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Month: April 2011

Rooftop sign causes anger, draws onlookers


Of the Keizertimes

A sign posted on his chimney started as an act of frustration on the part of one Keizer man, but it’s become a line in the sand and a curiosity for passersby.

Police were summoned to the home of Alex White in the 5000 block 8th Avenue Northeast at 10:35 a.m. Sunday, April 24, responding to a call from a neighbor who reported overhearing an argument.

“I have a child in the home with a behavioral disorder and we had an incident at church that morning. When we got home I went out on the back porch and my wife and I were having a heated discussion through the door about how we were going to put his intervention plan into place for the rest of the day,” White said.

He hoped whoever had made the call would come and apologize, but when that didn’t happen he put together a double-sided sign reading, “To the nieghbor (sic) on Easter (expletive) yourself.” White does not own the home.

“More than anything, it was that they did it on Easter. I only intended it to be up for an hour, but now that the story’s gotten out, I want a public, published apology. People have driven by and taken pictures and now my name is being dragged through the mud,” he said. White said the misspelling was intentional in hopes of frustrating the individuals he suspects made the phone call.

Amid the online detractors, White said passersby have also come up to his door and offered their support and encouragement.

“We weren’t intentionally trying to disrupt anyone’s day, we were trying to remove ourselves from the presence of the child and have a discussion about what we were going to do to handle the situation for the rest of the day,” White said.

Police have been summoned to the address four times prior to the Easter Sunday incident, one was for the an investigation into a private business transaction and the other three involved the behavioral issues with the stepson, said Capt. Jeff Kuhs, of the Keizer Police Department.

While the police have no authority to respond to the sign or its contents, the city is sending White a letter stating that the sign runs afoul of Keizer sign codes.

“For cases like this, the sign can’t be above the roof line and it can’t be larger than six square feet, but we can’t censor content,” said Nate Brown, Keizer community development director.

Once White receives the letter, Brown said, he will have a week to bring it into code or be subject to a citation.

Former Celt headed to Wrestling Hall of Fame

Kacey McCallister, 24 with his wife, Jennifer, daughter, Anna, and son, Patrick. McCallister a double-leg aputee will be honored with National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Medal of Courage and inducted into the museum in a ceremony Saturday, April 30. Below: McCallister gets his arm raised in victory after a high school wrestling match in his senior year. (KIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

For those married to origin stories, here’s the primer:

Kacey McCallister, age 6, darts in front of an oncoming truck in Wyoming and loses one leg in the resulting accident, his second leg is broken in seven places and amputated after a helicopter ride to the hospital.

Jump to: McCallister in grade school, legless, playing for Keizer Little League, local and national headlines follow.

Moving along: McCallister at McNary High School, a three-sport athlete in cross country, wheelchair basketball and, his true sports love, wrestling. By the end of his career, he’s earned a district title in cross country, two district titles in wrestling, placed fourth in the state at 103 pounds as a junior and wrestles to the state championship match as a senior where he finishes second.

Bringing us to: Saturday, April 30, 2011, McCallister will become McNary’s first  inductee to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Medal of Courage, an honor presented annually to a wrestler or former wrestler who has overcome what appears to be insurmountable challenges, which may be physical, mental or other handicaps, that make their achievements all the more uplifting.

Why? McCallister, now 24, admits to finding the situation somewhat surreal.

“I only wrestled in high school and now I’m coaching, but I’ve only been coaching a few years as an assistant,” he said. “In a lot of ways, I look around the state and the people that I coach with and I don’t feel I’ve attained that level yet, but I also have to step outside of myself and see what other people see.”

File Photo

Makes sense, but athletes overcome adversity every day. Since his youth, McCallister has been asked to speak to other youth about his challenges and what he’s done to overcome them. What other people see in him is not what he achieved, it’s the mindset that helped him achieve anything at all facing a situation that would leave most bewildered and floundering.

For former McNary wrestling coach Tony Olliff, McCallister’s secret weapon is the self-reliance in stilled in him by his parents, Bernie and Julene McCallister.

