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Month: January 2015

Exiting stage left

Former Keizer City Councilors (L to R) Jim Taylor, Lore Christopher and Joe Egli pose at the retirement bash thrown in their honor last Saturday, Jan. 17. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Former Keizer City Councilors (L to R) Jim Taylor, Lore Christopher and Joe Egli pose at the retirement bash thrown in their honor last Saturday, Jan. 17. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

When Jim Taylor and Lore Christopher joined the Keizer City Council, the Keizer Civic Center was only a dream.

Last Saturday night, Taylor and Christopher formally said goodbye to public office during an event at the civic center. Christopher had served as Keizer’s mayor for 14 years, while Taylor was on the council for 12 years.

Also honored at the event was Joe Egli, who served on council for four years and also emceed the event.

Each of the three gave speeches, mixed in with thoughts from several others including new mayor Cathy Clark, who spoke early but had to leave for another event.

Egli recalled Richard Walsh asking him to run for council in 2010. Egli did so and won.

“I appreciate your faith in me and this opportunity,” Egli said. “Every one of us loves Keizer. It’s about making the best decisions we can. We love our city.”

Egli referenced having more hair in the past and joked that played a role in him not running again last year.

“I still have some hair left after four years. Look at Taylor,” Egli said, pointing to the bald former councilor. “He ran for 12 years.”

Walsh was among those speaking, along with fellow former councilors Mike Gaynor and Jacque Moir, who gave an in-depth look at Keizer’s history. Marion County Commissioner Sam Brentano also spoke, recalling his first introduction to Christopher.

Gaynor told several fishing stories about Taylor, including a time when Taylor drew him a map of a river.

“I get out there and nothing on the map was correct,” Gaynor said. “Then the wind picked up and the map got flipped over. I was looking at the mirror image and the map was right on the money.”

Walsh was a little childish in talking about Christopher – in that he likened her to Horton in the Dr. Seuss children’s book Horton Hears a Who.

“Keizer Station was my first encounter after I joined the council,” Walsh said. “I see people with tar and pitchforks. Everyone hates the idea. Businesses on River Road hate it, neighbors hate it. Who likes it? Lore said there are other voices, the silent people no one else hears. She was just like Horton, who can hear the specks of dust. Keizer was Lore’s Whoville…You have to pay attention to the Whoville residents, not just the ones that want to destroy the flower.”

Walsh pointed to a way Christopher and Taylor – and councilors as a whole – are alike.

“People don’t appreciate that Lore and the councilors don’t get paid to do it,” Walsh said. “They get praise but they also get badmouthed. They took the abuse but rose above it and stayed strong. Jim and Lore are both that way. It’s about what’s best for the community.”

Taylor, who quoted Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo during his final council meeting, this time quoted another great philosopher – musician Jerry Garcia.

“What a long, strange trip it’s been,” Taylor said.

Well-known for his love of fishing as well as Oregon State University, Taylor put on a hat and mentioned how he’d been politically correct for 12 years. He then put the hat on backwards.

“Now, after 12 years, I don’t have to be politically correct,” Taylor said with a grin. “When the hat’s on backwards, I’m not politically correct.”

As such, Taylor announced for the third time he’d like to be picked as the Republican nominee for vice president of the United States. He referenced 2008 candidate Sarah Palin – whom he described as looking “cute” with glasses on – and her infamous quote about being to see the “evil empire” of Russia from her porch in Alaska.

“When I climb my roof and look south I can just about see the evil empire – Eugene,” Taylor said.

Taylor figured he had a way to guarantee the vote in Keizer.

“I make my promise: If I get to be vice president, I will bring the vice presidential library to Keizer,” Taylor joked. “To my friends I fish with, the U.S. Secret Service will give us two miles each way of space to fish by ourselves.”

Taylor also noted Keizer’s leadership is in good hands.

“The city will go on well without me and Lore,” he said. “Lore, you’re always going to be madam mayor.”

Christopher’s son Evan paid homage to Taylor.

“These were my heroes growing up,” Evan said of councilors. “I have known Jim Taylor forever. When I was 10, it was Jim’s fault my mom got home at 11:30 p.m. I learned from Jim how to mow lawns. Jim is a character, to say the least.”

Evan then talked about his mom.

“Having my mom in this position reminded me that democracy is very much alive in local government,” he said. “Public service very much means something. People are able to get something done and do right by their communities. It’s just rolling up your sleeves, working together and getting a job done because it’s the right thing to do and because you care about the people you’re doing it for.

