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Month: December 2014

Lady Celts fall to undefeated teams

Celt junior Kaelie Flores looks for a shot under heavy pressure by the West Albany defense Friday, Dec. 12. KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald
Celt junior Kaelie Flores looks for a shot under heavy pressure by the West Albany defense Friday, Dec. 12.

Of the Keizertimes

The silver lining to the cloud that’s hung over the McNary High School girls varsity basketball team in its opening weeks is that it will finally be entering into contests with teams that aren’t undefeated.
The Lady Celts are 0-4 after facing a line-up of teams that hasn’t lost a single game so far this season.

“It’s been a rough start, but we need to get tougher offensively,” said Derrick Handley, McNary head coach. “We think they are a great team with a lot of talent on the roster, but they’re not quite seeing it in themselves yet. You can see it in the hesitation they have before putting up a shot.”

McNary lost its most recent contests with Tualatin and West Albany high schools last week, but neither by a large margin. The Timberwolves, currently the no. 5 team in the state, won 55-51 while the Bulldogs walked away with a 43-34 win.

The Keizer girls battled back fiercely after a letting the game get away from them in the first half against Tualatin Tuesday, Dec. 9.

“We broke down during certain parts of the first half,” said Celt Sydney Hunter, a McNary sophomore who put up 20 points against Tualatin. “Once a team gets a run going it breaks us down. We can be up five points and we’ll play like we’re down five points.”

The team found more of a groove on defense in the second half of the game, Handley said.

“We got into our zone, didn’t leave a lot of openings and forced a lot of turnovers,” he said.

Kaelie Flores had 12 points in the outing, Madi Hingston had six, Lauren Hudgins and Jasmine Ernest had four points each, Madi Rohl had three; and Kailey Doutt had two. Hudgins led the team in rebounds with 10 and the Celtics racked up 22 steals against the Timberwolves.

An injury and a third quarter run helped West Albany to a win Friday, Dec. 12.

Both teams played scrappy defense in the first quarter, but the Lady Bulldogs bunched up under the net forcing outside shots by the Celts that only rarely dropped.

The teams traded the lead in the first frame and the Lady Celts trailed 7-5 going into the second period. Hingston hit a two-pointer in the opening minute of the second quarter to tie the game 7-7, but West Albany took it back on the next drive.

Youth is being served (and serving) in Keizer

Jeremy Darst is Keizer's first Parks Board youth liaison. Darst is also a four-year cadet with the Keizer Police Department, where he would like to work after college. KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy
Jeremy Darst is Keizer’s first Parks Board youth liaison. Darst is also a four-year cadet with the Keizer Police Department, where he would like to work after college.
Ryan Edsall is serving as the Keizer Youth Councilor this school year. He is the son of longtime Keizer Police Department detective Vaughn Edsall. KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy
Ryan Edsall is serving as the Keizer Youth Councilor this school year. He is the son of longtime Keizer Police Department detective Vaughn Edsall.

Of the Keizertimes

Having a youth councilor on the Keizer City Council isn’t a new thing.

This school year, that role is being filled by McNary High School senior Ryan Edsall.

For the first time, however, there are two youth involved, as Jeremy Darst is serving as the youth liaison to the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

If Mayor-elect Cathy Clark has her way, even more youth will be involved in such positions in the months to come.

“The answer is yes,” Clark said when asked if she expects the program to grow. “I have talked to Jason Heimerdinger, the leadership teacher at McNary. He has a number of students who want to engage. I want us to place them the rest of the school year, to get the same experience of seeing city government up close. There’s nothing else like that to really help them start to understand the broader perspective of how local government works.”

Edsall’s first-hand experience with local government comes on the heels of the experience he had last summer after being elected a state representative to the national Boys Nation assembly in Washington, D.C. Edsall and other youth delegates had the chance to meet with President Barack Obama.

While he’s relatively new to the council, the workings of city hall aren’t entirely new to Edsall. After all, his dad Vaughn is a longtime detective with the Keizer Police Department.

