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Month: January 2013

The second time around

By SUSAN ESTRICH

It is hard to remember how much better things are in America today than they were four years ago when Barack Obama took the oath of office for the first time.

Then, we were in the middle of two raging wars, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

Now, one of those wars is ending, the other is over, and the most hated and feared man in recent times, Osama bin Laden, is dead.

Then, we were in the throes of an economy on a dizzying downward slide, the worst and most frightening recession since the Great Depression.

Now, while many of our fellow citizens are still looking for work and can’t find it, or are working in jobs that don’t meet their wants and needs, unemployment is heading downward and housing prices are heading upward.

It may not be “morning in America”—the theme of Ronald Reagan’s campaign in 1984—but it is not midnight, either. We did not go over the fiscal cliff.

So why doesn’t it feel better?

When I think back on the first Obama inauguration, it seemed to be a moment of optimism and celebration.

When I think on this one, it was Monday. I almost forgot to turn on the speech. It seemed like a very nice speech, but if you asked me to remember a single line just one day later, I’d be stumped.

When I asked other people what they thought of it all, I heard more opinions about Michelle’s new hairdo (the bangs—people loved them or hated them; does she really look like Flip Wilson’s long-lost twin) than about the president’s words or the power of the moment.

There is an old saying in Washington that watching legislation get through Congress is like watching sausage being made. Not pretty.

But it’s not just the legislative process that has turned ugly and off-putting. It’s almost everything that has anything to do with politics. It’s the endless fundraising and spending and attacking; the endless noise of screaming extremism; the nastiness of virtually every aspect of our political life, intensified by the constancy of the drone.

I used to love politics. I spent much of my youth reading political novels and dreaming of the day when I would go to Washington and change the world, the day when I would know my way around the halls of Congress, see inside the White House, be a part of it. I will never forget my first summer as an intern in Washington, the thrill of all that, up close. I will never forget the first time I walked into the White House, the West Wing, when a friend was working there. I pinched myself. Susan Estrich, from Lynn,Mass. in the West Wing? Only in America.

I don’t love politics anymore. As my mother would say, what’s to love? It’s always been a tough business, but now it’s beyond tough. It’s mean and ugly and nasty, and too many of those playing it seem to have forgotten that the game is not the thing.

Obama kept more of the promises he made in his first inaugural address than most presidents. He tackled the failing economy, the unpopular and expensive wars, the needs of millions of Americans for access to health care. He got things done. And I expect he will continue to do so, as he always has, by picking off the necessary handfuls of Republicans he needs in the House and Senate.

He has figured out how to work the system—not change it.

This is not the business I fell in love with, even when my side is winning. And I have no faith, none, that one man, the one sworn in on Monday, the embodiment of hope just four short years ago, can change that.

(Creators Syndicate)

Lady Celts beat Olys, Scots

McNary’s Reina Strand muscles past West Salem High School’s Mary Savoy in a game Tuesday, Jan. 22. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
McNary’s Reina Strand muscles past West Salem High School’s Mary Savoy in a game Tuesday, Jan. 22. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes 

The McNary High School girls varsity basketball teams added two dominating wins to their Central Valley Conference record last week.

A pair of 19-point quarters for the Celtics got them off to a roaring start in a game with Sprague High School Tuesday, Jan. 15. By halftime, McNary led 39-16 and the Lady Celts didn’t take their foot of the gas until the fourth quarter. McNary won 62-27.

“We started the game with really good intensity and had patience on our offense,” said Stacey Titchenal, a McNary senior.


For more on this and other news from around the Keizer area, pick up a copy of the Jan. 18 issue of Keizertimes, available at stores all around the area. To subscribe for just $25 a year, click on the ‘Subscribe Today’ link at the top of the page, call 503-390-1051 or visit our office at 142 Chemawa Road North in Keizer.

Conspiracy theories gone wild

By NICK THOMAS

Yet another government conspiracy has apparently surfaced. Recent reports of the current python hunt in the Florida Everglades are being questioned by Python Truthers.

The hunt, supposedly organized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to remove invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades, has reportedly drawn over a thousand hunters equipped with a range of firearms. The mob has descended on the Big Cypress National Preserve, some 50 miles southeast of Naples.

But, according to the Python Truthers, there is no actual python hunt in Florida. In fact, the conspiracy goes even deeper, say the Truthers: there have never been any pythons in the swamps of Florida!

That’s right, it’s all been an elaborate hoax according to James Kracy, a little known Florida college professor and head Python Truther.

