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Month: January 2017

Lady Celts knock rust off at Sprague

McNary junior Kailey Doutt scored six points in a 53-33 win at Sprague on Friday, Jan. 27.

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

SALEM—After a nearly two week break from game action, McNary needed about three quarters to begin looking like its normal self Friday, Jan. 27 in a 53-33 victory at Sprague.

“It was pretty obvious that we hadn’t played in 10 days,” Lady Celts head coach Derick Handley said. “We had a slow start, not a ton of energy early on. We weren’t making a lot of outside shots. Our tempo was a lot slower than we were hoping for. It’s hard when you just play each other for as long as we had. It was really about midway through the third quarter that we got back to how we had been playing and starting knocking down some of the shots that we’ve been making on a consistent basis.”

Even with the slow start, McNary led from start to finish as Paige Downer made a 3-pointer 35 seconds into the game. The Lady Celts held on to a 11-7 lead entering the second quarter and Sprague made a 3-pointer with 5:40 remaining in the first half to get within 15-12.

However, McNary answered with a 6-0 run and entered halftime with a 24-15 advantage.

After Sprague outscored the Lady Celts 12-11 in the third quarter, McNary won the fourth 18-6.

“We played really solid man-to-man defense, which we haven’t been playing a lot of lately,” Handley said. “It was good for us to get back to more of what we’re used to doing.”

Senior Sydney Hunter had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds at halftime and finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds to go with five assists.

“It was the quietest 14 points and 11 rebounds at halftime you’ll ever see,” Handley said. “Sprague was smart. We weren’t shooting well and they just packed the key and tried to prevent her from getting easy looks but she’s such a great rebounder. She works so hard that a lot of the time we’re trying to get stuff going through her but the best offense for her is her rebounding.”

Sophomore guards Abigail Hawley and Anita Lao led McNary in the second half. Hawley finished with nine points and Lao added eight off the bench.

“They weren’t shooting well early on,” Handley said. “For sophomores, they have just a ton of confidence in their abilities. Their teammates trust them so they kept shooting. Usually with young girls who are being thrust in that position, they’ll stop shooting if they miss the first couple.”

Sowing hope

In introducing Jim Trett as the 2016 Keizer First Citizen, Mark Caillier, the previous recipient of the award, spoke on what volunteering means.

“Volunteers instill hope in others, which develops pathways to success and the ability to sustain activity to achieve goals,” Caillier said. “Our 2016 First Citizen honoree has sown the seeds of hopes.”

That might seem hyperbolic, but ask the man in his 30s who told Trett that he was likely the reason he hadn’t ended up in prison, or the other one who came back to town recently and called up Trett to meet for coffee and said, “Every time I needed somebody, you were there for me.” That’s not hyperbole. That’s the brass tacks outcome of helping someone find their way back to hope.

Trett said calling what he felt “surprise” at the honor of being named First Citizen was an understatement.

“I looked at the (other former First Citizens) that were up there and knowing what they did for the community – and a lot of the time it wasn’t the fun stuff that I was doing – and to be included and thought of in that way is tremendously humbling,” Trett said.

In light of his history of volunteerism, it actually isn’t all that surprising either.

Trett found his calling early in life. As a youth, he was frequently sidelined by health concerns and it led him to watching more than the average amount of television.

He became a fan of Jerry Lewis and through Lewis learned about the difficulties of children who battle muscular dystrophy. One day, at age 12, while recovering from an eye injury, he was watching The Mickey Mouse Club and a segment on kids in California collecting bottles to raise money for polio research stuck with him. He spent the next two years collecting bottles with a group of friends and sending the money he recouped to the muscular dystrophy association.

He also set a goal of becoming a camp counselor at the Salem YMCA where he met the man he calls his mentor, Carl Greider. Greider not only welcomed him into the fold, but he tapped Trett as an organizer of a Big Brother-like program the YMCA was launching when Trett returned from living in California.

“I’d gotten involved with Big Brothers down there and Carl jumped up when he heard and told me I had to on the task force he was setting up,” Trett said.

Eventually, when help arrived in the form of a grant, Trett ended up running the program for a couple of years.

Trett had started as a volunteer in the fire service in 1974 and eventually applied for a paid role as the Keizer Fire District’s public education officer in 1995. Then-Chief Greg Frank had encouraged him to apply.

