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Day: May 18, 2012

McNary names new volleyball coach


Kellie Scholl has been hired to take the reins of the McNary High School volleyball program. Scholl is the former head coach of Aloha High School program and she held the post for about seven years.

From 1999 until 2004, she was an assistant coach at the University of Portland.  Scholl is a former college volleyball player and a resident of Keizer.

When Iris eyes are smiling

At top, Greg and Gordon Wentzel affix the KeizerFEST banner atop the tent at Keizer Station in preparation for the Iris Festival. At right, Ray Schreiner marks flowers at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens. (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

The Iris Festival’s biggest weekend is here.

The Keizertimes published the Official Iris Festival Guide and mailed it to 12,000 Keizer homes. You can also pick it up on the festival grounds.
But here’s a quick glimpse at some of the festival’s biggest events:

• The Valley Credit Service Iris Festival parade is at 10:30 a.m. along River Road between Lockhaven Drive and Plymouth Drive. It’s the 25th anniversary of the Iris Festival, but the parade tradition stretches back decades.

Evelyn Hoxsey, who started the first parade in Keizer in 1945 with the Manbrin Kids Parade, is the grand marshal. Her original parade traveled down Manbrin Drive to Shoreline Drive and was comprised of kids and their pets, festooned bikes, toy wagons and ended with a parade.

• The KeizerFEST Tent is back at Keizer Station along with the Funtastic Carnival. Bands are performing Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon in the big tent. Beer and food will be available, along with vino from several local wineries.

• Keizer Police will have extra officers on the street this weekend looking for impaired drivers.

• Temporary street closures are planned for the annual Iris Festival Parade on Saturday, May 19.

Lockhaven Drive North will close to all traffic between River Road N. and McClure Street N. starting at 6:30 a.m. for parade staging.

Starting at 9 a.m. River Road will close from Plymouth Drive to Lockhaven Drive. Northbound traffic will divert to Cherry Avenue NE via Plymouth Drive NE, while southbound traffic will divert eastbound on Lockhaven Drive NE. It is expected that River Road will begin to re-open at 12:30 p.m. as the parade proceeds.

Chenault, Zhen honored with Distinguished Young Women title

Mikala Chenault, in blue, and Dolly Zhen, at right in red, were named 2013 Distinguished Young Women of Keizer in the annual scholarship program Saturday night at McNary High School. (KEIZERTIMES/Brian Rennick)

Of the Keizertimes

It probably isn’t a stretch to say that Mikala Chenault and Dolly Zhen didn’t expect to become the 2013 Distinguished Young Women of Keizer, but both were deemed winners by a panel of judges Saturday, May 12.

Neither Chenault nor Zhen was completely sold on participating in the scholarship program at first glance.

“I think my mom was more interested in it than me at first,” said Chenault. “But I liked the idea of learning public speaking and interview skills.”

Zhen was roped into the competition at the urging of another contestant, Delaney Engle.

Ten contestants vied for the scholarship opportunities in categories ranging from essays to fitness and talent.

Chenault and Zhen agreed that the interview and self-expression portion of the program, where each contender has to answer a question on stage, were of the toughest.

“It’s just hard to come up with an intelligent, coherent answer for everything,” Zhen said.

Chenault performed a vocal solo and Zhen played the oboe for the talent segment.

“That was sort of nerve-wracking,” Zhen said. “It’s not often I get up in front of a crowd of more than two people.”

Chenault said the social aspect of the program, and the camaraderie formed with other contestants, was the most unexpected benefit of being part of DYWK.

“It was great being able to go through the program with girls my own age, at my school and who I might never have talked to,” Chenault said.

Zhen said there was a magic moment during preparation for the big night when everyone seemed to forget there was a competition at all.

“We just sat down and talked about school and life, random stuff. It was cool to be part of that,” she said.

What they got out of the program was a sense of self that transcended any of the doubts they had before decided to become DYWK contestants.

“I thought I was a shy person and invisible, but I learned that I was more confident than I thought I was,” Zhen said.

Chenault added, “I learned to carry myself with confidence, to hold my head high and be self-assured and to know that being me is enough.”

