Having recently stepped down from public office, Dan Clem figured there was no reason to dress up for the Keizer First Citizen Awards Banquet on Jan. 31.
Besides, the former Salem City Councilor didn’t anticipate winning anything so a sweater, jeans and tennis shoes seemed to be safe enough.
But Audrey Butler, president of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, had a different plan.
Butler surprised Clem with the President’s Award.
Butler called Clem, who serves as chair of the chamber’s Government Affairs Committee, the “iron link” between her and legislation impacting Keizer.
“He’s the man who has elevated the chamber to a new level,” Butler said.
Clem joined the chamber last June.
“I am truly humbled to be welcomed into Keizer in such a wonderful fashion,” said Clem, who recognized wife Debbie for her support. “The public deserves our best and I hope to continue to give my best. I’m always reminded by Audrey’s caring heart and her sense of volunteerism. That’s the great thing about this community, you just volunteer so much. Audrey says it and it’s absolutely true. She lives it and the community lives it.
“We vote once or twice a year, but when we volunteer we vote daily about the kind of community we want to live in,” he added. “I’m very proud to be part of Keizer, thank you.”
Butler, who as chamber president had the sole call on who got the award, outlined why she chose Clem.
“The last six months have been more than I anticipated,” Butler said. “I can’t wait to see the flourish in growth we will have in the next six months. As I began the journey of your chamber president six months ago, I knew I was going to find a few avenues I would struggle in. Like they say, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. I know my strengths and my weaknesses. When you identify the weak points in you, you can only improve them. Those weak points can only be made stronger.”
After returning to his seat, Clem still couldn’t believe he was leaving the event with a new clock.
“I’m shocked,” he said. “Keizer is such a wonderful place because of the people. I’m deeply humbled and honored by this award.”
Debbie noted she didn’t know about the award beforehand, but she didn’t sound terribly surprised based on what her husband does.
“This is nobody who loves their community more than Dan does,” Debbie said. “He thinks of the whole area as his community. He does a lot of good stuff.”
Clem took the good natured ribbing about his somewhat casual attire in stride and pointed to a valid reason.
“I didn’t wear a suit and tie because I’m out of office,” Clem said.
A 62-28 win over McMinnville High School Friday, Feb. 13, was a display of just how much the McNary High School girls varsity basketball team has grown in recent weeks.
When the two teams met a little more than three weeks ago, the Grizzlies gave the Celts a run for their money that ended in a 47-30 final score. This time around, after the opening minutes, the Lady Celts clamped down defensively to create long runs leaving McMinnville in the dust.
“It shows in the games that everyone has been playing at a higher level,” said Madi Hingston, a McNary junior. “We’ve been working hard on our game plans in practice and knowing who the shooters are and getting to them.”
McNary’s Kaelie Flores kept McNary afloat, scoring a tying basket and the go-head one in the third minute of the game. A three-pointer by Madi Hingston, her first of four for the night, stretched the McNary lead to four and the Grizzles only threatened once more.
Hingston has strung together several outstanding nights on offense in recent weeks. She said the change was a result of personal and collective efforts.
“I realized that I needed to start being more aggressive, but it also has a lot to do with team and everyone pushing each other,” she said.
Midway through the first quarter, McMinnville went up 8-7, but then the Lady Celts went on an 18-point unanswered run that spanned the first and second periods. By the halftime buzzer, McNary was up 36-11.
The Celtic dominance continued the rest of the game, and the team emptied its bench with three minutes left to play en route to the 62-28 final score.
Hingston led the team with 16 points and six assists. Flores and Sydney Hunter had 13 points apiece; Kailey Doutt put up six; Jaylene Montano had five; Paige Downer drained a trey less than 30 seconds after hitting the court; Jasmine Ernest, Emma Jones and Lauren Hudgins had two points each.
On Tuesday, Feb. 10, the Celtics doled out a 59-36 loss to West Salem High School. The Titans jumped out to a 5-1 start, but McNary took the lead 13-7 by the end of the first frame.
The Titans only managed to outscore the Celts in the third period, but McNary already had a runaway lead.
“With both teams and we knew we had to come out strong,” Hingston said.
Hingston led all scoring with 15 points; Hunter had 13; Vanessa Hayes put in 12; Kailey Doutt had seven; Flores and Ernest had four each; and Montano and Hudgins each drained one from the paint.