Russia, With Love

By Mary Ann Albright August 20, 2010 6 a.m.

For Tina and Tony Esch, cultural exchange and celebration of diversity are both a passion and a way of life. Tina, a native of Russia, met Tony, an American and now her husband, online. She moved from Moscow to Vancouver in 2004 to be with him, and together they founded Am-Ru International Association, a nonprofit group focused on fostering connections between Americans and Russians. “We are an international family,” Tina Esch said. “We would like to develop friendly relationships between the Russian and American communities.”

Gallery to move from Sixth Street

By Mary Ann Albright August 20, 2010 6 a.m.

Faced with dwindling sales, class registrations and donations, downtown Vancouver’s Sixth Street Gallery is moving its location to cut costs. Since it will no longer be based at 105 W. Sixth St., the gallery will get a new, yet-to-be-determined name. The move will take place at the end of September, and the gallery is eying a nearby space on Ninth Street.

Prolific author William F. Nolan lured to Vancouver by an unlikely friendship

By Mary Ann Albright August 18, 2010 6 a.m.

William F. Nolan's wife tells him he invented the Internet. In Nolan's 1967 science-fiction novel "Logan's Run," a vast computer network called the Thinker controls the world. "Science-fiction writers do extrapolate. They try to take a trend of today and move it into the future: What would happen if," the lanky, effervescent 81-year-old said. Plot twists in his own life -- a marriage in need of a tune-up, a professional collaboration that blossomed into a friendship -- led the famed and prolific author to move to Vancouver, where he lives in a book-filled one-bedroom apartment.

Vancouver actress, musician to screen film at local festival

By Mary Ann Albright August 18, 2010 6 a.m.

About 300 films from some 40 countries are screening at the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival, and among them is “The Salon,” written, directed and edited by Vancouver musician, actress and aesthetician Hollie Olson. “The Salon,” a six-minute film, is scheduled to screen at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 19 in Theater B at the Vancouver Convention Center at the Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W. Sixth St., Vancouver.

Academy Award-winning exeuctive producer Tom Nunan to speak at local film festival

By Mary Ann Albright August 18, 2010 6 a.m.

The Columbia Gorge International Film Festival just got an infusion of star power. Academy Award-winning executive producer Tom Nunan will speak at noon on Aug. 21 at the free festival, which continues through Aug. 22 at the Vancouver Convention Center at the Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W. Sixth St., Vancouver. Los Angeles-based Nunan, past president of NBC Studios and the former United Paramount Network (UPN), executive produced independent films such as the Oscar-winning drama “Crash” and the 2006 film “The Illusionist,” starring Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel. He is founder of Bull’s Eye Entertainment, a mid-sized independent television and film production company.

Battle Ground physician, musician makes political statement

By Mary Ann Albright August 11, 2010 6 a.m.

Battle Ground physician, country musician and one-time aspiring politician Rick Jackson sums up his values in the title of “Freedom Family and Faith.” He wrote it with his wife, Jeanine, daughter, Candice, and sons Jonathan — an Enation band member and “General Hospital” actor — and Richard Lee Jackson — also an actor and part of Enation. The song was at one point last year the top country seller on CDBaby. Jackson performed it on the national Fox News morning show “Fox & Friends” in November. Jackson, who records as Ricky Lee Jackson, has since added more political songs to his repertoire. The family collaborated on “We’re Gonna Have a Par-Tea!” in support of the Tea Party Movement. That song, along with “Freedom Family and Faith,” is available on CDBaby and iTunes.

Firm foundation for historical underwear

By Mary Ann Albright July 18, 2010 6 a.m.

From the organ-crushing, bust-enhancing corsets of the mid- to late 1700s to the butt-boosting bustles of the late 1800s to the curve-flattening girdles of the 1920s and ’30s, ladies’ undergarments have evolved over centuries as ideals of beauty — and notions about the role of women in and outside of the home — changed. “Primarily what women’s underwear was meant to do was change women’s shapes to be appealing to whatever area of the woman’s body was preferred by men at that time,” said Yacolt historic costumer and re-enactor Rebecca Morrison-Peck.

Daunting chocolate

By Mary Ann Albright May 18, 2010 10 a.m.

