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Day: December 5, 2014

Wrestlers return in tourney Friday

1205-SPO-Sam-Partida-and-Jon-Phelps-corr-tall
Celt Jon Phelps takes a shot on teammate Sam Partida in the McNary Blue vs. Gray wrestle-off Tuesday, Nov. 25, at McNary. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Many wrestling programs wouldn’t invite some of the top contenders in the state to their house for the first tournament year after year, but Jason Ebbs, McNary head coach, wouldn’t have it any other way.

“There’s only one way to get better and that’s to wrestle the best out there,” Ebbs said. “We invite Roseburg High School to the tournament every year, and I think it says a lot about what they think of us in that they accept the invitation each time.”

The Celtics host Roseburg, Cleveland and Dallas high schools for a varsity tournament Friday, Dec. 5. The action begins at 4 p.m.

“It’s is exciting to have a three-way dual meet right off the bat,” said Celt Sean Burrows, a 126-pounder. “I’m kind of hoping to get the chance to wrestle Bennett Mesa from Roseburg.”

Mesa was last season’s state champ at 106 pounds and Burrows heard he’s shooting for 126 this season. Burrows placed fifth at the district tournament last season.

McNary’s state placers all graduated in June, but Elite 8-finisher Michael Phelps is back for his senior season and looking to impart the McNary legacy on the new faces in the Celtic line-up.

“I look forward to working with them and helping them reach their potential. We were regional champs my freshman year and I want them to believe they are part of one of the better programs in our conference,” Phelps said.

He said getting on the mat to practice with younger brother Jon and teammate Jordan Cagle were high on his list of priorities.

Fellow seniors Alvarro Venegas and Taran Purkey said resurrecting the team atmosphere of their freshman year is something of a goal.

“When Alvarro and I were freshmen, we thought the program was finished when Devin (Reynolds) graduated, but we’ve carried on. Now, we’ve got younger guys like Isaiah Putnam and Hunter Lucas who have improved a ton and prove that McNary wrestling isn’t going down after we graduate,” Purkey said.

Venegas said that means amping up the pressure within the program.

“We really want to see the team return the sense of family we had a couple of years ago and work on our competitiveness within the program and bring everyone closer together,” Venegas said.

If they’re successful in their pursuit, Venegas said opposing teams are going to know it.

“Some of our guys might lose, but we’re damn well not going to give it to the other team easy,” he said.

With a slightly larger group of seniors, competition within the program is likely to be high, especially when one considers that two of the team’s freshmen, Brayden Ebbs and Sam Partida, have already achieved great heights wrestling as part of the McNary Mat Club.

As far as more immediate goals, Purkey said beating Sprague High School topped his list. He specifically has his eyes on matches with Oly Corson Davis. Davis was one match from placing in the state tournament last season and took third in the district tournament.

“I beat him and he beat me last season, but I want to go to the mat knowing I can beat him this year,” Purkey said.

Ebbs said the journey to getting better begins Friday.

“We have a unique group of kids who have grown up in this room, our job now is to get better and let the wins and losses take care of themselves,” he said. “If we do that, the sky’s the limit.”

Frederick Forrest Mentzer

Fred Mentzer, 77, was born in Sacramento, Calif. At a young age he moved with his mother and sister to Medford, where he enjoyed “hanging around” with his Uncle Glenn, who remains to this day a beloved friend and mentor.

His mother later married Donald O. Mentzer, who was in the Army.In later years Fred took his stepfather’s name of Mentzer.

Fred attended George Washington High School in San Francisco, Calif. where he excelled in competitive swimming. He wore the title of the champion Bay Area swimmer during the mid-1950s.

Being the son of a military man, Fred lived in many places and gained a lot of insight into the “world at large,” especially when he enlisted in the Army after a few years in college in California.

