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Month: January 2014

Economic inequality cause for alarm

Chances are the reader has already heard that when business and political leaders met in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum last week to discuss world economic issues, some of them looked at evidence about how much the rich have become richer while the poor have slid in the other direction.  The related statistic that’s found most commonly reported in the media is that 85 of the richest people on Earth now have the same amount of wealth as the bottom half of the global population, this information from the British humanitarian group, Oxfam International.

Meanwhile, here at home in the United States, there is talk now that’s been ongoing for a while that President Obama seeks as a priority to increase the federal minimum wage.  Trying to motivate a “No way!” GOP-dominated Congress that has become a do-nothing legislative body in the Obama years, to go along with any initiative coming out of the White House, predictably means another Dead on Arrival.

The wealthy elite, those who gloried in the “rubbing of elbows” with others like them in Davos, are a small part of the richest 1 percent of the world’s population that has amassed 46 percent of the world’s wealth, or $110 trillion.  The top 1 percent have 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the population.

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., has said that he’s not surprised by the Oxfam report and others like it that show an increased inequality between rich and poor and “as long as we maintain high rates of unemployment, I don’t see any prospect of reversing this situation.” Also, he says, “the only time where workers in the middle and bottom of the wage distribution were able to achieve sustained gains was in the late 1990s when we had low unemployment.”

It can be shown that income growth, often nowadays due to entrenched unemployment numbers. with no income whatsoever for a multitude of poor and middle-class Americans, has lagged behind that of the rich in the last thirty years.  Further, the World Economic Forum said widening income inequality was the risk most likely to cause serious damage in the next decade while it’s being judged by the White House to be a bigger threat to the U.S. economy than the budget deficit.

Income inequality is also socially destabilizing says Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.  “So, it’s not just a question of fairness; it’s a question of how do we preserve a functioning democracy, and it’s difficult to do that if we don’t have broadly shared prosperity.”  So many examples of this abound from world history, the most poignant of which may be the Germany of hard times after the Great Depression got underway in 1929, resulting in Hitler’s Nazi regime that ultimately drummed up world war and holocaust.

Falling taxes for the rich and an increased use of tax havens have helped widen income inequality, says Oxfam.  Then, too the unabashed and uncontrolled profit motives in off-shore relocations of American business and industry have left millions of this nation’s workers without jobs now and futures without employment opportunity.  Another axe into the tap root of that national tree is the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership  (TPP) that promises, like the North American Free Trade Agreement to send millions more jobs overseas.

Many who went to the World Economic Forum this year have been urged to do their part to reverse the decided trends identified here.  Among the objectives for change are support of progressive taxation, pledges not to dodge taxes, pay a living wage to workers, and push governments to provide healthcare, education and social protection for their citizens.

Realists, however, recognize an ongoing rough-road-ahead-status for America’s poor and middle classes: those who constitute the nation’s workforce.  If the country’s wealthy placed people before profits and practiced greed, even in moderation, the scenario could be so much more promising and positive.  But the U.S. rich do not view their fellow citizens as deserving any more than the plight they’ve now got: those with the means and methods being mad for accumulated wealth and material aggrandizement already strains a democracy where only the wealthy any longer appreciate the American Dream.

Meanwhile, we’ve got those members of the U.S. Congress who voted against extending unemployment benefits, torpedoed food stamp programs, cut Head Start funding and have dealt death blows to so many other fundamentally important measures, those that serve to secure civil order by giving the poor and middle classes a chance, were seen in Davos.  We learn from the media with photos to prove it that they were there with staff, ensconcing themselves in luxury suites, enjoying French champagne, Russian caviar and Norwegian smoked salmon, among other pleasures while leaving those without, those they disparagingly refer to as the “takers” to “enjoy” their cake.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)

Ron C. Bassett-Smith

0131-OBIT-Bassett-Smith-bw

 

Ron Bassett-Smith, 64, of Keizer died Jan. 17, after a lengthy battle with melanoma.

He was born in Lafayette, Ind., on Sept. 4, 1949, to Charles and Marjorie Bassett, the first of five children.

Bassett-Smith served two tours of duty in the military in Vietnam. In 1972, he moved from Michigan to Oregon. He completed a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Oregon State University.

Bassett-Smith married his wife in 1976 and they enjoyed 38 happy years together. Upon completing school, Ron began serving his community through his efforts working with disabled veterans and working for refugee employment programs. Ron retired from a career as chief operations officer at Chemeketa Community College. He also served on many boards including the board of directors for the Salem Outreach Shelter and on the budget committee for the Salem-Keizer School District for many years.

