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Month: January 2012

“Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time” by Georgia Pellegrini

“Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time” by Georgia Pellegrini

c.2012, Da Capo LifeLong
$24.00 / $28.00 Canada
248 pages, includes index

By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER

Dinner last night was delicious.

The salad was crispy and fresh, with all the right additions and your favorite dressing. There was the slightest tease of a comfort-food memory from the main dish, which was created with a mini-bite of spice nipping your tongue. And the side dishes? You had seconds of those, followed by dessert that must’ve been made by angels.

So where did it all come from?  To say “a restaurant” or “the grocery store” is cheating, especially after you’ve read “Girl Hunter” by Georgia Pellegrini.

One day not long ago, after looking up from the trading floor of a Wall Street firm and wondering how she got there, Georgia Pellegrini suddenly knew that a life in finance was not where she belonged. Determined to “nourish [her] soul again,” she set out to become a chef.

Still, there was something missing. She was working at a high-end restaurant, serving the same people she had formerly toiled beside, but pretension marred her job, presentation was more important than nutrition, and food was being wasted.

Then the head chef gave her an “unusual order:” she was told to slaughter five turkeys for the evening’s dinner. The experience opened her eyes to a part of her that she never knew existed, and sent her on a journey far away from the meat aisle in the grocery store.

“Is it possible to eat only the meat that you kill?” she asked.

Pellegrini’s first answer came in the Arkansas Delta where she joined silver-haired men at a hunting camp they called the Village. They were out for turkeys then, and after a quick tutorial on guns, Pellegrini bagged two gobblers with one shot. Later, she hunted there for doves, deer, and wild boar.

In Texas, she shot a javelina, then had to explain to airport security why she was toting “frozen animal parts” in her luggage. She hunted for grouse in Montana, and spent an edgy week with a rancher in Wyoming who wasn’t who he said he was. She missed “harvesting” axis deer in Texas, traveled to England for a “social hunt,” to New Orleans for ducks, and to upstate New York to hunt squirrel.

“I… have looked my food in the eye and made a choice…” says Pellegrini. “It was all amazing.”

Think life’s best spent gun-toting in wilds, woods, or weeds? Then you’re going to love this thoughtful, meaningful, surprisingly gentle book.

With a poet’s eye toward a conscious dinner, author Georgia Pellegrini takes her readers on a search, not just for wild game but for what she calls a “primal part” of one’s being.  I couldn’t stop reading as Pellegrini dug into this foray with gusto and blood, which gives her book an occasional Lord of the Flies feel that’s almost always abutted by thoughts so beautiful that you almost want to weep.

Because of that, and because of the easy-to-follow gourmet recipes included, this memoir will firmly ensnare hunters and eaters alike. If that describes you, then, “Girl Hunter” is a book to shoot for.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is based in Wisconsin.

Library closing until February 13

KEIZERTIMES/File Photo

The Keizer Community Library will nearly double in size and expand hours as part of upcoming changes at the Keizer Heritage Center.

In the meantime the library is closed until Monday, February 13. Upon reopening the library will be open on selected evenings and Sundays for the first time. New hours will be as follows:

• Mondays 1 p.m. – 8 p.m.

• Tuesday-Thursday 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.

• Fridays 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

• Saturdays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

• Sundays 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Library Director Steve Prothero said the all-volunteer library has grown to the point that it’s bursting at the seams: Not enough room for their books, too little space for public Internet access, no comfortable places to sit, no ideal place for children to relax and learn. It relies solely on membership dues and other donations to survive; its modest stipend from the City of Keizer was eliminated several years ago in a round of budget cuts.

In the move their space will double from 625 square feet to about 1,350. The library will expand into the area where the Keizer Heritage Museum is, and the museum will move elsewhere in the building.

“We get lots of donations, and we can’t shelve everything we would like to shelf,” Prothero said. “There’s no space here.”

The strategy so far has been to focus on keeping popular items in stock, but Prothero believes the expansion will allow them to keep in stock less popular items, like reference materials, that are nevertheless part and parcel of a library.

“When you’re a library person you see all these wonderful reference works – we get all kinds of offers to donate them but they don’t circulate as well,” Prothero said.

