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Day: November 13, 2015

He’s no Monster

McNary senior Taylor Bomar takes on the role of Beast in the production. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
McNary senior Taylor Bomar takes on the role of Beast in the production. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The first time Madi Zuro put on her Beauty and the Beast Belle costume earlier this year, part of her did a little dance.

“I looked at myself and thought, ‘My 5-year-old dreams are coming true,’” said Zuro, who plays one of the two leads in McNary High School’s production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, opening this weekend.

Show dates are Nov. 13 and 14 and 19-21 at 7 p.m. Matinees are slated both Saturdays at 1 p.m. with tea parties before the matinee performances at 11:30 a.m. Show tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and children 12 and younger. Tea party tickets are $10 for adults and $15 for children. Advance ticket purchases are encouraged at mcnarytheatre.weebly.com.

The story, for the most part, follows the Disney animated movie of the same name with a few added scenes and songs. Belle feels trapped in a provincial French town and trades her freedom for the life of her father who has been imprisoned by the titular Beast. Beast must learn to love and be loved to lift a curse placed on him many years prior. The play is brought to life with the help of an extravagant set, built by McNary students, and mind-blowing costumes courtesy of Westview High School in Portland.

McNary senior Taylor Bomar is cast as Beast but, like all of the actors, he had no idea what the show was going to be at the time he auditioned.

“I was hoping to just be part of the ensemble,” said Bomar. “I had a jaw-drop moment and then a lot of stress and worry thinking about it. I want to be as good as I can be.”

Bomar, who has participated in choirs at McNary for his entire high school career, said he expected the acting to be the tough part.

“Funnily enough, the singing part of it has been hardest. The acting just kind of came along, but I have to change how I sing. I’ve had to relearn that part of it,” he said.

Cameron Engle and Josiah Henifin portray the production’s real villians, Gaston and LeFou, respectively.

“As soon as we heard, I wanted to be Gaston. Then they posted the cast list and I was bouncing off the walls. I was super excited,” said Engle.

Henfin had the opposite reaction.

“I was terrified, I hadn’t sung in front of anyone before the audtion and now I suddenly had a whole song to perform,” Henifin said. “LeFou is just really dumb and its hard to embrace that, but you have to bring it alive onstage.”

Engle said the play has continued to get better with each rehearsal, but he has high hopes for the production that extend beyond what’s happening on stage.

“I always thought it would be cool if we could make the musical production a big community thing like football games and this show really feels like it has that potential,” he said.

Even though there will be many in the audience familiar with the story, and those who will be able to sing every verse of every song, Zuro said there is still a bit of something for everyone.

“There’s jokes the parents will get and jokes the kids will get and the whole thing is just beautiful,” she said.


Be their guest at princess tea party

The McNary High School cast and crew are hosting princess tea parties prior to both Saturday matinees of Beauty and the Beast.

“It’s a party for little kids and those young-at-heart,” said Dallas Myers, director of Celtic theatre arts.

Tea parties begin at 11:30 a.m. followed by matinee performances of the play at 1 p.m.

Four costumed characters, Belle, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts and Cogsworth, will be in attendance and available for photos in front of a special backdrop created especially for the event.

Juices and souvenir cookies prepared by Sweetly Baked, a local cookie company, will be served. A princess dance is also planned.

Tickets are $10 for parents and $15 for children. Advance ticket purchases are encouraged at mcnarytheatre.weebly.com.

Rams take 42-21 victory in first round of playoffs

Celt Jon Anderson chases down Ram quarterback Marcu Mildenberg at Hillsboro Stadium Friday, Nov. 6. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Celt Jon Anderson chases down Ram quarterback Marcu Mildenberg at Hillsboro Stadium Friday, Nov. 6. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

BY ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

McNary High School’s varsity football team never threatened in a 42-21 loss to Central Catholic High School in the first round of the playoffs.

Fortunately for the Celtics, the team had just enough big plays – led by quarterback Trent Van Cleave’s three interceptions – to keep the game interesting despite the lopsided score.

The Keizer team was off to a rough start from the get-go. Three plays in to their first drive, a wild snap was recovered by the Rams at the Celtic 20-yard line. It took Central Catholic only two plays to notch the first touchdown of the game at 10:49.

The Celts made it to midfield before fizzling on their first possession. Once Central Catholic had the ball back, a 31-yard rushing attack brought up first-and-goal at the one-yard line. The Rams scored again on the next play for the 14-0 lead.