“It’s weird looking at it from the inside,” said Edsall, 18. “For years I saw dad do his work and all his efforts. I just saw my dad’s effort. From this, I’ve seen that the effort staff puts in is tedious. It’s no easy task, but they get it all done. I have the pinnacle of respect for them. What they do is not an easy task at all.”

Edsall was a cadet through the KPD for three years and knew Clark since she became his SAT tutor.

“This came about when I had gotten back from the Boys Nation this summer,” Edsall said. “I learned they had this youth councilor position. Civics are very important to me. Cathy was the catalyst that helped me get through this.”

For Darst, sitting in on the monthly Parks Board meetings has been a thrill.

“Just sitting and watching has been a great learning experience,” said Darst, a senior at Blanchet Catholic High School. “It’s really cool to be able to sit up there.”

Darst is in his second year of the Leadership Youth program through the Salem Chamber of Commerce.

“You learn how to be a leader and how to help,” said Darst, 17. “I helped with Lemonade Day. In your second year, you’re assigned a position on a board. I had a long list to choose from. I wanted to do something in Keizer, since I live here.”

Darst is a fourth-year KPD cadet – he and Edsall met through that program – and keeps busy swimming for both his school team and Mid-Valley Aquatics, National Honor Society and Outdoor Club. He originally wanted to be the youth councilor.

“I went to the Volunteer Coordinating Committee meeting and talked about my schedule,” Darst said. “After looking at the time commitment of council, I felt another board would be a better choice for me. Cathy Clark helped me through the process. I decided Parks Board would be a good fit with my interest in the outdoors. Parks are such a big part of our community.”

At Darst’s first Parks Board meeting, board members finalized the comprehensive redo of the master plan for Keizer Rapids Park, which was later adopted with a few revisions by the council.

“That part was new to me, seeing how they go about it,” Darst said. “It’s really cool how they do it all. It’s really exciting. I was excited to be part of that and to be able to use those facilities down there.”

Though he’s known Edsall for several years, Darst didn’t realize his friend was looking to take a similar path.

“I didn’t know he was applying,” Darst said. “We showed up at the VCC meeting on the same night. He said he wanted to go that route. It’s cool both of us got assigned to a board. It’s great we have two youth representatives. Youth input on these types of issues is great. We’re the future. Maybe this will give others the opportunities to serve on other boards.”

Next year, Darst plans to follow in older sister Sarah’s footsteps and go to Oregon State University. He will be studying recreational resource management, with a law enforcement minor.

“After that, I hope to go into law enforcement,” he said. “My hopes and dreams are to be with Keizer. But if another agency presents an opportunity, I will go there.”

Darst’s desire to join the KPD goes beyond just living in Keizer.

“I’ve been with them for four years now as a cadet,” he said. “I joined when I was 14. The feeling I get from KPD is great. Everyone is there to help you learn and to make you a better person. The trainings and meetings are great. Officer Jay Prall and Sgt. Dan Kelley are the advisors. They’ve done very well teaching us. We go on many ride-alongs with officers. They do an extraordinary job involving us, letting us use the radio and computers. It’s been a great learning experience. I know how the department works.”

Edsall is focused on going into the military, with a desire to go into the Marine Corps.

“Right now I’m trying to explore all options,” he said.

For now, Edsall is happy to give updates from MHS to councilors.

“I want to leave my mark on Keizer,” he said. “I think these are the proper avenues for students to tap into, if the opportunities are known.”

Darst has appreciated his inside look at both the Parks Board and the KPD.

“I’ve been very blessed with all the opportunities I’ve had,” he said. “To me, it’s about the connections made. That will help me a lot in the future. I’m so thankful for the opportunities. Many people may never get the insider look. It’s not only cool, but also very informative. It’s cool to get the insider look other people don’t have, especially at my age.”

Clark likes what she sees in Edsall and Darst.

“Aren’t they amazing?” said Clark, wrapping up her eighth year on council. “They’re very articulate, hard working, mature and thoughtful. They’re the type of young people we will see as leaders in the future. I’m very impressed with both of them.”

