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Day: July 26, 2010

Surprise! Start of compost program moved up

Of the Keizertimes

The city’s two sanitation haulers are starting a food waste composting program a month earlier than expected.

Representatives from Valley Recycling and Loren’s Sanitation announced Tuesday the program would start August 2.

If you already have garbage service through either company that includes yard debris pickup, you won’t notice much of a change. The Keizer City Council voted for bi-weekly pickup, which maintains the current schedule already set by the haulers and doesn’t include a rate increase.

“We were ready to roll as soon as we had a permitted facility,” said John Sullivan, general manager of Loren’s Sanitation. “… I hope people kind of catch on to it and take advantage of it because it is a good thing.”

“It doesn’t affect anyone’s rate and the facility is already permitted to take the materials, so there doesn’t seem much point to hold off until September at this point,” said Greg Dittman, operations manager at Valley Recycling.

Both are happy about diverting more waste from garbage taken to the county’s Waste to Energy plant.

“Those of us that have experimented with it already at our homes are finding it’s actually quite a bit of material by the time you include the napkins, pizza boxes and stuff like that,” Dittman said. “It’s pretty exciting.”

Sullivan still has small compost bins available to customers at Loren Sanitation’s Chemawa Road N. office. [MAP: 2]

Compostable items like bread, coffee filters and grounds, dairy products, egg shells, produce, meats, pizza boxes and seafood shells could be disposed of in the green yard debris can, instead of in the trash.

Plastic bags, animal waste, foil, grease, metals and personal hygiene products would continue to go in the garbage.

Motorcycle rally may become annual event

Of the Keizertimes

Final numbers aren’t yet in, but Good Vibrations organizers are happy with the turnout at last weekend’s motorcycle rally.

Organizers estimate some 600 motorcyclists registered for VIP treatment at the festival, and hundreds more made their way to Riverfront Park in Salem or to Keizer Rapids Park for rally events.

The park played host to two concerts, while the Keizer Civic Center had breakfast for VIPs and the Renaissance Inn was the registration hub. [MAP: 3]

And, of course, there was a parade of hundreds of motorcyclists roaring south on River Road Sunday morning.

“We were excited to see the parade going down River Road,” said Christine Dieker, executive director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce. “I could see it being an event that could grow.”

Motorcycles roar down River Road last weekend in a parade as part of the Good Vibrations street rally. KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox

Carol Infranca, a publicist for Road Shows Inc., estimated at least another couple hundred motorcyclists came out to enjoy some of the festivities but didn’t actually register for the event.

“And to have nearly 600 registered at a first-year event is pretty impressive,” Infranca added.

Road Shows Inc. is the company which coordinated Good Vibrations.

Randy Burke, president of the company, said support from Keizer’s mayor and city councilors were vital to making the event successful.

“And it was successful in that we had great support, great turnout by the bikers, and great sponsorship,” he said. “As far as the ability to know whether we raised enough revenue to pay the bills, I won’t know that for a couple of days.”

Whether the event returns depended in part on whether Road Shows Inc. was invited back, Burke said. On Monday the Keizer City Council agreed by consensus to do just that.

Keizer Police Capt. Jeff Kuhns reported no problems related to the rally.

“There was a good crowd on hand to observe the parade on Sunday morning.  The crowd was nothing like the numbers we see for the annual Iris Festival Parade, but at the same time there was a decent showing of individuals who watched the motorcycles, and boat with wheels, drive past the Chemawa Road and River Road areas,” Kuhns said.

Traffic was disrupted for only about 10 minutes while the procession moved through Keizer and Salem, Kuhns estimated.

“I got pretty tickled with the parade,” Burke said. “Parades can be pretty dicey, sometimes, to produce. We had to coordinate two police departments – and it was seamless.”

One question on many minds has been where all the motorcyclists came from. What organizers do know is there were attendees from Oregon, Nevada, Washington, California, Canada and Idaho. What they don’t know yet is how many came from where.

Sherrie Gottfried, sales manager at the Keizer Renaissance Inn, said the hotel sold out for two nights while the festival was in town.

“A nice quiet group – real mellow, very courteous,” she said.

Facing $23M shortfall, school board outlines cuts


For the Keizertimes

Proposed budget cuts to address a $23.8 million shortfall in state funding were presented to the Salem-Keizer School Board on Tuesday.

Superintendent Sandy Husk, who had announced at the June board meeting that the reductions, as outlined by Gov. Ted Kulongoski, would cut the 2010-11 budget by $18 million for a total of $23.8 million in budget cuts, made a powerpoint presentation on proposed cuts to reach the new shortfall figure.

Husk outlined the following breakdown of reductions:

• $10.1 million by reducing the ending fund balance to 4 percent and reducing the school startup fund and the risk management reserve.

• $4.6 million by cutting employee compensation through four unpaid days.

• $2.8 million by a hiring freeze.

• $2.93 million by cutting funding for supplies, materials and purchased services.

• $870,000 by eliminating funding for new textbooks and career-technology education expansion.

• $2.5 million by transferring the general fund item for capital maintenance to the bond fund.

The board is expected to vote on the proposal Aug. 10.

In other business, the board elected Rick Kimball as its new chair and Nancy MacMorris-Adix as its new vice chair. They took their positions immediately after the election, which was one of the earlier items of the meeting. Kimball succeeds Steve Chambers, and MacMorris-Adix succeeds Ron Jones.

The board approved a three-year contract for Husk. Her salary for 2010-11 will be $189,666; it will be at least that for each of the remaining years.

The board approved a 30-month contract for Assistant Superintendent Mary Cadez, a 36-month contract for Assistant Superintendent Salam Noor and a 24-month contract for Michael Wolfe as assistant superintendent for business and support services.

Other personnel actions approved by the board included:

•Changing the status of Ron Wiebe, mathematics teacher at Claggett Creek Middle School, from contract full-time to contract part-time.

•Hiring Michele Condello as a reading teacher at Forest Ridge Elementary School; George Thomson as a first-year probation full-time orchestra teacher at McNary High School; Melissa Houston as a second-year probation full-time learning resource center teacher at Claggett Creek Middle School; and Kelsy Bowers as a third-year probation full-time English teacher at Whiteaker Middle School.

•Accepting the resignations of Jana Fitzpatrick as a first-grade teacher at Gubser Elementary School and Erica Kerr as a literacy teacher at Weddle Elementary School, and the retirement of Debra Fiscus as a physical education teacher at Keizer Elementary School.