“If there really was a python problem in the Everglades,” says Kracy, “the government would attempt to fix it in their usual, bureaucratic, bungling way by creating an even bigger environmental nightmare—they’d probably have secretly bred a species of giant mutant mongoose and released hundreds in the region.”

Kracy says the lack of NRA public support for an event that hosts a thousand gun-toting, beer drinking, hunters spraying the glades with a ton of bullets is also ominous.

Those dubious about Kracy’s claims refer to the many photos and videos published in the press lately, allegedly showing people catching pythons in the Everglades. But Kracy believes this illusion was created with some sophisticated photoshopping and a cast of government paid actors probably working in collusion with ratings-hungry news organizations.

Kracy thinks he has traced the plot’s origins back to 1979 when Miami movie theaters held numerous “Monty Python” film festivals. Rumors soon began circulating throughout south Florida about a Python invasion.

In reality, Kracy believes the government was behind the stories and secretly began hatching an elaborate scheme designed to entice law abiding hunters down to Florida (some 24 years later) to confiscate their firearms when the would-be hunters set foot on the protected Florida wetlands.

“The government is determined to take away our guns,” he says.

Dr. Kracy, who cites Eddie Murphy in the 1996 film “The Nutty Professor” as his academic mentor, says his theory was largely dismissed by the public. But he and fellow Python Truthers (sometimes also simply known as The Kracies) say it’s important for the truth to come out.

Kracy is also suspicious that the python hunters had to pay a $25 registration fee, but were told by officials that they could potentially only win $1,500 for catching the most snakes or $1,000 for the longest.

“The math just doesn’t add up,” explains Kracy. “1,000 hunters each paying a $25 fee? That’s a total of $25,000; but the entire prize money offered was only $2,500.”

(On the other hand, conspiracy theory conspiracy theorists could argue this financial discrepancy was actually proof that the event really was government sponsored).

Kracy says he is applying for a government grant to further study government conspiracies.

In the meantime, he advises chronically suspicious citizens who worry about government intrusion to seriously consider the future warnings of conspiracy theorists: “How else can you distinguish fact from fiction in this crazy world, other than letting someone else do your thinking for you?”

(Thomas’ features and columns have appeared in more than 270 magazines and newspapers. He can be reached at his getnickt.blogspot.com.)

Wrestlers take sixth at Oregon Classic

Hector  Maldonado (left) grapples with a wrestler from North Salem High School earlier this year. (Photo courtesy of J&H Photo)
Hector
Maldonado (left) grapples with a wrestler from North Salem High School earlier this year. (Photo courtesy of J&H Photo)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The Oregon City High School varsity wrestling team has long been a thorn in the side of the McNary High School Celtics, but a dual meet between the two schools at the Oregon Classic last weekend proved to be a defining moment for McNary.

The Celts won 45-27.

“They’re going to be one of those teams reaching for a state trophy and we proved that we’re right there with them. We had to fight for that win and that was good, too,” said Jason Ebbs, McNary head coach.

In that meet, Joey Kibbey won by pin in 4:37; Louis Palos won by pin in 4:42; Jordan Cagle won by pin in 43 seconds; Devin Reynolds won by pin in 13 seconds; Zach Hammerschmith won by decision, 12-6; Cody Ratliff won by pin in 45 seconds; and Mason Ross won by pin in 1:27.

For more on this and other news from around the Keizer area, pick up a copy of the Jan. 18 issue of Keizertimes, available at stores all around the area. To subscribe for just $25 a year, click on the ‘Subscribe Today’ link at the top of the page, call 503-390-1051 or visit our office at 142 Chemawa Road North in Keizer.

Myrna Ethel Wolgamot

M. Wolgamot
M. Wolgamot

Myrna passed on quietly on January 19, at the age of 81. She is survived by four sons, all living in different states, who were able to see her before she passed. Myrna worked for 18 years at Hillcrest School. She volunteered for several years with Meals on Wheels, delivering hot meals to the elderly. Remembrances should be sent to the Japanese Chin Dog Rescue (www.japanesechin.rescueshelter.com/Oregon). A gathering for family and friends was held Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service in Salem. Burial will be a private ceremony at Rest Lawn Cemetery.

Final minutes make the difference in boys’ losses

McNary’s Johnathan Doutt goes up for a shot in the game with Sprague High School. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
McNary’s Johnathan Doutt goes up for a shot in the game with Sprague High School. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

For those who attended the varsity basketball game between McNary and Sprague high schools Tuesday, Jan. 15, the most memorable part of the game was the four minutes before the half when, quite literally, nothing happened.

