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Month: May 2010

Rain doesn’t take bloom off Iris Festival

Rain fell most of the weekend, but skies cleared just in time for the Bank of the Cascades Iris Festival Parade last Saturday, May 22. Above, the carnival lights up the night sky.

Of the Keizertimes

Many events at the Keizer Iris Festival were well-attended despite cool temperatures and the rain that intermittently drenched the crowd.

Others just plain got rained out.

Considering the curveballs Mother Nature threw at them, festival organizers are pleased with the turnout and enthusiasm. Overall attendance was down, but Iris Festival chair Teresa Walsh said the festival “went surprisingly well given the monsoons.”

“It was one of the record downpours that we’ve ever experienced,” said Christine Dieker, executive director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce.

Carnival attendance was down by about half, but the festival also set a record for Sunday’s crowd in the Big Tent, with the Keizerfest Poker Run that brought about 45 motorcyclists to the festival. The Ty Curtis Band, and a Christian music show, also contributed to the record-setting day.

“We had quite a variety of people in there on Sunday,” Dieker said.

The 5K run had more than 500 participants – and only 500 bid numbers, Dieker said, with some runners going bandit-style without a number. The kids’ 3K run got between 90 and 100 participants, Dieker said.

They were putting out fires all week long. On Wednesday, a huge gust of wind blew down the Big Tent, where the larger concerts are held. The National Weather Service reported gusts as high as 45 miles

per hour that day.

“It crumpled a whole corner of the tent,” Walsh said.

Then on Friday, May 21, the area got nearly an inch of rain, setting a record for the day. “Tons and tons” of sawdust were used to keep the Big Tent from turning into a mudpit, Walsh said.

“We had to trench around it in certain areas to bring the water out,” Walsh said.

The sawdust was also turned over and raked nightly to minimize water within the tent, Dieker said.

Some events – like Tournament Town basketball – never took off in part due to inclement weather, Dieker said.

“With more notice and planning, that might be an event that will grow in the future,” she added.

But two key events – the Iris Festival Parade and the Iris Golf Tournament – saw mostly sunny weather. Or, at least, not rainy.

New events like a helicopter ride and Civil War re-enactment were reportedly successes, and organizers were almost giddy about the turnout for the poker run.

“To have that turnout with the bikers was really neat,” Dieker said.

Open house will address planned bus fare hikes

File photo

Of the Keizertimes

An open house next week will address across-the-board fare increases for Salem-Keizer Transit.

The system operates Cherriots buses and the CherryLift service for the disabled, and officials said the increases are part of a biennial price review.

Keizer’s open house will be from 5:15 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, June 2, at Keizer City Hall. The board won’t be deliberating there but the district will be taking comments from residents.

The district produced a comparison showing the Cherriots service is cheaper than Portland’s Tri-Met as well as bus service in Medford, Tacoma, Everett, Eugene and more. For single-fare riders, Klamath Falls was the same and Olympia was cheaper. The comparison also held up for adult monthly passes, which the district’s comparison shows are cheaper than many area cities. Olympia, Wilsonville and Bend have lower prices.

The district proposes raising single adult fares by 25 cents, day adult passes by 75 cents, monthly passes by $5 and annual by $60.

Steve Dickey, director of transportation development for the district, said SKT’s upcoming budget relies on these fare hikes.

“If this is not increased by the board we’ll have to most likely look at a service reduction because we don’t have anywhere else we can make that significant a cut,” Dickey said.

Kate Tarter, a board member representing Subdistrict 3 – which includes part of Keizer along with north Salem – said the forums are to “give people who are impacted a chance to speak up.”

She acknowledged some difficulties with the district’s service cuts and changes last year – which added service to some areas while removing it in others – saying some longtime riders were no longer able to use the system.

At the same time, she said, ridership numbers are at about where they were prior to the changes implemented in September 2009.

“That means we’re carrying the same riders with less (service) hours,” Tarter said.

Ron Christopher, who represents Subdistrict 2 in Keizer, didn’t get into specifics about the proposals, but said he generally wants to “charge the prevailing fee” and that riders should bear the brunt of paying for the service.

“That’s one aspect … to keep the budget balanced,” Christopher said, noting the district as a whole is “way under the average” fare for other transit districts in the area.

Anthony Charles Myers

Tony was born in Seattle, Wash. but was raised in Los Angeles, Calif. where he developed a love for the ocean. Following high school, he joined the U.S. Army serving our nation for twelve years and completing two tours in Vietnam.

After service, he traveled the world’s oceans on a ship doing oil exploration. He then traded water ways for highways and continued his travels driving semi-trucks across the country.

