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Day: January 1, 2016

2015: A year in Keizer sports

Ribbon cutting for the new turf field at McNary High School.
Ribbon cutting for the new turf field at McNary High School.

2015 was filled with ups and down for many McNary High School teams, but along the way a few rose to new peaks and a number of individual athletes made waves with top finishes in their sports of choice. Here is a round-up of some of the biggest stories of the year.

New turf at MHS

After months of work by volunteers and contractors alike, McNary High School unveiled its new turf field during the annual Blue Day celebration in August.

The process of installing the turf involved a three-month timetable that included excavating the old field, upgrading drainage systems, filling in with new foundation material, leveling it off, laying down new turf, stitching it together with a sewing gun, clipping out sections for logos and numbers, gluing the pre-made numerals and letters down, adding sand and plastic infill, and laying down asphalt on the areas the turf didn’t cover. Three large I-beams were also added to reposition the old scoreboard.

The project was paid for through about $500,000 in in-kind donations and another $500,000 in cash. The McNary Athletic Booster Club is still raising money to help cover expenses.

The new artificial turf field is expected to be able to handle tenfold the amount of traffic the old natural grass field could.

Boys ignite on hardwood

When it came to team sports at Keizer’s only high school there was no bigger story than the boys basketball team.

The year began with a spectacular 67-60 win over South Salem High School that put the Celtics at the top of the Greater Valley Conference. What followed were a number of close games and a rematch with the Saxons that ended in a loss for the Celtics. That loss meant sharing the GVC title with South, but it was the first time since 2009 the team reached such heights.

The boys barely beat Newberg High School in the first round of the playoffs and ended up succumbing to North Medford in the second round.

In the midst of their wild ride to the top, Celt Tregg Peterson, a senior, was named GVC Player of the Year while teammate Mathew Ismay, a sophomore at the time, picked up Defensive Player of the Year honors.

With the new season just getting underway, the Celts have already knocked off some big names in Oregon and Washington. To date, the only loss was dealt to the team by Central Catholic High School last week. All of it should leave the Keizer community with high hopes for what comes next.

Wolverines go undefeated

The Whiteaker Middle School heavyweight football team capped an undefeated romp over, around and through opponents with a win over cross-town rival Claggett Creek Middle School in November.

Under the wing of a new head coach, Tom Larimer, the team rebounded from several tough seasons to win most of its games by large margins.

Eleven of the team’s 25 players had never played foot- ball before and, coupled with a handful of seasoned athletes, turned in the performances of their young lives.

“Before the game (with Claggett Creek) I asked my kids if they cared enough about their teammates to give their very best on the biggest stage—and that’s exactly what they did,” said Larimer.

Parker out, Auvinen in

In early January, McNary’s head football coach, Isaac Parker, announced he would be leaving to take a new job with Lewis and Clark College.

Within a matter of days and a few brief conversations during McNary’s winter break, there was an offer to become the Pioneers’ new offensive coach and recruiter on the table and Parker had a day to accept or decline. Parker accepted.

On March 2, longtime McNary teacher and coach Jeff Auvinen was announced as the new leader of the program.

In his first year on the job, Auvinen’s Celtics finished fourth in the Greater Valley Conference. The team had its share of ups and downs along the way to an appearance in the playoffs. Unfortunately for McNary, the team drew the state’s defending champs and ended their season with a 42- 21 loss.

Venegas 2nd in state

When McNary senior Alvaro Venegas entered the state wrestling tournament he was the first seed in the 195-pound weight class and had only been beaten once the entire season.

Unfortunately, a state title wasn’t in the cards. He ended up losing in the final match of the tourney with a 3-2 decision.

Regardless of the outcome, Venegas had a storied history with the program, dropping more than 60 pounds since his freshman year en route to becoming a powerhouse in the sport. He even overcame a dislocated shoulder in the district tournament to win the title there.

What carried him through the ups and down was a deep respect for the sport and all those who put on the singlet.

“Anyone who wrestles … I don’t care if you win a single match, but if you can survive the wrestling room, the workouts, the cutting weight, the getting beat up, I have respect for you,” Venegas said.

Childress sisters 4th in doubles

Sibling rivalry can be a good thing, especially when the siblings in question are Sandy and Hannah Childress and the pair join forces on the tennis court.

The Childresses made it all the way to the semifinals of the state doubles tennis tournament and took fourth in the state.

