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Day: April 20, 2012

Collision with fire hydrant closes River Road temporarily

Submitted by Keizer Police

A truck collided with a fire hydrant this morning on River Road N. near McNary Estates Drive, closing the street for nearly an hour.

A 1997 Ford Explorer struck the hydrant at about 7:28 a.m., knocking it down and dumping hundreds of gallons of water per minute onto the street, forcing Keizer Police officers to temporarily close the area off to traffic.

Officers believe the driver suffered from a medical issue that caused the wreck, so no citations were issued.

Anyone with additional information is asked to call Officer Eric Jefferson at 503-390-3713.

How a local biz got EarthWISE

Staff at Willamette Lutheran Retirement Community have committed to going the extra mile for the environment. (File)

Of the Keizertimes

Since Willamette Lutheran Retirement Community went EarthWISE, the results are showing up in savings.

The business has cut back on purchasing fertilizer, instead using compost generated on-site, and has also reduced consumption of disposable cups and plates.

That’s just a couple of the changes Raeann McDonald, the community’s executive director, said has instilled a sense of pride and provided a positive marketing message.

“Social accountability is important,” McDonald said.

Marion County assists businesses in becoming EarthWISE certified. It was seeing a list of “businesses we admired” that got conversations started, McDonald said.

Garnering the seal of approval requires extensive recycling efforts, including fluorescent lamps and electronics along with the usual cardboard, paper, bottles and cans. They must also choose one like styrofoam, printer cartridges and cooking oil.

At Willamette Lutheran, recycling printer cartridges has created a win-win for the center and local schools, McDonald said. The cartridges get sent to the schools, who in turn get credit for it.

Recycled paper products are a must – McDonald said those do come with a slight markup.

Of course, it helps when you use less of it. A nurse’s report that went to several executives every day generated 6,570 pieces of paper per year.

That number has been cut back by two-thirds, keeping one copy on file and the rest distributed by email.

The residential retirement community has 42 acres in total, 12 of which are manicured and landscaped. That leaves plenty of room for a compost pile, which meant fertilizer isn’t needed for flower beds any more. Fertilizer is still used on the grass, but McDonald said the cost savings rise with the price of oil.

“WE can utilize the compost on our grounds and it’s cost-effective for us,” McDonald said.

One mandate is that businesses have a Green Team – employees who monitor the criteria and help other staff comply and improve sustainability efforts.

“They also look through the building and look for areas that need to be addressed,” McDonald added.

Bill Labhart and Allan Freebury are the residential Green Team members – a staffer leads the group. Freebury enjoyed the environmentally-conscious nature of Oregon culture – a far cry from his life working in marketing in California – but admitted he was skeptical of how it would help the bottom line.

“I was probably the most critical as to why,” he said. But he found that the certification has garnered publicity and goodwill, including television and print recognition.

“Doesn’t everyone want to conserve our natural resources?” Labhart added.

Freebury said some of the residents lived through the Great Depression and avoid waste by nature.

“These people are the greatest generation,” he said. “They never throw away anything. It was survival, for a lot of people. They walk the talk.”

Maybe that’s why the two men encountered virtually zero resistance from other residents.

“Once we tell people the benefits, it just seems like people cooperate,” Freebury said.

Conserving utility resources like water and electricity are part and parcel of the program. A drip water system replaced sprinklers on flower beds and stopped watering during the hottest part of the day, both changes that reduce water use.

Switching to native flowers cut back on the number of plants they were buying, and also meant less plastic use.

With a large organization – 120 residents and 85 staffers – participation and buy-in are critical. McDonald said younger staffers led the way.

“Change is always difficult, but … a lot of the young people who work here heard about recycling during their developmental years, so it was time for our youth to shine. It was just part of the culture.”

For Freebury, the chance to closely examine how the community operates has left him with more respect for administration.

Facilities review on tap for Salem-Keizer Schools

For the Keizertimes

The Salem-Keizer School District is assessing the conditions of district buildings in the hope of giving the School Board a draft for review in October, Michael Wolfe, assistant superintendent, said at Tuesday’s board meeting.

