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Month: December 2013

Mat Men falter, then win

Celt Alvarro Venegas takes down an opponent in a match earlier this season. Venegas was one of few wrestlers to win all four of his matches last week. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Celt Alvarro Venegas takes down an opponent in a match earlier this season. Venegas was one of few wrestlers to win all four of his matches last week. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The lack of time in live fire situations due to a number of match cancellations showed in the scores when the McNary High School varsity wrestling team met McMinnville and Newberg high schools on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

McNary lost both dual meets.

“The reality of it is that our opponents were wrestling their fifth, and sometimes sixth, matches of the season. For our guys it was the first or second match of the season,” said Jason Ebbs, McNary head coach. “We’re a fistful of matches behind, but the good news is that they didn’t do anything to us that can’t be fixed.”

McMinnville beat the Celts 35-30 while Newberg took a 54-18 win.

Junior Alvarro Venegas, one of only three wrestlers to win both of his matches on the night, said a lack of focus seemed to be getting in the way.

“We had a bunch of guys up in the stands talking with friends. We need everyone to be down on the floor cheering for the guy on the mat,” Venegas said.

In the McMinnville match, Venegas won by pin in 3:09. His match with Newberg High School’s Evan Smith went into overtime after six minutes left the pair knotted at 3-3.

“I went for an ankle pick, but his foot was already outside the ring. I decided to get the near ankle and take him down,” Venegas said. “My toes were still inbounds and I got the points and the win (5-3).”

Other winners in the McMinnville match were: Louis Palos in a 5-2 decision; Jordan Cagle in a 11-6 decision; Gage Mance by pin in 3:03, Zach Hammerschmith in a 10-7 decision and Steven Wilkerson in a 10-6 decision.

Hammerschmith’s opponent, Brian Barnes, was a freshman with “some cred,” Ebbs said, and Hammerschmith was working on a busted ankle.

“I couldn’t shoot off the ankle, but I tried to use my best technique,” Hammerschmith said.

In the Newberg dual, Palos defeated the Tigers’ Wyatt Rude in a 5-3 decision; Michael Phelps won by pin in 3:32; Hammerschmith won by pin in 1:35 and Venegas notched the overtime win.

By Friday, Dec. 20, the Celts appeared to have shaken off some of the dust. The McNary team took part in a three-team dual meet with Silverton and Cleveland high schools at Silverton.

The Celts took a 39-33 win over Cleveland with McNary spreading out the wins over a number of weight classes. Jonathon Phelps won by pin in 2:30; Michael Phelps won in a 4-2 decision.; Caleb Connor won by pin in 3:54; Mance won by pin in 1:18; and Venegas pinned his opponent in 2:38.

The Mat Men notched a 41-32 victory over Silverton High School. Riley Repp won by pin in 3:16; Palos won by pin in 1:39; J. Phelps won by pin in 3:46; Mance won in a 15-0 tech fall; Hammerschmith won by pin in 2:00; and Venegas got a pin in 1:19.

“Killer Dads: The Twisted Drives That Compel Fathers to Murder Their Own Kids” by Mary Papenfuss

Killer-Dads

Killer Dads: The Twisted Drives That Compel Fathers to Murder Their Own Kids” by Mary Papenfuss

c.2013, Prometheus Books
$19.00 / $20.00 Canada
271 pages

 

BOOK REVIEW
by TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER

Snow White had it pretty bad.

She had an evil stepmother who tried to get some poor schlub to kill Snow, to no avail. Abandonment didn’t work for Hansel & Gretel’s stepmom, either, but it did almost get them eaten. Pity poor Cinderella – an evil stepmother and two stepsisters.

Unfairly or not, in literature and movies, stepmothers often get a bum rap. But what if the blame is mislaid?  In “Killer Dads” by Mary Papenfuss, you’ll see that murder can go both ways.