Fred is preceded in death by his paternal father Charlie Williams, mother and adopted father Donald O. and Louise Mentzer (Cornwall), brother Michael and daughter Rebecca Mentzer-Learman. Fred is survived by his wife Karen and daughters Tatjana Trueman and Lavina Kiernan, as well as many beloved grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Fred had an exemplary career as a helicopter pilot and was especially close with the men in 281st Assault Helicopter Company in one of his Vietnam tours. He was instrumental in helping to establish the 281st AHCA group, which has brought this “band of brothers” together, honing their friendship and remembrances at an annual reunion. Fred handled the group’s newsletters throughout the year, as well as their website. These men have had “the backs” of their brothers for many, many years. In addition, Fred continued to hone his skills by taking various classes, especially those that aided him with his advanced computer skills.

Being a true people person gave Fred the ability to visit with anyone, as well as listen. He maintained the countenance of a quiet man, and was always willing to help and offer a quip or two to the delight of many. He especially enjoyed the men with whom he had coffee two or three times a week, and regular treks to the Keizer Elks Lodge.

A memorial service will be held at the Keizer Elks Lodge Dec. 11 at 2 p.m.

Fred will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery, April 14, 2015, which celebrates his birthday.

Arrangements are by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.

Drugs in Keizer

Heroin use nation wide has reached alarming rates, destroying lives and ripping families apart. Law enforcement agencies are forced to use limited resources to fight the scourge.

Each user gets to heroin on their own personal journey. Some graduate from other opiates, some via peer pressure, others out of sheer desperation to tune out their lives and problems.

Few communities are free from the current heroin rage; Keizer has not remained untouched. Recently a raid in the Gubser neighborhood resulted in the arrest of three people and the removal of two small children. Many people were surprised by the suspects—a businessman, his wife, and a former beauty pageant winner. The young beauty queen got the lion’s share of the attention, yet this case illustrates that heroin users can be anywhere in any neighborhood.

There were four heroin overdose deaths in Keizer in 2012. Due to dilligent police work five men were charged with distribution of heroin that resulted in a young woman’s death.

Interstate 5 serves as a constant pipeline for illicit drugs into Oregon and Keizer. There is so much that comes into our community law enforcement can’t keep up with it. The public may wonder why the police don’t raid a house that has been identified as a drug supermarket. It takes many months to gather evidence, including identifying suppliers, before action can be taken. The goal is to arrest the suppliers and shut down the source of the drugs that create havoc. But shutting off the source is all but impossible.

America would not have a drug problem if there was not such a demand. There has been such a prescription drug explosion over the past few decades that it is easy to see how some people feel their answer to their mental or physical problems must be in a pill. With media filled with “ask your doctor…”advertisements is it any wonder that usage is up?

Everybody reacts to drugs in a different way. One person who is prescribed medicine for pain is fine with no lingering aftereffects; another person’s body may betray them and become addicted to the prescribed drug. When that drug is taken away, where should that person turn for relief? It’s a very short step from pain pills to something like heroin or other street-bought opiates.

One of the tragedies of easy access to illicit narcotics is its use by young people, even in high school. Some young people report that getting drugs is relatively easy; there is always someone standing ready to supply the demand. It is society’s collective duty to drastically reduce the demand. That starts in the home by assuring that prescription drugs are not accessible to the young in the home. Swiping and abusing a parent’s pain killer can be the first step on a slippery slope that ends in tragedy.

Though not every young person who tries heroin becomes an addict it is important they constantly hear the message that drugs are bad. Identify those in the community that kids look up to and recruit them for anti-drug messages.

Any neigborhood and school can claim themselves a drug-free zone  yet that declaration needs to be supported by action. Zero-tolerance when it comes to drugs is not too extreme. Our social compact demands that each of us do what is necessary to reduce drugs in our city, educate our children about the perils of drugs; say it like we mean it and say it often.

We all value and respect what our police department does to fight drugs in our city, but they cannot do this big job alone. We need to be their eyes and ears, because drugs don’t just happen in inner cities anymore—they’re in our quaint neighborhoods.

  —LAZ

Law enforcement

To the Editor:

If people of all colors would obey lawful commands of law-enforcement officers they would not be subjected to any kind of harsh treatment.

It seems to me that these people have attitude problems or suffer from mental problems. They may even feel they are entitled. Sure, there are some cops that have superior attitudes and foul personalities but most cops just want to protect and serve the public. They don’t make the laws but are employed to enforce them. Don’t forget our peace officers see the worst of people every day while on duty.