But if you’re more interested in Anne Rice than atlases and almanacs, don’t worry: The expansion will also allow the library to stock more copies of their most popular works.

A children’s area will allow for a regular storytime program to develop. And one of the most important elements is expanding Internet access to the public. They have public wi-fi, as does the Keizer Civic Center nearby, for anyone with a laptop.
But Prothero wants to do more to serve residents who don’t have Internet-connected computers at home.

”We have a lot of people who come in and are looking for jobs, or to work on resumes,” Prothero said.

It’s all part of a reorganization at the heritage center, housed in the former Keizer School. The building houses the museum, Keizer Art Association, Keizer Chamber of Commerce, the library and offices for Keizer Young Life.

Sue Miletta, a member of the museum’s board, said moving into the chamber’s former offices gives them modest room to expand, but has lots more wall space for hanging items of local historical interest.

“We’ll play it by ear, but we have no specific complaints,” Miletta said.

It will allow the museum to establish a separate research area, she said.

Gym faces investigation by Ore. Dept. of Justice

Platinum Sports and Fitness closed late last year. The Department of Justice is investigating what happened to member dues. (Keizertimes File Photo)

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

The Oregon Department of Justice is investigating a Keizer gym that closed abruptly in December of last year, leaving members wondering where their membership dues went.

Corey Ahrens, the gym’s owner, told the Keizertimes then that his customers would have their memberships transferred to another gym – which state law allows him to do so long as it happens promptly.

But the customers we spoke with said that offer never materialized, and the company Ahrens told us would be transferring memberships told us a different story. He told the Keizertimes then he made the decision to close on December 22, and had been selling memberships up until then.

“We are a third-party company. We have no affiliation with (Platinum Sports and Fitness) whatsoever,” said a representative from All-State Financial Group, who declined to give her name. The firm provides membership services to gyms, including Platinum.

Ahrens declined to answer specific questions by email, saying “you guys took what I said last time and twisted my words to make your story better.

“I took over a business that was going bankrupt,” Ahrens said. “I tried to live the American dream and own my own business in the worse [sic] economy we’ve seen in a very long time. Business [sic] across america closing daily and going bankrupt. I tried to stay open for as long as I could.

Bottom line is I couldn’t make it work.”

“Why don’t you do your story when all the REAL AND TRUE [sic] facts come out instead of making people look bad,” Ahrens added.

The DOJ has received at least 26 complaints about Platinum Sports, said Kate Medema, who handles constituent and public affairs for the department. Although she said she couldn’t reveal which laws the department suspects may have been broken, she said the agency can work with customers for dispute resolution through the Consumer Protection Section. It also has civil authority to enforce laws under the Unlawful Trade Practices Act.

“We’re looking into the business beyond our normal processing of consumer complaints,” Medema said.

The DOJ asks anyone with a grievance against the company to file a formal complaint at doj.state.or.us.

Some former members told us they could see the closure coming.

Todd Flint, a Keizer resident, told us he saw problems at the gym and admitted to being surprised when he would come in to find the doors open.

“It’s common for gyms to (fold),” Flint said. “It’s one of those things where they eventually run out of clientele and money … I was just waiting.”

The difference: Sweat, preparation and luck spared city from floodwaters

Riverside parks saw plenty of visitors as the Willamette River rose to its highest levels since 1996 last week. (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

When the river and Keizer creeks start to rise, comparisons to floods of yore inevitably float to the surface.

The most common frame of reference was the 1996 floods. An orderly evacuation preceded flooding in McNary Estates and a surprise rise in Labish Creek in the Country Glen and Hidden Creek neighborhoods. Labish would rise again the next winter, flooding several homes.

Rain levels now and in 1996 were fairly similar. So what spared Keizer from the floodwaters this time? A combination of preparation, perspiration and plain luck.

Mother Nature lent a hand, with well-timed breaks in the rain. Downpours tended to be extremely localized, unlike the widespread rains of 1996. The snow pack didn’t compare to 1996, when as much as a foot of the white stuff sat below Detroit Dam, and thus rivers were already at an elevated state when rain drenched the valley for days and days in February 1996.