There will be annual updates of facility projects for the next five years, Wolfe told the board.  Several years ago, the board approved a $2.5 million sustained annual investment for deferred maintenance, to be spent after the 2008 bond program expires.

Shortly before the regular board meeting, the board held a work session at which it agreed to reconvene the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee so it could determine how much of the original $242.1 million bond issue would be left after expiration of the bond. The administration hopes to have a staff recommendation ready for the board to discuss at its summer planning session in July or August.

In other business, the board saw Cristina Wheeler, a volunteer at Kennedy Elementary School, and Zoe Frey, a Whiteaker Middle School student, honored at the agenda-heading Spotlight on Success. Wheeler was named Volunteer of the Month for a variety of activities involving Kennedy. Frey was one of several district students recognized for their awards in the World Beat Festival Art Contest.

The board also received a $7,000 check for scholarships, $1,000 for each high school in the district, from Sodexho School Services, presented by Dave Harvey, Sodexho service director.

The board approved the resignations of Hector Villalobos, assistant principal at Claggett Creek Middle School, and Brenda Dickens, learning resources center teacher at Claggett Creek; and the retirements of Connie Johnson, Claggett Creek English teacher, and Jane Kuenzi, Keizer Elementary School third-grade teacher.

Robber snatches pills from pharmacy

Of the Keizertimes

A man robbed the Safeway pharmacy last week.

Keizer Police responded to the store, located at 4990 River Road N., at about 8:35 p.m.  Friday, April 13. Officers were told a man entered the business, went to the pharmacy window and demanded painkillers. He said he had a gun. After receiving the pills, he fled the store.

The suspect is described as a white man, 35 to 40 years old and between 5 feet, 10 inches and 6 feet tall. He has short, brown spiky hair with a slight receding hairline and was wearing thick, black wire-framed glasses. He was wearing a black leather jacket, blue button-up collared shirt, blue jeans and white shoes.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Keizer Police.

Lady Celts roll through Titans, Olys, Saxons

McNary’s Kimi Ito sends a shot to Center field in the game with Sprague High School. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

The Lady Celts varsity softball team continued it’s winning ways last this week topping the Titans, Olys and Saxons.

After rainouts early last week, the Celts faced West Salem on Thursday, April 12, and picked up a 5-3 win. McNary benefitted from a roaring start as Kiana Villareal got a single that brought in pinch-runner Brooke Bauer to the bag. After Brittney Gonzalez drew a walk, Kimi Ito drove Bauer on an RBI-single. Decker cleared Gonzalez and Ito off the bases on a single.

A two-run homer by Ito in the fourth gave McNary the clearance it needed to resist a three-run sixth inning by the Titans. Jordan Hanson pitched a complete game for the win.

The team is showing a marked change from its field presence last season, said Jeff Auvinen, McNary head coach.

“We’re competing in every game and not backing down. Last year, there were times when we looked like we were intimidated and this year I’m not seeing that nearly as much,” he said.

The Celts followed the win over West with an 8-0 win over Sprague High School.

Auvinen said he wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the Olys who had been playing better of late, but the Lady Celts quickly dashed any brewing hopes.

A three-run first inning for McNary was highlighted by a two-run single by Villareal. In the second, Olivia Yarbrough and Paige Bouska slapped RBI-singles to give the Celtics a five-run lead, and Hailey Decker knocked a two-run homer in the fifth that gave McNary the win. Hanson pitched a complete spacing out the seven hits she allowed. On defense, McNary threw out two runners at home plate, which made up, at least in part, for three errors.

South Salem was the team that most of the players were on the lookout for at the beginning of the season and Auvinen expected to have the screws put to the team in the first meeting.

McNary squeaked out a 2-1 win on Monday, April 16.

Decker led off with a single to start the line-up in the sixth inning and Dani Saunders, who went 3 for 3 on the day, moved Decker to second. Villareal hit a double driving home Decker and notched the Celts first run. A lost ball during a Saxon attempt to swipe-tag a runner at third gave the Celts their only other point.

South put a single run on the board in the bottom of the inning.

