McNary High School sophomore Hannah Childress entered in the Greater Valley Conference tennis championships seeded fourth.
She came home as the third place finisher with a berth in the state tournament that began May 19 in Tualatin.
“My goal this year was just to make it to state,” said Childress, who was one half of the fourth place doubles team last year with her older sister, Sandy. “It was a lot more nerve-wracking without Sandy there to support me, and a lot of pressure, but I made it.”
Childress finished the regular season with a record of 10-3 to earn her seed. She said one of the most memorable matches at the district meet was taking a win over West Salem High School’s Anya Gerasimova in the contest to decide third place.
Early in the season, Childress’s main goal was to improve her confidence on the court, and she’s made strides in that department as well.
“There’s always room for improvement, but I definitely believe I can do this now,” she said.
Her first test of the state tournament will be Clackamas High School’s Remi Lam. If she wins, she must then face down the top seed in the tournament, Jesuit High School’s Bess Waldram.
“If I win my first round, I’m in for a difficult match with Bess, but as long as I do my best that’s all I can ask of myself,” she said.
A last-minute donation to the Distinguished Young Women of Keizer (DYWK) made for an unexpected surprise during the scholarship program Saturday, May 14.
Instead of one winner, there were two $1,500 scholarships to be given out. The recipients were Sydney Martindale and Elizabeth Russell, who will go on to represent Keizer in the statewide program in August.
Martindale said she was much more nervous than she expected as the names were announced.
“It was scary, but it was a rush of relief when they called my name. I did the best I could possibly do tonight and it all paid off,” she said.
Russell had lowered her own expectations before the winners were announced.
“I thought I did awful and I’d messed up on everything, but then they called my name and I was so surprised,” Russell said.
In addition to the grand prizes, Martindale won the fitness portion of the program, which came with a $300 scholarship. Russell won the Self-expression Award, which also came with a $300 scholarship.
Despite dancing for the talent portion of the competition, Martindale said the fitness routine was the hardest part of the program.
“It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve done in a long time. It’s so much cardio and jogging in place, and I am not a runner,” she said.
Russell, who performed a piano solo for her talent, said that was the most stressful. Russell’s mother competed in the Junior Miss program (the precursor to DYWK) in high school and said that was her inspiration for giving it a shot.
“Even as a kid, I would look at her pictures in her scrapbooks and she looked like such a princess. I wanted to be like her, and being able to be part of this has been amazing,” she said.
For both distinguished young women, one of the real prizes was simply getting to know schoolmates on a deeper level.
“I’ve known these girls for so long, but I hadn’t gotten to know them. I definitely didn’t realize how much I would love them,” Russell said.
Martindale added, “They have a special place in my heart and I will always remember them. We’ve become so close, and I will cherish our memories together forever.”
Madi Zuro was named first alternate in the competition and won the talent portion for a combined total of $800 in scholarships. Rebecca Amerino won the $300 Scholarship Award. Cambrian Partridge won the $300 Spirit Award.
The McNary High School girls a capella group, Cm7b9#11, never intended to win a state title in female vocal performance.
In fact, the 11 Celtics that comprise the group only went to compete at the district level to get some feedback from the judges. They ended up winning there, and then traveling to the state competition where they proved themselves the best Oregon has to offer earlier this month.
“If we had the mindset to go and win, we might not have won, but we were just there to enjoy the music,” said junior Ella Garro.
Truth be told, Cm7b9#11(it’s a jazz chord) only became a fully-formed group in January. Competing wasn’t even in the picture at that point.
“We haven’t focused on being really showy this year, we focused on making music together,” said senior Sydnie Gould. “Now, we’re getting introduced as the top group in the state and it’s a shock. We’re really honored, but we still can’t believe it.”
The group had its beginnings in February 2015, when some of the current members were delivering Val-O-Grams (mini-concerts) to schoolmates.
“Then Mr. (Jim) Taylor challenged us to do more things and perform for the middle schools,” said Grace Condello.
Some of the students who saw them perform at Whiteaker are now members of the group.
“Seeing the Val-O-Gram groups when they visited our school was really fun to watch. After getting to McNary, and seeing how much fun the girls were having, it made me want to be part of it,” said freshman Veronica Reyes.
Freshman Sofia Zielinski echoed the sentiment.
“It was never something I thought I would do, but I thought they were so cool,” said Zielinski said.
Garro and co-leader Emma Blanco held tryouts for the group last fall, after deciding on what exactly they wanted the group to do.
“We started out as a pop group doing things you might hear on the radio, and then we figured out everyone was also taking the choral classics class. That’s when we decided we weren’t just a pop group and we started working on the music that we could perform at the district competition,” Blanco said.
