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Day: March 11, 2016

Keizer, close down these parks!

Eamon Bishop spoke to the Keizer Parks Board Tuesday. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Eamon Bishop spoke to the Keizer Parks Board Tuesday. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Keizer has its own version of Ralph Nader.

Nader was a safety advocate who gained national fame in the 1960s with his book Unsafe at Any Speed, declaring the Chevrolet Corvair was dangerous.

Eamon Bishop did his best Nader impression at Tuesday’s Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting in declaring that seven Keizer parks must be closed immediately due to safety hazards.

Keizer has 19 parks, but Bishop only called for the closure of seven because those are the only ones he has inspected so far.

“Can the parks stay open?” Bishop asked rhetorically. “Look at the laws of liability. You can’t let someone play until they are fixed, now that you know about it. There are some missing fasteners and improper fasteners. There are strangulation hazards. There’s a drowning hazard at Bob Newton Park, with slides out of alignment. It takes only one inch of water to drown a child in the standing rain. We need to close the parks until these things are fixed.”

Bishop said his research started when he took offense to Parks Board member Richard Walsh’s recent comments in the Keizertimes about neighborhood parks not being used as much in Keizer anymore. Bishop went to his neighborhood park – Bob Newton Park – and started exploring.

“It had conditions that looked to me to be significant safety hazards,” Bishop said. “So I went online and grabbed a copy of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Public Playground Safety Handbook and took inventory of what I saw. And then I went through the CPSC handbook and confirmed that a number of conditions existing in the park were indeed defined as hazards, each of those being classified as conditions that could contribute to physical injury or death.”

Bishop said he found CPSC issues in each park and made a list of the issues.

For example, at Bob Newton Park, he found issues like chipped and flaking paint that he commercially tested to have lead content, drowning hazard, corroded parts, no Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access and a public health hazard due to no sanitary restroom.

He found items like laceration hazards and missing or loose fasteners multiple times, as well as pinching or crushing hazards. At Claggett Creek Park alone he found entrapment, laceration, extreme fall, impalement, tripping, strangling, pinching/crushing, climbing, drowning and overhead hazards. He also found an issue at the Big Toy play structure at KRP, with unprotected climbing conditions on the fire truck.

To test the paint at various places, Bishop said he used test kits.

Bishop, a retired police officer who noted he used to do construction work, opined the city should not submit a grant request for the next phase of the Big Toy and instead apply for a grant to be used for park renovations and repairs.

“You do good work and I appreciate all the work you do,” Bishop told Parks Board members. “Even you Mr. Walsh, though I think you are narrow minded.”

Dylan Juran checked to make sure he understood Bishop correctly.

“So all seven of these should be closed immediately, with caution tape and chains that say they are closed?” Juran asked.

“Yes,” Bishop replied.

“And we should immediately hire professionals and specialists to study all the parks, then post all the problems on our website?” Juran further asked.

“Yes,” Bishop again replied.

“And we should cease getting any grants and divert efforts to repairs, instead of capital improvements?” Juran asked.

“Yes,” Bishop said.

J.T. Hager had a question for Bishop.

“What is your background?” Hager asked. “How did you come up with this?”

“I’m a retired police officer and firefighter,” Bishop said.

Hager appreciated the information, but didn’t know what the next step should be.

“I think there are some things we have to study and research,” Hager said. “It’s a little strong at this point to ask us to shut down a whole bunch of parks. That (repair work) would also cost money. We’ve never had close to enough to do maintenance. You’re saying we have to cough up a whole bunch of money. I’m a little concerned that you’re making a pretty strong request, but I do appreciate the concern.”

Bishop acknowledged the lack of funds, but emphasized the need to get grants for repairs.

“If you know where grants are available and can help us write grants, we would appreciate it,” Hager said.

Bishop said he’s “written too many grants” to want to help out, but said the same program the city is applying for with the Big Toy grant would have money for repairs.

Walsh, a Parks Board member as well as an attorney, said the information should be referred to city attorney Shannon Johnson.

