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Day: August 20, 2010

Proposal to improve dog park gets initial ‘aye’ from Council

file photo

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

A volunteer-led proposal to irrigate the Keizer Rapids Dog Park got a tentative nod from the Keizer City Council Monday night.

There’s been no final approval yet, but councilors agreed to spend up to $19,000 in parks systems development charges (SDCs) to help implement the plan

The dog park was built largely by donations – including a large one from Keizer Veterinary Clinic – but the condition of the grounds has garnered criticism.

Clint Holland, a parks board member who recently backed the amphitheater project at the same park, spoke before the Keizer City Council along with fellow parks board member Garry Whalen and Dr. Kim Girouard, owner of Keizer Veterinary Clinic. Holland said he wants to get started this year.

The plan calls for irrigating the entire dog park as well as the grassy area in front of the dog park along Chemawa Road. A budget Holland prepared said the project would cost a bit more than $40,000.

The council was generally supportive of the concept, but some questioned how the city would be able to keep the newly-irrigated area mowed. The city has just two permanent employees and three seasonal workers to maintain Keizer’s entire parks system.

Holland himself wanted assurances the area would be well-maintained before committing himself to the project.

“Asking to do something like this, and being able to maintain it, is a different story,” Holland told the council.

Rob Kissler, director of public works, wasn’t yet able to say just how much it would take to keep the dog park mowed with irrigation added.

“We have not budgeted any money for formal operations of an irrigation system and a full-blown system,” Kissler said. “We do not have the funds established in the current budget to maintain this facility.”

Kissler also pointed out that, should city funds be used to hire employees, competitive bidding and prevailing wage requirements would come into play.

Councilor Richard Walsh made an impassioned plea that the council dedicate parks SDC funds to the project.

“These people are willing to take that dollar and turn it into $10,” Walsh said. “I don’t know where it ends up, but I feel like these men deserve a standing ovation … instead of saying, what roadblock can we put in your way?”

Councilor David McKane suggested it was time to form a volunteer group specifically dedicated to the dog park, fearing that without it the city would be in a similar place – namely, inadequate maintenance of the dog park – “in 12, 18 months from now.

“It’s not just about making it; it’s about maintaining it,” McKane said.

City Manager Chris Eppley pledged to maintain any upgrades “to the best extent we can with the resources we have … We don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth. We want to take these opportunities to make things happen because honestly that’s what Keizer’s all about.”

In other business:

• Councilors approved changes to the city’s nuisance abatement rules when it comes to solid waste.

The changes were mostly clarification and consolidation – but whatever you do, don’t call it junk.

“We govern the kind of stuff that it is, not whether it’s called junk or not because junk is a pretty subjective term,” said Community Development Director Nate Brown.

One change was that new multi-family residential projects must include recycling receptacles for tenants. Already-built complexes and buildings are not affected by the new rule.

• The Council approved a franchise agreement with Clear Wireless, which provides subscription-based wireless Internet service. The two sides agreed to a minimum payment of $10,000 per year.

Antennas providing the service would be placed on either existing utility poles or ones matching the design, and could not rise more than 25 percent of the pole’s height.

The agreement is non-exclusive, meaning other wireless Internet providers could operate in Keizer.

Music in Keizer

There is a lot of music in Keizer.  The Keizer Community Stage Band has grown into an excellent and passionate group of musicians.

The music programs at the high school and middle schools are envied by other schools.  Local groups such as Steelhead attract loyal followers wherever they play.  Keizer is a musical town, it’s one of the facades of the city everyone should promote.

The Keizer Community Band, under the direction of Dennis Bierman, has been playing around the city for years.  They have become a cohesive musical group that its listeners respond to, be it a standard composition or a jazzy number.  The band staged summer concerts this year at the gazebo at Chalmers Jones Park at the Keizer Civic Center.  They have appeared at other community events such as National Night Out.

The band, like many organizations in Keizer, is comprised of volunteers who play for the fun of it and to feed their passion for music.  They are yet another example of volunteers who make life in Keizer a little sweeter.

It’s probable that most of the members in the community band first learned how to play an instrument in school.  As arts programs continue to face budget cuts across the nation, our local schools maintain their programs through massive efforts by the school district, teachers and parents.