Tony married the love of his life June 6, 1970 in Florence Ore. He is survived by loving wife, Teresa Myers; Their two children, Melanie and Eric; son-in-law, George; daughter-in-law, Jasmine; and four grandchildren, Taylor, Marisa, Madison, and Maddox. Tony adored his family as they brought love and joy into his life. He will live in our hearts always.

One more hurdle for tracksters

Of the Keizertimes

History was made at the Central Valley Conference track and field championships.

McNary seniors Lauren Brouse and Amy Jones kept their streak of never losing to a conference foe when on the same 4X400 relay alive with a thrilling win against South Salem on Friday, May 21.

“Coming to the 200 mark, I was ahead. And then Kelsey Moe (of South Salem) came in and, like, stepped in front, cut me off,” said Brouse, who ran the anchor leg. “I had to slow down. So coming around the (final) corner, she was ahead. I got angry that she cut me off. We’d taken it for three years, so I just pushed it as hard as I could and barely got it, but I got it.”

The bang-bang finish, which came in the final event of the championships, was so close that Brouse didn’t know if Moe crossed the finish line ahead of her.

Lauren Brouse. Photo by

Sophomore Averi Wing and freshman Laura Donaldson completed the McNary relay.

“I was a little tense there for a while,” said McNary Coach Kelley Borresen. “They had a goal to want to go all four years and win all four years. And for them to be able to that, and for the young girls to be able to step up and help them do that, I’m really happy for them.”

The streak didn’t go unnoticed by  members of the relay’s younger set.

“Me and Averi were, like, we cannot let them down,” said Donaldson. “We felt really good that we didn’t break the streak.”

In addition, the relay set its best mark of the season, two-tenths of a second from a new school record.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Wing. “Hopefully we get (the school record) because it probably won’t happen again because the seniors are leaving, unless we get some fast people next year. So it’s a really good chance.”

The Lady Celts’ 4X100 began Friday’s action with a district championship. Members on this relay include Brouse, Jones, Wing and sprinter Rachel Fast.

McNary also saw four individual district champions crowned: senior Megan Hingston in the 100m hurdles and shot put, Brouse in the 400m, junior Tim McDowell in the high jump and junior Jenna Quesnel in the pole vault.

Qualifying for state with second place finishes were sophomore Dylan McHugh in the 800m, Hingston in the 300m hurdles, Jones in the 800m, Brouse in the 200m, Fast in the 100 and McDowell in the 400m.

It’s the first state meet for Wing, Donaldson, McHugh, and Quesnel.

McHugh entered the conference finals seeded fifth. But he won Thursday’s preliminaries and then was second in the finals.

“I just competed,” McHugh said. “I just went out and competed my hardest. I set a personal best by one second. It’s not a huge jump, but it works.”

Two-tenths of a second was the difference between second and third place.

“Expectations were that it wasn’t supposed to happen. But what I see from Dylan is he gets stronger every week,” said Borresen. “He’s maturing more and to see that, not only mentally but physically, he’s getting stronger as a competitor.”

Quesnel went from third to best in districts in one year. Her best mark is 10-4 though she won the district title at 9-6.

“I wanted to PR, but you take what you get,” Quesnel said. “And I did better than I last year at the district meet, and that’s what really matters.”

Quesnel added she hopes to build on her state experience, especially since she will continue pole vaulting her senior year. Maybe by then it will sink in that she’s a district champion.

“It hasn’t really clicked in yet,” Quesnel said of the title. “People have been congratulating me, and I’m like, thank you. Then it clicks. I’m district champ, and that’s pretty cool.”

McDowell qualified for the Class 4A state meet last year while attending Lebanon High School. But this is his first Class 6A state meet.

“The team events, like the 4X100 and the 4X400, are definitely a lot harder than I think they were at our 4A district meet,” said McDowell. “But I think individual-wise, it’s probably about the same.”

McDowell enters the state meet with a personal best of 6-4 in the high jump. He thinks the competition will push him to an even higher mark this season.

“I think I will rise to the occasion and show that I am a force to be reckoned with,” McDowell said.

Fast has been to state as a member of the 4X100 relay, but never has an individual.

“I’m really excited because it means I have gone further in my running ability,” said the senior. “I can now go as myself and do an individual event. It means a lot to me. I’m really excited.”

Upon crossing the finish line, Fast didn’t know if her individual season had just ended.

“It was a really close race, and so I wasn’t sure if I got second or third. I was like ‘oh no,” Fast said.

Fast added she didn’t know exactly where she placed until the awards were presented.

All in all, it was a good meet for McNary athletes.