McNary’s drive started at the five-yard line because of a holding penalty and a fumble on the first play was recovered by Central Catholic. The Rams scored on the next play and, with 7:28 remaining in the first quarter, McNary trailed 21-0.

“The difficult thing to swallow is that, if you take away the first four minutes of the game, we played them even the rest of the way,” said Jeff Auvinen, McNary head coach. “It’s just too bad we couldn’t compete to our full ability those first four minutes.”

The Celtics finally bolted the wheels back on their game in their next posession. A first-down rush by running back Brady Sparks was helped along by a personal foul that reset the chains at McNary’s 42-yard line. Sparks reeled in a one-handed catch on the next play but it was called back on a holding penalty.

Facing first-and-22, Van Cleave found teammate Josh Benson cutting across the field for a short gain, but lost five yards on a penalty. On second-and 20, Van Cleave made a short pass to Hayden Sader and it took four tacklers to bring him down at third-and-seven.

The Rams drew a defensive holding penalty and reset the chains for McNary at the Central Catholic 45-yard line.

Sader and Benson finished off the drive with catches and the Celtics made it to the board with 2:19 left in the first quarter.

Sader and Bobby Botta got key stops for the Keizer team on Central Catholic’s return, but the Rams scored on a long rushing attack facing third-and-one, making the score 28-7. The Rams cushioned their lead to 35-7 on their next possession shortly after the start of the second quarter.

After punting away their next opportunity, Van Cleave pulled down a one-handed interception at the McNary 15-yard line and ran it all the way back to the 40-yard line. After a Ram player was judged out of bounds and returned to the playing field, McNary took possession at Central Catholic’s 43-yard line.

Van Cleave unleashed a long bomb two plays later intended for senior Matt Aguilar. Aguilar was under cover by a Ram defender and stepped back behind him to get the catch at the 30-yard line and ran for a touchdown. The score closed the gap to 35-14.

After trading punts, Van Cleave came up with his second interception of the night, but Central Catholic got the ball back on an interception of its own.

The half ended as Van Cleave made his third interception in the Celtic end zone.

The Rams scored again, and for their final time, on their first play after the second-half kickoff, expanding the lead to 42-14.

The Celtics suffered another setback three drives later. After converting on fourth-and-one with LaCroix Hill taking the snap and driving to reset the chains, McNary pushed all the way to Central Catholic’s 23-yard line. Facing third-and-12, Van Cleave escaped a pair of tackles on the scramble before launching the ball to Aguilar at the four-yard line. Aguilar got the grab, but offsetting penalites forced the down to be replayed.

Another rushing attack by Van Cleave set the Celtics up at the 12-yard line, but a holding penalty sent the team back to the 28-yard line. A last ditch attempt at conversion was intercepted at the Ram 5-yard line.

The Rams’ return possession sputtered thanks, in large part, to a sack by Kolby Barker that left the Portland team at fourth-and-24.

McNary struck for the final score of the game on its next drive. Sparks put the Celtics on the Rams’ 19-yard line on the first play. He helped move the ball to fourth-and-one giving Hill another chance to convert and reset the downs at Central Catholic’s six-yard line.

Van Cleave put the ball into the end zone with fourth-and-inches to go.

‘She did not want to die’

chasing-dark-complete

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

If need be, Sue doesn’t mind being blunt when it comes to drugs.

“If you gave people a loaded gun and told them to put it to their head, they wouldn’t do it,” Sue said. “But that’s what they do with heroin. It’s the same thing.”

Unfortunately, Sue has some experience with the topic. Her daughter, Peggy (both names have been changed for this Chasing Dark story), died this summer after an infection from needles. Peggy had heart issues and used drugs for years, in particular heroin.

In last week’s Chasing Dark story with members of the Keizer Police Department’s Community Response Unit (CRU), there was an emphasis on how addicts have to be willing to make the choice to get clean before any change can be seen.

“If you’re an adult, are you ready to stop? You can tell me ‘I’m a drug user,’ but if you don’t say ‘I’m done with this,’ you are not ready for treatment,” CRU member James Young said. “Until they’re ready, they’re not going to go.”

Rehabilitation is also seen as a key way to help addicts, especially once they express a desire to get better. Sue questions the part about waiting for addicts like Peggy to indicate a desire for change.

“Rehab is a complete joke with heroin addicts,” Sue said. “I know for a fact she scammed her way through rehab with her meth addiction. She would have her kids pee in a cup to pass the UA (urine analysis). She was good at that.