With Sprague on an offensive run and the Celtics down by seven points, McNary players were directed to stay out of the paint and avoid confronting the team. The choice was jeered by parents of the opposing team, but there was a reason for it, said Ryan Kirch, McNary head coach.

“They’re a community college team in terms of size and strength. We thought it was to our benefit to get the last shot in and, in the worst case, it would be a seven-point deficit and maybe as little as three or four,” Kirch said.

The game ended in a relatively low scoring 44-30 as the Celtics took their third loss of Central Valley Conference play.

Suspect captured at Lockhaven and Inland Shores

File
File

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

A number of officers from around the area assisted in a chase that ended with a suspect being shot Wednesday morning.

The police chase ended by the Chase Bank at Lockhaven Drive NE and Inland Shores Way NE. The chase entered Keizer around 9 a.m. and involved a white Ford F250 pickup.

“About 9 a.m. Keizer officers were notified of a vehicular pursuit traveling into our jurisdiction,” Capt. Jeff Kuhns with the Keizer Police Department said on the scene. “The suspect vehicle was being pursued by the Salem Police Department.”

Kuhns noted a Keizer officer was advised to not actively engage in the pursuit.

“He advised a short time later shots were fired and the subject was down,” Kuhns said. “Medics were called in and one person was transported.”

Kuhns did not believe any officers were shot and didn’t know offhand if the suspect was armed or not.

Lt. Dave Okada with the SPD confirmed Salem officers had been involved with an officer-involved shooting.

The suspects was driving the white Ford F250 Pickup. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
The suspect was driving the white Ford F250 Pickup. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
The scene at Lockhaven and Inland Shores Way (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
The scene at Lockhaven and Inland Shores Way (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

 

Keizer boy killed in rollover crash

Submitted by Oregon State Police
Submitted by Oregon State Police

An 8-year-old Keizer boy was killed and one of his brothers seriously injured in a crash in the Albany area Sunday night, Jan. 13.

Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers are continuing their investigation into the single-vehicle rollover crash along Interstate 5 in the Albany area near milepost area at approximately 6:50 p.m.

A 2000 Dodge Durango with six occupants was northbound on I-5 when, for an unconfirmed reason, it traveled into the center median. The SUV rolled numerous times before coming to rest on its side in the southbound lanes.

Keizer’s Willevaldo Guzman-Cruz, 53, was driving. Wife Evangelica Guzman-Arango, 37, was also in the vehicle along with four male children ages 17, 15, 13 and 8.


For more on this and other news from around the Keizer area, pick up a copy of the Jan. 18 issue of Keizertimes, available at stores all around the area. To subscribe for just $25 a year, click on the ‘Subscribe Today’ link at the top of the page, call 503-390-1051 or visit our office at 142 Chemawa Road North in Keizer.

Two off the hook for towing

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Two towing company employees were cleared of charges last week in a case involving several undercover police officers, including one from the Keizer Police Department.

Timothy Hall and Bradley Kelley, employees with Bales and Brady West Towing, were arrested in January 2012 for towing vehicles parked illegally at an apartment complex on Hayesville Drive NE in Salem while undercover officers were serving a search warrant.

Officers demanded the immediate return of their vehicles, but couldn’t produce proof of ownership due to fake registration information.


For more on this and other news from around the Keizer area, pick up a copy of the Jan. 18 issue of Keizertimes, available at stores all around the area. To subscribe for just $25 a year, click on the ‘Subscribe Today’ link at the top of the page, call 503-390-1051 or visit our office at 142 Chemawa Road North in Keizer.

Apportionment changes for several Keizer Station properties to be heard on Tuesday

Keizer-Station-LOGO-cmyk

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

The amount being owed on several Keizer Station properties is being changed again.

But this time there are no delinquent payments or property owners involved.

During the Keizer City Council meeting next Tuesday (pushed back a day due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday), there will be a hearing on lot line adjustments and partitions for properties in the Keizer Station Area A Local Improvement District (LID).

The applications have been made by California-based Donahue Schriber Realty Group, which owns and operates Keizer Station.


For more on this and other news from around the Keizer area, pick up a copy of the Jan. 18 issue of Keizertimes, available at stores all around the area. To subscribe for just $25 a year, click on the ‘Subscribe Today’ link at the top of the page, call 503-390-1051 or visit our office at 142 Chemawa Road North in Keizer.