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Day: January 10, 2014

Taylor livid over KYSA’s ‘unconscionable’ action

Kurt Barker, president of Keizer Youth Sports Association (KYSA), gives city officials and leaders a tour of Keizer Little League Park last September. KYSA removed equipment from KLL Park after not getting the 2014 management contract. (KEIZERTIMES file/Craig Murphy)
Kurt Barker, president of Keizer Youth Sports Association (KYSA), gives city officials and leaders a tour of Keizer Little League Park last September. KYSA removed equipment from KLL Park after not getting the 2014 management contract. (KEIZERTIMES file/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

The contentious issue of management of Keizer Little League Park was being discussed like any normal item by the Keizer City Council on Monday.

That was no easy task, considering a split within Keizer Little League (KLL) led to the formation of the Keizer Youth Sports Association (KYSA) in 2008, with the new group taking over management of the youth baseball complex.

That is, until one item led councilor Jim Taylor to lash out against KYSA leaders.

“Children shouldn’t be running children’s programs,” Taylor said following the meeting.

In the fall, leaders from both KYSA and KLL responded to the city’s Request For Proposals (RFP) for management of the facility. A committee of five unanimously selected the KLL proposal, in large part because the KYSA proposal was felt to be incomplete. KYSA president Kurt Barker made an accusation at November’s Keizer Parks Board meeting committee members were biased against KYSA.

At Monday’s meeting, councilors discussed the topic before unanimously awarding the contract to KLL. The contract will run for one year, with two additional one-year options.

One aspect of city manager Chris Eppley’s report to the city council caused ears to perk up.

“KYSA arguably owns the equipment and has removed it,” Eppley said. “We’ll buy a mower and store it down there.”

Mayor Lore Christopher picked up on that.

“So KYSA has taken the equipment?” Christopher asked, getting an affirmative answer from Eppley.

“We’ll replace the maintenance equipment like the mower and rakes,” Eppley said. “I doubt we’ll replace equipment from the concession stand. We will require KLL to find concession equipment.”

Councilor Jim Taylor, who had been on the five-person committee recommending KLL, asked if the city had KYSA’s keys to the facility.

“No,” city attorney Shannon Johnson said. “Kurt Barker said they are still moving stuff out.”

Barker, sitting in the audience along with KYSA baseball director Scott Kaiser, said that wasn’t the case.

“You have the keys,” Barker said. “You’ve had them all year long.”

Johnson turned back to Taylor.

“That hasn’t been worked out,” Johnson said.

Taylor spoke about being on the committee.

“I was not an advocate for either program,” Taylor said. “I was an advocate for the park. Going by the RFP, I had to look at who answered the questions. That’s how I did it. I just want to make that clear.”

Christopher opined items at the concession stand should have stayed.

“The way it should have always been, things in the concession stand will be city property,” she said. “It should have always been that way.”

Kaiser nor Barker had much to say after the meeting.

“Decisions were made,” Kaiser said. “We’ll see how it turns out. Now there is money available (to buy equipment). It’s unbelievable.”

Taylor, however, had plenty to say afterwards.

“To take all their equipment only hurts one thing and that’s the youth of Keizer,” an angry Taylor growled. “I’m not getting into the legalities of it, I’m not an attorney, but it’s unconscionable to do that to the kids, unconscionable to do that to the taxpayers of Keizer and all the people who helped pay for that stuff.

“It’s going to cost the taxpayers indirectly to help support that down there because they have chosen to take the equipment, which they have no use for,” Taylor added. “They’ve taken stuff out of concession stand, which they have no use for.”

By Tuesday morning, Taylor was even more livid.

“The people in Keizer need to know how (KYSA leaders) are acting,” Taylor said in an interview with the Keizertimes. “They are just being children. Apparently they took out the ice machine. It’s beyond me how anyone could be that childish and vindictive over something they caused. This was their doing. They caused it.

