School Construction Update – 4/18/2014

Construction crews continue to work throughout the district with interior work including painting and polishing becoming more prominent this week.

At Ridgefield High School, crews continued interior and exterior work. At the new multipurpose facility, crews worked on the balcony supports and railings (see our panorama shot below for more details).

At the shared Union Ridge Elementary School / View Ridge Middle School site, crews worked on interior paint prep along with work on the elevator shaft that will provide ADA access and ease with bringing furniture and learning equipment to the second floor.

At the south Ridge Elementary School site, painting crews have started working on the some of the preliminary color coats. In addition, crews have began polishing the floor surface to its final shine.




For more information on Ridgefield School District’s ongoing construction projects, visit their construction blog by clicking here

You can also get more district news from their Facebook page or on Twitter.

A Bit of Information about the Blog

We now have over 400 subscribers to! This is amazing to me! Thank you to all you faithful readers, and to so many of you who have referred others to the blog.

Subscribers get an email message about 7am listing up to two new posts. Some of you might not know that I have set up the program so only two posts show each morning. If more than two are new you can only see them by visiting the main blog.

To get there, click on the large FYI98642 letters at the top of the post. This will bring you to the full blog, with advertisements for local businesses and a calendar of events. Try it – you’ll like it!

Community Garden Kick Off

Are you interested in Ridgefield’s Community Garden? There will be a kick-off and planning meeting at 5:30pm on Tuesday, April 22 at the City Hall. The primary purpose of the meeting will be to discuss and develop guidelines that will help members to experience the rewards of community gardening and manage the challenges that may arise.

For example: Who may obtain a plot? Is winter gardening allowed? What should be done with a plot that appears to have been abandoned? HOw will community areas be cared for? Please come to the meeting to learn more about community gardening in Ridgefield and participate in the planning process.

If you have ideas, or you are interested in renewing or obtaining a garden plot but cannot attend the meeting, please contact Lee Knottnerus at 857- 5001 or


Easter Egg Hunt at Discovery Pointe Church

Discovery Pointe Church at 21810 NE 37th Avenue will hold an Easter Egg Hunt Saturday, April 19th. There will be prizes and 1500 eggs will be hidden. It all starts at 10:30am.

Family worship service is at 9:30am, fellowship brunch at 10:30am and bible study at 11:15am on Sundays.

If you have questions, please call 727-3030,

Should we sell?

Port of Ridgefield

The Port of Ridgefield Commission will meet April 23 at 3:00 at the Port offices for the purpose of holding a public hearing to hear the reasons of any taxpayer in the district for or against the proposed sale of Lots 4 and 5 of the 11th Street Short Plat, now pending. After the conclusion of such testimony and consideration of such testimony and any staff report, the Commission will determine the advisability of the sale and will enter its decision on the record.

A legal description of the property and a map of the property is available for public inspection at the Port Office.

Three Ridgefield schools win multiple Washington Achievement Awards!

Three Ridgefield schools – Ridgefield High School, View Ridge Middle School and South Ridge Elementary School – were selected by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) as recipients of 2013 Washington Achievement Awards in an announcement made on Wednesday.

Ridgefield High School received awards in four out of the six categories: Overall Excellence, High Progress, Special Recognition for Reading Growth and Special Recognition for Math Growth. South Ridge Elementary School received awards in two categories: High Progress and Special Recognition for Reading Growth. View Ridge Middle School received an award for High Progress.

To achieve Overall Excellence, schools must qualify in one of two ways: they must either meet Annual Measureable Objectives (AMOs) for all students in reading, math and graduation rates for the three most recent years or rank among the top 5% of schools on the 3-Year composite index rating.

Schools who receive recognition for being top performers in the High Progress category must be in the top 10% of Title I schools for performance improvement in both reading and math for the past three years.

In order to receive Special Recognition for a specific content area (Reading, Mathematics or English Language Acquisition), schools must rank in the top 5% highest performing schools based on median growth across the state.

Ridgefield High School Principal Tony Vandermaas, View Ridge Middle School Principal Chris Griffith, South Ridge Elementary School Principal Janice Sauve and Superintendent Art Edgerly will attend an awards ceremony hosted by Timberline High School in Lacey, Washington on April 24.

For more Ridgefield schools news, visit the district website. You can also get more district news from their Facebook page or on Twitter.

Overlook Park

Adam McIsaac with plans

Members of the Overlook Park Committee met with Adam McIsaac this morning at the Sportsman’s Restaurant and Lounge to go over drawings for the four panels which will span spaces between the uprights at the rear of the stage at the park.

The panels will be metal, nine feet wide, and illustrate flora and fauna that are native to our area.

That’s Adam at the left, showing the six concepts he presented. Jim Maul, Dick Carlson and Steve Wall are also pictured. Others who also attended were Mayor Ron Onslow, Sandy Schill, Allene Wodaege and me.

Adam is a nationally known artist who works in wood and metal. Four of the six designs were approved, and the next step will be to vectorize the drawings and research what type of metal will be cost effective and be best for the work.


View Ridge Middle School Math team invites community to provide feedback on Tuesday, April 22!