Sandy and Hannah beat McMinnville (6- 3, 6-1) and went on to beat the No. 2-seeded team in the state with scores of 6-1 and 6-0, earning themselves a berth in the semifinals. The Lady Celts fell to a Jesuit High School team in the semis, and battled to three sets in the third place match before settling for fourth place.

While Sandy, a senior, is now off to greener pastures at California’s Sonoma State University, Hannah is expected to return this year for her sophomore season.

For both girls, getting to the highest ranks in the state had a cherry on top in terms of doing it together.

“We’ve played together since Hannah started and getting to be partners was really cool,” Sandy said.

Freshman wins 4 district swim titles

When it came to making waves in McNary swimming it was a freshman who led the pack.

Lady Celt Marissa Kuch exploded on the scene in a big way in 2015 by chasing school records. By the end of the season, Kuch earned two individual district titles in the 100 and 200 freestyle and was part of the relay teams that won the 200 and 400 races.

She capped her first year by finishing fifth in the state in the 100 freestyle.

Keizer’s top stories of 2015

Albertsons closed, reopened as a Haggen, then closed again in 2015, making it one of Keizer's top stories of the year. (KEIZERTIMES file/Craig Murphy)
Albertsons closed, reopened as a Haggen, then closed again in 2015, making it one of Keizer’s top stories of the year. (KEIZERTIMES file/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

When a city keeps getting new housing developments, apartments and senior living centers, it may seem logical to assume more core services would follow.

Such was not the case in Keizer in 2015.

As recently as mid-2012, Keizer had three grocery stores. Then Roth’s closed that year.

Albertsons closed this year, replaced by a Haggen. A few months later, Haggen closed as well, leaving just Safeway.

The stark contrast between Keizer being down to one grocery store and the new growth highlights the top stories of 2015.

Grocery store saga

The initial plan seemed ambitious. It proved to be an epic disaster.

In 2014, grocery store giants Safeway and Albertsons announced a merger. Both companies had a store in Keizer. As part of the merger agreement, the newly merged company had to sell off a number of stores.

Late in 2014, Washington-based retailer Haggen took advantage of the situation and went from 18 stores to 164 stores practically overnight. The ambitious plan for the regional chain included converting stores quickly – in 72 hours or less. Such was the case with the former Albertsons in Keizer, which became a Haggen in late April.

From the start, things didn’t go well. There were complaints that prices at Haggen stores – in Keizer and elsewhere – were higher than in other stores. There were grumbles that Haggen didn’t put in a full effort to renovating the stores it took over.

And then there were the ugly lawsuits. Haggen sued Albertsons and claimed, among other things, Albertsons didn’t fulfill its end of the deal. Albertsons sued Haggen.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Haggen soon declared bankruptcy and announced plans to close most of the stores it had recently purchased, including the Keizer location. The Keizer Haggen quietly closed in late September.

In the time since, the town has been abuzz with hopes and rumors of a new grocery store coming. A Keizertimes reader poll found the majority of respondents preferred having a WinCo come to town. A Facebook page was created and a number of e-mails were sent to company headquarters.

Nothing has been announced yet, but the entire saga was front page news throughout the year, with little signs of stopping in the new year.

Growth in Keizer

The most visible sign of growth in Keizer is taking shape on McLeod Lane. The newly expanded part off Chemawa Road, that is.

That’s where McLeod has been punched out to the east and foundations are being laid for both the 180-apartment complex by Mountain West Investment and the 154-unit senior living center by Bonaventure. The first buildings started going up within the last week.

Growth can also be seen on the north end of town, as a new senior living community is under construction and the Hawks Pointe Apartments are being added to.

In addition, several new housing developments have either been added or are being added. In the first half of 2015, there were 62 permits for single family residential units applied for. That included 18 on one day alone in June.

Another sign of growth is the roundabout being added at Chemawa and Verda Lane.

The project was supposed to be done this year, but got pushed back to next summer. Despite objections to the project, bids were opened in November.

November election: transit and KFD

Few would argue the Salem-Keizer area needs improved bus service, especially in terms of how long the buses should run and how many days a week. Thus, efforts by Salem Area Mass Transit District officials to run a ballot measure asking for more funding seemed logical.

One problem: the funding was being sought through a business payroll tax.The Salem and Keizer Chambers of Commerce joined forces in actively fighting against the tax, with businesspeople holding signs during busy traffic times and TV commercials being produced.

Freshman Keizer City Councilor Amy Ryan was one of the most vocal opponents and made a big scene at a work session when transit officials tried to explain the financial aspects of future plans.

