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Month: December 2010

Keizer Little League Park facilities trashed by vandal(s)

Two buildings at Keizer Little League Park were vandalized, causing extensive damage, police reported Friday.

It’s estimated the vandals caused $1,000 or more in damage to the concession stand and a storage building on park premises. A facility manager reported the incident Friday at about 10:31 a.m., and police said it likely happened sometime in the prior 24 hours.

Keizer Police reported someone broke into the concession stand, spraying paint on the walls and breaking various items, like an empty cash register and fluorescent light bulbs. In a storage facility gang-associated graffiti was sprayed on the walls and someone discharged a fire extinguisher.

Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Tyler Wampler at (503) 390-3713 ext. 3507.

Working together for jobs

In an earlier time Keizer residents voted to go their own way and incorporated into a city; the future was bright.  The people didn’t want to become part of Salem, some didn’t even want to become a city.  Overall, most people wanted to control the destiny of their community.

When Keizer incorporated into a city in 1982 there was plenty of land for new homes and businesses.  These days viable land for sizable tracts of homes is slim; the on-going recession has given Keizer’s commercial development a one-two punch.

Our local unemployment rate has been frozen at 10 percent or more for months.  No one looking for a job needs to be told how tough it is to find employment.  We could be facing another blow if the state decides it has no choice but to lay off hundreds or thousands of its employees.  In years past many looked to the state as a last resort employer; no longer.

It is up to the private sector to create the jobs the Willamette Valley needs.  It is up to all governments—federal, state, local—to create an environment that gives businesses the confidence to hire again.

It is time for the mid-valley to work together for regional economic development.  The hard truth is that Keizer currently has no parcels of land that can be developed into business or light industrial parks.  Salem has land, Keizer has the desirable address.  Let’s figure out how to use our respective strengths to attract the businesses that will create jobs.

This is where all the regional Chambers of Commerce and other economic organizations, such as SEDCOR,  should be coordinating efforts to attract new business and industry.

Ideally, that means more big projects like the new Home Depot warehouse near Highway 22.  Keizer shouldn’t see it as a loss if a business decides to open in Salem, if our neighbor has what that business needs.   Unless or until Keizer has an expanded urban growth boundary to develop we must contend with the realities.  We should see any added businesses and new jobs as a win for the entire region.

The health care industry will continue to grow as the nation ages.  Positioning Keizer as a secondary medical care hub to Salem is an important element of our future economic growth.  Aside from medical clinics our region should recruit research laboratories and companies that support the medical industry.  We sit on the busiest north-south transportation corridor on the west coast, we are an hour from an international airport and it is less expensive to build in the mid-Willamette Valley than in the Portland metropolitan area.

Our region has assets that can be promoted to attract more employers. If we all coordinate our efforts we bring more businesses to the mid-valley.  Keizer is fiercely independent, but tough times call for new approaches.  We can all be winners by controlling our destiny and not hoping for a national economic resurgence that may not come.

—LAZ

2010: The Year in Keizer Sports

The McNary varsity softball team went undefeated in CVC play and ended the season just missing the state playoff game.

Filled with highs and lows, 2010 was a year for the record books as girls teams at McNary stood tall above their competitors and the Celtic wrestling team seemed to come into its own.

Also in the mix were a local man who nearly summited Mt. McKinley, a former Lady Celt who signed on to play pro softball and a Keizer man who earned a World Series ring. But, first things first, what follows is a list of the 2010 highlights in Keizer sports.

The demise of Circuit City in Keizer Station paved the way for an indoor practice facility for Keizer Soccer Club. Property owner Donahue Schreiber inked a discount deal with the club on a month-to-month basis while they look for a new tenant to take over the site.

Celtic varsity wrestlers capped a stellar season with a district championship – beating out Sprague High School by 4.5 points. Three district champions – Levi Martinez, Stevin Urban and Wes Heredia – also emerged from the mix. Eleven wrestlers qualified for the state meet, a school record. Martinez would go on to capture the state title in the 112-pound division, the first McNary wrestler to do so since 2003.

