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Day: February 22, 2013

An outdoor ‘Jewell’

A volunteer feeds alfalfa to elk at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. (Submitted photo)
A volunteer feeds alfalfa to elk at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. (Submitted photo)

On the Wild Side
by G.I. Wilson

Want to see a stately, powerful, blue-eyed, blonde? Elk that is.

Visit Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area, just 100 miles from Keizer. No need to drive 300 miles to LaGrande, or 1,000 miles to Jackson Hole to see herds of elk on their wintering grounds. These are Roosevelt elk, not the Rocky Mountain species seen in those other locations.

Volunteers feed alfalfa hay to the Jewel Meadows herds at 9 a.m. seven days a week. This is the best time to see all the elk when they are most active. Miss feeding time and you will probably see most of them resting.

Eric and Sue Hansen, of Corvallis, volunteer to feed the elk for the month of January. They invited Jo and I to join them January 23rd to do the feeding. (Wednesdays are the one day when tourists are not allowed to ride the hay wagon for a tour. When tours are given, Sue drives the tractor pulling the wagon and Eric feeds the elk and gives an educational talk.)


For more of this article and other news from around the Keizer area, pick up a copy of the Feb. 22 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.

Big concerns about little league

Keizer Little League has provided plenty of smiles over the years, but some are questioning the amount of repairs needed at Keizer Little League Park. The issue was brought up during a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting last week and was debated again this week during the Keizer City Council meeting. (File photo)
Keizer Little League has provided plenty of smiles over the years, but some are questioning the amount of repairs needed at Keizer Little League Park. The issue was brought up during a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting last week and was debated again this week during the Keizer City Council meeting. (File photo)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Surprise and confusion were expressed regarding proposed improvements for Keizer Little League Park during Tuesday’s Keizer City Council meeting.

A list of more than $500,000 in needed work at the facility was presented by leaders of Keizer Little League and Keizer Youth Sports Association at the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting last week. A story about that meeting appeared on the front page of last week’s Keizertimes.

Dave Bauer brought up the topic during the public comments portion of the Feb. 19 council meeting, which was a day later than usual due to President’s Day.

“I put in thousands of hours there, along with other parents,” Bauer said. “I helped with the fieldhouse and concessions. That’s part of being a little league parent. When somebody said, ‘they should fix the fence,’ we said ‘they’ is ‘we.’ Everyone bought into that. We had the best facilities for kids to play at. It was built with pride and volunteerism.

“I have met with past volunteers and we have concerns for how the fields got to be in the shape they are,” Bauer added. “The philosophy now seems to be about playing, not about the shape of the fields.”


For more of this article and other news from around the Keizer area, pick up a copy of the Feb. 22 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.

Girls slay Olys, fall to Saxons

McNary’s Caitlin Tartak gets a look at the hoop in the Celtics game with Sprague High School Tuesday, Feb. 12. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
McNary’s Caitlin Tartak gets a look at the hoop in the Celtics game with Sprague High School Tuesday, Feb. 12. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The best laid plans often go awry. That was the lesson Celtic players and coaches walked away with in the game between the McNary and South Salem high schools in the second round of the Central Valley Conference tournament Friday, Feb. 15.

The Lady Celts took their most bruising loss of the season, 66-23, in the game.

“We were going to try to play a triangle defense and really deny their shooters,” said Paul Pickerell, McNary head coach. “But, since we got down early, we felt like we couldn’t really risk it. In the second half, we switched to a zone defense and they picked it apart like they did the first time we played them.”


For more of this article and other news from around the Keizer area, pick up a copy of the Feb. 22 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.

St. Ed building started

st-ed-easitside-corr

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

For the second time, contractor Mike Grant is leading efforts on a building at St. Edward Catholic Church in Keizer.

Odds are Grant won’t be doing a third building. That suits him just fine.

After all, Grant will have a hard time topping this one.

Last week work began on a new church building at 5303 River Road North. A groundbreaking ceremony is being held at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 10. The plan is to have the new building open early in 2014.


For more of this article and other news from around the Keizer area, pick up a copy of the Feb. 22 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.

Johnson takes fourth in 100 free at state meet

File photo
File photo

The McNary High School swimming teams had some of their most notable finishes in recent years at last weekend’s state meet.

Senior Ben Johnson took fourth in the 100 freestyle event with a time of 48.24 seconds and fifth in the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.12.

McNary Head Coach Kim Phillips said it was Johnson’s work ethic that improved most between this season and his last.

“He set a goal at the beginning of the season and worked toward that goal. He is a natural athlete and hates to lose,” she said.


For more of this article and other news from around the Keizer area, pick up a copy of the Feb. 22 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.

Field of broken dreams

The $510,000 repair and maintenance wish list that was presented to the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board earlier this month has heads being scratched all over town.