In the end, the transit measure failed. District officials have indicated it could be several years before another ballot measure is brought forward.

A Keizer Fire District proposal for a new equipment bond, on the other hand, created far less controversy and was approved. Equipment will be purchased over the next 20 years, starting with an ambulance to replace one purchased in 2008 that fire chief Jeff Cow- an has referred to as a lemon.

Chamber director stepping down

Christine Dieker, the longtime executive director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, submitted her resignation in early December. Dieker has been in charge of the chamber since March 1998, aside from a few turbulent months when she was removed in 2003.

Dieker did not say she’s retiring, instead calling it “semi-retiring” and looking forward to spending more time with family, in particular her grandchildren.

Dieker said she’ll stay on board until a new director is named, with the hope being such a person could be named on Feb. 3.

“Right now my family comes first,” she told the Keizertimes in December. “I want to be a grandma and volunteer at the first grade class my grandchild will be in. (Resigning) was about a desire to be more focused, to give attention to myself to be a better person health wise, and I’ll be better for my family too.”

Big Toy built, highlights changes at KRP

There were plenty of obstacles to overcome, not the least of which were the nine month delay, a location change and a lack of volunteers. Even the build itself took a week longer than expected.

But in the end the key thing was the Big Toy play structure was built in June at Keizer Rapids Park, with community volunteers coming out each day to get the job done.

The large play structure was originally going to be built in September 2014, but former mayor Lore Christopher insisted a new location was needed. Her wish was granted, but the move required an update to the park’s master plan and borders, a process that took many months and cooperation from surrounding governmental entities.

While that work resulted in the play structure, it also laid out more specific future plans for the park, to include playing fields and an indoor sports facility down the road.

The Big Toy wasn’t the only visible change at KRP in 2015. Hans Schneider oversaw the installation of three new sand volleyball courts, while Jerry Nuttbrock was in charge of a new patio project at the amphitheatre. That project has several more phases to go, while a group is meeting to discuss what should be done with the adjacent Charge house.

MHS gets turf field

While work was going on at KRP, plenty of work was also being done at McNary High School as a new turf field project was installed over the summer.

The new field was officially dedicated during the annual Blue Day celebration in August and marked the next-to-last high school in the Salem-Keizer School District to get a turf field. The project cost about $1 million.

A key selling point of the turf was increased usage of Flesher Field. It was estimated turf would mean the field could be used 10 times as much compared to the old grass surface.

Much of the project work involved raising funds. The actual physical work began with taking off the grass surface in June, followed by installation of the turf.

Brett Pearson, friend plead guilty

Brett Pearson pleaded guilty in March to the murder of his mother Michelle and attempted murder of his father Bill at the family home. In September, Brett and accomplice Robert Miller III were each sentenced to 40 years to life in prison for their actions. The charges mean the two teenagers won’t be eligible for parole until after 40 years behind bars.

Brett Pearson and Miller both acknowledged being high on drugs when they entered the Pearson family home on March 5, 2014. During Brett’s sentencing, family members expressed anger about the impact of the events, while also expressing compassion and forgiveness.

For his part, Brett Pearson accepted responsibility.

“I am sorry for everything that happened, the pain I caused, what I put people through,” he said. “My family has to live with something they shouldn’t have to. I was intoxicated, yes, but that’s no excuse at all. I take responsibility for what I’ve done. I’m not the person this crime makes me seem to be. I love my mom and miss her very much.”

New mayor; new councilors as well

It was a case of mostly old faces in new places in January as the Keizer City Council got a new look. Cathy Clark moved from being a councilor to taking over as mayor from Christopher, who had served in that role for 14 years.

Former councilor Brandon Smith returned to the dais, while former longtime city employee Roland Herrera joined the council for the first time. Ryan joined the council as well, after years of volunteering in various capacities.

Christopher is no longer mayor, but is chairing the Keizer Public Arts Commission, which is working on a public mural to be done at Town & Country Lanes this year. Joe Egli and Jim Taylor left elected office, though Taylor was recently appointed to the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. Egli served as chair of the Keizer Iris Festival for two years, a position he has handed over to Dave Walery.

Heated races for fire board, more

There was plenty of interest in the spring as several seats for the Keizer Fire District, Salem-Keizer School Board and Salem-KeizerTransit District were contested.

Chet Patterson defeated Marion County Fire District No. 1 employee James Mulhern for a spot on the KFD board of directors. In the other KFD race, Betty Hart beat Taylor for the position.