As a child, doctors urged them to allow young Kacey to find his own ways of doing things when the easiest option would be to offer assistance. If a box of cereal lay beyond his reach in a cabinet, he had discover how to climb up to it. When it came to wrestling, that self-reliance carried over, Olliff said.

“Kacey modified every aspect of every workout to suit his needs. If we were working on leg rides, Kacey formed his version. If we were doing squats in the weight room, Kacey had his version. There was never wasted practice time,” Olliff said. “Kacey never stood off in a corner waiting on something to be applicable to himself. Kacey manipulated everything we worked on and made a version that was applicable to his body – his style.”

That intestinal fortitude is what made him worthy of one of the sport’s highest honors, Olliff said.

Since leaving McNary’s hallowed halls, where he is now known with some infamy as the unbeatable record-holder of the bench press in his weight class, McCallister, now a Monmouth resident, has been pursuing a teaching degree at various institutions. He still competes in triathlons and marathons when his growing family permits. He and wife Jennifer welcomed their first son, Patrick, two weeks ago, who joins his big sister, Anna, 2.

He’s also been helping out as an assistant wrestling coach in middle and high schools.

“Mostly, I want them to learn to love the sport and the things that come with loving it. Tony is a tough, tough coach, but he builds a camaraderie in his programs and that builds character. That’s what I’m looking forward to most is being a coach and helping to build the legacy of a program,” McCallister said.

There are, of course, those who remain overly fearful for his well-being when he jumps of a curb in his wheelchair or bombs down off a stool. But, after 18 years, he approaches it all with the same knowing grin and modesty he sported as a Celtic athlete.

“For a long time, I didn’t like being thought of as something special, but there are people who need a boost and if I can be here to help or inspire them to overcome their challenges, I’m okay with that,” he said.

Cannabis club opens in Eagles’ old digs

The Patient Grower Network will seek to connect cultivators with patients possessing medical marijuana cards. No cash or “medicine” will be kept on site when the the club is closed. (KIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

Of the Keizertimes

(Editor’s note: Pseudonyms have been used in this story.)

The folks who opened a medical marijuana club in Keizer last week want to establish a few things up front:
Yes, that’s a medical marijuana club opened its doors last week in the former Keizer Eagles building. [Map: 1]

No, there’s no cash or marijuana (or its derivatives) left on site when no one’s there.

And no, you can’t get in unless you have an Oregon Medical Marijuana Program card. Anyone who visits must show their card at a window before being buzzed into a secured area.

“If you’re not a legal card holder … you won’t get past this door,” said Kelly Fabry (not her real name). “We’re a stickler for the laws, and the double entry really helps with that.”

The Keizertimes was the first media organization invited in to peek at what operators have dubbed the PGN Lounge. Several medical marijuana clubs exist in Oregon, but this one is Oregon’s largest, its owners said.

The people who opened up the lounge want the public to understand what they are – and what they are not, they said.

It’s a project of the Patient Grower Network, which has been meeting at The Gathering Place for a couple of years now. The group was founded a couple of years ago to “network growers and patients together,” Fabry said. “A new patient can meet several growers and decide what their needs are … and have realistic expectations between the grower and the patient.”

The average age of a PGN club member is 58, she said. Fabry added they’ve given the Keizer Police Department no trouble, and the department knows they’re there. The club has about 182 members, she said.

The new digs, Fabry said, “is mostly for socialization, a place where people with illnesses … are with people they’ve gotten to know and feel comfortable with. … There won’t be any big pot leaves on the building because that’s not what it’s about.”

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have some sort of medical marijuana in place;Oregon doesn’t have dispensaries like California and several other states. Instead the program in the Beaver State is largely based on relationships; someone who gets a medical marijuana card via a doctor’s recommendation can grow their own or designate a caregiver to provide them with cannabis, and may take on an expanded role in the patient’s life. There’s also growers, who actually cultivate the marijuana.

“Almost 50 percent of the people who come in here aren’t patients,” said Mike Slater (pseudonym), a grower.
“They don’t medicate. … Caregivers are intended to be the people who help people that aren’t necessarily ambulatory… frequently a child or spouse of the needy.”

Organizers said there’s a system in place to make sure anyone intoxicated gets a sober ride home.

