Subscribe to get tough, fair journalism seven days a week.
Subscribe today

Day: April 18, 2014

Lacrosse team starts 2-0 in league contests

Nick Moore (No. 4) tries to slow the pace of an opponent in the Mountain View game. (Submitted)
Nick Moore (No. 4) tries to slow the pace of an opponent in the Mountain View game. (Submitted)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The McNary High School varsity lacrosse team is 2-0 in the North Valley Conference while battling through thick and thin in its first league games.

The Celtics traded leads with the South Salem High School Saxons six times before putting the match away with an 11-9 final score on April 8. It was the first time in the five-year program the Celtics beat the Saxons at the varsity level.

“We won the ground ball battle 42-48, the six ground balls were the difference in the game. Each ground ball, which is similar to a rebound in basketball, gave us another possession and chance to get a shot on goal,” said Ryan Bowlby, McNary head coach.

McNary put up a stalwart defensive stand in the fourth quarter of the game to hold the Saxons scoreless.

Goalie Austin Fisher had three of his five saves in the fourth quarter. The Celtics took a one-point lead with two minutes left in the third quarter, and then slowed the pace of the game due to a number of injuries.

“The student athletes showed great time management skills, eating up minutes off the clock on each possession,” Bowlby said.

For the Celtics, Joseph Giblin had two goals and an assist; Preston McNeely had three goals; Isaiah Vian and David Gonzalez had two goals and two assists; Nick Moore and Hunter Rosenblatt had one goal each.

Two days later, McNary hosted West Albany High School and dealt the team a 17-1 drubbing.

“We scored in the first two minutes of the game and never looked back,” Bowlby said. “Our defense was smothering most of the game, only allowing four shots on goal.”

The Keizer team played a flawless game that saw nine players on the 25-member roster score.

McNeely had three goals and an assist; Moore had three goals; Jake Burrus had two goals and two assists; Giblin and Vian had two goals each; Cameron Engle had one goal and one assist; Rosenblatt, Gonzalez and Mike Phelps had one goal apiece.

The Celts play West Salem High School on the road Friday, April 18, and host Corvallis High School at North Salem High School, 765 14th St NE, in Salem Tuesday, April 22. Game times are 8:15 and 8:30 p.m., respectively.

Police thinking of Pearsons

The Pearson family home on Ventura Loop is taped off on March 6 following the previous night's murder. (File)
The Pearson family home on Ventura Loop is taped off on March 6 following the previous night’s murder. (File)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

In more ways than one, it was a difficult situation.

On the night of March 5, police officers responded to a call at the Pearson residence on the 4800 block of Ventura Loop.

The details known now are both chilling and heartbreaking. Brett Angus Pearson and friend Robert Daniel Miller III, both 17, were arrested for the murder of Pearson’s mother Michelle and the attempted murder of his dad, Wilfred. The two teens were arrested later that night in separate locations.

Initially, however, information was sketchy at best.

Lt. Andrew Copeland with the Keizer Police Department singled out some individuals for acting heroically that night.

Chief among them: Wilfred “Bill” Pearson, who was taken to the Salem Hospital with gunshot wounds. He was released on March 22.

“Bill Pearson did as good a job as he could,” said Copeland, who met with Pearson last week. “He’s just a phenomenal individual. He’s recovering well, given the circumstances. We as a law enforcement community have the utmost respect for him. He did a great job with dispatch, staying calm. The call taker did a phenomenal job as well.

“There were a lot of different scenarios we’re dealing with,” Copeland added. “We knew at least one person was injured, Bill. We didn’t know the extent of his injuries. We knew he was in the house, unable to move. He was still conscious and alert. We didn’t know if others had been injured in the house. We didn’t know the location of his wife or son. We didn’t know if there was a suspect or suspects and if they were still in the house. You know you need to preserve Mr. Pearson’s life, but you also want to make sure you don’t put the lives of officers in jeopardy. You try to deal with it in the safest manner, knowing officers are going into a potentially unsafe area.”

Police chief John Teague said “a number of significant events came together at just the wrong time” on that night.

Copeland said heavy rain and wind hampered communication for officers. The computer mapping system sent the two initial response officers to the wrong location, on the other side of the neighborhood.

“It was a series of abnormal events,” Copeland said. “There was a car down the street with headlights on. Based on the time of night, we assumed that car was involved. It turned out the car’s owner forgot to turn the lights off. A couple of officers were dealing with an arrest they had just made.”

