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Day: November 4, 2014

KRP ramp earns national award for boating access

Janine Belleque, of the States Organization for Boating Access, presents a plaque for the KRP boat ramp to Mayor Lore Christopher. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Janine Belleque, of the States Organization for Boating Access, presents a plaque for the KRP boat ramp to Mayor Lore Christopher. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

Of the Keizertimes

It was an award a long time coming.

But at least city officials didn’t have to travel to Arkansas, since the award came to them.

Keizer City Councilors and Mayor Lore Christopher accepted an award during their Oct. 20 meeting on behalf of the city for the Keizer Rapids boat ramp.

Janine Belleque, president of the States Organization for Boating Access (SOBA) and also the Oregon State Marine Board’s interim Boating Facilities manager, presented the 2014 Outstanding Mid-Size Access award at the meeting. The boat ramp along the Willamette River, opened in October 2012, was nominated in the medium access category. That category is for a facility with parking for 25 to 75 cars and trailers.

Belleque noted the award was presented during SOBA’s annual conference in Little Rock, Ark. earlier in the month.

Planning for the project began in 2003. More than 50 people from the city, state and federal levels collaborated on property acquisitions, obtaining environmental construction permits, designing, engineering, bidding, constructing and obtaining funding. Belleque noted she had been involved with initial design charettes for the project and gave kudos to Nate Brown, director of Community Development for Keizer, for his work on the project.

“To give you an idea why it scored so well nationally, it was that public process,” Belleque said. “It was the involvement with the community and the outreach, the user interest, trying to present a balanced park. It was the partnerships to make it happen and to open a 12.5 mile stretch of the Willamette River to the public.”

In talking with 13 city staff members, Belleque said one thing was obvious.

“This really was a project that was full of love and dedication by the city,” she said.

Upon accepting the award, Christopher confirmed that was indeed the case.

“I know we did everything right,” the mayor said. “Truly it is a beautiful boat ramp, the way it looks out onto the river. It’s spectacular right now with the fall color. We are kind of in love with it and we are kind of proud of it and we really did think it was a national winner. Thank you for confirming what we already thought.”

The total project cost for the boat ramp was $1,322,379. Of that, $728,296 was from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife utilizing federal Sport Fish Restoration Funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. There was also $221,356 in state boater funds and $372,727 from the city.

That funding paid for property acquisition 1,900 feet of paved access road, paved and curbed parking for 16 single car spaces and 23 vehicle/boat trailer spaces, landscaped islands, sidewalks and signage, a 261-foot long single land concrete boat ramp, 200-foot long boarding floats supported by five steel piles, a single staff vault toilet, two vegetated stormwater treatment bio-swales, bank stabilization, boat ramp protection and a vegetated berm to create a noise buffer for neighbors.

The boat ramp is a designated stop on the Willamette River Water Trail.

Wanted: Big hearts, warm hands for terminal patients’ final hours


Of the Keizertimes

A Portland-based non-profit is looking for local volunteers with big hearts and a willingness to open them up to strangers in need.

Jim Pfeifer, program director of No One Dies Alone (NODA), has partnered with Keizer’s Avamere Court retirement community and its new memory care center, Arbor at Avamere Court, to provide companionship for clients in the final hours of their lives.

“We usually get the call in the last 24 to 36 hours,” said Pfeifer. “Then our volunteers will go and sit bedside vigils for those who have no family or those whose families need a few hours to take care of other business.”

Interested volunteers can call Pfeifer at 503-956-8255 or e-mail him at [email protected] to inquire further.

“Once we have a few people signed up, I will schedule an orientation locally for potential volunteers to find out more,” he said.

NODA already serves dozens of retirement communities and senior care centers in Eugene and Portland, but the new relationship with Avamere is its first in the Salem-Keizer area. More than 200 volunteers are already providing the no-fee service and range from college-aged to retirees. In addition to the orientation, volunteers will be tested for tuberculosis and need to pass a criminal background check. Vigil shifts typically range between two and four hours, but scheduling can be somewhat erratic.

“There are some mornings we have no vigils scheduled and then we have three started by the end of the day,” Pfeifer said.

Because NODA volunteers enter the picture in the patients’ last hours, sitting vigil typically means playing quiet music, holding a hand and maybe moistening lips, but it’s the human presence and contact that are of the utmost importance.

“Hearing and touch are the last senses to go,” said Pfeifer. “The the clients definitely know our presence.”

