Bioscience school gets official name

By Howard Buck September 15, 2011 6 a.m.

There’s an amazing, never-ending story behind the newly chosen name for the Health and Bioscience high school that Evergreen Public Schools will soon construct near PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Exactly like its namesake: Henrietta Lacks.

Patterson memorial bike ride, tribute groundbreaking set for Saturday

By Howard Buck September 14, 2011 6 a.m.

Two years after the tragic death of beloved Hudson’s Bay High School teacher Gordon Patterson, a second memorial bike ride on Saturday will climax with the groundbreaking of a new memorial garden on campus. Cyclists will depart at 9 a.m. from the school’s front door (reached via the driveway at 1601 E. McLoughlin Blvd.). A four-mile loop will lead to and from Patterson’s former church on North St. Johns Road, in the Minnehaha neighborhood. A longer 10-mile circuit is also available.

Nonteachers to pack Vancouver schools board meeting

By Howard Buck September 12, 2011 6:45 p.m.

School secretaries, clerical and technology assistants and paraeducator workers mired in a labor contract dispute with Vancouver Public Schools chose not to disrupt school operations on Monday.

Vancouver school workers file labor complaint

By Howard Buck September 10, 2011 6 a.m.

Frustrated Vancouver school district support employees won’t hint at what might occur, or not, Monday at schools.

B.G., Vancouver school boards shift meetings

By Howard Buck September 10, 2011 6 a.m.

Patrons, employees and other followers of the Vancouver and Battle Ground schools will find new school board meeting times and one major change of venue, starting next week. The shifts coincide with the onset of the 2011-12 school year.

September treat: Back to school

By Howard Buck September 8, 2011 6 a.m.

With each step along tree-shaded Northeast Sixth Avenue early Wednesday, the last moments of summer vacation for 10-year-old Alex Beltran-Villa faded nearer to oblivion. Young Alex didn’t mind.

Vancouver school support staff pickets district HQ

By Howard Buck September 7, 2011 6 a.m.

About 50 Vancouver Public Schools support employees rallied again outside district headquarters late Tuesday afternoon, drawing supportive honks and shouts. The first day of the school year promises to be less chaotic.

WSU Vancouver again offering free digital workshops

By Howard Buck September 6, 2011 4:43 p.m.

For a second autumn, Washington State University Vancouver digital communications instructors are hosting free workshops on a first-come, first-served basis for any local resident, small business owner or nonprofit group employee.

New buses carry B.G., Hockinson students

By Howard Buck September 6, 2011 6 a.m.

Starting on Tuesday, north county drivers may notice dozens of brand-new school buses plying Battle Ground and Hockinson district routes. And, soon, Panama residents will see a similar fleet upgrade.

Vancouver school employees, district at odds

By Howard Buck September 2, 2011 11:31 a.m.

Vancouver school students and parents — and teachers — might encounter picketing school secretaries and support workers next Wednesday, on the first day of class. It’s possible some teachers will honor, or even join, picket lines.

School opening breeds familiarity

By Howard Buck August 31, 2011 6:59 p.m.

It was a morning of rituals: Both those already well-worn, like a pair of comfortable shoes, and brand-new routines established with tiny, tentative steps. Classroom doors swung open again Wednesday at Ellsworth Elementary School, along with all other Evergreen district buildings and those in the Hockinson, La Center and Ridgefield districts.

State’s schools testing better

By Howard Buck August 31, 2011 6 a.m.

Scores from new math exams administered to Washington high school students in spring 2011 are highly encouraging statewide and locally, but the state’s school chief isn’t ready to declare success. At least three years of data are needed for an accurate assessment of new end-of-course exams launched this year, he warned. Still, state Superintendent Randy Dorn couldn’t help applaud results for the Measurements of Student Progress for grades 3-8, the High School Proficiency Exam, the new mathematics tests and even more refined high school graduation rates.

Statewide, local school tests: Trend positive

By Howard Buck August 30, 2011 7:23 p.m.

Scores from new statewide math exams administered to Washington high school students in spring 2011 are highly encouraging, but the state’s school superintendent isn’t ready to declare success. At least three years of data are needed to gain confidence in new end-of-course exams launched this year, he warned.

