Vinnies Pizza Gives Cash-Back

For the last four years, Vince and Elena from Vinne’s Pizza have sponsored a cash-back night, where they not only donate a portion of the proceeds from the evening to the Friends of the Library, but match that amount.

Here’s Elena presenting the check to yours truly.

Good news! Elena told me they’d like to do it again in January. Keep posted!

When you order your pizza or other Italian food from Vinnie’s, please tell them ‘thanks’ for supporting our library.

Ridgefield High School 2019 Homecoming Football Game


A Day in the Life of Cispus Outdoor School

Set in the natural beauty of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Cispus Learning Center looks much the same as it did fifty years ago, when the first class of Ridgefield students came for a week of outdoor school.  Small cabins and long, low education buildings nestle into the stands of tall trees.  A group of students treks up the path from the waterfall, one of many hikes underway this morning.

“How many miles did you do?”  The volunteers who lead the groups stand at the trailhead, comparing notes.  “A mile and a half.”  “I did three miles so far.”  They were going to get a cup of coffee, then head right back out on the trail with another group.  It wasn’t even ten a.m. yet.  Just another active morning at Cispus.

The students go on morning hikes to have class in different environments.  They might test soil acidity, search for macroinvertebrates, or sketch leaves for identification.  And whatever pops up—like a baby bat in the cave—can become an impromptu lesson.  They hike behind a roaring waterfall, where one of the lessons is figuring out that your mom might have been right all those times she told you to wear a rain jacket just in case.

Lunch is a favorite, because the food at Cispus is really delicious.  Meals are served family style, so students learn to wait for everyone to be served before eating, to hold a conversation, to clear tables. Today is soft tacos with rice and beans.  Orange segments are a popular choice on the side—but not as popular as cake, as the students celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ridgefield Outdoor School at Cispus camp.

The entry to Cispus Learning Center in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.


Inside one of the girls’ cabins.


Students get ready to eat family style for taco night.


Afternoon classes are typically indoors, with many hands-on classrooms.  The star room has hand painted constellations that glow in black light.  Campfire song class is in front of a roaring fireplace.  Taxidermied animals and pelts line the walls of the nature rooms.  And the Mount St. Helens room showcases artifacts from the mountain eruption and photos of the devastation and the eventual recovery of the environment.  Every classroom has new items to spark ideas and discussions.

Sunset Ridge Intermediate School principal, Todd Graves, enters the Forestry Room.


The Mount Rainier Room demonstrates life cycles with an interactive exhibit.


Exhibits in the Mount St. Helens Room lets students touch history.

Students work on a sensory poem in the library, telling what they see, hear, and feel when they are in nature.  “What do you taste when you are in nature?” the teacher asked.  The fresh air, one student says.  The pine needles when a branch hits my face, says another.  Water from the rain.

“Bacon,” one student says confidently.

“Bacon?  In nature?”  The teacher gives him a quizzical look.

“Bacon,” he confirms.  “I sneaked it in my pocket at breakfast and ate it on the trail.”  They all laugh.  Bacon goes into his poem.

Almost every experience at Cispus is new to the students, and also steeped in tradition.  The huge campfire at night will be a site for stories and songs, echoing through woods that have heard fifty years of children’s voices.  Another class of fifth graders will graduate from Cispus with memories they will cherish for a lifetime.


There’s plenty of seating around the big campfire.


The Pavilion serves as a covered classroom with a warm fireplace.


Mist rises off the buildings and the foothills after a morning rain.


Fall colors are just starting to show when campers arrive.

RHS Theater Presents “Dracula”

Ridgefield High School will be presenting its fall theater production of “Dracula” starting October 24th at 7:00 pm at the Ridgefield HS Performing Arts Center with performances on selected dates through November 2nd.  Tickets are $5 for students, staff & seniors, and $8 for adults.  Admission is $2 on Halloween night for guests in costume.

Tickets can be purchased in advance online at or at the door.

Main Stree Program

Please join Ridgefield Main Street this Thursday, October 17, at 8:30 am for our monthly Community Meeting at the Sportsman’s Public House, 121 North Main Avenue.