In the school board race, Chuck Lee won his third term by easily beating challenger Tim Moles, who had earlier come clean after previous legal issues.

Meanwhile, Colleen Busch defeated Richard Stevenson in the battle to replace Brad Coy on the transit board. Coy has since moved back to Alaska.

Keizer teen recovers from coma

MHS junior Austin Verboort, 16, was critically injured when he was in an accident just after leaving the school for the Memorial Day weekend. He lay in a coma for several weeks but was home by the end of summer.

While Verboort was in the hospital, the community rallied around the family. For example, on June 3 the Keizer Dutch Bros. Coffee had a one-day fundraiser and brought in $20,900. A gofundme.com account raised nearly $25,000.

Though slowed by injuries, Verboort returned to school in the fall and was even elected to the MHS Homecoming court.

Betty Phyllis McCullough

Betty Phyllis McCullough left her family and friends on Christmas Eve at age 86, to live in her new heavenly home.

Betty was born in Portland to Joseph and Alta Jacques. After marrying Gilbert (Gib) McCullough on June 25, 1949, she made her home in Clear Lake (Keizer) for 65 years, raising two children in the house Gib built.

A lifelong Oregonian, she enjoyed reading, camping, gardening, playing cards and bingo.

Betty was a member of the Open Gate Nazarene Church in Keizer.

Survivors include her two children: Sandra McCullough-Jones (Barbara) and Larry McCullough (Sandra); brother Keith Jacques (Barbara); grandchildren Chrissy Long (Marci Clare), Vincent Long, Heather McCullough-Dunn (Ryan), Brandon McCullough (Mollie); Jessica Notebaart (Ross); great-grandchildren Mason and Tanner Dunn, Baby Notebaart on-the-way; and numerous nieces, nephews, in-laws and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Gib.

Graveside service was scheduled for Dec. 31 at Claggett Cemetery in Keizer, under the direction of Keizer Funeral Chapel.

Marketplace will decide wages

Increasing the minimum wage and income inequality will continue to dominate the news in 2016. It is expected that income inequality will take center stage during the presidential nominating and general election campaigns.

Income inequality is not something that will be corrected by protests in the street; it would take systemic changes in tax laws, lobbying rules and reforms of campaign finance laws.

Increasing the minimum wage can be accomplished at the ballot box. Voters sympathetic to workers’ demands for a higher wage are not necessarily the people who would benefit. Oregon has one of the highest minimum wages at $9.25 (the federal minimum is $7.25); a measure in the 2016 general election would call for an increase in our state’s minimum to $15 by 2019 and annual increases after that.

Businesses say that an increase will force them to raise prices; some businesses say a wage increase will cause them to cut jobs. An increase in payroll also increases a businesses’ tax bill as well as increased contributions to Medicare and Social Security. Business has always passed on its increased expenses to its customers, a wage increase would be no different.

Reasonable people would not begrudge a fellow citizen from earning a life-sustaining wage. The debate will come down to what a living wage is. A post-high school teenager earning $9.25 an hour might be quite satisifed with the wage, even working part-time. A single mother of two would probably not be satisfied with that wage especially if child care is part of her weekly expenses.

A household earning less than $15,000 per year is eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. An eventual increase of the minimum wage to $15 would make many workers ineligible for SNAP.  Unless the eligibility ceiling is increased along with the minimum wage, in which case nothing would change. In that scenario the minimum wage sought would continue to climb.

The marketplace will have to decide what the minimum should be. But business should take a lesson from Henry Ford. The car manufacturer understood that thousands of his employees would be able to buy one of the cars they built if they were paid better.

Depressing wages while stockpiling cash at the top is a recipe for more than discontent; it’s a recipe for a shattered society in which everyone fights to grab their share of the economic pie. Capitalism has its winners and its losers. Once, hard work and perservence were enough to lift a person out of poverty, now that path to success is much harder—and some would say obstructed.

Financial success is available to anyone who will work smarter, harder and not feel entitled to success just because they want it. Success is seldom an overnight thing. In a world where instant gratification is the desire, success will come to those who know nothing comes easy or free.

Political and business leaders should applaud those who strive to reach the next rung. The public should demand,though, that they not put a foot on the fingers grasping for the next level.

  —LAZ

Paint part of the mural

To the Editor:

The Keizer  Mural, located on the long exterior wall of Town and Country Lanes,  is developing with great community input and involvement.  A number of local people are designing the individual images and will soon create a collage with the  numerous elements of the Keizer Iris Parade.

