Subscribe to get tough, fair journalism seven days a week.
Subscribe today

Day: May 25, 2012

Celt baseball team ignites in first round playoff win

Celt Garren Robinett is welcomed by teammates after slapping a three-run homer that gave McNary a one-run lead en route to an 11-7 victory over Tualatin High School. (Photo courtesy of J&H Photo)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

If the McNary High School varsity baseball team was holding back the good stuff during its run through the Central Valley Conference, it surely picked the right time to deploy it.

The Celtics squared off with Tualatin High School Monday, May 21, and emerged with a 11-7 win in the first round of the state playoffs.

“We’ve been in close situations like that all year and we knew that pitcher, Travis Johnson, was going to be tough, but we kind of kept our heads up,” said senior D.J. Harryman. “It was kind of a vibe where we knew we were going to be all right.”

That vibe carried the team through a harrowing first inning that saw two of the Timberwolves knock two hits over the fence and take a 3-0 lead.

“When the other team hits two balls out of the park in the bottom of the first, there’s some concern, but, to the kids’ credit, they didn’t panic,” said Larry Keeker, McNary head coach.

The McNary team battled back in the second on a two-out, RBI-hit by Chris Burger that closed the gap to 3-1. Pitcher Jon Stong held Tualatin at bay on the mound in the bottom of the inning.

In the top of the third, Celt Garren Robinett belted a three-run homer that put the Celts up 4-1.

Asked whether he knew it was out of the park on contact, Robinett said, “Right away, it was an off-speed pitch on the outer corner and I took it the other way.

“It was probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever had because it gave us the lead.”

Stong continued to quiet Tualatin bats and McNary got on another scoring tear in the fourth inning racking up a 8-3 lead. The Celts notched another three runs in the top of the seventh and then Tualatin stepped up to the dish for the last chance to save its season.

“We thought we’d give Jon a chance for a complete game, and we ran him out in the seventh. He had full count on the first guy and ended up walking him and after that it was another full count on the second batter with another walk and we knew that was it,” Keeker said.

Ben Johnson stepped in for relief walking another batter and hitting the second one, but he managed to notch the first out of the inning on a come-back hit that he threw to first for the out.

“They’re fighting for their lives and we just want to get another out,” Keeker said.

Timberwolves batters managed to notch four runs before McNary skated out with the win. Harryman hit a double, a triple and had two RBIs in the outing. Connor Goff and Cody Bond chipped in doubles and Stong struck out five batters allowing three hits.

“We made plays and got the hits we needed. We’re going to ride the wave as long as we can,” Keeker said.

Given the tumultuous season the Celts led up to the playoffs, taking the win over a Tualatin team that was 16-1 in conference and against an undefeated pitcher puts wind in the sails.

“We had a rough year, but we knew we could play with anyone. Finally beating a good team gives us all the confidence we need,” Harryman said.

“I think it’s going to be hard to stop us because once we get our confidence going, it’s a totally different team,” Robinett added.

McNary played Oregon City High School past press time Wednesday, May 23, in the second round of the playoffs.

Celt track athletes are statebound

Clockwise from top left: Dylan McHugh leads the pack in the 800-meter; Daniel Brattain glides over the hurdles; Amadi Amaitsa hands off the baton to Brett Hildebrand; and Daysha Simms-Garcia takes off from the blocks in the 400-meter. (Photos by Bill Donaldson and Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The McNary High School varsity track and field teams re-crowned one district champion and a pair of Celtic sophomores captured their first district titles in competition last week.

McNary senior Dylan McHugh captured his second district title in the 800-meter with a time of 1:57.25 in the event.

“It was a nice day with no wind, and the feeling afterward … you just can’t duplicate it,” McHugh said.

Sophomore Daysha Simms-Garcia won the 400-meter sprint in 57.78 claiming her first district title, and finished second in the 200-meter with a time of 26.19.

“My coaches got me to believe in myself, which had been something of a problem until this year, but then it was just being prepared and ready for the meet,” Simms-Garcia said.

Sophomore Daniel Brattain topped the podium in both hurdling events with times of 14.69 in the 110 and 39.73 in the 300.