Pfeifer’s own experiences with the death of a daughter enlightened him to the need for the services NODA supplies. It also means he knows the value of the volunteers.

“Our volunteers become a part of these peoples’ lives in a way, and that’s the big thing,” he said.

Netters take second in GVC

McNary’s Sydney Hunter applies a light touch to the ball and sends it over the West Salem High School front line. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
McNary’s Sydney Hunter applies a light touch to the ball and sends it over the West Salem High School front line. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

Claiming second place in the Greater Valley Conference meant the Lady Celt varsity volleyball team got to host its first playoff game Wednesday past press time.

The McNary netters (21-7 overall) drew Gresham High School (7-13 overall) in the opening round.

“I hope we can play our game the way we know how to play it, and we beat them in three,” said McNary senior Macana Wyatt.

Pulling that off might mean pulling out of a “funk” that has hampered the team in recent weeks. Three of the team’s last four matches have gone to five sets after sweeping some of the same opponents earlier in the season.

The Celtics took their third loss of the season in conference play to South Salem High School Tuesday, Oct. 21.

“The big problem was we’d start strong and they’d come back and go on a run,” said junior Madi Hingston.

After edging the Saxons out in the first set with a score of 26-24, McNary lost he next three in the overall 3-1 loss.

“We were in a funk and we got really down on ourselves for little mistakes. Once we lost the second game, we just let go and didn’t fight for it,” Wyatt said.

Lauren Hudgins recorded a team-leading 13 kills, Hingston had 11 and Vanessa Hayes had 10. Hingston also had 21 digs.

Two days later, McNary waged war with West Salem High School at home and won 3-2.

“We weren’t communicating or talking as well as we usually do in the third and fourth sets. It was just our mental state at the time, it was a high-pressure match and we all felt it,” said McNary’s Kylie Gilmour.

Hudgins put up another 13 kills and had six blocks. Sydney Hunter had 11 kills. On defense, Hingston and Megan Douglas both had 17 digs. Douglas aced the Titans six times.

Despite the recent funk, the Lady Celts appear to have left a pair of struggling seasons in the past with this season’s second place finish. That it occurred in the first year of an expanded conference makes it all the more commendable.

“We worked really hard for second place and we’re still pumped and proud of it,” Gilmour said.

Hingston, in her second year on the varsity roster, said, “It shows that we’re a high-caliber team, and it shows a lot of improvement for us. We focused in practice and had goals in mind.”

Only Reagan can be reason


The Republican debate about the shape of the political future has begun, typically for conservatives, as a fight about the past. As President Obama has become a Jimmy Carter-like figure — hapless, luckless and increasingly friendless — most prospective GOP presidential candidates are positioning themselves as Ronald Reagan’s rightful heir. A thick fog of historical analogy has settled over the Republican field.

“It took Jimmy Carter to give us Ronald Reagan,” argues Sen. Ted Cruz, who clearly sees (and admires) a resemblance to the latter in the mirror each morning. “I’m a great believer in Ronald Reagan,” claims Sen. Rand Paul, even while proposing a Carthage-like destruction of Reagan’s foreign policy. Sen. Lindsey Graham has called Sen. Marco Rubio “the son of Ronald Reagan when it comes to national security” —though Rubio is actually young enough to be Reagan’s great-grandson.

The squabble over this inheritance is recounted in a recent essay by Henry Olsen and Pete Wehner, provocatively titled, If Ronald Reagan Were Alive Today, He Would Be 103 Years Old. (Credit the editors of Commentary for knowing how to push conservative buttons in the good cause of bringing more eyes to an important article.) Olsen and Wehner are, in fact, deeply respectful toward Reagan, whom they describe as the greatest Republican since Lincoln. They warn, however, that “the constant invocation of Reagan’s name to bolster arguments for present-day policies (and present-day politicians) actually hinders our understanding of the substance of Reagan’s legacy—and undermines the Republican Party’s ability to make a case for itself in the here-and-now.”

For decades, Democratic policies and politicians grew pale and scrawny in the shadow of Franklin Roosevelt. It took Bill Clinton to modernize the Democratic appeal—providing government, at least in theory, with a catalytic rather than supervisory role. It is Republicans who now struggle in the shade of presidential greatness, even when they win congressional elections.