Our guest speaker is Shawn Donaghy, CEO of C-TRAN. It’s been 2 years since we’ve had Mr. Donaghy as our guest speaker, so there’s lots of catch-up and new information to hear!

Complimentary coffee and tea are served, and breakfast is available. See you at The Sportsman’s, 121 N. Main Ave. at 8:30 on Thursday.

Ridgefield Student Grace Melbuer Earns State and International Honors at HOSA

Many children grow up wanting to be doctors or nurses.  Only a few follow that dream into high school and beyond.  Grace Melbuer is not only pursuing her dream of working in healthcare, she is making it easier for other students to pursue theirs.

When Melbuer was a freshman, she founded the Ridgefield High School chapter of HOSA, a student organization for future health professionals.  Science teacher Shannon Hemrich said, “Our biomedical science program required that we have a leadership group called HOSA.  Grace really got the club off the ground.”  The club started with just seven members.  Now that Melbuer is a senior, the very active HOSA group has 30 members.

HOSA’s primary mission is to help students become future leaders in healthcare.  Under Melbuer’s leadership, students started a job shadowing program with PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.  The group also invited healthcare professionals to speak at their meetings so they could learn about different careers in the industry.

Grace Melbuer (bottom row, second from right) with other members of the HOSA student leadership executive council for Washington state.

As part of its leadership training, HOSA hosts annual competitive events.  At last year’s state competition, Ridgefield’s HOSA team won multiple honors.  Melbuer won first place in the challenging Healthcare Issues exam, which tests competitors on current events in healthcare.

Winning first place at state competition gave Melbuer automatic entrance to the international competition, where she competed against students from all over the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and China.  “I was expecting there to be a good amount of people in my competition,” Melbuer said, “But I’m from Ridgefield, so the biggest testing environment I’ve had is, like, 30 kids.  So walking into a room with 650 kids is kind of weird and overwhelming.  The kid who was sitting right next to me was from China.”  When results were announced, Melbuer was thrilled to find that she placed tenth worldwide.

Melbuer was also elected regional vice-president, one of six representatives from Washington state.  As a state officer of HOSA, Melbuer traveled to Washington, DC for the Washington Leadership Academy.  There she had the opportunity to meet with Congressional members and staff to advocate for Career and Technical Service Organizations (CTSOs) and to provide a student perspective on the healthcare industry.

Grace Melbuer (center) at the U.S. Capitol Building, where she and other state leadership members met with Congressional representatives and staff.

Since this is Melbuer’s senior year, she is excited as she plans for other members to take over leadership of the organization she founded.  “That has been my main goal this year,” she said.  “We wanted to make sure HOSA remains strong.”

She is also excited to continue HOSA’s tradition of community service.  “Our next blood drive is on my 18th birthday!  I don’t need to sign a permission slip anymore.  I think I’m going to donate on my birthday,” she smiled.  “What a way to celebrate!”

Ridgefield’s HOSA chapter welcomes members of the healthcare community to speak at their meetings.  For more information, please contact Shannon Hemrich at


New Store in Town

Samantha Bain

We have a new specialty shop in town – Bain Boutique. Samantha Bain started her business online and decided to open a store front in Ridgefield because of the friendliness of the people here.

She carries women’s clothes in sizes extra small to 3X. Many of her products are one-of-kind from local artists. She prides herself on having quality merchandise at reasonable prices.

Bain is at 218 Pioneer Street. Stop by and say ‘hello’ and ‘welcome to Ridgefield.’

Bain carries a wide assortment of items



Ridgefield School District Schedules Patron Tour on October 29th

Ridgefield School District is scheduling a Patron Tour on Tuesday, October 29th from 8:30 am to 11:30 am.  Bus transportation to the schools will be provided.

District and school administrators will lead participants on a tour of Ridgefield High School’s Vocational Education Building and the school’s newly-constructed Expansion Building.  The tour will also include a visit to the property on which the district hopes to build a proposed new K-4 elementary school.

