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

Day: October 6, 2011

Two-alarm blaze engulfs Keizer home


Three animals perished in a Thursday morning blaze that severely damaged a Keizer home and prompted two alarms.

Fire crews were called to 565 Hornet Drive at 2:17 a.m. and discovered flames coming through the roof. A housesitter escaped the blaze and was transported to Salem Hospital. One dog also managed to flee the home and was reportedly doing okay, said Anne-Marie Storms, Keizer Fire District spokesperson. The house was expected to be a total loss, said Rod Conway, deputy fire marshal.

“The housesitter woke up and discovered the fire and went to try to go save the animals by taking down a dog gate,” Storms said. “If residents have a fire we urge them to get out of their homes. We all love our animals, but human life is the more important thing.”

Firefighters were able to contain the flames to the kitchen and garage areas, but Storms said fire in the attic and crawl space “created a very dangerous environment for firefighters to work in.”

“The hardest part of the attack was the fire wasn’t just inside the home, it ended up going into the attic and through the floor to the crawl space,” Storms said.

Homeowners Ray and Donna Wilson were out of town. The housesitter awoke at about 2 a.m. to the smell of smoke and found fire in the garage. The home had no working smoke alarms.

“Keizer Fire recommends a smoke alarm on each floor, one in each bedroom and a smoke alarm outside the sleeping areas,” Storms said.

Firefighters were still standing watch over the scene at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Fire damage was estimated at about $165,000, with contents valued at $75,000. A car in the garage valued at about $3,000 was also destroyed.

Five engines, three medics, one duty officer vehicle, one air rig, one ladder truck, one fire investigation vehicle and 25 firefighters responded to the incident, with crews from Marion County Fire Dist. 1 and Salem Fire Department providing mutual aid.

For more photos visit our photo gallery.

Library’s book sale is biggest ever

Of the Keizertimes

The Keizer Community Library is holding its biggest sale ever – some 18,000 books – Oct. 6-8 at the Keizer Civic Center.

The three-day event, a top fundraiser for the all-volunteer library, will be at the civic center for the first time; in previous years it was at the Keizer Lions Club. Most items, including books, CDs and DVDs, cost between 25 cents and a dollars; some items are priced higher.

“I think it’s going to be great – you have better parking, more people know where it is,” said Art Burr, a library volunteer and its former director. “Everything about it, I think, is going to be superior.”

And we mean it when we say all-volunteer – it doesn’t get a dime from city coffers, or any other government. That’s what makes fundraisers like this so vital, Burr said.

“They’re very important,” he said, adding the organization typically raises  about $2,000 per book sale.

Library members get first crack at the sale from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6. If you’re not a member it’s a great time to join – memberships are available at the door for $3. The sale continues from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 and 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8.

Due to lack of shelf space at its home in the Keizer Heritage Center, they have a storage unit that’s almost full to the ceiling thanks to donations, including a huge book drive by Grant Gerstner, Burr said.

“It really surprises the heck out of me sometimes – it’s amazing how many donations we get,” Burr said.

The library is also looking for folks willing to help load and unload books from their storage unit near the Keizer Civic Center. Anyone who can help is asked to call 503-390-8051. For more information on the book sale itself call 503-390-2370.

Keizer, Salem to soon offer permanent drug disposal site in police stations

Of the Keizertimes

The numbers suggest teenagers – and plenty of others – looking for a high aren’t necessarily going to the corner drug dealer.

Their first stop? The closest medicine cabinet.

The National Institute of Health reported nearly one in 12 high school seniors have used the painkiller Vicodin for non-medical purposes, while one in 20 have used the much stronger opiate OxyContin. Of those, nearly three in five said they were given to them by a friend or relative. In Oregon, 1,300 people  died of prescription drug poisoning between 1999-2008.

So an effort involving the Keizer and Salem Police departments, the Community Action Drug Prevention Network and the City of Salem’s Department of Environmental Services aims to stem the tide of prescription drugs that can potentially end up in the wrong hands. In the coming months both police agencies will house a receptacle for prescription and over the counter drugs that are no longer needed by the patient.