As part of View Ridge Middle School’s staff efforts to improve student learning, each department will hold a Parent Feedback Night.

The VRMS Math Department invites you to participate on Tuesday, April 22 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the View Ridge Library.

VRMS Math teachers want to know what’s working, what may need to be changed, how to increase student excitement in math, and will be available to answer any questions or concerns you might have.

Please consider attending!

This Week at the Library

This week the following programs are taking place at your local library:

Wednesday April 16 – Stitchery Group 10:00 a.m., Preschool Story Time 10:30 a.m., Ridgefield Gaming Group 4:00 p.m.;

Thursday April 17 – Spanish Conversation Circle 4:00 p.m.;

Friday April 18-Toddler Story Time 10:30 a.m., Teen Book Discussion (We are discussing Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan).

Saturday April 19 3:30 p.m.-Writers’ Circle.

Saturday April 26 – 2:00 p.m. – Dream about working on the railroad? Join us to play with trains, enjoy a train story time, and learn about trains. This is a school age program.

April 30 marks the end of the Poetry Contest. Poems can be still be submitted! Prizes are a book of poems courtesy of the Friends of the Ridgefield Library.

Holy Week & Easter @ Ridgefield Community United Methodist Church

Good Friday – April 18th – 3 Events

Cross Walk – 5:30 pm – we meet downtown at the Skate Park (one block east from the Post Office), and take turns carrying a large wooden cross through our community and up to our church, stopping along the way for scriptures and prayers.  This is a powerful gathering, and open to the public.

Soup & Bread Supper – 6:30 pm – we end our Cross Walk with a light soup supper. This is both for those able to join us for the Walk, and those catching the end. This is a free meal, open to all.

Good Friday Worship - 7:00 pm – a solemn service of witness on the day Jesus suffered and died for us upon His Cross.  Includes the seven last utterances of Christ, Holy Communion and a message, “Why is Good Friday Good?”

Easter Sunday – April 20th – 4 Events

Sonrise Worship – 8:00 am – a special early service, we gather outside on our deck overlook Mount St. Helens (weather permitting) as we sing praises and share in celebration of the resurrection of our Savior! A light breakfast follows – free!

Children’s Easter Egg Hunt – 9:30 am – come and learn how an Easter egg teaches us about Jesus’ resurrection!  Open to all children!

Easter Sunday Worship – 10:30 am – our “big” service with praise songs and hymns, Scriptures and prayers, and celebration of the risen Christ!  “He is Risen!”  “He is Risen Indeed!”

Ridgefield Community United Methodist Church is located at 1410 S. Hillhurst Road,1 mile south of Pioneer, 1 mile north of RHS.   (360) 887-8312

Did You Know high school students investigate their perceptions of right and wrong in Language Arts?

Students explored their perceptions of morality in the Image of Man unit

Students explored their perceptions of morality in the Image of Man unit

Sophomores at Ridgefield High School explored their perceptions of the image of mankind and morality through innovative class projects during Jill Uhacz’s language arts classes. Throughout the multi-week unit, students studied philosophy about the different images of man, read the Lord of the Flies, watched the movie Castaway, and participated in an in-class bomb shelter activity used to create student teams for the next six weeks.

Uhacz developed the unit using project suggestions from a teacher she worked with at a different school. “She shared so many great ideas with me,” said Uhacz. “She created wonderful activities that I used as a starting point, and then jumped off from there.”

The Images of Man

Uhacz taught the students five different philosophies describing the nature of humanity and assigned a writing project using the material. Students selected one or more of the following philosophies which they felt described the nature of mankind:

  • “Man is a wolf to his fellow man” suggests that humans are antisocial, aggressive and immoral creatures whose behavior is stimulated by dangerous instincts.
  • “Tabula Rasa or ‘blank slate’” portrays humanity as amoral or ethically neutral and suggests that humans learn morality throughout their life.
  • “Man is a mixture of good and evil” presents the concept of human nature as a union of opposites with good and evil competing to capture the human heart.
  • “Man is naturally good and can improve himself” provides a more optimistic view that human beings everywhere are basically good and continuously improvable.
  • “Man will transcend himself” considers every individual as a fountain of unlimited possibilities with the freedom to grow beyond any individual before.

As part of a writing assignment, students selected a philosophy (or philosophies) which they felt best represented their own perception of the image of man. “The kids are so great with this challenging new material,” said Uhacz. “Each class participated in very intense conversations about each of the different concepts and what it meant to the students.”

Students debated their chosen philosophies on the Image of Man

Students debated their chosen philosophies on the Image of Man

Even though each student explores their own perception of the image of man individually, the classes started to develop a common generalization. “The classes this year generally seemed to believe that man is a blank slate with no instinctual moral compass,” said Uhacz. “That being said, a few students suggested that we all do have a conscience which led to spirited debate.”

Dropping the Bomb

What would you do if you had to choose who would survive after a nuclear bomb detonated in your city? Uhacz’s students explored that very concept in an activity Uhacz used to create randomly-assigned student teams.

At the beginning of class, students were separated into two large groups of 12 students each and told to pretend that they were at a dinner party when the Civil Defense warning system announces that enemy planes are entering Washington State and proceed to drop nuclear bombs on the area.