When citizens are in trouble they call the police for protection and resolution of problems because it is their sworn duty to act.  Every police officer wants to go home safely to their family after their shift. Nearly all of the police shootings or violent actions have occurred when the person continued to act in some kind of a hostile action or a disregard of a lawful order. A recent news paper article cited statistics showing blacks were arrested three times more than whites. This was true both from national and local statistics. Could it be that blacks commit crimes three times more than whites?  I may be naive but I don’t believe that most cops look the other way when a white person commits a crime and arrests a person of color for the same offense.

Bill Quinn
Keizer

Shrinking the epidemic map

By MICHAEL GERSON

My college roommate—the most immediately likable person I’ve ever met, a man who would now be such a present to the world—died of AIDS at the age of 30. Back then, people with the disease did not so much die as fade, becoming gaunt and ghostly images of themselves, as the virus gradually destroyed enough T-cells to cut their ties with the flesh. Metaphors don’t really capture the horror. Declined? Withered? At any rate, he died.

That was 20 World AIDS Days ago, shortly before the arrival of miracle drugs that could have saved my friend’s life. Several years later, when I was on the White House staff, the existence of those medicines created a serious moral dilemma. While antiretroviral drugs were broadly available in the developed world, they were rarely distributed elsewhere. Of about 30 million people with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, perhaps 50,000 were on treatment. The pandemic had already produced 14 million orphans. Walking through South African shantytowns, I mainly met grandmothers and their grandchildren. The intervening generation was nearly erased. In the worst affected countries, life expectancy had fallen by 20 years.

President George W. Bush refused to live with this dilemma, urging the creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, then proposing a $15 billion emergency package of treatment, prevention and compassionate care (PEPFAR). A bipartisan congressional coalition supported this effort, which has been sustained across two administrations by the influence of tireless advocates inside and outside of government.

The global fight against AIDS was characterized, at first, mainly by breadth. After Bush’s announcement of PEPFAR in the 2003 State of the Union address, hospital tents were erected in some places to get as many people on treatment as quickly as possible. Over time, PEPFAR and the Global Fund strengthened an infrastructure of laboratories, supply chains, human resources and infection control programs. Nearly 7 million people are now receiving AIDS drugs with the help of PEPFAR. Life expectancies in Africa have dramatically rebounded. In 2013, for the first time, more people started on AIDS treatment than were infected by the virus. A milestone.

But the next stage of the AIDS response will tie ambition to precision. We are accustomed to the data revolution as the cause of civil libertarian concern and the seswwwource of annoyingly targeted advertising. But epidemiologists are following improved data to the specific sites where disease is spread.

“Whether Ebola, HIV or malaria, infectious disease epidemics are controlled by focusing where new infections are occurring,” Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund, told me. “For example, in Kenya, 53 percent of new adult and 73 percent of new child HIV infections are from five of 47 counties. Rates are highest among fisher folk, young women who trade sex with them and MSM [men who have sex with men]. If we focus on high-level endemic locations and populations, we can bend the curve rapidly and move to bring the HIV epidemic under control.”

Disease experts now have a set of proven HIV prevention methods: early treatment, male circumcision, condoms and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission. They have increasingly specific data on the geographic regions where infections are concentrated. They have a good idea of the highest-risk and hardest-to-reach groups: MSM, transgender people, people who inject drugs, children (who get treatment at lower rates) and young women. (Gender-based violence remains a major problem. In Swaziland, for example, 43.5 percent of females 13 to 24 report unwilling first sexual intercourse prior to age 18.)

All this data allows scientists essentially to shrink the epidemic map. We already knew that 30 countries have 89 percent of new HIV infections. Now we know, for example, that 22 percent of HIV testing and counseling centers in Tanzania report 88 percent of total positives. Resources can be employed where they will make the most difference. And these gains could be decisive when paired with an even partially effective vaccine (which is now a realistic prospect).

As usual, politics can get in the way. The kind of politics that wants to distribute resources equally by region to keep the locals happy. The kind of politics that targets groups for stigma and discrimination, particularly MSM who are too frightened to seek health services.

