Bits 'n' Pieces: Port official raises $1,500 for Hough Family Services Center

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Matt Graves, environmental manager at the Port of Vancouver, said he used to love swimming at the Hough Pool during his lunch hour. But the Hough Pool sank under the weight of its own operating costs, and the nonprofit Hough Foundation closed it in 2010.

Graves, 36, hatched a plan to raise swimming scholarship money for Hough kids to take elsewhere, and to draw attention to local water-quality issues by swimming across Vancouver Lake. That was two years ago, and Graves emerged from the water wondering how to top this feat.

By Hiking for Hough, he decided. In 2011, he rounded up some colleagues to scale Mount Adams with him, and they would have reached the peak — except tough conditions and weather got in the way. So, last week, Graves and five more port colleagues and friends did "Hike for Hough Part Deux" and did it right: they reached 9,000 feet before sunset, hunkered down for the night and woke up early. Four of the six climbers reached the 12,281-foot summit.

Graves, 36, lives in Clackamas, Ore., but works and spends so much time in Vancouver that it feels like home, he said.

He said the Hike for Hough climb raised approximately $1,500 for the Family Services Center operated by the Hough Foundation. The foundation provides clothes, food, counseling and support for children and families in need.

For information about the Hough Foundation visit http://www.houghfoundation.org

— Scott Hewitt

Student filmmaker lauded for 'One Hell of a Story'

What would Satan's voice sound like? Would he get cravings for Eggo waffles? Would he drink 2 percent, skim or whole milk?

Student filmmaker Nick Shaw grappled with such questions and much more when he made his short film, "One Hell of a Story," in the spring of 2011 during his senior year at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics.

He described the plot as "the story of a tortured soul who must either be a tool or fight for his life." Shaw labored 100 hours, including 36 uninterrupted hours of editing, to complete his short film.

More than a year later, Shaw's dedication was rewarded when his film won the Best Local Student Film category at the Fifth Annual Columbia Gorge International Film Festival Aug. 15-19 in downtown Vancouver.

His film crew was Garrett Farness, Isaac Chamberlain, Scarlet Hollis and Ashley Shaw. Cast members were Alex Gavlick, Seth Cooper, Alyson Pettet and Shaw himself, who provided the voice of Satan.

Shaw, 20, is a college sophomore preparing to return to George Fox University in Newberg, Ore., where he is studying film production.

"I've learned so much about film since I made 'One Hell of a Story,' but I still feel good about my film," Shaw said. "It was a stepping stone for moving forward."

He said he's recently been focusing on screenwriting to create more structured stories.

In summer 2011, he won a regional Northwest student Emmy for his short film "Muffin Man."

Watch Shaw's film "One Hell of a Story" at http://bit.ly/QvYcq1.

View all of Shaw's films at http://youtube.com/nickburnside.

— Susan Parrish

Bits 'n' Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you'd like to share, email bits@columbian.com.