Being a former fraternal organization’s lounge, there’s facilities in place like a full commercial kitchen, a bar (no alcohol is served yet, but a beer and wine consumption license application is in the works), a stage for music, pool table, darts and all kinds of places to sit.

One room is full of card tables, while the bar room has a performance stage. Another room is designated specifically for patients and growers to consult and view product. Yet another room is set up to watch movies or play Nintendo Wii.

Consumption of marijuana is allowed in certain spots on site, but it isn’t just smoking by any means, Fabry said.

Several cooks contribute what are colloquially known as “medibles” – food with marijuana or a derivative cooked in. And there’s other ways to take in cannabinoids – the chemical compounds present in marijuana, said Fabry. Even massage oils can provide pain relief for some people without intoxicating effects, Fabry said.

There are plans in the near future to have a massage area downstairs along with a possible doctor’s office. Fabry said upcoming classes will teach about everything from growing to preparing cannabis.

Asked why PGN picked Keizer to locate, she said “Keizer is all about volunteerism, and we couldn’t have done this without our volunteers.”


Lady Celts go 4 for 4 in grueling week

McNary’s Hailey Decker slings the ball to first base in a game earlier this season. Decker’s week was highlighted by three home runs, but she found the intentional walks pitchers threw her as more of a compliment. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

As a high school junior, Hailey Decker has achieved a status that most pro baseball players only dream of – she’s become feared at the plate.

In a week that saw the Lady Celts go four for four, Decker found herself watching the early games pass her by.

“I’d never been intentionally walked so many times in a week. It was a great compliment, but I wanted to hit the ball,” she said.

While she ended up biding her time early in the week, head coach Jeff Auvinen switched Decker to leadoff hitter in the Celts’ game with West Salem and she made the most of it going four for four at the plate with two dingers, five runs and five RBIs. McNary won the game 13-4 and the girls recorded 46 at bats and loaded the bases in all but one inning.

“We got it going a bit offensively and Jordyn [Hanson] had good week for us pitching. We didn’t play real well defensively, but the pitchers picked up the slack,” Auvinen said.

Decker belted a three-run homer in McNary’s 7-1 win over the Sprague Olympians on Thurday, April 21.

Prior to the win over the Olys, McNary cranked out a 17-11 win over the North Salem Vikings. Paige Bouska went three for four with a double, three RBIS and three runs scored. Olivia Yarbrough had a double in the game.

“We were taking good opportunities on good pitches and it helped us get around the bases and score,” Yarbrough said.

One of the Celts’ few blemishes on the week was eight unearned runs on the part of the Vikings.

On Tuesday, April 19, the Lady Celts closed out a game with McKay High School on an 11-run sixth inning. Tiffany Kottek and Brook Ross combined to drive in six runs and freshman Dani Saunders hit a double in the outing.

Auvinen said he was glad to see the team showing some confidence at the plate, but it needs to achieve the same level in fielding.

“There are plays that we should make that we’re not,” he said. “But we ended up competing four days in a row and that was good to see.”

Yarbrough said better communication on the field would help.

“We need to be calling out the fence to our outfielders and know where our runners are in the infield to increase double play opportunities,” she said.

The Lady Celts are two games behind the undefeated South Salem Saxons in league play.


Body mechanics key for Celt hurdlers

McNary freshman Daniel Brattain sails over the hurdles in McNary’s meet with Sprague. Brattain is a dominant force in the league in hurdling events. (Photo submitted by Bill Donaldson)

Of the Keizertimes

Given the ease with which they sail over the hurdles, sophomore Felicia Covey and freshman Daniel Brattain may seem like upstarts on the McNary track and field team.

Their secret is that they’ve been at it longer than one would expect. Both took up the sport as sixth graders, and both are excelling at a fast clip despite their ages.

“It’s almost more than a single event,” Brattain said. “You have to be able to run fast and jump high and there’s always something you can change to do it better.”

Brattain already holds the school record at Whiteaker Middle School, but his coaches think he’s only just begun to touch his potential in the event.

Covey isn’t the natural that Brattain is, but her hard work and determination have made her a force to be reckoned with in both the sprint and distance hurdles.

