The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights opens this Friday

by DIwpBacon on November 24, 2015

Photo courtesy of the Grotto.

Since 1988, The Grotto‘s Christmas Festival of Lights has become a must-see holiday tradition celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. Known as the World’s Largest Christmas Choral Festival, The Festival of Lights features five choirs each night from throughout the Pacific Northwest, totaling more than 160 choirs, choral groups and special guests.

Festival visitors can enjoy hot beverages and food as they stroll through The Grotto’s amazing million lights on display. Each night, children enjoy the petting zoo and interactive puppet show while carolers and dulcimer minstrels entertain guests of all ages.

The festival opens Friday, Nov. 27, and continues every night, except Christmas day, through December 30. Gates are open from 5 to 9:30 p.m., with grounds closing at 10 p.m. General admission is $10, seniors over 65 are $9, military (with ID) are $9, and children from three to 12 are $5. Children two and under are free. The Grotto is located at NE 85th and Sandy Blvd. in Portland








Christmas Ships Parade Dec. 4 through 18

by DIwpBacon on November 24, 2015

new_logo_10102014_RMSThe Christmas Ships parades on the Willamette and Columbia rivers is a Portland metro area tradition dating back to 1954. Over 60 local boat and ship owners deck their vessels out in twinkly lights and parade along the two rivers on various days and locations throughout the month of December. This year, the Columbia River parades will occur between Friday, Dec. 4 and Friday, Dec. 18.

The fleet is all-volunteer, so not all the boats can make it out every night. Christmas Ships, Inc., is a nonprofit organization, and the boats are kept afloat, so to speak, with donations from waterfront restaurants and hotels. The donations cover insurance costs; each Christmas Ship skipper pays his or her own fuel costs, and receives no other funds.

To help keep this iconic parade going, consider booking a Christmas party at one of the establishments that support the parade. To see a complete list of restaurants and hotels, visit, choose “Columbia River” or “Willamette River,” and click on the link offered below each date and location. If a parade is cancelled due to inclement weather, it will be posted an hour before the scheduled starting time at

Vancouver Public Schools Superintendent Steven Webb receives top honor as Washington State’s Superintendent of the Year


Steve Webb. Photo courtesy of VPS.

The Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) has named Dr. Steven Webb, superintendent of Vancouver Public Schools, the 2016 Superintendent of the Year. The announcement was made Nov. 21 at WASA’s Superintendents Component meeting in Bellevue. The award recognizes the outstanding leadership of active, front-line superintendents and pays tribute to those who lead our public schools.

In Vancouver, Webb has led efforts to increase program choices in grades K-12, expand school-community partnerships that meet the needs of poverty-affected children, and personalize education through the use of one-to-one technology. Since 2010, the four-year on-time graduation rate in his district has risen from 64 percent to more than 80 percent. Webb also has provided national leadership through the American Association of School Administrators Digital Consortium, Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, Coalition for Community Schools, and U.S. Department of Education Future Ready Initiative.

As the state’s Superintendent of the Year, Webb also will serve as a candidate for the 2016 American Association of School Administrators’ National Superintendent of the Year award. The national award will be announced in February at the AASA National Conference on Education in Phoenix.

Annual Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade in Washougal Dec. 3

fire truck wiht bike

Photo courtesy of the DWA.

City of Washougal and the Downtown Washougal Association (DWA) are teaming up to kick off the holiday season with the annual Tree Lighting and Lighted Christmas Parade on Thursday, Dec. 3. The parade runs along Main Street and begins at 6 p.m. It ends at Reflection Plaza where the tree lighting will take place at 6:30 p.m.

During and after the parade, the City is serving complimentary cookies, hot cocoa and coffee. Entertainment will include the Washougal High School X-Tet Chorus. The DWA will welcome parade watchers with coupons for special holiday offers from local merchants plus a special gift. Santa Claus will bring up the end of the parade with candy canes and free photo opportunities, compliments of Windows on Life Photography.