“It didn’t take much. I like the a-ha moments you see in people’s eyes,” Trett said.

The role took him into classrooms throughout the city continuing to work with youth, but a one-day safety course at Whiteaker Middle School hasn’t stopped blossoming.

“Apparently, the kids really enjoyed our time together and the teachers asked if there was something else I could teach. That’s when we started the CPR and first aid certifications,” Trett said.

In 1996, then-choir director Barb Fontana asked Trett if he would accompany the choir on a trip to Reno as a chaperone and first responder if the need should arise.

That led to him becoming a “choir groupie.”

“To go to a competition and watch the adjudicators praise our students, that’s something. We were in New York one time and one of the adjudicators stared at the kids for a while after they finished and said only, ‘Middle school?’ That brings such a sense of pride in your community and just being part of that is thrilling to me,” Trett said.

Trett retired from KFD in 2009, but his role at Whiteaker and now other schools only seems to expand. Last year alone, Trett helped certify more than 1,000 local students at Whiteaker, Stevens, Walker and Parrish middle schools in first aid, CPR or both.

He still gets stories from former students who put their knowledge to the test in the heat of a moment. Others will pull their certification cards, received years prior, from their wallets while standing next to him in line at the grocery store. A display of the moment when he empowered them to act in a crisis.

These days, it’s fairly difficult to do anything around Whiteaker without running into Trett. He’s handed out schedules, helped students collect food for their annual Stuff the Bus campaign and chaperoned dances. All of that is in addition to his role as a city councilor and mayor in his new hometown of Detroit.

Even though the students whose lives he touches get younger and younger each year, Trett said the secret to connecting with young people over the years hasn’t changed.

“My big thing is that if you treat kids with respect, they will reciprocate,” Trett said. “I feel like I’ve had some success in helping a few of them turn around.”

Shorthanded Celtics fall at Sprague

Chandler Cavell had 20 points off the bench in a 85-74 loss at Sprague on Friday, Jan. 27.

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

SALEM—McNary (14-4, 7-3) got within one possession in the fourth quarter but with one starter out with an injury and another playing through the flu, the Celtics ran out of gas at Sprague.

“Not having two of our top eight or nine really hurt us,” McNary head coach Ryan Kirch said after an 85-74 loss on Friday, Jan. 27. “I thought we battled but the guys that were out there were just exhausted.”

The Celtics never led in the contest as Sprague sophomore Jailen Hammer, who finished with 30 points, knocked down two 3-pointers in the first 35 seconds to give the Olympians a quick 6-0 lead.

McNary trailed just 15-14 at the end of the first quarter but were then outscored 23-14 in the second.

Sprague continued to extend its lead in the second half.

Trailing 52-36, Matthew Ismay and Kevin Martin made back-to-back 3-pointers. Easton Neitzel, who was battling the flu, then got the Celtics within 52-44 on a steal and layup.

After Hammer knocked down another of his seven 3-pointers, Lucas Garvey and Neitzel scored in the final minute to get McNary within 55-48 entering the final period.

The Celtics then started the fourth quarter with a field goal by Adam Harvey and two free throws from Neitzel. But Sprague answered with a 14-1 run as McNary went quiet from the floor.

Harvey ended the drought on a 3-pointer with four minutes to play but at that point it was too late.

“We missed a lot of shots that we normally make,” Kirch said. “They shot about 70 percent from the field. Add both of those things together and it was kind of the perfect storm. They’re a very good team, very well coached. Their coach (B.J. Dobrkovsky) did a great job tonight.”

McNary played without one of its best defenders in senior Alex Martin. Garvey got the start in his place and finished with four points and two assists.

Chandler Cavell came off the bench to the lead the Celtics with 20 points, two rebounds and two steals. Harvey had 16 points, two rebounds and an assist. Neitzel added 12 points, two rebounds, three steals an assist. Ismay finished with 10 points, eight assists, three rebounds and two steals.

Middle school wrestling back for second year

Whiteaker wrestlers Eoan Sharabarin and Cameron Parks work on moves during practice. (KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley)

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Following in the footsteps of his father and uncle, Cameron Parks started wrestling in kindergarten.

“I never really liked basketball, wanted to do something more physical,” Parks said.

