Eight handpicked gardens in Keizer will be on full display next weekend – and for a good cause.
The 16th A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village Garden Tour and Plant Sale will center around Keizer this year Friday and Saturday, June 3-4. Ray Schreiner’s three-plus acre personal home garden and Dorris Nightengale’s “flower wonderland” are just two of the eight available for touring over the two days, said Stephanie Lenox, promotions director for Discovery Village.
“It’s a self-guided tour over two days where people can travel (and) view private gardens,” Lenox said. “You’re going to find something you like on this tour.”
Last year’s event was in the Court-Chemeketa district downtown, and about 450 people bought tickets – “and we’re hoping for more, but it’s very weather-dependent,” Lenox said. It’s the first Keizer stop for the tour in 12 years.
Tickets are available at any Salem-Keizer area Roth’s Fresh Markets or at A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village, at 116 Marion Street NE in Salem. Call 503-371-3631. Tickets include a program with a garden map and descriptions. The plant sale will be at The Willamette Heritage Center at The Mill.
Gardeners agree to have their work featured, but not before volunteer Cathy Stiles and others track down their favorites.
So what is Stiles looking for? First, she tries to find a couple of “good, solid gardens” where the owners say yes. Then she tries to find variety.
“We look for structure,” Stiles added. “You can’t just have a couple of rose bushes and no real structure. Oftentimes we look for water features for the sound to also be included.”
“They start walking down streets, peering over people’s fences, snooping around, talking to neighbors and going to garden stores,” Lenox said. “They spend several months honing in on the best gardens in that area.”
“I’m surprised we haven’t been taken to jail,” Stiles said. “I’ve stood on the front of my car to look over fences, peek through peepholes. We call it drive-by shootings because we have our camera with us.”
“There’s a little bit of a stalker aspect to it,” Lenox added.
And “if it’s a really outstanding garden, Cathy won’t say no,” Lenox said. “A lot of people do it because they know it’s a benefit for the children’s museum. … That usually gets people motivated.”
The Nightengale garden “is more of an intimate space,” said Lenox.
Ray Schreiner’s personal garden – his family owns Schreiner’s Iris Gardens just north of town – “is very, very carefully cultivated. That’s sort of the grand finale,” Lenox said.
“It’s just incredible,” Stiles said.
Two Japanese gardens will also be featured. One’s a traditional atmosphere maintained by a Japanese immigrant. The other has more of an American twist, Stiles said.
“The goal is to make sure every garden is somebody’s favorite,” Stiles added.
A few short years ago, if someone had asked Kelsee Blain, Joshua Guerrero and Jedidiah Hunter what they hoped to do once they finished school, all three probably expected they wouldn’t finish school.
Today, however, each has a loftier goal. Blain is looking into a career in medicine. Guerrero wants to be a video game designer, or a doctor. Hunter wants to be a lawyer specializing in cases from the deaf community.
The Keizer students who were recently honored with the turnaround award had many supporters as they struggled to make a positive change in their lives and school work, but, perhaps more importantly, they discovered that change was within their grasp all along.
“People helped me, but it came down to helping myself,” said Kelsee Blain, the Tunaround Award recipient at McNary High School. “I changed my attitude – one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do – and it taught me a lot of things about perseverance and self-confidence.”
The Turnaround Achievement Award recognizes area high school and middle school students who made remarkable turnarounds in their lives and academic work. The annual award is sponsored by Don and Ann Lebold, owners of Town & Country Lanes in Keizer.
Blain’s early years at McNary High School were a gauntlet of trials and tribulation, said Debi Meier, McNary counselor.
“It’s been a pleasure to see her transformation from the surly, obstinate, whiny, cringe-when-I-hear-her-voice-in-the-lobby student to the young woman she’s become,” said Meier. “Now, she comes in with a smile on her face.”
Before setting herself on a better path in the past two years, Blain had a failing GPA, but reversed course and has been on a streak of straight-As.
“The road I was on wasn’t leading anywhere. I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Blain said. “Basically, I saw what other people were doing in classes and I started working toward being more responsible.”
Guerrero went from being an average student in sixth grade to a failing student in seventh grade at Claggett Middle School.
“I was just hanging out with the wrong people and I didn’t like any of my teachers,” Guerrero said. “I ran into trouble with law enforcement and I decided I didn’t want that to happen anymore.”
What he didn’t expect was how hard he would have to work to prove to school officials he’d made a change.
