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Day: January 13, 2012

School board approves charter school proposal

For the Keizertimes

A charter school proposal for the Salem-Keizer School District won approval at Tuesday’s board of directors meeting.

Action came several months after a similar proposal was tabled because the Salem-Keizer Charter Review Committee found it incomplete. The developers of the proposed Proficiency Academy of Salem-Keizer (PASK) provided additional information in October and December 2011, and the committee determined it to be complete.

Two concerns remained, but the committee found that they could be addressed through contract negotiation. One concern involved access to recruitment for children who were second-language learners and those who were in poverty. The other involved defining the legal relationship between PASK and the Redmond Proficiency Agency (RPA) regarding governance structures.

Michael Bremont, executive director of RPA, was one of seven people who spoke to the board in support of the charter school, which would be a high school. Before the board voted unanimously for the proposal, director Jim Green asked whether PASK’s board of directors would be local. Paul Dakopolos, counsel for the board, said it would.

Green asked for specifics on guaranteed academic performance. Mary Cadez, an assistant superintendent, said so far the performance in Redmond looked very good.

Noting that Bremont said timing of programs would be tailored to individual students, director Ron Jones asked if it could mean taking more than four years for some students to graduate. Bremont replied that most RPA students take four years, a sizable minority in three and a very few in five.

Nancy MacMorris-Adix, board vice chair, asked whether her understanding that PASK employees would work for the corporation that would operate it, rather than the district, was correct. Joe Grant of Keizer, charter school liaison for the district, said it was.

In other business, the board:

• Heard Gene Pfeifer of Silverton ask for reconsideration of closing Hazel Green and Rosedale elementary schools and opening one each in East Salem and South Salem. He argued that the moves would not be cost-effective.

• Approved employment contracts including that of Michael Maino as a temporary full-time orchestra teacher at McNary High School.

Cowan cleared in election inquiries

Jeff Cowan

Elections complaints were dismissed against Keizer Fire Chief Jeff Cowan last week.

The Oregon Secretary of State’s office ruled in Cowan’s favor on two complaints filed by Keizer City Councilor David McKane and local resident Michael Welter. Both sought the Election Division’s opinion as to whether Cowan violated state laws prohibiting public employees from campaigning on work time.

In McKane’s complaint, Deputy Director Brenda Bayes found there was insufficient evidence to show a violation of the law. While campaigning on work time is not legal under state law, that statute does not prohibit simply using public employee email for those purposes.

On the complaint from Welter, Bayes said the measure was not yet certified, so there was no grounds to investigate whether public employee work time was used to promote it.

Keizer Fire District announced the decisions Monday.

“It should not be a surprise to anyone that I advocate for public safety in Keizer,” Cowan said. “I am delighted to be cleared of any wrong doing.”

Celts clawed by Lions, roll Gophers

Isaiah Montano ends up surrounded by the enemy and looking for an open post in the game with St. Helens High School. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

To call the McNary High School boys basketball preseason (2-11) a struggle might be an understatement of criminal proportions.

But as the team closed out its final opponent before heading into league play, its members learned one of the most important lessons: how to win.

“Learning how to win and how to close out a team is huge,” said Ryan Kirch, McNary head coach.

The Celts beat Gresham High School 52-40 in one of their best outings of the season.

“We slowed things down and spread the offense out and we ran it the way we’ve been taught. We haven’t been running a consistent offense, but we adapted to what they were doing,” said McNary senior Justin Burgess, who poured in 19 points against the Gophers and scooped up 10 rebounds.

McNary retained control throughout the game putting in no fewer than 11 points in any quarter.

“It was our best game as a team and I felt like a lot of us came together for the first time. We also kept turnovers to a minimum,” said senior Garren Robinett, who chipped in three points toward the final score.

Johnathan Doutt put up 15 points for the Celts, Isaiah Montano had seven, and Nick McDonald, Dylan McHugh and Connor Goff had two points apiece.

