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Day: October 29, 2010

Candle triggers Keizer house fire

A fire ignited by an unattended candle scorched a Keizer bedroom Thursday, Oct. 28, and caused approximately $2,000 in damages.

Firefighters responded to a single family home at 4686 Rivercrest Drive N., where a caller reported hearing popping noises and seeing smoke was coming from the furnace vents.  Upon arrival fire fighters saw light smoke inside the residence. While searching the home, they located the fire in a bedroom.

The fire was quickly extinguished and the closed bedroom door  minimized the spread of smoke. The fire caused damage to the room and contents.

One individual who was home at the time of the fire was transported to Salem Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

A total of one engine, two ambulances, one duty officer and thirteen firefighters responded to the scene.

The Keizer Fire District reminds area residents to take care when using candles, and offered the following tips:

• Nearly half of all candle fires start in the bedroom. Do not use candles in the bedroom.

• Always keep candles clear of flammable material or liquids. A good rule is to allow at least three feet from anything that can burn.

• Keep candles out of drafts that blow flames towards flammable materials.

• Always use stable and secure candle holders.

• Never leave candles unattended, for even short periods of time.

• Extinguish candles with care. Do not allow them to burn below two inches above the rim of the holder. Make sure wicks are dead out.

• Teach children, that like matches and lighters, candles must be handled by adults with care.

• Never permit youngsters or teens to have candles in their bedrooms.

Schrader talk at Rotary all business

Photo by Jason Cox / KEIZERTIMES

At the tail end of the political season, Rep. Kurt Schrader’s talk at Keizer Rotary Club Thursday, Oct. 28, was all business.

A member of the Small Business Committee, the Canby-based Democrat discussed bills affecting small businesspeople, saying several changes could help them obtain credit and increase tax write-offs.

He said the “credit issue is a big deal” from what he’s been told by small business owners, and noted loan opportunities where 90 percent would be guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. He also said the SBA was assisting refinances of commercial real estate up to $5 million.

Schrader also cited a small business lending fund targeted at small, community banks with assets totaling less than $10 billion. He added businesses seeking loans would be required to submit a business plan.

“We learned a little something from that TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) fiasco,” which was largely aimed at larger financial institutions, Schrader said.

He also said recent changes would make the self-employment health care premiums 100 percent tax deductible, and said some businesses with payrolls averaging $25,000 – $40,000 per employee could qualify for a 35 percent deduction on employer-provided health care.

Asked about extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, Schrader said he didn’t know if cuts for those making more than $250,000 would pass or not, but said extending the reductions for those making less than that “If I were to guess, are going to pass” when Congress re-convenes after the November elections.

After a question from Ron Christopher, he acknowledged sub-S corporations could see their taxes go up.

He also said there’s “a lot of misinformation” surrounding cuts to Medicare, instead calling them “improvements and savings.” He said Medicare spending changes would focus more on outcome rather than the number of procedures.

Asked about extreme partisanship, Schrader called it “a shame … fueled by the extreme positions in both parties.

“The bulk of Congress, Democrat or Republican, they come from districts where there’s no threat to them,” he added.

Keep Heritage as it is

The city and the Keizer Heritage Foundation are headed for a collision unless they can come to an agreement on the foundation’s lease of the ground its building—the Keizer Heritage Center—sits on.

The Heritage Foundation raised money in the late 1980s to save the original Keizer School.  After the construction of Schoolhouse Square Shopping Center, the building sat forlorned behind the center.  The community came together and raised money—from pennies to sizable donations— with help from the city to relocate the building its to present site and to rehabilitate the structure into a community center. The center is the city’s only historic building that serves a public service.

If the current lease is not renewed the city can take over control of the heritage building.  That would be a troubling chain of events if it came to pass.

If the city did take control of the building one wonders how they would pay for its operation and maintenance.  The Keizer Heritage Foundation has used revenues from tenant rents and rental of the conference room to pay for day-to-day operations as well as adding money to the sinking fund that pays for big maintenance projects.

Some officials seek larger space for the Keizer Museum; others want more space for the Keizer Community Library.  Those are nifty goals but to reach them a lot of different pieces have to fall into place.  Some say there will be plenty of space once the Keizer Chamber of Commerce moves into new quarters at the transit center in Keizer Station, but that is not yet a done deal and can not be counted on for a few years.  Others say the conference space on the second floor can be used as museum space mingled with reading and computer space for the library.  Everyone has an idea of how to use the heritage center.

