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Day: August 5, 2016

Cancer not slowing Keizer man down

George Krause won the 50-54 age group in the pentathlon at the USATF Masters Outdoor Championships. (KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley)
George Krause won the 50-54 age group in the pentathlon at the USATF Masters Outdoor Championships. (KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley)

Of the Keizertimes

George Krause went to the USA Track and Field Masters Outdoor Championships not to just battle the other five participants in his age group, 50-54, but to compete against himself, and cancer.

And he won.

In the pentathlon, which includes the 200 and 1,500-meter runs, long jump, and discus and javelin throws, Krause recorded 3,211 points at Grand Vally State University in Grand Rapids, Mich. on July 14-17 to win his age group.

Krause, the computer lab teacher at Claggett Creek Middle School, was diagnosed with leukemia lymphoma a year and half ago when he decided to get a bump on his neck checked out.

“I’m going to continue doing things most people can’t do for as long as I possibly can because you start taking stock of the time you have left when you get a diagnosis like that,” he said.

“The fact that I can go out there and still sprint and still throw and still do things that most 50-year-olds can’t do, then I know I’m not sick. It was found early. The cancer is not aggressive, which is problematic because you can’t really cure it. It’s just a very slow moving train.”

Because he’s not sick, Krause isn’t undergoing any treatment, just blood work every six months.

Krause threw the javelin in college at Harvard but said he was no star.

At the USATF Masters Outdoor Championships, Krause placed first in both the javelin and discus, second in the long jump and 200 and fifth in the 1,500.

“I’m a thrower,” he said. “I don’t mind sprinting, not a fan at all of the 1,500. I’m just now learning the long jump. This was only the third time I’d ever long jumped at a competition was in this championship.

“I’m just a regular cat. It wasn’t like I ever went to the Olympic trials or anything like that. I’m just a Joe that decided to get off the couch and do stuff and found some success. I’m hoping a couple of people might actually read this and think I could do that. I bet you there are people in this city right here that are better pentathletes than I am. It’s just a matter of doing it.”

While his throws of 152-10 and 141-01 in the javelin and discus, respectively, were both better than any pentathlete age 30 to 83, Krause also competed in each event individually. He placed third in the javelin and fourth in the discus.

“I’m a tweener,” Krause said. “If you take my 200 time [26.08] and compare it against the guys my age that specialize in the 200, they’ll smoke me. The big guys that can throw farther than me, can’t sprint. The guys that can sprint faster than me, can’t throw. That’s why it [decathlon] suits me.”

Krause pulled a hamstring a month before the competition and decided to stop training.

“I said I may be in the worst shape imaginable but I’m going to be healthy so my goal was to make it to the end and be able to compete and do respectable. I wanted to score over 3,000 points and I did that.”

His goal now is to break the U.S. record in his age group—3,639.

After college, Krause said he’d been stationary for 25-30 years when his wife, Karma, convinced him to try CrossFit with her.

He now works out five days a week at Mahoney CrossFit in Salem.

“I’m probably stronger now than I’ve ever been in my life,” he said. “I was shocked by how weak I was [before CrossFit]. When you hit 40, you start losing muscle mass. This is the heaviest I’ve been in my life. Since joining CrossFit, I’ve gained about 20 pounds. My issue was not being fat. It was getting weak. I was withering. This will kick your butt. Things that are easy usually don’t make that much of a difference. It works because it’s hard. This is a home atmosphere. People rally and take care of each other. When people are sick, they get together and are cooking each other meals. It’s very much a community atmosphere. That’s more important to me than how difficult the workouts are.”

Krause also goes to the track to work on his throws and sprints two days a week, which he considers his days off.

He doesn’t have an official track coach, but Karma, who competed in high school, helps.

Krause also studies the game, watching professionals and their technique.