But after budget cuts took the sport out of Salem-Keizer middle schools, Parks wasn’t sure what would be available to him once he reached the sixth grade. Thankfully for Parks and 60 other kids at Whiteaker and Claggett Creek, wrestling returned to the middle schools last year and Parks took advantage of the opportunity, even qualifying for the middle school state tournament.

In its second season back, after a five-year hiatus, Parks is one of 50 kids at Whiteaker that came out for wrestling in January. Coach Kelly Hafer said that is 20 more than last year and includes six girls, like sixth grader Destiny Rodriguez, who began wrestling when she was just five, has won multiple state championships and the Reno World Championships last April.

Rodriguez picked up more hardware on Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Oregon Classic in Redmond. Competing in the girls division for All-Phase Wrestling Club, she won her weight class.

Rodriguez looks forward to wrestling for her school. Her goal is not to lose a match.

“It’s pretty cool because I’ve gone to Virginia and done different dual meets but it’s different because I’m doing it for a school,” Rodriguez said.

Led by eighth grader Grady Burrows, Claggett Creek has about 30 kids in its wrestling program.

Aaron Carr, who coached at Claggett for three years before the team went away, is glad to have wrestling back.

“We had an after school program but it wasn’t really the same,” Carr said. “They did one tournament a year so the kids didn’t really get to experience wrestling matches. It’s good to have it back. I think it’s going to be great for the high schools. It’s getting more kids interested in it. We’re having issues trying to rebuild the program. It’s going to take a few years to get it back to where it used to be.”

McNary also has the Celtic Mat Club but Carr said that’s for more hardcore wrestlers like Burrows, Rodriguez and Parks, not kids just wanting to give the sport a try.

“Getting new kids interested in it, that’s going to be the hard challenge,” Carr said. “I think it’s really good for kids to have options because not everyone is going to be 6-foot-3 and play basketball.”

Claggett and Whiteaker both have 10 duals, the final one against each other on Thursday, Feb 23 at McNary High School.

Celtics head coach Jason Ebbs believes middle school wrestling will only strengthen his high school program, which used to have as many as 90 kids but started with only 54 this season.

“Why anyone would ever take away an opportunity like wrestling from kids, I haven’t the slightest clue,” Ebbs said. “Wrestling is a no cut sport. All we do is serve kids. We have all kinds of kids come in here. I’ve got kids with great grades. I’ve got kids who are riding the fence. I’ve got kids who need wrestling as bad as wrestling needs them. It’s a unique environment that serves the needs of all of those kids. We’re still trying to find the upswing. We’re in the process of trying to reintroduce wrestling to the city of Keizer.”

Salem report highlight the ways homelessness impact taxpayers

File photo

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

A report by the Salem city manager delivered to that city’s council and mayor and shared with the Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative (MWHI) task force Monday, Jan. 23, sheds light onto the ways homelessness taxes public systems ill-equipped to manage the various issues contributing to the problem.

Steve Powers, Salem’s city manager, wrote that city officials have been working to alleviate the strain, but with more than 1,600 people in Marion and Polk counties experiencing homelessness the issues rising to the surface are in need of different approaches.

One of the leading complaints are criminal behaviors, such as someone relieving themselves in public, illegal camping, possession of alcohol in parks, trespassing and disorderly conduct.

“Behaviors people may find offensive and unsightly, such as panhandling, sitting or sleeping on sidewalks, and sleeping in parks are not illegal,” Powers wrote.

Panhandling has been ruled protected speech by the Oregon Supreme Court and sleeping in a public park has been deemed a basic human function protected by the U.S. Constitution by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. So long as the individual is not on private property, in a closed public space, or in a vehicle they are generally protected. Loitering is also not illegal unless there is intent to interfere with passersby.

However, sleeping in parks has led to other frustrations and costs.

“Transients have destroyed sprinkler heads at Marion Square Park so they do not get wet during the night while sleeping on the ground,” Powers wrote.

Other impacts, like excessive litter, are being felt in other parks.

Police officers have issued citations and made some arrests to curb the behavior of some individuals, but oftentimes the arrests are not “lodgeable offenses,” meaning the Marion County Correctional Facility will not accept them. The result more often, Powers suggests, is creating a cycle of arrest – “arrest, failure to appear, warrant issued, arrest on warrant, failure to appear, warrant issued” and so on.

“Law enforcement is ill-equipped, both statutorily and resource-wise, to approach the problem of homelessness throughout the city,” Powers concludes.