Keizer family hunting a different kind of treasure this weekend

Michael Hickman, a former Keizer Points of Interest Committee member, discusses the ins and outs of geocaching with Jill Bonney-Hill and Charlotte Clark during a KPIC Tour in June. KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy
Michael Hickman, a former Keizer Points of Interest Committee member, discusses the ins and outs of geocaching with Jill Bonney-Hill and Charlotte Clark during a KPIC Tour in June.

Of the Keizertimes

It’s not unusual for families to spend the weekend before Christmas looking for treasures.

Usually the treasures are gifts to give at Christmas time.

The Hedberg family, however, will be looking for a different sort of treasure.

Erica Hedberg joined the Keizer Points of Interest Committee in October, a group that meets the third Tuesday of each month.

Upon joining the board, Hedberg immediately volunteered to take over KPIC’s geo-caches project, which had been spearheaded in the past by former KPIC member Michael Hickman.

As part of the geo-caches project, there are different sites around the city with hidden treasures. Clues are available on a statewide geo-caches website (clues for Keizer are available at Decryption codes and a downloadable application are available.

One site is by the Thomas Dove Keizur statue in front of the Keizer Civic Center. The online description of the location is “Life sized statue of Thomas Dove Keizur on his Morgan horse. Some stealth is required.”

The decrypted additional clue is “Quick grab. We were given strict guidelines by the city so cache hiding places were limited.”

Hedberg noted her husband in particular has an interest in geocaching, while her 5-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son are also involved.

Upon taking over the project, Hedberg discovered some of the items are missing or haven’t been maintained for quite a while. Several people have commented on the website that logbooks for messages are missing from multiple locations.

“I have gotten everything together to go do the updates,” she said at Tuesday’s KPIC meeting. “It’s like  a treasure hunt. Someone puts stuff in a box, then hides it somewhere. There’s an app that tells you how to get there and gives clues. When you find it you open up the box and there will be trinkets there. You take a trinket, then put one back in the box and write in the book when you were there.

“I have gotten little booklets, bins, bags and little trinkets to put in the boxes,” Hedberg added. “I will go do them all this weekend. This weekend that’s what we’re going to do. I have two kids to help.”

Hedberg pledged to tell what she finds during the Jan. 20 KPIC meeting.

“I will give an update at the next meeting,” she said. “I don’t think they’re in very good shape right now.”

Hedberg noted people have had issues trying to find one of the sites.

“I looked for the one, because people said they couldn’t find it,” she said. “There is an app you can download onto your phone. It will tell you where there are geo-caches nearby and clues on how to get there. Maybe we’ll update the clues to make it a little easier.”

City website waiting to load


Of the Keizertimes

When members of the Keizer City Council approved a contract for a new city website to be built in early May, the impression given was the site would be up and running by the end of the year, if not earlier.

That’s not going to happen, as EVO Government Websites is still working on building the site.

The project was one of the items City Manager Chris Eppley gave an update on during a council work session Dec. 8.

“It is being built,” Eppley said. “We’re meeting it seems like all the time on it. We’ve provided a lot of initial information. Their next step is to provide a drawing of what it will look like. The intent is to make it a lot more customer friendly, to be able to find and also to be able to do business with us.”

Councilor Kim Freeman then asked the key question.

“To be completed when?” Freeman asked.

“Gosh, I hope soon,” Eppley said.

In an e-mail to councilors Dec. 12, Eppley gave some more insights into the project delay.

“The contractor we have hired to construct this site has had some internal turnover, which has slowed this project down a bit on their side,” Eppley wrote. “We just received notice this week that the project manager working on our project has now been replaced because the company leadership did not feel they were meeting the city’s goals for development of a clean, simple and modern site that is user friendly. They are ready to get going full speed ahead again immediately.”

When he recommended the new website in the spring with an initial cost of $15,800, Eppley referred to the current site as being “woefully inadequate and outdated” as well as “difficult to maintain.”

