Subscribe to get tough, fair journalism seven days a week.
Subscribe today

Day: April 23, 2010

Two boys faces 22 graffiti charges

Two 15-year-olds face 22 criminal mischief charges after police said they were caught violating curfew.
Keizer Police Officer Dan Carroll spotted the pair at about 3:30 a.m. Friday, April 23, and they took off on foot when he tried to speak with them, police said. They were found and apprehended in the 900 block of Glynbrook Street N.
Initially charged with violating curfew and other crimes, when residents in the area began waking up the graffiti complaint calls started coming in. Reports were coming from the same area where the boys were found, police said.
Keizer Police detectives became involved and the two boys had 22 charges each of criminal mischief tacked onto violating curfew and being minors in possession of alcohol via consumption. Police said the two also went into private residential yards on Dorcas Drive N. and Glynbrook Street N., resulting in two counts each of second-degree criminal trespass.
“Detectives do not normally investigate low-level crimes such as graffiti,” said Lt. John Troncoso. “However, they do on occasion assist with such investigations, when numerous cases are involved and manpower is short on patrol.”

Center stage is where gymnast loves to be

By LANCE MASTERSON
Of the Keizertimes

Taylor Keeker relishes the idea of being the center of attention.

“I absolutely love performing in front of large crowds,” said Keeker, a level 10 gymnast from Keizer. “Floor is a lot easier to perform than the beam because on beam you have to be super focused. You’re not on a very large piece of equipment. But floor is very easy to show off and get the crowd going. Yeah, it’s fun. I love it.”

The McNary junior will soon be doing what she loves on one of her sport’s grandest stage: The national championships, set for Saturday, May 8, in Dallas, Texas.

Skill, she says, only takes you so far. There’s also the connection factor to consider.

“You smile. You look up at the audience. I mean, you try to catch people’s eyes. It draws them in and makes your performance a lot better,” said Keeker.

This same strategy applies to the event’s four most important observers.

“You try to catch the judges’ attention, trying to get them to look at the performing aspect of the routine instead of maybe the little details that aren’t quite there, yet,” she said.

If football is a game of inches, then gymnastics is a sport of fractions.

“A tenth of a point, or even a hundredth, can make a huge difference. So .25 points can be the difference between first and second place. That’s like a bent knee or a pointed toe or anything, said Keeker.

This marks her fourth appearance at nationals. Her apex, at least so far, came last year when she was 20th in the all-around competition and second on bars.

“It was really unexpected,” she said of the silver medal. “My mom (Angela Keeker) always keeps the scores as the meet goes on, so she knew going into it, but I had no idea. So it was very exciting when they called my name. It was like, wow, that’s awesome.”

The “wow” moment was made possible when Keeker turned in stellar performances at the regional meet, held in Auburn, Washington. She was first in all-around (37.2 points), first in floor (9.425), first in bars (9.50), second in beam (9.00) and fourth in vault (9.275).

“I use to hate bars. And then once you get your rhythm, once you get a set routine that you know how to do constantly, like I’ve been doing that routine for two years now, it’s getting easier and easier,” she said. “And I just love swinging. It’s my favorite event now.”

The top seven finishers in each age division advanced from the regional to the national meet.

This marks Keeker’s 12th year in the sport, and her fourth year at level 10. She trains at the Multnomah Athletic Club (or MAC) in Portland, under the watchful eyes of  coaches Ivan Alexov and Meg Doxtator.

During school months, practices run from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 or 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Saturday practice is optional.

Keeker was introduced to the sport by her mother, a former level 8 gymnast. She played softball and soccer, but eventually chose gymnastics. People tell her she was a natural from the beginning.

“When I first started they just kept moving me up quickly. I guess coaches can see when they have someone with some potential,” she said.

Keeker moved up a level every year until she reached level 9. Three years later she was at level 10.

“I love the competition,” she said. “I love the sense of being on a team and being there for each other. I like the sense of being pushed, and the sense of being disciplined.”

Editor’s note: Taylor Keeker’s parents are Angela and Larry Keeker of Keizer.

Sleep disorder blamed for man hitting wife

Randi Kearns with the family dog, McKenzie. Kearns' husband Adam was arrested for assault after he punched her, but both sides insist it was a result of a sleep disorder.

A fun Friday night out on the town ended in a way Adam and Randi Kearns of Keizer could have never imagined.