Both young women will compete in the state program later this year.

McKinzie Isaac was selected as first alternate. Zhen won the Be Your Best Self essay and scholastic achievement awards. Chenault won the spirit, self-expression and interview awards. Samantha Gorman won the fitness portion of the program and Johanna Hayes won the talent competition.

For more photos of the event check out our photo gallery.

Braun stakes claim in state tennis tourney

Trevor Braun returns a volley in competition earlier this season. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

As a freshman, McNary High School’s Trevor Braun watched with some dismay as his team had to sacrifice one of its top players for another team’s player that made it to the state meet.

“I wanted to be one of those top players for McNary and, this time around, another one of the teams had to do that for us,” Braun said.

Braun not only succeeded in making it to state, as far as anyone can remember, he’s the first non-exchange student to make it to the boys state tennis tournament in the history of the school.

“This year, I tried not to put as much pressure on pressure on myself as I did last year because that hurt me,” Braun said.

Last year, Braun lost to John Reid, the son of the current McNary’s head coach.

“I was up 4-1 in the third set against John and I lost five straight games in a row and that was kind of hard,” he said.

This year, it was a different story. Braun went into the tournament seeded fifth, but was awarded a bye in the first round after North Salem brought only three singles players to the tournament.

He won his second round match in a tough, three-set contest with Miguel Hidalgo from Redmond High School 6-3,6-7(3-7),6-3; and his third round match with Gordon Burnham from South Salem High School. It was hard-fought as well with scores of 6-1,4-6,7-5.

“He played the best tennis of the season in those matches,” said Lisa Reid, McNary head coach.

“They were both tough players who probably could have beat me on any given day,” Braun said.

He lost matches to Scott Wheeler and C.J. Erion in the second day of the tournament, but it was still enough to earn a state berth. Reid said the match with Wheeler was likely one of the best of the the entire tournament.

While Braun has seen many ups and downs in his four years on the team, he said an experience as a sophomore was the

Cause of shop fire on Dixon St. still uncertain

A Keizer Fire District crewmember peels back a garage door to fight a fire at 1685 Dixon St. on Monday, May 14. (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

Of the Keizertimes

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

The homeowner, Richard DeVilliers, was making a salad in his kitchen when he caught a glimpse of smoke out his window. He discovered 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.

Damages to the shop and contents were estimated to be more than $60,000, said Rod Conway, deputy fire marshal for Keizer Fire District. DeVilliers had been in the shop performing some soldering work about an hour before the fire broke out. Conway suspected something left behind during that time sparked the blaze, but could not say for certain what it might have been.

“Our crew took a pretty good beating putting it out because it was the hottest time of the day and they had to cut holes in the side of the shop and peel back part of the roof just to get in position to attack it,” Conway said.

While Keizer Fire crews worked the blaze, the district received reports of a vehicle vs. pedestrian accident and a wire down. Members of Marion County Fire District No. 1 responded to the wire down while Salem Fire Department responded to the accident.

High hopes as track team heads to districts

Dylan McHugh hands off the baton to Bruce Waldner in the 4x100 relay at the dual meet with South Salem High School last week. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

The members of the McNary High School track and field team headed into district competition this week with several defending champs seeking to stave off threats to their crown.

For the boys, Dylan McHugh’s district title in the 800-meter will be on the line. McHugh holds the top time in the event in the Central Valley Conference and is No. 5 in state rankings, currently. For the girls, it’s the 4×400 relay team of Averi Wing, Laura Donaldson, Deven Hunter and Daysha Simms-Garcia defending its title.

“We celebrated senior night by running in pink tights last week,” Hunter said. “We just need to stay focused so we can perform to our highest potential and dominate.”

The long-dominant team will lose Hunter and Wing to graduation this year.

“Redmond puts out a tough team, so they’ll have their work cut out for them, but we all believe in them,” said Frank Gauntz, McNary head coach.

Garrett Hittner is hoping to make it to state competition in the 100- and 200-meter races, and to finish the season by laying claim to the Celtic sophomore records in both events. He currently has the fourth-best time in the CVC for the 100-meter and the third-best time in 200-meter.

