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Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in Columbia County offers thanks for foster children support; VR driver's education coming to St. Helens

CASA offers its thanks

We at CASA in Columbia County would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to InRoads Credit Union for their most generous donation of 20 bicycles and helmets for foster children in our county, and to Jeff Curry for assisting CASA with this project.

We would also like to offer our sincere gratitude to Comfort Construction which has donated toys and clothing as well as pledged a donation of an advertisement on a local park bench to promote our mission and invite volunteers to join us in helping children in need in our area. CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a volunteer organization located in St. Helens.

CASA's mission is to advocate for abused and neglected children so that they can thrive in safe and permanent homes. Our volunteers are dedicated members of the community who advocate for the specific needs and best interests of these children.

We are delighted to welcome InRoads Credit Union and Comfort Construction to our esteemed group of friends and supporters. Your support helps us to continue to make a difference in the lives of the children of our community.

If your readers would be interested in becoming a CASA we would love to speak with them.

We can be reached at 503-410-5043.

Karin Miller

Columbia County CASA project manager

St. Helens

Excited about VR driver's ed

Columbia River Driver Education of St. Helens is pleased to announce that it has become the only Oregon Department of Education-approved driver training program in the state that has been approved to incorporate virtual reality training into their curriculum.

ODOT Driver Training Program Manager William Warner stated, "The incorporation of VR into the classroom to insert digital reinforcement between the classroom presentation and the in-car application is unprecedented and we look forward to great results."

Owner Rich Greene points out that the virtual reality training will be in addition to the current curriculum and will be used to supplement and reinforce the training that already occurs.

"This is a way for us to train difficult concepts in a safe to fail environment, before we take the students out on the road in the car. We believe this will improve initial understanding and build skills faster than just using classroom and in car training alone. We also now have the opportunity to increase student exposure to roadway types that aren't present in Columbia County."

VR Motion corporation from Hillsboro has been selected as the vendor to provide the equipment and software for this training.

"We are excited to be working with a local training organization like Columbia River Driver Education and the Oregon Department of Transportation on this pilot program," said VR Motion CEO, Keith Maher. "Columbia and ODOT bring years of Drivers Education training experience to the exciting new world of Virtual Reality training. This relationship will enable Columbia to increase safety and reduce costs by using VR training products for their Driver's Ed and commercial students."

"We see this as a way to improve traffic safety in Columbia County" Greene said, "not only can we help novice drivers, but we can use this equipment to aid in the hiring and training of professional drivers. We can also use this equipment expand our outreach to people who have had difficulty learning to drive in the past due to disability. Partnering with VR Motion puts our company and our county at the forefront of driver training in the country."

VR will be incorporated into the current class that is training in Rainier as soon as the ordered equipment arrives and will be part of the winter 2020 class in St. Helens that starts on Jan. 7.

Richard Greene

St. Helens


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