The things the city wanted the heritage foundation to focus on in return for a quarter million dollar gift were education, history and culture.  All three have been accomplished and the Heritage Center has flourished.  The Keizer Heritage Museum is operated by a group of dedicated volunteers that plays host to school children and drop-in visitors with an interest in local history.  The Keizer Art Association, a paying tenant, offers art classes, monthly exhibits and public receptions.  The Keizer Community Library is the little engine that could; it started as a children’s library and has long since outgrown its space.

The Heritage Center offers its conference room on the second floor to community groups at a discount.

We don’t see how anyone can say the foundation has not fulfilled its mission—it has, and then some.  In our view the city should be thankful there are dedicated people who oversee the center and its tenants, who are generous with their time and take their duties seriously.  The city should offer a long-term lease and say “Thank you for doing a great job with the heritage center.”

Our hope is that the city and the Heritage Foundation will be able to come to an agreement on how to keep the center a viable and important part of Keizer’s life. The foundation done that quite well.

The city will have to make a good case for taking over the ownership and management of the building especially when budgets will be tight into the foreseeable future. When the city faces other issues such as unfilled police department positions and fluoridation in our water, taking over the Heritage Center shouldn’t be a priority. Which tenants will stay, move or receive reconfigured space is a discussion that should be left to the foundation and the groups that rent space.  Keizer Heritage Foundation has done nothing but good things for the residents of Keizer.  The city of Keizer needs to recognize that and turn its focus to other issues.


(Disclosure:  LAZ was elected to the Heritage Foundation Board in September, 2010.)

The good that fluoridation does


Fluoridation of community water supplies is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proclaimed community water fluoridation as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

Fluoride in our water benefits everyone, especially those without access to regular dental care. It is the most efficient way to prevent one of the most common childhood diseases, tooth decay, which is five times as common as asthma in five to 17 year olds. Adding fluoride to drinking water is like the addition of vitamin D to milk and iodine to table salt. There is absolutely no legitimate scientific study or research that shows that there are any harmful effects from fluoride in our drinking water when it is in the correct concentration, 1.0 ppm (parts per million).

More than 65 years of research and practical experience consistently shows that fluoridation of community water is safe. In dentistry we see the positive effects of fluoride in our water on a daily basis. When volunteering in communities and countries with no fluoride in the water, twice the prevalence of cavities and dental disease is painfully obvious. The American Dental Association, the U.S. Public Health Service, the American Medical Association, and the World Health Organization support fluoridation of community water supplies. It is absolutely important that we keep fluoride in our city water for all of our sakes.

If fluoride were to be removed from our water, it would condemn the oral health of generations to come. For credible information about fluoridation, please visit the American Dental Association’s website at

The information indicating that money saved by removing fluoride from our water, could be spent on other things, is not correct. Money collected from our water bills has to be spent on our water system. It is dedicated money and can not be used in another department of the city, or reallocated to provide dental care to fix all of the cavities that could have been prevented by continuing to fluoridate our water.

The cost of water fluoridation is very inexpensive and highly cost effective. An individual can have a lifetime of fluoride in the water for less than the cost of one dental filling. Water fluoridation contributes much more to our overall health than simply reducing tooth decay. It prevents needless infection, pain, suffering and loss of teeth: improves the quality of life and saves vast sums of money in dental treatment costs. The evidence strongly shows, and nearly all dentists and medical doctors agree we should keep fluoride in Keizer’s city water.

Lady-Jean Stratford has a dental clinic in Keizer;  Brian Gilmour has dental clinic in Salem.

Volunteers look forward to ‘Extreme Makeover’ on TV

Of the Keizertimes

If there is such a thing as fate, maybe its fickle finger led Jon Gehm back to Salem just in time to lend a hand at the Oregon School for the Deaf Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build.

Gehm graduated from the school in 1970, but left the area for decades to pursue his calling as a traveling evangelist for Deaf Ministries Worldwide.

“I moved back because my children decided to move back and I arrived on Aug. 27,” said Gehm, who set down stakes in Keizer. It was mere days before OSD was announced as the build site.