But preparation showed positive results in 1996, and lessons learned since then may well have spared homes along local waterways from further damage.

The Willamette River reaches major flood stage at 32 feet; in 1996 it rose to 35 feet. In 1996, much of west Keizer was saved from the river’s wrath by an earthen dike standing where the river wall is now – starting at Cummings Lane north to about 15th Avenue NE, where floodwaters would spill onto land at a bend in the river. That’s precisely what happened during major floods in the 1960s and earlier. The Christmas flood in 1963 saw river levels rise to 37.78 feet – the highest level recorded since World War II. The dike was built in response to these events.

The water had gotten almost that high in 1996, when Public Works Superintendent Bill Lawyer walked the length of the dike and remembers water lapping just 18 inches from its top.

Illustration by KEIZERTIMES/Andrew Jackson

The earthen dike held – and a temporary one was quickly filled in near what is now Keizer Rapids Park – but Lawyer said the events gave public works staff a blueprint of sorts for where to focus.

For one, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers refused to certify the dike, which Lawyer said would have dramatically raised flood insurance rates throughout the city.

The dike became a wall by digging a trench and filling it with concrete. That only raised the height slightly, Lawyer said, but provided stabilization. Constructing a permanent earthen dike at Keizer Rapids Park, cutting off a seasonal channel that was prone to flooding, removed some areas of the city from the 100-year flood plain.

Mental imagery of a rising river had many clicking refresh on a website showing water levels, and more visiting riverside parks to get a glimpse for themselves. Ultimately the river rose to more than 29 feet – enough to flood low-lying areas, but not enough to trigger evacuations or worse, Lawyer said.

“It is a moving target with these projections,” Lawyer said.

Had floodwaters reached 32 feet or higher, it’s likely that the Willow Lake Wastewater Treatment Facility would have been unable to function, meaning we may have seen an repeat of the 1996 evacuations, Lawyer said.

Creekside dwellers will never forget bearing the brunt of floods in both 1996 and 1997 (just like last week, when sudden rising water sent many to the hardware store for a brand-new pump).

Some, like alongside Claggett Creek, was not altogether unexpected. Others, like the residents of Hidden Creek and Country Glen subdivisions, never saw it coming.

Labish Creek (or ditch, depending on the time of year) can flow in two directions: West to the river, or east into the onion fields that formerly made up Lake Labish. The former lake bottom filled up in 1996 and 1997, sending unexpected waters west into Keizer.

“When that happened, Labish was just overwhelmed,” Lawyer said.

A small farming dam known as the Parkersville Dam was the subject of years of litigation between the city and a local irrigation district. Water on one side of the dam goes into Labish Creek, while the eastwardly flow heads into the Little Pudding River and then the Pudding River.

“We assert that (irrigation district’s) choice not to pump the lake down on the other side of the dam contributed to the flooding,” said City Manager Chris Eppley.

Public works staff were determined to ensure local hands decided Keizer’s fate in the future. No matter whose fault it was that the water from Labish Creek ended up in homes along its banks, something had to be done with it.

To tame it, Lawyer said, public works staff had to learn how it worked.

“Part of it was a lack of understanding of how the system worked,” Lawyer said. “There were also no gauges to rely on… or historical data.”

To this day, someone has to drive to the gauges under River Road near Manzanita Avenue and on Portland Road.

Crews got to work in the coming years on an overflow system that would allow more water to be retained on site. An overflow channel in Country Glen Park “worked just like we designed it to,” Lawyer said. Another man-made overflow area behind homes on Jakewood Court and Hidden Creek Court filled with water just as planned, although it did cause some localized street flooding in that area.

A federally-mandated stormwater management program paid dividends last week also. Storm drains that in past high-water events overflowed didn’t this time because a specially-designed truck allows public works crews to clean catch basins and storm drains at least once every four years. The feds require cleaning at least 25 percent of them annually; that figure is closer to 40 percent in Keizer.

“Places that typically flood or exhibit localized flooding didn’t,” Eppley said. “And where we’d normally be pumping areas out, we didn’t have to do that.”

Public works staff started monitoring water levels early in the week, and were prepared to pump the city’s storm drain system if necessary into the Willamette River. The pipes flowing into the river are designed to seal off when the river reaches their level, stopping backflow into the storm drain system.

