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Month: October 2012

Black, White and Gray show returns to KAA

Keizer Art Association will hold its annual Black, White and Gray Gala beginning Nov. 1 and running through Nov. 24.

The reception for the show will be Nov. 3 at the Keizer Heritage Center (Old Keizer Schoolhouse), 980 Chemawa Rd. N.E.,  from 5 to 8 p.m.

This year, in addition to the wonderful Gallery show, KAA is hosting an oral art auction, the evening of the reception, led by Lyndon Zaitz, publisher of the Keizertimes, and a silent art auction on display during the entire month.

Artists donating work to our two auctions include: Colleen Goodwin Chronister, Dale Crawford, Pat Domogalla, Kathy Fox, Joanne Armintrout, Mitch Classon, Linda Barrett, Pat Jackman, Brigitte Cobb, Shirlee Johnson, and Shirley Oakley.

Proceeds from the auctions will help support programs put on by Keizer Art Association. Show award ribbons will be presented by a guest juror. This celebration is open to the public free of charge.

Little League field agreement could boost city funding

Youth baseball at Keizer Little League Park in 2012 could operate under a one-year agreement between two local organizations. (File)

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

The City of Keizer may take on additional maintenance at Keizer Little League Park as part of a proposed agreement between the city and two youth sports groups with a serious stake in the facility.

Keizer Youth Sports Association and Keizer Little League would jointly operate the park, while City Manager Chris Eppley is proposing a $35,000 budget allocation that will cover the facility’s basics: electricity and other utilities, irrigation, once-a-week mowing and necessities such as portable toilets. Eppley said his proposal wouldn’t cut into funding for existing parks.

“That will play out through the budget process (for 2013-14),” Eppley said. “The council is aware of that. I hope they will be supportive of that through the budget process … but the process is public.”

In addition, the proposed new funding wouldn’t be used until at least July 1, 2013, when the new budget goes into effect. About $7,000 was allocated in the current budget for the park, which will go towards paying utilities.

“We’ll be maintaining the park at a basic level like we do all of the other parks and they will be responsible for the baseball program in that park,” Eppley said.

The dual leadership setup emerges as a compromise after an at-times acrimonious split resulting in the newly-named Keizer Youth Sports Association taking over the contract to operate the park. That agreement in and of itself was unique: Volunteers, mostly parents of young baseball and softball players, were responsible for virtually every aspect of caring for the park, like maintenance, mowing, irrigation, and many capital improvements. Whatever issues that caused the split aside, Eppley said the end result appeared to be a divided volunteer pool with less fundraising might.

He added that the increased city funding is a sign of the times.

“You have a lot more two-income families and a lot less time for volunteering,” he said.

KYSA President Kurt Barker approached city officials during the budgeting process and said his group would have trouble raising the necessary funds for needed improvements alongside routine maintenance.

Keizer Little League was for several years essentially a customer of KYSA, paying to use the fields. The proposed agreement puts KLL on more equal footing and allows more contribution of volunteer labor, according to Stephanie Bojorquez, president of KLL.

“We’ve actually been asked to submit an interest in it again,” she said. “At that same time, we have almost a complete full and new board – new ideas, new perspective. Those kinds of things really open it up … I don’t think it was ever brought up from the city (previously) to ask both organizations to work together.”

She hopes fundraising efforts will bear more fruit once the public learns that the two groups are working together towards a common goal.

“Return to The Big Fancy” by Freeman Hall

“Return to The Big Fancy” by Freeman Hall

c.2012, Adams Media
$22.95 / $23.99 Canada
272 pages

BOOK REVIEW
by TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER

The holidays are coming. That means you’ll need a little extra.

Extra time to go gift-shopping, for sure, and extra closet space in which to hide packages. More importantly, you’ll need extra money for all that buying, which means you’re looking for an extra job.

There are a lot of openings at the mall, but be careful what you ask for. According to Freeman Hall in his new book “Return to The Big Fancy,” that part-time gig you’ll grab might just be extra irritation.

Freeman Hall figured he’d done his time at The Big Fancy, an upscale department store chain with a Burbank location. Hall worked the “Handbag Jungle,” where he dealt with nasty “custys,” greedy co-workers, and a store manager he called Suzy Satan. He put up with them all while bringing home an insultingly small paycheck so, when he got the chance, he escaped to pursue his dream of being a screenwriter.

But screenwriting didn’t pay the bills. Working at The Big Fancy did. Shortly after leaving, it was back to Retail Hell for Hall.