Mary Papenfuss keeps pictures of children on her office bulletin board. Not many are “pictures of happy kids,” she says. She doesn’t, in fact, know most of those children, except through court cases and news stories because those kids are dead by the hands of “people they loved and people they thought loved them.” In the last ten years, Papenfuss says, some 20,000 children have been murdered at home. Many of them were killed by a father or stepfather.

Take “James,” for instance.

James now sits in protective custody in a Washington prison, stringing beads and watching his back. He’s afraid because “his co-convicts want to murder him” like he murdered his five-year-old stepdaughter. A few years ago, James – who admits that he had problems with anger – fought with his wife, then took her “baby” downstairs and brutally killed the girl with a kitchen knife.

Anger is a common reason given for losing control, but it’s not the only one. Lawyer Bill Parente was beloved for his gentle demeanor and his talent for making money for his investment clients. When police discovered the bodies of Parente, his wife, and their two daughters in a motel, officials quickly learned that Parente was the creator of a crumbling Ponzi scheme and was deeply in debt. They ultimately believed that he killed his family to spare them the “humiliation” of losing their lifestyle.

Josh Powell famously killed himself and his sons in a rigged explosion; Powell’s wife is still missing. Scott Peterson was convicted of murdering his wife and unborn son. And officials still argue over the possibility of “honor killings” in several states around the country…

Are we little better than langur monkeys, the males of which ruthlessly murder the infants of their rivals?  That’s just one of the questions asked by author Mary Papenfuss in this surprising true crime book.

At first, “Killer Dads” may seem like any other in this genre: readers are given a bit of back-story, followed by an account of a violent murder and a brief bit of aftermath. But rather than quickly moving on to the next crime, Papenfuss offers in-between chapters that attempt to explain some disturbing facts. We teach our children, for example, of “stranger danger” (which, she says, is rarer) but the fact is that kids are astoundingly more likely to be killed by someone they trusted.

While this book is a guaranteed nightmare-maker for any parent, it’s a dream-read for true crime fanatics.  If you’re feeling brave, therefore, here’s your book. “Killer Dads” ain’t too bad.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is based in Wisconsin.

“Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade” by Adam Minter

Junkyard-Planet

Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade” by Adam Minter

c.2013, Bloomsbury Press
$26.00 / $27.50 Canada
285 pages

 

BOOK REVIEW
by TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER

This will probably be the last year for your old Christmas lights.

You’ve noticed that the bulbs are half burned-out and replacements are hard to find these days. Besides, you’d really rather have those newfangled lights anyhow; they’re energy efficient and they look nicer.

You’re going to recycle those old twinklers because it’s the right thing to do. But where do they go after you’ve put them in the bin?  Read “Junkyard Planet” by Adam Minter, and you might be surprised to find out.

For most of his life, Adam Minter has been intrigued by junk. You could almost say it’s genetic – his father and grandmother owned a Minneapolis junkyard – and since he’s already a journalist working in China, trash is relatively easy to investigate.

China, you see, is where a lot of America’s scrap – cell phones, electric motors, plastic, construction debris, Christmas lights – ends up. Says Minter, it’s “the most logical (and greenest) endpoint…”

When you put something in the recycling bin, you’re really, in some respects, throwing away money. Yesterday’s newspaper, an empty detergent bottle, your old computer, that junker in your garage will eventually all be bought, sold, and either picked apart here in America or shipped overseas to be processed and metals reclaimed.

“… the richer you are, and the more educated you are,” says Minter, “the more stuff you will throw away.”

And throw away we do: Minter says that, in 2012, U.S. scrap workers “were responsible for transforming 135 million metric tons of recyclable waste into raw materials that could be made into new stuff.”  Exporting other trash for processing saves low-grade scrap from being dumped in a landfill. Together, that lessens environmental costs.

As for financial costs, Minter says it’s often cheaper for U.S. scrappers to send materials overseas than across the country. Despite that safety is often iffy there, overseas facilities offer employees better-than-farming wages and opportunities for family businesses. And besides, “the developing world can usually find a use for what Americans can’t recycle profitably,” sometimes returning to us a re-recycled item, ready to use again.