Other sponsors include Waste Connections, Courtney Wilkinson of Country Financial, Riverview Community Bank, Starbucks, ERS, Green Construction and Bi-Mart. The City is now accepting applications for parade participants. Applications are due by Monday, Nov. 30 and can be found at City Hall and online at

Happy Thanksgiving from the Daily Insider


The Daily Insider is grateful for many things, but most especially for our readers, without whom we wouldn’t exist. In honor of the Thanksgiving tradition, the Insider will not be published tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 25, Thanksgiving Day, or on Friday, Nov. 27. We will return Monday, Nov. 30. Be sure to check our calendar for upcoming events. We hope you have a wonderful holiday.


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Town Tabloids

Barry and Nancy Sullivan pass the reins.

Phillip Cianni finds a way to do more.

Brian Wassman thinks Vancouver is now twice as attractive.


News Briefs

  • Rocksolid Community Teen Center hires new executive director

    Eddie AllenThe Rocksolid Community Teen Center has hired a new executive director, Eddie Allen. For the past year and half, Allen has been the development coordinator at The Gardner School of Arts & Sciences. Prior to Gardner, he has been involved with fundraising and cause marketing efforts with numerous nonprofits in the area including FISH, Humane Society of SW Washington, Dream Big, Gifford Pinchot Task Force, NW Association for Blind Athletes, Share, and Equality SW Washington. A graduate of Clark College and Western Washington University, he is a member of the 2014 Leadership Clark County class, a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and two time winner of the Washington State Umpire of the Year. For more information about Rocksolid, visit www.rocksolid­

  • Red Cross encourages donors to give with meaning this holiday season

    images-1This holiday season, the American Red Cross urges individuals to give something that means something – a blood or platelet donation. This simple, potentially lifesaving act can give patients in need another holiday season with loved ones. Blood donors with all types, especially O negative, B negative and A negative, are urged to give. Platelet donors and those with type AB blood are also continually needed. To encourage donations around Thanksgiving, those who come to give blood or platelets from Wednesday, Nov. 25 through 29 will receive a limited-edition Red Cross mixing spoon with recipes from celebrity chefs John Besh, Richard Blais, Rocco DiSpirito, Mike Isabella, Ellie Krieger and Ali Larter, while supplies last. To make an appointment, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

  • WorkSource hosts construction programs information session Dec. 3

    Unknown-2WorkSource Vancouver is holding a free information session about programs available in the construction trades on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 1:30 p.m. Representatives from Constructing Hope will be onsite to talk about a free construction pre-apprenticeship program. In addition, attendees will learn about the Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute’s (PNCI) new pre-apprenticeship for women as well as other options for gaining entry into a building trades apprenticeship program. Anyone interested in the construction trades is encouraged to attend. Applicants should be at least 18 years of age and have a GED or high school diploma. The information session will be held at WorkSource, 204 SE Stonemill Dr., Ste. 215, Vancouver. To RSVP and for more information, call 503-281-1234 or visit

  • Vancouver Chamber CEO resigns, effective Dec. 11

    Kelly_LoveThe Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce (GVCC) has announced the resignation of CEO Kelly Love as it begins a search for its next President and CEO. Love has accepted a position at Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital, responsible for media and community affairs. She leaves GVCC on December 11, having served five years as CEO of SW Washington’s largest business organization. GVCC will accept resumes from qualified candidates interested in the Chamber’s top job. Submissions should be by email only with resumes/cover letters sent to Click here for the full story.

  • Vancouver Rotary’s Festival of Trees and Community Tree Lighting Ceremony this weekend

    14836_170843968165_7911042_nThe Vancouver Rotary Foundation and members of the Rotary Club of Vancouver invite the community to kick off the 2015 holidays at the 20th Annual Festival of Trees this Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The event takes place at the Hilton Vancouver this Friday, Nov. 27 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 29. Visitors can expect appearances by Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves, live entertainment on stage including choirs and dance groups, the always popular Talking Tree and more. Those that attend on Friday can take a break from the festivities and stroll over to Esther Short Park for the Vancouver Rotary Community Tree Lighting ceremony. Click here for the full story.