“When I came to eighth grade, they thought I was going to be a bad kid and I had to prove to them that I wasn’t that way anymore,” Guerrero said.
Claggett principal Colleen Johnson got to know Guerrero well from the many referrals he racked up, but she was surprised a year later to learn that the person who replaced her as vice principal knew little of him.
“Now, his grades are up, his attitude is really improved and, if he continues down the path he’s on, he’ll be successful,” she said.
Hunter, a Whiteaker Middle School student, was known to his instructors as a skilled debater and wordsmith, but most of his vocabulary was discouraging.
Forced enrollment in the school emotional growth center for students needing “heavy-duty support” was a wake-up call, Hunter said.
“I just didn’t feel I had to listen to teachers, I felt like I could do whatever I wanted,” Hunter said. “I started seeing how other kids in the EGC were acting I decided that wasn’t for me.”
He started by learning to contain his emotions in situations where his instinct was to talk back to people in authority.
As an eighth grader, he’s combined passions for reading and a desire to know more about the world to decide on a career track that he hopes will lead to becoming an advocate for the deaf community.
“I was told I had good arguing skills. I want to use my ability to do something good for the world. My sister is deaf and I want to get certified in sign language to represent [the deaf population] in court,” Hunter said.
Police are seeking a man who eluded them in a stolen car early Sunday, May 22.
He was identified by Oregon State Police as Harley H. Dyke, 19, from Lynnwood, Wash.
A chase began when an Oregon State Police trooper spotted a white 1994 Honda Civic speeding southbound on Interstate 5 near milepost 265, going 110 miles per hour. When the trooper tried to stop the car the driver exited into Keizer and headed north.
The driver of the Honda made a U-turn at Brooklake Road and River Road, where a trooper crashed into the vehicle’s side. The Honda spun around, knocking over a stop sign, and continued south.
Keizer Police eventually found the car on a dead end road near Keizer Rapids Park, and took a passenger into custody. Arrested was Joshua D. Douglas, 18, of Lynnwood, Wash., for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
A Marion County Sheriff’s deputy and canine tried to track the driver, who fled the car, but couldn’t find him.
State police are asking anyone who has seen Dyke to call the OSP Northern Command Center at 800-452-7888.
A Keizer Police officer shot and killed a pit bull Thursday night after it lunged at him during a domestic assault call, authorities said Friday.
Several officers responded to the 1300 block of Country Glen Avenue NE at about 8:48 p.m. Thursday after a neighbor heard a man and woman screaming, particularly the woman saying, “you’re choking me.”
Upon responding officers found a woman with “visible injuries” to her neck and chest, and a pant leg was shredded. She said her ex-husband had attacked her while the pit bull bit at her leg.
The ex-husband, who was eventually arrested for five counts of strangulation and one felony count of domestic assault, closed the dog in a bedroom with the female victim’s one-year-old child after it threatened a police officer, said Keizer Police Capt. Jeff Kuhns.
Authorities said the suspect assaulted the victim in front of their four-year-old son.
When the victim went to let the dog out of the child’s room it became fixated on Officer Rodney Bamford, Kuhns said. Both the victim and Bamford tried to control the dog, including letting it out into the back yard, it kept baring its teeth and growling at Bamford, Kuhns said.
Bamford tried to distance himself, Kuhns said, by placing an ottoman between him and the dog. But he shot the dog once in the head as it lunged over the ottoman at him. Two other officers deployed Tasers at the dog almost simultaneously. The dog died immediately.
“Keizer Police Department policy allows for the use of deadly force to stop a dangerous animal which reasonably appears to pose an imminent threat to the safety of an officer or another person,” Kuhns said.
Police said the man arrested was LaNell E. DaRouse, 31, who had been staying at the address.
Alice Loomis, a resident of Willamette Lutheran Retirement Community in Keizer had two of her dreams come true: she danced with a handsome man and she rode in a red Corvette.
On Friday, May 20, Alice was the center of attention at a special event held at the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem staged by Marquis at Home.
She arrived at the dance in her honor in a red Corvette. She was greeted by dance instrucdtor Robert Masetre, who took her for a spin on the dance floor to her favorite song.
Alice, who grew up in Portland, was nominated to be on the Rose Festival court while at Lincoln High School. Alice however didn’t receive the Rose Queen title; a neighbor won the honor.
Her wish of becoming a queen has come true; she has been named a Rose Queen for Marquis at Home in the company’s 17th annual Rose Queen Tea, honoring remarkable senior ladies from various Marquis facilities for leading vibrant lives.