Battle Ground school board approves budget

By Howard Buck August 30, 2011 6 a.m.

Battle Ground school board members on Monday adopted without change the $119.7 million operating budget plan previously unveiled for 2011-12, which cuts spending by about $4.8 million, or 3.8 percent, from last year. The 5-0 vote follows month of contract negotiations between district administrators, teachers and other employees of Battle Ground Public Schools.

Bid awarded for construction of Evergreen BioScience school

By Howard Buck August 25, 2011 7:54 p.m.

Evergreen Public Schools officials have awarded a $16.1 million contract to a Beaverton, Ore., building contractor to construct its new Health and BioScience Academy. Skanska USA Building, Inc., was the low bidder Tuesday at the school district’s second go-round on the bid award process.

At VSAA, 7 local teens hop aboard John Lennon bus

By Howard Buck August 25, 2011 6 a.m.

Inside the big, midnight-blue bus that bears the image of the man who invited the world to “Imagine,” the young local students let their musical creative powers flow. “Stone and Dan started on guitar, with some chord progressions. Then, Salena joined in,” said Emily Bryan, 17, a senior at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics. “It just happened from there.”

Battle Ground school district pares spending

By Howard Buck August 23, 2011 6 a.m.

BATTLE GROUND — More details emerged Monday as the Battle Ground school board held its first public hearing on a proposed $119.7 million operating budget for the 2011-12 school year.

Students return to WSUV campus in large numbers

By Howard Buck August 23, 2011 6 a.m.

It’s a reach to say “autumn was in the air” — even if Monday’s clouds and cooler temperature were a sharp departure from the weekend’s mini-heat wave — but the first day of the fall semester at Washington State University Vancouver surely signals a change of season in some way. Students again flooded the WSUV campus, beginning its 16th year on its Salmon Creek hillside.

New WSUV chancellor is an experienced hand at helm

By Howard Buck August 22, 2011 6 a.m.

Lynn Valenter occupies the corner office that still bears the nameplate of Hal Dengerink, Washington State University Vancouver’s founding and only chancellor. But only for portions of her days.

Images of Haiti stick with local teen

By Howard Buck August 19, 2011 6 a.m.

When constructing a home, school or some other important building in Haiti, the wall goes up first. Always. Usually a thick, 10- or 12-foot-high concrete cinder block wall, often topped with barbed wire. That’s simply how it’s done in the world’s poorest nation.

B.G. schools budget plan calls for more cuts

By Howard Buck August 19, 2011 6 a.m.

For a third consecutive year, all Battle Ground Public Schools employees — teachers, clerical and support staff and administrators alike — will take a cut in pay. A 4 percent, districtwide reduction two years ago was followed by a 1 percent cut last year.

'Bus Stuff' packs in supplies for students

By Howard Buck August 17, 2011 7:14 p.m.

Today’s weather shouts summer, but the calendar says school is coming soon. To help each student begin the new year Aug. 31 with the right classroom supplies, the Evergreen School District Foundation hosted a “Stuff the Bus” event all of Wednesday to raise donations.

Mount Pleasant School District voters OK property tax levy

By Howard Buck August 17, 2011 6 a.m.

Mount Pleasant residents delivered a strong message that they wish to keep their 119-year-old Mount Pleasant Elementary School afloat, decisively approving a new property tax levy. Meanwhile, two other small Skamania County schools saw levies soundly rejected.

Ridgefield school board incumbent Morris to face Vance in November

By Howard Buck August 17, 2011 6 a.m.

The primary winner is unknown. But, it’s certain that challenger Joe Vance will battle 12-year incumbent Wendi Morris in November for her Position 2 seat on the Ridgefield School Board.

Online degree program alternative to overstuffed schools

By Howard Buck August 16, 2011 6 a.m.

There simply aren't enough seats for students today at the state's four-year state universities. Now comes a fresh push to direct students to a timely alternative.

River HomeLink gets a new home

By Howard Buck August 15, 2011 6 a.m.