At the time of the approval back in May, the contract didn’t include a date by which the website should be live. The closest it came to a date was this wording: “In no event shall the go-live date of the website as described herein be later than 16 weeks from the effective date herein.”

Tim Wood, Keizer’s assistant controller who has been working on the project, confirmed that meant no certain date.

“To my knowledge there wasn’t a definite date the website would be live by, our intent was to move the project along,” Wood said. “However we want to make sure the end product is something everyone can be proud of. We discussed timing with the contractor towards the end of the initial 16 week period and there wasn’t any concern about going beyond that date.”

Wood also expanded upon EVO’s internal shake-up.

“We did experience a slowdown in November when the third party web site development firm changed managers on the project,” he said. “The change in project managers was due to a change in creative direction by the firm to ensure the city gets a user-friendly website that is clean, simple and modern.”

Wood said city department heads are reviewing a live prototype version of the website this week, which reflects feedback given to date in addition to the impact from EVO’s new creative direction.

“Once the prototype version is approved by the city, staff will be trained in how to update and maintain the site while at the same time it will be populated with content,” Wood said. “The site will likely be ready to go in about two months.”

The project was originally going to be done in the 2013-14 fiscal year, but was delayed until this fiscal year due to other budget priorities.

Wood noted plenty has changed since the city’s current website first went live more than a decade ago.

“The original website was developed in 2003-04,” he said. “The primary reasons for the new website are the ability to easily update content in a way that is easy for the users to find and use, and that is formatted so it can be accessed from computers, tablets and other handheld devices.”

Celts edged by Timberwolves, Bulldogs can’t handle heat

McNary’s Harry Cavell reaches around a Bulldog defender to make a pass to a teammate in the game Friday, Dec. 12. KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald
McNary’s Harry Cavell reaches around a Bulldog defender to make a pass to a teammate in the game Friday, Dec. 12.

Of the Keizertimes

With a bit of luck, and even more focus moving forward, the McNary High School boys varsity basketball team will remember its loss to Tualatin High School as the one that got away.

The Celtics faced the Timberwolves on the road Tuesday, Dec. 9, and narrowly missed getting their third win. Tualatin edged McNary 60-54.

“All of us would say we didn’t have a very good game. Our shooting was terrible and so was our finishing,” said senior Tregg Peterson.

The Celts were outshot 17-7 in the first quarter and the trouble started after the tip-off.

“We had a turnover on our first possession out of the gate and we were fighting back the whole time,” said sophomore Cade Goff. Goff led the team on the scoreboard with 13 points.

The next three quarters saw the team gain ground on Tualatin with a 15-11 third quarter being the best of the night for McNary, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the gap.

“We kind of shot ourselves in the foot knowing they had a couple of guys who can shoot and we didn’t take care of them. One of their guys hit five three pointers in the first half,” said senior Devon Dunagan.

Goff said the Timberwolves also hit a lot of free throws late in the game that helped them to the win. Dunagan had nine points and 10 rebounds against Tualatin; Peterson had nine points; Harry Cavell had seven; and Mathew Ismay put in two.

Despite the loss, Ryan Kirch, McNary head coach, said the team bounced back in the next two practices.

“To a one, they were all willing to own the fact that they probably should have beaten Tualatin and they came back wanting to make sure it didn’t happen again,” Kirch said.

The team’s follow-up game saw it hosting West Albany High School Friday, Dec. 12.

Playing quick on offense and even quicker on defense, McNary rapidly ran up a 25-15 lead in the first frame.

“We started offense with defense and got a lot transition points because of it,” Peterson said.

The Celts were up by 20 points at the half and never let the Bulldogs closer than 14 by the final buzzer. McNary won 67-53.

“We came out the first quarter and did what we wanted to do and our 1-3-1 zone was a lot stronger than it was against Tualatin,” Dunagan said.

Kirch said having five players averaging eight points or more per game is making it difficult for other teams to defend against the Celtics.