“It’s a little overwhelming,” Walsh said. “I don’t know if it’s illegal having a two-inch puddle and if that needs police tape.”

Walsh noted much of the parks money comes from the general fund, but the largest percentage of that fund goes to the police department.

“We would have to take from police officers,” Walsh said. “How many police officers do we have to let go to pay for this?”

Bishop said part of his reason for looking into things is KRP.

“I’ve never been wanting to spend as much as we have at KRP,” he said. “Then we want to spend $1 million on this next Big Toy phase. We’re liable for all of the parks.”

Scott Klug found that background strange.

“It seems to me that you might be going about stopping money going to Keizer Rapids in an odd way,” Klug said. “That money comes from a different source than you want, a different grant. You’re saying it’s the same pool of money?”

“I assume it is the same pool of money,” Bishop replied.

“So it’s your assuming,” Klug said.

Hager suggested Bishop should help find a solution.

“You’re saying have perfect parks or don’t have them,” Hager said. “You bring the money in. I’ve got the suitcases; you bring the money in.”

Clint Holland said parks supporters need to plead their case to the budget committee in the spring.

“Eventually something is going to happen and we’re really going to pay for it,” Holland said. “We really need to show how underfunded we are. It’s time we look at the main problem. We need to make sure we have the money so kids are safe in any park we have.”

Thomas Dale Jeffries

T. Jeffries
T. Jeffries

Thomas Dale Jeffries was born in Salem, Oregon on December 10, 1936 to Dale Jeffries and Dorothy (Judson) Jeffries. Tom attended Auburn Elementary, Leslie Junior High, and South Salem High Schools. Tom was a shy, reserved child, but excelled in school. He was chosen for the National Honor Society his senior year in high school (1955).

Tom’s lifelong love of music started at an early age. While in grade school he learned to play the accordion, performing in a group and solo (and was once broadcast on the radio). Choir class was always his favorite in school, with shop class a close second.

During Tom’s senior year he was invited to sing in a choir of the new Methodist Church in the Four Corners area of Salem; that was where he met the love of his life, Dena (Kleen). They dated for several years while Tom attended OSC (Oregon State) for a year and joined the National Guard, and Dena studied and graduated from OCE (Western Oregon). Tom and Dena were married in 1959.

Tom worked part-time and summers during high school at Judson’s. In June 1956 he became a full-time employee. At Judson’s, he started by working in the warehouse, earning his plumbing license, becoming a plumbing estimator, and finally becoming an owner.  Tom continued to work at Judson’s until his retirement in 2010.

Tom was talented at many things and had many interests. He liked to draw and paint, build miniature bird houses, golf, fish, and of course sing. Tom sang in the choir at Trinity United Methodist where he was a member. Tom also sang in the Just For Fun Singers and The Noteables singing groups.

Tom and Dena were married for 45 years until Dena’s passing in 2004. They were always proud of their three children:  Mark Jeffries, Brian Jeffries, and Susan Harris. They also were blessed with two awesome grandsons, Rennick Clark Jeffries and Adam Beringer Jeffries.

In the summer of 2007, Tom heard a voice in his heart say, “Call Ann Albritton…”, which he did.  After many dinner dates and hours of talking, he realized he was being blessed with two loves in his life.  Tom and Ann were married in 2008 and they called their lives together an “adventure of a lifetime.” They loved doing everything together: singing, talking, going for rides, playing pinochle, enjoying nature, walking on the beach, and watching old movies, especially musicals.

Tom Jeffries passed from this life on Saturday, February 20, 2016 at the age of 79.  He is survived by his wife Ann; his children Mark Jeffries (spouse Chris Beringer) of Sherwood, Brian Jeffries (spouse Deborah) of Keizer, and Susan Harris (spouse Dennis) of Milwaukie; his two grandsons Rennick and Adam; his sister Marilyn Thompson (spouse Don) of Bend; his step-brothers Art Hearing of Medford and Jerry Hearing of LaPine; his step-sons Todd Todane (spouse Andrea) of Hawaii, and J. Scott Albritton of Salem; and many, many friends.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 12th at 2 p.m. at the Trinity United Methodist Church, 590 Elma Avenue SE, Salem OR. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Just For Fun Singers (scholarship fund) at R. Hohnbaum, 6916 Wheatland Lane N., Keizer OR 97303. Assisting the family is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.