McNary’s Adam Hansen, Dominic Meyer, Ryan Tesdal and Kevin Groves qualified for the state swimming meet. Hansen won district titles in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races. Meyer sailed to a district championship in the 100-yard freestyle.

McNary senior Lauren Brouse signed two letters of intent to compete in soccer and track at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colo.

The Wolverine wrestling team, at Whiteaker Middle School, completed an undefeated season in March. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. I think we proved that this year,” said Kelly Hafer, WMS wrestling coach.

The Lady Celts’ varsity basketball team plowed through Central Valley Conference competition to a perfect 12-0 record. The team would go on to finish fourth in in the OSAA state tournament by beating Franklin High School 61-50.

Dr. Matthew Stauser, director of worship at Keizer Community Church, attempted to scale Mt. McKinley and got within 800 feet of the summit before being forced to turn back after being struck by a cerebral edema, or fluid on the brain. Stauser turned to his expedition leader and told him he was unable to remember who he was or what he was doing. It hasn’t stopped him from thinking about a return trip.

“Do you remember the old question about why I climb, and the old answer was because they’re there? The older I get the more I like that answer,” Stauser said.

After 15 years as McNary High School athletic director, Mike Maghan opted to retire at the end of the 2009 school year. Of all the things he expected to miss, it was the watching the evolution of students and programs that topped his list.

“I’m going to miss watching kids grow and evolve from scared little freshman to very mature, very confident seniors,” Maghan said. Ron Richards was tapped as his successor.

In April, four bowlers at Town & Country Lanes rolled perfect games. Billy Bowman, Mike Harmony, Alex Clark and Daniel Baizer. Of the four, Harmony was on his ninth 300 game, it was Baizer’s first.

The McNary varsity softball team ended their season with a perfect record in CVC play and a district championship. The team wound up one game shy of the state playoff game after a 4-3 loss to Grants Pass High School.

A Celt 4X400 relay team consisting of Brouse, Amy Jones, Averi Wing and Laura Donaldson topped the platform in the district relay meet capping an undefeated run. The 4X100 team of Brouse, Jones, Wing and Rachel Fast won a district title, and the school crowned individual champs in the 100m hurdles and shot put, Megan Hingston, 400m, Lauren Brouse, high jump, Tim McDowell, and pole vault, Jenna Quesnel.

Craig Nicholas, longtime Celtic baseball and football coach, announced his retirement in June. Larry Keeker was named his successor later in the year.

During the entirety of the 2009-10 season, the Lady Celts lost only one game in CVC competition.

Former Celt Mariesha Marker signed a contract to play softball with the Chicago Bandits of National Pro Fastpitch League.

Two Keizer based teams, the Lady Celts 10U and Oregon Panthers 12A softball teams were crowned state champs in their respective leagues. The Panthers went on to take part in national championship tournament in Tuscon, Ariz., where they placed 13th.

The Volcanoes’ lackluster season experienced something of a revival long after they left the field. Several former Volcanoes won the national title as part of the San Francisco Giants’ World Series roster. One of their coaches, Keizerite Steve Decker, also took part and will receive his World Series ring next year. Volcanoes owner Jerry Walker will receive a rin, too.

After a couple of preseason wins, the McNary High School varsity football team struggled to find footing as the season wound on. The team ended up without a win in league play.

Wes Malott, a Pro Bowling Association star stopped by Town and Country Lanes to offer advice and participate in a tournament with local bowlers.

The Lady Celt varsity volleyball team notched a CVC title and a playoff run that took them to sixth place in state.

The Celtic boys soccer team snagged a playoff berth in a play-in game despite a rocky season. The team progressed to the quarterfinals before losing to Lincoln High School in a nail-biter 8-7 loss that went to penalty kicks before a winner was declared.