Dunagan led the team with 15 points; Trent Van Cleave had 13; Peterson and Goff had 11 points each; Cavell had nine; Ismay had six; and Cole Thomas knocked down two from the foul line.

“We have to keep getting those assists and pushing the ball like we have been because it’s working out well,” Goff said.

As part of the team’s roaring start to the season, Dunagan was named Athlete of the Week by the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club two weeks ago and the team was settling into the top 10 in OSAA rankings. McNary was No. 10 at press time.

“We’ve come a long way since four years ago when I was watching my brother play his freshman year,” Goff said. “It shows all the hard work our coaches have put in and it’s really helped the program.”

McNary faces Forest Grove High School in its last conference game Friday, Dec. 19, before heading into winter break. Game time is 7:15 p.m. at Forest Grove.

They KNOW they’re helping

Of the Keizertimes

Jeff Thomas helped with the program for 20 years but has only seen the finale the past three years.

Thomas is one of the dozens who help out each year with the Keizer Network of Women’s (KNOW) Giving Basket program.

The program starts in June when school counselors in Keizer are notified and asked to think of students who could use some help during the holidays.

Things really ramp up in the fall. By late October KNOW members are sorting through requests. Gift tags were created on Nov. 6, which went out to Giving Trees at five Keizer locations. After the gifts were picked up early last week, the real work began. Gifts were wrapped Dec. 11 and the final step was delivering the gifts to families last Saturday, Dec. 13.

Thomas was at Keizer Courthouse Fitness for 20 years and thus had plenty of experience with the Giving Trees.

“When I left there, I did a tree where I work now, at New York Life,” Thomas said. “The delivery part is my favorite. I couldn’t wrap this year because I had jury duty, but we did the food boxes Wednesday (Dec. 10) night.”

Keizer City Councilor-elect Amy Ripp co-chaired KNOW this year with Kalynn White.

Ripp’s son Zach was on hand to help wrap last Thursday – her other son Ryan couldn’t get off work – and helped load vehicles on Saturday.

“This makes a huge impact in our community,” Ripp said of the program. “Of all the fundraisers I do, I’m the most passionate about this one. When you deliver the gifts, kids are crying and moms are hugging you.”

Audrey Butler, who has helped run KNOW for the past seven years, kept the boxes of gifts moving during the wrapping party Dec. 11.

“My favorite part is I make a point to do at least one delivery each year,” Butler said. “It’s amazing to see the joy a package brings a kid. This really brings people together. By the end of the week it’s so busy and hectic. But at the same time, I kind of feel like my Christmas is over on Saturday morning.”

While the group may have Women in the name, men are welcome to help out. One such man who’s helped out the past four years is Larry Jackson, who in the past helped load boxes but did some deliveries this year.

“I love giving back to the community,” Jackson said. “I wanted to help the ladies in KNOW. I read in Men’s Health Magazine this type of activity helps couples stay together.”

Related to that, Jackson brought girlfriend Tina McLaughlin to the wrapping party for the first time last year. The two were back at it this, wrapping gifts together on what they jokingly referred to as a date night.

“Larry roped me in,” McLaughlin said. “He didn’t tell me about the delivery part last year, but that’s the best part.”

Jackson feels such an activity is a perfect fit for the city.

“This is an opportunity to give back,” he said. “It’s what Keizer is all about, supporting others that need help. You just step up when asked to. This is an opportunity to step up and be active in your community. So many people want to do something and are not aware there are such opportunities.”

Thomas did multiple delivery trips this year with the help of teenage daughter Kara.

“I just like helping people,” Kara said.

After helping with the Giving Tree for years, Thomas said starting to do deliveries with children three years ago gave him a different perspective.

“You realize how much it helps people out,” Thomas said.

One year some of Thomas’ other children helped out and had friends with them. One of the girls recognized a boy getting a gift as one of her classmates.

“It made them realize these are kids who go to school with them,” Thomas said. “The kids see they are doing something good for their friends.”