“How can that be?” asked many people.  How can it be that so many things at Keizer Little League Park seem to have fallen into disrepair?

In 2007, a group split from Keizer Little League to form Keizer Youth Sports Association (KYSA) due to disagreements about tourney play, among other issues. After receiving proposals for operation of the fields the Keizer City Council awarded the contract to KYSA about four years ago.

Among the items in the city’s request for proposals were requirements that the winner of the contract develop a grounds maintenance schedule to be carried out by the operator; promptly advise the city of any problems not addressable by the operator so the city could address them; and generate sufficient revenue to offset all costs incurred.

If these items, among many others, were in the contract when KYSA took over operation of the park, why is the laundry list of needed repairs and maintenance so long? There is plenty of responsibility to go around. The city should have taken a more substantial role in oversight of the park; KYSA should have assured the infrastructure at Keizer Little League Park was being properly maintained.

Now, four years later, the park is in need of half a million dollars for repairs and upgrades. The proposal, prepared by Rich Duncan Construction, is an estimate for materials and labor.

The main issue is that no group has that kind of money for improvements and repairs. The list will first have to be prioritized —need to do versus like to do projects. Then KYSA should put together a reasonable plan for utilizing volunteers and the community to provide some of the labor. It wouldn’t take a professional to scrape and repaint.

How many of these projects are completed will come down to Keizer Youth Sports Association’s will and dedication to do what it agreed to do in the original contract with the city. The KYSA board, its players and its parents should be the first people to be recruited to volunteer time, expertise and material to put the shine back on Little League Park.

The city needs to put in place an oversight procedure to assure that the contracted operators of the ballfields are fulfilling their contract. For years the city didn’t need to worry about the fields because Keizer Little League maintained the park. Keizer Little League flourished with the involvement of civic leaders and youth baseball boosters, most of whom had children of their own in the program. Thousands of volunteer hours were used under their leadership to mow fields, make repairs, and run the concession stand.

It is time for Keizer Youth Sports Association to emulate that model. It is not too late to methodically work through the list of projects, but they must get their own people involved. Historically, operating the ballfields wasn’t just about baseball, it was also about keeping the park the gem of Little League fields in Oregon.

Besides McNary High School, youth baseball at Little League Park was something the whole community could rally around.  This is the time for KYSA to rally Keizerites to come to the aid of our own field of dreams.

—LAZ

Clean World Initiative

To the Editor:

Covanta Marion, the owner/operator of your local energy-from-waste facility, is celebrating the fifth anniversary of our Clean World Initiative—a program developed to bring sustainability to every facet of our company’s business, including facility operations, research and development, the advancement of solid waste management and community partnerships and programs.

Covanta Marion has maintained world-class reliability, with one of the highest boiler availability rates in the power-generating industry while also reducing emissions.  When aggregating “all” emissions, Covanta Energy-from-Waste facilities perform 65 percent below the Environmental Protection Agency’s requirements.

Covanta’s long history of community engagement is far-reaching and an integral part of our Clean World Initiative.  In 2012 we gave 28 tours, collected 95 pounds of batteries for recycling, safely destroyed 8.72 tons of unwanted medications and helped clean up our oceans by destroying 17.67 tons of derelict fishing gear.

We encourage the residents of Marion County to join us in our commitment to sustainability by reducing, reusing and recycling.  To learn more about the Clean World Initiative and Covanta’s efforts to improve environmental, health and safety performance, please visit, http://www.covantaenergy.com/what-we-do/sustainability.aspx.

Karen Breckenridge
Salem

The writer is the business manager for Covanta Marion.

The alternative to a gun ban

By ART BOBROWITZ

Finally, the outcry from the media, entertainment industry and elected officials regarding the banning of guns merits a reply. Whatever legislation is passed will be both significant and hopefully well thought out. The beauty of this issue is it will open the door for serious talks about cutting some potentially unnecessary jobs.

Here is how we can do it:  We could eliminate guns and gun ownership. That would also mean no movies from Hollywood or other segments of the media or entertainment industry. They would not be able to show any movie or program that displayed any type of firearm. This would also apply to all cable networks, up to and including all local and national news channels and networks. Also included would be the display of any weapon in any form of print media including magazines, newspapers and advertising. The ban would also encompass all plastic or any simulated toy that looks like a gun. The new legislation could include video games that display or show the usage of any type of firearm. The key ingredient would be the cost savings through job elimination for the taxpayer. Because guns would be banned, we could then examine the current level of law enforcement. This would include the numbers needed for school resource officers, city, county, state and federal agencies.

It might also be appropriate to limit suggestive words in the English language that relate to guns and could now be classified as hurtful. They would be; gun, barrel, stock, trigger, target, ammunition, pistol, shell, semi-automatic, casing, revolver, bull’s-eye, down-range, shotgun, rifle, holster, magnum, scope, magazine, and saving the best for last; we would no longer be able to say “Second Amendment.”