The GOP vulgarians

By E.J. DIONNE JR.

It was William Bennett, education secretary in the Reagan years and the Republican Party’s premier moralist, who embedded a phrase in the American consciousness when he bemoaned the fact that “our elites presided over an unprecedented coarsening of our culture.”

Well, to borrow another famous phrase, it is Bennett’s party and two of its presidential candidates in particular, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, who are merrily defining our politics, our discourse and the American presidency down. The 2016 Republican primary campaign is now on track to be the crudest, most vulgar and most thoroughly disgusting contest in our nation’s history.

A policy wonk who has spent nearly two decades in politics was watching last Thursday’s GOP debate with his two teenage daughters and was horrified when one turned to him and asked: “Is this what you do?” The dad, who didn’t want to be named because he didn’t want to embarrass his daughters, said their acquaintances had higher standards than the debaters: “They would be humiliated if their friends talked to them that way.”

Call me old-fashioned or even a prig, but I have a rather elevated view of what politics can be and what it can achieve. For decades, in good political moments and bad, I have repaired for inspiration and comfort to the political philosopher Michael Sandel’s description of politics at its best. “When politics goes well,” he wrote, “we can know a good in common that we cannot know alone.”

In the GOP right now, it’s not going well.

You can place a lot of the responsibility for all this on Trump and, yes, the media. As I was writing this, MSNBC (for which I’ve worked over the years) and CNN were simultaneously broadcasting live the same Trump speech. Welcome to Trump State Television. Broadcasters have reveled in the ratings to be gained from airing Trump’s stream-of-consciousness (if politically effective) rants, and the coarser the better.

We might let the blame settle there, except that Marco Rubio got frustrated. The man the party’s leaders keep saying is the real challenger to Trump despite his early difficulties in winning actual contents decided that to beat Trump, he had to join him.

Thus began his own rants that reached a low point when he declared of Trump during a rally last month in Virginia: “I don’t understand why his hands are the size of someone who’s 5-2. Have you seen his hands? They’re like this.” Here, Rubio held his thumb and fingers closely together to depict something very small indeed. He added: “And you know what they say about men with small hands.”

My naivete extends to the fact that I did not know that small hands are often equated to diminutive endowments elsewhere. But Trump, obviously more worldly than I, went all defensive at the debate, held out his arms and declared: “Look at those hands, are they small hands? And he referred to my hands — ‘if they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.”

Now we know.

Then there was Trump’s response earlier in the day to the attack on him by Mitt Romney. Trump had a point that Romney was happy to seek his endorsement in 2012 (and to ignore Trump’s birtherism and his other racially and religiously tinged comments about President Obama). But here is how Trump put the matter: “He was begging for my endorsement. I could have said, ‘Mitt, drop to your knees.’ He would have dropped to his knees.”

We expect Trump to be loutish. Worse is Rubio’s refusal to take responsibility for the course he has chosen. Explaining that he would truly prefer to be talking about issues, Rubio went for the-devil-made-me-do-it defense. “But let’s be honest too about all this,” he explained. “The media has given these personal attacks that Donald Trump has made an incredible amount of coverage.”

Yes, let’s be honest: He’s right about the media, but since when is it credible, responsible or, for that matter, conservative to blame someone else for what comes out of your own mouth?

By comparison, John Kasich and Ted Cruz are looking almost as issue-oriented and responsible as, well, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. But the whole Republican race is now a moral and electoral wreck, a state of affairs that one conservative after another mourned during and after Thursday’s encounter.

For decades, conservatives have done a great business assailing liberals for promoting cultural decay. Sorry, guys, but in this campaign, you have kicked away the franchise.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

The effect of Trump on Republicans

What kind of Republicans are in Keizer? There could be Trump Republicans, Cruz Republicans, or Rubio Republicans. Maybe Keizer leans more to Reagan Republicans, or Hatfield, McCall and Packwood Republicans.