Making chocolate confections at home might seem daunting, but bonbons, truffles and barks are all within the reach of most people, provided they have the right ingredients and can be patient throughout the various heating and cooling phases. “The whole thing about chocolate is people seldom have success with it at home because they don’t go through the tempering process, which is absolutely necessary,” said Ian Titterton, head instructor and director of baking programs at Clark College in Vancouver.

Vancouver teacher, realtor to appear on "My First Place"

By Mary Ann Albright May 13, 2010 3:50 p.m.

Vancouver teacher David Cummings, his girlfriend, Meghaan Jennings, and his realtor, Darby Meade, will appear on HGTV's "My First Place" June 17.

"Project Runway" winner SethAaron Henderson named Starlight Parade grand marshal

By Mary Ann Albright May 12, 2010 12:30 p.m.

Vancouver designer and recent "Project Runway" winner SethAaron Henderson has been named grand marshal of the 2010 Portland Rose Festival’s Portland General Electric/SOLV Starlight Parade.

Battle Ground actor Jonathan Jackson nominated for Daytime Emmy

By Mary Ann Albright May 12, 2010 11:50 a.m.

Battle Ground actor and musician Jonathan Jackson receives his seventh Daytime Emmy nomination for his work on "General Hospital."

Beauty rises out of volcano’s ash

By Mary Ann Albright May 7, 2010 10 a.m.

Steve Terrill still tears up thinking about the eruption of Mount St. Helens nearly 30 years ago, and how, if it weren’t for the intuition of his then-7-year-old son, he wouldn’t be here today. Terrill, a Portland photographer, had set up camp with his son, also named Steve, near Spirit Lake on May 17, 1980, to capture images of Mount St. Helens. He was happy with the location, but his son felt uneasy and wanted to move.

Former Vancouver resident Ken Hanes returns to "The Bold and the Beautiful"

By Mary Ann Albright May 7, 2010 6 a.m.

Vancouver native Ken Hanes reprises his role as Mike Guthrie on the CBS soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

A flair for vintage decor

By Mary Ann Albright May 6, 2010 4:34 p.m.

Moving into a 1933 farmhouse changed two men's lives. To learn more, read Friday's Columbian.

Efforts by nonprofit DOGPAW have raised number of Clark County off-leash dog parks to four

By Mary Ann Albright May 2, 2010 6 a.m.

The dog days of summer are drawing near, and thanks to volunteers such as Kathleen Hansen, pooches and their owners have more places than ever to frolic and socialize. If she gets her way, those options will expand even further. Five years ago, off-leash areas for Clark County’s four-legged residents were limited to one official park just south of Hazel Dell and an unofficial park on what is now Pacific Community Park in east Vancouver. This summer, dogs can enjoy four off-leash parks scattered throughout the county. The latest one, Stevenson Off-Leash Area in Washougal, will have its grand-opening celebration June 5.

Women on Jake’s mind in Neil Simon’s play at Slocum House

By Mary Ann Albright April 30, 2010 6 a.m.

The titular character in the Neil Simon play “Jake’s Women” lives mostly in his head, and it’s a place inhabited primarily by females. From his estranged wife to his late wife to his girlfriend, therapist, sister and daughter, Jake’s life centers on women. That’s something to which James Gulledge can relate. Gulledge, a 43-year-old Salmon Creek resident, plays writer Jake in the Slocum House Theatre Company production, making his Clark County community theater debut.

‘Project Runway’ crowns local designer

By Mary Ann Albright April 26, 2010 11:21 a.m.

Vancouver designer SethAaron Henderson went on “Project Runway” confident he could win, and that’s exactly what he did. Henderson, a 38-year-old father and fashion photo stylist, took top honors on the seventh season of the Lifetime reality show, winning $100,000, a spread in Marie Claire magazine, a design technology suite and the opportunity to sell his clothes on He’s another winner from the Northwest, following on the heels of Portland designer Leanne Marshall, the show’s victor from Season 5.

Battle Ground doctor, father of 'General Hospital' actor and Enation band mates, returns to the spotlight

By Mary Ann Albright April 19, 2010 10:18 a.m.

Rick Jackson returns to the music scene with "Freedom, Family and Faith"

Dodging the flames in ‘Hell’s Kitchen’

By Mary Ann Albright April 19, 2010 10:17 a.m.