Of the many volunteers at the site, Gehm was one of the several deaf volunteers who found ways to chip in during the build.

For Gehm and his son Daniel, who acted as interpreter during the interview, helping out meant mostly cleaning up the site as debris piled up during the whirlwind construction schedule, but he also got to hang doors with as part of the work crew.

“I didn’t think it could be done in one week,” Gehm said. “But what they did there was wonderful and awesome.”

Marion Rich, another deaf volunteer and Keizer resident, also pitched in cleaning up the site. Rich was present at the picnic with her brother, a teacher at OSD, and partner who works there as well, when the EMHE trailers pulled up.

Rich was most impressed with the level of environmental considerations as she worked the site.

“The things they did to make it environmentally friendly, like growing grass on the roof, are awesome,” Rich said. “But the coolest thing to see was all the different technologies they were installing to assist in communications between deaf students and with the hearing world.”

Rich was also a lucky recipient of free hearing aids provided by Starkey. The hearing aid producer was on hand to custom fit and order hearing devices.

Rich, who’s thinking about retirement, last wore hearing aids as a teenager.

“I did not like the sounds they would make, it made my eyes hurt and I would get dizzy. I threw them away,” Rich said.

Free is free, however, so she decided to give them another chance.

A week after the fitting, her new hearing aids arrived and she heard things she hadn’t in years, including the sound of her own voice.

“They told me to go out and walk around and the first thing I heard was a motorcycle going down the street,” Rich said.

In the weeks since, it’s been like rediscovering sound.

“Even opening up a bottle of pills, it’s awesome and amazing. Digital hearing aids are just the best,” she said.

Residents and associations


The  Keizer Neighborhood Associations were created many years ago to build community unity,  inform  neighbors of activities, and to resolve problems. Keizer has two neighborhood associations: West Keizer, led by Rhonda Rich, and the Gubser Neighborhood Association lead by myself. The leaders of any neighborhood association try to bring a sense of value to each meeting with the guest speakers they invite, to generate a learning and sharing environment. Each neighborhood has hundreds of households and the leadership of these neighbors tries to keep the information flowing through e-mail, fliers, or word-of-mouth.

Rhonda Rich and I went in front of the city council to argue the value of the neighborhood associations. The funding for the neighborhood associations was on the chopping block and seen as an unnecessary city expense. In the end, the funding was reduced by more than half and informational fliers were eliminated due to high printing and mailing costs.

When I went through the Gubser Neighborhood Association phone list to inform the neighbors of the October meeting the response was overwhelmingly positive. However, an effort to ellicit support on a house-to-house tour  met with mixed results. Due to conflicting community events the October meeting was lightly attended.

Rhonda Rich brought together a political gathering for the upcoming elections including: Mayor Lore Christopher, city council candidates Cathy Clark, Joe Egli and James Taylor as well as Marion County commissioner candidates Patti Milne and Jason Frelinger. All were given a time limit to present their case. I applaud Rhonda for her efforts. The conference room at city hall was full, but should have been a standing room only event with the political clout in attendance.

As leaders of the associations we try to fill the interests of the community and it is not always possible to have an action packed meeting—simply getting to know your neighbor is equally important.

I urge you as neighbors to contact your neighborhood association leaders and voice interest in attending, concerns, and guests you think would add value to meetings. When I lived in Los Angeles it was a “keep to yourself attitude.” Nobody said “hello,” “good morning,” or “how is your day?” When I moved to Keizer twelve years ago that all changed. Neighbors helped my family through difficult times, and “good mornings” were common place.

The Gubser Neighborhood Association meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at Gubser Elementary School.

The West Keizer Neighborhood Association meets at the Keizer City Hall on the second Thursday of each month (due to Veterans Day the November meeting will be held on Nov. 18).

Allen Prell lives in Keizer.  He is president of the Gubser Neighborhood Association.

New faces clear out food banks


In August and September of this year the Keizer Community Food Bank (KCFB) provided food boxes for 270 families which served over 2,000 individuals. According to Marion-Polk Food Share data, an average of 400 new families are seeking the aid of a food bank in Keizer or Salem for the first time. Add rural areas and the number is closer to 800 families. County-wide, that’s over 6,000 families a month receiving emergency food service. Marion-Polk Food Share estimates that one out of every five area families ate from an emergency food box at least once in the last 12 months.