Bounced in June from leased space in a Camas church, Battle Ground Public Schools’ popular alternative River HomeLink program has found a new, long-term home. It’s not at the district’s CASEE administrative hub on Northeast 149th Street in Brush Prairie, as announced earlier.

Fire trucks worth chasing

By Howard Buck August 13, 2011 6 a.m.

No question: Big, red fire trucks get American hearts pumping. Actually, a display of 200 years’ worth of pumpers, fire engines, ladder trucks and all types of fire fighting gear offer a quiet respite from the bustle of the Clark County Fair.

Vancouver district, teachers reach deal

By Howard Buck August 12, 2011 6 a.m.

The Vancouver Education Association and Vancouver Public Schools have reached a two-year collective bargaining agreement, pending ratification later this month by teachers union members and the school board. District and union officials on Thursday jointly announced the new deal, hammered out after several months of sporadic talks.

Library district braces for new cutbacks

By Howard Buck August 11, 2011 7:35 p.m.

As Southwest Washington property values continue to tank, Fort Vancouver Regional Library District leaders are poised to adopt $1.25 million in spending cutbacks in the system’s 2012-13 budget. District officials are preparing to make employee layoffs at library branches and the district headquarters, scale back professional services and capital improvements and permanently retire the Clark County Bookmobile.

Budget time for Evergreen, Vancouver districts

By Howard Buck August 9, 2011 9:26 p.m.

The Evergreen and Vancouver school boards on Tuesday teed up final budget reduction plans for 2011-12 that would slice a total $15.6 million in spending from last year’s service levels.

Share Inc. gets $1 million capital boost

By Howard Buck August 2, 2011 8:53 p.m.

A shared effort by donors will create a much-improved Share Inc. operations base. Local businesses and business leaders have teamed to produce a $1 million capital fund for major upgrades at the Share Fromhold Service Center, located on Northeast Andresen Road in Vancouver, the nonprofit group announced Tuesday.

Veteran Ridgefield school board member faces challenge in primary

By Howard Buck August 2, 2011 6 a.m.

A rare three-way contest for Position 2 on the Ridgefield school board pits a home-grown, 12-year incumbent against a first-time candidate and a more recent Clark County newcomer in the August 16 primary election. Wendi Morris, 42, graduated from Ridgefield High in 1987. She’s one of five daughters raised by tree farmer Bruce Wiseman, a longtime Port of Ridgefield commissioner and former Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge project leader. Morris, mother of three Ridgefield students, has served on the board since 1999.

Schools seek to replace timber payments

By Howard Buck July 31, 2011 6 a.m.

The spigot that poured federal timber payments from Washington, D.C., into Skamania County government and its four school districts for the past two decades is poised to run dry. Annual checks from D.C. — which since 2008 have declined from $218,235 to $131,059 for Mount Pleasant School, just east of Washougal — are likely to end, following one final payment this winter. And Congress is surely not in a giving mood.

Stevenson-Carson school race pits 18-year incumbent, two challengers

By Howard Buck July 30, 2011 6 a.m.

Declining federal timber payments and reduced state funding have crimped the Stevenson-Carson school budget. Its leaders must cut spending an estimated $2 million for the coming school year.

Water Wheel at Columbia Springs turns back years

By Howard Buck July 30, 2011 6 a.m.

Past and present met Friday morning at the Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center. It was a good match.

It’s prime time, today! Another mathematical oddity

By Howard Buck July 27, 2011 6 a.m.

Are you feeling it? Something... special in the air?

Maple Grove Primary to add full-day kindergarten

By Howard Buck July 25, 2011 8:18 p.m.

Battle Ground Public Schools will launch a pilot full-day, paid-tuition kindergarten program this school year for 48 students, becoming the latest Clark County district to offer extended instruction. Two full-day classes at Maple Grove Primary School will serve 24 students each.

Lennon bus rocking and rolling into city

By Howard Buck July 25, 2011 6 a.m.

Magic bus? No, that was The Who. But a visit Aug. 24 to Vancouver by the big, blue John Lennon Tour Bus should be no less special. The mobile recording studio, named after the late Beatles member, is cruising the nation to give students (and some teachers) a chance to work with professionals and learn to use state-of-the-art equipment.