“She was a full-time employee, she was a full-time mayor, she was a full-time mother,” Evan added later. “She is an incredible example and I am immensely proud to be related to her and to have learned so much from her. Thank you so much and I love you.”

Appropriately, madam mayor Christopher got the last word. She thanked family members, including husband Ron.

“My sweet, long suffering, dear and handsome husband,” she said. “Not one time did he say in 14 years, ‘I don’t want to go.’ He was always there to support me…I love you Ron. You will get lucky later.”

Christopher mentioned her son will be going to law school.

“The pride is just beginning to grow, but I’ve always been proud of him,” she said.

Christopher mentioned her mom, who passed away in 2011.

“There wasn’t a tighter bond with my kids than with my mom,” she said. “All of those people put your mind at ease and give you confidence so that you can go forth and help the people you’re sworn to serve.”

Christopher then talked about her role in leading Keizer.

“It’s been my joy to be the face of Keizer for 14 years,” she said. “None of us do any of this alone. It’s been a great time to be the mayor of Keizer. I love taking the credit, but it wasn’t me. I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

Christopher then revealed a story about Egli.

“At the worst time in my life, Joe lifted me up,” she said. “My mom had just died of ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and we had a renter who did $23,000 in damage to the house we owned. Joe came alongside and said if there’s anything I can do, I will. He said I will paint your house for you, inside and out. That was a gift of love like I’ve never received before. It shows that people who serve this city are real people.”

Omigod, you guys!

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By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

A young woman and her dog follow the former’s ex-fiance to Harvard University Law School in hope of reclaiming his heart, only to discover that she might be a victim of others’ expectations.

Add in a little song, a lot of dance, stir and you’ve got Legally Blonde: The Musical, which premiered Thursday, Jan. 22, at McNary High School. The play’s run continues with performances Jan. 23 and 24, and Jan. 30 through 31. Matinees are slated for 1:30 p.m. each Saturday of the run. Admission is $10 and $7 for seniors and children under 12.

“The biggest thing is just the fun of the play. The songs are uptempo with awesome dance numbers. The choreographer has really been pushing us in the dancing,” said Julia Fegles, a McNary senior who plays the starring role of Elle Woods. “My challenge is trying to take an iconic role and still add in something of myself.”

While the plot of the play mostly follows the the movie – starring Reese Witherspoon – of the same name, the expanded version allows for more fully-realized characters, Fegles said.

“The relationship between Emmett and Elle is much more developed and you get to see much more of Paulette, who gets a little more depth,” she said.

Elle’s two love interests in the story are brought to life by a pair of McNary sophomores, Ryan Cowan and Ashton Thomas.

Cowan plays Warner Huntington III, Elle’s ex-fiance and the stereotypical Ivy League frat guy.

“I feel like it’s a way to express yourself from a different point of view and Warner is pretty much a tool and super-conceited,” said Cowan.

Thomas’ role, do-gooder law student Emmett, is also a departure from his roles as a freshman at McNary, a megalomaniac in Urinetown and a sprite in The Tempest.

“Emmett is so normal, and I think that he’s been the harder role to play,” Thomas said.

Both Cowan and Thomas come from musical, more than acting, backgrounds and said the falling back on those skills helped them through preparation.

“The singing part comes more naturally and, whenever those moments hit I know exactly what I’m doing and the vocal inflection and the facial gestures to go along with them,” Thomas said. He added that working with the play’s music director Kent Wilson has been helpful.

Cowan said most of his feedback from director Dallas Myers and castmates boiled down to two words: be meaner.

“Mr. Myers has really helped by holding my hand through the acting parts,” Cowan said.

The play includes two canine cast members. A Yorkie plays Elle’s dog Bruiser. Emma Blanco’s french bulldog, Bilbo, takes on the mantle of Rufus, the dog of a hairdresser who befriends Elle.

Blanco plays Elle’s archnemesis, and Warner’s rekindled flame, Vivienne, but Bilbo was big on the internet long before making his stage debut.

“I would post pictures of him on Instagram. The minute you do and add the hashtag ‘dog,’ you get like 20 likes from other dogs with their own accounts,” Blanco said.

Among the human members of the cast, many talked about how exhausting the roles are given how they play into stereotypes.

“After the end of the first act, I’m exhausted,” said Keilah Hernandez, who plays Margo one of the three main sorority girls.

She said inhabiting the expectations that come with the roles proved more difficult than anyone expected.