The new department manager of Handbag (never “purse”) Jungle was a wonderful woman Hall calls Maude and, since she knew about his past at The Big Fancy, she was happy to hire him. As a former Handbag manager, Hall brought experience to the Jungle. He also brought back his best customers.

As for Hall, everything was familiar, and depressing from the start.

Forbidden to use an elevator or mall entrance, employees were forced to climb several flights of stairs to get to work. Every day began with ear-splitting announcements and admonishments over the PA system from Suzy Satan to rally (or annoy) the troops. Since The Big Fancy paid its sales associates in commissions, “sharking” (stealing customers) was common and destroyed any sense of teamwork. Rules were loose (unless you broke them) and commissions could be retroactively withdrawn, even years later. The pressure on managers and associates was intense. Adding to it was that customers were always right – even when they weren’t – and Discount Rats always got their way.

It was frustrating. It was irritating. And it might’ve meant a completely horrible year for Hall, if it wasn’t for The Big Fancy Christmas Miracle…

So you plan on picking up some hours at the mall this fall. You might want to pick up “Return to The Big Fancy” first, while there’s still time to run.

Author Freeman Hill is both profound and profane in this book (although not as much of the latter as he was in his first book). His observations and his propensity for nickname-giving are both hilarious, but such snarkiness isn’t all you’ll find here: there were a few genuinely wonderful moments at the BF, and Hall shares them, too.

While retail-working readers will surely identify with this book, I also think it’ll give non-retailers a taste of what’s behind the counter. Either way, if you’re getting malled this Holiday season, you’ll need a laugh and “Return to The Big Fancy” packs a lot of extras.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is based in Wisconsin.

Two injured as vehicle smashes into Quiznos

Submitted by Keizer Fire District

Two patrons of a River Road sandwich shop were injured when a vehicle crashed through one of the shop’s front windows over the weekend.

Eleanor Pohl, 84, of Keizer was pulling up to Quizno’s, 5133 River Road N., around 3:40 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, when she told police she mistook the the accelerator for the brake and drove up over the curb and through the restaurant’s window.

Two patrons were struck as the vehicle entered the building. A 43-year-old male suffered injuries to his legs and a 43-year old female suffered cuts, abrasions and bruising. While none of the injures appeared to be life-threatening, both were transported to Salem Hospital for evaluation, police officials said.

Keizer Police and the Keizer Fire District both responded to the scene at 3:43 p.m. Keizer police are still investigating the crash and no citations have been issued as yet.

New florist fulfills lifelong dream

Julie Wallace is the new owner of Keizer Florist. (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

Something fresh is in the air at Keizer Florist, and it’s not just the mums, the roses and the baby’s breath.

Its on-site cafe now opens at 6 a.m. daily serving fresh coffee and lattes to go with fresh-baked cookies and brownies. And its showroom has been refreshed to show more gifts, including a wide variety of gourmet chocolates, to go alongside what was already an impressive selection of fresh-cut flowers.

In the middle of it all is Julie Wallace. If you can’t find her, just look for the beaming smile.

This is life, full circle.

“My parents, in our living room, had French doors opening into a greenhouse. It was heated and watered, so we grew our own flowers,” Wallace said. “I’ve had my fingers in it all my life.”

A love for plants would seemingly be part and parcel of the desire to open a floral shop, and the green thumb she picked up as a child has developed with Wallace as an adult. Her home has its own greenhouse and she’s been president of her local garden club.

And when she decided to make a real, professional go at the floral dream she enrolled at Portland’s Floral Design Institute, including its entrepreneurship weekend. (Wallace knows her numbers, having a hand in managing the Oregon Department of Transportation’s bond portfolio when she worked for the state.)

“Besides teaching form and style and space and technique, they teach you about each one of the flowers, how to process it and how to lengthen their life,” Wallace said. “One thing I got out of my formal design is to stick my bouquets in the refrigerator at night.”

Originally from Michigan, she and her husband live in their retirement home near Gates. She chose Keizer Florist in part because she enjoyed the local community, having lived here in the 1990s.

She said a floral shop like Keizer Florist’s advantage over grocery or non-specialty vendors is the care they receive, both before and after they arrive:

“They’re more expensive, but the quality’s there. It lasts longer,” she said.

Besides Wallace, the store has nine employees, including manager Kellie Hoops. A new barista will help operate the cafe, which will utilize the building’s drive-up window.She hopes to maintain upon and build the customer base built by prior owner Dennis Scott, and the Hupy family before him.

“There are customers that are loyal, who moved out of the area and still come here,” she said.