Says Minter, “Round and round it goes.”

“Junkyard Planet is a good book – and it’s not.

Because it takes a lively look at the symbiosis between American and Chinese trash trade, there’s a lot of back-and-forth-across-the-ocean here, resulting in what feels like a good amount of repetition. The facts that are highlighted in this book are quite shocking, but author Adam Minter throws them around like confetti on New Year’s Eve. After awhile, it’s hard to be impressed by them anymore.

And yet – there’s something to be said about a book that offers solid, deep scrutiny of a “hidden,” big-bucks industry that makes something good from an out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality.

Overall, though it takes time to absorb, I think that if you’ve ever thrown something away and figured it would magically disappear forever, this book will disabuse you of that notion. For you, or anyone who wants to know where America’s recyclables go, “Junkyard Planet” will show you the light.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is based in Wisconsin.

Height advantage too much for Celtic b-ball

McNary’s Braden Taylor tries to muscle his way to the rim in the game with McMinnville High School Tuesday, Dec. 17. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
McNary’s Braden Taylor tries to muscle his way to the rim in the game with McMinnville High School Tuesday, Dec. 17. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The McNary High School varsity basketball team started the season with two blistering wins, but ran into some trouble last week with teams that had the one thing no amount of practice is going to change: a big height advantage.

The Celts faced off with McMinnville High School Tuesday, Dec. 17, at McNary. In the early going, neither team had a clear edge. It took nearly six minutes for the Grizzlies to pull away from the Keizer team and McMinnville had only an 11-8 lead at the buzzer.

“In the second quarter, their height really came into play,” said Ryan Kirch, McNary head coach. “Their tall guy [Vince Boumann] kept coming up with the defensive rebounds. They also did a good job of switching up their defense and we had trouble adjusting.”

The Grizzlies led 27-17 at halftime, but the Celts came out with a rejuvenated offense in the second half. By the end of the third quarter, McNary had closed the gap to 40-35.

“We picked up the pressure defensively and tried to get in stronger attacks to put us at the rim. That’s what we prefer to do, but it was difficult missing two starters,” Kirch said.

McMinnville outscored the Celts 19-17 in the fourth for the 59-52 final.

“We lost, but the boys fought all the way back. It came down to simply missing a couple of shots late in the game while McMinnville made theirs,” Kirch said. “I think if we were 100 percent healthy, that was a game we would have won.”

Senior Johnathan Doutt led the team with 15 points, Cade Goff had nine, Braden Taylor had seven, Hayden McCowan had six, Hayden Gosling, Austin Stone and Trent Van Cleave put up four apiece, and Drew McHugh had three points in the game. Doutt, Goff and Taylor hit treys.

The Celts took part in a tournament at Dallas High School Friday and Saturday, drawing Crater High School as their first-round opponent. The Comets start three 6-foot-7 players leaving McNary at another disadvantage. The Comets won, but didn’t dominate in a 56-52 loss for McNary.

A frustrating second quarter mostly accounted for the boys’ loss to Dallas High School in the follow-up game. A two-point McNary lead in the first quarter turned into trailing the Dragons 25-14 by halftime.

Despite better offensive output in the remainder of the game, Dallas held onto its lead for a 48-38 win.

Play structure funding discussed as fundraising committee has meeting

KEIZERTIMES/File photo
KEIZERTIMES/File photo

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

There’s no question money needs to be raised.

The question is, how much money?

The fundraising committee of the Keizer Rapids Park Playground Project (KRPPP) held its first meeting Dec. 18, chaired by Marion County Commission Janet Carlson.

Co-chair Richard Walsh was also present, as well as fellow committee members Clint Holland, Jeanne Bond-Esser and Jim Taylor. Mayor Lore Christopher was absent, while Mark Caillier, recently named co-general coordinator of the overall project, was in attendance.