Continuing the story, the host happens to maintain a well-equipped bomb shelter in the basement where all 12 of the dinner party guests have survived the blasts. A radio message announces that the radiation will last an entire month. Unfortunately, there’s only enough food and supplies in the bomb shelter to support six people for that amount of time so each group must decide which six characters will survive.

Each student received an envelope with their character including detailed background information. The 12 characters included a psychology professor, a nutritionist, a student performing radiation research, an individual with a photographic memory, a pregnant mother, her medical student husband, an electrician, the electrician’s son, a minister, a football player, a happy go-lucky romantic, and the bomb shelter’s owner.

In groups, students chose which characters would be kicked out of a hypothetical bomb shelter

In groups, students chose which characters would be kicked out of a hypothetical bomb shelter

As a group, the students chose five people to be saved in addition to the shelter owner (a project requirement) with the remaining six characters sent out of the shelter. Students rationalized who should stay based on a variety of factors and opinions. One group voted as a democracy and kept certain roles based on how they would help the group in the coming month. The second group debated the different roles with some students suggesting kicking out the shelter owner despite the project’s rules.

Uhacz asked both groups if they considered diversity in making their decisions. Both groups explained that skin factor and gender played no role in the decision; that the selections were made based on the most common good provided to the group as a whole.

Working as a Team

Once the bomb shelter activity was finished, Uhacz explained to the class that their new groups – those who stayed in the shelter and those who were kicked out – were now their assigned student groups for the next six weeks. Students were surprised how the Bomb Shelter Activity so effectively and randomly selected which students would be in each group.

Uhacz surprised students by explaining they would work together for six weeks in their newly-formed groups

Uhacz surprised students by explaining they would work together for six weeks in their newly-formed groups

Over the next six weeks, team-based projects will require contributions from each team member with each team developing expectations and consequences should a teammate fail to contribute. During the class, groups committed themselves to help each member improve their grades by studying together while also implementing rules for what would happen if student members failed to do their work.

Uhacz reminded students to always keep their own perception of the Image of Man in mind throughout the coming six weeks as upcoming projects will continue to challenge their perceptions. For Uhacz, challenging students to truly think about their own perceptions is key to her class. “One student told me ‘this class makes my brain hurt!’ which, to me, means I’m doing a good job!” said Uhacz.

Did you know you can submit story ideas for upcoming Did You Knows? Submit your story idea via the District’s online form here:

For more Did You Knows, visit the district website. You can also get more district news from their Facebook page or on Twitter.

New Flagpole at Cemetery

American Legion Flag at Cemetery

Recently American Legion Post 44 members installed a flagpole at the Ridgefield Cemetery. The flag was only up for a few minutes, as they had to finish installation. It will go up again when the pole is dedicated on Memorial Day.

Commander Bruce Crockett sent the following:

“To and For.

All those vets who were buried in a cemetery without the Flag they served under.

To all the people of Ridgefield, American Legion Post 44 proudly gives you this most important flag in the world.

To all of Post 44 members who helped raise the $2000 that made this possible.

To all of the Post 44 members who helped install this flag pole.

To all of the people who helped get us permission to put up this flag.

And to those who fought so hard to stop us. I hope you will enjoy it anyway.

Bruce Crockett



Tire in Gee Creek

Tire in Gee Creek

Several years ago there was a big tire in the play area at Union Ridge Elementary School.  Some people lifted it up and rolled it down towards Division Street where it crashed the fence and went into Gee Creek.  It washed down ¼ mile, became stuck, and then almost buried in sediment.   It gave an oily sheen to the water and had a bad odor.  Over a ton of sand had to be excavated by shovel to free it.

Tevis Laspa, Darrell Bliss, and Paul Snoey worked several days to get it out of the creek.  They used straps, cables and come-a-longs suspended from a maple tree to lift it out.  It’s been on the bank for a year or so.

Tire 2


In March, Cory Wells with TLC Towing generously brought in a small cat to retrieve it and load it on Tevis’ truck, and Tevis took it to Vancouver for recycling.

Thanks to all who were involved: Tevis, Darrell, Paul and Cory, and especially Paul, who sent me the information.

Tire 3




Spring Is Busting Out All Over!

Beth An's house

What a pleasure it is to walk around town and see all the colorful ways people express themselves. This home on Pioneer is just a sample – it’s full of tulips, hyacinths, etc. etc.

It’s a fitting way to celebrate Palm Sunday and it makes me smile to look at it!


Port Opens Parking for Trailers

With fishing season upon us, parking on the waterfront has been a concern.

Port trailer parking

This was the scene at the marina this morning.  As you can see, it’s crowded. It’s okay to park on Division Street, Railroad Avenue and the western edge of the gravel portion. On weekends parking is legal on the Port of Ridgefield property.

Port trailer parking2

As you can see, lots of folks took advantage of the Port of Ridgefield space. Port Commissioner Joe Melroy was helping direct traffic, although I arrived too late to get a photo of him.

Port trailer parking3

This was the scene along Division, showing the new trail back to the marina.