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Day: May 20, 2014

Post takes primary win over Jensen

Bill Post (right) easily defeated Barbara Jensen (left) in Tuesday's Republican primary for the House District 25 seat being vacated by Kim Thatcher.
Bill Post (right) easily defeated Barbara Jensen (left) in Tuesday’s Republican primary for the House District 25 seat being vacated by Kim Thatcher.

 

By CRAIG MURPHY

Of the Keizertimes

A heated race for the Republication nomination in the House District 25 seat easily went to Bill Post on Tuesday.

Initial results released by the Marion County Elections office showed Post with 1,839 votes (76.75 percent), compared to 532 votes (22.2 percent) for challenger Barbara Jensen.

The winner is expected to face Chuck Lee in the fall. Lee entered the race as an independent.

The seat HD 25 seat is being vacated by Kim Thatcher, who first won the seat in the 2004 election but this year is running for the State Senate 13th District seat. She ran unopposed in Tuesday’s primary.

“It was a lot of hard work with a lot of great volunteers,” Post said. “I have to than the wonderful people in House District 25. They saw this is a conservative district and that’s what I am. I just think we did the right thing. We tracked right and reached out right. This is reflective of the district.”

Post didn’t expect the margin to be so large.

“I felt pretty confident, but not that kind of number,” he said.

Post has talked with politicians plenty over the years, but Tuesday was his first time as a candidate on primary night.

“I was as calm as could be all day, until about 5 p.m.,” Post said. “Then I got the flies in the stomach.”

Teacher inspired with a little hocus pocus

Holly Albertson works with kindergarteners at Gubser Elementary School on Monday, May 12. Albertson is retiring after instilling a love of music in a generation of Keizer kids. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Holly Albertson works with kindergarteners at Gubser Elementary School on Monday, May 12. Albertson is retiring after instilling a love of music in a generation of Keizer kids. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Gubser Elementary School music teacher Holly Albertson is magic.

She can make a piece of thread tied to a recorder feel like a medal of honor. To her students, that simple piece of string is indicative of the level they’ve reached as players, and highly coveted. For Albertson, the string is just one more chance to hook her students on the ability of music to touch a soul.

“Music touches kids who aren’t athletes or academic all-stars, and those are the kids I’m hoping find their way to music,” said Albertson.

While the string trick is one of the most requested acts, it’s far from Albertson’s only one.

Albertson, the 2007 Salem-Keizer School District Educator of the Year, is drawing the curtains on a 30-year career this June. She spent seven years at Kennedy Elementary School before making the switch to Gubser 17 years ago.

Albertson’s love affair with notes and clefs began at a very young age, sitting in the lap of her mother as she played piano.

“I don’t remember it, but she said she would put her hands over mine as she played and that’s how I learned,” Albertson said. “My brothers and sisters say I would always come into a room singing.”

Once in school, she found her friends and allies in music programs.

“Junior high was hard for me and music classes were my safe place,” she said.

When her father, a Methodist pastor, was transferred to a Gresham church, it was upsetting because she wanted mightily to become part of the esteemed South Salem High School choir.

“It was probably for the best though. They had a lot of sopranos, but Gresham didn’t and I got to be one of the choir leaders early on,” Albertson said.

She intended to study early childhood education in college, but a teacher in Albertson’s senior year told her she would make a better music teacher.

“When it was said, it just seemed to fit,” Albertson said.

With her students, she tries to “slide the learning in sideways.

“I want them to identify positively with music and show them how much fun can be had within it,” Albertson said.

Keeping students busy is a large part of her job – and tougher and tougher as class sizes grow – but her passion is for the performances held at schools.

“A lot of my joy in teaching comes from the music programs. Music programs give the kids self confidence to get up and perform. They get to do solos and speaking parts and learn the camaraderie of singing together,” she said.

