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Day: August 22, 2014

It’s depressing

The death of Robin Williams was met with shock and universal acclaim for one of our time’s most beloved performers. About 22 veterans take their lives each day in this country, a majority of whom served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Many try to conjure up reasons why Williams took his own life. We  are aware of the conditions military veterans face after their return from war zones. We can never know the heart and mind of another person, we can only see the surface and come up with our own theories.

What is known is that Williams, who was 63, was suffering from depression. Was his depression caused by the onset of Parkinson’s disease? Money problems? Growing older in an industry that values youth? In the end it doesn’t matter; the comedian deemed death a solution to his problems.

Depession is a form of mental illness. We speak not of the once-in-a-while blues everyone gets, but of clinical depression that can be debilitating and treated with medications.

An estimated 10 percent of adults suffer from depression. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, authorized by Congress in 1998, recommends that health-care providers screen adults for depression. It also recommends an approach that involves the collaboration of primary care providers, mental health specialists and other providers to improve disease management for adults with major depression.

Current depression (symptoms for at least the previous two weeks) was determined based on responses to the Patient Health Questionnaire, which covers eight of the nine criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, for diagnosis of major depressive disorder.

A person is considered to have major depression if, for “more than half the days,” they reported meeting at least five of the eight criteria, including at least one of the following: little interest or pleasure in doing things, or, feeling down, depressed, or hopeless.

The other criteria are: trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or sleeping too much, feeling tired or having little energy, poor appetite or overeating, feeling bad about themselves or that they were a failure or let theselves or their  family down, trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television, and moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed…or the opposite: being so fidgety or restless that you were moving around a lot more than usual.

There are many causes of depression such as medical issues, financial situation, relationship issues, job loss or unemployment, and on and on. The outward clinical symptoms, as listed above, should be a red flag for the friends and families of those exhibiting them.

People should be cognizant of the long-term symptons of depression in their loved ones. In our society, mental illness carries a stigma. Depression takes center stage when it results in the death of a well-known person like Williams. The country talks about depression or mental illness for a few days and then moves on to the next news item.

Dr. Jean Kim wrote in The Daily Best: “Too often, people are quick to stigmatize depression and other mental illnesses as forms of moral weakness or lack of willpower, especially in individualistic America.”

Robin Williams’ death should be the final push that opens wide the door to discussion about mental health and depression. It may be uncomfortable for some to have such a public dialogue about something that is private and personal, but the alternative can be devastating. Parents, siblings, adult children, teachers, coaches and leaders of any kind should be given the message that inquiring about a person’s mental health is not an invasion of privacy but a true concern for their well-being.

We lose more than 20 veterans each day and we’ve lost Robin Williams to depression and suicide. This isn’t a government issue or a pharma issue, it is an issue for all of us, to do what we can to help those we care for that may be suffering from mental health issues. It’s past the time to take discussion and treatment for depression and health illness issues of the closest and bring it out into the open.—LAZ

Thanks to those who made Rib Feast a major success

To the Editor:

Thank you for sharing our story of the Aug. 4 Rib Feast. However, Dan and I were not alone in our efforts and support of the Navy-Coast Guard Wounded Warriors.

We personally want to thank Keizerites Maleah Richard (Kitchen Queen) and daughter Brittany, Linda Carbajal, Nancy Varner, Gene and Betty Olson, Dave Dougall, Ruth Richard, Shane and Ashley Rogers, neighbors Kelly French and Anne Meeks, as well as Copper Creek Mercantile-Dennis Blackman, Roth’s Hayesville-Jeff UIven, Keizer Safeway, Jones Farm Produce, and Cash & Carry.

Also our daughters, Cara Meredith and Aleah Dayton who worked behind the scenes from California and Washington… and others who volunteered and contributed.

God bless you all.