“I’ve been working with [Kelly] Borreson to smooth out my transitions this season, and there’s still work to be done, but I’m feeling good about where I am,” Hittner said.

Also a relay runner, Hittner said the highlight of the season has been hearing teammates cheer him on as he makes the turns in the relay.

“It’s always great to see them and hear them, and it really makes the whole team feel like a family,” he said.

While many of the athletes have high hopes for the district competition and beyond, the team will do well to expect the unexpected, Gauntz said.

“Weird things happen at district for every team and we want to be prepared for that as much as we can,” he said.

The boys and girls drew the short stick in their final meet of league competition with South Salem High School last week. The girls lost 85-56, while the boys lost 79-66.

Simms-Garcia led the way for the girls cracking 60 seconds in the 400-meter and winning the event with a time of 59.22. She also won the 200-meter with a time of 26.40. Other winners were: Judy Jiang in the 3,000-meter with a time of 14:15.68; Wing, Aerial Rice, Hunter and Simms-Garcia in the 4×100 with a time of 50.93; Wing, Donaldson, Hunter and Simms-Garcia in the 4×400 with a time of 4:13.13; and Stacey Titchenal in the javelin with a toss of 119-06.

Austin Hejny rocketed the discus 155-10 to claim the top spot in the discus for the boys. He bested his personal record by more than four feet in the event. Winners for the boys were: Hittner in the 100- and 200-meter events with times of 11.27 and 23.33, respectively; McHugh won the 400-meter in 51.58; Daniel Brattain won the 110-meter hurdles in 15.34; McHugh, Bruce Waldner, Brattain and Hittner won the 4×100 in 44.66; Brett Hildebrand, Hittner, Amadi Amaitsa, and McHugh won the 4×400 in 3:35.16.

Outdated digs bind hands of Celtic’s athletic trainer

McNary’s athletic trainer, Jill Pallin, works on Chris Burger’s sore wrist before he heads out to a game. McNary’s facilities for Pallin lag far behind other schools in the area, but a dinner and auction June 2 will raise funds to improve her therapeutic equipment. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

When McNary High School’s athletic trainer Jill Pallin was moved to a bigger room earlier this year, from a tiny subroom off the weight training center, she knew things were looking up. Then the mice found the Gatorade.

“They chewed holes in every bag,” Pallin said.

It amounted to a $400 loss for the school.

While the mice are a recent development, Pallin has gotten used to dealing with fewer resources than  her colleagues at other Salem-Keizer schools enjoy. On Saturday, June 2, the McNary Athletic Booster Club is hosting a dinner and auction at the school to raise the funds necessary to bring her facility in line with others throughout the district and the state. Cost is $25 per person and tickets are available by contacting Rhonda Brattain at 503-510-8813 or [email protected], or online at

Pallin is the only trainer in the district without a dedicated ice machine and she has run afoul of the school’s cafeteria contractor trying to keep pace with the needs of athletes who need ice therapy and cold drinks during games.

When someone needs to ice a leg injury, they stick the afflicted extremity in a five-gallon cooler filled with ice. As long as one foot isn’t overly large, two students may get to use it at the same time.

“We’re hoping to get two whirlpools so a lot of people can sit around and dunk all the way up to their hips,” Pallin said. “The whirlpools also offer a massaging action that’s therapeutic.”

On average, about 30 students visit Pallin in her room every day seeking muscle taping, stretching or wound care, but that’s before any actual game or practice begins. Others come in to heat or cool existing injuries to prepare them for workouts or competition.

When Pallin is working with an athlete on stretches, other students are typically helping each other tape muscles. Despite the help, backlogs for certain types of therapy are a regular occurrence.

The warming device, called a hydroculator, holds just four packs and is a frequent bottleneck.

“Instead of using the packs  for 8-12 minutes as prescribed, students might only get 3-5 minutes depending on the number of students waiting to heat a sore muscle,” Pallin said. A 12- or 24-pack machine would increase the number of students being served at any one time.