Powers suggests an emphasis be placed on creating additional shelter beds and temporary housing for those in need. At best, Marion and Polk counties are equipped to shelter less than have the current homeless population and reaching that level requires violating fire and safety codes at local shelters during emergencies.

He also sees a need for a “one-stop” resource center.

“Law enforcement has a difficult time assisting the homeless in getting them connected with resources because one agency deals with addiction, another with housing, and yet another with mental illness. These providers rarely overlap and none are in the same office,” Powers wrote.

Taking a cue from Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett, the MWHI added the establishment of a one-stop resource center to its list of recommendations once the task force concludes its work next month.

“Our general feeling in the city is that the lack of coordinated resources has created a barrier. We believe that is an important part for helping people out of homelessness,” Bennett said.

He added that developing a centralized database to collect information with the goal of getting a better handle on the problem could be part of its services.

Shaney Starr, director of Strategic Initiatives for Dick Withnell, said she supported the idea, but didn’t want to accept another recommendation for a project without funding.

“You’re making a really good point, but I think this is a chicken-and-egg problem. We need the recommendation to begin assigning the resources for these kinds of programs,” Bennett countered.

Starr ended up supporting the recommendation.

Jon Reeves, executive director of Community Action Agency, said elements of the CAA offerings would be willing to relocate under one roof with other agencies.

Another recommendation accepted by the MWHI members involves establishing a sobering center with the cooperation of Salem Health, the City of Salem, Marion County and nonprofit organizations.

Sobering centers are equipped to provide safe spaces for severely intoxicated people or those suffering from an acute reaction to drugs until they no longer pose a threat to themselves and others. Those in need of the sobering center would also have access to addiction services.

According to a recommendation outline provided by Bennett, Salem Health’s emergency room admits about 10 people per night in need of detox services.

“The result has been really tremendous pressure on the emergency room, and it’s as an expensive a way to handle sobering as we can find,” Bennett said.

The recommendation was approved unanimously.

Chamber honors volunteers with lengthy resumes

Bob Shackelford remarks on being named Merchant of the Year.

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The Keizer Chamber of Commerce First Citizen Banquet Saturday, Jan. 21, proved to be a night of unexpected surprises.

In the end, four longtime Keizer volunteers received recognition for efforts that span into every corner of the community.

The First Citizen Award went to Jim Trett, a former spokesperson and public education officer for the Keizer Fire District and continuing volunteer with Keizer youth; Bob Shackelford, a real estate broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, was named Merchant of the Year; Larry Smith, a longtime coach and mentor in Keizer sports received the Service to Education Award; and Dave Walery was honored with the President’s Award by Scott White, the outgoing president of the Keizer Chamber board of directors.

Trett was introduced by Mark Caillier, the 2015 recipient of the award.

“When I received the award last year, I went and talked with other first citizens to ask them about their experience and what receiving it had meant to them,” Caillier said. “Mostly, they felt like they couldn’t slow down to honor the spirit of the award. I think our honoree this year is going to raise the bar for volunteerism in Keizer.”

Trett’s list of volunteer efforts nearly caused Callier to run out of breath, but include: mentoring and fostering youth, membership in the Oregon ski patrol, city councilor, mayor, and basically volunteering for any task he’s ever been asked to be part of at Whiteaker Middle School. Many former students will remember him as the man who trained them to receive their first aid or CPR certifications.

In accepting the honor, Trett, who had been lured by friends to the banquet from his home in Detroit, said that what he gets back from volunteering far outweighs what he gives.

“When I was volunteering as a Big Brother, I had a kid who was hard to draw out, but I would put my arm around his shoulder and tell him it’s going to be okay,” Trett said. “One day, I ended up taking care of him after having a hard day and I told him about it. Soon enough, his arm went around me and he was telling me, ‘It’s going to be okay.’ I told him, ‘It just got a lot better.’”

In accepting the Merchant of the Year Award, Shackelford had to compose himself before taking the stage.

Shackelford’s presence in the community as a volunteer has grown exponentially in the past year as he took the reins of the Chamber’s Men of Action group and gotten its members involved with everything from tidying up street corners to assisting local elderly residents with cleaning up homes. He’s also taken on volunteer roles in city-formed boards.

“It’s a great pleasure to receive this award. A great many people I look up to have received this award in the past. I love Keizer and I love doing everything I do,” Shackelford said.