High water on Kalmia Drive and Kafir Drive was expected, and closed those streets for much of the day Thursday. But it was mostly gone by the end of the day, Lawyer said.

The public works department operated for two days a modified emergency operations center out of its shop behind the Keizer Fire District. The prediction was for a heavy workload without widespread flooding, which is exactly what they got.

But the images of homes underwater in Turner, and of Mill Creek spilling its banks just a couple miles south of us, spooked plenty of people.

“They thought we were trying to downplay it, asking if they needed to evacuate,” said Jenniffer Warner, a public works specialist.

And what in many places turned out a catastrophe served as a live training exercise for Keizer’s public works staff, Eppley said.

Bob & Pam Zielinski named Keizer First Citizens

Longtime local benefactors Bob and Pam Zielinski were honored as Keizer’s First Citizens at a banquet Saturday night.

Also recognized were:

– Audrey Butler, Mary Kay, Merchant of the Year
– Kim Phillips, McNary High swim coach, Service to Education Award
– Al and Anne Rasmus, Keizer Heritage Center, President’s Award

The Keizer Chamber of Commerce gives out the awards at its annual banquet.

Blown deadline means one-sided opinion on annexation measure in voter’s pamphlet

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

When Keizer voters receive the Voter’s Pamphlet leading up a March ballot measure asking for their support of Keizer Fire District’s annexation of the Clear Lake area in northern part of the city, it’s likely they’ll notice a disparity.

The pamphlet will include the ballot title, an explanatory statement for the measure, four arguments against the measure and none in favor of its passage.

“We’re on the ballot March 13 and will move forward from this point based on the strength of the arguments we’ve been making for nearly a year,” said Chief Jeff Cowan, of Keizer Fire District.

Cowan convened an executive session of the Keizer Fire Board Monday, Jan. 23, to discuss the development.

Keizer Fire officials and their attorney, Bob Blackmore, planned to submit statements in favor of the annexation measure simultaneously with the ballot title and explanatory statement. However, when judicial approvals of the title and explanatory statement overran the deadline for submitting to the voter’s pamphlet, January 17, elections officials declined to accept the statements in support of the measure.

“We’ve had lots of deadlines to meet in regard to this issue and this was one we should have had given more prominence,” Blackmore said.

In addition to meeting ballot issue deadlines, Keizer Fire District attorneys have been fending off litigation and appeals filed by Marion County Fire District attempting to halt the annexation process.

What’s at stake for both KFD and MCFD is the property taxes collected on the properties within the disputed area, estimated to be between $350,000 and $450,000 depending on which agency is assessing its individual bonds and levies.

Cowan said some of the blowback was expected, but the purpose behind the fire district’s pursuit of the Clear Lake neighborhoods remains unchanged.

“Our cause is still noble,” Cowan said. “This is about providing the best service possible for all the residents of Keizer.”

Keizer Fire Board President Joe Van Meter spoke more directly to the issue of taxes.

“This measure will keep taxpayer dollars in Keizer to pay for Keizer services – and not send that money to MCFD1 to fund services outside of Keizer,” Van Meter said.

Asked whether the district was risking loss political capital in pursuit of the Clearlake issue, Van Meter said, “As far as I know, Keizer Fire District’s reputation is still intact. We receive letters thanking us for our service on a monthly basis and we have response times that are the envy of most other fire districts and departments in the state.”

Van Meter said the Friends of Keizer Fire District, which will be conducting the campaign in support of the annexation measure, hopes letters to the editor and yard signs that will make up for the lack of a presence in the voter’s pamphlet.

Lady Celts dominate games with Olys, Scots

McNary’’s Caitln Tartak blts around a Sprague defender in the game Wednesday, Jan. 18. The Lady Celts won 59-31. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Stingy defense was key in two recent victories for the McNary High School girls varsity basketball team.

The Lady Celts played hard and scrappy defending possession on both sides of the court in a 59-31 win over Sprague High School and a 59-31 win over McKay High School.

“When we talk and communicate, we do extremely well on defense and that was one of our goals for the week,” said Celt Jessica Darras.