By JASON COX and ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes
When he was a child in Wakefield, Kan., Lowell Gunselman’s father often told him, “Live an adventurous life and you’ll never have to tell a lie because you’ll always have the truth to talk about.”
In his 77 years, Gunselman has done his best to live by those words.
It’s no small irony then that he’s spent the past two years trying to set the record straight about his experiences in the in the U.S. Navy. “We were just guinea pigs,” Gunselman said. “ I didn’t find that out until a year ago last September that it was classified as a human radiation experiment. I cried, I was so angry. When you take into consideration all the things that happened in Nevada and New Mexico, and all those guys are dead – from the early testing that was done on land – it really is a sad scenario.”
Gunselman was party to the hydrogen bomb testing at Bikini Atoll, the exercises he took part in exposed many of his shipmates and fellow soldiers to radiation levels that had a lasting impact on their lives. He fathered five children without incident, but knows of many on the ships and others near the area that weren’t so lucky.
“I didn’t know the stories about the guys who tried and tried and tried and their wives never had a live birth. One woman who had a husband on the Curtiss had 26 miscarriages,” he said.
In the early 1950s Gunselman graduated high school near the top of his class and planned a stint in the military that would pay for his college education and set him on the path to become an electronics technician. He was indoctrinated at San Diego Naval Air Recruiting Station on March 4, 1956, and because he’s already been studying to be an electronics technician, was sent Treasure Island.
The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission conducted 105 nuclear weapon tests in the Marshall Islands between 1945 and 1962.
Tests took place both underwater and in the atmosphere. Through the years Bikini Atoll has perhaps become the best-known site for nuclear testing in the north Pacific Ocean; 23 nuclear devices were detonated there between 1946 and 1958. The indigenous population of the atoll was relocated. Limited numbers returned in the 1970s, but left again in 1978 after additional testing showed dangerous levels of radioactive materials in the islanders’ bodies. The Academy Award-nominated documentary “Radio Bikini” tells the islanders’ side of the story.
The first hydrogen bomb was tested at Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1954. More powerful than expected, it contaminated a much wider area than originally anticipated, including fisherman on a Japanese fishing boat. The ship’s radio man died just seven months later of acute radiation poisoning. The original Godzilla movie was partly inspired by this incident.
The day when Keizer resident Lowell Gunselman ran out on his ship deck to repair radar was the first time a thermonuclear bomb had been dropped from the air.
“I was sent up there for a 26-week course, but with the electronics studies I had done in Detroit, I skipped the first 16 weeks and went into the 17th week on what was called radar special circuits and fire control, specialized, that I would never have gotten from a private school,” Gunselman said.
By the time he completed the course, he’d caught the attention of the commanding officer of the USS Curtiss, a seaplane tender with seven battle stars from World War II and Korea. The officer told Gunselman his qualifications “were beyond anything that we could hope for.”
Top flight credentials weren’t enough for the mission the Curtiss was about to embark upon, however. Gunselman was dispatched to Lawrence Livermore Labs National Laboratory, the nation’s then-repository for the best and brightest working on the nuclear weaponry.
“It’s where they all got together to do developing and testing,” Gunselman said. “I thought it was extremely strange. The Navy never sends one person to a class. I’m the only guy here, the only military here, and I’m a 3rd class petty officer,” Gunselman said.
It’s important to note that body of knowledge regarding the effects of radiation on the humans was, at best, anemic. Gunselman frequently asked about the effects of alpha, beta and gamma radiation on humans, but got no satisfying answer.
“I always blamed them for just not wanting to deal with me as a Navy enlisted man, but later on I found out that they really didn’t know, because that’s what they went over to Eniwetok and Bikini to find out: what was a fatal dose,” he said.
Gunselman trained to use radiac meters – also known as Geiger counters – and how to check for radioactive contamination, but the lack of firm answers from his colleagues in the program was worrying. When Gunselman called his commander to voice his concern, a three-star general intervened ending some of the friction, a short time later he was called back to the ship to carry out its next mission at Bikini Atoll.
Things had changed when Gunselman, then 22, got back to the Curtiss. There was a new commander and the space that had been used to service seaplanes had been converted to recording and sensor equipment.
While he noted the change, he was concerned more with immediate needs.
“My brother was in the Marine Corps and he told me the first thing you do is make friends with the cook,” Gunselman said. “I found him and made friends. He would bring me real nice coffee grounds.”