“In rehab, they say you have to hit your bottom,” she added. “Peggy didn’t have a bottom. We were sure she would reach the point where she would do the work (to get better). Losing her children wasn’t her bottom. Having open heart surgery wasn’t her bottom. Knowing she would die from this addiction was not her bottom. Waiting for them to ask for help isn’t the answer. Being she was dying in the hospital, we said goodbye to her three times. That wasn’t enough to keep her clean. That wasn’t enough.”

Peggy’s addiction got so bad, the state stepped in and removed her children from her home.

“When her kids were taken away because of the heroin, Peggy had a year to get clean,” Sue said. “It took her months to even get in the game to schedule the first visitation, because she wasn’t ready. That was the heroin talking. She was the most devoted mother when she was clean. She was mother of the year material. But with heroin, you can’t feel. That’s not the answer, waiting for a heroin addict to say, ‘I’m ready.’”

Even as her daughter struggled with various drug addictions for years, Sue kept the lines of communication open. In last week’s story, Young pointed to that as a key.

“The biggest thing is be involved,” Young said. “Users are distancing themselves with the drug. When you see them spending time alone, bring them into the family unit again, especially with juveniles. They are using that as a replacement for something lacking, which is often family. You have to make sure you’re all together mentally.”

Sue had the same approach.

“Building trust and respect early on is a huge thing,” she said. “Peggy could talk to me about anything. Making sure the kids feel respected so that they don’t feel they’re being judged, that’s a big thing in our house. I don’t agree with the notion about not being your kid’s friend. You need to treat them with respect, like any other human being. That worked with my other four kids. They can tell me anything. It worked. The drill sergeant thing just breeds hiding and lying. Then the parents are the opposition.”

Sue knows Peggy smoked weed in high school and then moved on to meth before turning to heroin. But in the midst of that, mom was there.

“I made her talk to me every day,” Sue said. “Through all of this, I always made sure she stayed connected. I listened without judgement. When she did meth, I called the police and she was in jail for a month. I made her tell me what was happening, not that it was okay, but I made sure she stayed connected to me. I listened because I needed to know and I needed her to know she could talk to me about it. There was a lot I didn’t want to know.”

And yet, even with that communication, even being there for her daughter, Sue still had to deal with the pain of losing her daughter to drugs. In some ways, it made her question the approach.

“That’s what I felt was right, but it didn’t change anything. The outcome was still the same,” Sue said quietly. “Of course you want to be there for your kid and not be judgmental. It’s not because she was a bad person. She didn’t grow up on the streets or in a bad situation. She was raised in a suburban upper class home. In the end, heroin is such a bad drug, there’s nothing that my being there could change. She was locked in.”

Though she isn’t certain, Sue believes her daughter’s first experience with drugs fueled a habit that caused escalating destruction.

“The ritual of escaping, that opens the door to all the rest of it,” she said. “Then your mind is open to the next thing. You give yourself permission to do the next thing. There’s nobody who did heroin who didn’t do weed first.

“The solution is keeping people from doing it the first time,” Sue added. “Once you’ve done it the first time, it’s too late. It’s supposed to be the best high ever. I don’t want to know. It’s just a culture as far as escapism. There’s got to be a better way to cope with whatever it is.”

Over time, Sue picked up on cues that indicated when Peggy was on heroin.

“The first thing I can remember in figuring out she was doing something was that she had no concept of time,” Sue said, remembering one holiday season. “She would bring the kids over and would be four hours late. With school, her kids were not getting there on time. She completely lost track of time. A lot of naps and sleeping are involved. They steal Q-tips and lighters. You will see a lot of Q-tips around your bathroom. And there are a lot of pick marks. It was mainly her face. If she picked, I knew.”

There were also the eyes: dilated pupils meant Peggy was on methamphetamine, while pinpointed eyes meant an opiate (heroin is an opiate).

Sue, who called anti-drug efforts like DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) “worthless,” said Peggy told her she got bacteria from a dirty needle.

“She said she had a bladder infection that got into the kidney and the blood stream,” Sue said. “If she was not doing heroin, it wouldn’t have happened.”

In Peggy’s final year, she was in and out of the hospital. A week before Peggy’s death, Sue discovered used needles in her closet and realized her daughter was using again.