Bassett-Smith is fondly remembered for his kindness, passion and a sense of humor that bought joy to others.  He liked to do things big for his family, such as putting on a fireworks show every 4th of July. His hobbies included classic cars, woodworking and home projects. His only regret was that he only had 40 more hours left to complete the 1965 Barracuda he was restoring with his son, Trevor. Otherwise his life was filled with fireworks, a loving and loyal dog, Bub, his wife and three children and being Grandpa Truck.

He is survived by his wife Nina; children, Sean (Makayla) of Seattle, Chelsea (Daniel) of Keizer, Trevor of Keizer; grandchildren, Cameron, Sara, and Weston; his two dogs and two cats.
His sisters, Marsha and Paula and his brother, Brian, live in Michigan. His parents and brother Jeff preceded him in death.

A celebration of life will be held on Thursday, Jan. 30, at 3 p.m. at Clear Lake United Methodist Church.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Ray of Hope (www.rayofhope4all.org) PO Box 746 Beaverton, OR 97075 or the Marion-Polk Food Share (www.marionpolkfoodshare.org), 1660 Salem Industrial Drive NE, Salem, OR 97301. Arrangements entrusted to Keizer Funeral Chapel & Cremation Services. Online Condolences may be left at www.keizerchapel.com.

Keizer man arrested for videos

Bryan Tilley
Bryan Duane Tilley

A Keizer man arrested in Corvallis on Jan. 17 was arrested on separate charges by the Keizer Police Department a week later for taking hidden video of female family members.

Bryan Duane Tilley of 890 Cater Court North in Keizer was arrested on Jan. 17 by the Corvallis Police Department due to allegations Tilley, 51, hacked his 22-year-old stepdaughter’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. The stepdaughter is a student at Oregon State University.

When he was arrested in Corvallis, Tilley had a USB flash drive that was seized. The Corvallis officer secured a search warrant and got assistance from detective Ben Howden from KPD, a Certified Forensic Computer Examiner.

Howden searched the flash drive on Jan. 23 and found numerous videos with hidden camera video recordings of three females at different locations, inside bathrooms and bedrooms of private residences. Apparently unbeknownst to the females, the hidden cameras captured them in various states of undress.

Two of the female victims are adults, while one is a minor female. Each was known personally by Tilley.

More investigation showed Tilley illegally entered at least one home, without permission, to place a concealed camera to record the female homeowner. The unlawful recordings of the three victims took place between May and September 2013.

On Jan. 24, Tilley was arrested without incident by KPD detectives at the Taylor Park Campground in Lyons. Tilley was charged with three counts of first degree burglary and 17 counts of invasion of personal privacy. The crimes are alleged to have happened in Keizer.

Invasion of personal privacy occurs if the person knowingly makes or records a photograph, motion picture, videotape or other visual recording of another person in a state of nudity without the consent of the person being recorded; and at the time the visual recording is made or recorded the person being recorded is in a place and circumstances where the person has a reasonable expectation of personal privacy.

Tilley was lodged at Marion County Correctional Facility on Jan. 25 with bail set at $205,000. He was arraigned on the charges Jan. 27, with bail increased to $585,000.

The investigation is ongoing and investigators are continuing to analyze additional evidence that has been seized pursuant to search warrants. The KPD is asking for the public’s help in identifying any additional potential victims.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Howden at 503-390-3713 Ext. 3525 or by e-mail at [email protected] Please reference Keizer Police Department Incident #14-0702.

City hires first event center coordinator

Kristian Bouvier
Kristian Bouvier

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Kristian Bouvier had spent seven years as event coordinator at Chemeketa Community College.

Despite that stability, Bouvier jumped at the chance last fall to apply for the new limited-duration Event Center Coordinator position with the City of Keizer.

Bouvier got the job and started earlier this month. The city has budgeted the position to go through next summer.

So why go from a stable job to one that could last 18 months?

“There are more opportunities for growth here,” Bouvier said last week. “I have a desire to go into marketing. Those are the overall concerns. But to me, the benefits were worth the risk. This is a fabulous opportunity for me to exercise my ability and knowledge. This is a pilot opportunity to bring this center into the community.”

In her new role, Bouvier’s main charge is the marketing, booking and customer service for those renting the Keizer Community Center, or Event Center.

As such, Bouvier is taking over some of the duties formerly held by Tracy Davis, Keizer’s city recorder.