With winter sports underway, the McNary girls varsity wrestling team and wrestling teams appear to be the ones to watch with early strengths shining through and, in some cases, surprising fans.

As we usher in 2011, the staff of the Keizertimes wishes all our local teams and athletes the best as they strive to reach their goals.

Author recounts years as a struggling Keizer teen

“The Absent Embrace" Braedon Kuts
Former Keizer teen Braedon Kuts’s new book “The Absent Embrace" focuses on the trials she endured as a teen and eventual rebirth as an artist and writer.

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Braedon Kuts’ time in Keizer probably wasn’t the best of her life so far, but it provided plenty of fodder for her new memoir “The Absent Embrace: One Small Girl’s Resilient Spirit.”

“My mother saw I was doing poorly in school at a young age and she took took me out on impulse thinking she would home school me, but it became too much and the situation became neglectful,” Kuts said.

Kuts’s mother took her and her brother from the care of their father – it was reported as a kidnapping – and hid the children in Keizer before she fled the state leaving the kids behind.

“My mother didn’t buy food at all, I remember loitering around Porter’s Pub when I was 13, spying on the customers, waiting for them to leave so I could eat their scraps,” Kuts said.

Other experiences included panhandling in front of the 7-11.

“I also remember playing out in the fields behind the Country Glen housing track, building forts and catching mice with home-made traps to help feed my 24 cats,” Kuts said.

She was enrolled at Whiteaker Middle School for a week before classes ended for the year and entered McNary the following year.

“I didn’t understand anything the teacher was telling me. I remember he asked me to write down the year and I asked him what a year was. I had the education of a third grader at the time,” she said.

Her lack of education manifested in other ways as well.

“I was used to seeing the word ‘pull’ on doors, so when she saw it on a little red box walking through the McNary hallway, she didn’t think anything of doing what it told me. Then the alarms sounded,” she said.

School officials tried to get Child Protective Services to intervene, but Kuts, now 28, was uncooperative for fear of getting her mother in trouble. She didn’t consider herself homeless, she always found a place to stay, but eventually she’d end up kicked out. At age 15, she was returned to her mother, but another hasty retreat left her couch-surfing again. All the while she was slipping further into drug addiction, which her mother had introduced her to at the age of 12.

It wasn’t until she moved to California that she finally started to get some traction in her school efforts.

“I don’t really know where that came from, but I was a writer – I’d been a journal keeper all my life even though I could barely write – and I wanted to learn so I could do it well,” Kuts said.

She even managed to graduate high school early. Since then she’s turned out a children’s book, “All in a Night’s Dream,” which she illustrated, and is experiencing a budding career as a comic book artist. She’s working at adding motivational speaker to her arsenal of talents.

“I’ve been to a couple of the schools around where I live in in California and the kids have been really responsive, I’m hoping to get the chance to speak at McNary one day,” she said.

She credits her eventual embrace of education, and all it offers, with her current success.

“Because I did not go to school for so long, by the time I got into high school and got some traction, I had a deeper appreciation for education when other classmates despised being there,” Kuts said.

Kuts’s books are both available on amazon.com.

Farewell, welcome

The Keizer City Council loses one of its longest-serving members on Monday, January 3, as Richard Walsh turns his seat over to Joe Egli.

Appointed to an open seat in 2000 and elected to full terms in 2002 and 2006, Walsh ends his 10 years of service.  His deliberative and thoughtful ways will be missed.

The good news for Keizer is that Richard Walsh isn’t going anywhere.  He will remain passionate about the issues that he worked hard on, especially city parks. Be assured that have not seen the last of Walsh.

His seat will be taken over by Joe Egli, a booster of Keizer in the Lore Christopher vein.  Currently an agent with R. Bauer Insurance, Egli’s business experience will be key to his main issue, economic development.  His experience as Keizer Chamber of Commerce president will come in good stead as he helps lead the city council into the future and its myriad of challenges including addressing the effects of a lingering economic slump.