“In finals, I was focused on what I wanted and I was saying the times in my head over and over again and I got those times,” Brattain said.

Brattian’s time in the 110-meter set new records at McNary and district-wide.

McHugh and Simms-Garcia will also run relay legs at the state meet as part of teams that claimed second in district competition.

McHugh was part of the 4×400 relay team that included Amadi Amaitsa, Brett Hildebrand and Garrett Hittner. They clocked in at 3:26.64. Aerial Rice, Averi Wing, Deven Hunter and Simms-Garcia took second in the 4×100 in 4:07.19.

“Our hand-offs were really good and we all poured it on,” Rice said. “We would like to break the school record at state because we were .01 seconds away from at the district competition.”

Rice earned a berth at the state meet in the 100-meter race after one of the top finishers scratched.

Perry Groves took second in high jump. Although he cleared the winning height, 6-02, he had more misses than champ Joshua Benton.

“All the hard work I put in really paid off by the end of the season, I got to rest up the past couple of weeks and it was really good,” Groves said.

Austin Hejny nabbed second in the district discus with a heave of 152-07.

“I was having troubles with the wind, but I was able to squeak in a relatively good throw so I’ll spend the week practicing trying to figure out what I did wrong in my form and release, hopefully,” he said.

Celts also headed to state competition are: Hittner, who took second in the 200-meter sprint with a time of 22.58; Stacey Titchenal, who took second in the javelin with a toss of 123-02; and Hunter, who took second in the high jump clearing 5-02.

Other finishes of note for the Celtics were: Jake Herndon, who took third in the pole vault clearing 12-00; Amadi Amaista, who took third in the 400 with a time of 52.09; and the 4×400 relay team of Simm-Garcia, Wing, Laura Donaldson and Hunter who finished third in 4:07.19.

The state competition kicks off Friday, May 25, at University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.

Keizer’s history preserved

Anyone who thinks Keizer doesn’t have a history isn’t looking in the right place. But it is not hard to see that the area in which we live is filled with history that dates back 200 years. Many of the stories about the past two centuries of what is now known as Keizer can be found at the Keizer Heritage Museum.

A person could be forgiven for, after looking around Keizer, to think we are a relatively new settlement. Our city does not have a downtown filled with buildings dating to the 19th century like other Oregon cities. We do have two buildings in the downtown core that date back to the early 1900s: the Frank Evans house (where Mommy and Maddi’s is located) near the corner of River Road and Dearborn Avenue; and the old Keizer School which found new life as the Keizer Heritage Center (at the civic center campus on Chemawa Road).

The first Americans are said to have set up a fur trading post on a bluff overlooking the Willamette River in what is now southeast Keizer.  That was in 1812.

After the house/fort/trading post was abandoned there was little activity in our corner of the world until Thomas Dove Keizur and his party rode into the Willamette Valley and settled down where Shari’s Restaurant now sits. Our city’s name comes from our earliest settlers.

The  Heritage Museum, on the ground floor of the Heritage Center, tells the story of Keizer and should be a stop for any resident who wonders how Keizer came to be and how it grew, and most importantly, who were the people who grew Keizer from a farming community into the proud city it is today.

The Keizer Heritage Foundation has operated the museum since its inception. A group of volunteers have tirelessly worked over the years to assure that the institution tells the story of Keizer’s past and its present. Evelyn Melson Franz and Sue Miletta, along with Al Rasmus, have built the museum into the attraction it is today. The Keizer community is asked to help maintain and grow the museum.

The Heritage Foundation is not only seeking new members but also to add volunteers staff members in the museum to host tours, to man the front desk and to help curate the thousands of items.

The museum recently expanded its space within the Heritage Center at the urging of Mayor Lore Christopher. Today the museum is easier to navigate and more items are on display. There is always room for more historical items. There is a monthly themed exhibition that tells a small story of our city.

As Keizer moves into the future and our city changes and grows, the Heritage Museum is a constant reminder of where we’ve been. That is certainly worthy of the community’s help.