Skyview High School graduate Amanda Davenport lands on Fox reality show.

‘Princess and the Three Knights’ has local roots

By Mary Ann Albright April 19, 2010 10:17 a.m.

Vancouver Christian fiction author Karen Kingsbury writes for children and adults.

Best-selling Vancouver author Lisa Jackson is master of suspense

By Mary Ann Albright April 19, 2010 10:17 a.m.

Best-selling suspense author Lisa Jackson calls Vancouver home.

Vancouver designer SethAaron Henderson ready to make it work on ‘Project Runway’

By Mary Ann Albright April 19, 2010 10:17 a.m.

Vancouver designer SethAaron Henderson ready to make it work on ‘Project Runway’ Henderson among 16 competitors on hit reality TV show

Vancouver designer SethAaron Henderson makes it to the finale on 'Project Runway'

By Mary Ann Albright April 19, 2010 10:15 a.m.

SethAaron Henderson is in the top three on "Project Runway."

Former Mouseketeer settles in Amboy

By Mary Ann Albright April 19, 2010 10:14 a.m.

Original "Mickey Mouse Club" cast member Cubby O'Brien reflects on his career.

A hometown for 'General Hospital,' 'One Tree Hill' stars, musicians

By Mary Ann Albright April 19, 2010 10:13 a.m.

Faith and friends bond a tight-knit group of celebrities living in Battle Ground.

Former Skyview High School student to appear on Nickelodeon show

By Mary Ann Albright April 19, 2010 10:13 a.m.

Drake Kemper will play a gossip blogger on the eighth episode of the new Nickelodeon show "Victorious."

Women's group a gathering of inquiring minds

By Mary Ann Albright April 18, 2010 6 a.m.

Members of The Athenaeum and their guests sat rapt as Oregon Symphony Principal Cello Nancy Ives played excerpts of pieces by American composer Charles Ives, her great-grandfather’s cousin. Nancy Ives’ demonstration and lecture complemented the 114-year-old Vancouver women’s study group’s topic of inquiry for 2010 — composers. Several of the group’s members are musicians, but they, too, are learning new things about the subject through the lens of their fellow Athenaeum ladies.

Steel ‘smart’ shelter idea

By Mary Ann Albright April 16, 2010 6 a.m.

Mark Meyers saw news coverage of the earthquakes that ravaged Haiti and Chile in recent months and thought of all people whose homes were destroyed. The Camas resident and owner of Meyers Green Steel Homes recently found what he believes to be the answer in a pile of steel scraps on his family’s nearly 2-acre property. In five days, Meyers constructed a 540-square-foot steel “smart house” he says would be ideal for providing temporary shelter for families displaced by hurricanes or earthquakes.

Local designer ‘Runway’ finalist

By Mary Ann Albright April 12, 2010 6 a.m.

Just five years ago SethAaron Henderson got his first sewing machine, and now he’s among the final three competing on the current season of “Project Runway.” On last Thursday’s challenge, Henderson, a 38-year-old Vancouver resident, and the other four remaining contestants were tasked with creating circus-inspired looks.

Dancing in the New Year

By Mary Ann Albright April 9, 2010 6 a.m.

Organizing the community’s Cambodian New Year festivities runs in the family for Connie Mom-Chhing. Her late mother, Vann Hem, once a member of the Cambodian Royal Ballet and founder of the Khmer Angkor Dance Troupe in Vancouver, began putting together local Cambodian New Year events in 1987. Now, oversight for the annual celebration, as well as the dance troupe, has fallen to Mom-Chhing. It’s a way of helping the area’s small but growing Cambodian-American community keep traditions alive. This weekend will mark the third year Mom-Chhing’s volunteer-run Cambodian New Year Celebration has taken place at Clark College. The Khmer Angkor Dance Troupe will perform a new routine, as well as revive a dance shelved for the past two decades. The event will feature classical and folk Cambodian dance demonstrations, social dance time, music and traditional Cambodian foods as it celebrates the year of the tiger.

Tipping her hat to Easter finery

By Mary Ann Albright April 4, 2010 6 a.m.

