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Day: July 10, 2014

It’s about creating the memories

Courtney Maksimowicz (left), administrator for the Avamere Court at Keizer Memory Court under construction, talks with Vern Howe after a tour of the facility June 27. Vern’s sister suffers from dementia and might get moved to the new facility. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Courtney Maksimowicz (left), administrator for the Avamere Court at Keizer Memory Court under construction, talks with Vern Howe after a tour of the facility June 27. Vern’s sister suffers from dementia and might get moved to the new facility. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

In some ways, the new Avamere Court at Keizer Memory Court facility is a mirror image.

The $7.8 million facility, located at 450 Claggett Court N behind St. Edward Catholic Church and looking at the back of McNary High School, is set to open this fall. The Keizertimes was given a tour of the facility on June 27 by Courtney Maksimowicz, the facility administrator.

The facility is being built specifically for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. It’s estimated by the Alzheimer’s Association more than five million Americans currently live with dementia, a figure expected to increase 40 percent by 2025.

The new Keizer facility features 48 private suites, each with their own private bathroom.

“The building has two pods with 24 rooms each,” Maksimowicz said. “Each room has its own HVAC system. The building has four neighborhoods, each with its own theme. It gives patients a sense of home. The patients have a lot of sensory needs.”

Maksimowicz said the four neighborhood themes are Beach, Cascades, Farm and Garden and World Traveler.

“We really want this to feel like home,” she said. “We want to make it feel like home and to nurture memories.”

The floor plan shows a building with two nearly identical looking pods. The layout is the same, including matching courtyards, rooms arranged in the same way and amenities like the dining rooms and activity rooms matching. The non-replicated parts are in the middle of the building, where there are spaces for things such as a conference room, a salon and a staff area.

Ground was broken last November and the road behind the church to the facility was one of the first parts of the project to be completed. CB/Two Architects designed the building and Meili Construction is doing the construction. Maksimowicz is anticipating an October opening for the facility, located a short distance from the current Avamere Court campus on River Road.

Services offered include supportive care, social activities, a spa bathing suite, restaurant-style dining, call assistance pendants and secured grounds.

Maksimowicz noted the activity rooms should be plenty busy.

“The activity rooms on each side will have four to six activities a day,” she said.

Linda and Vern Howe went on a tour of the facility last week as well. Vern’s sister Marjorie, who suffers from dementia, has been at the Avamere facility on River Road for a year.

“We have not made the determination if she’ll go into this facility yet,” Linda said. “But I was very impressed. I was impressed with the rooms, the bathrooms not having to be shared, the windows in each room and the locked doors. You never know when they will try to walk out.”

Each prospective resident will be evaluated. Appointments for evaluation can be made by calling 503-393-3624.

Missing Keizer man found deceased

The body of Keizer's Robert Allen Knupp was found Wednesday, July 9.
The body of Keizer’s Robert Allen Knupp was found Wednesday, July 9.

The body of missing Keizer man Robert Allen Knupp, 54, was found Wednesday morning, July 9.

The Oregon State Police (OSP) Criminal Investigations Division, with the assistance of Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Keizer Police Department and Marion County District Attorney’s Office, are investigating the manner and cause of death of Knupp, whose body was found in a field near the community of Talbot in Marion County.

On July 9 at approximately 9:17 a.m., a report was received that a deceased body was found in a field near Talbot. Personnel from MCSO and OSP responded to the scene and confirmed the report.

Knupp was reported missing to OSP June 8 after his vehicle was found unoccupied at the Santiam Rest Area along Interstate 5 south of Salem.

The Marion County Medical Examiner and OSP Forensic Services Division personnel also responded to the scene to assist with recovering the body.

An autopsy is pending by the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the manner and cause of death.

New McNary cheer coach sets out to rebuild program

Stephanie Salzer is hoping to lead the McNary High School cheerleading squad into a new era, and just maybe turn them into a competitive force to be reckoned with. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Stephanie Salzer is hoping to lead the McNary High School cheerleading squad into a new era, and just maybe turn them into a competitive force to be reckoned with. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Stephanie Salzer’s plans as new head coach of the McNary High School cheerleading program include nothing less than redefining what Celtic Spirit means.

“We’re rebuilding from the ground up,” said Salzer. “We’re reinstituting our summer camp, getting new uniforms and really trying to fix school spirit at McNary.”

Salzer applied for the job at the urging of Ron Richards, Celtic athletic director, who wanted a coach in the building. Salzer fit the bill between her duties as a school counselor and involvement in spirit activities.

“I wasn’t a cheerleader in high school, but I was part of the dance team and I have some coaching experience with a rugby team,” Salzer said.

To handle the team choreography, Salzer enlisted the help of McNary alum Lexi Voigt, but gymnastic ability wasn’t the only thing she was looking for in the next spirit squad.

“When we did tryouts, I wanted a diverse group. We have some girls who are great with technique, but we also have some girls who are great at being loud and believe in the school,” Salzer said.

She ended up with a varsity team that will be 20 athletes strong, and a junior varsity team with another eight members. Salzer had the team working daily doubles beginning this week.

“I want them to work as hard as everyone else in school sports,” Salzer said.

In addition to learning choreography and sharpening the look of their handsprings, Salzer is taking a no-nonsense approach to behavior in the rank-and-file.

“My first focus is who I want the girls to be as individuals. They are student-athletes first and foremost. They’ll be held to a pretty high standard as far as grades and behavior. Social media use is going to be monitored,” Salzer said.

Salzer said the reputation of the program has sagged in recent years because of intrateam drama making its presence known outside the squad.

“One of our biggest hurdles is going to be changing the reputation of the team within the school,” she said.

She also hopes to get future Celtics pumped for when their time at McNary arrives. A Celtic Cheer Camp is slated for August to coincide with McNary’s youth football camp. Children as young as three and up to eighth grade are invited to participate. The camp runs Aug. 20-22 from 5 to 7 p.m. Participants will also be on the field during McNary’s annual Blue Day football showcase to cheer for the teams in their corresponding age group.

“They’ll also be part of a halftime show during our first home game,” Salzer said.

Cost of the camp is $40 and includes a T-shirt. Registration forms are available in the McNary main office and need to be returned by Aug. 8 to guarantee a shirt.

In the long run, Salzer wants to see the team return to competitive form. The program had garnered its fair share of competition titles in the past.

“I’m really excited to work with the girls and I hope they’re just as excited to work with me,” Salzer said.