“Everyone thinks that teenage girls are good at dancing, but there are a lot of suggestive dances in this play,” Hernandez said. “When it came to those parts, the choreographer wanted us to be sexier, but we had to go backstage and figure it out. It took us forever to get it, but it’s so much fun to bring out that part of ourselves.”


SHOWTIMES

Friday, January 23, at 7:00 pm

Saturday, January 24 at 1:30 pm & 7:00 pm

Thursday, January 29, at 7:00 pm

Friday, January 30, at 7:00 pm

Saturday, January 31 at 1:30 pm & 7:00 pm

Titans give Celts biggest scare yet on hardwood

Celt Devon Dunagan, whose late-game play proved pivotal against West Salem, pushes the ball up the court in the game Tuesday, Jan. 13. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Celt Devon Dunagan, whose late-game play proved pivotal against West Salem, pushes the ball up the court in the game Tuesday, Jan. 13. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The McNary High School boys varsity basketball team didn’t get much time to adjust to having a mark on its back.

Celtic players and coaches knew that competing with West Salem High School Tuesday, Jan. 13, was going to be a tall order. Man-for-man, the Titans are one of the tallest teams in the Greater Valley Conference and they used it to great effect against the Celtics. McNary won 50-44, but trailed the Titans from the second minute to the 27th minute.

“When you play a big team like that rebounds are tougher and the shots are contested a lot more,” said Tregg Peterson, a McNary senior.

Celt junior Trent Van Cleave put McNary on the board first with a point from the free throw line, but it was the last lead McNary would enjoy until the fourth quarter.

West kept their defenders bunched up under the net creating pressure for the Celtics when handling the ball and bad looks on the shots McNary players managed to get off. When the Celtics managed to grab a rebound around 6-foot-11 Titan Christian Russell, West destroyed their press.

The Titans ended the first frame with a 10-point lead. The second period didn’t get much better for McNary. The Keizer team edged its way back into the fray cutting West’s lead to four points on a bucket and free throw by Peterson, but the teams went to the half 26-20. Only a buzzer-beater by Trent Van Cleave closed the gap that much.

“We had struggles with their height. I actually think we could have had a better game plan going into the game, but that’s not to take anything away from West Salem as a team,” said Ryan Kirch, McNary head coach.

The Celts still trailed by three points going into the fourth period, but a basket by senior Devon Dunagan with 4:41 left put the score at 38-37. Dunagan drew a foul on the attempt and knocked down both shots from the free throw line to put McNary in the lead.

From that point on, the Celts didn’t relinquish the lead. Peterson made two key defensive plays to put the ball back in Celtic hands in the final two minutes and McNary escaped with a 50-44 win.

Dunagan led McNary scoring with 13 points, most of those coming in the final minutes. Mathew Ismay, Peterson and Van Cleave had nine points apiece; Cade Goff put in six; and Harry Cavell had four.

“Once we got into the 1-3-1 (zone defense), we were able to slow the game down. When we face them again, we have to do more of that in the game and just try to outrun the big guys,” Peterson said.

Van Cleave said big teams can put the emphasis on some of McNary’s strengths despite the challenges.

“It means we have to get out in the open court and take advantage of our speed and athleticism,” he said.

The McNary boys were put to the test again Friday, Jan. 16, in a game vs. McKay High School.

“They had a good game plan and came out and played hard to take advantage of the weak spots in our defense,” Van Cleave said.

McKay turned up the heat quickly keeping the Celts within two points, 10-8, at the end of the first frame. The Celts extended their lead to seven points by halftime, but Peterson said the team adjusted its attitude in the second half.

“We knew that they would come out and thinking they were in the game and we had to come back out and hit them hard,” he said.

McNary outscored McKay 23-14 in the third quarter and 12-5 in the fourth.

“Early on, (McKay) would get a big pop from the crowd each time they hit a basket, but our defense was consistent throughout the game,” Kirch said. “We stayed composed and guarded which lets us sustain through the ups and downs of other teams.”

Peterson led Celtic scoring with 18 points; Cavell, Dunagan and Van Cleave had 12 points each; Ismay and Cole Thomas had two apiece; and Goff and Wyatt Grine had one point each.

Peterson and Van Cleave identified the team’s game starts as the area that needs the bulk of their attention.

“We’ve had a couple of good starts, but not lately, we need to come out of the locker room and fly around,” Van Cleave said.

Peterson added, “We want to be the best team in the league and we have to play like it.”