Gail Bauhs faced an enviable dilemma leading up to Easter: Which of her dozens of elaborate, festive hats would she wear to worship service this year at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Vancouver? As of a couple weeks before the holiday, Bauhs, a 56-year-old TriMet transportation brokerage manager, had narrowed the choice to two wide-brimmed hats she rarely dons. One was a bright yellow straw hat for which she recently found the perfect scarf to match.

Talent show organizer AWOL, prize unpaid

By Mary Ann Albright April 2, 2010 6 a.m.

Singer-songwriter Mark Houston impressed the judges at Wednesday’s Vancouver’s Got Talent finale by performing an original composition and a Green Day song while accompanying himself on guitar at the Vancouver Ballroom. The 14-year-old from Vancouver, an eighth-grader at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, expected to receive a prize package including $500 cash, but the event organizer was absent. Russell Bruner, owner of the Vancouver Ballroom and a judge at the event, said that left him to cobble together $100 to give to Houston.

Milam encores as interim symphony director

By Mary Ann Albright March 26, 2010 6 a.m.

After taking several months off to start a business, the Vancouver Symphony’s former interim executive director has returned, again on a temporary basis. Scott Milam took the reins of the nonprofit organization after former President Celia Gesting resigned in May. Milam, a 50-year-old Vancouver resident who’s been on the Vancouver Symphony board since 2008, assumed leadership of the organization in June and continued through late November.

Money woes force Vancouver Symphony to cancel April shows

By Mary Ann Albright March 25, 2010 6 a.m.

The three teenage musicians tapped to play with the Vancouver Symphony in its April concerts will have to wait a month. Financial straits prompted the orchestra to cancel its April 17 and 18 concerts, which were to highlight the winners of its Young Artists Competition and would have featured concertos by Mozart and Haydn.

Local designer wins again on ‘Runway’

By Mary Ann Albright March 22, 2010 6 a.m.

SethAaron Henderson drew inspiration from Harlem on last week’s episode of “Project Runway,” and the energy and vibrancy he absorbed from the neighborhood translated into success on the red carpet. Henderson, a 38-year-old Vancouver designer, partnered with fellow contestant Emilio Sosa to create day separates and an evening gown that earned them both top honors from the judges. Henderson took leadership on the day look, while Sosa tackled the gown, although they collaborated on both designs.

Backyard vows

By Mary Ann Albright March 21, 2010 6 a.m.

Brittney Sullivan thought she knew just about everything there was to know about weddings. As a photographer, she’s attended more than 100 nuptials. But when the 27-year-old set out to plan her own wedding at her future in-laws’ Vancouver home and gardens, she was surprised by the amount of work involved, not to mention the expense. “Everything just adds up faster than you realize,” said Sullivan, who wed husband Nick in September 2008.

Battle Ground (art) Scene change

By Mary Ann Albright March 19, 2010 6 a.m.

Battle Ground’s arts landscape is evolving as new brush strokes appear and others fade into the past. Artists and art lovers alike watch the changes unfold as the economic downturn turns up the pressure on an industry reliant upon discretionary income and raises the question of whether multi-purpose galleries are the way of the future. Battle Ground galleries are exploring creative solutions ranging from an art-filled combination church and coffee shop to an arts center with classes and framing services. Members of The Cupola Gallery know all too well the trickle-down effect of reduced consumer spending. The gallery will close its storefront in Old Town Battle Ground on April 3, due to declining membership and sales.

Shepherd’s pie celebration

By Mary Ann Albright March 16, 2010 6 a.m.

Shepherd’s pie was a staple of Peter Yeates’ childhood. Growing up in Dublin, he ate the dish at least once a week. “It’s very, very popular” in Ireland, said Yeates, who moved to the United States in 1971 and is now co-owner of Irishtown Bar & Grill in Vancouver.

Art is in the eye of the beholder

By Mary Ann Albright March 14, 2010 6 a.m.

Sometimes the eyes of paintings seem to follow viewers’ movements, creating a sense of being watched. That’s certainly true of North Bank Artists Gallery’s current eye-themed exhibit, where a room full of orbs stares back at admirers. Two main gallery spaces are devoted to Felida artist Cynthia Heise-Swartz’s surrealist-figurative paintings. The show, “Through My Eyes,” reveals the world through her unique lens.

Masala Bhangra spice of life

By Mary Ann Albright March 1, 2010 6 a.m.