Smith was a coach at McNary High School and several youth sports in the area, but he was as much a presence off the fields as he was on them, said John Honey in introducing him.

“Larry taught kids the difference between right and wrong, developed confidence in every single student, helped athletes develop trust and confidence in their teammates, helped players understand the need to get the job done and made sure each one knew that, win or lose, they were loved and respected,” Honey said.

Smith’s daughter spoke for him in accepting the award.

“Our dad taught us all our lives that it was better to be a giver than a receiver. My dad did the things he did to make an impact on kids’ lives and he would encourage all of you to do the same,” she said.

In accepting the President’s Award, for the second time in 21 years, Walery said he was grateful for the chemistry he and White developed as co-chairs of the Iris Festival, but like Trett, noted that the true rewards are found elsewhere.

“I’m proud to get the job done. What you guys give me back is just smiles and that ‘s what it’s all about,” Walery said.

A silver linings playbook

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

In 17 years on the Salem-Keizer School District crisis team, Pat Curran, a counselor at Whiteaker Middle School, said he typically responds to one or two student or teacher deaths in the district per school year.

This isn’t a normal year.

In Keizer alone, three students have died since McNary freshman Isaac Garcia was hit by a train on Dec. 30.

“There’s been a lot of tragedy,” said Curran, who along with responding to two incidents at schools in South Salem was one of four members of the crisis team at McNary on Jan. 3, four days after Garcia’s death. “This has been a tough year compared to past.”

Coordinated by Darcie Jones, program associate for counseling for the school district, the crisis team is made up of 30 individuals, mostly school counselors.


WAYS PARENTS CAN HELP GRIEVING CHILDREN

1. Recognize your own feelings and loss issues.

2. Give accurate information about the death, if you have it. Knowing the facts can dispel worry.
It’s OK to say “I don’t know” if that’s the case.

3. Be aware of your child’s personal issues. (i.e., recent losses, worry about a vulnerable family member, being friends or disliking the person that died). They may be impacted even if they did not know the person.

4. Support your child’s stages of grieving. They may express sadness, disbelief, anger, silliness, fear, defiance, “crankiness”, excessive noise or activity, or suffer from nightmares or insomnia. These are all normal responses to loss and need to be validated.

5. Encourage them to talk about their feelings. Then listen!

6. Share your own feelings. It’s okay to share tears and hugs.

7. Emphasize that they could not have prevented what happened.

8. REGARDING SUICIDE: Emphasize that suicide is a mistake — a permanent solution to temporary problems, and that other people would have helped ________________ if he/she had been able to ask for help.


Jones said their job is to “stabilize” and “triage” the building by providing support to staff and students.

The bulk of what the crisis team does happens before school starts when a group of counselors, usually 3-5, depending on the anticipated impact of the tragedy meet with administration to discuss how to present the tragedy to the teachers and student body. So everyone is on the same page, an email is then sent with a script to tell teachers exactly what to say to students.

Often a member of the crisis team will go into the deceased student’s classroom, read the script if the teacher is unable to and then answer questions.

“We do a good and deliberate job of just giving the facts because it’s not uncommon for kids to say, ‘I heard’ or ‘I saw’,” said Gail Winden, a transition counselor with the school district. “Everything is scripted. We work real hard to meet them (students) where they’re at and allow them to begin to process.”

The crisis team will also follow the student’s schedule.

“We’ll have a physical presence in the classroom of the student because those tend to be the toughest classrooms to get back on track because there’s an empty desk there,” Jones said.


THINGS A GRIEVING CHILD NEEDS

a. Someone to listen to them

b. Empathy

c. To know they are safe

d. Have their questions answered over and over again

e. To know it’s not their fault

f. Permission to feel

g. Opportunity to express their feelings in several ways

h. Have feelings validated

i. Structure and routine

j. Permission to be quiet

k. Permission to be a child


While the school day proceeds as usual, students are also encouraged to go to a safe place somewhere in the building, like the McNary library, where they can talk with a counselor one-on-one.

“It’s allowing the school to go along with their routine because routine is really important,” Curran said. “It’s keeping the school functioning at a normal level for those students are aren’t as impacted and the students that are impacted have a safe place to go.”

In the safe place, kids are encouraged to do something to help the grieving family, like make a card. Those students are documented so the full-time counselors in the building can follow through.