  • “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” opens at Love Street Playhouse Dec. 4

    IWLGroupMicLove Street Playhouse continues its 2015 Season with a family friendly production of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, which runs during the holiday season. Owner and Artistic Director Melinda Leuthold directs Joe Landry’s inspiring live radio play adaptation of Frank Capra’s film It’s a Wonderful Life. The performance opens Friday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m., and continues through Sunday, Dec. 13. Tickets range from $16 to $18. Click here for the original story.

  • Inaugural “Holiday Sip & Shop” in Camas Dec. 3

    image002-1A brand new event will fill downtown Camas with festive cheer this holiday season. The Holiday Sip & Shop is a holiday after hours shopping, dining, and historic home tour event on Thursday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 9 p.m. A fundraiser for the Downtown Camas Association (DCA), this event will feature wine, beer, cider, and other tastings in downtown locations; holiday shopping specials; caroling on the street corners to add to the holiday cheer; and holiday street lighting will be all aglow along Fourth Ave. Find the full story, here.

  • Clark College Music Department presents December concerts

    603655_273819709453899_338329442_nThe Clark College Music Department presents extraordinary concerts and programs throughout the year for the college community and the greater community. Remaining concerts for this year include:

    All concerts are free and open to the public. Donations are warmly received at the door. For more information and concert locations, click here.

  • Battle Ground Chamber hosts Holiday Open House Nov. 25

    happy-thanksgivingThe Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce invites members, community partners, friends and neighbors to a Holiday Open House tomorrow morning, Wednesday, Nov. 25, from 8 a.m. to noon. Visitors can expect pastries, refreshments and fellowship. The Chamber is located at 317 E Main St. in Battle Ground.

  • 13th annual Run For the Hungry Nov. 26


    Gateway Church will host the 13th annual Run for the Hungry on Thanksgiving Day this Thursday, Nov. 26. Proceeds from the walk/run help feed the hungry in Camas and Washougal. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. The race starts and ends at Washougal High School, Fishback Stadium, 1201 39th St. Advance registration is $20 for adults, $15 for children under 10 and includes a t-shirt while supplies last. Day-of registration is $5 more for adults. Participants can bring a box of non-perishable food as a registration fee. Five-member racing teams are $90. For more information, click here, or find the event of Facebook, here.

  • Vancouver Farmers Market’s Holiday Market Nov. 28 and 29

    VancouverFarmersMarketLogoThe Vancouver Farmers Market will host its Holiday Market on Saturday, Nov. 28 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 29 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Visitors can expect venders selling crafts, arts, treats, gifts and jewelry, and more for the gift giving season. For more information, visit or find them on Facebook, here.

  • Hot Buttered Run Nov. 29

    hbr-logoThe annual Hot Buttered Run and Kids Kandy Kane Race, sponsored by Energy Events, is back and ready to help Clark County work off that Thanksgiving meal on Sunday, Nov. 29. This year features a 5k and a half marathon race distance. The runs start and ends under the Christmas tree in Esther Short Park in Vancouver. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m., and includes a free long-sleeved T-shirt, great food, hot buttered rum, hot chocolate, a packet of goodies, store offers, and gifts. For the full story, click here.

  • Duane Lansverk honored for 50 years of service at School of Piano Technology for the Blind Dec. 10

    DuaneThe School of Piano Technology for the Blind will honor outgoing board member Duane Lansverk for his 50 years of service to the organization at an open house reception on Thursday, Dec. 10, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the school which is located at 2510 E Evergreen Blvd. Lansverk, a retired attorney and close friend of the school’s founder, Emil Fries, is credited, among a long list of items, for securing the school’s incorporation and establishment as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. For more information, contact the school at 360-693-1511 or via email to

  • Save the date: Retirement party for Larry Smith Dec. 3

    image003-1The community is invited to help celebrate Vancouver City Council Member Larry J. Smith‘s distinguished career and wish him well in his retirement. “Thanks for the Memories: A Career of Service” is set for Thursday, Dec. 3, at 5:30 p.m., at City Hall, 415 W Sixth St. in Vancouver. Appetizers and a no-host bar will be provided. RSVP’s are requested to Jill Brown at: or by calling 360-487-8641.