All according to plan, said Molly Gehley, McNary head coach, “We’ve been trying to get a team emphasis on defense and being aggressive moving in on people a bit more instead of backing off or being tentative.”

McNary stormed out of the gates in the game with Sprague Wednesday, Jan. 18. The Celts poured in 37 points while holding the Olys to just eight in the first half. It was a 20-point fourth quarter that helped Sprague save face.

“We’ve done a good job of being really intense and going out strong from the beginning rather than letting the other team have a little edge and having to work our way back into it,” said Deven Hunter, a McNary senior. “It also helped that our shots started falling again.”

Hunter, an Oregon State University recruit, led all scoring with 22 points. Teresa Peterson and Ashlee Koenig had nine points apiece, Averi Wing had eight points, Aerial Rice had six, and Caitlin Tartak put in three.

McNary also dominated off the boards with 30 rebounds, Hunter claimed eight of them.

Effective rebounding was factor in the Celtic win over McKay.

“It was kind of our goal for the night and we did it really well,” said Koenig.

Gehley credited Koenig with strong minutes in the McKay game and an overall excellent effort throughout the week.

“She did some great rebounding for us and she’s really finding her niche in our team,” Gehley said.

McNary jumped out to a 16-point lead in the first half of the game and only allowed the Royal Scots double digit gains in the fourth quarter.

Hunter led scoring again 23 points, Wing put in 14 including two three-point goals, Darras added six, Koenig had five, Tartak, Stacey Titchenal and Rice had two points each,  Alyx Peterson had two points and T. Peterson hit one from the foul line.

While it’s not unusual for Hunter to grab the offensive lead in most games, her output in both games shone for other reasons, Gehley said.

“Deven has been so aggressive on rebounds and her work ethic the past week has been impressive,” she said.

While neither the Olys nor the Royals Scots are currently in the top tier of Central Valley Conference this season, Koenig said the team benefitted from treating the teams as though they were. That mindset was especially important as the Celts face off with two of the top teams in the league this week in South Salem and West Salem high schools.

“Knowing how aggressive teams like South and West are on offense, we have to be ready to match them on defense – shut them down and fluster them,” Koenig said.

Boys get first CVC win

McNary’s Connor Goff stares down a McKay defender in a game Monday, Jan. 23. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

There are nights when the shots simply don’t drop.

Despite it being one of those nights, the McNary High School boys varsity basketball team battled the McKay High School Royal Scots off the boards to its first Celtic win in the Central Valley Conference. McNary took the game 44-41.

“A win is a win and one of the things we talked about was how important rebounding is,” said Ryan Kirch, McNary head coach. “We were a little short-handed, but our guys challenged them under the net and rose to the task.”

McNary struggled throughout the first half of the game to sink a shot. The Celts managed just 4 of 27 from the field.

“The good thing was that we hustled and got a ton of rebounds and got a lot of shot opportunities that we needed at the time,” said Dylan McHugh, a McNary senior.

McNary kept the Scots’ lead small, 19-17 at the half, and strong defense in the third period prevented the visiting team from gaining ground.

“Defensive pressure made it tough for them and nothing was easy,” said Celt Nick McDonald.

McKay was up by one, when McNary’s Garren Robinett hit a three-point goal to take the lead, 36-34, at 4:29 in the fourth period. The Scots knotted the game at 38-38 two minutes later, but Isaiah Montano hit one from the field to put the Celts over the top with 1:21 left in the game.

“We were hustling around and the offensive boards kept us in the game,” Robinett said.

Freshman Connor Goff led the Celtic squad with nine rebounds, McHugh contributed eight.

Montano led the team in scoring with 14 points, Robinett and Johnathan Doutt had seven points each, McDonald had six, Goff had five, McHugh had four and Hayden McCowan hit one from the free throw line.

Prior to the McKay game, McNary squared off with Sprague High School in a game that started out rough and stayed that way. Celt post Justin Burgess was ejected in early minutes after getting swept up in an on-court altercation.

“Unfortunately, we lost our composure a little bit and then it was a perfect storm with them hitting 18 or 19 shots in a row,” Kirch said.

McNary lost 80-29.