With his background we expect Mr. Egli will jump into his new position with both feet and be a major player from day one. Local business will have another friend on the council.  Though universally hailed as a cheery and compassionate man, he will be no pushover when it comes to matters of budgets and spending.

We are looking forward to see how Egli’s addition to the city council will not only maintain Keizer’s frugal ways but how his background will bring new ideas to help solve problems the city will face in the coming years.

Egli will be sworn into office along with returning councilors Cathy Clark and Jim Taylor.  Mayor Lore Christopher will be sworn in for her sixth term.

Once the festivites of the swearing in are over, the city council will get down to the business and face budgetary issues.  Farewell, Richard Walsh.  Welcome, Joe Egli.

—LAZ

40 small things that make Keizer BIG

Everyone knows the obvious things that make Keizer a great place to live—low taxes, good schools and such.  But what about the small things that weave the fabric that is life in Keizer?  Here is a subjective list of things, in no particular order, that make Keizer big:

• Don, and his picturesque chirashi at Sushi Town.

• The staff at Keizer True Value Hardware who direct their customers to the best purchase.

• The castle-style house on Leo Street, and all the other homes that bear a unique owner’s mark.

• Jerry McGee, who can answer pretty much any local history question thrown at him.

• Hometown pride. Oregonians love their state, but Salem seems to have a confidence problem. Keizer bears no such burden.

• Neighborhood folks who care enough to replace the Palma Ceia signs. Those stands looked odd by themselves.

• Costumed characters at Tony’s Kingdom of Comics.

• The Thai iced tea at Thai Lotus.

• The musicals at McNary High School.

• The paw pavers at the dog park.

• The deck at Caruso’s Italian Cafe at sunset.

• Uptown Music’s in-store concerts.

• McNary students changing the world through their involvement with the Hands are Not For Hurting project and Humanitarian Watch Club.

• Switching on the lights on Keizer’s Christmas tree with Santa.

• Five congregations uniting at the Keizer Community Food Bank to end hunger.

• Five dollar haircuts at Tangled Ends Hair Academy.

• The sound of approaching sirens on Candy Cane day.

• Watching people at the Iris Festival Parade.

• Fresh peaches in August from Jones Farm Produce.

• Live action role playing (boffering) at Claggett Creek Park on Saturday mornings.

• Polar bear swim in January at Northwood Swim Club.

• The SnoCones at Keizer Little League fields.

• The new play equipment at Wallace House Park.

• The bowling pin sidewalk at Town and Country Lanes.

• Summer concerts at Keizer Rotary Amphitheatre.

• The pet parades at the Iris Festival and at RIVERfair.

• Disc golf course at Keizer Rapids Park.

• Local art at Enid Joy Mount Art Gallery in the Keizer Heritage Center.

• Cows and horses in the middle of the city (west of Verda Lane).

• Bargain hunting at the McNary Estates garage sale.

• Lava dogs at Volcanoes Stadium.

• Freshly grilled hamburgers at McNary’s home football games.

• Statue of Thomas Dove Keizur at the Keizer Civic Center.

• Holding a wedding at Log House Garden.

• Walking the Miracle of Christmas lights route on a chilly evening in December.

• Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes at Mother’s Day and Santa breakfasts at Keizer Fire hall.

• Keizer Rotary Club’s annual International Dessert with goodies from around the globe.

• Keizer Young Life’s auction items.

•  Trivia Night at Ringo’s.

• K-9 demonstrations from the Keizer Police Department.

This list, comprised by the Keizertimes staff, is not meant to be definitive.  If your choice for something small that makes Keizer big is not on the list, submit your choice via email: [email protected]

Aurelia P. Edwards

A. Edwards

Ms. Edwards, of Keizer, died Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010. She was 92.

Born in San Antonio, Texas, to Tobe J. Pierce and Nora Lenert Pierce, she lived in Thailand and Central America, eventually settling with her husband Dorsey at Avamere Court Retirement Community.