The music programs at McNary High School, Claggett Creek Middle  School and Whiteaker Middle School are thriving, actually bursting at the seams.

They are successful due to the herculean fund raising efforts by the students and their families.  And of course the directors themselves.

Jim Taylor, choir director at McNary High School, has fashioned an award-winning singing group.  This choir confirms the positive effect of music on the scholastic achievements of students:  the group boasts an average GPA of 3.5 and last year’s group was the receipent of more than half a million dollars in college scholarships.

David Hodges, the band director, also has a winning group to lead each year at concerts as well as the marching band.

Neither Taylor nor Hodges can have successful programs without the middle schools feeding into the high school.  The Whiteaker Middle School choir has competed at national competitions against high schools and has come out the winner.  When your middle school choir can beat the best high school choirs in the country, you are doing something special.

Whiteaker’s triumvirate of musical instructors are passionate about music and pass it on their kids.  Choir director Andy Thomas, band director Chad Davies and orchestra director Bonnie Gallagher together with Claggett Creek’s Rolland Hayden (choir), Jennifer Bell (band) and Bruce Purdy (orchestra) lead winners and achievers in their own right and get them ready to join the music program at McNary.

The parents and families of music students understand the importance of music and arts in the educational career of their kids.  Without these fierce advocates of the programs, Keizer schools would be a lot less lively.

—LAZ

IN THE RING: Should Muslim mosques enjoy the same freedom of religion as other buildings of worship? And is the New York City mosque a special case?

Each week the Keizertimes asks community leaders a question about current events.  To see more of this week’s answers or answers to past questions log onto www.keizertimes.com and click on In the Ring.

This week’s question: Should Muslim mosques enjoy the same freedom of religion as other buildings of worship? And is the New York City mosque a special case?

Hayley Rothweiler, student and Keizer activist—
Of course Muslims should be able to enjoy the same freedom of religion as other buildings of worship. It is written in our constitution that they (Muslims) have the right to do that, along with every other religion.

There have been claims going around that Islam is not even a real religion, but, it has been around for 1600 years, it is the fastest growing religion in the world, and they have more of a right than many others of those who wish to practice their religion freely and openly. It is possible for any religion to exist and worship openly and freely as guaranteed by the first amendment.

Secondly, the NYC mosque is not a special case. I hear night after night how that area is “hallowed ground,” but this is not the case. If this really were hallowed ground, there wouldn’t be a Burger King or McDonald’s around the corner or street vendors pedaling their goods on the sidewalks right outside the fence that circles the actual spot that is ground zero.

I can say that I did not need to see pictures of what happened. I still have the images of that day fresh in my mind today. And here was some guy yelling at me about a book of pictures of it. Here was a man capitalizing on the misfortune of others for his own personal gain. I can tell you that ground zero is in no way treated as hallowed ground, and the areas around it are not treated it like that either.

The building under question is already used as a place of worship by Muslims, and the intent is not even really to build a mosque, but a community center where worship will take place. I can tell you that the same set up is used by churches and synagogues alike across the United States. We have no right to deny them the ability to build this.

JoAnne Beilke, board member, Chemeketa Community College—
Yes, Yes…. The constitution says freedom of religion.  We take away their right,  then when will ours go?  It is the law.  Now politically I know this is hard but I have studied the Holocaust at the Museum of Tolerance and witnessed the rights of people being taken away.  It is the start of something this country cannot afford to do is take away our rights in the constitution.  Look at our own history of Indians, blacks, women  in this country.  This right to freedom is very fragile and should be guarded and has been guarded by wars.  No matter my personal opinion I am for our personal freedoms.

Frank Pauley, retired educator—
This community center is a wedge issue to get the American people off track. We should be focusing on getting more industry developed in the U.S. instead of pretending we don’t believe in the First Amendment. It is not a slap in the face of 9/11 families. The reactionary right-wing response opposes the very nature of our national values: liberty and tolerance. Let’s drop the hate and understand each other better.

Art Bobrowitz, Compass Rose Consulting—
I was not aware that Muslim mosques did not enjoy freedom of religion in this country.