Once officers arrived at the Pearson home, information came across of a suspect vehicle being a dark pickup with a canopy on the back, with an unknown plate.

“Officers saw a vehicle like that right in front of the house,” Copeland. “Did the suspect come back? There were all of these different factors involved.”

Soon after, Sgt. Jeff Goodman and officer Scott Keninston went in and secured the scene, assisted by Barrett Byers from the Salem Police Department. Copeland noted it was Byers who found the Pearsons.

“We were having officers respond to an unknown type of shooting event,” Copeland said. “They were going in with limited information, knowing a suspect could still be inside. It was pretty courageous to walk in like that, knowing there could be some kind of resistance. Then you add emotionally dealing with Mr. Pearson and seeing Mrs. Pearson. It’s traumatic for responding officers.

“Overall, looking at it, the officers made good tactical decisions,” Copeland added. “It was done correctly. Once they were inside, they did everything to preserve life. Once we were inside, there was no delay on the medics’ part. They were phenomenal, too. That is a very professional agency. They came in and did everything perfect. By the time they came in and had Mr. Pearson to the hospital, it was a very short amount of time.”

Teague had high praise for responders after reviewing all of the details.

“After marrying the tape, the CAD, and the officers’comments, I moved to being quite appreciative of their response, including their selfless determination to go in when they did,” Teague said.

Jeff Cowan, chief of the Keizer Fire District, noted there was an active investigation that night when medics arrived.

“It was their call; we follow them,” Cowan said KPD officers. “We’re under the command of the Keizer Police Department at a crime scene. When they said they were ready, we went in. We have a close working relationship with the Keizer Police Department.”

Copeland noted detectives kept in touch with the hospital daily about Pearson’s condition and continue to hold him in high regards.

“For him to have the conversation with our dispatcher and to stay calm, to remain actively engaged in the conversation given the extent of the injuries, given the tragic events that occurred, that was remarkable,” Copeland said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of anyone who has done as well as him. To rationally think through it, to stay conscious and alert, that was kind of phenomenal.”

The next step is to fulfill a request made by Pearson regarding the officers.

“We will arrange for Bill to meet the officers, to put a face to the guys who showed up,” Copeland said. “That was important to him, so will make sure that happens.”

The Pearson family is still in the thoughts and prayers of the KPD family, Copeland emphasized.

“We try to look for the good, which in this case is the recovery of Mr. Pearson,” Copeland said. “We pray for him and his family. We hope they can find comfort and peace. This is something you pray never happens to your family. We are very empathetic to his situation. I don’t know how someone can deal with that. That would be worse than anything you can imagine as a father.”

Easter hunts abound in the valley this weekend

KEIZERTIMES/File photo
KEIZERTIMES/File photo

Forecasts call for a beautiful spring weekend. Fortunately, there are plenty of outdoor events to be enjoyed.

Here is a list of some of the Easter-related events taking place in the area this weekend.

Friday, April 18

Bowlers at Town & Country lanes will get free raffle tickets for a drawing on Saturday, April 19. Extra tickets will be given for $5 donations to the Grand Prix College Scholarship fund.

Doggy Easter Treat Hunt, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Doggy treat hunt, treats hidden throughout the park. Prizes for best Easter dog costume, photos, music, and more. Centennial Park dog park, 900 Parr Road, Woodburn.

Saturday, April 19

Easter at Lancaster Mall, 831 Lancaster Drive N.E., in Salem. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Games, prizes, entertainment on the main stage and a special Easter Egg hunt in balloons! Admission to the Easter Egg hunts is first come first served, Free tickets will be available at the check-in counter near Starbucks. Hosted by Connection Life Church.

Albertsons, Easter egg hunt beginning 8 a.m., with candy in eggs and prizes along with a visit by Mr. Cottontail himself. 5450 River Road North.

Keizer Christian Church Easter Egg Hunt at 10  a.m. to noon. Egg hunt, Easter story, treats, free. 6945 Wheatland Road NE.

Easterpalooza at First Presbyterian Church, 770 Chemeketa Street, N.E., in Salem. Egg hunts, pancake feeds, bounce houses and carnival games are all planned at this free event.