“They did not answer the RFP,” Taylor added. “Chris called Kurt when he received the RFP, wondering if he had left some pages out. Chris gave him a chance to add on because it was incomplete. Kurt never returned that call. This was their doing. Then to get mad and start ripping out things is unconscionable It only hurts the kids and Keizer. I’m just dumbfounded.”

Taylor noted his long involvement with youth sports.

“There’s no bigger supporter of youth baseball in Keizer than I am,” he said. “I’ve been around the block and done a lot. It’s all about the kids. They’re not all about the kids. It’s very obvious. We don’t want to do business with people who don’t want to do it for the right reason.”

A loss that will be felt

After more than 30 years Keizer will be without a locally-owned hardware store. Ace Hardware, born as Coast to Coast Hardware in 1972, will close its doors at the end of January.

It is a commentary on the current economic times in America. Owners Greg and Jan Frank looked into the future and saw no way to keep the Keizer store going after its lease expires later this month.  The Franks deserve kudos for keeping the store as a going concern after the arrival of behomeths Lowe’s in Keizer Station and Home Depot just across the Salem Parkway. It is diffcult at best for a small retailer to succeed in the market against two, let alone one, huge competitors.

The Franks will continue to operate their second Ace Hardware store located in West Salem. But that doesn’t take the sting out of losing a beloved store, especially one which will leave a large hole on River Road.

Though part of a large franchised hardware chain, the Keizer Ace Hardware was always operated like a mom and pop operation—the staff knew where every paint brush, bolt and screwdriver was located in the store. The closing of the Keizer store will result in a handful of people losing their jobs.

The closing of Ace Hardware is a cautionary tale for other locally owned retailers in Keizer. The store and its staff seemingly did everything right, caring for their customers, offering value and the products they wanted. In the end it was like a little dinghy getting pushed out of the way for a couple of battleships.

Customer service is the one aspect that can differentiate one retailer from another, or a small retailer from superlarge competitors. As consumers we seek value but also want excellent service by knowledgeable staff. We have all experienced less-than-stellar service at some point. Small business owners, be they retailers or in the services sector, can keep the customers and clients they have by assuring that the customer feels good about choosing that business.

Making sure that customers are the number one priority in a business doesn’t necessary assure eternal success. The marketplace will always dictate who succeeds and who falls to the side.

The loss of Ace Hardware will add another large empty space in the middle of Keizer’s commercial district. It will join the former Roth’s Market and Office Depot locations across River Road in Schoolhouse Square.

This should be a starting point for the proposed Economic Development Commission the city wants to establish. Keizer Station by its location and reputation will, in the long run, be just fine as more businessees decide to build there.

Keizer should not allow the city’s center to become a ghost town of empty store fronts; some spaces have been empty for years. Surely there are enough smart, visionary businesspeople, government officials and developers who can look at the Schoolhouse Square/Vilberie Center developments and come up with a plan that makes Keizer ‘downtown’ vibrant.

It is sad to lose Ace  Hardware in Keizer, but it gives our business and civic leaders an opportunity to show what they can do for our community.

—LAZ

We need leaders who speak truth

By DON VOWELL

I see that Michelle Obama and I will celebrate our birthdays on the same day.  That is probably the sum of our similarities.  Our most radical difference is our freedom of speech.  Michelle Obama must parse every word that she publicly utters.

If tomorrow I stand at the corner of River and Chemawa Roads yelling conservative tripe and then liberal drivel in alternating 15 minute bursts, nobody will care.  And if I had bangs, no one would care if I changed them.  That’s the greatest freedom of all, and we should think about restoring this right to our leaders.

Barack Obama was elected almost solely due to his remarkable gift for oratory.  That gift seems hidden in storage these days.  From wherever speech originates in his brain it is now screened through dozens of filters before making the dangerous leap from mouth to microphone.  Those filters must prevent him from sounding too black, too white, too liberal, too conservative, too secretive, too open, too pro-business, too welfare state, too Democrat, too Republican, too environmental, too religious, too secular, or excessively anything.  Any speaker or thinker observing those guidelines is certain to rob all that he says of compassion or content.  It is almost painful to see President Obama visibly struggling through press conferences, careful to not stray from rigid talking points, careful to offend no one.