Her designs are grand, and she may not be content with business as it stands today, but the happiness is on her face.

“I’m one of those people who if my fingers are in the dirt, I’m happy,” she said. “And it smells good in here.”


Location
631 Chemawa Rd N., Keizer

Phone
(503) 390-8447

Hours
Monday though Friday 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sat-Sun 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Fire strikes apartment in east Keizer

KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes 

A woman and her baby escaped a fire that officials believe started in a bedroom of a four-plex on Meadowbrook Court NE.

Keizer Fire personnel arrived on the call after dispatch at about 2:30 p.m. Friday, October 26 to 4276 Meadowbrook Court NE. The resident, Brittany Johnson, was in the shower with her young child when she heard the fire alarm go off.

“I got out and saw smoke coming out of the vents and out of my room, and got out as quick as I could,” she said.

Keizer firefighters checked a common attic to see if the flames had spread.

No one was believed to be remaining in any of the building’s units. More information will be posted later. Cause of the fire is not yet determined.

Teaching wonder, one student at a time

Laurie Aguirre, center, works with students Aedyn Orundo and Braedyn Perez as they give a class presentation. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Abigail Marzolf, Holly Provost and Isabella Rodriguez lead me around the Forest Ridge Elementary School naturescape showing off their favorite spots, talking about the macroinvertebrates they find in the two ponds and listing the various birds they’ve spotted in the space right outside their classroom door.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen the naturescape, but it is the first time I’ve seen it through such young eyes. The girls’ enthusiasm for showing off what they know and willingness to stop mid-sentence and turn over a rock to see if they find anything new is infectious.

Even in kids that are born with such traits, it takes constant cultivation to keep them involved at such a high level. In this case, teacher Laurie Aguirre deserves a lot of the credit.

“I begin with sharing. Students that wish to tell about, read, or show something they have been working on get the spotlight with the others. It’s a natural progression to then work together with others with a common interest to teach the rest of the class about what they are excited about,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre’s role in the classroom is as much that of a mentor as teacher. She tries as much as possible to let the students lead lessons in learning numbers, body parts, planets and months of the year. Even when students arrive in her class at varying levels of competence, all of them take turns leading the others through class content.

Aguirre will correct behavior when needed, but she focuses her efforts on guiding students past misconceptions, which is miles apart from simply telling students they got an answer incorrect. Her goal is to inspire within each of her young charges a “disposition to learn.”

“Especially during the last 15 years, students come to me from the digital world. Their brains are wired to quick response to a structure or device that created a world for them,” she said. “They have become less spatial, less creative, and less able to construct and manipulate the physical world. I try to reconnect them to the real world and re-wire to allow them to think for themselves, to wonder, to question, and to discover their own patterns of thought and behavior.”

Aguirre discovered her fire for teaching 27 years ago after taking education courses while exploring the demands of architecture and engineering at Southern Oregon University, but it was fueled by growing up a tomboy in the country with animals surrounding her and the freedom to roam.

“It connected me to the earth and all the life on it,” she said. “All children have an innate sense of curiosity and need to experience the natural world, it’s my passion and joy to introduce them to it and relate it all back to core standards in reading, writing, math and science.”

All those goals are met when the students devise and develop projects from within the classroom on their own terms. When they got excited about seeing birds flock to the naturescape, Aguirre helped them through the process of developing informational brochures on each of the different species they spotted. Many are available at the school’s front desk for visitors looking to assign a name to what they find in the naturescape.

By cultivating innate curiosities, Aguirre often discovers students continue to pursue them well past the time they spend in her classroom. She recently received a book on birds produced by a former student, Garrett Wampler. His enthusiasm for the feathered set made him want to do more. He saved money for a camera to take pictures and wrote informational passages about all the birds he was seeing.

While Aguirre has a finely honed sense of what she wants to accomplish with her students, pressures from outside the classroom take an increasing toll. Aguirre’s second grade class is capped at 26 and should be maxed out at 22. U.S. students also have less facetime with teachers, the country is ranked lowest in number of student contact days, Oregon is ranked lowest in the U.S., and the Salem-Keizer School District is ranked lowest in the state. Coupled with students at widely varying levels achievement, a lack of trained para-professionals who can fill in the gaps and fewer resources all around, the job of teaching can seem not only thankless, but unforgiving.

To teach effectively, she said, teachers must have passion for the human condition and their students, commitment to improving that condition, the professionalism that comes with being well-educated, understanding of what is and is not developmentally appropriate, and the critical thinking skills that will prevent them from becoming “fad” followers.