So what do you think? If we eventually eliminate guns and the right to bear arms, then all citizens, agencies, businesses and industries would also be more efficient and everyone will surely feel safer and want to get along with one another. Wouldn’t you feel safer in your home, workplace or shopping mall? If we play our cards right we might even get Clint Eastwood to make a new series of movies based on a politically correct social service investigator that has to deal with angry clients. We could call him “Helpful Harry.” Realistically, promoting these ideas and the feel-good notion as a social solution clearly defines the absurd.

The Second Amendment has been a beacon for the average citizen to defend themselves, their families and homes. The Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that weapon for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Moreover, this right applies not just to the federal government, but to states and municipalities as well.

What many in our culture have failed to realize and accept is evil does exist in the world. Evil has no conscience, does not respect boundaries, and could care less about any law or whether you, I and our families live or die. Yet we continue to bargain with evil through pseudo-social change.  No amount of good intentions, ill-conceived legislation, grief counselors or safe rooms will make a difference. We are in this situation because all too often we have become apathetic and let others speak or make our decisions for us.

Our country has been a world leader for individual rights. That thinking has also been championed through state, county and local organizations. It would be unconscionable to abdicate that right to include the last and most important aspect and that is the right to personal self-defense. It is time for lawful citizens to speak up for their right to possess firearms for lawful purposes that includes defending themselves, their families and their homes. One of the great thinkers of the 20th century said it best.

“God did not create evil. Just as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God.”
— Albert Einstein

(Art Bobrowitz lives in Keizer.)

Salaries of state education chiefs are too high

By GENE H. MCINTYRE

By what is not always apparent here in Oregon, we are beginning to resemble life for most of the populations of people south of the border.  It’s not the fault of the populations in those nations; it is the way the wealthy and elite have rigged things (luxury high-rises alongside slums) so that while the average person lives in poverty, a distinct minority live the good life with all the perks of those places in their hands.  And it’s not the fault of the people here, either, as they have been ruined by the greedy and the power hungry.

Here in Oregon, during my lifetime, there’s been a steady downward spiral of the economic lives of most Oregonians.  The middle years of the 20th century, those of my youth, were years of prosperty for most Oregonians. Typically, they found work at a living wage while the standard of living brought favorable conditions to most everyone in the state.  That has changed now.  Today, we have a state of the unemployed in contrast with a wealthy minority.  Meanwhile, our family structure, our schools, our unemployed and our public safety are in tatters, shreds and ruin.

I was inspired to think about our recent past by reading a column on Oregon’s latest appointee to the state chancellor of higher education position.  We will pay this person a basic salary of nearly $300,000 a year, and that’s to start, an amount that does not include the costs of this public employee’s benefits, perks and living expenses for a lavish house, an upscale car, a spending allowance, and fine dining almost every day on the taxpayer dollar.  This opulent living for one public employee while thousands of Oregon kids are going hungry every day, many of whom, too, without a home, who must try to acquire a formal education to better themselves and society in public school classrooms with one teacher (classroom aides have all but disappeared due to budget cuts) trying to educate 40-50 other students, is disgusting—even obscene.

Let me ask the reader this question: What has anyone among these excessively-paid public employees, like the newly-appointed chancellor and very costly Oregon chief education officer, done to make any difference whatsoever?  It would appear from all news accounts of the new chief education officer, for example, that all he can claim for his cost (equal, it’s estimated, to the cost of buying something like a dozen certified Oregon classroom teachers for a year of work) is to tell teachers and administrators to “do more with less,” and to admonish them to come up with five ways to improve the state’s high schools, all part of his opaque-to-the-public “educational architecture” grand design.  Oh, and, then, too, from him most recently, minority kids should take it upon themselves to behave more responsibly, a message that’s been repeated rather frequently since Amendment 13 was ratified in 1865.

Meanwhile, the question persists: What do super-expensive public employees like the chancellor and newly-created position of chief education officer do?  What do they contribute?  I have no idea other than to see them as highly-paid bureaucrats who talk a lot but make no substantive difference, or any that is ever seen, in the improvement of education activity at any level or the betterment, effectiveness outcomes for the education of our youth.

We must find ways to stop the ridiculous spending practice of paying in salary and benefits more than $500,000 in precious tax dollars to public employees like the state’s chancellor, the chief education officer, university presidents and some school district superintendents: No one in Oregon needs this kind of money to live comfortably and afford all that’s needed for an all-anyone-could-ever-want-in-purchasing-power life.  If there are “great” people who want this kind of money and won’t work for less, advise them to seek careers in the private sector.  Meanwhile, let’s wise up to invest what we have available in the state treasury for use by teachers for the benefit of our students in pre-school, elementary school, high school and college.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)