Carlson went over roles of the committee, in particular the main one.

“Fundraising is responsible for raising the money, so we need to talk about a goal,” Carlson said.

Walsh, co-chair of the play structure task force, noted the money amount is still preliminary.

“The number is moving,” Walsh said. “It had been $250,000, but at the last council meeting they threw out $500,000. We’re looking at $250,000 in cash, which includes $100,000 (from the city) from the start. It would cost $500,000 if we hired people to do it. The $250,000 includes the consultant, so this committee is looking for an additional $150,000.”

Walsh noted an issue in securing the final amount needed: the lack of final cost numbers.

“We need a component list that tells us what each thing costs,” he said. “What does each of these sections cost? Once we figure it out, if someone wants to buy (a part), we can tell them it costs X. If we can get that list, someone can say, ‘My firm or group can do this.’ We need to do that before going to all of these people, or everyone will get mad at us.”

Another issue to work out is naming rights. Caillier, a former city councilor, noted city policy calls for naming rights to be allowed if at least 50 percent of an item’s cost is covered.

“The biggest problem we’re going to have is a lot of people want to help, but we can’t name this for multiple people,” Walsh said. “If we sell (naming rights) of everything at 50 percent of the items, we won’t have enough money raised.”

Once the amount needed and naming right policies are figured out, Carlson said how much to ask businesses for is the next step.

“We need to put our materials together before we go out,” she said. “We need to brainstorm ideas for all of our contacts and make sure we’re not having three people calling one person and no one calling someone else.”

Lady Celts win one, lose one on road

KEIZERTIMES
KEIZERTIMES

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

When the McNary High School girls varsity basketball team headed into games with Parkrose and Roseburg high schools last week, Head Coach Paul Pickerell hoped the games would give the Lady Celts opportunities to work on their press break.

Those plans didn’t pan out as the Celts dominated in a 52-31 win over Parkrose and had to claw their way back in the 66-50 loss with Roseburg.

“When Roseburg did press us, we did a good job of being patient and had no problems getting the ball up the court. In both games, we did a good job with our transition offense and getting good shots up,” Pickerell said.

Despite the lopsided score in the Parkrose game, Pickerell felt the Keizer team was capable of more.

“We played down to the competition. We still won by 21, but our execution on offense and defense just wasn’t sharp all game,” Pickerell said.

By halftime, McNary had a commanding 30-16 lead and rode it to the win even though the offensive output didn’t match the first half.

Reina Strand led the team with 15 points, Baili Keeton had nine, Ashlee Koenig had had five, Jasmine Ernest, Kaelie Flores and Sydney Hunter had four apiece, Emma Jones and Jaylene Montano had three each, Madi Hingston and Anna Von Bremmen had two apiece, and Alyx Peterson hit one from the foul line.

In the Roseburg game, Flores’ attack off the boards helped the team stay within arm’s length of the Indians. The Lady Celts got as close as six points away in the second half.

“Kaelie was a beast on the boards and pulled down double-digit rebounds for the third time in four games,” Pickerell said. “The effort in the Roseburg game was outstanding throughout much of the game and the girls made significant strides forward despite the loss.”

A pair of 14-point quarters gave Roseburg a 28-15 lead going into the second half. McNary hung close to the Indians’ output in the third and fourth quarters, but never overcame the gap.

Strand had 13 points, Keeton had 12, Hingston notched 11 on a late-gate spurt, Ernest had seven points, Hunter had four points, Koenig had three, and Flores had two. The Celts also drained five three-point goals. Hingston and Keeton had two each and Ernest had one.

After the Christmas holiday, the Lady Celts will head to the Nike Interstate Shootout in Lake Oswego.

“Our goals for the Shootout are to play four games the way we want to play: high energy, players executing, and getting good looks at the basket while making the other team take tough shots,” Pickerell said. “It’s a great tournament to get used to the state tournament format of playing games on multiple nights so that’s always an emphasis.”