On first impression, it may seem odd that her students are the ones doing much of the teaching, but you can’t leave Aguirre’s classroom without understanding that they are learning most from her example.

“Good teachers have to be life-long learners because that’s our mission for students,” she said.

Frights, fun and candy abound for Halloween

From the Nightmare Factory to pumpkin carving, local organizations are hosting a throng of Halloween-themed events this coming week. Here are our picks for the best of the best arranged by date.

Oct. 28-31

• The Oregon School for the Deaf’s annual Nightmare Factory haunted house runs from 7 to 10 p.m. each night. The school is located at 999 Locust Street N.E. in Salem. Cost is $10 for general admission or $15 for VIP packages. A second run through is only $5. For $40 you can get strapped in a wheelchair and ride through the house courtesy of Booger. Bring two cans of food for the Marion-Polk Food Share and get $1 off your ticket.

Saturday, Oct. 27

• Salem’s Starflower Hoops and Hoop Mafia are inviting area residents to hula hoop with the ghosts, zombies, and superheroes of the town during a spirited hoop jam. Extra hula hoops will be provided, and all are welcome to bring their own as well. Put on your finest Halloween costume and join in the festivities. 1 p.m. at 241 State Street in Salem.

• Screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Grand Theater, 191 High Street in Salem. Do the time warp again in your favorite costume and join in a slew of interactive elements. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Movie starts at 8 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 29

• Ready to create a pumpkin that is better than just a couple funky teeth and two triangles for eyes? Grab your pumpkin and head to the Willamette Art Center, 2330 17th Street N.E., between 4 and 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, Oct. 29

• Kids can put on their Halloween costumes and the Salem Public Library will host stories, activities and crafts. Preschool students are invited in the morning 10:30 to 11:15 a.m., and children 5 and older in the afternoon, 4 to 4:45 p.m. In the Anderson Rooms A&B at Salem Public Library, 585 Liberty St. S.E.

• Actors from Pentacle Theatre are teaming up with Salem Public Library for an evening of spine-tingling stories in a special edition of Grown-Up Storytime. The show runs 90 minutes featuring a series of short, not-too-scary stories of ghostly mayhem and merriment. 7 p.m. in the Loucks Auditorium at Salem Public Library.

Wednesday, Oct. 31

• Dayspring Fellowship Church will host its 19th Annual Kids Carnival Celebration.

The event, from 6 to 8 p.m. is open to nursery schoolers to fifth graders. Dayspring Fellowship is located at 1755 Lockhaven Dr N.E. Admission is free and the tickets for the two dozen planned games are 10 cents each. Participating children will receive a free bag of candy. Dinner will also be available at a reasonable cost. For more information, contact Deanna at Dayspring Fellowship at (503) 390-3900 ext. 305.

• Horrorween Food Drive at Tony’s Kingdom of Comics, 5420 River Road N., 4-7 p.m. There will be a variety of costumed characters to take pictures with including superheroes, horror icons and maybe Star Wars, too. Bring your cameras. Visitors are encouraged to bring donations for the Keizer Community Food Bank and there will be prizes to hand out for folks showing up in costume.

• Several stores at Lancaster Mall will be handing out candy between 6 and 7 p.m. The mall is located at 831 Lancaster Drive N.E. in Salem.

• Stores throughout down Salem will give out candy. Clockworks Cafe, 241 Commercial Street N.E. Is hosting a kickoff costume party at 4 p.m.

Celts tackle undefeated Titans in final regular season game

McNary’s Perry Groves races down the sideline for a big gain in the Celtics game with McKay High School Friday, Oct. 19. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

BY ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

In their first four Central Valley Conference games, the undefeated West Salem High School varsity football team hasn’t put fewer than 30 points on the board. It’s been left up to the Celtics to determine whether or not the team finishes the CVC unblemished.

McNary (2-2) faces West Salem (4-0) Friday, Oct. 6, at home. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. and the game is preceded by tailgate party hosted by the McNary Fine Arts Department beginning at 5 p.m.

The Celtics plan to draw on experiences a few weeks ago facing the higher-ranked Sprague Olympians.

“We realized that Sprague is a really good team and we had moments when we were hanging with them. We tried to focus on the positive aspects of that game and I think we’re going to be in that same area with West,” said Celt Kelly Cowan.

Linebacker Grant Gerster added that it will come down to mind over matter.

“They have the same athletic ability, it’s going to come down to the technical things like getting the right snap count so we don’t go offsides,” Gerstner said.