‘Cruisin’ leaves no bruisin’

By Howard Buck July 18, 2011 8:34 p.m.

Donations from Saturday’s crowd-pleasing Cruisin the Gut event will help fill many empty stomachs. Phil Medina, the Vancouver man who founded the classic car spectacle just two years ago, and other leaders, dropped off 3,120 lbs. of donated food and $3,127 in cash at the Share House on Sunday.

Evergreen schools budget taking shape

By Howard Buck July 18, 2011 6 a.m.

With barely a dozen patrons attending the final Evergreen Public Schools budget forum last week at Frontier Middle School, there was ample time to pepper Superintendent John Deeder with questions. Few inquiries were aimed at Deeder’s budget cut plan issued on June 30, however.

Cruisin’ for compliments

By Howard Buck July 17, 2011 6 a.m.

Vancouver shrugged off rain early Saturday, but there was plenty of thunder to come. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of classic muscle cars, street rods and other waxed-up beauties rumbled up and down Main Street in the all-out, no-apologies spectacle dubbed “Cruisin’ the Gut.”

New downtown library opens Sunday

By Howard Buck July 17, 2011 6 a.m.

Five years after voters approved a construction bond measure, the $38 million Vancouver Community Library debuts Sunday with a festive grand opening. A block party on C Street will detour vehicle traffic until late afternoon.

DUI crash hurts Amboy man critically

By Howard Buck July 17, 2011 6 a.m.

A spinout and collision on state Highway 503 just north of Battle Ground early Saturday left an Amboy man in critical condition and sent another passenger and both drivers to a Vancouver hospital. Richard V. Owens, 21, of Amboy remained hospitalized Saturday afternoon at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

Battle Ground school days shifted 30 minutes later

By Howard Buck July 16, 2011 6 a.m.

There’s been a great run in pop culture, lately, for zombies of all kinds. But, Battle Ground school leaders don’t want to see them in classrooms every day. So, they’ve agreed to push school start times back 30 minutes for the upcoming school year, the district has announced.

Camas Farmer's Market gains foothold

By Howard Buck July 13, 2011 6 a.m.

CAMAS — On a delightful early evening, pedestrians reclaim a downtown patch of Northeast Fourth Avenue. Young singles peruse produce and other edibles for sale. Someone softly plays acoustic guitar, lending to the mellow mood.

Battle Ground school days delayed 30 minutes

By Howard Buck July 15, 2011 6 a.m.

There’s been a great run in pop culture, lately, for zombies of all kinds. But, Battle Ground school leaders don’t want to see them in classrooms every day. So, they’ve agreed to push school start times back 30 minutes for the upcoming school year, the district has announced.

Heritage finds success in AVID

By Howard Buck June 30, 2011 6 a.m.

Heritage High School teacher Matt Kessler pressed his 23 seniors hard this spring. Again. Listen to Miranda Taylor, longtime participant in the school’s Achievement Via Individual Determination program, which is designed to steer more students into rigorous Advanced Placement courses and a full-throttle college education.

Chinese student learns, and teaches, valuable lessons at Seton Catholic

By Howard Buck June 23, 2011 6 a.m.

At first, “Gino” was somewhat lost, his arrival in Clark County a bit ragged. The Seton Catholic High School foreign exchange student leaned heavily on a digital translator device until it gave out, while he coped with strange foods, classmates and culture. Fortunately, he had Skype to keep in touch with home.

‘Whale’ of a day for Pleasant Valley duo

By Howard Buck June 24, 2011 6 a.m.

Here’s a winning tale of two middle-schoolers who know a lot about history. And who just made some history themselves.

Deeder sets webcast on Evergreen budget

By Howard Buck June 23, 2011 6 a.m.

Superintendent John Deeder will host a live webcast on Thursday, June 30, to share his cost-savings plan for Evergreen Public Schools. At stake are the fate of classroom teacher positions, school librarians, fifth-grade music and middle-school athletic programs, some high school counselors and dozens more potential targets.