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

Day: January 21, 2011

The public’s opinion

Abraham Lincoln used to say “With public opinion on its side, nothing can fail.”  Wise words then and wise words now.

They are words that every government official should take to heart.  In its pledge to do more listening to the citizens of Keizer the city council plans to hold town hall meetings in which citizens and the city can have two-way discussions about issues.

The first town hall meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 26, at the civic center.  The topic will be the Keizer Police Department and how it operates.  This is a wise choice for the council.   The just-repealed cell phone tax was designed to replace money the city spends to fulfill its 9-1-1 obligations.  By using money out of the general fund to pay for 9-1-1, it takes away from funding the offiices the police department says they need.

Police Chief H. Marc Adams is expected to open the town hall meeting by explaining how his department operates.  His presentation could include the number of personnel the department has currently and how many it needs. Those who go to the town hall meeting should be told what the police department thinks is the optimal level of patrols on Keizer streets.

This will be an opportunity for the citizens to question the police department’s needs and also express what they consider safe levels of public safety.

Different people may very well have different ideas of what constitutes public safety.  Some may feel it means police patrols in their neighborhoods at least once a day, for others it may mean simply safer traffic patterns.Whatever the people’s definition of public safety the city needs to hear it.

Listening to the people is only half of the equation. The council must also get public opinion on its side of impending decisions they feel are in the best interests of Keizer.

We know that no decision by the city council will have unanimous approval from the public.  That’s why the councilors should do all they can to explain their reasoning process on issues that come before that body, especially those they know will be controversial.

The town hall meeting is a good start and we hope that they will continue on a regular basis after the initial one next month.  The town hall meetings will be less formal and they will certainly be less intimidating for citizens than addressing the councilors in their chambers. Even if only three people show up at the first town hall meeting the council should not be deterred from holding others.

Our expectation is that the city will listen and hear what the people have to say but also explain why a particular proposal needs to be passed and why it is good for Keizer. The council may not get public opinion on its side every time but citizens will undoubtedly appreciate the straight talk by the people who represent them. —LAZ

Baker made drama cool

An era will come to a close  when McNary High School’s current musical production of “Hairspray” ends on January 29.

It marks the last production to be directed by long-time theatre arts instructor Linda Baker, who will return to the classroom next fall as a reading teacher.

In 1995, when she took over the drama department, she inherited a program that had a great reputation but also had its challenges, mostly with the facilities at Ken Collins Theatre.  Now, fifteen years later, she can step back and rest on her laurels.

The shows she staged at McNary were not the usual list of high school shows.  The  highlight of her tenure was “Les Miserables”—who can forget the huge barricade built on stage for a pivotal scene in that musical?

Each spring the drama department produced a Shakespeare play.  The department under her leadership brought dramas, comedies and of course musicals to life.

Her most enduring legacy as head of the drama department may well be her ability to integrate drama geeks with cheerleaders with athletes in her shows.  The usual high school social divisions gave way.  Students who wouldn’t mingle in the hallways were brought together on stage and it changed the dynamics of student interaction.

As Baker said in a recent interview, “It’s very hard for the cheerleader to ignore the guy from auto shop if he’s had his hands in her armpits for a two-hour dance rehearsal.”

Kids who never thought they would, found themselves singing and dancing.  On stage. In public.  Before their friends and family.  That is quite an accomplishment for any teacher.

What she has changed at McNary most is that she made drama cool.


Thanks to unknown donor of flag

To the Editor:

The Keizer Heritage Foundation would like to thank the anonymous, generous person who noticed that our U.S. flag, in front of “The Old School” on Chemawa Road, next to City Hall, was on its last legs.

He said his wife noticed the flag and he decided to purchase a new one for us.  He left us a message telling us his plans and a few days later, the flag was delivered.   It is now flying proudly and we are very thankful for their generosity.

Al Rasmus
Keizer Heritage Foundation

It’s feathered, not ratted

(KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

McNary drama students (from left) Alex Noble, Luke Smith, and Allison Reid take part in dress rehearsals for Hairspray, which opened this week at the High School. Weekend performances include 7 p.m. curtain times on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 21 and 22. Tickets are $8. For more information, call 503-399-3233.

View more photos of the dress rehearsal in our photo gallery.

Band needs help with festival funds

To the Editor:

To the citizens of Keizer:

The McNary High School Band has been invited to participate in the Heritage Music Festival in Anaheim, CA in May.

Along with the excitement of the invitation is the cost of travel, fees and lodging will come to about $25,000.

We are asking the community’s aid in raising funds so our kids can be part of this festival.

We are calling our fundraising effort “McNary Band Meets the Mouse.”  We have three sponsorship levels, $100-$249, $250-$499 and $500 plus.