The Titans have a potent passing attack led by sophomore Cade Smith, the younger brother of current University of Wyoming starter Brett Smith.

Headed into last Friday’s squeaker of a win over South Salem High School, 30-29, Smith had completed more than 68 percent of his passes for 11 touchdowns and ran for nine more. He led the team to an upset of the Sprague Olympians in the Titans’ first league game five weeks ago.

To combat Smith’s prowess in the pocket, McNary Head Coach Isaac Parker said the team would be focusing on consistency and improving on its more disciplined game they showed in a win over McKay High School last week.

“If we can consistently play good football, we will have a chance in this game.  West executes so well that once we lose consistency, we get behind in the ball game,” Parker said. “They are so well coached I doubt we can catch them off-guard on anything. I think they might underestimate our physicality and how much we’ve been improving.”

Lineman Perry Groves said the team will also be prepared for the Titan rushing attack.

“Their run game isn’t horrible either. We just need to make sure we’re doing our job. When we don’t, the whole thing is going to fall apart,” Groves said.

Regardless of the outcome, McNary is likely headed for a play-in game to secure a spot in the state title tournament, but Parker was eager for that opportunity.

“We have so much to improve on still and every week we play we get better so I’d rather play that week than not,” he said.

Local leaders are cautiously hopeful for local economy

File Photo

By LACY RAMIREZ
For the Keizertimes

Local business and political leaders said at an economic summit in Keizer last week that while the economy is well on its way to recovery, it continues to remain in a fragile state.

The summit, sponsored by Marion County’s Economic Development Advisory Board, took place on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the Keizer Civic Center. Specialists from both the public and private sectors, including Mayor Lore Christopher, gave updates on the economic status of the county, as well as the state as a whole, and discussed different options for improvement.

The topics examined during the summit included real estate, tax revenue, the urban growth boundary expansion, job training, regional planning and tourism. The top discussions of the night were those related to job creation and the housing market.

Christopher talked about the benefits of the Keizer Station, the greatest being of it having created local jobs.

“Six out of seven people leave the city for their job, but not those working at Keizer Station,” Christopher said.

Van Khieu, an appraiser currently running for the Marion County Assessor’s seat, and Jay Gordon, executive vice president of the Willamette Valley Multiple Listing Service, provided facts and statistics regarding the housing market. Although 30 percent of the American housing market are foreclosures, the amount of foreclosures occurring has recently dropped by 15 percent both nationally and locally. Foreclosures make up approximately 3 percent of the market locally.

“As of 2011, 25 percent of foreclosures are strategic defaults,” Gordon said. A strategic default is when a homeowner defaults on mortgage and stops paying, hoping to get lower payments when they have the income to afford it.

Despite the amount of foreclosures, Gordon assured the audience that this was the ideal time to buy a home.

“This time, I really mean it,” Gordon said.

Gordon said that no matter how bad the market gets, it would never fall due to the fact that there would always be people buying and selling houses simply because there would always be reasons, such as divorces, births, deaths, and employment, which make up one-third of the market.

Alan Roodhouse, president of Retail Property Service Development Inc., and Jim Rue, director of the Oregon Department of Land Use and Conservation, spoke over the urban growth expansion and agreed with one another on solutions. Roodhouse stated specific goals that would help stimulate economic growth while Rue gave some concepts that could possibly be applied to help expand the UGB. Rue approached the situation with slightly more positivity than Roodhouse, who gave a more negative outlook, although they both expressed hope for the county’s future.

“Oregon is losing,” Roodhouse said. “I am used to losing a lot of things, but I have come to love Oregon and I would love to see it fixed.” One solution he proposed was to limit who has standing to appeal regarding an issue, such as Area C. Roodhouse is a co-developer on the project, which was remanded back to the city council by the state.

This led into another hot topic of the night: job creation.

Many ideas were expressed in the room on the best ways to create more jobs, particularly locally, but the ones that were dwelled upon were job training, a specific development strategy and tourism.

Nick Harville, Industrial Maintenance Operator with Strategic Economic Development Corporation (SEDCOR), talked about the importance of older generation training younger ones before their knowledge disappears. “We don’t have 10 to 20 years to learn these skills,” Harville said. “We need them now.”

The night ended with a bright note of positivity from Angie Morris, president and CEO of Travel Salem. Tourism is adding to the economy more every year, creating jobs like no other, she said. A single dollar spent toward tourism brings a return on investment (ROI) of $193 in visitor spending.

“Tourism is the front door to economic growth,” Morris said. “We have the best of what Oregon has to offer, right where we are seated. Let’s make the best of it.”