“Neither team really blinked and the girls made the plays they needed to make,” Auvinen said. He credited errorless defense with a significant role in the win.

Track team shines at Bearcat Invite, dominates McKay

Celt Liana Patton sails over a hurdle in competition at the Willamette Invitational Thursday, April 12. (Photo by Jim Sweigart)

Of the Keizertimes

For Celt Dylan McHugh each 800-meter race of the McNary High School varsity track and field season means a little bit more than the last. As the defending district champ, he’s got a rep to protect, but he’s most grateful for a nice day to run.

“On a nice day I always feel better and run better,” McHugh said.

It was on one of the few nice days last week at the Willamette Invitational that he shaved a full second off his time bringing it to a speedy 1:58.15, a personal record.

That time puts him in the top five in the state for the event and second-fastest of all 6A competitors, but distance coach Rick Fordney thinks he can go even faster.

“Right now the top times are right around 1:56 and he’s on pace at 600 meters to meet that,” Fordney said.

While that alone would be an accomplishment, McHugh came back to the track after the race to run a leg of the 4×400 relay with teammates Amadi Amitsa, Daniel Brattain and Garrett Hittner and he took his team from seventh place to second in a single leg. McNary finished in second at the meet with a time of 3:32.11.

It was just another milestone in a successful week for the Celtic team when both the boys beat McKay High School in a dual meet and finished second of large schools, behind Oregon City, at the invite. The girls also beat McKay and took fifth at the invite.

In addition to McHugh’s top finish at Willamette, Averi Wing won the long jump marking 15-11.5; and Wing, Aerial Rice, Daysha Simms-Garcia and Deven Hunter took top time in the 4×100 relay, 50.92.

“I expected for our kids to get some good competition and they did pretty well,” said Frank Gauntz, McNary head coach.

All around the field, Celtics were setting new personal records. Perry Groves set new personal bests in the high jump, 5-10, and long jump, 19-4. Stacey Titchenal hit 130-10 in the javelin, which was good enough for second place. Austin Hejny and Todd Hatley both set new personal records in the discus, Hejny topped his best by three feet and took second with a distance of 144-05. Hatley improved his mark by seven feet and notched a throw of 129-07 that got him fifth place at Willamette.

“It was a warm day and I was loose and got my hand around,” Hatley said. “We’ve just got to get some small things down and we’ll be hitting the big marks.”

Garrett Hittner set a new best time, 11.43, in the 100-meter race, which got him third place in the contest. Brett Hildebrand set new personal records in both the 200-meter and 400-meter races, 24.75 and 53.98, respectively.

In the McKay meet, winners for the girls were: Simms-Garcia in the 100-meter, 12.98; Hunter in the 200-meter, 27.47; Queen Dash in the 200-meter, 1:04.04; Kira Norton in the 800-meter, 2:40.92; Courtney Repp in the 1,500-meter, 5:41.59; Ashley Burger in the 3,000-meter, 11:35.50; Felicia Covey in the 100-meter hurdles, 17.84; Liana Patton in the 300-meter hurdles, 53.42; Simms-Garcia, Hunter Rice and Wing in both the 4×100 and 4×400, 51.06 and 4:28.32, respectively; Tristana Snow in the shot put, 27-07.50; Titchenal in javelin, 127-01; Wing in the high jump, 4-10; and Danielle Lovejoy in the pole vault, 8-00. The girls won their side of the meet 108-34.

The boys swept all events winning 113-27. Winners were: Hittner in the 100- and 200-meter, 11.21 and 23.25, respectively; McHugh in the 400-meter, 52.01; Edgar Jimenez in the 800-meter, 2:11.16; Tony Goemaere in the 1,500-meter, 4:22.48; Adrain Fernandez in the 3,000-meter, 11:25.91; Brattain in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles, 15.48 and 43.41, respectively; McHugh, Amaitsa, Hittner and Hildebrand in the 4×100 relay, 44.84; Jesse Wilson in the shot put, 45-07.50; Hejny in the discus and javelin, 141-00 and 147-04, respectively; Jake Herndon in the pole vault, 12-00; and Perry Groves in the long and triple jumps, 18-06.50 and 38-09.50, respectively.

