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Day: May 14, 2012

Blaze in building behind east Keizer home

Marion County Fire Dist. 1 firefighters break down a garage door in a fire on Dixon Street NE. KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

Fire crews responded to a shop blaze behind a home at 1685 Dixon Street NE Monday afternoon.

Cause of the fire is not yet known. The homeowner, Richard DeVilliers, was making a salad in his kitchen when he caught a glimpse of smoke out his window. He discovered more smoke billowing from a detached building behind the house, and saw a few flames from its carport.

“I ran out there with a big fire extinguisher and I started fighting it and it got over my head, so I got out,” he said. “I ran around and got the hose, but I just couldn’t fight it.”

Neighbors reported smoke in the area at 2:28 p.m. and called in with a fire two minutes later. Three engines, a ladder truck and medic units from Keizer Fire District responded. A Marion County Fire District No. 1 engine also came to the scene.

“In One Person” by John Irving

“In One Person” by John Irving

c.2012, Simon & Schuster
$28.00 / $34.95 Canada
429 pages

 

By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER

When you look back over your life, you notice things that make you say, “Yes. That makes sense.”

You always wondered why you love certain foods, adore cozy smells, or have a way with words – until you learn that your mother loved those foods, your grandfather wore that scent, and your father was a writer once.

Billy Abbott sometimes wondered why he was drawn to certain people and not to others. But in the new novel “In One Person” by John Irving, everything falls into place when he discovers truths about his family.

It was almost fitting, really, that Billy’s stepfather, Richard, introduced Billy to Miss Frost, the librarian.

Richard thought he was ushering Billy into the riches of the library in First Sister, Vermont. Richard thought he was doing something positive for the 13-year-old but the well-meaning introduction was inadvertently apt: Billy had had a mad crush on Richard and upon meeting Miss Frost, he crushed on her, too.

They were his first two “crushes on the wrong people.”

Billy wasn’t sure why, but his aunt and grandmother sneered when they spoke of Miss Frost. Grandpa Harry seemed to like her; maybe it was because he had an eye for the feminine. He was, after all, First Sister’s best-known actor, beloved for playing female parts in the community theatre.

Aside from Miss Frost, Billy was oddly crazy about Kittredge, his school’s best wrestler. Kittredge could be cruel, but Billy wondered what it might be like to receive one of Kittredge’s wrestling holds. He also thought often about Mrs. Hadley, his best friend’s mother, imagining her in a training bra.

As the years passed and Billy fell in and out of love with both men and women, he was careful in bed but not in his heart. He lost so many of his friends and former lovers to AIDS; so many that he nearly lost track.

But one person kept track of Billy throughout his entire life. It was the one person who held the key to a memory that, for Billy, made so much sense…

Though it’s easy to slip into, and though the narrator of this story quickly becomes a friend, “In One Person” is a long book to read.

Author John Irving’s Billy is a storyteller, moving throughout his almost-70 years of remembrances of loves and losses, repeating, revealing, and admitting that he’s getting ahead of himself.  Despite that the dialogue is sometimes cumbersome, it’s also appealing because Irving writes the way people talk.

And talk his characters do: Billy is observant and funny, sometimes disturbing, often achingly sweet, and possessing a wit you’ll start to crave and heartbreak he doesn’t hide. Yes, this book felt long at times, but Irving’s Billy makes you stick around for every single page.

Much like other John Irving novels, “In One Person” is not a book you’ll want to race through. It demands your time and attention, but you won’t be sorry giving either. If you’re up for a book like that, reading it just makes sense.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is based in Wisconsin.

Keizer teacher interim coach for Bearcats

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Gubser Elementary School physical education teacher and volunteer McNary High School coach Wally Wing was recently named the interim head coach of the Willamette University womens basketball team.

Wing will be the interim head coach until the search for a new head coach is completed. His primary duties will be to follow up with Willamette’s recruits for the upcoming season, finalize details regarding the 2012-13 schedule and be available as a resource for the current players.

“I really had the feeling that the girls on the team were a little bit lost after losing their last coach, so my role is to be the person they can talk to, be somebody they can come to with questions,” Wing said.

“I’m helping to give them a positive finish academically, helping square away summer jobs and give them some workouts and a calendar of what to do to keep moving forward.”

As the primary assistant coach for the Willamette men’s basketball team, Wing spent 22 seasons working under Head Coach Gordie James from 1987-2009. Wing made significant contributions to the team and helped coach the Bearcats to the NAIA National Championship in 1992-93 when Willamette achieved a 29-4 record.

Since taking the position he’s met with the girls as a team and individually setting goals for the offseason as the team preps for a return to the court next fall.

In addition to tracking the progress of recruits, Wing also has a hand in selecting new ones for the Bearcats.