Keizer Public  Arts  Commission (KPAC) and Keizer Arts Association(KAA) will soon be sending out a ‘call to artists,’ asking for submissions of  portrait  portfolio work. This’ heads up’ is an opportunity to develop a few representative  pieces of portrait  work for the  paid commissioned  faces that will be a part of the mural. Details will  be explained in the actual call to artist announcement.   Final selections will be done by the KAA board.

  If anyone is interested in joining the community mural effort, please attend the next meeting, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 6, at the Keizer Civic Center.  At this meeting Barbara Hunter, a local artist,  will offer  a short presentation on  impressionistic techniques that will be used in the making of the  mural. There will be several mural-related presentations over the next few months. Experience or none, professional or amateur, young or old, all are welcome and we will have  jobs and tasks for  most  everyone. Please, come join the effort,  contribute and be a part of the growing expressions of Keizer  art. We have a number of  images just waiting to be claimed and developed. Come to the meeting and claim your image of choice  to develop.  No experience necessary.  We will help you if you ask.

Jill Hagen
Mural project manager

Gesture brings smile to my face

To the Editor:

One afternoon in the the summer of 2013, I had a very brief exchange with someone whose name I still don’t know, but I think about him often and would love to thank him for brightening my day with his inspiring attitude.

I had just entered the Keizer Civic Center and was headed toward City Hall when I heard steps behind me. I looked and noticed that an older man was hurrying to get ahead of me. He opened the door and stood there holding it for me as I passed through. I thought “Wow, that’s chivalry!” and I thanked him for the gesture. He smiled and shrugged a little and said “My wife is watching me from above.” As soon as he was gone, I turned into a mess of tears, admiring this man for honoring his wife in such a lovely way. Wherever he is today, I hope he is still smiling at her memory and doing little things to make her proud.

Dorothy Diehl
Aumsville

Bernie Sander’s lessons for capitalists

By E.J. DIONNE JR.

There is an irony to the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders: The senator from Vermont is often cast as exotic because he calls himself a “democratic socialist.” Yet the most important issue in politics throughout the Western democracies is whether the economic and social world that social democrats built can survive the coming decades.

Let’s deal first with the tyranny of labels. “Socialist” has long been an unacceptable word in the United States, yet our country once had a vibrant socialist movement, whose history has been well recounted by John Nichols and James Weinstein. Socialists had a major impact on the mainstream conversation. Reforming liberals, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, co-opted many of their best ideas, and it’s one reason they were marginalized.

Moreover, the vast majority of “democratic socialists” are now properly described more modestly as “social democrats” because most on the left believe in a successful private sector. But they also favor a government that achieves broad public objectives, from a clean environment to wide access to education, and regulates and redistributes in ways that strengthen the bargaining power of those who don’t own much capital.

When Sanders defined his own brand of socialism earlier this year in a speech at Georgetown, he made clear he’s in this camp. “The next time you hear me attacked as a socialist, remember this,” he said, “I don’t believe government should own the means of production, but I do believe that the middle class and the working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a fair deal.”

Honestly, Bernie, you’re really a social democrat.

But there is great honor in this. The bargain between government and the market that allowed the United States and the other Western democracies to share growing prosperity from the end of World War II until recent years was essentially a social democratic achievement.

As the economist J. Bradford DeLong argued in a recent essay on Talking Points Memo, these economies were “relatively egalitarian places when viewed in historical perspective (for native-born white guys, at least).” The chance to influence politics was “widely distributed throughout the population” while “the claims of wealth to drive political directions” were “kept within bounds.”

Yet the headline on DeLong’s piece, The Melting Away of North Atlantic Social Democracy,  raises the question we need to debate far more explicitly in the presidential campaign: Was the great social democratic experiment an aberration in history? Are all the wealthy societies destined to become far more unequal, as they were in the late 19th century, because of globalization and technological change? Or can governments find new ways of ensuring a degree of justice and fairness?

These questions have absorbed my former colleague Steven Weisman of the Peterson Institute for International Economics for some years now. His new book, The Great Tradeoff: Controlling Moral Conflicts in the Era of Globalization, provides an excellent text for the discussion we need. Weisman painstakingly avoids dogmatism and is careful in laying out the often agonizing choices we face.