Kara said that day was a good reality check.

“It helps you realize people just like us don’t go home to the same thing we do,” she said.

Mat men 6 for 6 in dual meets last week

Of the Keizertimes

Riley Repp might still be waiting for his spotlight moment as a McNary High School wrestler, but the senior has shown more dedication and tenacity during the past four seasons than many of his peers.

Case in point: on Wednesday, Dec. 10, Repp dislocated a finger in practice. The next night, the 113-pounder took the mat against South Salem High School’s Thomas Little.

“He kept head-snapping me and I just took a shot. I worked it for a while and got the pin in the first round,” Repp said. “Little is a good wrestler, and beating him in the first round was a surprise.”

Repp has his sights set on regional and state championships this season and time is drawing short to get where he wants to be.

“The focus right now is getting into late-season shape and taking care of myself, dislocated finger aside,” he said.

Repp was joined by numerous teammates in the winner’s circle against South Salem. The Celtics won 64-6 as freshman Brayden Ebbs took down the fourth-ranked wrestler in his weight class and senior Alvarro Venegas out-dueled a returning regional champ.

Ebbs beat Saxon Tanner Stones 7-6 after falling behind 6-1 in the first two rounds.

“In the third round, I chose neutral and I shot on him and kept shooting on him. I got one point for a stall call, and, with about 45 seconds left, I took him down and got on top. I got the leg ride and turned him to his back for a near fall. He tried to get loose, but all I could think of was not letting go of his ankle,” Ebbs said.

Next on Ebbs’ hit list is McMinnville’s Aspen Nelson, who he hoped to face in a dual meet past press time Thursday, Dec. 18.

“Nobody pays attention to the freshmen, but I’m here to make my mark and I’m not going down without a fight,” he said.

Venegas scored a 5-2 win over returning 170-pound regional champ Edwin Montes. Montes was wrestling Venegas at 195 pounds for the dual meet.

“He was a really cool guy, but things got a little heated in the match. I’m hoping we left it all on the mat,” Venegas said. “I think my edge was having wrestled at 195 before.”

Other match winners for the Celtics were: Pablo Barrera (fall 3:12, after only one week of practice); Joey Kibbey (fall 5:15); Sean Burrows (21-5); Michael Phelps (fall 2:00); Jordan Cagle (16-3); Carlos Vincent (fall 1:03); Hunter Lucas (11-0); Ryan Edsall (9-5); Taran Purkey (fall 2:21) and Kyle Bonn (fall 3:12).

A day after beating the Saxons, the Celtics traveled to Silverton High School for a tournament where they dominated every single one of five opposing teams.

Against Lincoln High School, McNary won 66-17. Match winners were Vincent (fall 3:07); Lucas (fall 5:13); Noah Townsend (fall 1:04); Gage Mance (fall :34); Purkey (fall 1:24) and Venegas (fall 2:00).

McNary beat Mountain View High School 51-29. Match winners were: Ebbs (fall 2:45) Burrows (fall 1:22); M. Phelps (fall 2:00); Cagle (fall 2:31); Vincent (10-4); Venegas (5:02); and Bonn (fall :23).

The Celts crushed Parkrose High School 73-6. Match winners were: Adam Nelson (fall 1:18); Jonathon Phelps (4-1); Vincent (20-5); Edsall (fall :45); Purkey (fall 3:44); Bonn (fall 1:05); Repp (15-0); and Ebbs (fall 1:22).

McNary beat Silverton High School 53-14. Match winners were: M. Phelps (fall 1:35); Cagle (fall :35); Vincent (10-2); Lucas (fall 2:49); Mance (fall :27); Purkey (fall 1:03); Venegas (3-1); Bonn (fall 4:55); and Ebbs (14-6).

The Celtics downed Wilson High School 73-6. Match winners were: Burrows (fall 4:25); J. Phelps (fall 1:42); Edsall (12-4); Mance (fall 2:41); Venegas (SV-1 4-2); and Bonn (DQ).