One last hurrah

 

Dan Cruikshank (right) stands with sons Devin (front) and Dillon (rear) by the drag racing Santa display in front of his house at 1690 Leo Street NE in Keizer. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Dan Cruikshank (right) stands with sons Devin (front) and Dillon (rear) by the drag racing Santa display in front of his house at 1690 Leo Street NE in Keizer. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

As far as Dan Cruikshank is concerned, this is the last time.

But not if his family has anything to say about it.

Cruikshank, 53, started doing an elaborate Christmas light display in Oregon City in the mid-1990s and continued the deed once he moved to Keizer in 1998.

He last did the display in 2003, the year youngest child Devin was born.

“People keep saying ‘You need to do it again,’” said Cruikshank, who lives on a dead end at 1690 Leo Street NE in Keizer. “But it’s too much work. And there’s no traffic down here.”

Cruikshank worked in the sheetmetal field more than 30 years until losing his job three years ago. He’s on disability for a degenerative disc disease.

“It’s kicking my behind,” he said.

Around last Christmas, more people – in particular family and friends – started asking Cruikshank about doing his display again.

“They convinced me to do it again,” he said.

A car was donated to the cause by Big Jim’s Auto Wrecking. Brother Deric and his son helped, while Cruikshank’s oldest son Dillon, 20, also helped put things together.

This year, it’s not just about the lights: a food barrel has been put out to collect food for Hope Station Community Services.

“The food drive part is for them,” Cruikshank said. “The idea is to bring people here. I wanted to go out with one last hurrah. I added the food drive because when I was young, we were poor. We got food baskets and people helped pay our bills.”

So with the help from others, Cruikshank set out to do the display once more. He has the same binary computer program he used at the start, starring Santa the drag racer.

“Santa crashed his sleigh, then got in the car,” Cruikshank said. “It all turns on: the headlights, the taillights, everything turns on. The car moves forward, the Christmas tree (starting lights) goes down, the car goes for 12 seconds and then it starts over.”

Things haven’t been going according to plan. Perhaps due to 10 years of non-use, there has been a constant issue with lights and battery issues.

“It has been a constant rebuilding, pretty much every day,” Cruikshank said.

But the setbacks have been small compared to the joy it’s brought people – including Cruikshank’s family members.

“I think it’s awesome,” Dillon said. “If more people would help each year, there would be more lit up and more people would be coming. It’s a joy we are trying to bring to people.”

Dillon is among family members who would love to see the display continue.

“I want to do it, but I don’t want to have to pay the electricity bill,” he said. “The last year we did this, I was 10 years old. Seeing this brought back a lot of memories. It’s a lot of hard work and effort. You just work through it and keep the good attitude up.

“This has brought back a lot of good memories,” Dillon added of the display. “It’s awesome we’re doing it again. It’s really cool.”

LeDuc not looking back

 

KEIZERTIMES/File photo
KEIZERTIMES/File photo

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

One of the top stories in Keizer in 2013 was Ken LeDuc joining the Keizer City Council, then abruptly resigning four months later.

A poll on keiezertimes.com showed LeDuc to be the top story of the year, as of Monday morning.

LeDuc, who works in the IT/data security field, hasn’t exactly dwelt on those four months.

“I’ve been so busy with my personal time, I really haven’t thought about that,” LeDuc told the Keizertimes Dec. 20. “I’ve been so involved with family and work, I haven’t had time to think about that.”

While vice president of the West Keizer Neighborhood Association, LeDuc won the council seat formerly held by Brandon Smith in November 2012. Surrounded by his family, LeDuc took the oath in January and joined the council.

On May 10, LeDuc sent a short note to the city that he had resigned, effective immediately.

“There was an issue at the time I had to address, and I did,” LeDuc said last week. “Because of family and work taking a priority, I made a decision. If I was still on council and that personal issue would have arisen today, I would have certainly made the same decision.”