Students in Rachelle Wish’s Masala Bhangra class are encouraged to imagine themselves at an Indian wedding or in a Bollywood movie. The Vancouver fitness instructor calls out “Bhangra Basic,” and the class responds by raising their arms in a W shape, turning their wrists like they’re screwing in light bulbs, and tapping alternate heels across their bodies. Wish calls for “Bhangra Love,” and the group begins a forward-moving pattern. “How we doing?” Wish asks.

Arts scene vibrant, varied

By Mary Ann Albright and Matt Wastradowski February 28, 2010 6 a.m.

Music, art, theater and dance well represented

Local designer wins 1st ‘Runway’ challenge

By Mary Ann Albright February 20, 2010 6 a.m.

Being a father gave SethAaron Henderson an advantage on Thursday’s episode of “Project Runway.” The challenge was to create a look for a young girl and a complementary outfit for an adult woman, and the Vancouver designer used his 12-year-old daughter, Megann, as inspiration.

Orchestrating the science of love

By Mary Ann Albright February 7, 2010 6 a.m.

Songs about falling in and out of love fill the Great American Songbook. “Fever” explores the physical spark people feel when near an object of desire. “You Go to My Head” touches on the all-encompassing romance of new love. Then there are songs like “Cry Me a River” mourning relationships that have run their course. These songs form the basis of a multimedia show delving into the physiological and emotional aspects of love. “Brain Chemistry for Lovers: Where the Art of Song Meets the Science of Love” pairs pop tunes and jazz standards with video and lecture elements discussing the various chemicals the brain releases during different stages of love.

Grammys hit high note for Camas girl

By Mary Ann Albright February 6, 2010 6 a.m.

Awards show red carpets appear on TV to stretch on and on as starlets glide past a sea of flashing light bulbs and admiring fans. But Katelynne Cox was surprised to find the red carpet she walked at a Grammy Awards after-party to be fairly short.

Frugal families don’t scrimp on fun

By Mary Ann Albright February 5, 2010 6 a.m.

Melanie Brawley may have grown up in a thrifty household and come to teach classes on saving money, but she hasn’t always been a model bargain hunter. Brawley, a 29-year-old mother from Vancouver, took a four-year “coupon vacation” during college and racked up debt. “I’ve been there,” she tells people struggling with finances today. “I’ve been to the point where I’ve had only 40 cents in my checking account.”

Camas teen hopes model magazine will boost her music career

By Mary Ann Albright January 22, 2010 6 a.m.

Camas teen Katelynne Cox grew up reading Supermodels Unlimited magazine and looking up to the models gracing its glossy pages. Now she’s one of them. Cox, a 15-year-old sophomore at La Salle Catholic College Preparatory in Milwaukie, Ore., is featured in the magazine’s 2009 Most Beautiful Edition. Cox is highlighted in the issue’s music industry section alongside such names as Brooke Hogan, a singer and reality-television personality who’s the daughter of wrestler Hulk Hogan.

A Shakespearian shortcut

By Mary Ann Albright January 8, 2010 6 a.m.

All’s well that ends well when the likes of Hamlet, Othello and Macbeth collide, complete with a dash of Julia Child and a nod to Luke Skywalker, in what’s sure to be a tempestuous comedy of errors.

Salmon Creek chefs aim for healthful, delicious

By Mary Ann Albright December 29, 2009 6 a.m.

It was like an I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! commercial at a recent party at Salmon Creek resident Alice Bolen’s home. Guests played the part of Fabio, milling through the kitchen sampling sweet and savory recipes from Bolen and daughter Janelle Woolley’s new low-fat cookbook, “Simply Deliteful.”

You say you want a resolution

By Mary Ann Albright December 27, 2009 6 a.m.

Each year on Dec. 31, people vow that the next 365 days will be different. They’ll achieve the body of Heidi Klum or Hugh Jackman, the financial savvy of Warren Buffett and the altruism of Mother Teresa. Unfortunately, those commitments are usually distant memories by February.

Protest of BPA power line plan set for today

By Mary Ann Albright December 14, 2009 8 a.m.

People opposed to a proposed Bonneville Power Administration power line going through their neighborhood say they will protest the project this morning at BPA headquarters, 905 N.E. 11th Ave. The protest is set for 11 a.m.