadership team and engages community, parents, law enforcement, youth and business sectors in creating healthy change.

“No job is too big or too small for Chloe,” said McCarthy. “She helps with childcare for Guiding Good Choices parenting workshops, leads the coalition in strategic planning and reaches out to the community to collect data.”  Connor is also involved in every level of coalition work and has served over 450 hours by her leadership and involvement in strategies like Drug Take Back, Let’s Draw the Line, Spring Youth Forum, Kindness Challenge Campaign, #findyourgood campaign, Prevention Policy Day in Olympia, and Capitol Hill day in Washington, D.C.


“Chloe has a very positive energy that makes her a great leader!” said Ann Stevens, Unite! Coalition leader. “She is also very dependable and follows through on her projects and is an inspirational example to other youth!”

“I volunteer and feel passionate about prevention because I want to help my community and people close to me,” Connors says. “I know how important it is to have information, education and resources available to help people make healthy choices.”

This award is sponsored by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery in cooperation with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Department of Health, Washington Traffic Safety Commission, Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, Washington Association for Substance Abuse & Violence Prevention and Prevention Specialist Certification Board of Washington.

Washougal, WA — Art lovers and the entire community are invited to help welcome the newest piece of public art in Washougal.  “WATER,” created by Wendy Armstrong, will be celebrated at a dedication ceremony on Saturday, December 1 at 1 pm at the art’s location on the corner of Main and Pendleton Way in downtown Washougal. A reception will be held immediately following at Washougal Coffee Corner.  The event is hosted by Washougal Arts and Culture Alliance.

WATER is the final piece of the four-part ELEMENTS series of artwork (Earth, Wind, Water and Fire) created by artists of “Women Who Weld” for the Washougal Parks Board of Commissioners.  This piece was made possible through a generous donation from Kind Heart Free Spirit Foundation.

The ELEMENTS project began several years ago when Suzanne Grover and Janice Ferguson of the Parks Board approached Women Who Weld to create an art piece at Steamboat Landing Park.  Originally the plan was for each Element to sit atop the tall pilings of the Steamboat Landing Park dock, but after a flood occurred that would have placed the art located there in danger, it was decided that the Elements would be located around town; separated by distance but linked by a common theme.

EARTH was installed in September of 2013 at the entrance to the Pedestrian Tunnel under Hwy 14.  It was created by Sharon Warman and sponsored by Washougal resident and Park Board member, Shirley Scott. WIND, created by Kathy Willson, was funded by a collaboration of Washougal residents and the Dick Beaver family and was installed in Beaver Park in April 2015.  FIRE at Steamboat Landing was created by the husband and wife artist team, Jennifer Corio and Dave Frei in 2016.  Mayor Molly Coston sponsored the piece as a tribute to her late husband, Phil Harris, Executive Director of the Two Rivers Heritage Museum, in recognition of his love of the rich history of the local area.

After WATER, the next public art to be welcomed to Washougal is a mural to be placed on the outside wall of the public library once the area is prepared for display.  It celebrates Washougal’s Betsey Ough, also known as Princess White Wing, by Native American artist Toma Villa.

WACA is currently raising funds for a full-sized bronze bear sculpture from gorge artist Heather Soderberg.  For more information about WACA, how to become and member and their efforts to bring public art to Washougal visit their website at



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.


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!