“I’m really pleased with the district meet,” said Borresen. “When you look at our kids, the majority of them either set personal bests or tied their personal bests. So anytime you go into a meet and you have kids exceed what they have been training for, I think you have to be really happy with that.”

Borresen added her team’s elite athletes met expectation as well.

“Everyone is going to state. Everyone had exceptional performances, considering the weather, considering everything that we had. I couldn’t be happier with them. I think they did excellent,” she said of her state qualifiers.


McNary senior Megan Hingston qualified for the state meet in three events, but it was the 300m hurdles that was perhaps the most exciting.

Megan hit the second to the last hurdle and nearly did a “face plant,” as she terms it, but nonetheless finished second. Thus ensuring she will run this race at least one more time during her prep career.

M. Hingston

“I’ve been trying to figure out if my steps are off or if I was reaching,” said Megan. “Honestly, I can’t tell you which one it was. But I didn’t realize I was going to hit the hurdle. I thought I would feel it, you know, if I was going to. But I didn’t. And the next thing I knew my hands were on the ground. I kind of went in panic mode, scrambled up and luckily finished second.”

The top two qualifiers in each event automatically advance to state.

It was a different story in the 100m.

“I ran a PR in the 100 prelims. I wasn’t expecting it. But I was relaxed,” she said. “I also ran a decent time in the finals. No flaws like in the 300. I didn’t hit any hurdles.”

Megan also qualified for state in the shot put, where she is seeded sixth. She is seeded seventh in the 100 high hurdles.

“My goal is to run a clean race in both hurdle races,” said Megan. “Anything is possible at these big state meets. Just trying to stay positive and keep that concept in my mind the whole time. Have fun and enjoy myself.”

Just the facts

In the news business, the outlet that gets the news out first wins.  If this television station scoops that station by 10 minutes; or, that newspaper beats that radio station, it means more viewers/readers and certainly bragging rights.

The tragic death of a teenage boy in Keizer last week was covered by local media and TV stations from Portland.  There was a fount of misinformation, all in the name of “getting it first.”

At press time this week, there still is no final medical examiner’s report, so any reports of a choking game, a suicide or an accident are premature and it does no one any good to report it as any of those things.

The family of the young man must be frantic, trying to figure out what happened.  It doesn’t help when they, their neighbors and their friends all see news reports that their child committed suicide or was involved in some fatal game.

It is the name of the game to scoop one’s competitiors in the news business, but each outlet should endeavor to report the facts, not the rumors.

Girls third, boys sixth at district championship

What follows is a list of McNary athletes who placed in the top eight at last week’s Central Valley Conference championships, thus scoring points for their teams.

The girls placed third, just one-third of a point behind Sprague while the boys were sixth.

South Salem swept the team standings.

Men’s Results

First: Tim McDowell, high jump

Second: Tim McDowell, 400m; Dylan McHugh, 800m

Third: Anthony Davis,110m hurdles

Fourth: Clive Massee, fourth; Aaron Hudson, 100m

Fifth: Chris Jennings, 300m hurdles

Sixth: Greg Williams, shot put; Austin Anderson, javelin; Ian Jones, 400m

Seventh: Aaron Hudson, 200m

Eighth: Issac Manu-Tuinei, shot put; Tyler Gordon, 200m; Forest Feltner, 400m

Women’s Results

First: Lauren Brouse, 400m; Megan Hingston, 100m hurdles, shot put; Jenna Quesnel, pole vault

Second: Rachel Fast, 100m; Lauren Brouse, 200m; Amy Jones, 800m; Megan Hingston, 300m hurdles;

Fourth: Chelsea Scott, discus;

Fifth: Megan Hingston, javelin;

Seventh: Rachel Fast, 200m; Chelsea Scott, shot put

Eighth: Laura Donaldson, 400m; Ashley Burger, 1500m; Averi Wing, long jump

Go to for more specific information.

America is better off now


After reading Ross Day’s guest opinion in the May 14 Keizertimes, I must say I agree that the state Democratic party has done an abysmal job in leading the state, particularly the leader of the Senate, Peter Courtney, the leader of the house, Dave Hunt and the Superintendent of Education, Susan Castillo.

I also agree that change is warranted; however it was difficult to stop laughing at the irony of his comments.  Does he not remember this is exactly why we now have a Democrat in the White House? Change!  Does that word sound a little familiar?

It was obvious to the majority of voters that change was needed, and we should not insanely return the party to power which was responsible for the many messes we faced.

During eight years of Republican control, we entered two wars.  Whether they were ill advised is debatable; however there is almost complete agreement that they have been totally mismanaged including sending troops into harm’s way provided with inadequate equipment to protect themselves.  The casualties continue and neither war appears winnable.  The medical care provided for the wounded warriors in many cases has bordered on criminal and nothing was done to correct it until the press reported on it.  The support provided for families has also been very poor as many families have been faced with the hardship of having loved ones being deployed three or four times.  Oh, by the way, they have cost trillions of dollars with no end in sight.