What this means is that the KCFB shelves are bare.  On Monday, Oct. 25,  the KCFB had to make an emergency purchase of food at a cost of $1,100 (discounted via Roth’s) just to service the Monday night clients. Donations are down. Marion-Polk Food Share is also experiencing a decline in food donation.

On the one hand the solution is quite simple, the food bank needs more food. It is hard for me to fathom that in this day and age, in the richest and most powerful country in the world that we have kids going to bed hungry. It’s hard for me to fathom that kids in this state are going to bed hungry. It’s even harder for me to fathom that kids in this community are going to bed hungry.

We need you—the community, religious, business, professional, educational or social group you may represent—to lend a hand. If you don’t have a food barrel in your location, call us and we’ll bring you one and even come and pick up the food. When you go to the store, buy and extra can or box of food and drop them off at any of the six church partner locations, or local businesses that already have a food bank collection barrel, including Uptown Music and Tony’s Kingdom of Comics.

The six church partners of the Keizer Community Food Bank are John Knox Presbyterian, Faith Lutheran, Keizer Christian. St. Edward Catholic Church, Clearlake United Methodist, and Calvary Baptist Church.  The food bank is always seeking the ten most wanted items: soup, chili, macaroni and cheese, cereal, peanut butter, tuna, fruit, vegetables, pasta and pasta sauce.

Also, don’t be afraid to donate cash. Money donations allow the food bank to make emergency purchases like we had to do earlier this week and maintain core foods on the selves. Donation checks can be sent to John Knox Presbyterian Church (PO Box 20968, Keizer, 97307) or any of the other church partners with an notation “For Food Bank.”

Together we can nourish tummies and a put smile on the kitchen table.

Curt McCormick lives in Keizer.

Orcutt, grocer and firefighter, recalled as community stalwart

Of the Keizertimes

Sam Orcutt, a mainstay in Keizer for decades, died Friday, Oct. 16.

He was a former training officer for the Keizer Fire District, and is perhaps best known for Orcutt’s Market, the grocery store that served as a community center of sorts long before the Keizer community became a city. The street in front of where his store used to be is named for him.

Former cohorts describe Orcutt as quiet yet funny, generous yet reserved.

“He gave of his time in such a manner that it wasn’t about him,” said Greg Frank, former Keizer Fire chief.  “He didn’t do it to get notoriety or business at the store. It was about giving back to your community and making it a better place. And he did that through his actions.”

Orcutt’s Grocery “was quite an institution,” recalled Jerry McGee. “It became kind of a social center as well as a place where you pick up your bread, bananas and what not. Anything that was going on in the town was talked about, pretty much, there at the grocery store.”

“It was where my parents used to see everyone they knew,” said Jim Taylor. “Sam was always there, and knew everybody.”

Jim Trett, who worked with Orcutt at Keizer Fire, described Orcutt as an old-school firefighter. Trett joined Keizer Fire in 1974.

“When I first joined, our big thing was when you go to a burning building you put on air packs,” Trett said. “He was probably the only guy people didn’t get on about not wearing an air pack. To his face, anyway.”

Trett also grew up in the area, and described Orcutt as a man who “took care of people, both in the store and as the fire department was forming.”

Les Chapman was a firefighter alongside Orcutt for many years.

“Sam’s probably the nicest guy you’d ever know,” Chapman said. “To me, he’s a guy you had to look up to, no matter how tall you were. I can’t think of anybody that didn’t like Sam. And I’m not sure I’d want to.”

He described Orcutt’s teaching style as “down to earth and common sense,” noting the time Orcutt built a model of Keizer School out of cardboard. It had a removable roof so firefighters could see where all the halls, rooms and exits were.

“It could have been the biggest fire Keizer ever had,” Chapman said.

McGee recalled another example of both Orcutt’s giving ways.

McGee’s wife, Shirley, led a Girl Scout troop from their home on Shoreline Drive.

Orcutt was a pilot during World War II and maintained a private airplane at the airport in Independence. Shirley knew none of the other girls in her troop, besides her own daughter, had never flown, McGee said.