All donations are tax deductible. Send donations to McNary Band Boosters, 3785 River Rd. N. #101, Box 117, Keizer, 97303.

For information call 503-559-8214.

Dawn Hunter
President, McNary Band Boosters

Mayor, councilors support McKane

To the Editor:

To the Citizens of Keizer,

Re: Councilor David McKane

The Keizer City Council affirms and supports David McKane in his elected role of Councilor for the City of Keizer, position #1.

Councilor McKane was elected by the citizens of Keizer and entrusted with representing the interests of those citizens in all matters that come before the Council. He has carried out those duties over the last six years with integrity, diligence, thoroughness, and sincerity.

As his colleagues, who have also been granted the privilege of serving our community as Councilors, we have mutually benefited from Councilor McKane’s service and sincerely believe it is in the best interest of our community for him to continue in that service.

We look forward to working together for and with the citizens of Keizer, to lead our community through the challenging times we all face and into a promising future.

Lore Christopher, Mayor

Cathy Clark, Council President

Brandon Smith, Councilor

Mark Caillier, Councilor

Jim Taylor, Councilor

Joe Egli, Councilor

Food bank taps new leader

Longtime Keizer Community Food Bank director Paul Morgan (left) is handing over leadership of the group to Curt McCormack (right). (KEIZERTIMES/Eric Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

At some level, Curt McCormack wishes he didn’t have his new job as program director of the Keizer Community Food Bank.

“I’m astounded by the fact that we have to do this in this country, let alone this community,” McCormack said. “That there are kids and families that are hungry in 2011. What happened?”

The upshot is that if someone must take on the role, McCormack seems well-suited to the mission of ending hunger.

“I’m here because I have to be here, there’s a greater calling within me. My passion has always been social justice through the eyes of peace, race, sexual preference, through whatever eyes you want to see it,” he said.

McCormack is taking the reigns from Paul Morgan, the longtime program director of the food bank, who is stepping aside to pave the way for new blood in the organization.

“Curt’s eyes and his experience can bring us to a new level, and we have to go to the next level because we can’t stand still,” Morgan said.

The Keizer Community Food Bank volunteers, who include congregants from six churches and nonaffiliated members of the community, distribute supplemental food boxes twice weekly, Mondays and Thursdays, from Faith Lutheran Church. During 2010, 150 food bank volunteers donated 22,240 hours to prepare and hand out 12,186 food boxes. Despite being open only two days a week, the Keizer Community Food Bank is now the fourth largest by volume in the region served by the Marion-Polk Food Share.

One thing McCormack knows regarding his new job is that he isn’t likely be out of work anytime soon, especially in the midst of high unemployment and general economic struggle throughout the Oregon and the country.

“About a quarter of the people who come in for a food box each week are people new to our system,” McCormack said. “If we serve 30 people, seven or eight will be there for the first time.”

Looking to the future, McCormack is hopeful about strides being made to achieve a higher level of nutrition in the food donated to the food bank.

“We’ve reorganized the way we collect food from our churches and now each one focuses on a different core food group each month,” he said. “We get a lot of junk food, but we want people to think about what the value of food is beyond simply eating.”

The most rewarding part of his involvement with the food bank thus far is the sense of community that the organization has fostered within itself.

“We’ve got six different churches coming together and the lines that would seen as divisions just disappear,” McCormack said.

He’s planning on taking it slowly as he adjusts to the position and its demands, but he is already thinking about ways to streamline the food bank’s business.

“I’m very satisfied with where we are, but one of the things we’re realizing is that we’re no longer just a church group, it’s almost a small business and we need to make decisions that will make us more efficient,” he said.

Linda Baker is a gem of a drama teacher

To the Editor:

Thank you for the uplifting article about McNary High School’s drama instructor Linda Baker (Keizertimes, Jan. 14).

I have had the pleasure of volunteering under her leadership for the past few years and  was thrilled to read this article, as she is one of those amazingly gifted persons everyone should get to know. Along with Zoe Banton, Jim Taylor, McNary students and countless parent and community volunteers Linda Baker is the flagship of the fleet that makes the McNary Drama Department so very worthwhile.

If there was ever an argument against cutting the budget for arts in the schools re-read this article to see how fine arts programs and the staff that make them come alive can play a positive role in the lives of people of all ages. A heartfelt thank you to Mrs. Baker for all the blood, sweat, tears, hours and love that she has put into the McNary Drama department. It has been a rare joy being able to experience something so special.

Christine Rogerson

Cell phone tax use

To the Editor:

You can rest assured there will be a cell phone tax on a ballot but only after more public hearings.

This will be a good start to the council respectfully listening more before deliberations on hot button issues. There is no doubt in my mind that the city of Keizer police and the Keizer Fire District need more personnel and one way to fund this is to collect money to offset the 9-1-1 expenses.