Big Toy funding needs kick

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By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Money continues to come in for the Big Toy project, but it’s been trickling in.

In a Keizertimes story last August, it was noted $197,400 had been raised for the project, or 47 percent towards the goal of $416,509.80. Fast forward five months and the raised amount has inched up to $205,948.86, an increase of a little more than $8,500. That means 49 percent of the goal, with $210,561 left to raise.

The Big Toy is scheduled to be built at Keizer Rapids Park by community volunteers over a five-day span, from June 10 to 14.

Marion County Commissioner Janet Carlson, who is co-chairing the Community Build Task Force fundraising committee with Richard Walsh, noted efforts to raise money were put on hold until two main things fell into place in November.

“There are a couple of dynamics going on,” Carlson said. “One, the fundraising committee wasn’t doing much while the master planning (for KRP) was going on. Everybody agreed to wait until we know where it is. The other thing that slowed us down was developing the website (www.keizerbigtoy.org). We wanted specific information on the website about the different levels of funding. We didn’t have many fundraising committee meetings until November and December. We took a break on it.”

The Big Toy project initially got rolling in late 2012 and was to be built last September. In part due to funding as well as site location questions, the project got pushed back nine months.

In light of the June timeframe, is the funding a concern?

“It’s a concern for the project,” Carlson said. “It’s not a concern for me because I didn’t take on this job with the idea that it’s my job to raise the money. I’m to give the tools and structure so people on the committee can raise the money. It’s up to them to raise it. I don’t take personal responsibility for raising money. We have identified target groups to reach out to.”

Mark Caillier, general coordinator for the project – city councilor Marlene Quinn is chair of the task force – noted the lack of work done in recent months.

“I don’t think they’ve been doing anything,” Caillier said. “They put things on hold and took a hiatus. They will have to really push. We haven’t sold many components. Am I concerned? No. Bu I want them to be successful in fundraising, selling components and getting grants. I think the fire has caught. They will be doing their thing.

“Some of what they were hearing (last year) was we don’t know where it will be yet,” he added. “Then it was holiday time. They know what their timeline is and are hitting the ground running right now…Folks are thinking we don’t have any time left. We do, but we don’t have any time to waste. We need to push it.”

Walsh noted elements such as site location, design, the website and costs have been figured out and, as such, now is the time to kick things up a notch.

“I think we are finally in a position to go into high gear to reach out to the community for funding and to sign up enough volunteers to build the Big Toy,” Walsh said. “Overall I am very pleased with the work so far and the response of the community. We have already involved more people and raised more money than any other Keizer park project since the creation of Keizer Rapids Park itself. Now that everything for a successful campaign is in place we are now moving into high gear to bring the fundraising and volunteer campaign to the community.”

With the holidays in the mirror, Clarkson also feels things will take off.

“We’ve got all the tools in place,” she said. “Now it’s just a matter of people going out. Now that we’re moving into spring, everyone will go full bore.”

Other aspects are going full bore as well. Caillier expects to clear trees from the orchard site where the Big Toy is being located by next week.

But what happens if the money is not raised by June? Carlson deferred the question to Caillier, who in turn deferred to Walsh and Quinn.

“That’s a real good question,” Caillier said.

Walsh sidestepped the question.

“I am confident Keizer residents and businesses will come through, as they always have and we will have a wonderful Big Toy this summer that we can all enjoy for generations to come,” Walsh said.

Station proposal okayed

Bonaventure's Ben Settecase shows a Keizer Station Area C proposal last week at a Greater Gubser Neighorhood Association meeting. Keizer City Councilors approved the proposal on Tuesday. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Bonaventure’s Ben Settecase shows a Keizer Station Area C proposal last week at a Greater Gubser Neighorhood Association meeting. Keizer City Councilors approved the proposal on Tuesday. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

A proposal for new apartments and a retirement community in Area C of Keizer Station was approved unanimously Tuesday night by the Keizer City Council.

Whether that means the project was approved quickly or not depends on the perspective.

The joint proposal by Mountain West Investment (with the 180 apartments) and Bonaventure Senior Living (the 154-unit retirement community) was discussed by councilors for the first time Tuesday. Following a public hearing and public testimony, councilors closed the record and voted 6-0 in favor, with Dennis Koho absent.

Representatives from the two companies first met with city officials in September and soon after started meeting with neighbors.

From the perspective of a large new project, getting approval at the first meeting less than four months after an initial pre-conference meeting is quick.