In eight years nothing was done regarding immigration reform except rhetoric because of contributions from big business who had been hiring the illegals. The same rhetoric continues today.  If they really wanted reform, don’t you think they would have done something about it during the last eight years?

In eight years nothing was done about health care (read contributions from insurance companies and drug companies).

It was also concluded that 9-11 could have been prevented if it were not for the breakdown of communication and cooperation between our intelligence agencies which also happened under Republican control.

The biggest disaster of those illustrious eight years was the economy.

In all fairness there was one major accomplishment which helped prevent an even worse economic disaster and that was the failure of our former president to privatize Social Security.  Would that have been a disaster or what?

I really wish Day and Russ Walker would have helped organize the tea baggers eight years ago and they were actually looking out for the country instead of being manipulated by special interests.  Maybe then they could have helped prevent some of the messes we are in now.

When I evaluate a candidate or an administration, I just ask one simple question, are we better off now than when they were elected.  I think the answer to that was pretty obvious to the majority of voters the last presidential election and it is way too early to say about this administration.

I will end by quoting a recent Keizertimes cartoon, “Impeach Obama—Because he’s not fixing Bush’s mess fast enough!”

Mike Riley lives in Keizer.

Government has its role to play

Memorial Day, originally Decoration Day, was set aside to honor those who gave their lives fighting this nation’s battles.  Writers whose eloquence and understanding exceed mine will speak to that service on this holiday.  I wonder how a democratic republic preserved at such dear cost should in return serve its citizens.

Many things big in the news right now are putting pressure on this government to define its relationship to business. The oil gusher at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the Wall Street collapse and subsequent federal intervention, and the health care drama, have combined to provoke debate about the role of government.

The technology for deep water drilling has outpaced the technology for safety measures.  In spite of sophisticated new methods in shallow water drilling, blowouts still happen.  So it was not only predictable, but inevitable that it would happen at a deep water well, where no one seems to know how to cap the blowout.  BP claimed that the technology was foolproof, a vast underestimation of the power of foolishness. They have even lobbied against proposed regulations for drilling, claiming that their safety record shows that they aren’t needed.

The ideal solution would be to stop the gusher instead of trying to assign blame.  But that solution should have been devised before it was suddenly needed.

What is the best role for government in all this?  Should government spend its energy fixing the very bad things that happen or, rather, preventing them?  BP makes money selling oil and it is naïve to hope that they might have held off drilling until methods were developed to cap a well under a mile of water.

Government is the only realistic way of controlling the excesses of business.  The U.S. portion of the Gulf coastline is about 1,680 miles.  All of it is endangered.  No “free market solution” will fix this disaster.  Most of the individuals affected by oil on the beach don’t have resources to go to court against a corporate giant.  Nor do the pelicans or fish. The damage will not be undone.  Boycotting BP won’t save six inches of gulf coast.

There is a NOAA map showing the location of more than 3,800 drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.  Perhaps they don’t all have the destructive potential of the Deepwater Horizon, but some of them must.  Should government be more aggressive in oversight of business in order to prevent these crises, or should they wait for them to happen and then assume responsibility for their correction?  Which team does Congress support when the interests of business are different from the interests of the public at large?

The recent Wall Street meltdown was prevented for many years by federal regulations brought on by the Great Depression.  Those regulations were removed and Wall Street gorged until it blew up.  Yesterday’s paper reported that America has fallen to 42nd among nations in its infant mortality rate.  If health care is a business, then that is a business failure.  The federal deficit has grown so that it is becoming a national security threat because of the loan origins.

Veterans who have sacrificed so much to serve their country and protect it from hostile foreign nations might fairly ask who is served by the leadership of that country.  Who protects us from danger within?

Don Vowell lives in Keizer.  He gets on his soapbox regularly in the Keizertimes.

Keizer audiences are great audiences

To the Editor:

I’d like to thank the citizens of Keizer for the warm welcome they gave the “Get A Life Marching Band” at Saturday’s Iris Festival parade.  We do many a parade each year, and I have to rank Keizer’s Iris Festival Parade with the best of ‘em.

Also I’d like to thank  the seven or so folks who braved the rain to enjoy our concert at Keizer Station.  Well, we were under the tent, they had to stand in the downpour.  But they were smiling!

I’ll be back to enjoy more of your fair city in the near future.

Ron Phillips
Get A Life Marching Band
Wilsonville, Oregon