“Once an event is scheduled, Kristian works on room setup, meets people here for the events, takes out the garbage, helps with audio/visual needs; whatever the needs of the client are, she is coordinating that,” Davis said.

In getting up to speed on her tasks, Bouvier has been impressed with what Davis did with the facility, which opened in 2009 but hasn’t been seriously marketed for events until now.

“I’m in awe of what you did, Tracy,” Bouvier said. “You built an amazing foundation.”

For her part, Davis is glad to have someone take over some of her duties.

“I’m happy you are here,” Davis told Bouvier. “This is a great New Year’s present. You are starting out awesome. You are already reaching out to new contacts.”

Bouvier said she was somewhat limited in terms of marketing in her old job.

“The limit here is my own limit,” she said. “I have to play upon my experience in reaching out. It’s very exciting and also intimidating.”

When the topic of marketing the community center was brought up in Keizer City Council meetings last year, a key concern brought up was whether such efforts by the city would interfere with or possibly hurt local businesses going after the same clientele – namely, the city’s only hotel, the Renaissance Inn, located just down the road.

Bouvier emphasized her desire to help out local businesses, not work against them.

“For example, Portland State University is looking for space on a certain date,” she said. “I may be able to accommodate them. But I am letting them know about the Renaissance Inn as well. I want to help other businesses. We have an unwritten rule: if someone has 10 rooms reserved (at Renaissance Inn), I will give their guests a discount here. I want to develop contacts and resources for the hotel as well.”

Now that she’s gotten her feet somewhat wet, Bouvier is looking to expand what she does.

“I’m settling into the room rentals part,” she said. “The next step is how to get the community center out to the community. I’m reaching out to old contacts.”

Before interviewing for her current position, Bouvier hadn’t stepped into the Keizer Community Center. She likes what she has to sell.

“I was very surprised at what it was like,” she said. “I stepped back and said, ‘Whoa, oh my goodness.’ It’s so beautiful, with so many possibilities. I don’t want to ever lose that feeling. I hope to convey that ‘ahhh’ factor.”

Lady Celts start CVC 1-1

McNary’s Sydney Hunter puts up a shot in the Celtics’ game with South Salem High School. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
McNary’s Sydney Hunter puts up a shot in the Celtics’ game with South Salem High School. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes 

While the McNary boys were striking fear into the hearts of their Saxon counterparts on the basketball court, the McNary girls where experiencing their own moment in the spotlight taking on the Lady Saxons.

The girls varsity basketball ran up a 7-0 lead playing cutthroat defense and keeping South out of the basket for the first several minutes of the game Tuesday, Jan. 14.

“The first half of the game was easily our best half of the season,” said Paul Pickerell, McNary head coach. “I’m not a huge fan of moral victories, but the girls were competitive and playing the kind of game that exemplified what we do well.”

The Keizer team ended up taking a 60-42 loss, but the inspired start was precisely what the Lady Celts were seeking.

“We were all just pumped up with it being our first league game and we were really going hard,” said Lady Celt Madi Hingston. “Our offense was great and then we got a lot of defensive stops.”

The Saxons found their rhythm slowly and overtook McNary 13-11 by the end of the first quarter. By halftime, the Celts had slipped seven points behind as Saxon Katie McWilliams hit the net shot after shot on her way to a game-leading 24 points.

“It wasn’t anything that we changed, but they got back into their groove and we lost a bit of our momentum,” said McNary junior Jasmine Ernest.

Reina Strand led Celtic scoring with 14 points, Ashlee Koenig and Hingston had six points each, Sydney Hunter and Kaelie Flores had five points each, Baili Keeton had four and Alyx Peterson had two.

The Celts’ follow-up game with North Salem High School Friday, Jan. 17, was a reversal in nearly every way. The Celts started out slow, notching only one point in the first four minutes, while North Salem built up its own lead. Despite the early miscues, McNary won 63-46.

“After the first four minutes we picked it up again and started communicating and then we were running on them and getting big opportunities,” Ernest said. “We have a lot of younger people putting in big minutes and big plays and it’s turning into a whole team effort on and off the court.”

Once the Celts got going, the team put up a season high 10 three-pointers. Celt scoring leader Keeton, who had 17 points on the night, accounted for five of the treys, Emma Jones and Cammie Decker had two and Hingston put in one. Overwhelming stats aside, Pickerell said the team was capable of a better start.