 What is needed is compassion, increased resources, and data that shapes policy. And a memory of the lost — whose number still grows by nearly 30,000 each week.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

Rioting to make a point about race, police

Are only the American soldiers able to use their weapons stationed overseas?  You’d think so after that highly disturbing night of looting local businesses and burning them to the ground in Ferguson, Mo.What a way to treat your neighbors, those just trying to make a living who had nothing to do with the death of the African-American teenager.

In the meantime, Missouri’s Governor Jay Nixon ordered his state’s National Guard to Ferguson, should violence erupt, which it did big-time.  But where were they when the violence erupted? The state and local police were also charged to maintain order; however, after a few canisters of tear gas were shot at the rioting crowds, the law enforcement effort faded from engagement and chaos reigned unabated.

As far as this columnist is concerned the rock-throwing, gasoline igniting and gun shootings were no longer our fellow citizens: They were insurgents, anarchists and criminals.  That means they were enemies of the state and should have been dealt with accordingly.  A few well-placed “statements” would have brought some calm, and, most likely, a disappearing act for many who raged over a duly-sworn jury’s verdict.

It is totally shameful that the lawless were able to run amuck for hours on end with little interference from the police and National Guard authorities.  That sort of thing should not be allowed in the first instance and when it does occur, as it did in Ferguson, those participating should know that they will be dealt with by way of the most harsh of means available.

Hope is that should a group of the lawless element decide to run roughshod over downtown or neighborhoods in Oregon that our authorities will not stand by and mainly just watch these people convert our streets into battlegrounds where anything goes.   But they did come to Portland, the protesters, and displayed an orderly protest for more than two hours.  Then the wayward element, the troublemakers and criminals, estimated at 200 in number, broke away from the original 2,000 and seriously threatened the peace.  There was a pitched battle for several hours thereafter with the rioters stopping traffic on Portland’s streets, bridges and freeways.  Fortunately for Portland, the police admirably stood their ground and saved Portland from the fate of Ferguson.

The aftermath of the Monday night rioting in Ferguson featured two disappoints for this columnist.  The state of Missouri, led by its governor and head law enforcement chiefs, as well as the general of the Missouri National Guard, said they planned to do better at protecting people and property on Tuesday night.  Considering what took place the night and several nights after Michael Brown was shot by officer Darren Wilson should have been notification enough to prepare much better.  The other disappointment was that the message from New York-based liberal media came across on Tuesday as encouraging the rioters to riot some more as did Brown’s parents.

Now all the facts on what happened between Michael Brown and Darren Wilson have come out.  The altercation between cop and big kid followed immediately after Brown robbed a store and bullied his way past the store’s owner and into the street where Brown and a friend commenced to  walk in the middle of it.  When Wilson tried to stop him, Brown attacked Wilson, a fight ensued and Wilson shot Brown to keep him from injuring or killing him.  Those are the facts and that’s why the grand jury did not indict Wilson, although Wilson’s now treated as the guilty party.

It’s sad beyond words to realize that the tens of thousands of Americans—many of whom are insurgents anarchists, criminals, and the irresponsible element among us, were willing to burn the nation to the ground to protest the demise of one Michael Brown, a lawless individual and a criminal himself. In closing, allow me to comment that I would not want any teenager to die for the likes of what Brown did to initially attract Wilson’s attention; however, when anyone then threatens harm to a police officer they should be smart enough to realize the officer is not going to just sit there and take it.  After all, police are sworn to protect themselves and the public when faced with a serious threat, and that was Brown in Ferguson: There was no injustice in the Brown case and what followed in protests was a good example of misguided, mistaken support.

(Gene H. McIntyre’s column appears weekly in the Keizertimes.)

Last leaf haul on Saturday?

autumn-leaves

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Keizer’s annual Leaf Fall Haul could be happening for the last time this weekend.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Keizer residents can bring their leaves to Keizer Little League field on Ridge Drive. Drivers are asked to enter at the north gate and exit at the south gate. The program is put on by the city, Loren’s Sanitation and Valley Recycling.

As in the past, citizens are asked to bring a cash donation or a canned food donation to the free event.

The cash donations – or the lack thereof – are a key part of the reason this could be the last year for the event.