By and large, LeDuc hasn’t been keeping up with what’s going on at city hall.

“Not as much as I’d like, because of the involvement with my family and with work,” he said. “Occasionally I hear things or will discuss with a neighbor information they have heard. But I haven’t had my hand on the pulse. I’ve been so involved with the two most important elements of my life, I haven’t reflected back on that.”

LeDuc said being elected was “everything I thought it would be” and he learned a lot. Could he see himself doing so again down the road?

“Anything is possible,” he said. “At the current time, probably not. But in the future, possibly. It would probably be a matter of commitment and time availability.”

One of LeDuc’s warmest memories of his council tenure was one of the last things he did. Four days before resigning, LeDuc gave up his seat as a dignitary in the Iris Festival Parade to Shawna Fenison, the mother of the late Pfc. Ryan J. Hill, the only Keizer soldier killed in war. The park at Keizer Station was dedicated to Hill in November.

“That was the last thing I got to do on council,” LeDuc said. “I’m really glad I had the opportunity to do that and invited her to be in my car.”

The top 10 of 2013

Clockwise from top left: Ken LeDuc is sworn in as a new Keizer City Councilor in January, a seat he would relinquish in May; John Teague is sworn in as the new police chief in September; Peter Zielinski walks past his late wife Lisa's parents after being sentenced to life in prison for Lisa's 2011 murder; designer Jane Lewis Holman presents the play structure design. (KEIZERTIMES/File photos)
Clockwise from top left: Ken LeDuc is sworn in as a new Keizer City Councilor in January, a seat he would relinquish in May; John Teague is sworn in as the new police chief in September; Peter Zielinski walks past his late wife Lisa’s parents after being sentenced to life in prison for Lisa’s 2011 murder; designer Jane Lewis Holman presents the play structure design. (KEIZERTIMES/File photos)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Keizer was a busy place in 2013.

The year started with three new members of the Keizer City Council being sworn in and ended with a large play structure project moving forward at full speed, as plans to secure long-term financing for parks were stopped cold.

Below is a list of the top 10 news stories in Keizer from 2013, as chosen by the Keizertimes staff, in random order.

 

Ken LeDuc on council, then off

When the year started, three new members joined the Keizer City Council: Ken LeDuc, Marlene Quinn and former mayor Dennis Koho.

LeDuc’s time in office didn’t last long. During a budget committee meeting May 9, LeDuc and Koho got into a heated argument. LeDuc’s son joined the audience at one point, prompting a discussion in the lobby between father and son. After the meeting, when asked by the Keizertimes to confirm that had been his son in the audience, LeDuc responded, “I don’t know.”

The next day, LeDuc abruptly resigned from the council.

“To the Keizer city government, I resign my elected position on the Keizer City Council effective immediately,” LeDuc wrote.

That incident followed one from earlier in the year, in which LeDuc was alleged to have yelled at an Eagle Scout parent. LeDuc denied the accusation, but the incident led councilors to form a committee for self-policing purposes.

Kim Freeman was selected to fill LeDuc’s vacated seat in June.

See related story for an update on LeDuc.

 

Zielinski admits guilt, sent to prison

The saga of Lisa Zielinski’s January 2011 death continued, as husband Peter Zielinski’s murder trial was delayed to March. It was then postponed to September before being postponed yet again to November.

As jury selection was ready to begin in November, Peter Zielinski surprised many by admitting his guilt, thus making the trial a moot point. Prior to being sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 25 years before parole, Peter got an earful from Lisa’s family members.

Among the most powerful words came from Rhonda Tupper, Lisa’s brokenhearted mom.

“Pete, you are an unspeakable monster,” Rhonda said. “For your act of extreme cowardice, we will always despise you.”

Pete briefly addressed the family before being led out of the room in cuffs.