Gunselman’s station on the boat was the radar transmitter room at the bottom of the ladder leading up to the bridge. From the room he would monitor sensors recording heat, light, vertical and horizontal motion, seismic tremors and gamma radiation.
“There were 26 units with 100 channels each, and there were 185 antennas added to the masts, and they had put new cross bars up, they had antennas everywhere. Those were all hooked to my recording devices basically, and there were little sensor transmitters all over barges, floats, buoys, ships that we knew we were going to destroy,” Gunselman said.
The ship was charged with transporting components to Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands for Operation Redwing and the first airdrop of a hydrogen bomb.
The Curtiss became the central monitoring station for 17 tests of the hydrogen bomb, but it was the second one that defied all expectations and made Gunselman a hero.
The first test was uneventful measured against the second one.
“Just a measly little nothing, 300 kilotons,” Gunselman said.
The second test, and first air drop carrying 3.58 megatons, became known as “Cherokee.” The bomb was supposed to drop on two barges 50 miles from Gunselman’s station on the Curtiss. It landed 37 miles away.
“Know how the water is straight up and down in a nuclear test, and it starts to mushroom? This one mushroomed to 94,000 feet. It sucked 20 cubic miles of water out of the Pacific Ocean.” Bikini Atoll, named for the tops of an undersea volcano that jut up out of the water forming a crescent around a body of water, became a single island.
“All the water in between them was all gone, sucked up into the air,” Gunselman said.
The blast ruptured the Curtiss’ boilers, the ship had enough power to turn, but it couldn’t outrun the radiation infused globules that rained down from the sky. Fifty miles from the impact site, the ship dropped anchor. The concussive force of the blast had disabled the ship’s radar leaving it blind to the size and shape of the fallout cloud.
“At that point our radar wasn’t good for anything other than detecting moisture, and we had other ships in the area that might have been heading into the fallout cloud,” Gunselman said.
When he approached the commanding officer about the need to restore the radar, he was told any attempt to fix the radar under the falling globules was likely suicide.
“I told him, ‘It doesn’t make any difference whether I’m out there fixing that radar or flaking out on Waikiki Beach or surfing in Hawaii or sitting in a ball game in the United States. When my time comes, I’m going to go. It really doesn’t make any difference, so I want to go out and fix that radar. There’s 372 other guys on board this ship,’” Gunselman said.
While the admiral was unwilling to assign someone to the mission, a volunteer must have presented less of a moral quandary. Gunselman stripped to his skivvies and bolted 65 feet for the radar deckhouse.
“There were four glass tubes all shattered in the bottom of the cabinet, but the replacements were right there so I replaced them, flipped the switch and ran back to the hatch. It took me 32 minutes,” Gunselman said.
He wasn’t allowed back into the bridge, but he reached inside to flip the switch for the radar that would indicate where things were. As it came on, it revealed the USS Mt. McKinley was headed into the fallout cloud. Gunselman told the captain what he was seeing and grabbed the radio mircophone saying, “this is the USS Curtiss. McKinley, reverse your engines. You’re headed into the gamma cloud.”
He descended six decks to the ship’s Decontamination Center where he was scanned with radiac sensors that pinged at 50,000 milliroentgens – an unheard of level of gamma radiation exposure. At the time, 500 milliroentgens was considered fatal.
“[The lieutenant] immediately summoned two decontamination team guys, and they brought saltwater soap and a brush that they had that was wood, but with soft bristles. We went right into a shower that was 10 feet away, and they scrubbed me down. I went down about 40 percent within an hour of showering. By the time we got through two hours of showering, my skin was kind of bright colored,” Gunselman said.
After the prolonged shower, Gunselman was taken to the ship’s gym where he worked out four hours. He was scanned for radiation every ten minutes and the workouts appeared to drop the level of contamination.
The lieutenant brought him a horsemeat steak with potatoes and another vegetable and told him he was going to be okay. “It was good stuff,” Gunselman said.
After the meal, he worked out another two hours and he spent four hours in the gym daily until the end of the mission almost six weeks later.
When the Curtiss docked, Gunselman underwent thorough examinations. While they didn’t find overt cause for concern they suggested he weigh heavily the decision to have children. Gunselman’s health records show no indication of the tests – including sperm tests – he said he endured.
Until 2008, Gunselman believed the air drop was nothing more than a miscalculation on the part of the pilots who dropped it, but then his wife came across documents on the internet that labeled the mission a Human Radiation Experiment (HREX), leading him to believe the missed target was intentional on the part of the U.S. Government. After that, Gunselman noticed other things weren’t adding up, like U.S. Government pictures of the Cherokee drop.