On the other hand, the approval marked a key point in a long-running issue. A previous proposal to do commercial building – a rumored 116,000 square foot Walmart was the lightning rod – a few years ago was vigorously protested, in particular by Kevin Hohnbaum and his Keep Keizer Livable group. The plans from 2011 were hotly debated. A revised plan from the fall of 2012 was eventually passed, but nothing ever came of that project.

The previous groundwork in terms of a master plan for the land was utilized as the starting point for the current proposal, with an amendment deleting the previous medical office and substituting in the retirement community.

The hearing for the proposal started at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, with approval coming shortly before 10.

Councilor Brandon Smith returned to the council after a two-year absence, having previously served from 2007 until 2013 and thus being familiar with the topic.

“I hope it eventually gets done,” Smith said of the proposal. “It’s interesting to me in my first meeting back it comes up again. I live off Area C. I’m excited about having something finally happen. I like the design; I voted to approve the previous one. I’m looking forward to good things coming to Keizer.”

New councilor Amy Ripp opined everyone involved had done their due diligence, while fellow newcomer Roland Herrera indicated a willingness to vote on the issue right away.

“I know you’re all sincere in your passion,” Herrera told the applicants.

Girls fall to Saxons, trounce Olys

Lady Celt Vanessa Hayes puts up a shot under heavy coverage in the girls varsity basketball game with Sprague High School Friday, Jan. 9. (Photo courtesy J&H Photo)
Lady Celt Vanessa Hayes puts up a shot under heavy coverage in the girls varsity basketball game with Sprague High School Friday, Jan. 9. (Photo courtesy J&H Photo)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

McNary High School’s girls varsity basketball team won one and lost one last week, both by wide margins.

The Lady Celts (3-2 in the Greater Valley Conference) lost to South Salem High School 63-32 Tuesday, Jan. 6, and thumped Sprague High School 68-12 three days later.

In regard to the South game, Head Coach Derick Handley said the tone was set early on.

“Their game plan was to jump on us and put us down early and that’s what they did,” Handley said.

The Keizer team was down 17-2 after the first frame. Even though McNary outscored the Saxons 14-13 in the second period, it was already too little too late.

“We did a good job of breaking their press, but the rebounding killed us that game,” said McNary’s Sydney Hunter, who had seven points against the Saxons. “We went in with a good mindset, but we got nervous right away.”

Junior Madi Hingston put up more than a third of the Celtics’ points with 12; Kaelie Flores had seven; and Kailey Doutt put in six.

“It was really a matter of them capitalizing on every transition and that hurt our confidence,” Hingston said. “When we got out in the game with Sprague on Friday, I think we took out a lot of aggression on them.”

Despite the lopsided 68-12 score, Handley thought the team was capable of more in the first half against the Olys.

“We had a lot of communication break downs, and a lot of plays when we weren’t in the right spot,” he said. “We’ve told them all year, we’ll take a good game played well and a loss over a game played poorly and a win any day.”

To the Celts’ credit, adjustments made at halftime helped to limit Sprague to four points in the second half.

“We got a lot of deflections and steals and just kind of took over,” Hingston said.

Hunter said it was a matter of consistent attitude as well.

“We ran the floor and didn’t let our intensity fall,” Hunter said. “It might not look like a struggle in the score, but we did have more turnovers in the first half than we would have liked.”

Hunter led Celt scoring with 17 points; Flores and Hingston had 14 points each. Jasmine Ernest had seven; Doutt had six; Emma Jones and Vanessa Hayes had four each; and Jaylene Montano put in two.

The girls traveled to meet perennial rival West Salem High School Tuesday, Jan. 13. A win over the Titans would put the two teams in a deadlock for third place in the conference.

“They’ll put pressure on us and we can’t risk unforced errors and turnovers,” Handley said. “If we can beat their press and keep our heads on the swivel, we can get their backdoor cuts.”

Holiday card contest is being worked on

Beth Melendy (left), shown here with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition host Ty Pennington, is heading up a holiday card contest through the Keizer Arts Commission. (Submitted photo)
Beth Melendy (left), shown here with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition host Ty Pennington, is heading up a holiday card contest through the Keizer Arts Commission. (Submitted photo)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

It was just a couple of nights before Christmas and details over the annual Christmas cards were being fussed over.

Not in the normal sense, however.

For one, this was the Keizer Arts Commission meeting at city hall on Dec. 23.

For another, the card in question is one for the 2015 holiday season.