While Blanco and Garro had specific vocal qualities they were looking for, Garro said other parts of the auditions were the deciding factor as to who made the cut.
“We put a lot more into getting to know them as people rather than their voice. We wanted to know what their work ethic was like, what they hoped to get out of being part of the group. That was more helpful than their actual voices,” Garro said.
One of the group’s first big gigs came at the Rose City Sing-Off in April where they brought home the Best Ensemble Sound award.
Having set the bar incredibly high already, Cm7b9#11 isn’t planning on resting on its laurels. The young ladies are looking for ways to continue performing throughout the summer, whether it’s for private parties or larger events.
Senior Ariana Pippert said the whole experience is making for a bittersweet end to her time as a Celtic.
“It’s a reminder of how blessed we are here at McNary to have all this talent. In another place, a similar group might fight tooth-and-nail to get where we are now,” she said. “I know I’m going on to other things, but I’m really proud of this group. In the years to come, they are going to do some crazy things.”
The other members of the group are Madi Zuro, Mary Dolenc, Jaden Brunhaver and Camryn Ronnow.
A drive-by shooting last weekend means there has been a major crime in Keizer each of the past four months.
No one was injured early Sunday morning, May 15 when several shots were fired at a house and a car on the 4900 block of 13th Avenue North.
In February Jerrid Goodpaster was fatally shot at Keizer Station, while in March there was an armed robbery at One Stop Smoke Shop and a shooting in the Bi-Mart parking lot. In April there was a fatal stabbing at a residence on Brooks Avenue.
Not surprisingly, the string of crimes has left some Keizerites on edge and wondering what’s going on.
John Teague, Keizer police chief, sought to calm fears on Monday.
“We’re thankful that the incidents previous to this one weren’t long investigations: we very quickly figured out who-done-it and affirmed that the public wasn’t in danger of random victimization,” Teague told the Keizertimes. “The common denominator to all of the earlier incidents is a high-risk lifestyle involving intoxicants. The shootings, for example, allegedly involved drug debts, not something for which a guy turns to the police or the courts for resolution.”
Teague said in some respects last weekend’s shooting was “qualitatively different” from the other incidents.
“In another way – if there was a high-risk lifestyle – it may be quite like them; we’re continuing to investigate,” Teague said. “In the meantime, I expect most people aren’t fearful that they or their homes are at similar risk. Still, even apart from running with a risk-prone crowd, it’s a legitimate concern that a good guy may suffer merely for being around one of these things when it unravels. Even the most diligently aware person, for example, wouldn’t have avoided the shopping center or coffee shop where and when the shootings occurred.”
So why are the incidents happening here, and why now?
“There really is no pattern in the randomness,” Teague said. “Similar to if a guy threw handfuls of marbles across a floor, he would expect to see most of the marbles spread out, but some will group together, even where there’s no obvious reason for it, like a dip in the floor. I suspect that’s where the public is at the moment: trying to make sense of an otherwise random – yet still small – accumulation of violent crimes in Keizer.”
Teague emphasized some members of the Keizer Police Department have a specific task in regards to crimes.
“They are pretty good at figuring out root causes for crime – looking for what’s common amid the apparent randomness – and then fixing those problems and preventing crimes from happening,” he said. “We cops will remain proficient and attentive, working to squash these things as they happen, even if they’re random enough that we can’t predict and prevent them, keeping them from spilling over too intimately into the lives of the norms-following public.”
Teague, who also touched on the issue at Monday’s Keizer City Council meeting, said there is some simple advice to follow.
“People need to remain prudently careful and aware, but they don’t need to worry,” he said. “Life is risky, but the risk of being the victim of a violent crime is almost negligible if a person doesn’t engage in high-risk activities.”
According to the KPD, last Sunday’s shooting was reported at 2:17 a.m., though one neighbor told the Keizertimes about being awakened by the shots at 1:43 a.m. Deputy Chief Jeff Kuhns with the KPD said the victims did not call the police until 2:17, though an initial call of shots being fired came at 1:54.
Margarito Galvez Jr. said he was at a nearby friend’s house when his sister called him. Galvez said it took him about 30 seconds to get home.
Galvez said his wife, two young daughters and his sister were at home at the time. He said shells from a gun were found.
According to Galvez as well as the KPD, no one was injured in the shooting.
“No arrests have been made and the incident remains under investigation,” the release said in part.
Kuhns said a vehicle was spotted, but cautioned there’s no confirmation it was in connection with the shooting.