We haven’t always needed that pampering.  George Washington said, “Few men have the virtue to withstand the highest bidder.”  James Madison: “The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.”  Chester A. Arthur said, “If it were not for the reporters I would tell you the truth.”  We used to be strong enough to bear up under the idea that our presidents were imperfect, just like us.

James Madison warned, “I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”  Then James Garfield, “Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce.”  This is about the NSA.  This is about distribution of money and its influence in government.  If only a president could speak this plainly now. These statements are so completely timely, that we should briefly pull away from the Miley/Duck Dynasty morality wars to consider them.

Winston Churchill has never been president, but was always a fearless speaker.  “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter,”  he once said. It is our civic duty to make that untrue about America.

Neal Postman, in Amusing Ourselves to Death, thinks we may be approaching the America in Huxley’s Brave New World rather than Orwell’s 1984. Orwell feared oppression, the banning of books.  Huxley feared there would be no one who wanted to read one.  Orwell feared the withholding of information.  Huxley feared such an onslaught of information that we’d be reduced to passivity and egoism.  Facebook, anyone?  Cat videos and inane political forwards.  “Like” this brightly colored flag picture if you’re a patriot.  Easy enough, and you can do it in your pajamas.

Sometimes I can think of no ending for one of these rants.  Today is that day.  I long for a leader who is unafraid to address our faults, unafraid to seek needed fixes.  Woodrow Wilson said, “If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”  Where will a powerful and unifying leader come from if every word he speaks must be poll-tested?

(Don Vowell lives in Keizer.  He gets on his soapbox regularly in the Keizertimes.)

Free Edward Snowden. Really?

By DEBRA J. SAUNDERS

Former CIA Director James Woolsey has pronounced that the proper punishment for National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden would be for him to be “hanged by his neck until he is dead.”

The news media want to hand him not a rope but a pedestal.

The Guardian editorialized last week that its high-profile source is a hero worthy of a presidential pardon. Likewise, The New York Times opined that the Obama administration should offer Snowden “a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home” and serve less time than the three decades he faces under a pending criminal complaint so that he can enjoy “the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.”

In one sense, Snowden, 30, is a sympathetic figure. In an ocean of anonymous leakers, he came forward to put a name on the avalanche of information he shared with Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald and The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman. That singular act gave credibility to the leaks, ended any debate as to what the NSA is doing and peeled off the gauze that camouflaged an industrial-sized intelligence bureaucracy that couldn’t secure itself.

On the other hand, if Snowden can lift about 1.7 million classified documents without penalty, any contractor can leak state secrets with impunity. No other superpower on the planet would entertain such self-destructive folly.

Snowden has argued that he had a moral duty to challenge an intelligence machinery that was out of control. Hudson Institute senior fellow Gabriel Schoenfeld, author of Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law, is not impressed. Snowden outed U.S. intelligence “for engaging in activity that almost every state engages in.” The former contractor then went into hiding in China and Russia, where he enjoys temporary asylum. “I think it is disgraceful,” quoth Schoenfeld, that Snowden lectures Washington but “doesn’t have the courage to criticize abuses of free speech in his host country.”

To reach its “free Snowden” position, the Times quoted a federal judge who found the NSA program to be “almost Orwellian” while ignoring another federal judge who upheld the program’s constitutionality. The Times also ignored testimony that “telephony metadata” prevented as many as 50 potential terrorist attacks, including a 2009 plot to blow up the New York subway.

In essence, the Times is stuck in 2007, when then-candidate Barack Obama railed against the “false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide.” Obama abandoned that convenient campaign rhetoric after he won election and became responsible for the nation’s security.

The New York Times, however, clings to the 2007 fantasy that surveillance is not a national security tool. Snowden shares that fantastic view, so the paper of record doesn’t want him to pay the criminal price for civil disobedience.