If you live in Keizer your interests in both the Oregon Senate and House of Representatives are championed by a Republican.  Both Bill Post and Kim Thatcher seem too decent and true to be Trump Republicans.  I hope that is the case.

There was news of a small riot near Disneyland in Anaheim last week in one of those little wire service stories tacked on to the end of longer stories to fill the needed column inches.  Six Klu Klux Klan members showed up in a black SUV for their advertised rally carrying “white lives matter” signs. Protestors protested and windows were shattered. The black SUV quickly retreated, leaving three unlucky KKK members stranded to fend for themselves. Luckily there was a metallic American Eagle on the end of their flagpole with which they were able to stab several of the counter-protestors in “self-defense.” Counter-protestors were then seen stomping two of the KKK members.  If we leave out the use of the flagpole as weapon, this is a good representation of the current state of political discourse in our country.

Republican “debates” featuring language, lies, uncontrolled temper, and rudeness that you wouldn’t allow from your children or in a high school debate are now becoming the normal tenor of the party and degrading all of American politics.  Regardless of the vile accusations they have leveled at each other they’ve all pledged to support the last candidate standing.  Now that’s integrity.

Stephen King, a horror expert, has this tweet attributed to him: “Conservatives who for eight years sowed the dragon’s teeth of partisan politics are horrified to discover they have grown an actual dragon.”

Congressional Republicans have been content to keep their hands clean by letting Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, and even Fox News inflame their base and corral voters. Now Donald Trump is the found voice of that anger and old line Republicans are panicked at their loss of control.  There is a desperate “Anyone but Trump” scramble threatening to split the GOP, driven by a very reasonable embarrassment at having Donald Trump be the face of the party.

Trump seems excused from any standards of decency, honesty, or civility. No candidate has ever before boasted about his private parts.  There were no Muslim throngs celebrating 9/11 in New Jersey.  His black-on-white crime claims are completely wrong. Mexico will never build and pay for a big wall on the border.  Mexican immigrants are not rapists and thugs.  If he “brings back” all those jobs lost to countries with cheaper labor you should prepare to spend more for electronics and manufactured goods. If we had been willing to pay that price, those jobs would never have left.

Does the political divide in Keizer have to look like this?  I am at ease being represented by Sen. Thatcher and Rep. Post even though I’m a wild-eyed liberal.  If they share Donald Trump’s agenda then I’ll actively work against them. Even if Trump loses, and he must, he will still have some supporters in this community.  I’m not sure if compromise is possible with these true believers, or if there is reason to attempt it.

(Don Vowell gets on his soapbox regularly in the Keizertimes.)

Other people help to make us a success

Lately, I’ve been writing around on this opinion page, screaming the equivalent of “The British are coming!” It’s time to take a break from such mental meanderings and talk about a topic that’s much more calming.

This topic has to do with a Harvard research discovery about the one thing most everyone needs to lead a happier, healthier life.  The journalist writing on what was found is Colby Itkowitz of The Washington Post.

Itowitz begins by commenting on what her grandmother passed along to her about a visit to her doctor where she moved her large purse out of the way, remarking how heavy it was.  “You must be very rich,” the doctor is reported to have said.  She replied “Yes, I am.”  Yet, says Itowitz, his grandparents lived modestly in a two-bedroom rowhouse they moved into after he returned from WWII and raised a family there.  We’re told they did not eat lavishly, travel widely or shop at the finest department stores. Neither had followed their dream careers. Nevertheless, grandmother considered herself rich because she had a husband, children and grandchildren, all of whom she valued and adored.

Conclusion: grandma knew what Harvard researchers have confirmed: Relationships are the key to a happy life.  The Harvard reference has to do with a 75-year-long Grant Study that, more recently, the fourth person to run it, Robert Waldinger, a Harvard psychiatrist, decided to publish the findings that the federal government has spent millions of dollars to fund, starting in 1938 and following the lives of Harvard University men, because he realized that most Americans want to know what constitutes a good life.