“I don’t know what I can say,” he said. “I’ve taken something from everyone here. It’s been lost and can never be replaced. No words I could say can ever reconcile that. I expect no forgiveness. Nobody can forgive my sin. But I want you to know, from the depths of my soul, I truly am sorry. You embraced me as one of your own and I betrayed you. You have every right to be angry.”

 

Teague returns to take over as police chief

Early in the year, veteran police chief Marc Adams announced plans to retire in early 2014. The timeline got moved up a couple of times. Adams officially retired at the end of May, though he stayed on through August.

Captain Jeff Kuhns was one of five finalists to replace Adams, but the job instead went to former Keizer Police Department captain John Teague, who left for Dallas to take over as police chief there in 2009.

After previously serving in Keizer for 20 years, Teague returned to the city in September. He reorganized the organizational chart and made some promotions in job titles, including naming Kuhns deputy chief.

 

Community build play structure moves forward

A big project throughout the year was plans for a large community build play structure at Keizer Rapids Park. The idea was first brought to the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board by Keizer citizen Will Stitt in December 2012.

As 2013 unfolded, options continued to be discussed and seed money – in the form of System Development Charges – was secured, which helped pay for New York-based Leather and Associates to come aboard as project consultant.

More than 3,000 elementary students in Keizer submitted ideas of what they wanted to see in the play structure, with the project designer unveiling the drawing at a Nov. 14 event that brought nearly 400 people to Keizer Civic Center.

Various committees will continue to meet in 2014, with the actual construction taking place during a five-day span in September.

 

Fire levy passes comfortably

The Keizer Fire District sent the most expensive of four levy options to voters in November and came away with a new five-year levy.

During the summer, members of the Keizer Fire Board recommended raising the current levy of $.35 per $1,000 in assessed value to $.59 per $1,000 and using the extra revenue to provide full-time staffing for a second ambulance and to pay for 9-1-1 dispatch services.

While there was some concern about how voters would react to the increase, those fears didn’t come to fruition as more than 58 percent of those casting ballots for the Nov. 5 ballot measure approved it.

“We’re delighted by the results and the positive response we’ve had from the Keizer community,” Keizer fire chief Jeff Cowan said after results came in. “We asked for what we needed and the community responded. We take it as an endorsement that the community believes in the work we’re doing. Tonight we celebrate. Tomorrow we roll up our sleeves and get to work.”

 

Growth at Keizer Station continues

Keizer Station continues to gain momentum, with more on the way in 2014.

In July, an Outback Steakhouse – the first “sit-down” or full-service restaurant in Keizer Station – opened to much fanfare. Company officials called the opening week one of the best in the company’s history.

In October, it was announced outdoor clothing store REI would be opening in the former Circuit City building, which had been vacated in March 2009 and used most recently as the Futsal Center by the Keizer Soccer Club.

REI is expected to open in the spring of 2014.

Another new store, LOFT, opened in Keizer Station in September.

 

New clinics coming to Keizer in 2014

It’s not just more shopping coming to Keizer Station. In June, it was announced Kaiser Permanente will be opening a 20,000 square foot clinic in Keizer Station in late 2014 or early 2015.

“To have that available in this city is huge,” mayor Lore Christopher said. “Our location is so darn good, in a short time it will be a heavily used clinic. It will draw from all directions, since it will be so much easier to get to.”

Before that, a Silverton Health clinic will be opening on Inland Shores Way NE. Ground for the 10,000 square foot clinic was broken in July, at which time CEO Rick Cagen announced the clinic would be opening at the start of January 2014.

The timing was close: the clinic is actually set to open on Feb. 1.

 

Keizer Sunday Market opens

The Keizer Sunday Market debuted in June in Chalmers Jones Park behind Keizer Civic Center. The market ran each weekend from June 2 through late August.

The market initially had 60 vendors signed up to participate, but the most vendors for a week was 27. By the end, there were 15 vendors.

Despite the relatively low turnout, market director Tina Schneider pledged the market would return in 2014, likely in a different location.