“From some conversations with other agencies and our franchise haulers, this possibly is the last year it will be offered or go to a shorter timeframe next year then no longer continue,” said Jenniffer Warner with Keizer Public Works. “In previous years it was offered as a no-cost service provided by our garbage haulers in lieu for cash donations to help offset costs and/or canned food donations for our local food banks. The last few years the haulers are reporting there have been little to no cash contributions by the public to make it cost effective.”

Warner emphasized a decision about the future of the program won’t be known until sometime later.

“We won’t know until after the event,” she said. “We’re just letting people know now it is a possibility.”

One possibility for the future is running the event from 9 a.m. to noon.

Warner emphasized it isn’t just about finances.

“There’s been less of everything over the years,” she said. “There’s been less participation and less donations to offset things. Seniors are good about leaving checks or leaving canned food. They appreciate the service.”

Seniors currently can put bags of leaves by the road at home and city staff members will pick them up. That program is expected to continue, even if the leaf haul event goes away.

“Keizer Public Works has talked about the service for seniors for their leaves,” Warner said. “They leave their bags of leaves by the road and we pick them up. We do offer that now. If the haul comes to an end, we’ll still offer that to seniors for the disposal of their leaves.”

Seniors with questions or needing the pick-up of bags can call Warner at 503-856-3561.

Only leaves from residential customers are accepted at Saturday’s event. No brush, branches, limbs, household garbage, tires, scrap metal, motor oil, rocks, bricks, dirt, sod or other non-combustibles will be accepted.

Citizens are asked to not rake or blow leaves out into the streets because during heavy rain leaves get clogged in catch basins and can cause localized flooding. In addition, the street sweeper will not be able to sweep areas where leaves are in the way.

Trees to totem poles at city hall

Two fir trees in front of Keizer Civic Center have been sick for years and will be cut down soon -- or, a majority of them will, at least. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Two fir trees in front of Keizer Civic Center have been sick for years and will be cut down soon — or, a majority of them will, at least. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Two fir trees in sad shape in front of Keizer Civic Center will be somewhat coming down soon.

Why only somewhat? Because the bottom portions of the trees will remain standing and be repurposed as decorative totem poles.

Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, said action is needed.

“These trees are nearly dead and cannot be saved,” he said. “The plan is to cut them down to 25 feet and 20 feet, with a goal to have them carved by local artists, providing an artistic amenity for the Civic Center.”

Lawyer said initially the cutting was to take place Dec. 19, but that has been pushed back to Dec. 22.

Mayor Lore Christopher mentioned during the Nov. 25 Keizer Arts Commission meeting the idea of doing two decorative totem poles. Her idea is to have Native American symbols and designs on one, with symbols and designs representing Keizer on the other. Christopher is hoping fellow KAC member Jill Hagen will be able to help secure connections for the Native American one.

“We want to preserve those old growth trees,” Christopher said on Monday. “We’ve been concerned. It’s a losing battle. We want to do public art with them. The art might be something they do all the way up and down the poles.”

Lawyer said the trees, estimated to be 60 to 70 feet tall and located near the Thomas Keizur statue along Chemawa Road, have been a concern since at least 2007 when work started on city hall.

“We have been keeping an eye on the two fir trees on the north side of the Civic Center since before the construction of the facility,” he said Monday. “They were not the healthiest trees at that time and we suspected they might need to come down in the future, but we wanted to be sure they would not rebound before taking them out. One of them is basically dead at this time and the other one in right behind it. We believe it is now time for them to be cut down.”

Christopher has visions of one major public art project a year through the KAC, so the conversion of the tree trunks to totem poles could take a while.

“It would probably be in 2016 or 2017,” she said.

In case the art idea doesn’t pan out, Lawyer said there will be the option of cutting the trunks at ground level later.

Until the tops of the trees are taken down, Lawyer can’t guarantee anything will be left.

“We will have to evaluate the ability of the trunks to last as the trees are being cut down,” he said. “We expect the lower section of the trunks to be pretty solid wood but we might get surprised. If the trunks are not solid like we think, then we will have to make a decision on what to do on Dec. 22. We will not have them carved if it is unlikely they will last for a significant amount of time.”