Patron Tour participants will meet at the Ridgefield Administrative & Civic Center (RACC), 510 Pioneer Street in Ridgefield.  Check-in starts at 8:15 am, and a continental breakfast will be provided before the tour.

To register, please send an email to and provide your name and contact phone number and the number of attendees in your group.

Volunteer Commitment to Cispus Outdoor School: The Yaddof Family

Cispus Outdoor School is a long tradition in the Yaddof family—not just for the kids, but for the parents too.  Susan and Bill Yaddof went to Cispus for the first time as fifth graders.

In high school, Susan returned as a counselor.  All three of their daughters attended as fifth graders; one served as a counselor.  And ten years ago, when their daughters had all completed Cispus, Susan and Bill started volunteering.  They were there when the camp celebrated its 50th anniversary this year—and many of those years have had one or more Yaddofs at camp.

Their volunteer work actually starts at home.  Bill makes all of the wood cookies that are awarded to students when they complete various tasks.  He started doing it when his daughters were in school, slicing fir branches into smooth rounds, then drilling two holes for the cord.  “I made about a thousand this year,” Bill said.  “But I guess it adds up over time, with 800 or more each year for 15 years.”  The wood cookies are a very special reminder of time at Cispus, so people keep them for years.  Bill still has the original wood cookies he earned when he went to Cispus in fifth grade—and he still wears them every time he goes to camp.

The Yaddofs both work full-time, so they take an entire week of their own vacation time each year to go to camp as volunteers.  But they don’t get to spend much of their vacation time together, as Susan stays in the women’s cabin and Bill stays in the men’s cabin.  “We see each other in passing, while he’s going to one activity and I’m going to another,” Susan said.  “We do kiss each other good night each night.  But we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Bill and Susan Yaddof return from morning hikes with the students and compare how many miles they had each completed that day.


“Make a face like a fifth grader!” Bill Yaddof still wears his original fifth grade wood cookies each year.

When they started volunteering, they jumped in wherever they were needed.  Susan enjoyed crafting and helped students learn to make bracelets.  Bill had experience with the Boy Scouts, so he taught students to build fires and emergency shelters.  After a couple of years, they knew the camp well enough to lead hikes, guiding classes to sites where they could look for macroinvertebrates or find a nurse log (a fallen tree providing protection and nourishment for seedlings).

This year they are inheriting flag duty from Tevis Laspa, another long-time volunteer who will be retiring from Cispus after many years of service.  Bill works with the students on flag folding and etiquette, while Susan shares stories of flag history at the flag raising and lowering each day.   And of course, they help the students with everything from homesickness to table manners.

For the Yaddofs, volunteering at Cispus is an important tradition for their family.  “We absolutely believe in the program,” Susan said.  “It meant so much to us as kids; it meant so much to me as a counselor.  We hope that our daughters might one day want to go as volunteers too.  We’re thankful for getting to do it all of these years and to get to continue.”

Both of them think Cispus is a vital part of our community in Ridgefield, and the fact that it continues year after year is something that makes our schools special.  “We see how important it is for these kids, to be outside and exploring, going on hikes, studying water and soil and plants.  Even being without their parents, some of them for the first time ever.  It’s a rite of passage.  We love being a part of that growth.  It’s a tremendous gift to us.”

And year after year, the Yaddofs have given back to Cispus, impacting hundreds of students, making each child’s experience a little more special.

Superintendent’s 2019 Holiday Greeting Card Contest Now Underway

The Superintendent’s 2019 Holiday Greeting Card Art Contest is now underway!  All students are invited to participate in creating artwork for the district’s 2019 holiday greeting card.

This year’s theme is “Winter Wishes.”  The winner and three semi-finalists will win cash prizes.

Click HERE for Contest Rules, Parental Permission Form and Holiday Greeting Card Art Label.  All entries must be received in school offices by the end of the school day on Friday, November 1st.

Community Education will once again host a free Holiday Card Workshop open to students of all ages.  All supplies will be provided — only creative inspiration is required!  Completed projects, with parental permission, will be collected for the contest.