Egg hunt at Belcrest Memorial Park from 10 to 10:30 a.m., 1295 Browning Avenue, in Salem. For children 10 and under. The Easter Bunny and Volcanoes’ mascot Crater will be in attendance.

Marian Estates Easter Egg Hunt, 10 a.m. Saturday, March 30. Free. Ages 10 and younger, more than 4,000 plastic eggs. 390 SE Church Street in Sublimity.

Willamette Valley Fruit Company Easter Egg Hunt, 10 a.m. 2994 82nd Avenue NE in Salem.

Kroc Center Free Easter Egg Hunt, 10 a.m. Free for whole family. Easter egg hunt, face painting coffee and chocolate. Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corp Community Center, 1865 Bill Frey Drive NE, Salem.

Woodburn Aquatic Center Underwater Easter Egg Hunt, noon Saturday, March 30. Eggs float and some will sink. Children will be grouped together by age and have their own special time to hunt. Please bring a waterproof basket or egg holder to store eggs. Admission $6 per youth participant. 190 Oak St., Woodburn.

Sunday, April 20

Easter Brunch Buffet at McNary Restaurant & Lounge, 165 McNary Estates Drive, in Keizer. Mixed greens, pasta salad, fresh fruit. Easter Bunny’s favorites: Variety of pastries, potato O’Brien, biscuits and country gravy, pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, bacon and sausage links, macaroni and cheese with bacon, cheesy scalloped potatoes, vegetable medley, green beans, honey ham, turkey. Easter treats: Carrot cake, berry pie, assorted cookies. Cost is $24.75 for adults; $11.75 ages 4 to 12. Reservations highly recommended, call 503-990-7550.

Easter brunch, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Made-to-order pasta and omelet bar, biscuits and gravy, egg, waggles soup and more. $16.95 per person, children ages 4 to 10 half price. Reservations required at 503-391-7308. Orchard Heights Winery, 6057 Orchard Heights Road NW, Salem.

Keizer Clear Lake United Methodist egg hunt 10:30 a.m. 7920 Wheatland Road N. Hunt will be at Forest Ridge Elementary.

Easter Brunch on the Willamette Queen Sternwheeler, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.  Bacon, eggs, ham, fruit, salads and a surprise visitor. $48 for adults, $26 ages 4 to 11, free ages 3 and younger. Reservations required at 503-371-1103. 200 Water Street NE, Salem.

River Road Assisted Living hosts annual Easter Egg Hunt. 2 p.m. 592 Bever Drive NE. Hunt for residents, family, friends and employees. Hunt, trivia games and a chance to win an Easter basket.

Easter Dinner at Silver Falls State Park Conference Center, 20024 Silver Falls Highway S.E. in Sublimity. Cost is 18.75 per person. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Menu items include pit ham, salmon with honey tarragon glaze, mango chicken, rice blend, red potatoes and much more.

Saving trees could alter location for The Big Toy

KEIZERTIMES/File photo
KEIZERTIMES/File photo

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Has a Keizer Planning Commission decision taken out some possible sites for The Big Toy at Keizer Rapids Park project?

In recent months Mayor Lore Christopher has pushed to have the community build play structure constructed in the front of the orchard area by Chemawa Road. The orchard is part of 28 acres of land within city limits but not within Keizer’s Urban Growth Boundary. In order for the land to be used, the UGB would have to be expanded to include the land.

Discussion of such a process was the main item on the agenda at the April 9 Keizer Planning Commission meeting.

By a 5-1 vote, commissioners agreed the KRP master plan should be amended to include the area in question.

“I move that the commission accept the staff report for the expansion of the UGB with a heavy emphasis on the governance of the master plan,” commissioner Hersch Sangster said.

Chuck Fisher made an amendment to the motion, based on a matter discussed during the meeting.

“We need to make sure to include the filbert trees remain under the master plan developed for the whole park for the entire acreage we’re bringing in,” Fisher said. “The trees shouldn’t be taken down prior to being part of the master planning process.”

Sangster agreed with the addition.

“Hopefully as part of the master plan there is the emphasis on the trees,” Sangster said.

As amended, all commissioners except for Matt Chappell approved the motion.

During the public hearing, West Keizer Neighborhood Association president Rhonda Rich had emphasized the need for trees to be considered.

“I want to see a master plan created before any trees are taken out,” Rich said. “I want it to be vested in the master plan for the trees. Don’t take out any trees until there is a master plan.”