Parade winners

Jackson LaBarre-Bates, 3, admires the candy decorations on the Fred Meyer float prior to the start of the Festival of Lights Holiday Parade in Keizer Dec. 13. For more pictures, please see our Facebook gallery. For parade videos, look for Keizertimes on YouTube. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Jackson LaBarre-Bates, 3, admires the candy decorations on the Fred Meyer float prior to the start of the Festival of Lights Holiday Parade in Keizer Dec. 13.

The weather held out nicely for the 24th annual Festival of Lights Holiday Parade down River Road in Keizer last Saturday, Dec. 13.

Some, however, were upset when a number of parade entries pulled off early to take part in the After Glow Party at Skyline Ford, a new addition this year.

Here are the winners from the parade:

Grand Sweepstakes Award:
May Trucking

KBZY Founders Award:
Catholic Community Services

Salem Chamber of Commerce Award:

Mayor’s Trophy Award:
Town & Country Lanes

Best Little Roadhouse:
US Postal Service

Holiday Spirit in Memory of Jan Cline Award:
Keizer Public Works

KYKN Award:

Best Auto Entry:
Marion Co. Fire District

Best Auto Illumination:
Road Lords

Judge’s Choice Award:
First Slavic Baptist Church

City Spirit Award:
Marion Co. Search & Rescue / Marion Co. Sheriff’s Office

Best Band:
North Salem High School

For parade videos, check out Keizertimes on YouTube.

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Extend the joy to new year

Peace on earth and goodwill to men. It’s a sentiment found in many Christmas cards being exchanged around the world this month. The call for treating our fellow man with tolerance, respect and love fades too quickly when we enter a new year.

Peace on earth begins with each of us. Individually we can bring about peace in far off places like the Middle East, Ukraine and other geopolitical hotspots, but we can certainly affect change where we live. Peace on earth begins with good will to men. By patiently accepting, and being tolerant of others, we increase the chances for better communication and empathy.

Some are quick to temper when things don’t go their way: someone is driving too slowly, someone is taking too long at a chore—there are many petty annoyances of life that get the better of us. We can never know what another person is going through and what personal battles they are fighting  so we must give them the benefit of the doubt. Every person at some point is doing something that annoys another person. Keeping that in mind should make us empathetic to those we may be privately cursing for some slight transgression.

We need to assure that the joy and promise of the holiday season-—regardless of one’s beliefs—lights the new year. It is a personal choice to be happy and content. To be envious and covetous of others is a dead end that leads to disappointment and regret. Though we are not all equal regarding the material world, we are all equal when it comes to hopes, dreams and desires. Each of us may hope for different things but we all have the ability to be hopeful. We can choose to be joyful and wish the same for our fellow man. Man does not wake each morning wishing harm to others; just because someone has more than we does not make them better or more virtuous.

The American holiday season for many has devolved into a whirl of shopping. Too many of us bemoan the chore of buying material things to give to others as a token of our love and esteem. Is a person who has completed their Christmas shopping in August any less filled with the holiday spirit than the person who goes through their holiday chores in December?

Each of us marks the holidays according to our ancestry and our experience. The people for whom decorating and gift giving is the core of Christmas  holiday are as spirited as those who keep the celebration of the birth of Jesus at the center of the season. Man has free will and the holidays are a time to celebrate that will.

The hope and wishes for peace on earth and good will toward men is lost when we are more concerned about how others celebrate. Peace on earth begins with each of us. Peace begins from the smallest seeds of patience, understanding and tolerance. Let’s practice that throughout the new year.

Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah.


Fundraiser for Payton Williams

To the Editor:

On behalf of the McNary Celtics varsity girls and boys teams, we would like to say a huge thank you to all who came out and supported the Celts for Payton Williams night last Friday, Dec. 12.  Over $1,200 was raised for the Williams family.  The family was overwhelmed and very touched by Keizer’s support and generosity towards their family!

Payton was released from the hospital earlier this week and continues to recuperate at home.

Go Celts! 

Stacie Peterson