“Nick, Johnathan, Isaiah and Garren did a good job of extending the lead by sharing the ball, making basketball plays and getting to the free throw line,” Kirch said.

In the penultimate preseason game, McNary hit the court with St. Helens High School and the Celts found themselves in familiar territory: a half-time lead and not knowing where to take it from there.

“In four of the last six games, we’ve been in the same situation and we’ve gotten so excited that we’ve had the lead that we stop handling the pressure the other team puts on us when they get desperate,” Kirch said.

McNary was up 15-13 at the half , but things started falling apart on defense when the teams hit the court for the second half. The Lions put in 39 points in the final 16 minutes of the game for a 52-33 win.

“The first half we knew what we were supposed to do, but we didn’t make the changes that we needed to adapt to their style after the half. We turned the ball over quite a bit,” Burgess said.

McNary kicked off league play Tuesday, Jan. 10, with a game against West Salem High School. Regardless of who their opponents are in the coming weeks, Kirch hoped the team would keep its focus on complete-game efforts like the one produced in the Gresham game.

“We’ve had a great four minutes, and a great seven minutes and great halves, but we need 32 minutes of good basketball,” Kirch said.

Mat Men skate by Saxons, complete York Invite trifecta

McNary’s Anthony Flores takes control of his opponent in the Sprague dual. (Photo by Jim Sweigart)

Of the Keizertimes

After a rough week, the McNary High School varsity wrestling squad got back on track with a dual win over South Salem High School and a tournament win at Don York Invitational.

However, things didn’t start out so rosy with the Saxons.

“South had their first five light guys in to start the dual and that’s where the bulk of their talent is. We ended up pinned four times and then and tech falled once,” said Jason Ebbs, McNary head coach.
Ebbs was waiting for someone to make something good happen when Celt Grant Gerstner took to the mat. It looked like Ebbs would be waiting even longer as Gerstner ended up on his back underneath his opponent in a leg ride.

“I got taken down and I heard the other coach yelling ‘Keep the legs in, keep the legs in.’ I remembered a move that Coach [Jay] Goin taught me where you reach back and grab the guy while arching your back,” said Gerstner.

He didn’t remember the name of the move, a bridge back, but gave it a shot.

“I’ve seen it done a number of times, but rarely a ref with the courage to call the fall. It’s basically a defensive pin,” Ebbs said. You flop yourself over and you reach behind you and pull your opponent straight to the mat. That pin put us back in the match to finish well.”

After the dual meet, the McNary squad divided forces with the bulk of the roster heading to the Don York Invitational at Cleveland High School and the cadet wrestlers, those born in 1996 or 1997, departing for the Oregon Classic Qualifier held Saturday, Jan. 7, at Sheridan Junior High School.

The Celts won the Don York Invite with 306 points, outscoring their nearest competitor, Pendleton High School, by 41 points.

The top performer for McNary was Anthony Flores who took first in the 220-pound weight class.

“I had a goal of placing and then, when I thought about it I wanted to make it to the finals,” Flores said.

Flores pinned his two opponents on the first day, but the second day held more close calls.

“The first match of the second day I got caught and put on my back, but my elbow slipped through and he got called for an illegal hold. In the second round, the guy ended up on his back and I went for the pin,” he said.

In Flores’ finals match, the score was close or tied through all three rounds. “I managed to pull ahead, but the guy slipped a lock and I got called for an illegal hold that tied the match,” Flores said. “It went into overtime and we were both exhausted. I remembered those goals I set though and I got a takedown in overtime and got the win.”

Tyler Brown, at 195 pounds, was one of two wrestlers to finish second at Cleveland.

“My bracket ended up being a lot of forfeits and byes, but in the final match I didn’t get credited with a takedown that I should have gotten and it ended up giving the other guy the win,” Brown said.

Mike Mata took fourth at 106 pounds, Tyler Jordan sixth at 132, Andy Downer tied for fourth at 132, Edgar Jimenez took third at 138, Justin Lowe took sixth at 138, Jeremy Lowe took second at 145, Ajay Urban took fifth at 152, Gerstner took sixth at 170, Cody Ratliff took fifth at 182, and Joel Hunter claimed fifth at 285.