“There was a report of a black vehicle speeding in the area, but at this time I am hesitant to call it the suspect vehicle,” Kuhns said on Monday. “There is no other information about the suspect(s).”
Galvez said based on the location of where the shells were found, he didn’t think it was a drive-by shooting. He noted he had no idea who could have done the shooting.
“The guy was here in the driveway,” he said. “The guy was here to do whatever the hell he was here to do.”
Galvez noted he was looking at buying his house, but wasn’t sure if the shooting would change those plans.
“If I ran and they keep chasing me, that won’t do any good,” he said. “I want to help the cops find whoever the hell it was. I had (an inflatable) swimming pool in the front yard. If I wanted trouble, I wouldn’t have that.”
Galvez noted a Honda was parked head-first in the driveway. The car was hit by several bullets, with one shattering the back window. A shot also hit the windshield, with one of the bullets hitting the driver’s seat headrest.
Galvez also showed the Keizertimes bullet holes in the front of the house. One hit the front window, while another hit right below the window and went through a couch positioned in front of the window.
“The first thing that caught my eye was the back window (of the Honda),” Galvez said. “Then I saw the bullet holes in the house. It’s scary. I’m from Los Angeles. I moved here to get away from this (stuff). This is scary.”
Galvez said he’s currently on probation but isn’t mixed up with a bad crowd.
“I don’t do drugs, I don’t owe anyone anything,” he said. “My neighbors see me out here and see the things I’m doing. I pressure wash my driveway and I mow the lawn. I’m trying to be a good neighbor.”
Anyone with information about Sunday’s shooting is asked to contact detective Arsen Avetisyan with the KPD at 503-390-3713 Ext. 3514.
Diamond in the Rough, the 2016 Keizer Iris Festival, kicked off earlier this month with the opening of the Keizer Art Association’s Iris and the Flowers exhibit including the art piece chosen for the 2017 festival (Merren Garland’s Total Eclipse of the Heart) on display through May 28.
The Keizer Volunteer Fire Fighters Association held their annual Mother’s Day Breakfast; Cathy Clark led the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. Last weekend two young women, Sydney Martindale and Elizabeth Russell, were chosen as the 2016 Keizer’s Distinguished Young Women.
It’s been a busy festival thus far; it really kicks into high gear this weekend with the opening of the Keizerfest tent and its full weekend of live entertainment. The festival will feature the pet parade and a total of five running events.
The centerpiece of the festival is the Iris Festival Parade on Saturday. Traffic routes will be affected, but that’s a small price to pay to celebrate one’s community.
The festival is our community’s biggest event. Years ago, the Iris Festival was on the event calendar all by itself. These days it is impossible to find a weekend any time of the year that is event-free. A proliferation of festivals, concerts, tournaments and fundraisers over the past 10 years has divided the public’s attention.
What used to be ‘parade Saturday’ is now jockeying for audiences with a number of other events in our area and throughout the region. Therein lies the challenge for the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, organizer and beneficiary of the festival—organizing and promoting a festival that Keizerites feel they cannot miss.
The festival has seen many changes over the years, ebbing and flowing with the desires of the public. The parade is the linchpin of the Iris event; the Keizerfest tent is as popular as the music acts that play and the beverages served. The Keizerfest tent serves as reunion of sorts—former McNary High School classmates reconnect, friends, separated by busy daily lives, get together and catch up.
Beside the parade, the five running events have become a major attraction for the festival—a marathon, a half marathon and 10-, 5- and 3-K races bring thousands of people out.
The Iris Festival is the one time of the year for Keizer to show itself off. Thoughts of turning the festival into a regional event faded over the years.Staging a festival this large is not easy nor inexpensive. The number of volunteers needed is titanic. After decades of the Iris Festival being run by volunteers (whom get harder to recruit on the scale required for the task), it might be time to hire a full-time event planner.
Keizer is on the cusp of positive and beneficial growth. Hundreds of new housing units are being added, as are new retail stores and a possible expansion of the city limits to the north.There is a lot to celebrate about Keizer. The Iris Festival is and should remain our best advertisement. —LAZ
In the category of credit where credit is due, Donald Trump has been exactly right in one important respect. He attacked the Republican establishment as low-energy, cowering weaklings. Now Republican leaders are lining up to surrender to him—ike low-energy, cowering weaklings. The capitulation has justified the accusation.
It would be impolite to name names. So I should not mention that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who now angles for Trump’s vice presidential nod, once said: “He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued. Let no one be mistaken—Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.” I should resist the temptation to recall how Rep. Peter King of New York, who now (reluctantly) backs Trump, once asserted he is “not fit to be president, morally or intellectually.”