The proponents for building a mosque near the 9/11 site do have the right to build. Is it a wise choice to locate close to the 9/11 site? No. Along with freedom come caveats called responsibility and respect. Religious freedom involves a responsibility and obligation to make appropriate decisions. That is not only relative to the denomination itself but to other religions and respect for their believers.

Of all the locations in New York, does a mosque need to be in that exact location? Can Muslim worshipers be accommodated in another location? The freedom to worship is represented by our ability to experience our respective houses of worship. Those buildings should be built with a purpose of adding richness to a community and not built by painful memories.

Building a house of worship in a community should be a sign of a hopeful and optimistic future and not a continuous reminder of a painful past.

Pat Ehrlich and Jim Willhite, Gubser Neighborhood Association—
In most places the siting of religious buildings just as the siting of business and residential buildings is controlled by local zoning ordinances.  We would doubt many of the ordinances have a specificity to cite particular religions and what they can do.  Therefore, in our opinion, the location of a mosque, synagogue, cathedral or church would be treated the same.  We really need to remember that it was not the Muslim religion that caused the events on 9/11.  We had our own local character who did us in in Oklahoma City.

Dave Bauer, co-owner, R. Bauer Insurance—
Our constitution does allow for freedom of religion.  Unless there is information found with regard to a religion that is harmful to our citizens or our Nation, then that religion should be allowed to practice its faith. Often the Muslim faith is tied to hate and violence for our country.  There can be “bad guys” in all religions. But any religion that profess that violence toward our country or our citizens should not be allowed to practice.

As for building of a mosque on the World Trade Center site, NO. But not only no to a mosques, but no churches, or synagogue or  any religions building. Not because of anything but the reverence to the citizens of our country that died in that horrific event. There wouldn’t be enough space for buildings of all faiths, and that would be the only way to honor the people that died on that sacred ground. Sometimes some of us “sacrificing a right” may best for all of our rights.

John Morgan, MorganCPS Consulting—
Absolutely the same. Period. After all, this is America, not some fascist dictatorship!

A lot to remember in Nov.

By HERMAN CAIN

As primary elections are settled around the country, it is not too early to start remembering what people should remember in November. With all of the distractions coming out of Washington through the filter of the media, it is easy for people to forget come Election Day.

This writer will not forget. Here are some of the things this administration and Congress have done to deceive, mislead and insult the American people:

TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program): $750 billion

When the financial institutions started paying the taxpayers back with interest, the Democrats, led by Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), wanted to use the interest for other purposes instead of paying down debt as specified in the legislation. This is just dishonest – to tell the public one thing and then change the law later to be able to add to the national debt instead of reducing it.

Stimulus spending bill: $862 billion

This was a deceptive bill. It was supposed to keep unemployment below eight percent and create jobs. It did not. Instead, the administration concocted a “saved jobs” concept to help disguise the deception. Gross Domestic Product growth is still sluggish, and unemployment has remained high at 9.5 percent. Businesses are in a state of “survive” rather than a growth mode because of all the uncertainties created by the administration and Congress. Even though the stimulus bill has not worked, the administration and Congress keep spending and plan on raising taxes.

Health Care Deform legislation: $1 trillion

The president and the Democrat-controlled Congress passed this legislation against the will of the majority of the American people. Currently, an even larger majority of Americans want this legislation repealed and the president and Congress continue to ignore their wishes. And more insulting, Democrats voting for the legislation did not read it. Speaker Pelosi even said

“We must pass it so we can then tell you what’s in it.”

Cap & Trade & Tax & Kill bill

No members of Congress read this bill either as it sailed through the House with only Democrats and one freshman Republican voting for it. Fortunately, the outcry by the people caused it to not go through the Senate as fast and it is still on the back burner, where it should die a quiet death. This legislation is a tax on our economy and businesses, and is based on faulty science which has been exposed. The Democrats and the president want to pass it anyway.

Annual Deficits

The largest annual deficit for President George Bush was during his last year in office ($455 billion in FY 2008).  The annual deficits under President Obama’s first two years of FY 2009 and FY 2010 were $1.7 trillion and $1.6 trillion, respectively. This is why the national debt is growing so fast. President Obama said in December 2008: “Deficits don’t matter.” They do matter to the American people and the future of this country.