Olsen and Wehner point to two serious risks in seeking “a posthumous seal of approval” from Reagan. First, there is the consistent temptation of all idolatry — to craft a figure in our own image. Those who claim Reagan as the first and purest tea party leader find support not in history, but in mythology.

The authors make what seems, at first, a fine distinction, but turns out to be a decisive one. Reagan’s guiding political principle was not human freedom — the belief of a doctrinaire libertarian — but human dignity. The cause of dignity is served by the ability of individuals to shape their own destiny, something denied in all forms of totalitarianism. But properly limited government can also serve the cause of human dignity. “We accept without reservation,” said Reagan, “our obligation to help the aged, disabled and those unfortunates who, through no fault of their own, must depend on their fellow man.”

At the time, libertarians found Reagan “too kind, gentle and sentimental” and lacking a “blueprint for radical governance” (David Stockman) and the true progenitors of the tea party found him a captive of the “establishment” (Richard Viguerie). In fact, Reagan’s presidency represented an accommodation of the theory of the New Deal and the Great Society (the existence and constitutionality of Social Security and Medicare), coupled with a strong objection to the coercive, uniform and bureaucratic methods of modern liberalism. On economic policy, Reagan was deeply committed to cutting marginal tax rates, but willing to accept tax increases in other areas. He operated, according to Olsen and Wehner, “within the four corners of reality.” He was “more a Burkean conservative than a Jacobin.”

The authors diagnose a second risk of Republican claims to be the vicar of Reagan. This strategy is employed as a conversation stopper: Reagan said it; I believe it; that settles it. But this produces a Republican policy debate encased in amber. “Some of his epigones,” argue Olsen and Wehner, “today appear caught in a time warp, acting as if every year is 1980. Reagan, while conservative to the bone, would never have allowed himself to become captive to the past.” Reagan inherited a nation with high inflation and a 70 percent top marginal tax rate. Our nation has wage stagnation and a gap in skills and human capital that is hardening into a rigid class system.

 This is a lesson that is particularly urgent for newly elected Republicans and prospective presidential candidates. A party truly animated by the spirit of Reagan will address the problems of our time, not of his.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

Big Toy website to go live Nov. 7

Valaria Moore shows Community Build Task Force members the latest additions to the Big Toy website earlier this month. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Valaria Moore shows Community Build Task Force members the latest additions to the Big Toy website earlier this month. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

Of the Keizertimes

The website for Keizer’s Big Toy will be unveiled to the public soon.

Valaria Moore has been making tweaks in recent months to a test site based on feedback from members of the Community Build Task Force (CBTF). She showed the latest updates at October’s CBTF meeting.

After explaining the changes, Moore asked for feedback.

“That shows the changes on the website,” she said.

CBTF chair Marlene Quinn was among those liking what they saw.

“That looks awesome,” Quinn said.

Moore then pushed for a timeline.

“I want to go live as soon as we can,” Moore said.

Quinn agreed with that view.

“So do I,” Quinn said.

Task force members agreed the website shouldn’t go live until after the Keizer City Council makes a decision on where in Keizer Rapids Park the Big Toy should go. Councilors are expected to make that decision at their Nov. 3 meeting. On Oct. 14, Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board members made a recommendation to move the Big Toy to a location in the current orchards.

Project co-chair Richard Walsh came up with the suggestion to wait until after the council makes its decision. Moore noted she would be out of town on that night, so it was agreed the site will go live on Friday, Nov. 7.

Earlier in the meeting, Moore went through the tweaks she’d made to the test site based on feedback at CBTF meetings and from project general coordinator Mark Caillier.

“We’ve made a lot of changes,” Moore said. “I added the fundraising thermometer to the bottom of the page. It shows our goal is $416,510. Mark had mentioned wanting to see the dollar marks for it. The supporter section was made smoother, more consistent, with added logos. You can scroll through it.”

Moore noted she had some issues when doing updates, such as getting decent logos for the elementary schools in Keizer. Quinn suggested she could take pictures of logos at the schools with her iPhone, which Moore said would work better than the logos she had found online.

Moore also had issues with drawings from students. Some 3,000 Keizer students drew pictures of what they wanted the Big Toy to look like.

“The issue I have is some of them have names on them,” Moore said. “There are hundreds of images. The indication I had was none of the childrens’ names should be on them. Someone will have to block the names off.”

The website is being looked at as a key tool to give updates on the funding progress, giving recognition to donors and to give people an opportunity to sign up to help with the actual build dates in June.