For example: Globalization has “elevated the living standards of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people worldwide” but also “has helped suppress the incomes of low-skilled middle-class workers in rich countries.” Where do our loyalties lie? How do we balance obligations to our fellow citizens in the communities and countries in which we live against the interests of those far away? And how do the vast disparities of wealth the system creates constrain the very process of democratic deliberation over what to do about it?

Weisman is more sympathetic to globalization than are many on the left, and I’m more drawn to its critics than he is. Still, Weisman does not let advocates of the market off the hook. Defending the achievements of globalization, he argues, requires facing up to its costs.

“The global economic system,” he writes, “should be one in which opportunities are more equal, the distribution of rewards is fairer, and the preservation of communities is more respected.”

How to achieve these goals is what politics needs to be about. The presidential campaign would be more edifying (and more relevant to the problems so many American face) if it focused directly on the need to renegotiate a social contract that once provided broadly inclusive prosperity but is now in grave jeopardy.

You don’t need to be a democratic socialist to believe this. On the contrary, the survival of democratic capitalism depends upon facing the difficulties the system is having in delivering on the promises it was once able to keep.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

Want an outsider for president? Consider Musk

It is reported and polls show many Americans want a person elected president who’s not a politician. Not someone who’s a member of the so-called “establishment” or those folks who year-after-year make certain one of their favorite cronies is elected to the highest political office in the land.

I join those who want an outsider elected to lead my nation and will, as I’ve hoped for all the years I have been an adult and paid taxes, work for all Americans not just a chosen few as I feel the case is now, not only in D.C. but in Salem, too, clamoring, often successfully, according to media stories, for favors with every new governor.  At the national level, I want a person not now running, Elon Musk, while at the state level, a person who gets things done and create enthusiasm for all things Oregon, such as Oswald West and Tom McCall did.

Musk, born in 1971, is a guy who proved himself early in his life and has continued to prove himself more than many who want to hold the reins of government but offer nothing impressive beyond a glib tongue.  Unfortunate to my dream is that Musk was born in South Africa and the U.S. Constitution demands that the occupant of the White House must be born in the U.S. In Musk’s case, an exception to the U.S. Constitution, Article 2, Clause (5) would have to be made.

Musk’s story reveals that he was a mover and shaker from his earliest years, having made his first software sale in a game titled Blaster when he was 12.  He moved around a lot in acquiring his formal education, including  stops in Canada and the U.S.  His last higher education stop was Stanford where he sought a Ph.D. in energy physics but dropped out to found his first company, Zip2 Corporation.  Zip2 was successful enough to be bought by Compaq Computer Corporation in 1999 for $307 million and $34 million in stock options.  Further, he built a company that later became PayPal which was later sold to eBay for $1.5 billion in stock of which Musk owned 11 percent.

Moving quickly in the world of business building and high finance, he founded Space Technologies Corporation or SpaceX intending to build spacecraft for commercial space travel.  SpaceX got into a NASA contract in 2002 to handle cargo for the International Space Station.  Last week, SpaceX received more fame for building a reusable rocket 229.6 feet tall (an American standard football playing field is 300 feet long) that delivered a payload into orbit and then landed by remote control back on earth and can be used again.

Another Musk venture is Tesla Motors that’s dedicated to manufacturing electric cars.  Five years after the company got underway it produced a sports car.  Since its first auto in 2008, there have followed  a sedan and, more recently, in 2015, an SUV.  Musk’s Tesla has also been helped by its relationship with Daimler and Toyota.  This new auto maker launched its initial public offering in 2010, raising $226 million.

The Hyperloop by Musk is his concept for a new form of transportation. When made real it will dramatically shorten commuting time between cities. Resistant to weather and powered by renewable energy, the Hyperloop will propel riders in pods through a network of low-pressure tubes at speeds of more than 700 miles per hour.  It’s guesstimated at seven to 10 years to build.  With all that he proposed or built, he seeks through competitions for help from individuals, teams of persons and other corporations.

Speculation here believes there’s much more that Musk has in his head to create in addition to the other projects he’s already brought to fruition.  He’s said he loves the U.S. and believes this nation to be the best anywhere, at any time.  He’s been married twice, with a first wife who’s reported to  have said nothing negative about him; he is currently married to his second wife.  He offers, as an American citizen, a near perfect personal record, solid as granite and is a renowned problem-solver who moves like a clipper ship in his business endeavors.  He’s also a person who can unite people in common causes that serve all humankind and can ultimately improve life throughout the world.  He would make, in the estimation of this fellow citizen, an outstanding president if only he could run for the office.

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