National debt is nearly $14 trillion

Nearly $4 trillion has been added to the national debt since President Obama took office less than two years ago with a Democrat-controlled Congress. This is in contrast to the $4 trillion added to the national debt during eight years of the Bush administration. The Congressional Budget Office and others have warned that this is unsustainable, but the president and the Democrats continue to ignore these warnings.

Financial deform legislation

This legislation is another unnecessary new bureaucracy created by the same two members of Congress (Senator Christopher Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank) who chaired Congressional committees that allowed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to fail. Their failure was the catalyst for the financial meltdown of 2008 and 2009. The new legislation excludes Fannie and Freddie from oversight by the newly created bureaucracy. Fannie Mae is now seeking a second bailout of $1.5 billion after 12 straight quarters of loses, and Freddie Mac is asking for $1.8 billion of additional bailout money.

Another $26.1 billion

Speaker Pelosi called members of Congress back from August recess to pass this “emergency” jobs bill. Sixteen billion dollars went to the states that had done the worst job of managing their Medicaid program, and $10 billion were targeted to save teacher jobs. One caller last week appropriately called it a “snow jobs” bill.

The political arrogance, waste of taxpayers’ money and abuse of power by this administration and Congress has been unprecedented. If people remember in November, we can make an unprecedented change of control in Congress.

It’s November or never.

Herman Cain is a syndicated columnist with the North Star Writers Group.

Annexation plan for park addition approved

file photo

A tightly-restricted intergovernmental agreement between the city and Marion County to annex privately-owned land adjacent to Keizer Rapids Park has been approved by the Keizer City Council and Marion County Commission.

The move would annex privately owned land adjacent to Keizer Rapids Park, along with a small portion of the park. The primary purpose of doing so is to allow urban renewal funds to purchase the privately owned land, currently owned by Ella Buchholz, with the possibility of adding it to Keizer Rapids Park.

In order to annex the land a change must be made in the county’s comprehensive plan, namely that currently annexation is not allowed outside of the urban growth boundary (UGB). The amendment would allow the city to do so as long as annexed land outside the UGB maintains a rural purpose.

This is the chief caveat in the agreement between the city and county. The land is currently zoned for exclusive farm use, and the agreement specifies the zoning will not change. It could be used for park purposes, the agreement states, with a conditional use permit.

At a county commission meeting Wednesday, Aug. 18, Brandon Reich, staffer for the Marion County Planning Commission, said that throughout the process, the land would be zoned rural until coming within the UGB.

Nate Brown, community development director for Keizer, said that the timing of the issue was driven by the decision of the owner of the land between the city and the park to put it up for sale.  He noted that the law would require the parcel to be either in the UGB or the city.

Ken La Duke, a Keizer resident whose family abuts the parcel, expressed concerns about recent problems in the park involving noise and unleashed dogs. He suggested postponing a vote on the proposed amendment until the issues could be resolved.

Another Keizer resident, Will Lathrop, asked whether the change would bar residential construction on the parcel.

Commissioners said that their concerns could be addressed but that their questions could not be immediately answered.

Brown estimated that the annexation process, which he said will start at once, would take at least three months, and that the UGB process would take at least two years.

Rewriting history

To the Editor:

Has anyone else noticed that some people try to rewrite history? A recent opinion in the Keizertimes accused people of Bush-Mongering when they point out some of the mistakes that our former president made while in office. Do you remember 9/11 happened under the Bush watch? Other mistakes include invading Iraq needlessly which cost our country too much in both money and people. The Bush administration used made up evidence to support the need for war. In addition to spending our resources, the Bush Administration cut taxes. Unfortunately, the George W. Bush administration continued to spend and borrow. They should have raised taxes to pay for their war. Do you remember Bush saying the Iraq war would be paid for with Iraqi oil revenue? George Bush made bad decisions for eight years and now many Republicans curse Obama for not solving the Bush mess in his first two years in office. The financial straits that the nation, states and individuals find themselves started during the Bush years.