Early in her middle school career she tripped over a hurdle near the end of a race and broke her arm, but didn’t consider giving it up.

“It’s so much work to do it right that I can’t imagine giving it up,” Covey said.

Hurdling races come in two flavors, a 100-(girls) or 110-meter(boys) and a 300-meter.  Participants must clear 10 hurdles in the shorter races and eight in the longer one. Runners suffer a time penalty for each one they knock over. In girls’ events, the hurdles are set at 30 inches for the distance race and 33 inches for the sprint. In boys races, it’s 39 inches in the sprint and 36 inches in the distance.

Unlike sprints or jumping events that require all-out burst of speed or strength, or distance events that require endurance, both Covey and Brattian said hurdling is a matter of body mechanics.

“There’s a lot of technique involved and we have to take things step-by-step,” Covey said.

“It’s a lot to think about,” added Brattain. “You’re concentrating on your lead leg, your trail leg, the steps between hurdles and the lean of your body and the position of arms.”

When it’s going well, however, the athletes who compete are barely thinking about those things at all.

“It goes by so fast it’s hard to think about it. You’re almost sensing it rather than thinking about it,” Covey said.

Brattain swept hurdling events in McNary’s meet with West Salem High School last week. He recorded times of 16.87 in the 110-meter and 42.95 in the 300, while Covey took second place in both events for the girls. McNary lost the boys side of the meet 77-66, while the girls picked up their fourth consecutive dual meet win 78.5-66.5.

“It was a big meet for us,” said Jake Lucey, McNary head coach. “The girls continued their march, but the boys, who didn’t win a single dual meet last year, kept it close against the team expected to win the league.”

The boys were buoyed by strong performances from jumpers Dalton Bodine, Tim McDowell and Austin Christensen, despite having to withdraw several athletes from competition due to illness.

Boys winners were: Amadia Amaitsa in 100-meter at 11.67; Tim McDowell in the 200-meter with a time of 22.89; Dylan McHugh in the 400-meter at 53.99; James Lowells, Amaitsa, McDowell and Garrett Hittner in the 4×100 relay with a time of 44.39; Austin Hejny in the javelin with a distance of 166-10; and McDowell in the high jump clearing 6-02.

For the girls, Laura Donaldson won the 100-meter in 13.58 and the 200-meter in 27.85; Daysha Simms-Garcia put up the top time (62.43) in the 400-meter; Simms-Garcia, Deven Hunter, Aerial Rice and Averi Wing won the 4×100 relay in 51.38; Donaldson, Wing, Keri Stein and Simms-Garcia won the 4×400 in 4:16.74; Stacey Titchenal won the javelin with a toss of 119-07; Wing won the high jump clearing 5-00 and the long jump with a distance of 16-05; and Jenna Quesnel was tops in the pole vault clearing 10-00.


Celtics double down on wins, losses in baseball

Celt Kyle Knight sends a pitch foul during McNary’s game with West Salem High School last week. KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. HOWALD

Of the Keizertimes

The pendulum swung in favor and against the McNary High School varsity baseball team in a four-game week that saw the team pick up two wins and two losses.

The team started out with an “important” 3-2 win over Sprague High School, said Larry Keeker, McNary head coach.

“Sprague is one of those teams hovering around the same area as us in the standing so it was nice to take that win on a solo home run by Ty Wyatt,” he said.

“We played well enough to win the game, but we didn’t really hit the ball well until the McKay game,” added Garren Robinett, a McNary junior.

The Celts scored 18 runs on 15 hits en route to a 18-6 victory over the Royal Scots. Robinett went four for four with four RBIs and Wyatt chalked up three hits and a RBI in the game.

On the mound, Keeker credited Ryan Herberger with a stellar outing.

“He came in and did a fantastic job,” Keeker said.

The team faltered the next day in a 13-3 loss to league-leading North Salem High School. The Celts struggled to ignite their sticks in the seven-hit outing highlighted by a Robinett home run.

While the loss to the league-leading Saxons was one the team could stomach, it was the team’s 7-1 loss to West Salem that came as a punch to the gut.
“We did not play to our potential in that game after a week when I thought we were getting better as a team,” Robinett said. While the game started strong for both teams, a fourth-inning lapse set the table for a loss.