“By golly, he had his plane at the Independence airport, Shirley hauled all those girls over there and he took them up two at a time,” McGee said. “… And he took them up, flew them over their home in Keizer, took them back to Independence.

“Those girls have met up periodically over time, and it was Sam Orcutt’s free flight that they remember and talk about all the time. I always thought that was quite generous.”

McGee also recalled when he won a flight from Orcutt at a Keizer Rotary auction. Destination? Mount St. Helens, not too long after it erupted.

“His radio comes on, says ‘you’re approaching the red zone,’ McGee said. “Sam keeps on flying towards the mountain. The radio squawked again … I looked at Sam each time, and he was looking straight ahead … they said, ‘Cessna, you must leave the area at once’. I looked at him and said, ‘Sam is that us?’ He turned off the radio and kept flying.”

“After we got back to Independence after a wonderful flight, there were two gentlemen in suits waiting there for Sam. … It was just a risk he had to take to show us a good time.”

Mayor Lore Christopher said Sam’s dedication to serving his community seeped through to son Andy, who was Keizer’s mayor from 1989-1993.

“He started a legacy of public service … that has kept going through each generation,” she said.


To the Editor:

As a community dentist of more than 30 years experience,  I see a future that is very bright.

In this difficult economic time it is refreshing to find a far-sighted city councilor who holds the economic interests of their citizens in such regard and the provide for the stimulus fo dental practices at the same time.

While saving the citizens of Keizer money that was to be used for continued fluoridation and fluoridation of new wells, Richard Walsh has also insured the continue financial solvency of Keizer dentists.  The people of Keizer will be happy to save a penny a day per citizen.  I’m sure they will appreciate the cumulative savings when they pay their bill at their next dental visit.

Okay, so the savings is less than a penny a day and they will need to see the dentist more often because of the additional decay, and yes, the children and poor will be most affected but think of the economic benefits your dentist gets.

H. Clayton Stearns, DMD

Lady Celts clinch league title

McNary’s Megan Holland sets the ball for Keri Stein during the team’s 3-0 victory against West Salem Tuesday, Oct. 19. (Keizertimes/ERIC A. HOWALD)

Of the Keizertimes

Billed as a showdown between top teams, the Lady Celts’ encounter with the West Salem Titans on the volleyball court proved to be less a main event and more like a warm-up on the McNary march to the Central Valley Conference title.

The Titans lost several of their top players to injury the previous week and Celtics were unrelenting in their attack en route to a 3-0 win, match scores were 25-11, 25-13, 25-20.

“It was unfortunate that their best players couldn’t be part of the match, but we’re proud of our girls who took care of the things they needed to do,” said Dustin Walker, McNary head coach.

The Titans’s closest bid to a win came in the third match when they closed the gap to 23-20, but McNary sealed the deal two plays later.

McNary senior Madi Cavell led in kills, 10 and blocks, two. Deven Hunter put down eight kills and led in aces with four. Simona Arnautov had three aces. Megan Holland had 26 assists and Whittley Harrell made 15 digs.

The Celtics locked up a standalone CVC title with a win over South Salem Thursday, Oct. 21. The win put the Lady Celts at 9-0 in the conference and a final match against McKay the only remaining challenge to an unblemished record.

In the South Salem victory, the Celtics put 19 aces over the net on the way to wins of 25-6, 25-14, 25-15.

“That was a real confidence booster headed into the West Linn tournament,” Walker said.

Harrell led in aces with six and digs, 16. Cavell followed with five aces and recorded eight kills. Hunter added five kills and four blocks. Holland had 19 asist on the night and Keri Stein added five kills.

At the West Linn tournament, the Celtics beat Lakeridge and McMinnville in play, but split with Summit High School, a No. 1 5A team. Despite the split, McNary advanced to the final eight where they faced Jesuit High School.

“The first game went to Jesuit 25-12 and the next game went 25-17,” Walker said. “I was really happy with their second game and the adjustments they made between the two.”

McNary will avoid the play-in round of the state playoffs next week and hosts a game Wednesday, Nov. 3. In the interim, the team will be turning its focus to the weaknesses the West Linn tournament exposed.

“We’re going to work on shoring up the things we do well and defending a middle attack. A lot of the best teams in the state right now have really talented middle attacks,” he said.