No’el and Dan MacDonald
Keizer

Rand Paul’s bogus outreach

By MICHAEL GERSON

Why should Republicans engage in outreach to African-Americans, even though the level of suspicion is so high and the yield in votes is likely to be so low?

Even among some reform-oriented conservatives, what might be called the Kemp project—after the late Rep. Jack Kemp, who spent a career engaged in minority outreach—is viewed as a secondary concern. They consistently pitch their approach toward the middle class—in part to distinguish it from previous iterations of compassionate or “bleeding heart” (Kemp’s phrase) conservatism. The cover of the reform conservative manifesto—Room to Grow: Conservative Reforms for a Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class—features a lawn mower on fresh-cut grass. The conservative rebirth will evidently spring from suburban yards on a lazy Saturday morning.

Yes, Republicans desperately require policies responsive to the economic anxieties of middle-income voters. Democrats are significantly more trusted on a variety of middle-class issues. But the public critique of the GOP is not merely: “They don’t care enough about the middle class.” It is, rather: “They don’t care enough about the whole.” The Republican task is not merely to shift an impression of interest-group allegiance away from big business and toward suburban families (though this would be an improvement). It is to demonstrate that conservative ideology is applicable to the common good.

In this effort, outreach to African-Americans is actually central. A party that does not forthrightly address the single largest source of division in American history and American life—now dramatized in the tear gas haze of Ferguson, Mo. —is not morally or intellectually serious. And even as a political matter, women voters, Catholic voters and younger voters would prefer a chief executive who seeks the interests of all Americans, including those unlikely to vote for him or her. A commitment to national unity is an indicator of public character. The Kemp project has never been more urgent for Republicans.

So it is notable when a Republican presidential prospect such as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky attempts to address issues of concern to African-Americans. In the context of Ferguson, Paul has emphasized his opposition to the overuse of prisons and the militarization of policing as expressions of “big government.” One result has been a serious media crush. “He continues,” by one account, “to set himself apart from others in the Republican Party with the hope of expanding the party’s coalition.”

Precisely because this effort is so important, it is also important to point out: The Kemp project, placed in Rand Paul’s hands, would be an utter, counterproductive failure.

Kemp, you might remember, had both a personal history—as a pro-civil rights union representative in the American Football League—and a political ideology suited to outreach. He conceived an active role for government in empowering individuals and reclaiming urban communities.

Paul has his own history. He employed, as a close Senate aide, a writer who styled himself the “Southern Avenger” and who authored a column titled John Wilkes Booth Was Right. This personnel decision would have been impossible to imagine from Kemp. But it points out the deep affinity between certain strains of libertarianism and The Lost Cause. While running for the Senate, Paul criticized the centerpiece of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—the part desegregating public accommodations—because it conflicted with his libertarian conception of property rights. And Rand Paul, of course, worked for a presidential candidate in 2012 (his father, Ron Paul) who claimed that the Civil Rights Act “violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty” and argued that the Civil War was a senseless mistake.

Meanwhile, Paul’s 2013 proposal for a balanced budget in five years—which would have eviscerated large portions of the federal government and weakened the social safety net —was less of a blueprint for reform than a demolition order.

Paul has risen to prominence by employing a political trick, which is already growing old. He emphasizes the sliver of his libertarianism that gets nods of agreement (say, rolling back police excesses) while ignoring the immense, discrediting baggage of his ideology (say, discomfort with federal civil rights law or belief in a minimal state incapable of addressing poverty and stalled mobility).

As a senator, this tactic has worked. But were Paul to become the GOP presidential nominee, the media infatuation would end, and any Democratic opponent would have a field day with Paul’s disturbing history and cramped ideology. On racial issues, the GOP needs a successor to Kemp —and an alternative to Paul.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

Imagine a two-year break from D.C.

How about a fantasy to occupy the reader’s fancy during the waning days of summer?  Here’s one that occurred to me on a torrid August day this past week.