It’s also where she unveils her next magic trick. She can make you cry. Albertson’s passion for her students and music takes center stage as she thanks parents for letting her spend time with their kids and for support of school music programs. Her emotions spill out and wash over you until you’re crying right along with her. It doesn’t lose its effect over time.

She hosts many music programs for multiple grade levels over the course of each academic year. They are one more way to hook a student, but they’re also her show-stopping main act.

Nikey Hikes started sitting in on the Gubser choir sessions as a kindergartener. His brother and sister were both part of the choir, and he couldn’t stay home alone. So he followed them into the choir room every Thursday and Friday.

“I don’t think I meant to learn the music, I just did, and Ms. Albertson noticed,” said Hikes, now a junior at McNary High School.

Eager learners always stand out in a crowd, but Hikes was unique for other reasons. At a very young age, he’d already begun struggling with his sexual identity.

“All the other kids seemed to walk the line between bullying me and thinking I was just too hard to figure out,” he said. “Her classroom was just incredible and great. It was a safe place.”

His early exposure to music and the annual programs at the school led to him becoming something of a star pupil. Albertson cast him as Santa in a production of Elfis and The Sleigh Riders. Hikes made his own props for the show and ran with the role.

“I’ve always been a sucker for theatrics and a bit dramatic,” Hikes said. “Some of the kids were nasty about it. I always thought I earned every role, but I still felt the bitterness.”

After turbulent middle school years, Hikes has made a home for himself in McNary drama department where he continues to be a regular performer. And, of course, he still sings.

Her students may not realize it, but all of that is a result of careful design on the part of Albertson, a seasoned magician.

“I want them to continue to love to sing and express the way a song can touch their soul. Music can be a friend to them. I hope they choose something like music to have a place to belong,” Albertson said.

That there is the essence of her whole act: connecting students to themselves through music, and through that to other people. As Hikes knows, it’s one powerful trick.

“I didn’t know then, but even now she’s probably had the biggest impact of any of my teachers. I don’t think I would be where I am without her,” he said.

And it’s a lot like magic.

Benny rears his head again (and again) at Keizer Safeway

Jerry Crane found a $100 bill in a box of cereal purchased from Keizer’s Safeway store. He’s one of three who discovered the money in purchases in recent weeks. (Submitted)
Jerry Crane found a $100 bill in a box of cereal purchased from Keizer’s Safeway store. He’s one of three who discovered the money in purchases in recent weeks. (Submitted)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Benny has continued to be active in spreading cheer in Keizer.

In the May 2 issue of the Keizertimes, there was a story of Terry Fristad, the retired Keizer man who found a $100 bill inside the package of socks he had purchased at the Keizer Safeway on April 27.

Following a suggestion from his mom, Fristad checked and, sure enough, the name “Benny” was written on the bill.

Others have reported similar stories.

On May 2, Mary Lindquist had a tale to share.

“I also got $100 on the same day, in the same place,” Lindquist said. “I found them in Oreos. It also had ‘Benny’ written on it. I was waiting for someone to pop out, like on ‘Candid Camera.’ It was kind of fun.”

Lindquist hadn’t decided yet what to do with the money.

On May 4, Jerry Crane wrote about his experience.

“My son opened a box of cereal on May 2 and found one of the ‘Bennys’ inside,” Crane said. “It came as a great blessing for the family.”

Erika Farkas shared her story on May 10.

“My husband and I were happily surprised by Mr. Benny today,” Farkas wrote in an e-mail. “We couldn’t believe it because we hadn’t seen what the new $100 bills look like so we thought it was a fake.”

Farkas and her husband Nolan recalled similar stories from last year in Salem and searched online, coming across the May 2 story.

“We also plan on stopping by the Safeway and letting them know as well,” Farkas wrote. “Our hope is that Mr. Benny somehow gets our message of gratitude. We would like to thank him because he doesn’t know this but my husband and I are expecting our first baby in two weeks and my husband will lose his job as of May 19 so every little bit counts for us right now and he certainly gave us a helping hand.”