KAC member Beth Melendy has been working on a 2015 holiday card contest. As part of that, artists are being sought to submit artwork expressing the holiday season in Keizer. The selected art will be used as the city’s 2015 holiday greeting card.

The winning entrant will earn a $25 gift card to Michael’s Arts and Crafts.

When Melendy originally brought up the idea last fall, the scramble was on to quickly get the contest together for the fast approaching holiday season. However, it was decided to wait until this coming year.

Since then, one of the main points of discussion has been when the deadline should be. Former Mayor Lore Christopher, who chairs the KAC, had pushed for deadlines to be moved up so commission members would have time to make a decision.

“I only changed some dates,” Melendy said when presenting the updated proposal. “The first proposal was (a deadline of) Friday, Oct. 16. Lore wanted it earlier. Now it will be Friday, Sept. 18.”

Melendy has compiled a two-sided contest form. One side explains the guidelines, rules and conditions; the other side is the entry form.

Submissions must be received at Keizer Civic Center by 4 p.m. on Sept. 18, accompanied by a signed entry form. The original artwork must be at least four inches by six inches but no bigger than eight inches by 10 inches. Entries must be one dimensional for scanning and recreating purposes and can be a painting, drawing or photograph.

Up to two entries may be submitted per person, with the artist’s signature appearing somewhere on the artwork. The art must be suitable for use as a holiday card and should depict a local scene or an event with a holiday theme.

One of the rules deals with religion.

“Items that are specifically tied to one religion may be excluded,” one of the rules states. “Examples include Santa Claus, angels, menorahs and other religious-based images.”

Entries will be judged at the Sept. 22 KAC meeting, with the winning artist being notified by Sept. 25.

While the dates were easily agreed upon, the main question that came up was restrictions related to KAC members.

“Will we say our family members are not allowed to submit?” Melendy asked.

Jill Hagen said they should be able to.

“They can submit, but then you can’t be on the selection committee,” Hagen said.

Rick Day had a suggestion.

“Maybe you’d just recuse yourself on that one selection,” Day said.

Nate Brown, director of Community Development, brought up the issue of fairness.

“I want to make sure we have the appearance of fairness,” Brown said.

Big Toy group aiming to avoid the big swell

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By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

The general area is known for the Big Toy.

However, the exact placement of the play structure scheduled to be built by community volunteers in June at Keizer Rapids Park was still up for discussion last week.

Mark Caillier, general coordinator for the Big Toy, gave an update during the Jan. 6 Community Build Task Force meeting.

“I want to talk about the Big Toy location,” Caillier said. “I thought we would have something to look at, but you have to picture it in your mind.”

As approved by the Keizer City Council in December, the Big Toy will be going in south of two softball fields, in part of the current orchard area.

“The apex of the circle is 600 feet of softball fields,” Caillier said. “We’ve got to have space in between the fields. The Big Toy is at that apex. What we found is if you look at the dog park parking (to the west) and extend that east, where we want to put our parking, you work your way east and by doing that we take a swat out of the orchard. You cut the orchard in half. We need to make sure there’s enough space so farm machinery can get through the orchards.”

Caillier said with the parking moved over, that would create about a 100-yard walk to the Big Toy.

“We want to make it closer,” he said. “We looked at moving the Big Toy west from the apex, which also makes the softball fields bigger. That puts the Big Toy somewhat into the orchard. We would remove 183 trees. That puts us on flatter ground and puts us in a space to allow for a bigger softball complex.”

Richard Walsh, co-chair of the task force’s fundraising committee, wondered if moving the Big Toy in the other direction would be better.

“I guess I’m thinking long-term with the park,” Walsh said. “That means this backdrop will be blocking all the space behind it. We’re creating this big no-man’s land. You would have to go around the play structure to get into the parking lot. I wonder if it wouldn’t be as easy to bring it to the east instead of the west.”

Caillier said there’s an obstacle in that direction.

“If you move the Big Toy toy east you run into a swell, which is right through the field where a burn pile is,” Caillier said. “It goes from the southwest to the northeast. As you move over (to the east), you move more into the swell. If you go straight east, you go right into it. It has a bigger grade than we thought, about a seven-foot drop.”

Marlene Quinn, chair of the task force, noted Caillier and others made the recommendation after going to the site and mapping things out.

“The swell is pretty bad out there,” Quinn said. “I’m not sure we have the time and money to extend the parking lot out there.”