Singling out individuals is unfair in so great a company. One by one, Republican senators have made their peace with a Trump nomination. Many in the House GOP leadership and caucus have urged Speaker Paul Ryan to get it over with and endorse the presumptive Republican nominee. It is humorous—in a sad, bitter, tragic sort of way—to see Republican leaders, and some conservative commentators, try to forget or minimize Trump’s history of odious proposals and statements.
And all this has taken place without (apparently) securing any concessions or guarantees from Trump himself. He now knows that he can violate any Republican or conservative principle and still get a round of crisp salutes, even from his strongest opponents. This is the white flag of ideological surrender.
I understand the short-term political calculation. Better to have Trump, who is ideologically unpredictable, make Supreme Court nominations than Hillary Clinton, who is reliably liberal. Better to have Trump rather than Clinton make all those plum executive branch appointments. Besides, if Trump is a liar, Clinton is a worse one. If Trump is a misogynist, well, consider Clinton’s husband.
This justification has a few flaws. The first is reductio ad Trumpism. If Clinton is the ultimate evil, would anyone be better than she is? How about Trump’s ex-butler, who threatened President Obama on Facebook? How about Trump supporter Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty”? Of course not, a Republican would angrily respond. A prospective president needs to be morally and intellectually fit for the office. He or she can’t be guilty of demagoguery or mean-spiritedness, or talk nonsense all the time.
But this is exactly the issue. Were Perry and King correct in their initial diagnosis of Trump? If so, we are not dealing with the normal give-and-take of policy and politics. We have left the realm of half a loaf and you scratch my back. We are dealing with a question of fitness for the highest office in the land. It is not enough for GOP partisans to assert Trump’s superiority to Clinton on this issue or that. They must justify that Trump has the experience, knowledge, temperament, judgment and character to be president of the United States. That is a more difficult task.
This leads to a second objection. Pursuing the short-term interests of the GOP, gained by unity, may actually damage or destroy the party in the longer term by confirming a series of destructive stereotypes. Republicans stand accused of disdaining immigrants; their nominee proposes to round up and deport 11 million people. Republicans are accused of religious bigotry; their nominee proposes to stop all Muslims at the border. Republicans are accused of a war on women; the Republican nominee, if a recent New York Times expose is accurate, is the caveman candidate.
All this is a particular blow to conservatives, of which I count myself one. Conservatives latched on to the GOP as an instrument to express their ideals. Now loyalty to party is causing many to abandon their ideals. Conservatism is not misogyny. Conservatism is not nativism and protectionism. Conservatism is not religious bigotry and conspiracy theories. Conservatism is not anti-intellectual and anti-science. For the sake of partisanship — for a mess of pottage — some conservatives are surrendering their identity.
That question was going through my mind as I saw the field where the burned out house sat last time I was here, 10 months earlier.
Looking at the field, you would never know there used to be a house where Randy and Debbie Wilson lived.
Regular readers of the Keizertimes may recall the story from last July about the Wilsons. The two made it out alive when their house caught fire in June—on Debbie’s birthday, no less —but they lost everything.
All they had left was each other and their two dogs.
I wanted to see the Wilsons this week before leaving here. I looked up the directions to make sure I remembered exactly how to get there. After all, Nevada Street isn’t too easy to find when you’re going 55 mph down Highway 99 just outside of Keizer.
Going slowly up the half-mile gravel Nevada Street—a sign asks you to not exceed 10 mph, lest too much dust get kicked up—I didn’t know what I would see. Maybe Randy and Debbie enjoying a new home? Maybe a trailer?
I get to the end of the road and see…nothing. I get out and see familiar landmarks. The tire swing hanging off the tree over there. The gate back there. The neighbor’s house just up the road.
But there was no sign of the Wilsons.
Well, that sucks. Maybe they are simply two of the thousands of homeless in the area. Or maybe they stumbled upon some great luck — the good Lord knows they certainly deserve it — and got back on their feet with a nice house somewhere. Who knows, maybe they passed away.
Spotting a neighboring home, I walk that way. A man, Austin, asks if he can help. I explain I’m looking for Randy and Debbie. He offers to walk me over to them. As it turns out another neighbor, Juan Benavidez, has been letting the Wilsons stay in a trailer on his property since the fire.
Austin walks me over to Randy, who comes out from underneath the 1998 Ford Mustang he’s been working on. Randy readily admits he’s not much of a mechanic, but he’s trying to repair the rear brakes.
It’s not going terribly well.
But that’s fine with Randy. A friend had three cars and didn’t need the Mustang, so he gave it to Randy and Debbie.
“It’s in pretty good shape,” a grateful Randy says.