“We played down when we could have come out with more. We still had starters in in the fourth quarter and I expected us to be getting the girls down the roster time on the court,” Pickerell said.

Pickerell expected a mixed bag of challenges in games with Sprague and McKay high schools, which were on tap this week.

“Sprague is going to press us up and down the court and McKay is going to play a lot of zone,” he said. “McKay is going to be a tougher team than they have been in recent years, and we can’t expect an easy win.”

Big numbers for Gubser food drive

Brigett Eisele presents a check for $19,297.89 to Mike Garrison and Phil McCorkle from Marion-Polk Food Share at the Jan. 16 Greater Gubser Neighborhood Association meeting. (KEIZERTIMES/ Craig Murphy)
Brigett Eisele presents a check for $19,297.89 to Mike Garrison and Phil McCorkle from Marion-Polk Food Share at the Jan. 16 Greater Gubser Neighborhood Association meeting.
(KEIZERTIMES/
Craig Murphy)

 

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Given the cold start, the end result was something of a, well, miracle.

Brigett Eisele, who led the Gubser Miracle of Christmas fundraising event during the holiday season, gave numbers from the annual event, which ran from Dec. 6 to 26 in the Gubser neighborhood. The update was given during the Jan. 16 Greater Gubser Neighborhood Association meeting.

After her update, Eisele presented a check for $19,297.89 to leaders with the Marion-Polk Food Share.

“This was our first year taking it over,” Eisele said. “My husband and I did it with three other families, so it definitely was a group effort. We tried some new things this year. We put a gator up on windows around the neighborhood for the kids. We tried some caroling and got good feedback on how to improve for next year. Gerald Nichols got some community sponsors.

“We’re already getting geared up for next year,” she added. “We want to involve all the Keizer schools. Some schools took a night each this year. We want to get all the other schools to come out and increase donations that way.”

Just as the three-week event started, the region was hit by an unusually cold stretch of weather.

“We were hit really hard in donations the first few nights with that weather,” Eisele said. “When we have a bad storm, donations go down. Likewise when it’s really cold out. Usually it starts off low anyway in the beginning. The night before the Christmas parade we see an increase, then we have a big night on the parade night. It dips down after that, then the Friday before Christmas picks up. Christmas Eve is one of our biggest nights.”

Eisele was thankful for all the volunteers that helped staff the food donation barrels.

“We had 10 volunteers a night,” she said. “We had some new people come on board this year. We are ready to do it again next year with help from our crew.”

Eisele said 21,772 pounds of food were collected, in addition to the $19,297.89 raised in donations.

Mike Garrison, chair of the Marion-Polk Food Share Board, accepted the check along with Phil McCorkle, vice president of development for MPFS.

“This is the largest check we’ve gotten,” Garrison said. “This was a fantastic effort.”

McCorkle echoed the sentiments.

“The effort you put into this and the result really is amazing,” he said. “You can see how many people you’re impacting through this effort.”

McCorkle said the food MPFS got from the drive equaled 15,665 meals.

“That’s a lot of food,” he said.

McCorkle also noted how far the money will go.

“It’s probably the largest group donation we’ll get this year,” McCorkle said. “Wow. That’s just amazing. It’s amazing what we can do with a dollar. Each donated dollar to the food share we can turn into five pounds of food. Ten dollars is about enough for a food box, so 209 families will get a food box thanks to what you did.”

Never too late to begin healing

Liberty-House-logo

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

While attending a public function a few months ago, Liberty House CEO Alison Kelley was talking about the role of her organization in treating children suffering neglect and abuse when an attendee raised his hand.

“He shared the story of his daughter,” Kelley said. “She had been sexually abused by another person and she was one of the first children to come through Liberty House.”

The man sung the praises of the organization and its mission, and how its involvement helped his daughter and his family heal from every parent’s worst nightmare.

Such stories are imbedded in the nature of Liberty House work, and everywhere its representatives go they are frequently approached by someone with a “me too” story.

“There are many, many adults in our community who also suffered trauma when they were children where there was not a center like Liberty House they could come to,” she said.

While Liberty House specialists focus on the children impacted by neglect and abuse, Kelley has met her fair share of adults haunted by their own specters of the same.

For those adults, she has a message:

“It’s never too late, and Liberty House is here for you, too. We can’t provide the treatment they need to heal, but we can connect them with the right support to begin that process,” Kelley said. “We make it safe for people to put words around the things that happen in this difficult area of life.”

To find out what services are available, call Liberty House at 503-540-0288.