By the time the sun rose on Saturday morning, Adam was in police custody on assault charges. Randi, his wife of 10 years, had a black eye and was badly bruised on the left side of her face.

Since then, per court order, the couple that hadn’t spent more than two nights apart in a decade hasn’t seen one another, or had contact. Adam is now allowed limited contact with his three children.

Adam, 31, says he doesn’t remember a thing. And his wife passionately is pleading with authorities to have mercy on the man she has three children with.

They believe an REM (Rapid Eye Movement) behavioral disorder is to blame. The National Sleep Foundation describes it as one where the patient will act out dreams. They can talk or scream in their sleep, and can even be violent.

That’s what both say happened that night. Earlier this week, Randi, 29 saw a program on the disorder on the show “Dr. Oz,” an ABC show that airs on KATU-TV in Portland. That network first reported the story. It has since been reported on “Good Morning America,” who will interview Kearns from her home on Monday. The Keizertimes has fielded calls from as far as Germany, and Keizer Police has heard from ABC, NBC and Inside Edition.

Here’s the rundown:
After a night out dancing, they came home and went to bed, Randi said.
At about 4 a.m. on Feb. 20, their five-year-old son came into the room crying. He suffers from sleep apnea and can stop breathing for as long as 25 seconds, Randi said.

“He screamed out for Mom, and it was so scary – almost like someone was trying to steal him,” Randi told the Keizertimes.

She was in that half-awake daze that comes when one first wakes up, she said. Randi sat up on the bed and…
“At the exact tame time, my husband hopped to his knees and popped me three times in the face,” Randi said. “He was sound asleep. I could see it in his face. It was like he was in a trance.”

Then he fell back asleep as if nothing happened. Randi said her husband has never been violent in any way with her – “I would call him loving,” she said.

There had been sleepwalking episodes before, she said – the kind a couple might laugh about the next day. Randi said that a few weeks prior to this, he had gone into the kitchen and fixed a bowl of cereal. He ate it while standing over Randi in their bed, then went back to sleep, placing the bowl and spoon on Randi’s back.

But nothing like what happened on Feb. 20.

“I tried to wake him up without hurting him,” Randi said. “I didn’t want to scare my child.”

Randi called her mom, who along with her stepfather lived with them, into the room. She saw her daughter had a black eye and significant swelling on the side of her face.
As any parent would, they wanted to know why their daughter was hurting. They began yelling at Adam, Randi said, who kept saying, “I don’t know what’s going on!”
This is the first part Adam remembers.

“My father-in-law is yelling, ‘What did you do?’” Adam said. “Like any stepdad, he came back and was ready to go. I can’t blame him for that.”

He remembered thinking, “I need to get out of the house.” He put on pants and one sock, and with no shirt left the house. He was handed a shirt by his father-in-law and walked to his brother-in-law’s house, hoping the garage door would be unlocked.

It being a cold February night, he walked back toward his house when a Keizer Police officer met him.

“That’s when they cuffed me and took me to the police station,” Adam said.
Police were there because Randi had called for an ambulance to treat her injury. Per Oregon’s mandatory reporting law, police were called.

“I told them over and over he was asleep,” Randi said. “… I didn’t want to press charges.”

Keizer Police Capt. Jeff Kuhns said state law requires an officer to make an arrest if he or she “believes an assault has occurred.

“The officer did the right thing and made an arrest in this situation,” Kuhns said. “That’s exactly why Oregon law was written the way it was. They want to separate the parties. … The system is set up for Adam to have his day in court and state his case.”
Adam was told the charge when he was arrested – Assault II, a Measure 11 offense that could have gotten him up to 70 months in jail. He spent a couple of hours in a holding cell, where he said he was “confused, and scared, and didn’t know what was going on.”

Kearns is a computer technician for the Department of Human Services. He has been placed on paid administrative leave since his arrest.

He spent the weekend in the Marion County Jail, confined to his cell 23 hours per day. On Monday his charges were reduced to Assault IV after his wife appeared at his bail hearing. Until that point, all he had been told was that he hurt his wife.

Randi told the judge her version of events, and he was released on bail. A condition of release was that he not be allowed contact with his wife.

“I strive to be two things: A good husband and a good father,” Adam, 31, said. “That is my goal in life. … We have one of the most loving, tight-knit families you’ll ever find.”
They described their night out at a local bar – and, indeed, their entire marriage – in almost magical terms. Adam met Randi one night after he was headed home from disc golf practice, and he believes a higher power told him to go out dancing that night “because I’m gonna meet a girl and she’s gonna be the one.”