Among those chosen were John F. Kennedy and Ben Bradlee and every aspect of their lives and the others in the study was tracked.  This study was teamed with a similar one that had been following a group of young men from inner-city tenements since the 1940s.  This teamwork effort allowed them to contrast social status and upbringings, although otherwise, everyone in the study is a white male.

The men’s physical and emotional well-being and genetic testing were periodically assessed. Many conclusions have been reached from studying their lives. Yet, Waldinger and his associates were able to realize a unanimous verdict: The happiest and healthiest participants in both groups were those who kept close, spiritually intimate relationships. Eventually, marital partners got involved so the impact of marriages on physical health was included and the finding was that those satisfied in their relationships were happier and healthier.

Waldinger commented from the decades-long study that “People who are more isolated than they want to be from others find that they are less happy, their health declines earlier, their brain functioning declines sooner and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely.”  Further, “good, close relationships seem to buffer us from some of the slings and arrows of getting old.”  Wealth, fame, career and success don’t bring health or happiness but it’s the work they put into maintaining people connections with other persons.

Looking into the lives of the men in the two studies has inspired Waldinger to make changes from near exclusive attention to his research and publishing to more emphasis on his role as a teacher: the connection between mentor and student that has been found for him to be more satisfying.  He’s also has done more about reaching out to friends who are sick or are struggling.  Relationships are messy and complicated, he says, and require tending to but the effort is highly rewarding to the giver.

The bottom line is that devoting as much time as possible to family, friends and even strangers is the best way to establish and maintain one’s health.  It may be bold and reckless to take time away from one’s business matters and tangible rewards may not always be realized as quickly as one would hope but the real advantages to operating this way, while subtle and hidden, are internally enhancing and the most direct path to health and happiness..

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

$10K approved for one KLL field

Chris Argue (second from left) and Tony Cuff (second from right) brought forward a proposal for Keizer Little League Park this week. (KEIZERTIMES/File Photo)
Chris Argue (second from left) and Tony Cuff (second from right) brought forward a proposal for Keizer Little League Park this week. (KEIZERTIMES/File Photo)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

For the record, the three dissenting votes in no way indicated dissatisfaction with the project.

Members of the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board on Tuesday approved a request to use up the remaining $10,000 in matching grant funds to help pay for the redoing of Field 3 at Keizer Little League Park.

The vote of approval was 6-3. The three members voting against the motion made it clear their only reservation was not having money left for other groups who might request funding by the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

Chris Argue and Tony Cuff, who have been putting plans together to redo one field each year at KLL Park (see the Feb. 19 issue for more details), presented their plans to do nearly $100,000 in renovations this year on Field 3. Other fields will be redone in subsequent years, one a year. The hope is new fields will draw in tournaments, with money from that helping to pay for future work.

“We’re trying to take one field per year, bring it up to modern specifications so we can eventually bring tournaments to the park and bring revenue back to the program,” Cuff said. “We can’t generate any more revenue because the fields are on a little bit of the downside. It can’t compete with newer facilities to bring in revenue.”

Cuff, a grass farmer from Woodburn, said safety is a key concern with current field conditions.

“I coach Little League and I’m trying to teach (the players) to stay in front of the ball,” Cuff said. “The ball is jumping 18 inches to the side. That’s how bad this current sod is. I believe it’s been there since the late 1980s or early 1990s. It’s a dangerous situation. That’s why I’m coming to you for help at least with the playing surface.”

According to Cuff’s application, the total project cost would be $99,234. That includes $32,100 for a complete sod infield, $36,000 for fencing and $23,729 for three new cement dugouts. Cuff said after the meeting volunteers started laying down sod last weekend, with parishioners at the Keizer Church of Christ next door pitching in to help as well. The rest of the sod is expected to be laid down this Friday and Saturday.

Once the sod is down, the field couldn’t be used for four weeks, which means no games on the field until April 9. More of the work would be done once the little league season is over in mid-June.