“I didn’t know the infection had come back,” Sue said. “I didn’t know she was sick again. So a week before she died, I kicked her out of the house. Knowing that she would die, she still used. It was basically suicide. It was the air she breathed. She couldn’t kick the habit. You just get this tunnel vision and you don’t see anything else that’s going on.”

After Peggy’s passing, the family went to the funeral home and got a rude surprise.

“They said they needed to do special handling of the body due to Hepatitis B,” Sue said. “Never had we heard about that. I wonder if she got that in the last week.”

That put the exclamation point on a sad ending, which leaves bad memories for the family.

“The last year of her life was so traumatic,” Sue said. “That’s what you’re left with, it’s just yuck when you see someone so unhealthy. The Peggy we knew the last couple of years was a train wreck.”

Peggy’s passing brought out anger in her mom.

“I was mad at Peggy,” Sue said. “When the doctor said there was 0 percent chance she would make it, I went straight to anger. I was mad for a good month, just fuming. That wasn’t the Peggy I know. The Peggy I know, I’m not mad at her.”

Sue said her daughter was an amazing woman who was great with crafts – when clean.

“Her kids were everything to her,” Sue said. “She was always all about doing craft projects with them. She was very creative and so crafty. It was terrible to take her to a place like Michael’s, because you couldn’t get her out of there. A card from her wasn’t just a card. When she did birthday cards, she would do 3-D pop out things. It would be like a cityscape. She would sit there and make signs and cards for other people.

“Everything she did, she would do 110 percent,” the mom added. “She was always about helping everyone and taking care of everyone else. She was a really good person when she was not clouded up by her demons.”

Sue is sure the Peggy not clouded by the demons didn’t want a tragic ending.

“She did not want to die,” Sue said. “She wouldn’t have put a gun to her head.”

Care for the abuser, not the abuse

Moments of Lucidity
By ERIC A. HOWALD

The friend request arrived earlier this year, nearly 20 years since our last conversation.

That one went something like this:

“Eric, phone call.”

“Thanks, mom.”

“Hello?”

A pause.

“Hi, Eric, it’s Mike. I’m in the hospital.”

This is how my former best friend opened the conversation after twelve months of radio silence.

“Why are you in the hospital?”

“I had an accident. I OD’d. I was dead for four minutes before the medics revived me.”

“Oh.” Another long pause. “Are you okay now?”

He sniffed hard. This was something of a nervous tick he’d had ever since we first met at age 12. We were 19 at the time of the phone call.

“Yeah, it was about six weeks ago, but I’m trying to contact some of my old friends, now.”

This didn’t sound like Mike. This sounded like it was coming from someone in the hospital room with him telling Mike this is what he should do.

“Okay, are you still in the hospital?”

“Right now, yeah, but I hoped I could call you after I get out.”

“Sure, just let me know.”

“Okay.”

“Okay.”

“Bye.”

“Bye.”

Click.

As far as I was concerned, our friendship had ended the prior autumn. After five years of near inseparability, with Mike spending entire weekends smashing Nintendo buttons with me at the foot of my bed and taking three-week vacations with my family, I could no longer suffer being the one driving him to his dealer’s house and being asked to wait in the car. It all ended as we stood on his mom’s porch on a sunny day in October. I was in tears and yelling as I confronted him over his drinking and drug abuse. He was drunk, and probably high, but it hurt like hell when I told him I loved him like a brother and he giggled.

Now, for reasons, I struggle to fathom, he’s tracked me down through Facebook. On one hand, I’m relieved. I’m relieved to know he either made it through or is making it through. At the same time, it’s like having Jacob Marley rise from the grave and start rattling chains about. It may seem harsh, but I compartmentalized Mike’s “death” as a suicide. Never speaking to each other again after that phone call made that easier on me.

Before I confirmed his friend request, I sent Mike a private message hoping to talk about how our friendship dissolved. He still hasn’t responded. I stopped looking to see if he would update his profile with photo – some sort of proof of life – after a week.

For a long time, Mike’s substance abuse was the lens through which I entered every conversation about the topic. It infuriated me, not that people would use narcotics and alcohol to excess, but that they were even available at all. With my whole heart, I believed that drugs killed people, not that people killed themselves using drugs. But the latter is what it actually is, isn’t it?

