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Day: July 25, 2011

Fire causes $100K in damages

Submitted by Keizer Fire District

A house fire Sunday evening caused an estimated $100,000 in damages at 4923 Shoreline Loop N.

Keizer Police Officer Stephen Richardson was first on the scene, at 8:38 p.m., and found the roof on fire and the residents running in and out of the home to rescue valuables.

“He did a great job of relaying messages to dispatch and keeping the resident’s out of harm’s way,” said Capt. Rod Conway, Keizer deputy fire marshal.

The cause of the blaze is still under investigation, but damages were mostly contained to the attic and roof where the fire started.

“We had to pull down part of the ceiling in the dining room, but even the water damage was kept to a minimum,” Conway said.

Both residents of the home and their dog escaped safely. They told responders that they were watching television and thought they might have heard and smelled something, but attributed it to neighbors cooking outdoors. They were alerted to the fire when a neighbor knocked on their door, Conway said.

“In that sense, it was fortunate that the fire happened early in the evening because the smoke detectors still hadn’t triggered,” he said.

A second alarm was triggered on the fire to replenish dehydrated firefighters on the line.


“Small as an Elephant” by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

“Small as an Elephant” by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

c.2011, Brilliance Audio
$22.99 / $28.99 Canada
5 CDs / 5h 9m




There are days when slamming your bedroom door, though it might get you in trouble, is really satisfying. Those are the days when everybody bugs you, nothing goes right, and you just want to scream, stomp, storm, and slam.

Sometimes, you just want to be left alone.

But what if everybody left you – for good?  What if you woke up and found out that you were all by yourself?  It happened to Jack Martel in the new audiobook “Small as an Elephant” by Jennifer Richard Jacobson.

It was supposed to be the vacation of a lifetime.

Eleven-year-old Jack Martel and his mother had planned it all summer. They were going camping in Maine’s Acadia National Park for Labor Day Weekend. Then they were going to go see Lydia the Elephant at the York Zoo because a love of elephants was the one solid thing Jack and his mother shared.

That is, when she wasn’t spinning out of control.

Still, she seemed normal on the trip, helping him set up his tent and laughing at his jokes. She was fine and Jack was looking forward to a few days of fun.

But the first morning he woke up and unzipped his tent, he was alone.

His mother had done it before. She’d left him by himself in their neighborhood near Boston but she’d always returned in a day or two, once the spinning had stopped. So Jack settled in with a comic book and waited.

When his mother didn’t return that day or the next or the next, he counted his change – just under $15 – and decided to try and make it home by himself.  Surely, that’s where she’d be.

But going anywhere is expensive and Jack was hungry and afraid. What would happen if he couldn’t find his mother? Would they call his grandmother, whom Jack’s mom said was mean? What would they do to a boy who stole a plastic elephant to remind himself of the vacation of a lifetime?

Jack had to figure that out soon because somebody reported him missing and the authorities were searching for him….

The one thing to remember when choosing an audiobook for a car trip is this: everyone has to listen to it.

But with “Small as an Elephant” nobody will mind. This is one of the smartest, most imagination-capturing, compelling stories this year – for adults and for kids.

Author Jennifer Richard Jacobson thinks of things for Jack to do that most adults would never consider. This little character is tough and scrappy, resourceful and clever, but listeners are never allowed to lose sight of the fact that he is an 11-year-old. I was breathless at the audacity of this brave little guy, and the ending is a complete stunner. Bring a tissue, that’s all I’m going to say…

Be aware that, because of its content, “Small as an Elephant” may be scary for children under 10, but older kids and adults will love it. If you’re looking for an excellent vacation audiobook, this one is a slam-dunk.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is based in Wisconsin.

Bronze rules for Olympians

Special Olympians Steven Jones and Andrew Russell brought home four bronze medals between them after participating in the Special Olympics state track and field meet last weekend. (KEIZERTIMES/Laurie Painter)

Keizer athletes Steven Jones and Andrew Russell competed in the Special Olympics track and field state meet over the weekend and one returned home with three bronze medals.

Russell took third in the 200-meter, 400-meter and as part of the 4×100 relay.

“It’s a really fun experience,” said Russell, 21. “I like to win, but I also like seeing and cheering on all the other athletes.” He was particularly fond of the Olympic Village set up during the games at Newberg High School, which featured several games for athletes to win prizes.

Jones, 25, took third in the 4×100 relay alongside Russell and recorded new personal records in the 3,000-meter and the 400-meter. Jones’ time in the 3,000 dropped from 14:41 to 14:31 and he got his 400 time down to 1:14.

“I was just trying to do my best in each race,” Jones said. Jones has competed in the Special Olympics track and field games since he was 17, but still looks forward to meeting new people.Not one to rest on his laurels, he’s already looking forward to basketball this winter. “We need more players though so I encourage everyone to sign up.”

For more information about Special Olympics in Oregon, visit

– Eric A. Howald

Appearance at world-famous club tops off Keizerite’s 11-city tour


Of the Keizertimes

Keizer’s resident rapper is hitting the road for an 11-city tour, and will headline the world-famous Whisky A Go Go Club in Los Angeles.

Matt Almendinger, the 23-year-old better known as Matty, is kicking it off tonight at The Ike Box in Salem, and is playing shows all over Oregon before heading to Tacoma, Wash., Colorado Springs, Las Vegas and Whisky A Go Go on LA’s Sunset Strip.

“It worked out perfectly with the travel and they had an open date,” said Matty, who will be playing at the same venue where The Doors were a house band and countless acts ranging from The Who and Led Zeppelin to Metallica and Guns ‘n’ Roses have played. “It’s definitely an honor just to be in the same venue, be on the same stage that those people have been on. Just being able to say I’ve played there is a pretty big accomplishment.”

Matty released his new album, “That Moment,” which features artists like Illmaculate and Scarub of Living Legends. The album mixes in Matty’s flow with not just hip-hop beats – jazz, soul and rock elements pervade the album.

He’s been working on it for the better part of two years; it’s his fourth album. He’s also put out several mixtapes since releasing “The Good Years” in 2009.

Almendinger graduated McNary High School in 2006.