She was a private pilot and enjoyed flying and traveling. She attended Saint Mark Lutheran Church in Salem. She also established a scholarship at Oregon State University in her husband’s name.

Ms. Edwards was preceded in death by her husband, Dorsey, stepson, James Blair Edwards; sisters, Kathryn Pierce Roth and Nora May Pierce; and her parents. Survivors include: her stepson, Elizabeth Joan Lepley; a niece; a granddaughter; three great-grandchildren; and two-great grandchildren.

No services will be held. Memorial contributions can be made to The Salem Foundation, PO Box 2305, Salem, OR 97308.

Arrangements by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.

Tax supporters just don’t get it

To the Editor:

Proponents of the newly proposed cell phone tax/fee for Keizer residents owning cell phones are trying to make Keizer residents and voters look like folks who are against proper funding for our 911 services and fire department.  They just don’t get it.

When our city council decided to pass a resolution that would facilitate the establishment of a cell phone fee on all cell phone providers in the Keizer calling area, they indicated this would be “less of a burden” to our taxpayers by not requiring them to go to all the trouble to vote on such a matter.

Say what?  We taxpayers remember the Boston Tea Party and this cell phone matter very closely parallels the “taxation without representation” that caused the tea to be spilled into Boston Harbor.  If funds are in need to implement 911 calls through the police and fire departments, attend to this issue separately and leave the cell phone service alone.

Also, I wish the proponents of taxation without representation would quit trying to make the petition-gathering process look like an evil thing that has descended upon our community.  I for one am very thankful that we have folks with enough foresight to get organized and collect the necessary signatures that would allow us residents and voters a chance to exercise our democratic rights and responsibilities.

Ed Weber
Keizer

Year in Review: Top 10 of 2010

Taxes, boxes and bikes were among Keizer’s top 10 stories of 2010.

Two political controversies will be making headlines in 2011, and an honest mistake – or at least that’s the party line – was one of the hottest stories of the year.

Here are, in no particular order, the top 10 stories of 2010 as voted on by Keizertimes staff:

Trader Nope: For aficionados of specialty grocer Trader Joe’s, it was a dream come true.

But their hopes vanished along with the sign that was up at Keizer Station for less than 24 hours.

A sunny June day saw a new sign at Keizer Station, along with what appeared to be three brand-new tenants: Marshalls, Old Navy and Trader Joe’s.

It was an unusual way to announce a new store, and ultimately it was not to be: By the end of the day, the company installing the sign said it was a mistake, and Trader Joe’s said Keizer was not on their radar.

A few months later, the grocer announced a new location in south Salem.

Was it an odd mistake? Some of our readers didn’t buy it. Old Navy and Marshalls have both since inked deals at Keizer Station, after the city’s top planner said no deals were done for any of the newly-listed destinations.

Does that mean a Trader Joe’s in our future? Only time will tell.

Lost and found at McNary: A gun: McNary High School’s lost and found bin is generally home to wayward backpacks, lonely jackets and the like.

What a gym teacher found there in early November was a chilling surprise: A 9-millimeter handgun and ammunition.

School authorities insisted in a letter sent to students there was no evidence anyone planned to use the gun. Keizer Police are still silent on who the gun belonged to, and why the gun was there in the first place.

Big box petition: Neighbors of a proposed big-box store at Lockhaven Drive and Chemawa Road didn’t take the news lying down.

Keep Keizer Livable, the group founded to fight the big-box, took their neighborhood battle a step further by proposing no one could build a store bigger than 65,000 square feet outside the currently-developed part of Keizer Station.

It represented the first city ballot measure in more than a decade. Keizer voters will decide the matter in March.

Good Vibrations: Did you hear the roar?

Keizer Renaissance Inn hosted hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts who rolled into town for the first-ever Good Vibrations rally, a cousin of the wildly popular Street Vibrations festival in Reno, Nev.