Let’s be fair about former presidents of late. They all made mistakes and bad decisions in my opinion. This includes Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush.  I believe Obama has made several bad decisions and ill-advised statements also.  I feel he was naïve when he believed Congress could compromise on a health bill. What we got is a mess. The Republicans in the Senate did nothing to improve the bill. All they did was to complain. It was easy to see the Republicans want Obama to fail, no matter at what cost to the country. This is not unusual. Every party out of the majority wants the other side to fail. This is a complete disservice to the country. I think people have to be aware and leery of the professional left and the professional right. I believe President Obama’s spokesman, Robert Gibbs, was correct when he suggested they should be drug tested. Those folks can never be satisfied unless they get everything they want! There is no room for compromise.

Bill Quinn
Keizer

New stormwater dept. positions will assist with two key permits

The city’s stormwater program is adding two employees.

The Keizer City Council authorized creating two positions – an environmental technician and senior environmental technician – to work on the city’s stormwater systems.

Elizabeth Sagmiller, environmental program coordinator, said the hires are part of complying with three federal mandates.

A key component of the senior environmental tech’s job will be data management, Sagmiller said.

“If you consider that we have 2,300 catch basins in the city, then we need to know exactly where they are, and they need to go into a geographic information system (GIS) database,” Sagmiller said. “We’ll know what kind of basins they are; we’ll know if they’re connected to a UIC (underground injection control) device or just a solid piece of pipe, and what role it plays in discharging to a waterway,” Sagmiller said.

The city currently has a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Permit (NPDES), which allows it to discharge stormwater directly into local waterways. This permit must be renewed, and the two employees, once hired, will assist Sagmiller in preparing a permit application.

It must meet two more mandates to fully comply with the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act:

• Total Maximum Daily Load Implementation Plan – The state developed a plan that shows how much pollution can enter the Willamette River before bacteria levels, water temperature and mercury contamination render it unsuitable for ideal fish spawning or human use, like swimming. Each government that contributes to the pollution – Keizer is one – must have a plan to reduce its contributions.

The city’s plan has been approved, and funding to comply with the plan was passed as part of the most recent budget.

• UIC Program/Water Pollution Control Facilities Permit – Many cities and counties in Oregon, for various reasons, are not fully served by an interconnected stormwater disposal system. In many of these areas, UIC (Underground Injection Control) devices take runoff off the surface and send it directly underground. Essentially, it disposes of stormwater on or near where it fell to the ground, as opposed to sending it to a nearby waterway via a stormdrain system.

The City of Keizer has approximately 83 of these. Federal and state requirements mandate that the city manage these, including a spill response plan and closing high-risk UICs.

This method of removing stormwater from the surface became popular as development stretched beyond the bounds of connected stormwater systems. Sagmiller said that, because Keizer’s water comes from an underground aquifer, correctly-performed stormwater management using UICs can be beneficial. And because of the aquifer, it must be done correctly in order to both comply with environmental regulations and preserve safe drinking water.

Part of the two employees’ tasks will be to monitor these – that is, know the quality of the water going into them – and to correct or close any that are malfunctioning.

40 runners race over hill and dale

Festivities for the third annual RIVERfair kicked off with a run along trails that lace through Keizer Rapids Park. (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

Results are in for the third annual RIVERfair 5K trail run, held Saturday, Aug. 14, at Keizer Rapids Park.

Raille Wilson, age 37, was the overall winner, at 18:43.6.

Rounding out the top 10 overall placers were second Phil Crock, 19:12.5; third Chris Poole, 19:53.7; fourth Marvin Glassen, 22:14.0; fifth Brian Lauritzen, 22:30.9; sixth Steve Cannon, 25:18.1; seventh, James Harms, 25:35.9; eighth, Trudy Schug, 25:50.6; ninth, Bill Steen, 26:07.6; and, 10th, Mindy Stubenrauch, 26:31.8..

At age 12, Erik Hammerquist was the run’s youngest competitor. He clocked a 29:25.2 to finish 12th overall and first in his division. The oldest runner was 75-year-old Bill Henry. He placed 40th at 48:46.5.

Schug was the highest placing female runner.

For more photos of the run, and all of RIVERfair, visit our photo gallery.

Agafya Kurochkina

Ms. Kurochkina, of Keizer, died Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010. She was 101 years old.

Services for Ms. Kurochkina were held Tuesday, Aug. 17, at the Slavic Christian Church of Salem.

Arrangements by Keizer Funeral Chapel.