“I’ve learned a tremendous amount,” he said. “ When I was in college, I was strong enough that I could muscle things and make it happen. I can’t do that anymore.  That’s been very interesting. My discus has improved and my javelin has fallen off the cliff. As I’ve aged, I’m stronger but not nearly as flexible. You really start getting an understanding of what your body can do.”

97303: Keizer or Salem?


Of the Keizertimes

When Keizer residents type “97303” into Google, they will be told they live in Salem.

That’s a problem for Marlene Parsons, a Keizer city councilor.

“We’re our own city and we incorporated for a reason. We want Keizer to have its own ZIP code,” Parsons said.

Parsons is now partnering with Oregon State Rep. Bill Post to try and persuade the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to give the Iris Capital a dedicated ZIP code.

The current 97303 boundaries include Interstate 5 to the east, Wheatland Road Northeast and Waconda Road Northeast to the north, Willamette River to the west, and Salem-Keizer Parkway (99E), Broadway Street, and Delmar Drive north to the South (it cuts across the parking lot at the Fred Meyer shopping center, Dollar Tree is part of 97303, Fred Meyer isn’t). It also, somewhat oddly, includes about three blocks between Tryon Street Northeast and Locust Street Northeast and eight homes encircled by Riviera Drive Northeast, Island View Drive Northeast and Dreamerie Lane Northeast.

Parsons said the removal of an self-service machine at the Keizer post office late last year triggered her interest in the issue.

”We have 37,000 people and it was used quite a bit. Now, we’re back to long lines,” Parsons said.

“(The USPS) put it in at State Street and Keizer lost out.”

She and Post are hoping to draft a resolution that can be put before the Oregon Legislature next year. They are modeling the effort on a campaign launched in Tigard in April 2015.

Tigard’s primary zip codes most frequently list the city as part of Portland, the same way 97303 lists Keizer as part of Salem. The Legislature approved a bill urging Congress and the USPS to reclassify the Tigard ZIP codes. However, the bill has no power on its own, and any change requires federal approval.

To date, both the 97223 and 97224 ZIP codes are still associated with Portland in a Google search.

Parsons has already emailed a contact at USPS, but has yet to receive a reply.

“We are still waiting, but (Rep. Post and I) want to put together a plan for finguring out who will listen to us. We’d love to just sit down and have the conversation,” Parsons said.

It remains to be seen whether a dedicated ZIP code would result in the return of the self-service postage machine, but Parsons would like to see that be part of the conversation.

ZIP codes were established in 1963 to mainstream mail sorting and allow the USPS to cope with the increasing volumes of mail. The first number in the code represents a general geographic area of the nation, “0” in the east, moving to “9” in the west. The next two numbers represent regional areas, and the final two identify specific post offices. However, since their origin, ZIP codes have become a shorthand way to identify population segments according to demographics (incomes, ages, ethnicities, etc.).

Parsons sees a dedicated ZIP code as one more way to attract businesses to the Keizer – a new grocery store, for example.

“We’re lumped with northeast Salem and when you look at the cost of living or the income range for residents, we don’t know how much of that is true. I think it’s very skewed,” Parsons said. “We want Keizer to have its own ZIP code so that, when businesses pull demographics, it’s going to be more accurate in terms of what our needs are.”

Small rewards, big change at skate park

Kelly Owen talks with Aaron Sanders and Cameron Hatfield. Right: Kaia and Silas Branch were two of the riders wearing helmets on Owen’s recent visit to Carlson Skate Park. (KEIZERTIMES/ Eric A. Howald)
Kaia and Silas Branch were two of the riders wearing helmets on Kelly Owen’s recent visit to Carlson Skate Park. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

Kelly Owen’s first trip to Keizer’s Carlson Skate Park was discouraging.

The Salem Health emergency room and trauma nurse estimated that less than a third of the park’s users were wearing helmets while they rode their bikes, skateboards and scooters. And that was the best rider-to-helmet ratio of the four parks she and co-workers visited in the mid-Willamette Valley.

“It’s important that everyone wear helmets because brain injuries are so tragic, but so preventable,” said Owen.