“Justin Burgess did exactly what we wanted him to do as a starter, got through three innings, then we put Spencer [Rice] in the game with one runner on in the fourth and our defense let us down and South got four runs on us,” Keeker said.

Coupled with struggles at the plate that led to a one-hit outing, most on the team were disappointed with their performance.

“We need to have a better approach when we go up to the dish,” Wyatt said. “We need to know what pitches we’re looking for. West’s pitcher really found the flaw in our approach and had us swinging at more balls than fastballs.”

The lesson Keeker hopes the team takes from the experience is the importance of defense.

“We have to put a few more runs on the board and we have to defend well. If we don’t defend well we have problems,” he said.

The team still needs to send a message early in every game, Robinett said.

“We need to focus in practice and in the first couple of innings of every game. We need to send the other teams know that we’re gonna bring it every day,” he said.



Citizen’s choice

For Keizer citizens who rank public safety at the top of the issues list, the time has come to put their two cents in.

The city of Keizer has done a commendable job of communicating with its residents regarding current and future policing levels and how to pay for them.

There have been three Town Hall meetings so far to address this issue.  Keizer residents have the choice of being part of the conversation or letting the city councilors come up with a plan they think is best for the city and devising a revenue and budget plan to pay for that vision.

This week’s Town Hall framed the policing level issue better than ever.  Police Chief H. Marc Adams outlined a number of possible options which included revenue generating ideas, elimination of non-police city departments or leaving policing levels as they are.  Keizer currently has 37 police officers; Chief Adams says a city with our population should have 41 officers.

The city will endeavor to get a consensus from its residents if the current 37 officers is enough or if they would like to have the 41 officers Adams recommends.

Money that would go to the police department services including manning the four vacant officer positions has been diverted to pay for the city’s 9-1-1 service obligations.  Earlier this year the council considered a 3 percent registration fee for telecom companies to offset the rising 911 costs and static franchise fees from landline providers.

The estimated $600,000 that such a telecom fee would add to the general fund would allow the police department to get back to 41 officers.

At this week’s Town Hall meeting the telecom fee was identified as one possible revenue source.  Two other possible sources included a five year operating levy for the police department and a police utility services fee that would assess a $3 per dwelling and business unit per month charge on the bi-monthly water bill.

Other options included eliminating the parks program or the city’s planning department.  Eliminating either of those two departments would be an extreme move.

The savings accrued by eliminating the planning department would be gobbled up by fees levied by Marion County, which would presumably take over the planning duties, not to mention the timeliness of getting approval for permits.

Keizer’s own residents cite our quality of life here.  Dismantling all the city parks would be one of the worst things that could happen in Keizer.  City parks, sprinkled across our city’s landscape, are green spaces where residents can go to recreate and relax, especially during our economic climate when travel outside the area is hampered by high gas prices.

The city’s frugal, conservative spending over the past decades has left Keizer in good stead—we are better off than other cities that have had to chop half their employees due to shrinking revenues and increasing costs.  City Manager Chris Eppley, his staff, and the city council are doing a good job of running the city with a tax base that is frozen in the early 1990s.  As Chief Adams pointed out Monday there are Oregon cities half our size with a tax base that is four times higher.

The city can keep cutting and cutting city expenditures to squeeze the budget to fit decreasing revenues, or it can do what it did on Monday:  lay out ideas for how to adequate fund our police department.

The city has identified some ideas.  Now it is time to hear if the people are willing to pay for what they say they want:  public safety.


Spending needs new priority list


You probably aren’t aware of this, but May 15 is a big day in the state of Oregon. Actually, it’s a big day for the politicians working in the state capitol building. You see, that is the day that the state economist will release the May revenue forecast. What this means is that on May 15, the state economist will tell legislators and the governor how much money they have to spend for the next biennium.

The release of the May 15 revenue forecast typically begins the biannual dance that many people refer to as “budget negotiations.” This year, however, especially in the Salem-Keizer School District, the revenue forecast will have particularly substantial consequences.  Already, many educators, assistants, and other employees of the Salem-Keizer School District have learned that they will likely lose their jobs, regardless of what revenue the state economist forecasts in May.