“It’s so that drugs don’t get in the wrong hands, especially youth,” said Denise Russell, program director for the Community Action Drug Prevention Network. “Youth are getting the prescription drugs from their parents, their aunts and uncles, or their grand parents’ medicine cabinets.”

Even if they aren’t abused, drugs that end up in landfills can pose a threat to soil and groundwater. In Maine, three landfills were found to have prescription drugs leaching into the soil.

The Community Action Drug Prevention Network helps coordinate one-day drug drop-off events where residents can bring by pills in need of disposal. In the past two events, Keizer’s drop off point has seen the most pills – indicating a possible need for a more permanent option.

“The public is limited to one or two events per year at these organized locations,” said Keizer Police Sgt. Lance Inman. “There was a need for something where the public could dispose of smaller quantities more often instead of having to store them and drop off a large amount at one site.”

The closest permanent disposal sites to the Salem area are in Albany and McMinnville, Inman added.

The new units will only be available during police business hours, and no medical waste, like needles, are accepted. Medicines should be brought in their original container.

“We can’t accept them from any medical institution,” Inman said. “It’s really geared toward small amounts of medications to be disposed of without having to wait on the next community event.”

In both Keizer and Salem they will be secured so not as to attract anyone with nefarious ideas.

“Because people are dropping off controlled substances, we want to make sure we have appropriate, consistent guidelines for handling the narcotics,”

Russell said “a huge rise in prescription drug abuse among youth” led to the collection events, which in turn spurred requests for a more permanent option.

“We were getting calls – ‘I missed that event, I won’t be here that weekend’ – and I didn’t have anywhere to send them,” Russell said.

Drugs are incinerated, not placed in landfills, Inman said.

Keizer will have a MedReturn Drug Collection Unit. It bears a strong resemblance to a post office dropoff or movie rental return box. Matching funds from Keizer Rotary Club and the Community Action Drug Prevention Network paid the approximately $1,000 cost.

Celts take on loaded Titan defense

McNary’s Cody Bond finds open field in Viking territory during the game last week. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

McNary High School senior lineman Anthony Flores expected a win in the Celts’ game with the West Salem High School Titans to rest on which team has the most heart.

“Yeah, we had a tough loss, but we have a tougher team ahead of us that we can beat if we have heart and the determination to do it,” Flores said.

McNary High School varsity gridders travel to face the West Salem High School this week and it promises to be a test of wills for the Celts as they face the team expected to walk away with this season’s Central Valley Conference crown.

“McNary is very talented and capable of scoring in bunches. If they play clean with no turnovers they can beat anyone on their schedule,” said Shawn Stanley, Titan head coach. “We will be prepared for a close ball game and look forward to the challenge.”

McNary lost its conference opener 41-35 in a barn-burner that wasn’t decided until the final minute when the Celts’ pushed their way to the North Salem one-yard-line only to have the tying pass intercepted.

The Titans are coming off their first conference win, 29-15 over South Salem High School, and have lost only two games this season. The team boasts three impressive defensive linemen in Lochlin Deeks, Matt Sommer and Carl Kreitzberg, who committed to Yale University before the season kicked off in August.

Despite those standouts, its still a team effort, Stanley said, “We’re going to respect all opponents and play hard for 48 minutes.”

McNary will be challenged to repeat its offensive output against North Salem.

“We’re going to try, but no promises,” said Cody Bond, Celtic running back.

The Celts piled up 632 offensive yards in the North Salem game. Quarterbacks D.J. Harryman and Justin Burgess combined to throw for 453 yards, but five interceptions, while Justin Gardner took the opportunity to shine with 257 yards receiving. Bond added 140 on the rush.

“If Mason [Ross] and I stick with the guy in front of us and hold him on the line, then we don’t have anything to worry about with the passing game,” Flores said.

The Vikings opted to double-cover the Celts’ leading receiver, Garren Robinett, for most of the night creating opportunities for Gardner to run short routes and up the seams.

“Hopefully, they won’t double-cover Garren again, but if we move Garren around more they won’t know what to do,” Gardner said.

“We’re really making progress every single game,” Burgess added. “If we can stop the run, the offensive game is going to be there. I think we’ll have a really good chance.”