“Losing Justin hurt and then it sort of left us attacking from the perimeter,” Robinett said.

McDonald blamed a shortened and hectic week complicated by school getting canceled amidst flooding concerns for the team’s out-of-sync play.

Doutt led scoring with nine points, McDonald added five, Robinett and Goff contributed four apiece, Brandon Lao had three points, and Grant Fletchall and McHugh had two points each.

On the whole, Kirch was relieved that the team responded to the Sprague loss with a win over McKay.

“With a young team, it’s always two steps forward and one step back, and we didn’t end up taking two steps back,” he said.

Banquet is a Jackets and Jeans affair

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

No black tie is necessary for this year’s Keizer First Citizen Awards banquet, set for Saturday, Jan. 28.

The theme for 2012’s event is “Jackets and Jeans,” so we can only imagine what the dress code might be at the Keizer Civic Center that night.

“Basically we wanted the governor to attend,” joked Christine Dieker, executive director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce. “The (Iris Festival) theme iris is ‘Silverado,’ which lends itself to more of a country-western theme.”

Tickets are $50 and are available at the door in limited quantities. The annual event recognizes outstanding community volunteers in several categories:

First Citizen: Presented to an outstanding community volunteer. Last year’s winner was Jeramy Williams, director of Keizer Young Life.

Merchant of the Year: Given to a local businessperson who has made significant contributions. Last year’s winner was Rick Day, owner of Advantage Precast.

Service to Education Award: Presented to either a teacher or other community member who has made contributions to local education. Last year’s winner was Linda Baker, formerly the drama director at McNary High School.

Presidents Award: An honor bestowed by the chamber’s president. Last year’s winner was Sherrie Gottfried, sales manager at the Keizer Renaissance Inn.

But this year it’s not just about celebrating the contributions of community volunteers. There’s several anniversaries: The city of Keizer turns 30 years old, the Iris Festival began in earnest 25 years ago and the 200th anniversary of the Wallace House, a home some historians believe was on the current site of Wallace House Park. The house was established by a party from Astoria, who had boated up the river in 1812 in search of food.

Current and former city officials will be on hand, Dieker said, as well as key volunteers who were instrumental in the Iris Festival’s early years.

Festivities begin with no-host cocktails at 5 p.m. with the dinner and program beginning at 7 p.m. Lyndon Zaitz, publisher of the Keizertimes, will be this year’s emcee.

Musical duo Sinker & Crow are providing entertainment.

Clem drafts special district annexation bill

True to his word, Rep. Brian Clem has drafted legislation that could stop future annexations like the Clearlake proposal by Keizer Fire District.

The district, which has served most of Keizer since the 1940s, is seeking to take over north Keizer from Marion County Fire District No. 1, and its leaders persuaded a Keizer City Council majority to back its efforts (pending an election in March).

A legal dispute ensued over whether the city was allowed to do that without providing fire service with its own department. The city has argued its home rule authority allows councilors to decide who will provide service within the city limits. While some legal challenges are still pending, all that have been decided so far have gone Keizer Fire’s way.

Rep. Kim Thatcher, R – Keizer, hadn’t had a chance to read the bill, but said generally she thinks areas under consideration for annexation should  have a special role in its approval.

“All I know is I wish they would all get in a room and figure it out,” Thatcher added.

Clem, a Democrat representing suburban Salem (and a significant swath of MCFD’s territory) said he would consider asking fellow legislators to help ensure “this can never happen again,” in his words.

The legislation he proposes would amend current law to require cities to provide a particular service before withdrawing territory – and ultimately tax dollars – from a special district. It also contains an emergency clause putting said language into effect immediately upon the governor’s signature.

Clem was out of the country and could not be reached.

– Jason Cox


Fired city employee intends to file suit

Former public works employee Roland Herrera provided notice of intent to sue the city that fired him last year.

A January 10 letter from his attorney, Clark Williams, notified the city council and attorney of Herrera’s intent to sue for “wrongful and unlawful termination,” with claims that could include “intentional infliction of emotional distress, unlawful age and racial discrimination (and) denial of civil rights and due process laws.”

He could seek reinstatement to his former job, back pay, attorney fees and compensatory damages.

– Jason Cox