At the cadet tournament, Riley Repp took third at 88 pounds, Jeff Ashley took third and Kody Plaza took fourth at 113, Jorge Gracida claimed second at 138, Jordan Cagle took second at 145, and Taran Purkey took third at 170.

Ebbs singled out Gracida for his accomplishments and improvement over his performance in the same tournament last year.

“He’s a kid that’s gone through phenomenal growth. He ended up second in his bracket, he wrestled seven matches, finished 6-1, and he was absolutely exhausted. But when he found out that all those kids he beat were pretty tough he was rightfully proud of himself,” Ebbs said.

The little library that could

It started in a cubbyhole in the Keizer City Hall as The Reading Connection, a children’s library. It moved in a small space in the Keizer Heritage Center and became the Keizer Community Library.

In the coming weeks the library will double its space and offer more services. It is the little engine that could.

Due to the tireless efforts of its directors past (Art Burr) and present (Steve Prothero), the board of directors and volunteers, the community library is serving more needs and more visitors than ever before.

In years past the library survived by receiving a small stipend from the city; those days are long past because of tight government budgets. The directors, board members and volunteers rolled up their sleeves, went to work, and created, and continue to create, a library that can serve the needs of its patrons, be they children  or adults.

The library is doubling its space because of changes in the Keizer Heritage Center. The Keizer Chamber of Commerce has moved into its gleaming new office at Keizer Station. The Keizer Heritage Museum is in the process of moving into the Chamber’s old space, giving that institution a bit more breathing room and a research room. With that move the community library will spread out into the museum’s current space, doubling its size and the ability to offer more services.

Last summer the library began its children’s reading program for pre-kindergarten children.  The program will continue this summer once the library has fully expanded into its new space.

The library has also added a new books section to its web site to augment the shelf of new books. At the library patrons are able to use one of two computers which have Internet access, which are good tools for a student’s research paper or searching for other information.

Besides books the library has a selection of large print books, books on tape and CD, videotapes and DVDs, all available for a three-week checkout.

In an increasingly technological and web-based world, the Keizer Community Library is not so much a throwback to an earlier time, but a bridge between the old and the new. For the past two years the library has operated without financial support of the city but that has not stopped its supporters from thinking big and moving forward. For that they all deserve kudos for keeping the dream of having a library in Keizer alive.


We love a party

Keizer loves a party. Especially when it celebrates others.

Later this month the Keizer Chamber of Commerce will holds its annual First Citizen and Awards Banquet.  In February the third Mayor’s Invitational Art Gala and Winter Art Sale takes place.

On Saturday, Jan. 28, the Chamber will award the 2012 Keizer’s First Citizen award. The honoree will not be known until the night of the awards, which should make a ticket to “Jackets and Jeans,” this year’s banquet, a hot item. Last year’s winner, Jeramy Williams, director of Keizer Young Life, will bestow the honor on another deserving recepient.

The awards banquet will also honor the Chamber’s Merchant of the Year, the Service to Education winner. Outgoing Chamber president Rich Duncan will name the winner of the President’s Award. The annual banquet is one of Keizer’s major celebatory and social events—attendees arrive, looking their best, and enjoying the camraderie of their fellow community members.

Tickets to this year’s banquet, held at Keizer Civic Center, are available now at the Keizer Chamber of Commerce’s new office in Keizer Station.

After the Chamber Awards banquet, rest up. Shortly after, the Mayor’s Invitational Art Gala and Winter Art Sale will held Valentine’s Day weekend.

The Gala, staged by the Keizer Chamber Foundation and the Keizer Art Association, is funded by private donations. Proceeds help fund the public art program in the city and Chamber Foundation projects.

On Friday, Feb. 10, the art association will open its Winter Art Sale at noon in the council chambers. It will run to 8 p.m. The sale continues at noon the next day, Saturday, Feb. 11. Art lovers will find oil paintings, water colors, photographs and sculptures.