“They dropped the bomb at 5 a.m. When it was dark, but the picture they have of the bomb dropping out of the back of the plane was taken in the daylight. [The bomb in the picture is] snow white with one 65-foot parachute on it, but it weighed 6,870 pounds. You can’t drop that much on one 65-foot parachute,” Gunselman said.
Gunselman said he attached sensors to the bomb prior to it being carried into the sky for the airdrop and it was black and had five parachutes.
He gets angry and emotional about what he believes is the obfuscation of what happened during the tests.
“We had a 35-man crew aboard the ship who washed our decks down with contaminated seawater, then went over to the other ships that were on that side of the test and did that. Those 35 guys are all dead. They were dead a long time ago, in some cases,” Gunselman said.
Gunselman knows he’s been fortunate, none of the maladies he’s suffered as he’s aged, including prostate cancer, can be directly attributed to the HREX, but he feels a sense of duty to the ones who suffered to set the story straight.
“I want the story. I want the truth of the matter, and I’m the only left, really, that can tell it,” Gunselman said. “The fact they’re not telling the truth, when it wouldn’t hurt anybody, it really irritates me. But it’s typical.”
The rash of home burglaries and invasions in Keizer is a sad sign of our times. Bold, desperate criminals are even robbing homes that are obviously occupied.
Some Keizer residents have come home to discover burglars in the middle of their dastardly crimes. We can take some solace that none of the crimes thus far have resulted in violence or bodily harm. That is a real fear.
It would be a bad result if we started turning our homes into fortresses to protect ourselves and our worldy belongings.
Citizens can turn to the police and ask why they don’t stop our mini-crime wave. Unfortunately, even a fully-staffed police department can’t be everywhere and stop burglaries before they happen. We, as residents of Keizer, must look out for our own neighborhoods and communities.
The Neighborhood Watch program has existed for years. That’s the program in which neighbors get to know each other and keep each other informed when they will be away. If you know some one across the street is on vacation you would be able to notice if there is suspicious activity in a house that is supposed to be vacant.
A suspicious activity call to the police will be be responded to. The unknown person may only be watering plants or feeding animals; there may be some initial embarrassment but it is better to be safe than sorry. When neighbors inform each other of their plans including the fact that a person will be in the home for housesitting duties can preclude any embarrassment. Even an anonymous 9-1-1 call is far better than letting a neighbor’s house get ransacked and robbed.
Locked doors won’t deter a determined burglar who knows a house has something good to steal. Deterents can include motion sensor lights, pruning shrubs to deny a burglar a place to hide from view or even a home security system.
Another deterrent could be the frequent cruising of neighborhoods by police cars. Until a sustainable funding source is found to bring the Keizer Police Department to full strength that would allow more regular patrols in all areas of the city, we all have to be vigilant. And we must all know who are neighbors are.
Each August National Night Out block parties are held throughout the city. Too many neighborhoods don’t hold these events that can connect residents with each other. These block parties reveal how important it is to know where we live and who we live with. We don’t feel like nosy neighbors when we are looking after someone’s house when they are away at work or vacation.
The recent Keizer home burglaries are a result of current economic conditions and it is predictable that crime rises when the economy falls. We can rely on the police department to respond, but we all must take the responsibility of looking after ourselves, too.
Reporter’s Notebook is a new feature in the Keizertimes. Here our writers and editors will offer a glimpse behind the headlines to stories and issues bubbling just below the surface.
Porter’s Pub, AJ’s Hideaway and Tuff Ranch BBQ all have or will soon have new owners, liquor license applications submitted to the city of Keizer indicate.
• Tuff Ranch BBQ is set to be bought by DSZ, LLC. The owner listed for the company is David Zahradnik. Former owners are John Carter and Alaina Santana. It will be renamed McNary Restaurant and Lounge, serving American fare.
• AJ’s Hideaway, 5048 River Road N., seeks a change of ownership to LJRI, LLC. The company’s listed owner is Louis Risewick. Former owners are Pam and Andy Orcutt.
The new owner told us he’s going to hold off on changes initially, but over time plans to be sports-oriented.
• Porter’s Pub, at 4820 River Road N., is seeking a change of ownership to ETCNB, LLC. The owner listed for the company is Erik Frizelle. Former owner is Gigi Bremmeyer.
– Jason Cox
Got news that deserves a spot in the Notebook? Email [email protected] or call our Tip Line at 503-383-9201.