Walsh encouraged everyone to think about long-term use of the land.

“I want the designer to get to work on the final touches,” he said. “We need to get going with it. As far as the exact placement, you can go out and walk it. If it’s feasible without raising the cost, I want us to think long-term and at least explore moving to that east side. If it’s not possible, I’m fine. I don’t want to give up the project.”

Caillier said that idea had been explored.

“We looked at it and we don’t believe it’s possible,” he told Walsh. “I would be glad to go out and show it. Clint (Holland) is waiting for us to make a decision so we can get moving.”

A motion was made to approve the siting, at which point Quinn mentioned how long until the five-day community build is scheduled to start on June 11.

“We have 154 days until the start of the build,” Quinn said. “We can get going now.”

Mat men make most of shots at Don York

Celt Joey Kibbey gets a near-fall in his match with McKay’s Shane Tennis. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Celt Joey Kibbey gets a near-fall in his match with McKay’s Shane Tennis. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

In a busy week for the McNary High School wrestling team, the Celtics showed no signs of slowing down.

The brightest spots in a week of good news for McNary were a number of confidence-boosting placements at the annual Don York Invitational.

“The biggest thing is I came out of it believing in myself more,” said Sean Burrows, who took second at the tournament. “I used to have a big issue with kids who are a lot stronger because they are built differently, but I can overcome it.”

Burrows pinned his way to the semifinals where he drew Cleveland High School’s Junpei Hunt, an opponent he’d been keeping track of.

“We were pretty close in skill level and we worked each other pretty hard the entire match. We were both dog tired at the end,” said Burrows, who won in a 17-9 major decision.

Burrows fell to Centennial’s Tyler Wagner 14-6 in the first place match.

Junior Joey Kibbey made it his mission to get to the finals match this year after falling short of his own expectations as a freshman and sophomore.

“I was real close both years, but I went in this time saying I’m going to the finals,” said Kibbey.

That’s precisely what he did. Two wins on points and two byes got him to the finals where he faced Forest Grove high School’s Lucas Higginbotham.

“I got a bit nervous heading into the match and I did okay in the first round, but he’s pure muscle and turned me in an arm bar in the second round,” Kibbey said.

He took second place after getting pinned in the final seconds of the round.

Taran Purkey was the team’s other second place finisher.

Senior Alvarro Venegas continued his 22-0 romp over, under, around and through all comers to take first for the Celts at 195 pounds. He led a stacked decked of top finishers for the Celtics at Don York.

McNary also posted a number of third place finishers including Riley Repp, Jordan Cagle and Carlos Vincent.

Vincent found himself in an interesting situation. Two wins put him in the quarterfinals against Ryan Steen of Pendleton High School, but Steen won in a major decision that put him out of competition for the finals. However, Vincent wrestled his way back from the consolation brackets to face Steen again for third place.

“I knew he was a tough, hard-headed dude. I usually try to be pretty explosive and try to intimidate the other guy, but he wasn’t having it,”

Vincent said. “I picked my shots more carefully and ended up on top with one point (5-4), but one point is worth a million.”

Fourth place finishers were Brayden Ebbs and Jonathon Phelps. Michael Phelps and Kyle Boon took fifth. Bonn had to beat teammate William Smith in his fifth place match.

Prior to Don York, the Celts had a three-way duel with West Salem and McKay High Schools. McNary came out on top in both.

Against McKay, match winners were: Kibbey, 9-1; Ebbs, 8-1; Burrows, fall 5:17; J. Phelps, fall :50; Cagle, 15-5; Vincent, fall 1:11; Ryan Edsall, fall 2:55; Gage Mance, fall 1:47; Venegas, fall 3:19; and Smith, fall :52. The overall score was 59-13.

Celt winners in the 72-3 dual with the Titans were: Ebbs, fall :42; Burrows, fall 1:34; Adam Nelson, fall, 2:27; M. Phelps, 5-2; Wyatt Kessler, fall :34; Hunter Lucas, 6-3; Edsall, fall 1:38; Isaiah Putnam, fall 2:37; Mance, fall 1:44; and Venegas, fall 3:02. Four Celts received wins by forfeit.

Dog shot, two arrested

This pit bull was shot by Keizer Police Jan. 8. (Submitted)
This pit bull was shot by Keizer Police Jan. 8. (Submitted)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

When the Keizer Police Department brought back its Community Response Unit a year ago, one of the main goals was to deal with drug complaints.