“It just wasn’t visible,” Schneider said of the spot behind city hall. “We could have gotten more participation from the community and vendors if, say, we were at a more visible location on River Road. That’s the direction our long-range planning commission will have. We do have some ideas.”

 

KLL Park battle, vandalism

The Keizer Little League (KLL) Park was a constant source of conversation throughout the year – mostly for what happened off the field.

In February, leaders of the KLL and the Keizer Youth Sports Association (KYSA) – a group formed after a split with KLL several years earlier – presented a list of upgrades and repairs needed at KLL Park to the Parks Board. The $510,000 price tag sparked plenty of debate and discussion.

The park was in the news again in October after extensive vandalism damage was found. Kurt Barker, president of KYSA, reached an agreement with parents of the four guilty teens to help pay for repairs.

In November, a committee recommended the management of KLL Park be given back to KLL. That angered Barker.

“In the future, I would ask there be steps to take to make sure a person (on the committee) is not biased,” Barker said during a Parks Board meeting in November.

The Keizer City Council was set to award the contract Dec. 16, but the issue was pushed back to the first meeting of 2014.

 

Long-term funding options discussed for parks

Members of the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board spent months discussing options for securing more permanent long-term funding for the parks system.

Members talked in general terms of possibly adding a $2 fee on water bills, which would create more than $300,000 in new annual funding for capital improvements, maintenance and recreation programs at the city’s 18 parks.

After various funding mechanisms were deliberated, it was agreed to have a public hearing in February 2014, allowing citizens the chance to say what improvements – if any – they would like to see in their parks. The idea was to take those ideas, incorporate them into a recommendation to be sent to the city council and – if approved at that level – send the issue to voters next fall.

However, council did not approve of the plan. Koho expressed concern in a series of e-mails and last week Christopher made it clear councilors would not approve the idea. She strongly recommended the topic be tabled until after the completion of the community build play structure.

 

There were other stories worth mentioning, including:

• Michael Dietrich was arrested for making his counterfeit currency in his Keizer home. While the front door of his home was being watched by police, Dietrich snuck in through the back door and proceeded to destroy evidence.

• When the year started, the organization 25 fields for Oregon was getting support for a soccer field facility in the Keizer area. Organization leaders were largely out of the public eye in the second half of the year while working with legislators.

• A renovation of Chemawa Road North from River Road west to Keizer Rapids Park was finally started, but a delay in utilities being moved led to delays in the project.

• There continued to be heated discussion about the proposed roundabout at Chemawa Road and Verda Lane. Bidding was set to take place in January 2014, with the project to be completed in the summer. Those plans were pushed back, with bidding now set for late 2014.

• The Keizer Transit Center opened in July, which also led in bus service being restored to the nearby Gubser neighborhood for the first time since 2009. A vocal group of neighbors were upset and said they weren’t notified.

• Amid concerns about finances and bankruptcy, the city’s only hotel, Renaissance Inn, was sold to a new group in June.

What are the views?

To the Editor:

In spite of the fiery rhetoric from talk radio and cable TV commentary, reasonable people can find grounds for civil discourse. For instance, it is quite possible to be pro-gun and anti- gun lobby, or even anti-abortion but pro-Planned Parenthood.

In one area however, there is no middle ground, you either understand that climate change is a human- caused calamity or you think because it’s been cold lately, global warming is a lefty conspiracy to sell funny light bulbs and bus passes. The latter view is roughly akin to saying “I feel better today than yesterday, I must be getting younger.”

Which brings me to my point. What are the views on climate change of the two recently announced Republican candidates for Senate district 13 and House District 25 office? Do Kim Thatcher and Bill Post respect the proven obvious, that the planet is warming, sea levels rising, glaciers melting, and that’s a very, very bad thing?

Or do they prefer to pander to the head in the tar sands — tea party base? Just asking. Happy New Year.

Martin Doerfler
Keizer