Nate Brown, the director of Community Development who has been tasked with overseeing the UGB process, touched on the tree topic.

“The aspect of tree removal is not something we had previously considered,” Brown said. “Before anything happens on the property, there should be a master plan to govern it. Before any development, it should be master planned. There should be an assurance it is master planned before we piecemeal pieces off of it.”

The topic came up again the following night at the monthly WKNA meeting.

“At last night’s hearing, they voted to recommend approval to council, with the condition to do a master plan before the area is used and before trees are removed,” Brown said. “They want a master plan for the whole 28 acres before trees come down.”

Clint Holland asked how long the master plan process would take.

Public Works Director Bill Lawyer noted he anticipated the question coming up.

“I’m working on two timelines,” Lawyer said. “One is very condensed, very fast and requires special meetings. Right now I have the master plan amendment going to council at the July 7 meeting. The other option is a longer one, at the second council meeting in August or the first one in September. That is the more preferred option, with more outreach, think it out more and a more comprehensive master plan.”

Holland referenced the desire to start prepping the proposed orchard site earlier than that.

“If it goes that long, I thought we needed to make a decision by July 1 on where The Big Toy goes,” Holland said. “How are we going to do that?”

“That’s a very good question, Clint,” Lawyer responded. “I don’t know.”

Jack (John) Wofford Suggs

Col. (Ret.) Jack (John) Wofford Suggs of Keizer passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 3, 2014.

Born on August 9, 1926 at Ft. Totten, New York, he was the son of the late Lt. Col. (Ret.) John Matha and Grace Suggs. Jack grew up in San Anselmo, Calif., enlisting in the U.S. Army at the age of 17 to serve in World War II.  With the conclusion of WWII, in November 1945 Jack was discharged and returned home.

Jack was accepted to Officer Candidate School with the United States Air Force in 1949. Jack graduated from pilot school in 1953. During the course of his career, Jack advanced to the rank of Colonel in the United States Air Force, as part of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), serving his country in many capacities, ranging from being a pilot to serving in various command positions, including service during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

On February 28, 1974, Jack was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan from September 1972 to February 1974.

Jack retired from March AFB in 1980, being awarded the Legion of Merit Award.

Jack was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from Southern Illinois University, College of Engineering and Technology, in September 1986 and worked in the civilian sector after his retirement from the military.  He and his wife, Jan, moved to Oregon in 1992, settling in Keizer.

Jack was blessed in life with the love of two women, his beloved wife Jan, who he leaves behind, and his first wife, Evelyn Mary Suggs (Matkovich) who predeceased him in 1982.  In addition to his wife, Jan, Jack leaves behind his beloved brother and sister-in-law, Phil and Sharon Suggs of Roseville, CA; his former sister-in-law, Jane Stewart (Jack); six children, Jean Lawler (Tim), Jane Young, Joseph Suggs, Mary Beld (Todd), John Suggs (Sharon) and Dawn Biggs (Derek); 14 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

A funeral mass was held at St. Edward Catholic Church with military honors. Burial was held at Willamette National Cemetery, Portland. Arrangements entrusted to Keizer Funeral Chapel & Cremation Services. Online condolences may be left at www.keizerchapel.com.

Werner Laurent Suess

Werner Laurent Suess died March 29, 2014 at the age of 73 after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Born July 6, 1940 in Belfaux, Switzerland he immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 13.

His early years were spent in Fairbanks, Alaska. He moved to Keizer in 1977. He was well known by many as the owner of Pier One Imports and over the last several years was an active member of the Keizer Elks.

He is survived by his fiancé, four children and six grandchildren. A celebration of life will be held at the Keizer Elks Lodge April 19 at 4 p.m.

Adhere to park master plan

During discussions about development at Keizer Rapids Park, city councilors and city staff refer to the park’s master plan. The plan is a guide for the development of the park in coming years.

The original allows for minor changes but significant deviations require an amendment to the plan. It seems that master plan means different things to different people. Projects and improvements at the park must follow the master plan to assure the public that the process is transparent and allows for public comment.

The large playground project now in the planning stages is considered to be a minor deviation because the master plan called for two playground areas—albeit somewhat smaller than the current plan.

The consultant the city hired to help with playground plan advised that it be sited at a spot between the Keizer Rotary Amphitheatre and the parking lot for the boat ramp. This from seasoned professionals who have advised many other cities on just such a project.