How about sending the 535 members of Congress, the president and nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court on leave along with their multitude of staffers until a new president is installed in January, 2017.  Think of the savings that’d occur with these folks gone until a new president is in office, two and one-half years from now.  Their salaries alone exceed millions of dollars, as each member of Congress receives at least $174,000 in direct pay alone; the president’s salary is $400,000 with the White House overflowing with aides, while the justices each receive $213,000 and all their legal beagle helpers.

Why?  Well, for openers, congressional ratings are so low there’s no space between where they lie in lack-of-public-approval and daylight. More Americans than at any other time think their representative or senator ought to find legitimate work.

The Republicans are forecast to gain as many as 12 seats in the House, strengthening their hold on the majority.  Gerrymandering rules!  Meanwhile, they have shown a total lack of willingness to work with President Obama while the Senate, whose Democrat majority is threatened, can get little done due to partisan fighting and, when it does vote in favor of anything, it soon dies in the House. Obama has used his executive power but can do nearly nothing about overripe domestic issues.

The bottom line is the American people would be considerably better off if everything government in Washington, D.C. would take a powder for a chance that the nation would heal and that, afterwards, its elected representative would work in Washington.  Maybe even the House, under new members and leadership in 2017, would find something constructive to do other than the ill-advised threats to Obama. Hence, leave the states alone to work out their needs without federal meddling that amounts to nothing more than unwarranted costs to middle class Americans.

If everything D.C. shut down for a healthy period, the states could use their tax dollars to accomplish matters of pressing local importance.  It’s interesting that for the states in the old Confederacy, those whose citizens complain about the federal government and want it smaller, are in fact the states that receive the greatest financial benefit from big government.  For example, for every dollar Mississippi sends to Washington, D.C., it receives $2.02 back.  A person guesses that in Mississippi, those folks hold their noses while they Dixie-down the “bacon,” turning a blind eye to the fact that over 40 percent of their state’s budget is complements of Washington.

In Oregon, we’d do better if we could get away from the federal government octopus for two and a half years, as we receive $0.93 for every dollar we send back East. Incidentally, out of the collection of states in the old Confederacy, only Florida (97 cents) and Texas at (94 cents) give more than they get.

If things were broken up into smaller bite-size pieces for what could be a healing length of time, the Tea Partiers and all the anti-government saboteurs might think twice about being so against everything American. Those people are only interested in what serves themselves and no one else: so they can do whatever they want to do, whenever they want to do it, wherever they want to do it.

It is not the view of this writer that every government official and employee is bad news.  However, it would appear that a lop-sided majority of them are bad news.  Something fairly drastic is in order in hope it would break the grossly broken dysfunction that represents Washington, D.C., circa 2014.  So, let’s give this fantasy a chance.  It’s a plan whose time is overdue.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer. His column appears regularly in the Keizertimes.) 

Year-old section of McLeod being fixed

A section of McLeod Lane, just south of the intersection with Stone Hedge Drive, is already coming apart after just one year. The issue should be fixed by the end of the month. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
A section of McLeod Lane, just south of the intersection with Stone Hedge Drive, is already coming apart after just one year. The issue should be fixed by the end of the month. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Work done a year ago has to be redone already.

Roadwork will be happening soon on McLeod Lane, just south of the stop sign at Stone Hedge Drive.

Last summer new pavement was laid. Earlier this month, a large chunk of pavement buckled.

“We don’t see that very often at all, especially on new roads,” said Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, noting the pavement failure was likely caused by a combination of factors. “The contractor, Roy Houck Construction, and the city are coordinating to cover the cost of the repairs. The city is paying for the saw cut and traffic control and the contractor is covering the rest of the costs.”

In the spring, a patch of River Road by Shari’s had to be replaced due to repeated bus stops. Lawyer said things are different in this case.

“The problem on McLeod was not necessarily because of the bus, but that helped it happen sooner,” he said. “We are not exactly sure what caused the problem.”