Even some intelligence dons entertain the idea. Last month, Rick Ledgett, the head of the NSA’s Snowden task force, told 60 Minutes that he considers amnesty for Snowden—in exchange for Snowden’s handing over the rest of the secrets he purloined—“worth having a conversation about.” Ever since, I’ve had this sneaking suspicion that some D.C. black hats want to cut a plea bargain or pardon deal that could make the embarrassing press stories disappear.

Former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow is not unfamiliar with that sneaking suspicion. He thinks Snowden is a “traitor.” If the administration is toying with a deal, he said, it would send a catastrophic message to would-be leakers. To wit: “Just make sure you steal enough.”

It’s almost funny when you follow the editorial boards’ logic. The papers argued that Snowden is a hero because he leaked material about which the public has a right to know. Then they supported granting amnesty or leniency if Snowden would agree to hand over any remaining documents rather than share them with the world. A trial would give Snowden the opportunity to tell his story, the American public a chance to find out what exactly Snowden leaked and Washington the burden of proving a criminal case—but the Times and The Guardian apparently prefer a backroom deal.

(Creators Syndicate)

Predictions are a tricky thing

As a young American in the 1960s, it was popular where I lived in Oregon to make New Year’s resolutions.  Prophesizing the future was an art form much less often ventured.  That wasn’t so for one Issac Asimov (1920-1992), an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University who wrote about 500 science fiction and non-fiction books.  Although not as well-known a prognosticator as the 16th century’s Nostradamas, he made some uncanny predictions in 1964 about 2014.  A few follow here:

“By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use.”  Some among us may not realize what electroluminescent panels are, but these thin, bright panels are used in retail displays, signs lighting and flat panel televisions. EL panels are set to take over back lit posters with 75 percent of energy savings when compared with a host of other light-source-based products that are energy deficient while more expensive and bulky.

“Gadgetry will continue to relieve humankind of tedious jobs.”  That’s so true today.  Just look around at all the handy convenience items we use.

“Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone.” Skype, Google Hangout, Face Time and more have made video-chatting commonplace.

“Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence.”  If you define “robot” as a computer that looks and acts like a human, then his guess is definitely accurate.  We don’t have robot servants or robot friends, but we do have robots that can dance and sing.  For example, scientists at MIT’s Nonlinear Lab have programmed a troupe of humanoid Nao robots to dance in synchrony to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.  These machines, with bodies built by Aldebaran of France, go through a complicated routine together which is a thrill to watch.

Some close, but not exact Asimov predictions:

“Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare ‘automeals,’ heat water and covert it to coffee; toast bread; fry, poach and scramble eggs, grill bacon, etc.”  We have Keurigs and other instant coffee machines, so he was not too far off there.  However, we cannot just press a button and have breakfast ready.  Will someone please get with this modern devise ASAP!

“Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and a variety of colors will change them at the touch of a push button.” This could probably be true if we wanted it, since the technology exists.  However, glowing walls and ceilings are not that popular.

“The world population will be 6,500,000,000.”  Good guess, but it’s actually more like 7,100,000,000.

“Mankind will therefore have become largely a race of machine tenders.  Schools will have to be oriented in this direction.”  Sure, computer science has become an important field of study, but we have hardly become “a race of machine tenders.”  Of course, many of us are never far from a machine by way of smartphones and tablets that some, it’s surmised, use even while sleeping.

Incorrect predictions:

“The appliances of 2014 will have no electric cords, of course, for they will be powered by long-lived batteries running on radioisotopes.” We still use electric cords, but at least we can use surge protectors to keep them from meltdown.

“All the high school students will be taught the fundamentals of computer technology, will become proficient in binary arithmetic, and will be trained to perfection in the use of the computer languages that will have developed out of those like the contemporary Fortran.”  This’d be good if true.  Unfortunately, coding classes remain uncommon in high schools as just 1.4 percent of high school  advanced placement students took the computer science exam in 2012.  Learning how to program is an inevitable requirement for successful students of the future. Learning to code is all the rage these days but not where it should matter most, that is, in U.S. schools, that continue to lag far behind their global counterparts.