But then came a push to place the playground in an area that is now a hazelnut orchard close to Chemawa Road. In our view this is a major deviation from the original master plan and the plan needs to be amended as called for.

The city should assure that it follows the letter of the master plan and not let it be interpreted for expediency’s sake. Developing the Keizer Rapids Park master plan was a long and complex program; the public expects that it be followed just as any other rule.

The proposed site change will require the removal of more than 50 trees. And the Urban Growth Boundary in west Keizer needs to be expanded to include that part of the park. In the rosiest of scenarios that will take until July to complete.

Organizers and volunteers have time for the scheduled build in September. There is, however, no time to amend the master plan in time. There is no choice but to build the playground at the original site by the boat ramp.

Let’s end the uncertainty and start planning and fund raising to build the playground where the consultants say is the best place. All the talk of moving the site, tearing out trees and expanding the UGB make people anxious about the project becoming a reality in September.

We’re anxious, too.

  —LAZ

KHC thanks Young Life

To the Editor:

We want to give Keizer Young Life a big  thank you for again helping with our spring landscape clean-up at Keizer Heritage Center (the “Old School” on Chemawa next to Keizer City Hall).

On Saturday, April 5, 19 Young Life students and leaders helped clean up all of the landscape debris left after the trimming and pruning by Brian Hanssen of Hanssen Landscape.  These great students came down at 9 a.m. and were finished before noon, in filling a large hauling truck.  They not only picked everything up but also raked and swept so the sidewalk and landscape looked wonderful.

Those helping were: Carter Alt, Marc Baiza, Miller Baumann, Shaina Dohrman, Kayanna Dunaway, McKinley Freeman, Michael Gerlicher, Erik Halvorson, Hannah Kannier, Serene Mistkawi, Tristan Mistkawi, Lexie Simpson, Kenny Valdez, Payton Williams, Shaylee Williams, Lizzie Wright, Zach Aldrich, Allan McLeod and Beau St. Peter.  Thank you.

Al Rasmus
Business Manager
Keizer Heritage Center

Nevada showdown: all hat, no cattle

By DEBRA J. SAUNDERS

Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and his well-armed supporters forced the well-armed federal government to back down and return Bundy’s seized cows — which were seized because Bundy, 67, stopped paying grazing fees in 1993. How does anyone get the government to back down?

At first blush, Bundy seemed to have right on his side. He’s a cowboy who just wants to keep being a cowboy.

The federal government, which owns more than 80 percent of Nevada land, including the land on which the Bundy family had settled, threatened to put him out to pasture. The Bureau of Land Management told the rancher he would have to cut back cattle grazing on federal lands to accommodate the threatened desert tortoise. So in 1993, Bundy stopped paying federal grazing fees. “They were managing my ranch out of business,” Bundy explained, “so I refused to pay.”

As the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorialized, the federal government has endangered a Western way of life in deference to “the ‘threatened’ desert tortoise and a supposedly fragile desert ecosystem that somehow has sustained cattle and the reptiles since the 19th century.”

The BLM surely has earned its black-hat reputation in Nevada. In a classic example of federal overreach, the BLM carved out a small “First Amendment Area” for pro-Bundy protesters, which only fueled the public’s distrust of government. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval suggested that the BLM reconsider its approach to constitutional rights —and Sandoval’s a former federal judge, whom you would expect to stand up for the federal court orders Bundy is flouting.

Sandoval issued a statement before the BLM backed down in which he argued, “No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation” that he was placing on BLM’s doorstep.

That sentiment ought to apply to Bundy, as well. The rancher says he does not recognize the authority of federal courts. “I abide by all of Nevada state laws,” Breitbart Texas reports that the scion told talk radio. “But I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.”

He was willing to start a “range war” and risk the lives of his supporters in order to retrieve some cows. He doesn’t feel he has to recognize a government elected by his fellow citizens.

The BLM clearly can be accused of overreach, but who elected Bundy to be judge, jury and sheriff?

Bundy could have fought the government at the ballot box by trying to elect members of Congress who want to defang the BLM. (It’s strange when you realize that for all their anti-Washington sentiments, Nevada voters have sent Harry Reid to the Senate repeatedly since 1986.) That’s the American way. Threatening to shoot law enforcement officers who simply are carrying out court orders is not.

(Creators Syndicate)