There are many aspects of Oregon’s budget process that drive me crazy. As is the case with any budget, whether it be your personal budget, your business’ budget, or any other budget you deal with, the items that get funded first are typically the highest priority items. For instance, as a homeowner, the first thing that I make sure gets paid every month is my mortgage. After all, I want to make sure that I have a roof over my family’s head.

But in Oregon, we budget differently. The politicians routinely tell us that education is their number one priority. If that were true, the education budget would be the first budget passed in every legislative session. But the fact is that the education budget is frequently the last budget passed.

Why is that?

One answer: politics.

And I know it may come as a surprise to you that politics plays part in the legislative process, but it does. And your children are used as political footballs. Typically speaking, the last budget that gets passed by the legislature is the education budget. That means that the budgets for all the other “critically important” state agencies—like the super-important Columbia River Gorge Commission—get funded before our schools get funded.

The reason for this is simple: by spending all of the money Oregon has on these other agencies, the hope of the “pro-government lobby” is that politicians will feel the political pressure necessary to raise taxes in order to fund their stated priority – education.

Put another way, if the first budget passed by the legislature is the K-12 budget, legislators will have no incentive to pass budgets for other, less politically popular state agencies.  What politician is going to want to fall on his or her sword for the Oregon Blueberry Commission?

In the past, politicians who typically support the expansion of state government (most notably the last two governors) have refused to pass the education budget until the budgets for the other state agencies have been signed into law.

The end result of this unfortunate game is an increase in the cost of government to you, the taxpayer.  This is the budget dance that occurred throughout the last decade, and the result is self-evident.  We have a state government that is too costly and extremely ineffective.

Now why would anyone want to fund that type of government ahead of our schools?  I know that isn’t my priority.

Ross Day lives in Keizer.

New store for crafters opens

Debbie and Shawn Clevenger will hold a grand opening celebration at their new store, Krafter’s Alley, this weekend. (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

Of the Keizertimes

A new business categorizing itself as an indoor Saturday market was born out of necessity, its owners say.
Shawn and Debbie Clevenger, both crafters, were both looking for a good place to sell their wares, but didn’t find exactly what they were looking for.
There’s always holiday bazaars and similar gatherings, but Debbie said it’s difficult to sell handmade items alongside something bought premade and resold.

“It’s hard to compete against that … because (buyers) don’t understand the time and money that went into creating it,” Debbie said. “I thought, why not open a space where I can display my things and other people can too?”
So the pair opened Krafter’s Alley. It’s not a supply store – it’s a product store. Crafters pay a fee to display their wares, and the Clevengers keep a percentage of anything that sells. The variety of goods available is too broad to fully list, but here’s a few: Candles, jewelry, quilts, carvings, gourmet food mixes – and even rope baskets.

“We have a strict rule here that everything has to be handcrafted or repurposed,” Shawn said. By repurposed, he means “things that were already made and (someone) makes something new out of them,” not simply a refurbished item, he said.

One crafter collects used ropes from rodeos and using nothing but the rope and glue makes them into baskets. Another makes candles and also sells honey.
“We’ve had great response,” said Shawn. “And it’s gaining momentum. There’s nothing else like this in Keizer.”

The Clevengers hope to offer classes like scrapbooking, painting, cardmaking and crocheting.

[MAP: 16]

Krafter’s Alley
4145 River Road N.

Wed-Sat 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday Noon – 5 p.m.
Closed Mon and Tue

Randy Franke for MCFD #1 board

To the Editor:

I have personally known Randy Franke for almost 40 years.  I had the pleasure of working with him when is was a Marion County Commissioner and I was a Keizer City Councilor.  I would be lying if I said that I always agreed with Randy.  However, I found Randy to be honest, hard working and not afraid to make tough decisions while maintaining his high level of integrity.  He has dedicated years of his life to the public and has worked hard to keep your trust in the decisions and positions he has taken over the years on many important issues.

I trust Randy and feel that he makes all decisions based on facts and represents you in a honest & fair way.  So when you make your decision please vote for Randy Franke, he will represent you!

Jacque Moir