It wasn’t until I was working on a master’s degree in communications that I learned what it truly meant to think critically. I learned to question motives and ask the right questions to get me there. That’s when I discovered a Mike – and more broadly, a country – in an entirely different light. The veil was pulled back, and I saw how socioeconomic forces are typically one of the biggest influences on substance abuse, and I could connect that line right to Mike. He and his sister, and his father, and his uncle were all living under his grandmother’s roof. I saw weed for the first time taped underneath the lid to a toilet basin in his house – his uncle’s stash – and I’ve seen circumstances like his reflected elsewhere in our country.

Which brings me to the lack of needle exchanges in Marion County. I’ve talked with an addict as part of this paper’s recent series on heroin abuse in Keizer. I know what it’s like to watch someone struggle with addiction and hope beyond hope that they are at least being as safe as possible. And the absence of a local needle exchange makes me fearful.

Earlier this year in Austin, Indiana, nearly 150 people tested HIV positive; the disease was primarily transmitted via sharing needles while injecting an opiate named Opana. Tales of whole families doing Opana together are coming to the surface. Until the governor there declared a state of emergency – in only the affected county – there was no needle exchange program for drug abusers. Now it must contend with that lack of foresight at an exponentially greater cost.

Opposing sides try to frame the needle exchange debate as either “saving lives” or “enabling abusers.” In reality, it is both. It’s saving the lives of drug abusers, and there is no wrong there.

I’m not certain how far Mike fell before overdosing, but it likely involved needles and he might have been saved from catastrophic illness by exchanging dirty needles for clean ones. I want to believe that everyone can agree his life was worth saving at age 19. But, I don’t even care about the age of an abuser, I care about the abuser. Even though I left our friendship in the rearview, I value Mike’s life and everything he meant to me.

In the same way that I had gotten distracted with the drugs being the things that killed people, the debate over needle exchanges only keeps us from getting to the heart of what is ailing this country. It’s not meth or heroin or Opana or whatever-the-hell-comes-next that is the problem. The problem, as I see it, is the shattered narratives we were told we, and everyone else, should be living.

When Prince Charmings don’t arrive, when success is no longer guaranteed by way of hard work, when we discover that there are forces working against us through no fault of our own, it’s actually kind of nice to have something to take the edge off. But there will always be those who carry it too far, and sink in over their heads, before realizing what’s happened.

Sadly, the narratives we believe in, like the opposing sides of the needle exchange “debate,” are becoming ever more fractured and diminished. And no one is offering up anything to replace what we’ve lost, least of all me when my 11-year-old asks the big questions. I wish it were different.

What I still believe in is Mike. I want to believe that one day he’ll read that Facebook message (maybe this article) and discover that I still care about him and never stopped. I hope he replies. Maybe then we can both have a good cry about it.

(Eric A. Howald is associate editor of the Keizertimes.)

Mizzou’s very real political football

By DEBRA J. SAUNDERS

Activists at the University of Missouri just won themselves a trophy Monday. After weeks of protests against the president of the University of Missouri System, Tim Wolfe —and, most importantly, after the Mizzou football team threatened to boycott games until Wolfe quit—the administrator caved. “It is my belief we stopped listening to each other. We have to respect each other enough to stop yelling at each other and start listening and quit intimidating each other,” said the clearly intimidated Wolfe.

The New York Times attributed student and faculty demands that Wolfe resign to “racial tensions.” Black students report being called the N-word. In October, someone used feces to draw a swastika in the university’s Gateway Hall. Activists formed the group Concerned Student 1950, named after the year the University of Missouri first admitted African-Americans.

I share their anger at demeaning, racist language and the yahoos who drove through campus Sunday in trucks with Confederate flags. I just don’t understand what Wolfe had to do with those episodes. Critics charge that Wolfe had become isolated. The fact that head coach Gary Pinkel supported his players’ threatened boycott suggests that is the case.

Last month, when protesters surrounded Wolfe’s car during the homecoming parade, Wolfe’s driver revved the engine. One protester told The Washington Post the car bumped another protester. Over the weekend, when students surrounded Wolfe and demanded that he define “systematic oppression,” he answered, “Systematic oppression is because you don’t believe that you have the equal opportunity for success.” An enraged student shouted back, “Did you just blame us for systematic oppression?”

In short, Wolfe made a mistake fatal to any academic career. A university administrator is supposed to preface every statement to students who badger him with a phony remark about how impressed he is that students really care. No matter how rudely students behave, no matter how unrealistic their pursuits, the modern university president must pretend he finds their antics engaging.