Getting kids to wear their helmets has become something of a crusade for Owen.

“In spring and summer of 2015, we had some really tragic events resulting from longboard and skateboard crashes. We had some local kids end up with life-changing traumatic brain injuries and one was killed,” Owen said.

Owen herself cared for more than one of the injured riders, and it got her thinking about what more she could do to intervene.

“I already do a lot of talks in the schools about wearing helmets, so it’s not like the kids don’t have the information. We have to get them to actually wear the helmets,” Owen said.

The team decided that rewarding good behavior might be their best option. Armed with donated $5 gift cards from Dutch Bros. and Jamba Juice and others that were purchased, Owen set out on the first of five unannounced visits to Carlson Skate Park this summer.

In addition to goodies, Owen brought along a poster board advertising free gift cards and featuring photos of two of the crash victims she cared for.

On her first visit, still only about a third of riders were wearing helmets. On her second visit, helmet usage was up to 50 percent. When she visited for a third time Tuesday, July 26, about 80 percent of riders were sporting headgear while riding.

“I think we sometimes try to make thing too hard. I truly am amazed how something like rewarding kids with a $5 gift card seems to be making such a huge difference,” she said.

For riders who don’t own helmets, she keeps some on hand to pass out, but even then there are holdouts.

“Kids are very fussy about their helmets and what they look like,” Owen said. She ran through a small supply of multisport helmets quickly and the bike helmets remaining don’t have the same look.

Her ace-in-the-hole at Carlson is 14-year-old Cameron Hatfield. Owen met Cameron on her first visit and enlisted him as an ambassador to talk with the other kids he meets at the park.

“Most of them say it’s uncomfortable or looks dumb, but after talking to Kelly I started wearing my helmet a lot more,” Hatfield said. “If you fall and get hurt that’s your fault. You have to care about your life.”

Hatfield said the older park visitors are less receptive to his message, but riders his age and younger have been more open to it.

“This parks gets a lot of kids who are middle school and younger, and I think we have a better chance of redirecting their behavior,” Owen said. “It’s been our most successful park in regard to increasing helmet usage.”

Owen also hopes that influencing behavior at the park will increase helmet usage in other community spaces. The kids who were injured last summer were riding on city and county streets.

“The thing to remember is that this is only a start. Parents need to reinforce helmet usage at home. It can change lives later on,” Owen said.

To support helmet program, contact the Salem Foundation, 503-561-5576 or [email protected], and make a donation to the injury prevention program.

Merlin Fischer

Merlin Fischer was born in Oregon City on Aug. 24, 1937, to Thelma and Ernest Fischer.

He attended West Linn High School and graduated from Oregon State University in 1959 in Food Technology. Known by many as “The Berry King,” Merlin was an icon in the food processing industry, where he worked his entire life. Even after he retired, he continued to be a consultant and mentor to others in the industry.

Merlin was a generous, giving, caring man. Not only for his family and friends, but for many he just met, or maybe never knew. He loved the game of baseball and he knew the players on every major league baseball team.

Merlin was told at age 19 he had a faulty heart valve and would be lucky to live to age 30. He had a heart valve transplant at age 59. About a decade ago, he was diagnosed with a blood leukemia. His doctor suggested he might only have eight years left years. He battled through the treatments and beat that, too. To his family, he was unbreakable and so his sudden passing while working out at the Keizer Courthouse gym was quite a shock. He left a lot of 5 a.m. friends behind at the gym.

He was a devoted husband of 54 years to Vivian. He leaves behind his brother, Darrell, his three children, Scott (Becky) Fischer of Longview, Wash., Erik (Angel) Fischer of Keizer and Heidi (Tom) Quinn of Lake Oswego, and eight grandchildren – Jacob, Jessica, Reilly, Kyle, Chloe, Baylee, Noah and Tyler.