I will support a cell phone tax only if the money collected is not mixed into the general fund. I suggest the city establish a special 9-1-1 fund similar to the water fund which can be used exclusively for our water department.  Because ordinances and resolutions can be changed by the whims of the city council, the 9-1-1 tax must be locked into the city charter and the division of funds be specified.  In this way the citizen will have to vote on any future change to it. I suggest the following wording. “All revenue generated by the telecommunication tax imposed by the city shall be divided two-thirds to the City of Keizer and one-third to the Keizer Fire District. All 9-1-1 tax revenue shall be used exclusively to pay for direct 9-1-1- expenses. If the total revenue collected in any given year exceeds 20 percent of the previous year’s expenses, the tax rate shall be reduced. Reserve revenue shall not exceed 25 percent of the 9-1-1 expenses.”  I would not like to see a huge amount of money pile up in a reserve fund.  I believe the goal is to generate about $900,000 at year from the tax. A $225,000 reserve seems more than sufficient.

Bill Quinn

Lee Elsworth Goodwin

L. Goodwin

SALEM – Lee Elsworth Goodwin died Friday, January 14, 2011 after putting up a brave fight with complications after surgery.  Lee was born the second son of Commodore C. Goodwin and Mary Belle (Parker) Goodwin.  He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Helen Joyce Goodwin, brothers Wayne K. Goodwin and Lorin E. Goodwin.  He graduated from Pontiac Senior High School in Pontiac, Michigan in June 1950.  He joined the U.S. Air Force in April, 1951. He graduated from Radar Maintenance School Keesler AFB Mississippi.  He remained at Keesler for a short time as an Instructor, and was shipped over to Japan in 1952, assigned to various Radar stations (Wakkanai, North Hokkaido, and Okushiri-shima, an island West of Otaru, Japan).  Lee returned to USA June 1954 and was assigned to a Radar Station at Watertown, N.Y.  He was given an honorable discharge January 1955.  Lee attended Detroit Institute of Tech. & Wayne University (Detroit). Jan. 1957 he joined RCA Missile Test Project at Patrick AFB Florida.  Lee had assignments to St. Lucia, Grand Bahama Island, Antigua B.W.I (all U.S. Tracking Stations).  He Joined Bendix Engineering and was assigned to Radar Maintenance Depot in Keflavik, Iceland.

In 1959 Lee met Claire Steele in Iceland.  They were married April 23, 1960 at the Keflavik Air Base Chapel, which was a military Quonset hut. Their first child, Mary Alice, was born in Iceland.  They were reassigned to Robbins AFB Georgia.  Their second child, Sally Ann was born in Macon, Ga.  Their third child, Joseph Jude, was born in Rumford, Maine, Claire’s home town, while Lee was in training to transfer to Bermuda NASA Tracking Station.  Susan Martina was born in Bermuda, and Lee Jr. was born in Bermuda two years later.  The family spent five years in Bermuda.  Lee was reassigned in 1968 to Goddard Space Flight Center, Bethesda, Maryland.  Their sixth child, Margaret Elizabeth was born in Beltsville, Maryland.

In 1968 Lee left the Space program and in 1969 the family moved to Salem to meet with brother Lorin and family and start Goodwin Brothers GMC Truck. Lee and his brother Lorin had wanted to go into business together, and this was the culmination of a long dream. Salem proved to be a happy place for the two Goodwin families. They enjoyed several years with GMC Truck. They sold the business in 1982 and both brothers went on to work in real estate and various other business interests and enjoyed traveling with their families.

Lee eventually retired and found a new interest – tennis.  He played at the Court House Tennis Center for many years, and had many friends there.  He also enjoyed taking courses at Chemeketa Community College and was a student of history and literature.

Lee is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Claire, his children, Mary Alice, Sally, Joseph, Susan, Lee Jr. (Heather) and Meg (Jim) and eight grandchildren: Aidan and Claire Lee, Mia, Tess, and Luke Goodwin, Martin Dawson, and Jack and Grant Morris. He is also survived by one brother, William, one sister, Ruth Thomas (Gary) and several nieces and nephews and their children.

Lee was a faithful member of St. Vincent de Paul Church, NE Salem.  He was also a multi-faceted person with a love of life, a great laugh and a love of family.

There will be a viewing and Rosary at Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service at 605 Commercial St. SE at 7 p.m. Sunday, January 23.  There will be a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. on Monday, January 24 at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 1025 Columbia St. NE Salem. A luncheon will be served after the Mass in the lower level of the Church. Burial service will be at 2 p.m. at Belcrest Memorial Park, SE Salem.  In lieu of flowers please make a donation to your favorite charity. Arrangements by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.