Kelli Schmidt e-mailed her story Tuesday after finding a Benny treasure.

“I just got one tonight, found it in a box of squeezable applesauce I bought last Friday at Safeway on River Road,” Schmidt wrote. “Totally surprised! I’m going to give it back to the community, though I haven’t figured out how yet.”

If you have a Benny story, feel free to contact us at 503-390-1051 or at [email protected]

McNary track teams head to district meet with big potential

McNary’s Emily McNichols takes to the air in the pole vault. She won the event at the Sprague meet Wednesday, May 7. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
McNary’s Emily McNichols takes to the air in the pole vault. She won the event at the Sprague meet Wednesday, May 7. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

When the McNary High School varsity track and field teams met with other Salem-area teams to determine Central Valley Conference champions this week, a large contingent of Celtics were expected to be among the top talent.

Head coach Frank Gauntz said he was most eager to see how the boys and girls 4×400 relays finish.

“There’s a lot of deep talent in the league this year and those are going to be exciting races,” Gauntz said.

McNary leads in boys’ and girls’  4×100 relays times, and the boys broke the school record by four one-hundredths of a second at the Jesuit Twilight Relays May 2.The prior record was 12 years old.

“We’re coming to a close and we’re looking to improve on that time, and improve on our placing in the state ranking,” said Garrett Hittner, who runs the anchor leg of the race.

Daysha Simms-Garcia is seeking to go out with a bang in her senior year. She’ll be running the 100, 200 and 400 sprints at the district competition.

“My goal is to beat my personal records in each event,” said Simms-Garcia, who already owns the school record in the 400.

McNary athletes who led in rankings headed into the tournament included Anthony Nguyen in the 200 meter; Daniel Brattain in the 110 and 300 hurdles as well as the pole vault; the boys’  4×100 relay team of Austin Brown, Kyle Torres, Nguyen and Garrett Hittner; Simms-Garcia in the 200 and 400 meter races; and the girls’ 4×100 of Simms-Garcia, Ashlee Koenig, Danielle Duran and Alyssa Looney.

That list doesn’t include events like the boys 200 meter race, in which there are no fewer than five Celtics in the top 10 times.

“We’re pretty deep this year,” said Hittner. “It’s looking like we’ll have three people in every event, which is going to help us a lot.”

The teams enter into the competition on the heels of routing Sprague High School in competition Wednesday, May 7.

The boys won their side of the meet 91-50. The Lady Celts won 87-58.

For the boys, McNary’s first-place finishers were: Nguyen in the 100 and 200 meter races with times of 11.18 and 22.61, respectively; Torres in the 400 meter in 51.28; Adrian Fernandez in the 800 meter in 2:05.41; Chance Clark in the 3,000 meter in 10:54.5; Sky Cater in the 110 hurdles in 18.01; Kaleb Hatch in the 300 hurdles; Brown, Torres, Nguyen and Hittner in 4×100 relay in 43.06; Fernandez, Brett Hildebrand, Hittner and Evan Rummerfield in the 4×400 relay in 3:40.37; Perry Groves in the high jump clearing 5-10; Brendan Van Voorhis in the long jump with a mark of 20-01.5; and Tregg Peterson in the triple jump with a mark of 38-09.5.

For the girls, event winners were: Simms-Garcia in the 400 meter in 57.84; Aisha Amaitsa in the 800 in 2:29.81; Alexa Strand in the 1,500 meter in 5:57.21; Julia Lewis in the 3,000 meter in 13:25.9; Simms-Garcia, Ashlee Koenig, Danielle Duran and Alyssa Looney in the 4×100 relay; Hali Thurston, Sydney Hunter, Duran and Simms-Garcia in the 4×400 in 4:09.69; Deanna Saukov in the discus with a mark of 96-03; Jasmine Ernest in the javelin with a 110-10 mark; and Emily McNichols in the pole vault clearing 8-00.