—LAZ

Students celebrated for changing lives

Tayler Rains, Carley Hammond, Michelle Stensen and Alex Peters were honored at the annual Turnaround Achievement Awards last week. (KEIZERTIMES/Lyndon A. Zaitz)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The four Keizer students recognized for making major shift in their approaches to life and school last week with the Turnaround Achievement Award are all very different, but each persevered through challenges that would have sunk someone with less character.

McNary High School’s Alex Peters, Blanchet Catholic School’s Michelle Stenson, Claggett Creek Middle School’s Carley Hammond and Whiteaker Middle School’s Tayler Rains were all honored at the annual banquet sponsored by Town & Country Lanes.

Alex Peters

When Celtic counselor Carrie Brown met Alex Peters four years ago, he told her exactly what he thought of school.

“The message he gave us was I don’t want to be here, this place sucks,” Brown said.

When his teachers and parents met with him to discuss his lack of effort, nothing much improved. His adoptive father offered him the keys to a 1978 Chevy Suburban if he managed to turn things around, but the family needed to sell the car before Peters got his chance at the keys, but he had a new motivator. He was to become a father himself.

“For a long time it was the idea of the car that kept me going, it was a comfort,” Peters said. “Once I had my son, I knew I had to keep up my grades for myself and him.”

Peters’ son, Bradlee, is now seven months old.

Peters is still catching up on school work, but he won’t be too far behind his graduating class. He has his sights set on attending Chemeketa Community College and then moving on to Western Oregon University with the goal of becoming a sign language interpreter. Peters’ was born to deaf parents and seeing their struggles set him on the path.

“There are a lot of interpreters out there who don’t care and I want to help change that,” he said.

Michelle Stenson

When Michelle Stenson started sixth grade at Blanchet Catholic School, she had one goal: be invisible.

“When I asked her what courses she wanted to take, she replied, ‘none,’” said Marsha Lyons, the middle school vice principal at Blanchet. “She made it clear she did not want to be there and she preferred to follow that route.”

Stenson begrudgingly started on a path to change as she progressed through middle school and blossomed in high school.

“It was because my aunt and uncle taking me in and the school being so accepting and understanding that I just kind of grew,” Stenson said.

One of the larger factors in her turnaround was getting involved with the Cavalier volleyball program.

“It was a family, the way our teams are set up, we are a family. If we have a problem with each other, we’re not a family or a team and we weren’t going to get anything done,” Stenson said.

She now plans to study psychology and art education in college and carries a 3.9 GPA from her junior and senior years. She wants to be a counselor and help guide others who might be on the wrong path.

“I just want people to know that, for somebody like me, I never thought I would get that kind of recognition. But, by getting that award, it means that people really are paying attention to the way we decide to change our lives,” she said.

Middle Schools

As a sixth grader, Whiteaker’s Tayler Rains had enormous trouble just finding the motivation to get to class. She’s now passing all of her classes and has a nearly perfect attendance record.

“I want to say thank you to my parents and I would like you to know I’ve been trying and I couldn’t have done it without you guys, Rains said.

Claggett Creek’s Carley Hammond struggled in school as her mother struggled with personal demons.

But, when her mom decided to turn her life around, Tayler did, too. She went from a 1.3 GPA to a 4.0 in the span of a single academic year and is enrolled in the AVID program that has a goal of sending all its graduates on to college.

“I’m very proud of [my mom] and myself, and the AVID program. I wouldn’t be able to be where I am without them,” Carley said.

It’s a business first

After 22 years Roth’s Fresh Markets will close their Keizer store on June 26. Roth’s other stores in the region will remain open.

The Keizer community will invariably change after Roth’s ceases operations here in town. Founder Orville Roth and his entire company has been a leader in community involvement—sponsoring events and sports teams; donating food to schools.

We have yet to see if Roth’s Fresh Markets will retain a semblence of its  high profile good community works. There will be many in Keizer who will lament Roth’s closure. But they must understand that Roth’s is not a philanthropic charity, it is a business. Its primary mission is to make a profit and the Keizer store was not making a profit. As company CEO Mike Roth wrote, the other stores subsidized the Keizer location for years. That was not sustainable.