It’s also not known exactly when the work will be done.

“I am not exactly sure of the schedule for these repairs but hopefully they will be completed by the end of next week,” Lawyer said prior to Monday’s Keizer City Council meeting. “The city will have a saw cutting contractor do the cutting before the paving contractor moves onto the job.”

Lawyer said the resurfacing done on McLeod last summer was part of the city’s annual street resurfacing project and had nothing to do with Cherriots restarting bus service through the Gubser neighborhood.

“Since there is no clear evidence of a failure by the paving contractor or a failure of materials, we agreed to pay the cost of the saw cutting and the paving contractor will pay for the rest of the repairs,” Lawyer said.

Bruno’s young helper

Enya Wallace (right), 11, and officer Scott Keniston show off new K-9 Bruno's harness, that Wallace paid for, during the Aug. 4 Keizer City Council meeting. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Enya Wallace (right), 11, and officer Scott Keniston show off new K-9 Bruno’s harness, that Wallace paid for, during the Aug. 4 Keizer City Council meeting. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Bruno, the Keizer Police Department’s newest K-9, has a custom-made vest.

The funding for that came from a Keizer citizen.

Pretty cool, right?

Here’s where it gets even cooler: that citizen is 11 years old.

Enya Wallace raised the funds and gave them to officer Stephen Richardson with the Keizer Police Department, who trains K-9s for KPD and other agencies.

“I started making all these bracelets,” Enya said. “My mom thought it would be a good idea to sell them to raise money. She came up with the idea to get vests for K-9 dogs.”

So Enya did just that, collecting money by selling bracelets over the course of several months.

“I collected around $60 and gave it to the police for the K-9,” Enya said. “They told me they were getting a new K-9. They said since I had the money, they would allow me to purchase a vest for Bruno.”

Mom Janice Wallace noted Wanda Blaylock, administrative assistant at the KPD, got the family in touch with Richardson, who in turn invited the family to the Iris Festival in May. Enya sold some of her bracelets there and got an up-close view at the K-9 demonstration during the weekend.

“We first asked about getting bulletproof vests, but they are $800, so we went with these,” Janice said.

Enya liked the idea of helping out in this way.

“It felt pretty good, because I was helping animals,” said the sixth grader at Claggett Creek Middle School. “I’m an animal lover. I have always liked the K-9s.”

After Bruno was purchased in June, Richardson and officer Scott Keniston put him through intensive training. Keniston and police chief John Teague publicly introduced Bruno at the Aug. 4 Keizer City Council meeting.

Enya got to give Bruno his vest. She didn’t fear Bruno – who appeared to look up affectionately at her during the presentation – would misbehave.

“I didn’t think (him attacking) was going to happen, unless they told him to attack,” Enya said.

Janice noticed Bruno looked pleased with the purchase.

“He seemed to be pretty happy,” the mom said. “I was very proud. It made me happy she wanted to help.”

Ruth Esther Woolfe

Ruth Woolfe was born on January 28, 1920 in Edgemont, South Dakota. She married Lloyd C. Woolfe on April 13, 1946 in Oregon City.

Ruth graduated with a Bachelors degree from Oregon State University in 1945. She received her master’s from Oregon College of Education in 1974. She was a special education teacher for Salem Public Schools, retiring after 25 years of teaching. She was a member and secretary of the Audubon Society. Ruth enjoyed beachcombing, birding, and traveling. Her most favorite thing was to be at the coast and spending time with her family. She enjoyed teaching children to read when no one else could.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Lloyd Woolfe. She is survived by her sons: Rick, Van, Greg, Lynn; grandchildren: Fauna, Alia, Kendra, Esje, Ryan, Andrew; great-grandchildren: Lilly, Jack, Molley, Dorian, Parker, Mason.

A graveside service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 at Claggett Cemetery in Keizer. Memorial contributions may given in her memory to Salem Audubon Society. Arrangements entrusted to Keizer Funeral Chapel & Cremation Services.