Pallin services, and those of public high school athletic trainers throughout Salem-Keizer School District, are contracted through Hope Orthopedic, but the facilities are unique to each school and McNary’s has fallen far behind its rivals. Pallin’s room doesn’t even have locking cabinets. The closest it gets is a thin chain strung through the handles of a wooden cabinet.

“It’s a safety issue. I need to know when things are are going in and coming out. It also might help with the mice problem,” she said.

In addition to the whirlpools and an ice machine, she would also like to see the dinner auction raise enough money to buy a new taping table big enough for three athletes instead of just one. The athletic boosters chose upgrading Pallin’s facilities as their inaugural project after reforming earlier this year because it serves all of McNary’s 800 athletes. This year, Pallin has treated athletes from every single sport offered at McNary.

“I don’t like athletes leaving here feeling like I haven’t done everything I can to make them a little better,” she said. “I want it to be as good as West Salem’s [facility] and Sprague’s. Those are attainable goals in this room.”

Lady Celts rebound, close out with wins

Celt Jordyn Hanson winds up a pitch during the game with Central Catholic High School Monday, May 13. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

Any recipe for success in softball requires a few essential ingredients: a line-up that can produce hits in pressure situations, a pitching staff that can handle themselves in the circle and a defense that can put the brakes to an opponent’s runs.

However, there is a fourth element that the McNary High School varsity softball game seemed to be missing during the past couple of weeks after hitting a rough patch that put an end to an undefeated season: fun.

Fortunately, the team seemed to find fun again last week as the Lady Celts capped their season with a pair of wins over Sprague and McKay high schools.

“We seemed to get over the losses and just went out and had fun and relaxed,” said senior Olivia Yarbrough.

McNary started the week with a 15-5 pasting of Sprague on Tuesday, May 8. The game was highlighted by a grand slam off the bat of freshman Kianna Villareal and the first career home run for senior Beth Bello.

“To play Sprague and hit the ball well after some losses, it was nice to bounce back,” said Hailey Decker.

The Celts leapt out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning and finished out with an eight-run fourth. Decker notched two doubles and Paige Bouska had a triple in the outing.

“For whatever reason, against that Sprague crew, we can do no wrong,” said Jeff Auvinen, McNary head coach. “We hit the ball, we pitch, we defend and do everything right. It’s the mental part of the game, our confidence level is high.”

The Celts returned to the diamond Thursday, May 10, for a 13-2 win over McKay.

“We struggled with McKay a little bit at first, but came back and got the win an got the job done,” Decker said.

The game was tied 2-2 after the first inning, but McNary scored in every inning except the third and kept the Royal Scots at bay on defense. Bouska had three hits including a triple and Bello scored three runs and hit a triple.

On Monday, McNary took on Central Catholic High School in a scrimmage match and wiped the field with the team in a 15-5 rout. The team will have to wait until Monday, May 21 for its first-round playoff game, but Auvinen hoped to make practices more of a playoff-type atmosphere.

Despite recent struggles he sees no reason why they couldn’t contend for a title.

“They’re 18-4 and there’s no reason they can’t win five games in a row, so [they need to] get it going, have some fun and play it up. It’s a five-game season from here on out,” he said.

It happened at the Iris Festival

You never know what’s going to happen at the Keizer Iris Festival—or who might make a visit.

Four years ago presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, stopped at the festival grounds outside the Keizer Renaissance Inn. The day turned out to be one of the hottest festival days on record, but it did not deter the lucky few who waited (and waited) for the Obamas to emerge from the air conditioned bus to talk with the crowd and enjoy a hot dog and popcorn.

Barack Obama is still the only national politician to ever visit the festival. That can be attributed to the fact that Keizer sits on Interstate 5; he was passing by anyway, so why not stop by?

Other celebrities have graced the festival over the years. Remember when Tom Petty played guitar with a band one night in the Keizerfest tent?  Or last year when Journey drummer Deen Castronovo flew his rock and roll flag by playing with the band JKF? It is those moments that make the Iris Festival memorable.

It has been seen across the country what the economy has done to festivals large and small. Some have been canceled, others dramatically downsized. Here in Keizer the  Chamber of Commerce, an army of volunteers, dedicated citizens, and generous sponsors have kept the Iris Festival humming along, though not as in years recently passed.

