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Shelton Mason County Journal
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Mason County Journal
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June 5, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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June 5, 2014

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County Forest Festival takes to the street PAGE A-3 Mason County Thursda3 June 5, 2014 - Week 23 - The Voice of Mason County since 1886 -- $1 North Mason School Board terminates Theler lease Public "won't notice any difference" in operation By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncounty, com After months of financial turmoil at the Mary E. The- ler Community Center, the North Mason School District terminated the organization's lease of the center and wet- lands. The center and wetlands will remain open to the pub - lic, said North Mason School District Superintendent Da- vid Peterson. see THELER, page A-13 I i-- INSIDE TODAY Opinion . Page A-4 Journal of Record Page A-17 Living Page A-19 Business News Page A-21 Obituaries Page A-22 Belfair Herald Page A-25 Sports Page B-I Classifieds Page B-8 Legals Page B-9 Crossword Page B-12 Sudoku Page B-12 8 IIII!! !I!!II!!I!I!I!II II TEEN HOMELESSNESS IN MASON COUNTY 'No place to go' Journal photo by Gordon Weeks Three faces of Shelton homelessness: Jesse Dowty, KeAndra Radchenko and Brenden Pippins began living on the streets, in the woods, in cars, and on the couches of friends and relatives several years ago. All remain homeless. Sheton youths 'thrown into extreme circumstances" By GORDON WEEKS gordon@masoncounty, com crowded house, but they might have to return to sleep- ing in their car on the streets of downtown Shelton. "There's no place to go," Pippins said. "You get in trouble for staying in the parks, you get in trouble for staying in the woods, you get in trouble for staying on the benches. We can't hang around anywhere without being harassed." qCCe just can't afford you' S helton teenager Brenden Pippins found nighttime shelter from the rain huddled inside cardboard recycling bins behind Evergreen Landscaping and Fred Meyer. Homeless at 18, Jesse Dowty occasionally slept in a tent in the trees behind Les Schwab on Olympic High- way North. "It was freezing cold, and loud," he said. "It's a two-minute walk from the freeway." KeAndra Radchenko's mother was addicted to meth and other drugs, forcing her as a child to clean and feed her two younger sisters. Radchenko ran away to the streets of Olympia at 12 and downtown Seattle a year later before returning to on-and-off homelessness in Shelton at 16. In February, Radchenko earned her high school di- ploma at CHOICE Alternative School's midyear gradu- ation ceremony. As the graduating class speaker, she eloquently shared her struggles. Today, she owns a di- ploma, but has no home. Radchenko and Pippins -- partners for three years-- recently spent a few days sleeping at her grandmother's The Shelton School District tracks homeless youths to receive federal money for programs to serve them. For the 2012-2013 school year, the district counted 374 homeless children and youths, 9 percent of the district's students. Thirty-eight were high school juniors, and 62 high school seniors. Wayne Massie, superintendent of the Shelton School District, says students often say they've been kicked out of their houses. "You get that feeling it's, 'Gosh, we just can't afford you anymore. You're on your own,' "Massie said. The problem is national: a record 1.1 million stu- dents attending public schools in the United States were homeless in 2013, according to the U.S. Depart- ment of Education. The number of homeless students increased 10 percent from 2012 to 2013, from 1,065,794 to 1,168,354. Forty-three states reported increases. Of the 374 homeless students attending Shelton schools in 2012-2013: Eighty-seven lived in shelters. Fifty were "unsheltered," which means they lived in abandoned buildings, campgrounds, vehicles, parks, temporary trailers, FEMA shelters, bus stations, sub- standard or inadequate housing, or on the "street." see HOMELESS, page A-14