Salem played host to headliners like motorcycle stuntman Monte Perlin, but Keizer had its fair share of events, including a Saturday night concert at Keizer Rapids Park. A parade with hundreds of bikes on a Sunday morning provided an impressive visual.

• Extreme Makeover: Salem-Keizer Edition:When producers for the popular ABC TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” said they had big plans for us, they weren’t kidding.

Just across Keizer’s southern border is the Oregon School for the Deaf. The show’s staff lassoed Keizer’s own Rich Duncan Construction to lead their ambitious project: Build a deaf-friendly, top-notch dormitory for the school’s boys, and make their annual haunted house fundraiser one for the ages.

Noted horror director and rock star Rob Zombie put his touch on the Nighmare Factory, bringing Hollywood special effects. Plenty of folks from all over had a hand in making Extreme Makeover’s visit to Salem one that won’t soon be forgotten.

• Cell phone fee: After months of preparation, the Keizer City Council went forward with a 3 percent registration fee for telecom companies in Keizer, primarily targeting cell phone users.

The stated reason was rising costs of 911 service, along with static franchise fees from landline providers.

The council passed the fee 6-1. It appears opponents were equally prepared, as a petition drive to fight it started immediately.

• Councilor Walsh vs. Fluoride: Walsh’s skepticism toward fluoridating Keizer’s water drew fierce opinions on both sides of the issue.

The councilor cited budgetary concerns about the practice. Both opponents and proponents packed council chambers before there was even a solid proposal on the table.

In the end, Walsh proposed a more moderate stance: Don’t spend any more money to upgrade the fluoridation system. That, too, went down amid a sea of pleas from local dentists to keep fluoride in the water.

• Death at Wheatland & Brooklake roads spurs traffic improvements: The intersection north of Keizer has seen more than its fair share of tragedy.

Four deaths in the past 10 years are attributed to crashes there, at least two directly from cars careening into a ravine on the intersection’s west side.
Following the death of Jeff Weathers in September, county officials added rumble strips and signage at the intersection in hopes of alerting drivers to the perilous possibilities.

• Thomas Dove Keizur returns: We don’t have the historic downtown that many Oregon communities have, but we have history.

Keizur was one of the valley’s first settlers, staking his claim right here along the Willamette River. As part of the city’s civic center project they commissioned a statue of our community’s namesake from sculptor Gareth Curtiss. It arrived to much fanfare as the city invited Keizur’s descendants to see its debut.

Now in front of the Keizer Civic Center, the statue will hopefully become a conversation-starter for generations to come.

• “A Season of Love” transfixes a town: We’ve always known what McNary High kids are capable of, and Salem-Keizer Schools are renowned for their music programs.

Now we have the CD to prove it. The choir released its very first CD as a fundraiser, and it became a popular stocking stuffer during the holiday season.

Would you? Could you?

Dylan Juran proposed to a (pleasantly) surprised Julia Tribby at the Gubser neighborhood’s light display. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Dylan Juran had known for a while that Julia Tribby was the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, but he wanted to do something more than get down on bended knee.

“I wanted to do something that we would be able to remember for the rest of our lives,” Juran said.

So, with a drill and plywood, he set to making a sign that would pop the question for him as the couple strolled with friends through the Miracle of Christmas display in the Gubser neighborhood.

“I even Googled it to see if anyone had done something similar,” Juran said. “I only spent about three hours making the board and it has around 410 lights total.”

Juran and his sign popped the question Thursday, Dec. 23 and Tribby responded with a “yes.”

The couple have known each other since they were children, but the relationship took a more serious turn three years ago. Juran sells computers at a store in Lancaster Mall and Tribby works in a sandwich shop in West Salem.

In the run up to the big day, both friends and relations repeatedly asked Juran about the expected answer, but he always responded with a confident affirmative. While Tribby wasn’t sure how it would go down, she had her suspicions from the outset of the evening.

“We’ve talked about getting married, but when he planned this whole walk thing I thought tonight might be the night he proposed,” Tribby said.