Shortly after his release, he spent a night at the Willamette Sleep Center, which diagnosed him with REM behavioral disorder and hypersomnia, he said.

“Just to think that she was hurt by me kills me,” Adam said. “I wanted to know why something like that happens, and how it can never happen again. It’s the worst feeling in the world to know that you’ve hurt your wife.”

Adam is staying with a friend. Randi, a homemaker, has largely been tasked with taking care of their three boys by herself.

Looking after them – and more recently the media attention – have distracted her just slightly from the sadness of not having her husband.

“All I want to do is lay in bed and cry because I miss him so much,” she said.
His next court date is May 5, and the couple wants this behind them as quickly as possible so he can move back in.

“I’m just hoping (the attention) gets me home,” Adam said.

Lorin E. Goodwin

Services for Mr. Goodwin will be at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 24, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Salem.

Lorin E. Goodwin of Keizer died on April 20, 2010, at the age of 79.

He and his family arrived in Oregon in the fall of 1969. He and brother Lee owned Goodwin Bros. GMC Truck Dealership for many years.

L. Goodwin

In retirement, Lorin was active in real estate, numerous business ventures, and he volunteered many hours for Catholic education in Salem.

He was preceded in death by his sons Michael and Patrick. Survivors include: his wife Joan; sons, Daniel and Brian; daughters, Colleen, Jane, and Sharon; brothers, Lee and Bill; and sister, Ruth; He is also survived by 17 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

Donations may be made to Blanchet Catholic High School in Salem, Oregon.

Arrangements by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.

How does your garden grow?

Above, Isaac White spreads out compost at Mike Whittam Park on Saturday, April 17, while volunteering to help make a community garden there a reality. If you want to pitch in, they’re having another work day Saturday, April 24, starting at 9 a.m.

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

Want to garden, but don’t have the space?
Or just want to enjoy the experience with others?

Your chance is coming this summer, as Mike Whittam Park is being transformed into the first public community garden within a Keizer city park. [MAP: 1]

The effort represents a partnership between numerous private and public groups. Volunteers have been busy installing raised planting beds to provide plots that can be rented by community members.

An eight-foot by 16-foot block will cost $25, while an 8 by 8 will cost $15. Food raised in part of the garden will be donated to the Keizer Community Food Bank.

It represents an impressive collaboration between a variety of groups: Marion-Polk Food Share, the City of Keizer, the Keizer Parks Foundation, AmeriCorps volunteers, the local American Red Cross chapter, Latter-Day Saints volunteers, school children and more.

The park was named for the late Mike Whittam, a former parks board member who also worked for Oregon State Parks. His widow, Kathy, has been enthusiastically promoting transforming the park named for him into a community garden for more than a year now.

“What a lot of people don’t know is that Mike absolutely loved to garden,” said Kathy Whittam. “It combines two of the things he loved the most.”

Volunteers organized a series of work days to complete the project. (If you’re interested in pitching in, the next one is Saturday, April 24, at 9 a.m.)

For Jeanne Bond-Esser, who is chair of the Parks Advisory Board, a member of the Keizer Parks Foundation – and who is involved with Marion County Healthy Communities – the decision to help change the park from a sparse field near Keizer Little League Park into a garden was a no-brainer.

“Getting fresh, high-quality, nutritious food that doesn’t come in a cardboard box to people is important,” Bond-Esser said. “That particular park didn’t have a plan in the master plan we put together … We’ve developed an unplanned park.”

Kathy Whittam said that there “are people who just flat need help.”

“This is probably one of the highest unemployment rates we’ve had for quite a while,” she said, “and although things are starting to improve there’s lots of people who are hungry – those working two jobs as well as those who are unemployed.”

The notion of showing children where their food comes from is one that drove Amber Marshall Parker and Megan Ackerman, both AmeriCorps volunteers spending a year in the Willamette Valley as part of the American Red Cross.

Students from Clear Lake and Cummings elementary schools along with Willamette Christian School and the Boys and Girls Club of Keizer have planted seedlings in their classrooms. Next month they’ll come out and plant them.

“The kids talk about what they’re doing in school, especially if they go on a field trip they’ll tell their parents,” Ackerman said. “Getting kids involved in gardening projects is a good way to promote healthy living at a young age.”

Parker pointed out the kids will get to learn a biology lessons firsthand.