Ten years ago, for example, Iris Festival Weekend was filled with the signature events: the Iris Parade, the Keizerfest tent and its musical acts, and of course the acres of blooming irises at the largest grower in the world, our own Schreiner’s Iris Gardens. The weekend was also filled with a myriad of community events that gave Keizerites lots of choices. There were shuffleboard or bingo tournaments; student dances, sake exhibitions, art festivals—even a quilters fair.

The organizers of the Keizer Iris Festival are to be congratulated for staging this major event in these tough economic times. It takes a lot of planning and organization to schedule musical acts, map out spaces for vendors, and execute one of the biggest parades in Oregon.

Keizer has one of the best known events in the state. We should never have a ho-hum attitude about the festival. It puts our city’s best foot forward. This is the best time of the year for other community organizations to bask in the light that shines on Keizer.

A club can hold a bingo tournament to raise funds; another club can hold the city’s biggest car wash for its fund raising. Being a sports town, it makes sense to us that there should a fun pitch-hit-run contests for kids, or a basketball contest. Any of these events can raise money for organizations and clubs during a time when residents are most focused on their community.

Those types of side events used to be called Independent Events of the Iris Festival. They were not organized by the Keizer Chamber of Commerce (which stages the festival as a fund raiser for itself), but were listed under the umbrella of the community’s biggest function.

Once the economy allows we should once again welcome independent events into the festival fold.


Pork renderings

Along These Lines

Despite its Northern name, the Boston Butt is a favorite cut of meat in the South.  It’s the best part of the hog to roast and in some areas is also known as pulled pork.  Being so tender, it’s easy to tear apart, and break into smaller pieces for the sweetest sandwiches around.

But the origin of the term “Boston Butt” is not what you’re probably thinking, since the cut actually comes from the upper part of the shoulder on the front leg, rather than “down south.”  It seems that butchers of pre-revolutionary New England would pack their meat into casks or barrels known as “butts” for storage and shipment. Other parts of the country soon began referring to the shoulder region of hogs as “Boston Butt,” and the name has remained popular today throughout most of the US.

If you are fortunate enough to acquire a freshly barbequed Boston Butt, your family will likely congratulate you for  “bringing home the bacon.”  The origin of this familiar expression is a little obscure, but possibly comes from the 12th century English custom of giving a young couple bacon if they were still happy after a year of marriage.  Sadly, with the high incidence of marital breakdown today, it’s more likely that the divorce lawyers will be the one’s pocketing the pork.

Another popular pork product seen around holiday time is the baked ham, although this dinner centerpiece may not be the only ham at the family table. There always seems to be one family member this term can be applied to, but just how “ham” became associated with individuals who like to be the center of attention is a bit of a mystery.

One theory dates from Shakespearian days when actors would use ham fat to remove their heavy make-up. These performers became known as hamfatters, eventually shortened to hams.

And while no offence to any specific politician is indented, the hog has also found its way into government.  A familiar term for America – “Uncle Sam” – is said to have come from a New York pork packer named Uncle Sam Wilson.  He shipped a boatload of several hundred barrels of pork to U.S. troops during the war of 1812.  The pork barrels, nearly enough to feed the entire army, were stamped “U.S.” and the initials would forever link the country to its generous “Uncle Sam.”

While Yankees may be credited for the origin of the Boston Butt, folks in the South are responsible for a more dubious political hog.  The “pork barrel” – that familiar reference  to appropriations secured by Congressmen for local, pet projects – has fed irate political newspaper columnists for decades, and soured many people to the political system.

America’s political pork seems to have had its origin in the years before the civil war, from a somewhat common practice in the South.  On special occasions Southern plantation owners would place salt pork in big wooden barrels for the workers, who would rush to snatch what they could before the supply ran dry.  Along these lines, politicians have been grabbing state or federal dollars for pet projects with equal enthusiasm ever since, often themselves living high on the hog.

Nick Thomas is a freelance writer who has written for more than 190 magazines and newspapers, Nick can be reached at [email protected]