The doors open at 4 p.m. on Feb. 11 for the Art Gala. The gala includes the unveiling of the city’s newest selection of its permanent art collection. The entries will line the walls of the civic center.

The evening includes a reception, live music, a silent and a live auction. And of course lots of art.

Art in any form makes a community better. The art itself has value and creates an impression. It is also able to educate, amuse, promote conversation, increase and increase real estate values. When Keizer installs art in its public spaces it says that we value and care about our city and want others to value it, too.

So party on Keizer. You have two chances to really ring in the new year with celebratory events that are mainstays on Keizer’s social calendar.


Obama’s 2012 slogan: ‘Can’t work with others’


President Barack Obama is running for re-election with an unusual pitch: He can’t work with others.

He only gets along with yes men. “I refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer,” Obama said last Wednesday of his decision to make a “recess” appointment that placed Richard Cordray as head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Constitution, of course, gives the president the power to make appointments during Senate recesses. Technically, however, the Senate was in session. The imperial president bypassed Senate rules and years of precedent because he wouldn’t or couldn’t cut a deal.

Later Wednesday, the White House announced three more recess appointments for vacant seats on the National Labor Relations Board. Obama explained, “When Congress refuses to act and, as a result, hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them.”

Obama, a former constitutional law professor, just kicked the Constitution’s delicate balance of powers by using the executive boot to step on the Senate’s power to advise and consent.

I understand the president’s frustration with the system. In December, 53 senators voted in Cordray’s favor, but under Senate rules, 60 votes are needed to bring his confirmation to an up-or-down floor vote. (Republican senators don’t have a problem with Cordray per se. They used his nomination in an attempt to roll back some of the regulatory powers and increase congressional oversight of the new consumer bureau, created in the Dodd-Frank law.)

The 60-vote threshold may not seem fair. But in his 2006 book, “The Audacity of Hope,” Obama wrote, “To me, the threat to eliminate the filibuster on judicial nominations was just one more example of the Republicans changing the rules in the middle of the game.” He was angry with Republicans for thinking about flouting precedent.

Obama, however, didn’t seem to mind when Democrats changed the rules during George W. Bush’s presidency. On Nov. 16, 2007, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the Senate would hold pro forma sessions — that could involve little more than gavel rattling — during the Thanksgiving holiday “to prevent recess appointments.”

According to the Congressional Research Service, “the Senate pro forma session practice appears to have achieved its stated intent: President Bush made no recess appointments between the initial pro forma sessions in November 2007 and the end of his presidency.” Upon Obama’s election, recesses resumed, but in 2010, the Senate resurrected pro forma sessions.

And now Reid agrees with Obama aides who say that his pro forma sessions are a gimmick. He’s supporting the president’s attempt to undermine Senate power.

In 2010, two former Bush attorneys wrote an opinion piece in which they urged Bush to call the Dems’ bluff on “phony” pro forma sessions. Bush did not oblige. He may not have liked the “phony” rules, but he showed respect for the Senate’s prerogative.

What would happen if Obama were to win re-election this year but the GOP won the Senate? How would Obama get anything done?

“He’s poisoning the well,” observed University of California, Berkeley law professor and former Bush administration attorney John Yoo. Worse: “This is going on when his party is in charge.”

This is how little Obamaland respects Reid’s Senate. White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer wrote on the White House blog Wednesday, “The Senate has effectively been in recess for weeks, and is expected to remain in recess for weeks.” Then Pfeiffer attacked the pro forma gimmick.

“It was during one of those pro forma sessions, which they call a gimmick, that we passed the two-month extension for the payroll tax holiday,” Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell dryly observed. On Dec. 23, the Senate gave Obama what he wanted. As a reward, the administration says the Senate wasn’t really doing anything.

Republicans scratch their heads. For years, the chattering classes bemoaned Bush’s copious use of executive power. Yet when Obama steps on the Senate, news reports describe Obama’s behavior as bold and media-savvy.