Argue noted more than 40 volunteers were on hand last week after seeing the recent Keizertimes article.

“How many other parks can generate that interest around town?” Argue said. “That’s the level of what that park is.”

Parks Board member Dylan Juran started off the money questions.

“The number you have written adds up to almost $100,000,” Juran said. “You’re asking for $10,000. You’re expecting every year to spend approximately $100,000?”

Argue noted some fields are better off than others, while Cuff believes initial success will lead to more.

“It will be a wave effect,” Cuff said. “Once we start going, we will get more volunteers. There’s plenty of support here in Keizer. There’s a lot of support out there we haven’t reached yet. Our goal is to bring the fields up so we can bring in tournaments.”

J.T. Hager liked the plan, but had some questions.

“When you put this money into this field, when does this field need help again?” Hager asked.

Cuff feels the field will last a long time as long as proper maintenance is done. On paper, Argue said the field should last 40 years.

“We want to be the shining star” for little league baseball in the area, Argue said.

Richard Walsh was the first of several to ask if the full $10,000 matching grant funding was needed.

“If you got less, would this still go forward?” Walsh asked.

Cuff said the answer was yes.

“If we got less, we would have to scale back,” Cuff said.

Clint Holland, a Parks Board member who has also been key in getting the project going, noted Cuff and Argue are bartering with people and recruiting as much volunteer help as they can.

“We’re trying to use what we can,” Cuff said. “We don’t want to just patch it up. We want to make this able to attract tournaments again.”

Walsh emphasized how much he liked the plans.

“Thank you for all the work you’re doing,” he said. “I appreciate that. But we have others wanting (matching grant) money.”

City councilor Roland Herrera, the new Parks Board liaison, worked on the fields for many years.

“I’m excited you’re moving forward on this,” Herrera said. “It’s long overdue.”

Hager echoed Walsh’s concern.

“We’ve worked hard to get some grant money available for a number of parks,” he said. “There are a lot of parks with a lot of needs. We’ve gotten success in getting a lot of matches. You’re asking for all the money going to you and no one else. That makes it difficult for me. If we do $7,000 or $8,000, can you still move forward? We want to see you move forward, but we want to see if you have some wiggle room.”

Robert Johnson, the parks supervisor for Keizer, noted that “not a lot” of requests have come in this fiscal year for the matching grants.

Jim Taylor, the former councilor who now sits on the Parks Board, emphasized the return on investment.

“On the council, we used to look at any project with a matching fund and look at the bang for the buck. Same with the Big Toy, it was the bang for the buck. Very little city money was used. I think that’s what this is. There’s a small amount of public money, with a huge amount of benefit.”

Holland, like Cuff and Argue, feels more people will come on board.

“Once we get this field done and others see it, we will get more volunteers to work on the next field,” Holland said.

Juran gave his support.

“I look and I see, what, a 1,000 percent value on our investment?” he said. “That’s a really big number compared to what we’re putting out. It’s $1 million in 10 years for a $100,000 investment. We spend $1,000 for $2,000 in value. This is $10,000 for $100,000 in value.”

Walsh noted his internal struggle.

“I’m aware of three or four projects that are possible (for the matching grant) but haven’t come here yet,” he said. “I’m going both ways in my head. It’s a fantastic project. I love the way you’re doing it and the multiplication factor. What’s killing me is we don’t want to tell people they have to come back in July for some projects.”

Hager noted that’s why he asked if $8,000 would work.

“That would make it a slam dunk for me,” Walsh said.

Scott Klug expressed dismay about the thoughts of putting less in.

“I’m appalled we’re even having this discussion,” Klug said. “I’ve never been so disappointed in a conversation. The return on this money is so impressive. We’re talking about (possible projects) that haven’t come forward for the matching grant money. I’m so frustrated. I cannot believe it is happening.”

When the vote was taken, Walsh, Hager and Donna Bradley voted against it but the motion passed 6-3.

“Despite my vote, I am thrilled,” Walsh said.