In conclusion, we can all play Asimov and make predictions for 2064.  What in the realm of science and humanity do you forecast in 50 years?  There are a number of items on drawing boards like frictionless Hyperloop tunnels, conceptualized in Elon Musk’s futuristic pneumatic tube, that will take passengers in a capsule underground between New York and Los Angeles  in 30 to 45 minutes while tourist flights from Earth to the moon and back will occur in a day’s time.

Otherwise, the planet will count twice the population now with a number exceeding 15 billion: No habitable space will be without pushy crowds, a walk on the beach at Seaside and Lincoln City will require a year-in-advance reservation, and Keizer will experience traffic gridlock 24/7.  All earthlings will envy those who lived in Oregon and Washington in the 1900s, unisex restrooms will prevail just like at home, and John Kitzhaber, finally, will no longer be Oregon’s governor and democracy will reign again.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)

‘Now cracks a noble heart’

Gabe Elmore and Nick Neddo duel as Hamlet and Laertes during rehearsals for the Celtic production of the William Shakespeare play. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Gabe Elmore and Nick Neddo duel as Hamlet and Laertes during rehearsals for the Celtic production of the William Shakespeare play. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

In his earliest run at scaling the mountain of text he had to memorize for his upcoming role as Hamlet, McNary High School senior Gabe Elmore made a common mistake.

He thought Hamlet was always supposed to be angry and brooding.

“And he’s not that way at all. There’s happy, desperate, hopeful and at one point he’s just crazy,” Elmore said. “There are only three places, short scenes, where I’m legitimately angry.”

It took him a while to adjust his own perceptions of the character, and he said he was still making new discoveries about the range of emotions he’ll be called upon to impart when the play opens at the high school Friday, Jan. 10. The run continues Jan. 11 and 16-18. Curtain time is 7 p.m. for all shows and tickets are $5.

Hamlet is William Shakespeare’s tragedy about the titular prince of Denmark and his schemes to avenge the death of his father (the one where there’s a guy on stage holding a skull and talking about some guy named Yorick.)

Hamlet is easily one of the Bard’s largest and most complex roles and Elmore began memorizing portions of the script last June before delving into the whole thing in November, but he’s also merely one of several players.

Shyleen Johnson plays a gender-swapped Horatio, Hamlet’s closest companion and sounding board. Typically played as a man, Johnson is hoping to hit new notes with her portrayal.

“I think we’re able to make it feel more like a sibling relationship,” Johnson said. “The danger is I think people might suspect she’s in love with Hamlet, but that is not the case.”

Julia Sjakovs plays Hamlet’s doomed love interest Ophelia. The role was Sjakovs’ most-coveted in what’s become a substantial resume as a Celtic actor.

“I think she’s deeper than some would give her credit for. She goes through so much, and I knew there were immediate ways I could connect with her. That doesn’t happen with every character,” Sjakovs said.

Courtney Gregoire, a newcomer to the Ken Collins theater after transferring from Amity High School plays Hamlet’s mother, Queen Gertrude. She’s hoping that audiences experience the full gamut of what the play has to offer.

“I hope they get to see the whole story. I want them to be able to follow along with the characters’ lives so it’s not just sad,” said Gregoire.

In addition to the various challenges of the roles and the language, the players will have to rely on each other more than usual. Director Dallas Myers is going with a bare-bones stage and minimal props.

“It’s a scary idea. There are bare-stage shows, but I don’t think we’ve ever done one. The audience isn’t able to be distracted by other things like props or backdrops, which makes the work of the actors that much more important,” Elmore said.

Ellen Schoon

Schoon
Schoon

Our own Rosie the Riveter, Ellen Schoon of Keizer, peacefully passed away December 29, 2013, at the age of 97.

She was born in Corsica, South Dakota on April 2, 1916 to Simon and Lena Schoon, the youngest of 12 children.

Ellen grew up in Corsica on the family farm and attended a country school through the eighth grade.  She left her small town for California just prior to World War II to work in the defense industry as one of the original “Rosie the Riveters.” Her tall frame and long fingers allowed her to reach into nooks and crannies to secure the bolts holding planes together. The Keizertimes featured her story in November 2008.