Debbie notes her Social Security application was accepted, so hopefully sometime soon the couple will finally start getting some financial help.
“We’re hanging in there, with the generosity of friends,” she says.
The couple had a relief fund set up last year via a friend’s Wells Fargo account. But only $275 was collected and it was costing more to keep the account going than it was bringing in. On top of that, the friend with the account suffered a house fire of his own last year.
“We want to get out of this yard and get a place of our own,” Randy says. “Nothing has changed yet, but it will.”
In some ways, the couple is stuck on last June 20, the day of the devastating fire.
“We do what we can,” Debbie says. “It’s still overwhelming. Every day I think about it. What can you do? You just keep moving forward.”
The couple can accept mail or donations at: Randy and Debbie Wilson, General Delivery, Salem, OR 97305.
The Wilsons have nothing but kind words for Juan.
“For him to do this was a big dent in his world,” Randy says. “It was not necessary, but he did it.”
In general, grateful is a good way to describe the Wilsons.
Yes, they lost all of their possessions.
Yes, they are getting by thanks to the extreme kindness of a neighbor and good friend.
Yes, they are still waiting for Social Security to kick in so they can get back on their feet.
“My luck isn’t good,” Randy begins.
He pauses, then looks over at Debbie, the woman he’ll be celebrating a 26th wedding anniversary with the next day.
“Actually, yes it is,” Randy corrects himself. “I would lose those things 100 times over again if I could still have you.”
I realize at that moment the reason I came here. Sometimes when we have an incredible new chapter in life waiting for us, like I do next week with an exciting job opportunity after 18 years in newspapers, we lose sight of the great blessings we’ve experienced in this chapter of our lives.
Meeting and getting to tell the hard luck stories of people like the Wilsons and families in our Chasing Dark heroin stories has been a deep honor and blessing.
“May God bless you,” Randy told me multiple times as we parted company.
He certainly has, Randy. Thank you for the reminder of that.
For that, I’m eternally grateful.
(Craig Murphy was News Editor of the Keizertimes until this week.)
During a recent budget committee meeting one position in the police department was not filled and we are told the problem is Keizer has such a low tax rate. Then we are told how the city has “stretched, matched, leveraged, granted and volunteered tremendously” and the “elastic has worn out.” This is a city staff managing an approved budget and not a financial crisis.
The mayor states there needs to be an honest conversation about what type of community we want to live in. In 2011, the mayor and several others conducted a very misleading campaign for a “Public Safety Communication fee” which failed by 80 percent. Last year the mayor brought in the management from the transit district to discuss their proposed tax increase on the business community, again this tax increase was defeated. I believe this is the community voicing their opinion.
The mayor also points out that our tax rate of $2.08 was established in 1992 and comparable cities pay a higher tax rate than we do in Keizer. That comment begs the question, “So what?”Our mayor fails to note that the total city revenue has not been stuck at the 1992 level, it has increased with the growth in new homes, increased assessed value of homes and business. The mayor also left out the other funds the city receives such as license and fees, fines and forfeitures, charges for service and intergovernmental revenue sharing. (Note: the assessed value of a home rises 3 percent every year, provided it’s lower than the market value.) Additionally, the mayor doesn’t mention that the Keizer Fire District has its own tax rate of $2.04, which is separate from the city operation.
In my opinion, the city staff hears the community and lives within our means. The politicians seem to hear, tax me more because comparable cities pay more than we do.
Pat Napier passed away peacefully on Saturday at Avamere Court in Keizer. She was preceded in death by her husband Ralph Napier in 1995.
She is survived by her sons, Mark and Joe Napier, both of Keizer, their wives, Roa and Debbie and granddaughter Jessica Hutchison and her husband, Roy, of Dallas.
Pat was an avid fan of the Portland Trailblazers and enjoyed attending the games and watching them on TV. Everyone who knew her knew who her favorites were. She loved the music of Neal McCoy and her many cats, especially the antics of her “Twinnies” who would steal stuffed animals from nearby garage sales.
She was born on a family homestead outside of Concrete, Wash. which is now Rasar State Park. She started school in Birdsville, Wash. and graduated from High School at Sacred Heart Academy in Salem. Besides being a homemaker who loved crocheting and cooking, she also worked at Newberry’s in Salem. She was happiest puttering around in her garden and raising her wonderful raspberries.
She loved the Iris Festival and watched the parade every year. She also loved going to the State Fair to see the flowers and people watching.
A Celebration of Life is to be held at Keizer Funeral Chapel on Friday, May 27 at 2 p.m. Trailblazer apparel would be appropriate.