Workshops will be held at Union Ridge on Wednesday, October 23 (3:40-4:30 pm), South Ridge Library on Monday, October 21 (3:40 – 4:30 pm) and at Sunset/View Ridge Art Room on Tuesday, October 22nd (2:40 – 3:30 pm).

The workshops are optional.  Although they are FREE, pre-registration is required.  Go to to reserve your spot.  Only students who have completed registration will be able to attend.

The district is grateful to the Ridgefield Art Association for sponsoring this annual art contest.

Indigenous People’s Day

The ‘Indigenous People’s Day – Honoring Women’s Voices” will celebrate First Nations people through poetry, prose and music at the Old Liberty Theater this afternoon from 4 to 6 pm.

This should be an informative afternoon. Bring the kids.

Thought for the Week

Today we celebrate Columbus Day, so all Federal offices are closed.

Columbus lands in the Americas

Columbus Day is a national holiday in many countries of the Americas and elsewhere which officially celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492.

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer who set sail across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a faster route to the Far East only to land at the New World. His first voyage to the New World on the Spanish ships Santa María, Niña, and La Pinta took approximately three months.

Columbus and his crew’s arrival to the New World initiated the Columbian Exchange which introduced the transfer of plants, animals, culture, human populations, and technology (but also invasive species, including communicable diseases) between the new world and the old.

~ information from Wikipedia

Coach Potato Challenge

It’s not too late to sign up and do the Couch Potato challenge.

Run/walk/hike/jog most of the miles of a marathon (25 mi) and run the final 1.2 miles at RHS stadium with the RHS cheer team on Oct 26. Support our efforts to fund raise for our summer camp. Donations also appreciated. Go to to register or donate.

Candidates’ Forum

Scott Hughes and David Kelly – running for Port Commissioner

It was standing room only at the Fire Station last night when candidates for Port Commissioner and City Council answered questions presented by Kenneth Stewart from a list generated by members of the community. It made my day to see how many people are concerned about our town and want to choose the best person for each job.

Candidates for City Council, l t r: Rob Aichele, Sandra Day, Matt Swindell, Rob Rowan, Dana Ziemer, Darren Wertz

The pairings are Aichele and Wertz, Day and Rowan, Swindell and Ziemer.

If you were unable to attend, the candidates will be at the Dollars Corner Fire Station, 21609 NE 72nd Avenue, Battle Ground, on Wednesday, October 16 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm in a program put on by Clark County League of Women Voters.

Ridgefield Among Top School Districts Nationwide Recognized by National Board

Ridgefield School District was recognized by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards as one of 81 school districts across the country that work hard to promote student learning through accomplished teaching.

These National Board Accomplished Districts were recognized because 20% or more of their teachers have earned National Board certification—an achievement that encourages teachers to teach to high standards and to reflect on their practice to get better each day to positively impact learning for their students.

Qualifying for National Board Certification is rigorous and involves a four-part application process that includes a skills test, a portfolio demonstrating an ability to build classroom lessons tailored for individual students, a video showing interactions with students and self-reflection on their teaching.

“Achieving National Board certification is not easy, and teachers who earn this respected designation demonstrate a commitment to excellence in teaching,” said Nathan McCann, Ridgefield’s superintendent.  “I am proud of our National Board Certified teachers.  Their dedication ensures that we are providing the best possible learning experience, opportunities and skills to our students.”

“The focus of National Board certification is always on student learning,” said Deb Ortner, TOSA for Elementary Professional Development for the district.  “I’m proud to be a part of a district that holds the National Board Certification program in high regard and understands the impact that a National Board Certified teacher has on his/her students.”   A National Board Certified teacher herself, Ortner mentors a cohort of candidates for National Board Certification.

Candidates working within a cohort benefit greatly from the experience according to Ortner because they work together to identify student learning within the lessons they share by reviewing one another’s writing and videos.

“Reflecting on each other’s instructional choices helps to strengthen the candidates’ teaching practices, resulting in an increase in student achievement,” said Ortner.  “It allows teachers to peel away the layers of their practice and rebuild them one at a time through the lens of student learning.  It’s an amazing experience.”