With the end of the war, she met and eloped on March 28, 1947 with Nelson McLoud, a WWII veteran and part of the Air Force. Ellen began the role of military wife, living on various bases throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. She and “Mac” had four children and most of the raising was left to her.  She did this with a strong will, determined heart and profound faith.

With retirement, they moved to Salem in 1969 to finish the raising of children and to finally establish lasting roots in one community. She was an active member of Keizer Community Church, teaching Sunday School for 17 years, serving on various committees, working in the Keizer School District, preparing meals at the Senior Center and visiting the shut-ins, sick and elderly with her dear friend, Louise, until she was 95.

While of Dutch demeanor, Ellen was a gentle spirit who was comfortable serving in the background. Never needing public accolades, she let her actions speak of her strong faith in God. Everyone acquainted with Ellen knew of her passion for walking and she credited her long life to drinking a lot of water, clean living and the protection of her Lord, the “great physician.” She had four granddaughters and enjoyed their antics and sports.

Survivors include her husband Nelson; children, Don McLoud of Eugene; Dean McLoud of Salem; Doug McLoud of Long Beach, Calif. and Denise Lilley (Charley) of Reno, Nev. and granddaughters Kathryn, Clara, Caroline and Melissa Lilley.

A celebration of life was held Jan. 3, 2014 at the Keizer Community Church with private internment preceding. Arrangements were by Keizer Funeral Chapel & Cremation Services.

Marilyn Frances Miller

 

Miller
Miller

Marilyn Frances Miller died Dec. 26, 2013 with all of her children and several grandchildren at her side.

Marilyn was born July 13, 1925 in Birmingham, Ala. to Jessie and Essie Hartshorne. Her parents died when she was a child and Marilyn was raised by Harmon and Edna Wages in Georgia. She lived in Oregon for more than 63 years but Georgia was always on her mind. Keizer was her home most of those years.

Marilyn and her husband, Dick, owned and operated the Range Rider Tavern in Enterprise, where they lived for 12 years. She fell in love with the Wallowa Mountains and has many dear friends there.

Marilyn was a determined and sometimes stubborn lady. Marilyn was always active with bowling, golfing, sewing, gardening, beading and other crafts and hobbies. Marilyn’s life revolved around her family.

Marilyn was preceded in death by three husbands: Earl Sullivan, Willlard Anderegg and Richard (Dick) Miller. She and Dick were married for 50 years prior to his death last July.

She is survived by her children Nanci Anderegg Gogle of Keizer; Lynn Anderegg (Jim) Maxwell of Steilacoom, Wash.; Sue Anderegg Mooers of Keizer; Karen Anderegg (Joe) VanMeter of Keizer; Billie Anderegg (Tom) Knapp of Salem and Richard H (Mindi) Miller of Pendleton, and her grandchildren Devon Floyd, Jason Floyd, Shea Floyd, Mark Maxwell, Christine Maxwell, Jay Mooers, Sara Close, Shannon Norstrom, Preston VanMeter, Heather VanMeter, Laura Knapp, Andy Knapp, and Karli Miller and 12 great-grandchildren.

Marilyn was preceded in death by her brother, Jesse (Billy) Hartshorne and sister Dorothy (Dot) Shores. She is survived by her brother Tommy Wages and sister Anne Stanford, who live in Georgia.

There will be a memorial service on Jan. 11, 2014 at Virgil T. Golden’s in Salem at 1 p.m.

Interment will be beside her husband, Dick, in Enterprise sometime this spring.

Little library opens its door

Nanci Nowlen stands beside Keizer's first Little Free Library, located at 317 Aldridge Drive N. The library opens Jan. 10. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Nanci Nowlen stands beside Keizer’s first Little Free Library, located at 317 Aldridge Drive N. The library opens Jan. 10. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

 

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Keizerite Nanci Nowlen’s plans for retirement from speech therapy have been steadily accumulating during the past several months.