A night of hope

Freshmen Kai Steele, Ashton Thomas, Ryan Cowan and Ella Garro rehearse for McNary's upcoming Night of Hope, slated Feb. 7 at the high school. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Freshmen Kai Steele, Ashton Thomas, Ryan Cowan and Ella Garro rehearse for McNary’s upcoming Night of Hope, slated Feb. 7 at the high school. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Some doctor appointments require more than the eight minutes most MD’s budget for each patient.

When a child becomes the victim of abuse or neglect, it takes special training to draw them out and specialty physicians to document the effects. Those are the services offered by Salem’s Liberty House staff, and McNary High School’s fine arts department is seeking to bolster their efforts with music and dramatic performances Friday, Feb. 7, in the fifth annual Night of Hope. Tickets are $5 and the show begins at 7 p.m.

The school is also hosting a stuffed animal and blanket drive at McNary Feb. 3-7. Bins will be placed around the school and in the commons area.

“We have a great partnership with McNary. They have done this for a number of years and we visit their health classes about dating violence and domestic violence. They reached out to us and they’ve continued that tradition,” said Adrienne Christian, development and volunteer with Liberty House. “We are fortunate to have their support in the ways they do.”

Liberty House specialists tend to the needs of more than 400 children annually with appointments designed to create a space where “a child’s voice is heard.” Most cases involve child neglect, but physical and sexual abuse are no small component. About two-thirds of the children referred to its services are female and more than 70 percent are under age 7. It is not a shelter or crisis service, but Liberty House counselors and physicians are seeing an increased number of patients who have no permanent shelter.

Once an appointment is scheduled, children are given head-to-toe exams and spend time with pediatric counselors.

“The counselors create a safe space for the children to talk about what did or did not happen. Sometimes the children are operating under the threat of violence to them or their families and it takes special people to make them feel safe,” said Alison Kelley, Liberty House CEO.

Liberty House physicians and counselors develop a report that can be forwarded to primary care physicians and potentially used in prosecutions of offenders. Beyond the needs of the child, Liberty House provides consultation for parents and connections to other support services.

“Every single person encounters things that they didn’t see coming and, if you are a parent or caregiver and something like this happens, it can be shattering. We have the right people who can be connect parents and caregivers to the support they’ll need,” Kelley said.

Kelley also encourages parents and guardians who find themselves at wit’s end with their children to contact Liberty House at 503-540-0288. Simply by reaching out, they might discover they’re not alone and there are services to support them.

The staff at Liberty House focus on education and awareness of child abuse and neglect in equal measure to their role in dealing with its aftermath.

While “stranger danger” is pummeled into the minds of children, predators are more frequently someone who has gained the trust of both child and parent. There are few traits universal to victims or predators, but Kelley said it’s important to know when to trust parenting instincts and when to react with something more than instinct.

“We encourage parents to always know where their children are and to trust their instincts,” Kelley said. “But we also urge them to listen and inquire. When a child comes home from a stay with their grandparents and says they don’t like them, the temptation is to tell the child that’s not nice and they shouldn’t say such things because we want the hurt to be over quickly. It’s better to ask a child to tell them more about why they feel that way and have them talk through it. Children usually have to disclose what’s happened multiple times before someone listens.”

It’s not a requirement to be a victim or someone who knows a victim to get involved with Liberty House’s effort.

Steven Broncheau, a development coordinator with Liberty House, was sitting on a grand jury for several months when he first heard about the organization.

“The cases that came through with Liberty House involved were always put together better, and that’s what made me want to get involved,” he said.

The organization requires a healthy financial foundation to maintain the health of its providers. Donations can be submitted through its website libertyhousecenter.org. Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks ranging from office and clerical work to playcare attendants who help keep children occupied while caregivers meet with adults.

Celtic baseball duo sign with junior college teams

Jordan Barchus and Connor Suing sign letters of intent to play baseball at the college level at a ceremony Thursday, Jan. 16. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Jordan Barchus and Connor Suing sign letters of intent to play baseball at the college level at a ceremony Thursday, Jan. 16. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Celts Jordan Barchus and Connor Suing will be trading in their blue-and-whites at the end of the school year and donning the jerseys of two Washington junior colleges.

Barchus and Suing signed letters of intent to play at Lower Columbia Community College and Clark College, respectively, at a ceremony in the McNary High School library last week.

Barchus, a middle in-fielder, will join a storied Red Devil program with 10 NWAACC championships, 36 West Division championships, and more than 75 players drafted into the big leagues.