A Celebration of Life will be held at McNary Golf Course Restaurant on September 10 at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Union Gospel Mission of Salem, a charity that was near and dear to Merlin’s heart.

For a more detailed tribute, please go to his Facebook page.

Join me, vote for Gary Johnson

To the Editor:

To the Republicans, Democrats, and Independents who feel cheated and do not want to vote for either of the nominees of the two major parties, I urge you not to waste your vote on Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but to turn to a viable third option: Gary Johnson, the nominee for the Libertarian Party, and his running mate, Bill Weld.

Governor Gary Johnson is the only candidate in this election who makes sense on the issues important for this country. He advocates an agenda that stands on the principle of limited government, in both economic and social life. Adhering to the Constitution, he views freedom as the guiding principle of his campaign for the presidency and beyond.

Johnson served as a two-term governor of New Mexico—a Republican in a Democrat state—and oversaw the most successful period of growth in the state’s history. As governor he cut spending, balanced the budget, and vetoed more wasteful spending bills than every other governor in the country combined, leaving the state with new schools, hospitals, highways, bridges, and a billion dollar surplus. All without raising taxes a penny.

Like Johnson, Bill Weld also served as a two-term governor but in the state of Massachusetts. He was also a Republican in a Democrat state and was reelected with 70 percent of the vote – the highest percentage ever in that state. He cut spending, eliminated borrowing, balanced the state budget, reformed Medicaid, and cut taxes – never once raising them.

Please carefully consider the decision we have at hand. Fifty percent of Americans aren’t in the Republican or Democratic parties. Why are our only options always one or the other? Join me, and support Libertarians Gary Johnson and Bill Weld come November.

Luke Peets

Who are we planning for?

Commercial development in Keizer, especially along its main thoroughfare, River Road, is uneven at best. Undeniably there is new development: the new Starbucks with a drive through; Willamette Valley Appliance (nee Mole’s) has remodeled and relocated to a larger space at River Road and Sunset Drive.

The new owners of Schoolhouse Square, at River and Chemawa Roads, is recruiting new tenants to the once-fading shopping center. A new building pad will be constructed at the southeast corner of the property which will house two businesses new to Keizer—Jersey Mike’s restaurant and The Human Bean coffee shop. BFit moved into Schoolhouse Square earlier this year.

But Keizer’s main commercial strip still has some big holes to fill. Creekside Center (River Road and Lockhaven Drive) has slowly been slipping into irrelavancy with the loss of an anchor grocery store as well as other small businesses.

River Road has been a main focus of the city’s Economic Development Commission with Cherry Avenue also getting some attention. There are some realities that people need to remember: Keizer and its commission can wish all they want for certain types of retailers, developments and businesses that will bring needed jobs into our city limits, however they have few arrows in their quiver to use to make that happen.

Unlike cities and counties across the country, Keizer does not have tax breaks to offer, no discounts on business licenses. All the city has to offer is some leeway on costs of required city permits. The tools that need to be welded are either politically difficult or controversial. The politically difficult route is to expand the Urban Growth Boundary to the north of city limits. Any expansion requires the acquiesance of Salem, Marion County and Polk County.  The controversial route is to rezone parts of the city to allow certain types of construction and development.

The Economic Development Commission and other groups interested in the growth of Keizer need to change their focus from what to build to who and how to attract the types of businesses that will offer high wage jobs for Keizer residents. How can we discuss building when we do not know who will want them.

We have strongly advocated for the city, the commission and the Chamber of Commerce to actively recruit new business. We call for a reconcerted effort. The Economic Development Commission partnering with the Keizer Chamber of Commerce should develop a short list of the categories of business that can be persuaded to come to Keizer.

The process starts with asking businesses what would make them locate here. What criteria needs to be met before they will commit to moving or building here? We must address the answers to those questions. Is it a lack of large-scale developable land? Is it a lack of skilled labor? Is it a question of shipping facilities? Keizer needs to get the answers and plan from there.