“They’ll go on those field trips and have a chance to get their hands dirty planting the little seedlings that can grow up and potentially feed a hungry family,” Parker said. “It’s exciting.”

There’s several reasons organizers chose to put in raised beds: The group discovered during planning that park grounds get quite wet because it’s a backwater of Claggett Creek. This made the soil so wet it was unmanageable to till, Bond-Esser said. Raising the ground will also make it harder to vandalize and will enable year-round planting, she said.

Volunteers started by placing cardboard, then donated hay bales, then leaves, compost and topsoil donated by Highway Fuel.

“It’s called lasagna gardening,” she said. “Instead of tilling soil, you make layers of things.”

Two rows nearest Keizer Road will be filled with berries for passers-by to munch on.

Bond-Esser, an avid gardener herself, is excited that the plot will be open to sunlight most, if not all, of the day.

“Even people with big enough yards where they could have a garden may want to come here because they’d have more sun for melons and things like that they may want to grow,” Bond-Esser said.

Youth volunteers from local Latter-Day Saints wards have been instrumental, Bond-Esser said. Phil Bay is leading several LDS groups who helped set up the garden and will assist in maintaining it throughout the season.

And while the garden itself has yet to harvest, the fruits of volunteer labor are showing in the setup they’ve got going now.

The city installed a water line to the park, and will supply the water at no cost to the group.

To inquire about a plot or volunteer, visit the Parks Foundation’s Web site at keizerparksfoundation.org.

How much would charter cost? Depends on which side you ask

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

Supporters and opponents of an upcoming home rule charter ballot measure not only disagreed on the merits of the proposal at a debate Friday, April 16, in Keizer.

They brought to the table different versions of the facts.

Marion County Commissioner Janet Carlson and former Salem City Councilor Rick Stucky battled over cost containment and the possibility of a September special election should the measure pass next month.

Stucky, a co-petitioner for the measure, tried to prompt the audience via questions to give answers that would help bolster his case, but few responded. Indeed, when Stucky attempted to gauge whether the audience thought three or seven city councilors would be preferable (Keizer has seven), only one person answered either question.

“Those series of questions kind of reflect what this measure is all about,” Stucky said. “It’s about better decision-making and better use of your tax dollars.”

Carlson noted voters have turned down Marion County charter proposals three times prior, and said the county has so many responsibilities, including corrections and public health, that comparing them to a city council is “like apples and oranges.”

She also disputed that a home rule charter would cost less.

“At a minimum it’s going to cost the salaries and benefits of two new commissioners,” Carlson.

The two also disagreed on whether a special election would be required. Stucky noted language in the proposal citing specifically a November election for districts without a commissioner under the proposed charter, but Carlson said a previous passage renders Stucky’s argument less clear. She also said county legal counsel believed a September election would be required.

She reiterated that officials elected county-wide makes officials “think countywide,” and said districts “can cause divisiveness, people lobbying and just trying to get stuff for their businesses.”

She also noted the monthly breakfasts between county commissioners and Keizer city councilors, and said she and her peers are “really engaged” on issues like Keizer’s constrained urban growth boundary.

Stucky contended locally elected officials will be more apt to listen to their local constituents, citing his experience as a Salem city councilor in fighting crime in the Northgate and Highland neighborhoods.

And while Stucky argued five heads are better than three – suggesting some issues may have been vetted better had there been more commissioners – Carlson said the low number encourages transparency. She said in Multnomah County – with a five-member board – commissioners met in pairs and came back with a decision allowing same-sex marriage in the county.

“Where you are on that issue really isn’t as important as that was an issue was decided … privately,” Carlson said.

Stucky replied that those agreeing with Carlson’s argument “should really be concerned about public meeting laws among your city council, or any public body” and that violations of the state’s open meeting laws has less to do with the number, “but the people that you elect.”

Cost was also a point of contention, as Carlson pointed out that the only position eliminated in the charter proposal as written is the county treasurer. Stucky said the home rule charter – with two new commissioners and their salaries – could cost less if commissioners decided “they want to make this cost-neutral.”

The debate was hosted by the Keizer Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development and Government Affairs committee, which opposes the measure.

League celebrates 90th b-day

The League of Women Voters is celebrating its 90th birthday on Saturday, April 24, at the Keizer Civic Center.

The event is free and open to the public. It starts at 2 p.m. and will honor 50-year members and features a presentation on how women gained the right to vote.

Speaker will be Mayor Lore Christopher, with responses from Liliana Gaitan and Amy Vandegrift.