“We’re looking for someone who has a high GPA and high SAT scores because the standards are high,” he said. “It’s finding the right academically-minded athlete who can come to Willamette and excel.”

School board gives nod to $578M budget

By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes

The 2012-13 Salem-Keizer School District budget of $578,990,853 was approved by the board of directors Tuesday.

Budget funds are a $343,423,734 general fund, a $48,060,322 debt service fund, $87,940,665 for capital projects, $16,773,133 for food services, a $4,732,503 asset replacement fund, $37,229,314 for grant programs, $15,518,613 for fee-based programs, a $980,587 special revenue energy conservation program fund, a risk management fund of $13,155,850, a services fund of $5,181,414, $41,887 for internal services energy conservation, a $5,181,414 services fund, $3,735,863 for charter school services, a $480,000 enterprise fund and a $38,300 trust fund.

Approval was by a 6-1 vote. Jeff Faville voted against it, saying that he did not consider it a sustainable budget and that sustainability was one of the criteria of a budget.

The board was required to vote on certain budget matters separately. After overall budget approval came the vote on appropriations by fund. All seven directors voted for it.

Also approved unanimously were a tax rate of $4.521 per $1,000 assessed value and confirmation of the enterprise fund, which was created to track fees and sales. The ending fund balance, reduced from 5 percent of the current budget to 3 percent because of economic conditions, for application to the 2013-14 budget, passed 6-1 with Faville in opposition.

Later in the meeting, Tim Farness of Salem spoke from the floor, urging the board to support Initiative Petition 35, which would shift the state corporate kicker to K-12 education. He said that would add up to $300 million for school support.

The board approved repurposing of Middle Grove Elementary School at the urging of parents who have been concerned with lack of infrastructure and location of the building and have noted that nearby Chavez Elementary School can accommodate the current Middle Grove students. Staff had noted that repurposing would provide long-term savings by consolidating staff and moving district programs from leased space to district-owned space.

*Approved many personnel actions, including changing the status of Ashley DeLaRosa, a counselor at Claggett Creek Middle School, from contract full-time to contract part-time. The board accepted the retirements of Michael Haller, library media teacher at McNary High School; Shirley Flores, physical education teacher at Clear Lake and Gubser elementary schools; Judith Day, second-grade teacher at Kennedy Elementary School; and C. Terry Shrout, general science teacher at Claggett Creek.

Cutting workload on committee work subject of Monday meeting

KEIZERTIMES/File Photo

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

A handful of city committees could be consolidated as part of a move to cut costs and improve efficiency at city hall.

Recommendations will be discussed at a 5:45 p.m. work session on Monday, May 14 at the Keizer Civic Center.

Some 14 committees, task forces, boards and commissions address everything from urban planning to budgeting, parks and tourism, not including a handful of work groups consisting of a few city councilors. Councilor Joe Egli said some may not be necessary.

“We just seem to keep adding committees,” Egli said, “and technically every two years we’re supposed to look at these, according to our charter, and ask if we’re operating as efficiently as we can.”

The work group tasked with eyeing the city’s committees, boards and task force is doing so in part because of budget considerations: Either the city recorder or her deputy is at each and every meeting, almost all of which are after business hours.

“Because we’ve reduced positions in the city hall side, we have to reduce the workload,” said Councilor Cathy Clark. “Committees are made of volunteers but staff time is involved to ensure proper record keeping and if there’s projects that involve staff, they need to get those done.”

And for as-yet-unexplained reasons, the city appears to be having trouble filling some of its committees. Recently-advertised vacancies have gone unfilled.

Clark is  part of the work group along with Egli and Councilor Jim Taylor are also in the group. Their primary goal was to reduce staff time used on committees by 25 percent.

In fact, the Bikeways group hasn’t had a quorum since July of last year. The group is tasked with creating, developing and implementing bicycle activities and bike routes in the city.

Clark recommends combining the bikeways committee with the Traffic Safety Commission, and said their missions overlap.

The draft report calls for merging the River Road Renaissance committee, which makes recommendations for improvements along River Road, with the Urban Renewal Board, which discussed funding of said upgrades.

“I took this as an opportunity to ask a bigger question: How can we best use volunteer time?” Clark said. “We have a lot of professionals in their field volunteering their time.”

The Parks Advisory Board is recommended to continue to meet monthly. A suggestion from city staff calls for that committee to meet only quarterly, scuttling its monthly sessions.

Its chair, former city councilor Richard Walsh, thought that would be a mistake.

“Meeting once during the entire summer, for example, could mean either that the city council and staff would have to increase their workload to handle park related matters or citizens might have to wait until the fall to have their summer-related issues addressed,”  Walsh said.