For photos, memories and online condolences, please visit Ruth’s memorial website at www.keizerchapel.com.

It’s a fair time again

0822-COM-Oregon-State-Fair-corr

The Oregon State Fair returns Friday, Aug. 22, bringing with it a slew of competitions, live music and more elephant ears than anyone could ever hope to eat.

Getting in the gates will cost $8 for adults, down from $11 last year, and includes limited concert seating for the headlining acts.

In addition to rides and food galore, not to mention hands-on time with Oregon’s most impressive farm animals, contests hosted at the fair will be seeking the best art, baked goods, cakes, produce, floral arrangements, collections, honey products, needlework and clothing paper arts, preserved foods, quilts, spinning and weaving, table decoration and woodworking.

A new feature this year will tap into the work of homebrew and amateur winemaking communities. Winners will be announced Friday, Aug. 22, at 7 p.m. on the Jackman-Long Stage.

On the food front, the fair will feature a booth serving up Bob’s Burgers, a one-time staple of the Salem-area food scene.

Headliners for the Oregon State Fair concert series are: Buckcherry (Aug. 22, 7 p.m.), Ziggy Marley (Aug. 23, 7 p.m.), Emblem3 (Aug. 24, 4 p.m.), The Fab Four (Aug. 25, 7 p.m.), comedian David Spade (Aug. 26, 7 p.m.), The Newsboys (Aug. 27, 6:45 p.m.), Charlie Daniels Band (Aug. 28, 7 p.m.), Chris Young (Aug. 29, 6:45 p.m.), Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (Aug. 30, 4 p.m.), and The Beach Boys (Sept. 1, 4 p.m.). VIP seating, which includes reserved seats, preferred access to concessions and a chance to win a backstage pass is $20 to $35 depending on the act.

Discounted admission days:

Aug. 22 – Bring two or more cans of food for $5 admission. Donations support the Marion-Polk Food Share and Oregon Food Bank.

Aug. 23 – Free admission for kids 11 and younger; coupons available at participating Les Schwab stores.

Aug. 24 – Four admission tickets of any combination for $16 – up to a 50 percent savings. Coupons are available at participating Sleep Country stores.

Aug. 27 -Receive a coupon for free admission to be used Thursday through Labor Day.

Aug. 28 – Veterans receive free fair admission, which includes special veterans programming and free seating for the Charlie Daniels Band, playing at 7 p.m. in the L.B. Day Amphitheater.

Aug. 31 – Four admission tickets of any combination for $16 – up to a 50 percent savings. Coupons are available at participating Sleep Country stores.

Tow truck changes crash

Mayor Lore Christopher (left) talks with tow truck operators following a meeting in June. Keizer City Councilors on Monday rejected changes to city rules regarding tow trucks. (KEIZERTIMES File/Craig Murphy)
Mayor Lore Christopher (left) talks with tow truck operators following a meeting in June. Keizer City Councilors on Monday rejected changes to city rules regarding tow trucks.
(KEIZERTIMES File/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

After months of discussion, change was on the horizon.

It seemed a 2005 city ordinance regarding tow trucks was going to be changed following numerous meetings on the topic and a heaping of input from tow truck company owners.

Even during early discussion at Monday’s Keizer City Council meeting, the sense was tow truck drivers would be able to park their trucks in their own driveways, as long as certain conditions were adhered to.

At the last minute, however, the apparent momentum came screeching to a halt.

When councilors looked at the topic in 2005, a new ordinance prohibited the parking of tow trucks with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds on city streets.

Several tow truck company operators have been seeking a change in that ordinance since February. In June, councilors directed city staff to change the Keizer Development Code to allow for tow trucks under the home occupation provision, upping the GVWR limit to 19,500 pounds as long as sidewalks were not blocked.

