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

Day: May 20, 2010

And this award goes to… Jim Taylor

Jim Taylor, who led the McNary High School choir program to top honors at the Best in the Northwest competition along with a second-place finish at state, is this year’s Salem Music Educator of the Year, as determined by the Oregon Symphony Association (OSAS).

J. Taylor

Taylor, who received his master’s of choral conducting from the University of Arizona, will be recognized at Tuesday’s season-ending classical concert with the Oregon Symphony, featuring Elina Vahala.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. and is at Smith Auditorium on the Willamette University campus in Salem.

Taylor will be presented with a commemorative award and a check for $1,000 to augment his school’s music programs.

Among the other teachers considered for this award were Andy Thomas, director of choirs, Whiteaker Middle School, and Jennifer Loman-Bell, director of bands, Claggett Creek Middle School.

Tickets to Tuesday’s concert to honor Taylor can be purchased by visiting any Safeway TicketsWest outlet. Tickets range in price from $25 to $43. A service fee will apply.

A $5 student ticket fee is offered at the box office, the night of the concert.  They are available to any student, any age, with ID.  The box office at Smith Auditorium opens at 6:30 p.m.

Water won’t be part of rate hike package

Of the Keizertimes

There will likely be several fee and rate increases in Keizerites’ utility bills starting July 1 – but water rates won’t be among them.

Keizer’s Budget Committee voted to eliminate the water rate increases and rely on budgeted contingency funds to fill in the gaps.

File Photo

Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, the total fee increases – a new stormwater license fee, an increase in the stormwater rate and sewer license fee – would have cost ratepayers about $30 per year. New estimates place that figure closer to $26 per year per household.

Councilors Brandon Smith and Jim Taylor spoke out against cutting the water rate hike, and ultimately voted against it along with Councilor Cathy Clark and committee member Joanne Beilke.

Taylor and Smith both pointed out that the water rate – which goes into a separate fund – was not intended to reach a balanced budget, as were the franchise and license fee increases.

“This committee, not unanimously, but by majority was OK with increasing fees, yet you want to take a fund for the most important thing we provide and cut that,” Taylor said, noting the fee increases were part of a long-term cost of service analysis. “That’s almost a knee-jerk reaction.”

Smith contended that the lack of cuts Taylor and Councilor David McKane lamented in last week’s Keizertimes had actually already been included in the city manager’s recommended budget.

“In my opinion the heavy lifting was done before we went into the budget process,” Smith said.

Mayor Lore Christopher voted to eliminate the rate hike, saying it would reduce the impact of other revenue-generating measures this year.

“This is an area where we can fully fund this fund, this year by reducing the contingency,” Christopher said, while acknowledging it would likely mean higher water rate increases in future years.

Public Works Superintendent Bill Lawyer said the city’s cost of service analysis will mean larger rate increases in the future since this year’s was cut.

“ Ultimately, the long-term impact is at some point the increase will become much larger because of not having it now,” Lawyer said.

The board also considered, but did not add to the budget, a $50,000 request from the Parks Advisory Board from the parks system development charges fund. The request was to renovate the current Keizer Rapids Park caretaker house into a reception area and facilities for visiting performers at the nearby amphitheatre.

Some committee members liked the idea, but didn’t vote on it, with Christopher saying the proposal “wasn’t ripe” just yet.

The budget also includes a crosswalk in south Keizer. Discussion on how to mitigate pedestrian traffic in the area – where there is not a marked crosswalk between Glynbrook Street N. and the southern city limit – ultimately went nowhere.

Resurfacing work starts soon

Work could begin as soon as May 24 on several road resurfacing projects throughout north Keizer.

Crews will be resurfacing Lockhaven Drive NE from Trail Avenue to 14th Avenue, and Lockhaven Drive N. from Windsor Island Road to River Road. [MAP: 8]

They’ll also be working on Wheatland Road N., from just south of 2nd Avenue all the way to the north city limits.

Drivers should expect the roads to be down to one lane while work is happening. Detours such as Chemawa Road and River Road are recommended.

It’s about a $900,000 project, but it’s being funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, also known as federal stimulus dollars.

“This project was put together in the necessary timeframes to meet the federal rules,” said Public Works Director Rob Kissler. “These projects need to be finished by June 30, 2010.”

The expected start date depends on whether weather cooperates, Kissler said.

Work on Lockhaven Drive NE – that’s the portion east of River Road – will be between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The other work will be done during the daytime. Contractor is Knife River Construction.

The Wheatland Road and Lockhaven Drive N. projects will add a one-inch leveling lift and two-inch overlay across the entire street. On Lockhaven Drive NE, the center lane doesn’t need repairs and won’t be resurfaced, Kissler said, but both the eastbound and westbound lanes will be.

“I’m very excited to make the repairs on Lockhaven because it’s showing some signs of deterioration, but I’m also excited about finally having the funding to repair Wheatland Road on the north end because it’s been in disrepair for several years,” Kissler said.

Grassroots Government

Bikeways Committee

When they met: Wednesday, April 26.

What they did: After dividing up responsibilities for grant reporting, the group opted to accept an ACTS grant. The group discussed fulfilling grant requirements through a bike/walk to school partnership, bicycle repair classes at the Iris Festival or RiverFair and hosting a bike repair class in September. The group also decided to focus on helmet distribution this year at the Public Works-EMS Open House set for next week. David Dempster urged the committee to focus on the Iris Festival’s bike ride as opposed to having a training class.

Who was there: Robert Fox, Jerry Lelack, David Dempster, Chri Christensen, Jim Taylor. Absent: Jeremy Jensen and Jim Merrill.

Next meeting: May 19, 2010.


Parks Advisory Board

When they met: Tuesday, April 13

What they did: After the board discussed a cut that removed portable toilets from several community parks, the board voted to ask the council to restore those cuts. (Editor’s Note: The Budget Committee did just that last week.) All but David Philbrick voted to recommend reinstating fertilizing and weed control for park lawn areas, with Philbrick saying he wasn’t comfortable with using chemicals on athletic surfaces. Jim Parent, who is a board member and also Keizer Soccer Club’s director of coaching, said Keizer staff should consider scheduling school facilities within the city of Keizer. The City of Salem currently handles this for all Salem-Keizer School properties. Some board members said they have had little or no cooperation from the school district in trying to meet with them to discuss land-sharing agreements.

Who was there: Jeanne Bond-Esser, Garry Whalen, Clint Holland, Alex Pellico, David Philbrick, Rick Day, A.J. Nash, Danny Boyd and Jim Parent. Absent: David McKane.
Next meeting: May 11, 2010 (minutes unavailable as of press time)


Traffic Safety Commission

When they met: Thursday, April 22

What they did: The group recommended adding lighting per Portland General Electric design on Wheatland Road from River Road N. to the north city limits. Public works  staff said Dearborn Avenue would be closed for two to three weeks from Claggett Creek Park eastward as work on the sanitary sewer system is completed. They also suggested a pedestrian safety measure at Plymouth Drive and River Road.

Who was there: Donna Bradley, Richard Hoover, Larry Dimatteo, Ed Thompson, Joel Stein and David McKane. Absent: Eamon Bishop and Curt McCormack.

Next meeting: May 27, 2010.