“There is a new coach coming in this year (Eddie Smith) and I feel like his energy and the things he wants to do with the program are the things I want in a program,” Barchus said.

Smith got a chance to see Barchus in action over the summer and struck up conversations about his future. Smith said Barchus stuck out in a field of top players as a talented infielder and strong left-handed batter.

“Like a lot of players at this level, he’s still filling out his frame, and I think one of the things that attracted him to the program was our intense weight training and history of turning those players into D1 recruits,” Smith said.

As a strong player in a premier position, which is hard to find, Smith said, “he’ll have every chance to be one of those nine players who give us the best chance to win.”

Suing, a pitcher, joins the resurgent Penguin program under Head Coach Don Freeman. The Penguin reinstated their baseball program in 2011 after a 19-year hiatus.

“They have a program they’re just bringing it back. I’ll have a chance to be part of that and make a good impression,” Suing said. “We’re going to have a pretty good class of guys starting next year.”

Both players made contributions to the team as sophomores at McNary. Suing’s big moment was putting the batters of Lake Oswego High School on the ropes in a playoff game that year, but he was out much of his junior year due to injury. Barchus became a staple of a tough defense as a junior.

“They didn’t get here by accident. They worked for it,” said Larry Keeker, McNary head coach, at the signing ceremony. “They spend time working all year round to get to this point.”

Barchus, who plans to study kinesiology in hopes of become a team doctor, said he was most looking forward to new competition in a baseball-centric town, Longview, Wash.

“There’s going to be a lot of competition, but this is something I’ve loved since Little League. It’s something new and I’m excited for it,” Barchus said.

For Suing, who plans to study business and finance, it was a day to look back on how far he’d come.

“There’s been a lot of good memories and some bad ones, but it’s all part of the journey. It was part of the story that I had to finish,” Suing said.

“Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West” by Bryce Andrews

Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West” by Bryce Andrews

c.2014, Atria Books
$25.00 / $28.99 Canada
256 pages

 

Bad-Luck-Way-2

BOOK REVIEW
by TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

You’ve always believed that keeping your possessions where they belong is the right thing to do. Putting away tools has saved you frustration. Packing gear in one place has saved you time. But as you’ll see in the new memoir “Badluck Way” by Bryce Andrews, there’s also a wrong way to stow your stuff: a man’s boots, for instance, do not belong beneath a desk.

Ever since he could remember, Bryce Andrews was fascinated by anything Western. He’d loved Western art, spent summers as a kid on the spread of a family friend, had learned to ride a horse and mend fence so, following a broken heart and a few wandering months around the country, he took a job at a Montana ranch.

The 25,000 acre Sun Ranch sat at the edge of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness in southwestern Montana and was owned by a Silicon Valley millionaire. Wildlife was plentiful there and conservation was important, as was managing livestock so that cattle could graze and thrive alongside native elk and wolves that came over from Yellowstone.

Starting the first of May, the job consisted of moving cattle, fixing fence, caring for livestock, and cleaning water tanks. It was a life Andrews grew to love again: he spent his days doing chores, learning from the two other ranch hands, and exploring wherever the four-wheeler took him: through grassland and canyons, past pugmarks and bones, beneath Big Sky and stars.

The first time he saw a wolf, he was stunned. He’d been told to haze away any wolves he stumbled across, but he couldn’t do it then. It was a decision he’d later regret.

By early fall, Andrews and the other hands began finding heifers with horrendous injuries. They contacted Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and, knowing that wolves were to blame, the men started sleeping with the cattle in the grasslands. With winter coming, elk were moving down closer to the cattle and bringing the wolves with them.

Cattle were easier prey for the wolves than were elk – which made wolves the prey.

“Badluck Way” is a very poetic book – too poetic, at first, because author Bryce Andrews sets the tone by using a lot of ten-dollar words and directional descriptions that scrambled my brain. I almost quit this book twice before I plowed past the introduction.

I was glad I stuck around.

As it turns out, there’s beauty in the words, and awestruck lushness. Andrews, who obviously cherishes both the land and the lifestyle, eventually relaxes into his story (as did I) as he transports us into canyons and grasslands, near elk herds and death. I shivered as he described snowstorms. I cringed every time he found a wolf-ravaged heifer.

The more I got into this book, in fact, the more I loved it and I think if you’re  conservation-minded or if your heart is on a ranch, then you will, too. For you, “Badluck Way” is a something that’ll definitely have a place on your bookshelf.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is based in Wisconsin.