One of her desires was to volunteer at a local library or with reading-related clubs, but she wanted to get started immediately (her retirement was official on Jan. 3). She decided to bring a library to her home. As of Friday, Jan. 10, Nowlen is the proud owner of Keizer’s first Little Free Library at 317 Aldridge Drive N.

“I just thought it was such a good idea, and we have a lot of children in our neighborhood so I wanted to make sure they had a place to go for books,” Nowlen said.

As a speech therapist for the Salem-Keizer School District connecting kids and language has been something of a calling.

The Little Free Library movement began in Hudson, Wis., in 2009. Todd Bol constructed a small-scale schoolhouse with shelves that he installed on his property and began stocking it with books. Anyone in the community was invited to take a book and/or leave one of their own. The first Little Free Library — a tribute to Bol’s school teacher mom – was born.

The movement has grown to nearly 10,000 neighborhood libraries worldwide since then. Nowlen’s is No. 9,170. A map of all registered Little Free Libraries is available at littlefreelibrary.org.

While some owners choose to construct their own libraries, there is also a selection available at the website. That’s where Nowlen found hers.

“It was built by an Amish carpenter out of old barn wood and then weatherized,” Nowlen said.

The libraries aren’t intended to house castoff paperbacks. Instead, owners are encouraged to make their modules carefully curated collections of works they want to share with friends and neighbors.

While Nowlen wants to have a lot of children’s books available at her library, she also knows how she wants to see the collection grow over time.

“I like cookbooks and knitting books, but I know those won’t appeal to everyone. I’ve ordered some titles through the Little Library website and want to get some science fiction and literary novels,” she said.

Keizer Ace closing Jan. 31

Jan (left) and Greg Frank stand in front of their Ace Hardware store Tuesday on River Road N. The store, which has been in the Frank family since 1979, is being closed at the end of January. The Franks are keeping their West Salem store open. (KEIZERTIMES/Lyndon A. Zaitz)
Jan (left) and Greg Frank stand in front of their Ace Hardware store Tuesday on River Road N. The store, which has been in the Frank family since 1979, is being closed at the end of January. The Franks are keeping their West Salem store open. (KEIZERTIMES/Lyndon A. Zaitz)

 

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Ace Hardware may be the place, but Keizer isn’t.

Greg Frank, owner of the Keizer Ace at 5014 River Road North, announced this week he’s closing his store at the end of January.

Frank’s Salem store at 820 Wallace Road Northwest will remain open.

The Keizer Ace started as Coast to Coast Hardware in 1972. Frank’s parents, Chuck and Janette Frank, bought the store in 1979. It became True Value Hardware in 1986. Frank took over the business in 2011, when the store switched hardware cooperatives to Ace.

“After 34 years we regret to announce that we will be closing our Keizer location on Friday, January 31,” Frank said. “As our lease is expiring it necessitated a thorough review of our continued business plan for this location. After reviewing many factors, it was clear that renewing the lease was not a prudent business decision. We thank the many folks who have supported us these last 34 years and hope when your plans allow you can visit us at our West Salem location.”

Frank emphasized it was not an easy decision to make.

“That would be correct,” he said. “Our lease was expiring here. We just reviewed all of the many factors and it was clear renewing the lease was not a prudent business decision.”

What were the main factors?

“There were a variety of factors,” Frank said. “But the cost of the lease and entering into another long-term lease, plus the sales history of this location were the two main ones.”

The decision has been mulled over for a while.

“It’s been going on the last couple of months,” Frank said. “The lease expires in March, so we needed to make a determination prior to that.”

Now comes the challenge of letting the community know the news of the closure.

“It’s difficult, but we also live in a time where things certainly change,” Frank said. “As the old phrase goes, it is what it is. It’s very difficult. Having said that, it’s just the reality of where we’re at.”

The Keizer store has 10 employees, while the West Salem store has 11 employees. Frank will be laying off five employees with the closure.

“Unfortunately we will have to combine workforces so we will have to lay some people off,” he said.