Just one more

It’s hard to remember a time when all the trash went to one place.

Now there’s the red bin for this, the blue bin for that, and the green can for the other, and all the rest goes in that ever-shrinking gray can.

It’s made recycling infinitely easier. Once upon a time you had to be a sustainability diehard to put forth all the extra effort it took to ensure newspapers went here and tin cans went there.

If you use a local disposal service like Loren’s Sanitation or Valley Recycling and Disposal, you know where the gray can goes and you probably have a good idea of what goes in that big blue bin.

But it’s the red and green bins where, in honor of Earth Day, we’re calling for Keizerites to step up their recycling efforts: Just one more.

In the past couple of years Marion County haulers introduced biweekly composting in the green bin, which is used for yard waste and now mixed organics. Instead of going to the county’s incinerator – where power gets generated but the ash goes to landfills – your old food and yard debris gets turned into fertilizer for local farmers, gardeners and even wineries.

If you’re tossing out vegetable oil, put it in a plastic container (screw top, please!) and put it in the red bin. The oil will be used for a great cause: It’s reprocessed in Oregon for use as a biofuel, and ends up in gas tanks all over the state. That garbage truck driving by your house could be running on the cooking oil from last season.

Don’t toss batteries: Put them in a baggie and toss ‘em in the red bin instead. Those can end up reused all over the country.

And don’t forget it’s now illegal to put many consumer electronics in the trash, including TVs and computers. Those end up at Garten Services, which creates local jobs for people with disabilities by sorting through the parts, taking what’s salvageable and reselling it. Electronics are particularly stubborn about sticking around landfills and not degrading, and the metal isn’t useful at the incinerator. So instead of taking up room at a landfill yesterday’s technology helps provide the jobs for today, allowing local residents to help themselves. And someone can buy a new-to-them computer they may not be able to afford otherwise.

The best part is that, thanks to our local haulers and others’ tireless efforts, you don’t even have to leave your house to dispose of all of these things – put them in a different bin instead.

By doing just one thing, you’re doing lots to help fellow people along with the environment.

— JC

Life lessons

To the Editor:

I read with interest how McNary High School arrested and handcuffed a student last week. The crime was punching a staffer. The story is filled with contemporary life lessons for both students and parents. Most students go to high school to obtain a high school diploma. Unfortunately, at McNary High School, some exit with a court record when the student has a bad day, or some might ask if the staff had a bad day.

Also, the man from the police has a reverse title “Student Resources Officer.” The title has the resonance of research assistance or other usefulness to a student, but the reality is the Student Resource Officer is the beginning of the courts records being kept on a young man. The title just does not fit.

The Keizertimes article is brief and easy reading for the local citizens and can easily be taken as another local article of news. It is much more than local news for this young man.

These court records travel with a person a long time. Jay Remy notes that the Salem Keizer School District carries a very heavy hammer for offending students, indicating that at McNary, a student may receive more than a diploma.

The local population should be aware that there are other places besides McNary High School to acquire a diploma.

Jerry Horner

Earth Day

To the Editor:

For the past 42 years, Earth Day celebrations, big and small, have taken place in Salem.

This year, Covanta Marion, the owner-operator of the energy-from-waste (EfW) facility in Brooks, is using Earth Day to remind residents and businesses to be mindful of what they throw out in the trash.  Many household products contain potentially harmful components and should be recycled properly.

Last year we helped to safely destroy 4.5 tons of unwanted medications and we helped clean up our oceans by destroying 51.8 tons of derelict gear and marine debris through our Fishing for Energy program.

This year, we want to promote and remind everyone to check out all of the innovative recycling programs that Marion County has in place.  Included in their many programs are battery, cell phones, fluorescent lighting, e-waste and paint recycling programs, just to name a few.

Join us in our efforts to remove potentially harmful materials from the waste stream and help protect our home: Earth.  We’ll continue to work diligently on supplying the cleanest, most reliable source of energy from waste in the world.

Happy Earth Day!

Karen Breckenridge
Business & Accounting Manager
Covanta Marion