That has resulted in several longtime drug homes in Keizer being busted, with the most recent example taking place Jan. 8 on the 400 block of Juedes Avenue North.

Two people were arrested and an aggressive dog was shot when officers served a search warrant at the home early that morning.

According to a news release from the Keizer Police Department, members of the KPD’s CRU squad heard about complaints of drug dealing at 453 Juedes Avenue North in December and began an investigation. A search warrant was secured and served shortly before 6 a.m. on Jan. 8.

According to police, when officers entered the house, a 93-pound four-year-old American pit bull terrier-mix dog became aggressive and charged at the officers. Sgt. Jeff Goodman, believing serious injury was imminent for himself and fellow officers, shot and struck the dog at least one time in the left shoulder.

After being shot, the dog retreated into the garage and hid under a desk, staying highly agitated and not allowing officers near. The officers were eventually able to coax the dog out and placed him on a makeshift stretcher made specifically for dogs. Once muzzled, the dog was taken to Keizer Veterinary Clinic for treatment of a non-life threatening injury.

It was determined one of the people in the house, 50-year-old Tami Labee, had picked up the dog from its owner’s home about three hours before the search warrant was served on her home.

Jeff Kuhns, deputy chief with the KPD, said officers had no expectation of the dog being present.

“It was a total fluke,” Kuhns said Jan. 9. “We did our intelligence work and did the search warrant work. They had no reason to expect any dogs being present. One of Tami’s friends’ friends fell ill at 2 a.m. and had to go to the hospital. She asked the friend to care for the dog. That person, in turn, called Tami. Three hours later we served the search warrant.

“Often if we believe there will be vicious dogs, we can do different things,” he added. “Sometimes the first officer will have a fire extinguisher, because dogs don’t attack people with a fire extinguisher. That serves as a great deterrent. Or maybe we’ll make the arrest away from the house. There are all kinds of considerations. It was a total fluke the dog ended up there.”

In talking with Labee, investigators learned sales of controlled substances have been taking place in the home for decades. The investigation revealed daily and numerous methamphetamine sales were occurring at the home, which is less than 800 feet away from Cummings Elementary School and is also close to several day care facilities.

John Teague, the KPD police chief who brought back the CRU unit shortly after taking over his current position in the fall of 2013, said last Thursday night the dog came at officers three times and noted drugs have been common at the home.

“The problem has been going on for 22 years,” Teague said. “We heard about it in December and CRU hopped on it.”

Kuhns said the case is a prime example of why Teague took the action he did a year ago.

“CRU will help us learn about a lot more drug houses,” he said. “This is exactly why chief Teague restarted the team. We hope it will help us find out a lot more.”

Kuhns said police often rely on information from neighbors to learn of troublesome houses.

“It wasn’t made known to us (before December),” he said. “Either that house didn’t come across our radar or nobody reported it to us. There are probably a ton of other homes in Keizer we may not know about.”

Investigators also discovered a neighbor had moved out due to issues related to the drug sales.

Investigators found scales, packaging material, drug records, methamphetamine and other evidence when they searched the residence. Labee and her 19-year-old nephew James Futrell, who both resided in the home, were arrested on one count each of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and one count each of delivery of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school. Both were taken to the Marion County Correctional Facility.

After such a case, Kuhns said procedures get reviewed.

“What we call incidents like these is threshold incident reports,” he said. “In any given day at the Keizer Police Department, we respond to a large number of calls for service. The chief and his command staff don’t have to review every incident, but a handful do rise to the level of threshold incident reports. Every officer involved will complete a report. Me, the chief and Sgt. Andrew Copeland review reports to make sure protocols are followed and to review policies, to see if anything needs to be changed.”

Samantha Casale with New Jersey-based Coyne Public Relations contacted the Keizertimes on Jan. 9 in regards to the shooting.

“Unfortunately, more than half of intentional police shootings nationwide involve animals, most often dogs,” Casale wrote in an e-mail. “In an effort to train police on how to deal with dog encounters without resorting to lethal force, the National Canine Research Council created a five-part series of police training videos made free and available online for police to watch during daily briefings.”

Kuhns said officers at the KPD get training.

“With regard to dogs, certainly officers do receive training,” he said. “We take into consideration dogs and any other animals present when search warrants are served. We go through a long checklist of things we address before approaching the house. We go over known hazards to officers: do we expect children or dogs to be present? Do we expect people to be armed? If we learn there are, we have to plan accordingly. In this case, we had no knowledge of pets being involved.”