That’s a difficult task, given the eight demands dictated by Concerned Student 1950. No. 1: Wolfe must give a handwritten apology, read it publicly and “acknowledge his white male privilege.” Next: After his public humiliation, Wolfe had to go. Also: The group demanded a “mandatory” racial awareness and inclusion curriculum “vetted, maintained, and overseen by a board” composed of “students, staff, and faculty of color.” That is, the activists demanded that Mizzou indoctrinate all students with their special brand of racial politics. Their demands present the university not as a haven for an epic battle of ideas but as a steamroller for political conformity.

CNN’s Jake Tapper asked UM journalism professor Cynthia Frisby what Wolfe had done to become the focus of protest. She answered, “It was the lack of response.”

Not displaying sufficient anguish apparently is all it takes to represent “systematic oppression.” After Wolfe’s resignation, students gathered in the quad and sang “We Shall Overcome.” They think they did something positive, when to the contrary, they trivialized racism.

(Creators Syndicate)

Mysterious flag returned to MHS

Last week, an American  flag that no one knew had gone missing was returned to the McNary High School main office via the U.S. Postal Service. The package included a typed letter of apology from the Celtic grad whose guilt finally overwhelmed him or her.  School officials are hoping the sender comes forward to identify themselves. (KEIZERTIMES/ Eric A. Howald)
Last week, an American flag that no one knew had gone missing was returned to the McNary High School main office via the U.S. Postal Service. The package included a typed letter of apology from the Celtic grad whose guilt finally overwhelmed him or her. School officials are hoping the sender comes forward to identify themselves. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The package arrived at the McNary High School Monday, Nov. 2, with a typed letter and an American flag, folded military-style, beginning to show it’s age.

“A long time ago I was a silly young and immature kid attending McNary,” the letter states. “Contain(ed) within this package is a flag I took from McNary on my last day of school. I have had it for many years now and every time I move or encounter it within my (possession) I regret my actions.

“It was wrong of me to take this flag and I am sorry for taking it. I am returning to its rightful place. Please accept the returning of this flag as my acknowledgment of my wrongdoing and forgive my youthful actions that were wrong and stupid.”

The letter was signed anonymously: “Ex-McNary Graduate.”

Since its arrival, Erik Jespersen, McNary principal, has been pondering the flag’s origin.

“No one that I’ve talked to remembers a missing flag,” said Jespersen. “We really have no idea. We wish we did. I’d like to shake the hand of the person who sent it back.”

One thing is certain, the flag has been around for a while. The white spaces are now weathered and off-white, a not inconsiderable amount of dust and grime clings to the whole thing.

While returning the flag may have closed a chapter in the life of one mischievious former student, its only generated a litany of questions for Jespersen.

“I’d like to know how long its been toiling in their mind? How long had they had it? How long did it take between taking the flag and starting to feel some remorse over it? I want to know if they still have any connection to McNary? What about their guilt prompted them to send it back?” Jespersen said.

And he’s not giving up hope that the former student comes forward.

“It’s so funny to have a former student who comes up and apologizes for the way they acted in class, but I just smile because they were 15 at the time and now they’re off making their way in the world. I bet that this would be a similar situation,” Jespersen said.

Luella “Lu” Marie Garren

Luella Garren, long time resident of Keizer, was born in Greer, Idaho. She passed away in Tumwater, Wash. The youngest of seven children born to Dallas and Cora Eby, she and her family relocated to Salem when she was a baby. She is preceded in death by her husband Jack; brothers and sisters: Helen Howard, Gene Vernon, Zelma Cannoy, Ruth Damon and Gerald. She is survived by her daughter Christine Garren; son Jim and daughter-in-law Terri; five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Luella retired from her position with Sears in 1979 to spend more time with Jack after his retirement from Boise Cascade. She continued her association with Sears as an active member of the Salem area Sears Retiree group. Luella also enjoyed her participation in the Keizer Kids Group, an informal gathering of graduates from Keizer School. Luella brought her organizational talents to both of these organizations. She extended her association regarding Keizer School as a volunteer at the Keizer Heritage Museum — a relocated and re-purposed section of the original school building.

Luella also volunteered in the Keizer Emergency Response program. Those who have been fortunate to know her can attest to her unselfish willingness to assist others in so many ways.

A celebration of life is scheduled for December 5 at Keizer Quality Suites from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. It is appreciated that any gifts could be in the form of donations to either Willamette Valley Hospice or the Salem Juvenile Diabetes Association.