Since that entailed altering the development code, the issue was sent back to the Keizer Planning Commission. Following a public hearing on the topic last month, Planning Commission members recommended amendments allowing for trucks up to 26,000 pounds GVWR, with no vehicle being towed or loaded on a tow truck when it is parked on private property, and requiring that tow vehicles be backed onto a driveway to reduce the beeper noises in the middle of the night. In addition, tow trucks couldn’t extend into the sidewalk or right-of-way area.

During Monday’s public hearing, Rhonda Rich with the West Keizer Neighborhood Association noted the WKNA voted against the proposal to allow tow trucks to be parked in neighborhoods.

“There has been only opposition from the residential community,” said Rich, the WKNA president. “I believe we represent the silent majority who are not aware this decision is being made. They won’t realize it until they hear a tow truck in their neighborhood. Then you will hear complaints and people will be told to just live with it or move. Probably most of you don’t think it will happen in your neighborhood. You, as a governing body, decide what is best for maintaining quality of life.

“I would like to suggest the ordinance remain restrictive to tow trucks in neighborhoods, as was passed in 2005,” she added. “There must have been good reasons then, as there are in 2014. Let them figure out a way to do business without disrupting people who find refuge in the place they call home.”

Liz Rumelhart, owner of Wiltse Towing, said she didn’t have much to add since the topic has been hashed out plenty.

“Our intent is not to cause harm to neighborhoods,” Rumelhart said. “Most businesses operate 8 (a.m.) to 5 (p.m.). Ours don’t.”

Councilor Kim Freeman noted Jack Conwell with Affordable Towing had offered her a new perspective last month.

“Tow trucks going in and out of neighborhoods can deter crimes happening at 2 a.m.,” Freeman said. “There could be someone trying to break into a car. We had some good discussions.”

Rumelhart noted that has indeed happened in her neighborhood.

“I catch them,” she said. “I’ve chased off numerous people at 3 a.m. We are here to serve, not to cause mayhem with our neighbors.”

After the hearing was closed, a motion was made to allow the tow vehicles in driveways.

In the subsequent discussion, there was a change.

“Over the last few months there has been a lot of testimony on the issues,” councilor Marlene Quinn said. “I have waded back and forth. My job is to listen to my constituents about the livability in their neighborhoods. I’ve heard every citizen express a desire to not have tow trucks in their neighborhoods. My job is to listen to the constituents. I’ll vote to not have this go forward.”

Councilor Jim Taylor echoed Quinn.

“I’m also not going to support this,” Taylor said. It comes down to if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. I don’t think it’s a big issue at night being able to respond. There’s not much traffic. I’ve talked with some officers and they said at night it’s not a big issue.

“A gentleman said early on would you want this parked next to your house?” he added. “No, I wouldn’t. I have talked with a lot of other people, who said they don’t want it either. I would say the vast majority of the 37,000 citizens don’t want tow trucks next to them.”

Freeman noted both tow truck company owners present Monday weren’t aware of the current ordinance in place when discussions began.

“When we want those services, we need them there,” Freeman said. “But I vote no because I listen to the citizens.”

With that, the vote was taken and the measure was rejected on a 5-0 vote, with councilor Dennis Koho and mayor Lore Christopher absent.

Jeff Asher, owner of B.C. Towing, was disappointed with the outcome.

“It’s really sad,” Asher said. “That’s making it hard to do business in Keizer and it’s hard for my employees to do business and live in Keizer. The sad part is there are not that many tow trucks in Keizer.”

At several times over the last several months, the idea of increasing the response time for tow trucks arriving at a scene – currently set by the Keizer Police Department at 15 minutes – was proposed, especially if tow trucks couldn’t be parked in neighborhoods. That part of the issue was not brought up Monday.

“That hasn’t been an issue in the past,” said council president Joe Egli, who filled in as mayor pro-tem on Monday. “We didn’t do anything with that. (Tow truck companies) may come back later and ask us to discuss it.”