The bigger issue, however, concerns Team Obama’s apparent decision to win re-election by playing to the liberal base, not the American political middle. While the administration should be working to heal the economy, the administration is busy pointing fingers at bad Republicans.

Tea Party Express co-founder Sal Russo likened the Obama strategy to Bush guru Karl Rove’s strategy to win re-election in 2004 by ginning up the base. Russo doesn’t see how it could work for the Democrats this year.

To independent voters especially, the president’s failure to work with Congress doesn’t compute. “Look, you’re president,” Russo said. “Why can’t you just walk over to Congress and talk to these guys?”

To the average Joe, there’s only one standard, noted Russo. “You’ve got to get the job done.”

Creators Syndicate

Clearlake annexation and withdrawal

To the Editor:

Please join me in voting for the annexation of the Clearlake area to the Keizer Fire District and the withdrawal from Marion County Fire District #1.  All voters within the City of Keizer will have the opportunity to vote for this measure.

There are many reasons to vote yes.  From my view, the most important one is cost to property owners.  The tax rate for fire services will be lower for the Clearlake area and will not change for the rest of Keizer.  On top of that, services will improve by consolidating the services under one district.  We will have the chance to provide ambulance services from the Clearlake Station in addition to the existing Chemawa Road station.

Please vote yes in the special election in March.

Mike Hart

A huge ‘thank you’ to Miracle of Christmas

To the Editor: 

On behalf of a grateful community and for everyone here at Marion-Polk Food Share (MPFS), I want to extend a heartfelt “Thank  you” to all the Gubser neighbors who entertained us all by creating artistry from lights on the canvasses of your homes and who—through countless hours of volunteering—accepted donations that are now benefiting hungry area children and families.

With your help this past year, MPFS delivered 7.6 million pounds of food to 97 charities that directly serve those in need.  A bit over 300,000 pounds of that food went to Keizer Community Food Bank, and all of it stayed local to help people who live nearby.

Need is at record levels.  With the ongoing impacts of the Recession, the average number of local families experiencing hunger emergencies and needing the aid of food boxes has climbed to more than 8,200 a month.  And among those eating from those food boxes are over 11,500 children a month.

Because we are a charity and get the vast majority of our support from donations, our ability to respond to this level of need can only be attributed to the generosity of the wonderful people who live here.

By hosting one of the largest food drives, Keizer’s Miracle neighbors are touching the lives of thousands of area residents every year.

I hope you all know that you are making a huge difference and that we are deeply grateful for your help.

Phil McCorkle,
Development Director
Marion-Polk Food Share

Trent J. Finnigan

Mr. Finnigan, of Keizer, died Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. He was 87.

Born and raised in Seattle, he attended Franklin High School before joining the U.S. Navy, spending time overseas in the New Hebrides and Philippines repairing aircraft engines. In 1947 he met and married Betty Popham.

After graduating from the University of Washington in finance, he worked as vice president and manager of the Bellevue branch of Pacific National Bank. During that time he served as president of Overlake Hospital and the Boys & Girls Club, and served on the Overlake Golf & Country Club’s board.

They moved to Camas, Wash., then eventually to the Salem area. Mr. Finnigan continued his banking career as manager of Washougal Bank, banks in Mt. Angel, Silverton and Woodburn.

The couple settled in Salemtowne in 1990 where they resided until Nov. 2011. While living in Salemtowne Trent served as President of the Association for six years, served on the finance and Friends of Salemtowne committees. They enjoyed golf and the winters they spent in Arizona and California.

Surivors include: his wife of 65 years, Betty; daughter, Pam Laird and son Michael (Ilse) of San Jose, Costa Rica; grandchildren, Becky, Trent, Linda, Jessica and Juan; and great-grandchildren, Ellie, Carter and Breana.

Contributions may be made to your charity of choice of Friends of Salemtowne. A memorial will be held at a later date at Salemtowne.

Arrangements by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.