Could Keizer be home to a large call center or mega-warehouse if we had hundreds of acres to develop? If so, that tells us we need to redouble efforts to expand the Urban Growth Boundary and add millions of dollars to the city’s tax base not to mention hunderds of jobs.

Let’s not discuss what to build in Keizer today. Let us open a dialogue with the businesses Keizer wants tomorrow. Attracting light industry, biotech and medical should be the focus of any economic development plans.


Will GOP repudiate Trump’s cruelty?


Republican politicians face a choice. They can accept Hillary Clinton’s invitation to abandon Donald Trump and prevent a redefinition of their party as a haven for bigotry. Or they can prop Trump up, try to maximize his vote—and thereby tarnish themselves for a generation.

If there were any doubts about Trump’s disqualifying lack of simple decency and empathy, he resolved them in an interview on ABC News last weekend with a characteristically cruel and self-centered attack on Khizr and Ghazala Khan, an American Muslim couple whose son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in the line of duty in Iraq.

With his wife by his side, Khizr Khan delivered what was the most devastating attack on Trump during the Democratic National Convention. Khan directly challenged Trump’s strongman ignorance: “Let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.” And he said this of Trump: “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”

Most politicians—most human beings—would have humbly declared that no sacrifice is comparable to losing a son or daughter in service to the nation. Instead, Trump said he had made many sacrifices because (I’m not making this up) he “created thousands and thousands of jobs.” He said of Khizr Khan’s speech: “Who wrote that? Did Hillary’s scriptwriters write it?”

And then he broke new ground, even for him, in heartlessness. “His wife,” Trump said, “if you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have something to say.”

Every Republican politician and commentator who continues to say that Trump is a superior or even morally equivalent choice to Hillary Clinton will now own their temporary leader’s brutality for the rest of their political careers.

Many humane Republicans know this. Ohio Gov. John Kasich spoke for them when he tweeted that “there’s only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honor and respect.”

This is a moment of truth for GOP leaders who passively accepted and sometimes encouraged an extremism that trafficked in religious and racial prejudice and painted President Obama as an illegitimate, power-hungry leader.

The party’s traditional chieftains assumed they could use these themes to rally an angry, aging base of white voters while keeping the forces of right-wing radicalism under control. They did not anticipate Trump. He spent years courting the far right with his charges that Obama was born abroad and set himself up in contrast to an establishment that cynically exploited its feelings.

Now, in Ronald Reagan’s revered phrase, comes a time for choosing. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell look feeble and vacillating when they try to distance themselves from Trump outrages while maintaining their support for his election. They embody a calculating timidity as they worry about Trump’s impact on their party while also fearing for the electoral chances of the rest of their candidates if they push away Trump’s constituency.

Khizr Khan called their bluff in an interview on Friday with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell: “This is a moral imperative for both leaders, to say to him, ‘Enough.’” Had Trump been watching, he would have known that Ghazala Khan also spoke out. Her reticence at the convention, she explained, arose from grief over her lost son that made it difficult even to talk about him. She powerfully made her point again in an essay published online Sunday morning by The Washington Post.

Up to now, it has fallen largely to conservative intellectuals and former Republican officials to express their horror over Trump’s amoral approach to politics, his incoherent, dictator-friendly foreign policy, and his racist, exclusionary definition of what it means to be an American.

By contrasting Reagan’s “Morning in America” to Trump’s “Midnight in America,” Clinton invited such conservatives to abide a term of her leadership in order to avoid the damage a self-involved practitioner of a nasty brand of flimflam could do to their cause and their country.

Clinton Republicans and ex-Republicans could thus be this generation’s Reagan Democrats. In repudiating Trump for Clinton, they will not be abandoning their ideology. They will be making a moral statement that their movement will not tolerate an opportunist so corrupt and so vile that, when given a choice, he pandered to religious intolerance rather than honoring the sacrifice of a brave young American.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

Both candidates leave one to wonder

The fanciest word I found to label myself during the past two weeks is masochist or a person who is gratified by self-imposed pain.  While I did not sit glued to a TV throughout every minute of the two convention’s proceedings, I did muster the fortitude, by what’s believed self-denied means, to listen to almost every word each evening.

The Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, came as no real surprise although it was evident that the more charismatic, Bernie Sanders, gave her, literally and figuratively, a run for her money.  So many of my fellow citizens hold Hillary in low regard because she is unfavorably viewed by them beyond the email scandal and Benghazi.  Personally, I have no reason to hold that view because she has never hurt me personally or financially.

What Hillary lacks, in my opinion, is charisma. In a couple of words, while she’s undoubtedly bright and by all accounts a hard worker, she does not possess the presentation and speaking skills that have claimed the “high ground” by so many candidates who’ve stood for election for president. Her menu for success in the Oval Office looks like another four years of Barack Obama.  However, to grant her full due, Sanders’ message has apparently forced her to go further “left” than would have been the case if she’d not had Bernie snapping at her heels.

Now, to one extent or another, because she’s a woman, if the U.S. Senate and House remain under the control of the GOP, she will predictably have about the same amount of success with Congress that President Obama realized. And there will be those Republicans who, right up front, will dedicate their political lives to stopping her every effort to push a progressive agenda including free college tuition for those who qualify and national health insurance.  It may even be that some Republicans want life breathed into free tuition or enhanced Obamacare, but they never want her to get credit for it or any other likely vote-getter.

I may be too unforgiving of Bill Clinton, but I was set off again when his Wednesday evening fictional invention began with “I met a girl.”  His entire story of a near fairy tale happy marriage with Hillary left out the details that will always wreck his try to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  He’s been proven time and again, while married to Hillary, to be a unreformed womanizer who apparently chased every member of the opposite sex he found attractive.  He could not even abstain from his bad habit when as president he ruined the life of an intern and came within a stone’s throw of being impeached. He may be less amorous with advancing age, but I would discourage any daughter of mine from an internship in the White House should Hillary be elected.

But this big part of Hillary’s life leaves me wondering how in the dickens, if she possesses an ounce of self-respect and personal integrity, she has been able to put up with Bill the cad and his chronic chasing after other women.  This issue is the reason I feel a lack of trust about Hillary, that is, that she will do and pretend anything to place herself in a position to gain more wealth and power.  Just a sad person inside who will always act out of base self-interest rather than national concern.

Then there’s The Donald.  What motivates his behaviors remains for me the same way Winston Churchill referred to Russia years ago: A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.  Does this guy really want to be president? His negativity over the past year regarding almost everyone and everything, except his current wife, his children and, above all, himself, have been wholly derogatory and without even a hint of redeeming value as he mocked a person with a disability, his contempt for Hispanics, his lack of respect for the U.S. Constitution, specifically when it takes issue with religious freedom, and, among other disgusting views, the racism he revealed when he criticized a judge in a case brought against him as being unqualified because, although American citizen, his parents came to the U.S. from Mexico.

Trump’s acceptance speech two weeks ago as the GOP nominee came across to me as a very angry tirade that tells us that everything is currently wrong in our country and he is the only one who can repair it and return us, by his means, to our lost glory. He seems neither Democrat nor Republican; rather, an oligarch who will rule from Trump Tower not bothering himself to occupy the White House—for traditional executive role governing—or respect our other branches of government. A short list best describes him: jerk, liar and want-to-be dictator with an uncanny resemblance to Benito Mussolini.

The American political scene is so bereft of promise and good purpose now that I find it difficult to come up with a name that might take the place of a Clinton or a Trump and save us from our too-many-bamboozled selves. All the encouraging, high-spirited words out of Cleveland and Philadelphia remind me of the multitude of balloons and confetti that fell from the rafters on last night of each convention: even before the cheering crowds left their respective buildings, the over-sized red, white and blue inflated objects that fell from the rafters had been popped and swept up with the rest of the trash.

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