GOP voters’ love of the unserious

By MICHAEL GERSON

Welcome to the vetting season, in which presidential candidate resumés are pumped full of air, submerged in water, and tested for bubbles like an inner tube.

None of the Republican candidates, even the few with actual governing experience, has ever suffered the level of scrutiny given to a top-tier presidential prospect. It is part journalism, part tax audit, part fraternity hazing and part—especially when it comes to Republicans—ideological hit job. (The last, consulting Aristotelian logic and CNBC, does not need to be true of every journalist to be true nonetheless.) Only Democrat Hillary Clinton has made a career of sailing in this hurricane. And even she is taking on water with an ongoing FBI investigation.

Ben Carson, amazingly, has been asked to substantiate the claim that he actually tried to hit his mother with a hammer. Was it kept on the mantel as a souvenir? Are there pictures of the event in the family scrapbook? And, by the way, did he embellish his resume through the hazy high school memory of a recruiting meeting?

Carson’s claim that his treatment is unique—“I have not seen that with anyone else”—is disproved by, well, just about everyone else. Marco Rubio is being called to account for questionable purchases as a state representative on a GOP American Express card, including some flooring. In my book, hardwood would indicate disqualifying extravagance; laminate, reassuring practicality.

What is the actual charge? One of the CNBC debate moderators asked Rubio if his expense record demonstrates “the maturity and the wisdom to lead this $17 trillion economy.” First of all, an American president does not lead the economy. He helps create laws that marginally improve or complicate economic conditions. And second of all, what utter garbage. How does properly balancing a checkbook relate to presidential economic leadership, which is actually determined by ideology and legislative effectiveness?

For Jeb Bush, the vetting process has been more about performance. How does he distinguish himself from the wallpaper in the debates? His town hall meetings, by one media account, are “charmingly anachronistic,” apparently because political discourse is better served by Twitter sarcasm. The real question: Is Bush’s stated refusal to be an “angry agitator” disqualifying in a political party that seems to view angry agitation as the sum of the political enterprise?

All the while, Donald Trump lobs sarcastic tweets, appears on late-night television and leads the Real Clear Politics average of polls. Trump is somehow enjoying the presidential vetting season as a spectator instead of a target. For about a quarter of the Republican electorate, there is apparently no scandal that could rock their high regard.

Think for a moment. What would it even mean for Trump to inflate his resume when his whole campaign is a hyperbolic inflation of his resume? How do you accuse Trump of mishandling his checkbook when he brags of bilking hapless investors through the bankruptcy laws, or makes money through gaming businesses that prey on gambling addicts and low-income people? How do you hold Trump to performance standards when part of his appeal as an outsider is a blustering, appalling ignorance of policy?

What if (entirely hypothetically) Trump had gold-plated fixtures in his bathrooms, put his name on a shady diploma mill, issued misogynist personal attacks and took credit for buying politicians? That would be a Tuesday. Stepping back, what does it mean that a significant portion of prospective GOP voters are seriously considering a leader who can’t be embarrassed because he is incapable of shame? A leader who can’t be disgraced because expectations are already so low?

The choice of a president, at least in theory, should have something to do with character, policy views, temperament, governing record and political philosophy. Trump is judged by his followers on an entirely different set of standards, imported from reality television. Is he entertaining? Check. Is he angry? Check. Does he demolish political correctness and political convention? Double check. Is he authentic? Ah, here is the rub.

By one definition, political authenticity is defined by the impulsive expression of everyman instincts. By another definition, authenticity means taking serious things—such as rhetoric and political ideas—seriously. The former unleashes and rides political passions. The latter channels passions into useful public purposes through political and governing skill. The former culminates in the cutting tweet. The latter in Lincoln writing and rewriting the Gettysburg Address or his second inaugural, which were made authentic through thought and craft.

So far, this is the sad, overall summary of the 2016 campaign: They took unserious things seriously.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

One grocery store choice

To the Editor:

In regards to Marge Willson’s letter (Keizertimes, Oct. 30) about one grocery store in Keizer: she is very correct that Keizer needs another choice, especially one that is not way too expensive.

I urge everyone to go onto the Winco website and click on Contact Us and let them know we want them in Keizer.  I sent them an e-mail and was very encouraged with the response. The more folks do this the better chance we have.  We already go to the south Salem Winco to do most of our shopping.  I would also recommend doing the same thing if you would like to see a Costco at this end of town since the one and only in Salem is becoming a nightmare.

Michael Johnson
Keizer