Watch out for Elks

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is holding its Oregon state spring convention at the Keizer Elks Club this weekend.

Over 700 members from throughout the state began their annual gathering on Thursday.  The convention runs through tomorrow, April 24. [MAP: 2]

James L. Nichelson of Ohio, the Grand Exalted Ruler will speak and meet with club officers and members.  Nichelson will learn of the many charity programs the Oregon Elks support and sponsor.

For the year ending March 31, 2009, Oregon club members contributed over $120 million in cash, volunteered hours and travel.

The Oregon State Elks Association has over 33,000 members in 56 local lodges.

Lady Celts slam opponents

Hailey Decker is greeted by her teammates after hitting a grand slam in varsity softball action from last week.

Sophomore Hailey Decker’s grand slam against Sprague was just one of many big hits for the streaking Lady Celts varsity softball team.

McNary also defeated McKay on Friday, April 16, and West Salem on Tuesday, April 20, to remain undefeated as league play reached its halfway point.

The girls defeated the Titans, 7-1, behind pitcher Erin Hento. See next week’s paper for more information.

In the 16-0 win over the Royal Scots, pitcher Nichole McDonald returned from the sidelines to hurl the shutout. A bruised thumb on her pitching hand had kept her out of action.

McDonald struck out six and walked two in a game called after five innings.

Taylor Jones, who bats out of the seventh spot, led the Celts with three hits and four RBIs while teammates Olivia Yarbrough, Courtney Castronovo, Brooklyn Ross and Mollie Bello contributed key hits as well.

McNary started slowly, leading 2-0 after two innings, but exploded for eight runs in the third inning and six more in the fourth.

The girls found the going a bit tougher in a Wednesday, April 14, win over the Olympians.

In this game, McNary scored four runs in the fifth inning to forge ahead, 5-1. Sprague added another run in the sixth and threatened in the seventh, but Hento prevailed.

Hento struck out four and walked one in going the distance. She allowed eight hits.

Castronovo delivered a double and three RBIs for the Celts. In addition, the top of the order did its job, as their numbers one and two hitters, Hannah Bouska and Yarbrough, combined for six hits, two runs and one stolen base.

Genetta Bennett added two hits, one RBI and one double.

Decker’s grand slam was the big blow in the Celts’ 8-3 win over Sprague on Tuesday, April 13.

Decker finished the game with four hits in five at-bats, six RBIs, two runs scored and a double to go along with her grand salami.

Castrono added three hits while Jones and Bennett had wo each.

Hento again went the distance, striking out one in seven innings.

“Erin has pitched very well on the  year,” said McNary Coach Jeff Auvinen, “especially when Nichole was hurt against South Salem. She is mentally tough and doesn’t let base runners, hits or errors bring her down. She gets tougher the tougher the situation.”

As of Monday, Hento (6-0) had allowed seven earned runs in 35 innings, for an earned run average of 1.40. She also struck out 24 and walked three.

Runner adds, sparkles in new event

Submitted photo by Bill Donaldson Lauren Brouse takes the baton from Amy Jones in the 4X400 relay at Saturday’s Aloha Relays.

Lauren Brouse, a track star since her freshman year, is trying something new her senior year.

The Lady Celt is adding the 300m intermediate hurdles to a repertoire that includes the 400m and 200m. She also is a member of the McNary 4X100 and 4X400 relays.

Early results from her new event are promising. Brouse placed second at the Aloha Relays on Saturday, April 17, and first in a dual meet at Sprague on Wednesday, April 14.

Then there’s the district standings, where Brouse is first in the 400m, second in the 200m and third in the 300m hurdles.

“It’s going good so far,” she said of the hurdles. “It’s been hard getting all that form stuff down. I was actually surprised with my time (on Saturday); it was a good time.”

She’s finding the hurdles to be both a physical and mental challenge. Though there are differences in techniques.

In the intermediate hurdles, “I’m trying to focus on getting over the next hurdle, so it takes my mind off how tired I am and how much more I have left in the race,” she said.

Athletes can compete in four events at the district meet. Brouse’s three locks are the 400m and the two relays. She’s undecided when it comes to the hurdles and the 200m.

One by-product of running hurdles is that it’s making her stronger in the other races..

“In the hurdles you have to push really hard to get over the last few hurdles quick when you’re tired,” she said. “So it’s really helped me in the 400, pushing and driving my knees up the last hundred meters to get in.”