Roth’s Fresh Markets supported Keizer and many of its events, clubs and organizations for years. Unfortunately not enough Keizer shoppers returned the favor. Fortunately there are other Roth’s stores to patronize. This is a cautionary tale about community involvement and business—every business needs to make a profit first, otherwise it can’t help anyone.

Theatre here at home

By LINDA BAKER and
EVAN CHRISTOPHER

We are writing to ask for Keizer’s support of a new community theatre.

During my 15 years of teaching drama at McNary High School, I began to dream of a local theatre just for Keizer. It was my goal to involve adults, teens, McNary graduates, community members, and anyone else in the area who was interested in performances that are as fun and enriching for those participating as they are for the audiences, their family, friends, and neighbors who come to see them.

This year, with Keizer Homegrown Theatre, that dream has become an exciting reality.

We’re starting our inaugural season in 2012 with a free production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in the Keizer Rotary Amphitheater at Keizer Rapids Park on July 27 and 28. We hope that this will turn into an annual tradition of free Shakespeare in the park, to which the entire community will be invited, with Keizer Homegrown offering a new production every summer. Our second play this season, a comedy by Neil Simon, will be performed on McNary’s stage in late August through early September. While we are only mounting two productions this year, it is our plan to expand our season each year for the next five years, offering three shows next year.

Much goes into the creation of quality theatre, and ticket sales tend to cover only a small percentage of these costs, usually less than half. As we are considering costumes, sets, props, weapons, and every other piece of the puzzle that must come together before July, it became clear to us that we should turn to the Keizer community in helping us begin this exciting new tradition.

Keizer is a unique and special place, one that truly understands the value and responsibility of being part of a community, one that can rely on the care and involvement of dedicated and selfless volunteers, and one that has long been enriched and supported by generous local businesses. It is in this spirit that we approach you for your support today. A membership package for individuals and businesses for those interested in supporting Keizer Homegrown Theatre; is available at khtheatre.org. We offer a number of advertising options available for those willing to give, and your donations are tax deductible.

If you or anyone you know would be interested in supporting Keizer Homegrown Theatre or would like to be involved, please visit us at our website or give us a call and talk to either of us personally.

We continue to work to  to keep Keizer a great place to live, grow, and thrive.

Linda Baker can be reached at [email protected], Evan Christopher can be reached at [email protected]

Explore municipal fire service

By MATT CHAPPELL

Now that the (Clear Lake) fire dispute is seemingly over, there may still be some things to think about. This dispute raised some important issues that will continue to affect Keizer residents into the future. What I took away from this dispute is that there is a common consensus that no matter who provides the services to Keizer, Keizer Fire Department or Marion County Fire District (MCFD), people seem to feel that we are either paying too much for too little or are paying for more then what is reasonably necessary in the first place. I am really talking about luxury versus necessity.

On the other side of this whole issue seems to surface an ideal of having our own municipal fire department. Something which is a middle ground from which savings are realized in more ways then one. Maybe its just me but I believe that this will eventually be in Keizer’s future. Now seems like a good time to begin to explore the possibilities of how, if or when this could happen. I believe this subject needs to be a part of our community dialogue if nothing else then to ‘nip it in the bud’ one way or another so to speak. So ridiculous or not here are a few of my thoughts on the matter.

As I see it we could possibly save considerable money in the future if we brought fire and emergency services under control of our municipal government. But as we learned we cannot remove the sovereignty of a special governmental district without replacing it with a municipal service of its own.

Now don’t get me wrong, Keizer Fire provides an excellent service but controls its own taxes and is itself a quite expensive way of providing services. Asking them to agree to hand over themselves to the city as I see it is highly unlikely. Instead we would have to take some extraordinary action and bold steps to achieve our goals.

One possible way is for the people of Keizer to agree for the city to provide indirect service to Keizer residents by use of a temporary contract with—guess who—Marion County Fire. The city of Keizer under such special circumstances would exercise power of taxation for the service while rendering payment to MCFD. The service area for Marion County Fire would be substantially and strategically increased so as to bring pressure on Keizer Fire to simplify and eventually allow the city to take over at a price the city can then afford.