Statebound

The Lady Celts celebrate after a win over Newberg High School sending them to the state tournament, which began Wednesday.
The Lady Celts celebrate after a win over Newberg High School sending them to the state tournament, which began Wednesday.


By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The McNary High School girls varsity basketball team set out in December with a single goal foremost on their minds: win the Greater Valley Conference.

After taking a loss to South Salem High School in January, the road to a GVC championship got more difficult. Then the Saxons beat McNary again in February.

“After that game, Madi (Hingston) brought us all into the team room and we made a board with new goals on it and what we needed to do,” said Kailey Doutt, a McNary sophomore. “Every time we were having a hard day, (Derick) Handley would point to that board and remind us of what we needed to be doing to meet those goals, one of them was making it to the state tournament.” Handley is the head coach of the Celtic girls basketball program.

With a 61-37 win over Newberg High School Friday, March 5, the Celtics accomplished it.

While another team might have written off the rest of the season after losses to the league leaders, senior Reina Strand said that wasn’t the case for McNary.

“We could have come back and not tried as hard, but we worked hard as ever every single day,” Strand said. “It was a lot of little goals like executing plays and becoming more consistent on defense. Over time we’ve learned how to balance out offense and defense a lot better.”

Because of that recommittment to themselves and each other, the Celts entered the state tournament on a seven-game win streak. Their first test in the state tournament was No. 1-ranked Jesuit High School. McNary was ranked eighth when the game was held Wednesday, March 9, at Portland’s Chiles Center.

It might sound like a lopsided battle on paper, but the Lady Celts have been in that position before. In Decmber, McNary toppled top-ranked Sheldon High School 78-57. The Keizer girls also aren’t strangers to the Jesuit game. During winter break, the two teams met at the Nike Interstate Shootout. The Celts lost 55-33, but it was the fourth game in as many days.

“I don’t want to see us back down this time. I want us to play like we deserve to be here. I’m actually looking forward to it,” said Hingston.

Handley, who is making his first trip to the state tournament as a player or a coach, said he’s benefitted from the steady hands of his assistants in the program this season. Several have played or coached in state tournaments. Throughout the season, two of the assistants were tasked with calming Handley down on the sidelines whenever things got heated.

“Their job is to pull me to the side and tell me what I’m projecting,” Handley said. “Early on, they told me to get the message to the girls that the game is exactly the same every time. The hoop is the same height, the rim is the same diameter and the first team that can settle in can get a 5 to 10 point advantage. Our girls have been the ones to do that in almost every game.”

In some respects, the new challenges are arriving right on time, said junior Sydney Hunter.

“We had a lot of opportunities to stop trying or improve this season and we’ve gotten better. I think, for most of us, it’s not just a matter of making it to state anymore, we want to do something while we’re there,” Hunter said.

Sitting three wins away from a state title, senior Kaelie Flores said the view was pretty good.

“We’ve worked up to this point and we’re getting recognition from different places. We practiced and we found different ways to defeat different teams. It’s so good to get the recognition, but I knew that we could do this from the start,” Flores said.


 UPDATE:

Crusaders deny Lady Celts with 53-32 win

The McNary High School girls varsity basketball team lost its first game of the state tournament to Jesuit High School 53-32 on Wednesday, March 9.

The loss meant McNary would face the loser of a game between Oregon City and South Salem high schools at the Chiles Center Thursday, March 10, past press time.

Jesuit had control of the game from the start and ran up a 19-9 lead after the first period. The score was 34-17 at halftime.

The Lady Celts cut into the spread in the third period and went into the fourth frame down 42-29.


 UPDATE 2:

The McNary High School girls varsity team won their consolation game in the state tournament 55-46 over Oregon City High School Thursday morning at Portland’s Chiles Center. The win sets the Lady Celts up to play in the 4th/6th place game Saturday at 9 a.m.

McNary started the game down 12-0 and trailed for 24 minutes before a Madi Hingston three-pointer put the Keizer team up 40-38 just before the end of the third period. The Celtics led until the end.