The city then, at its own discretion, could continue to utilize the services of MCFD to supplement its own services until the median value of a municipal Fire Department becomes attainable. After the take-over the city could gradually re-expand the service area to all of Keizer, while phasing out Marion County Fire, using MCFD as a temporary supplement for times when augmented help is needed.

Now under such a scenario it would be seemingly advantageous that a deal could be worked out with MCFD to bring down the costs of service in exchange for the temporary expansion of their service area.

It’s important to note here that with legal advice it seems that this would be a lawful move as we would be intending to provide the service ourselves.

Finally this would likely be a lengthy process and Keizer residents would continue to pay higher fees but that these fees would eventually taper off and re-adjust to a lower equilibrium of growth. The main thing is that we would exercise greater and more efficient control of the service in the long run.

Just a thought.

Matt Chappell lives in Keizer.

RIP Roth’s

To the Editor:

We saw it coming, we knew it would happen but we wouldn’t, couldn’t let ourselves think about it the Keizer Roth’s store is closing.

Thanks local politicians for supporting “Corporate America” and not “our own.”

We are beginning to see the adverse effect that Keizer Station has on our locally owned River Road businesses. Who’s next? The Maze? Outdoor Power Equipment? Ace Hardware? Perhaps the newly opened Party Store? ReVamped just closed last month.

The responsibility lies with those who want to feed America Inc. and not our own independent businesses

Now is the time for Keizerites to stand up and support River Road.

Testimony has been given in many places, including your local council Chambers to the effect of  malls on local areas and we are seeing it now.

Wake up! Shop local!

Thanks Roth’s for all the support you have given to our community in the past.We will miss you.

Carol Doerfler
Keizer 

Memorial Day 2012

To the Editor:

As we approach Memorial Day 2012, on Monday, May 28th, we pause to remember the more than one million men and women who have given their lives to preserve our nation and our way of life from the time of the Revolutionary War to the current wars in the Middle East.

While I join my fellow veterans and citizens in honoring these brave military personnel, this Memorial Day, I will be thinking of the 3,758 Oregonians who lost their lives during World War II.  Just nine days following this Memorial Day and on the 68th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Europe, we will conduct a ground breaking ceremony for Oregon’s own World War II Memorial.

The Oregon World War II Memorial will be built on the grounds of the Oregon State Capitol in Salem near the intersection of Court and Cottage Streets.  The public ceremony on June 6 will begin at 1:30 p.m.

 

To learn more about the long overdue Memorial or to make a donation, please go to www.facebook.com/oregonww2memorial.

In addition to remembering our honored dead, Memorial Day can also be an educational opportunity for our youth.  There are many ceremonies scheduled throughout Oregon.  I encourage those who can to take some young people to these ceremonies so that they can understand the real price of freedom.

My heart is also with those families who suffered the loss of their loved ones during their wartime service.  May these ceremonies help them as they continue to grieve for these most honored Oregonians.

Jim Willis
Director, Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Dave McKane’s campaign for mayor

To the Editor:

The headline in last week’s paper (Keizertimes, May 18) announced David McKane is running for the mayor’s position.

McKane was quoted as saying ‘’the council needs to be a little more respectful of the people of Keizer.” I have yet to see any councilor be anything but respectful. Just because the citizens who come before the council don’t receive their wishes does not mean they are disrespected.

I do not agree with several decisions made by the Keizer council but I believe members have studied the issue and have made decisions that they thought were beneficial to the community at large. We elect people to the council to make the best decision based on suggestions made by the city staff and the many volunteer committees. Council members make hard decisions after studying issues in depth.

The council voted to let the people of Keizer decide on the question of one or two fire districts within the city limits; the people voted for two. The citizens were also provided an opportunity to vote on increasing the level of service they desired for public safety and voted no because the cost was too high. In both cases the public was not disrespected in any manner. One has to remember there will always be people both for and against issues that come before the council and  not everyone will be satisfied.

I did not know the city has created a negative environment for business. Mr. McKane says he wants the city to build on a relationship with the Chamber of Commerce and advocates a limited role of government. This sounds contradictory.

If Mr. McKane intends to lead the council members after insulting them he is off to a poor start. He should remember the mayor is only one vote.

Bill Quinn
Keizer