The crisis team hears a lot of the same questions from students and staff: “Why?” or after a suicide, “I should have known.”

“Every person who knew a person says, ‘Man, what did I miss?’ Every teacher who had a kid, ‘What’d I miss?’ That part is universal,” Jones said. “Lowering that level of responsibility is a lot of the work.”

But the crisis team is mainly at the school to listen. They are not grief counselors.

“Any loss involves a fairly lengthy process to heal from,” Jones said. “We can’t fast forward that process for any building for any reason. Sometimes there’s a misunderstanding that we’re supposed to fix it, which is human nature and I get why, but really our job is to come in a stabilize. Every building that we’ve gone to any response to this year is still healing from that but that’s not our role. Our role is to go in so that they can even just have a normal school day and do school again. Those counselors in the building are still going to be seeing kids who are continuing to be impacted. We’re kind of like the EMTs. We’re not the doctors.”

Social media has had a huge impact on the crisis team. While the counselors no longer break the news of a tragedy to students, they also have to quash rumors.

Jones said the best thing parents can do during a tragedy is be available and be a good listener.

“People in general are very uncomfortable talking about death and especially talking about that with their kids,” she said. “If there’s one message I could say to parents, there’s no magic to it.”

While Jones likes to alternate members of the crisis team and not call the same people every time, being a counselor takes its toll on those who respond.

Curran makes a point to give his wife and kids a hug when he gets home.

“One of the things that every counseling program is going to talk about is self care,” Curran said. “The difference between day in and day out and going to a response is you’re definitely with a magnitude of grief and loss like it’s on steroids. You’re like an vacuum sucking up everyone’s emotions and at the end of the day you just need to let it out. It’s just human nature. You’re trying to take care of other people but it’s important to take care of yourself. That’s why we have each other and we debrief.”

Jones enjoys a good cry. Earlier this school year, she was on her way to a movie theater when she got a call from law enforcement about a tragedy.

“I walked in and the lights went down and I just started crying,” she said. “I just indulged myself. I was sitting in a dark theater and I thought ‘I’m just going for it right now.’ No one knew but it was one way I could take care of myself.”

But Jones has also seen the good that can come out of tragedies.

“For every big black cloud that happens, there are always incredible silver linings,” she said.  “Sometimes it’s a heightened awareness around the needs of our community, an increase in empathy, an encouragement to everyone around that people matter. And I guess that’s one of the biggest surprises to me in every one of the responses that we ever go on. I always come out of them on the other end with a renewed sense of the goodness of people, kids, staff, parents, community. There’s always a silver lining.”

McNary halfway through league play

Matthew Ismay leads McNary in points, rebounds and assists as the Celtics are tied for the top spot in the Greater Valley Conference midway through the season. (KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley)

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary boys basketball coach Ryan Kirch knew playing in the Greater Valley Conference would be tough.

He just didn’t realize how tough.

“By far it’s the best league in the state for a number of reasons,” Kirch said. “One, there’s some very good coaching. Two, there’s some very good players. Three, there’s a lot of different styles. You’ve got a McKay team who runs the ball up and down the floor. South Salem can slow it down on you with some really good guard play. Sprague’s got a dominant post player. Forest Grove’s got great coaching. Every game is mentally draining. It makes it fun but it’s a real challenge to make sure you’ve got to be up and ready to go at all times or anybody can beat you.”

The Celtics went 6-2 in their first run through league play with their only losses coming in low scoring contests against West Salem and South Salem.

“The tempo was not in our favor,” Kirch said. “We recognize that teams might want to slow us down a little bit, which I would want to do the same thing if I was playing us. So we just have to do a better job of being able to execute in the half court and not become rushed. We get a little lost mentally and out of rhythm because things aren’t coming so easily for us. In that situation, we’ve got to be more mentally tough to get the shot we want.That’s a point of emphasis.”

McNary had a week off before it throttled North Salem 85-39 on Tuesday, Jan. 24 to begin the second half of GVC play. The Celtics play at Sprague on Friday, Jan. 27.

Kirch believes the break came at the right time.

“Our bodies are just banged up and people are just tired physically and emotionally,” he said.

“With the schedule, we really haven’t had a chance to get better ourselves. Having a week off really gives us a chance to really focus on ourselves. I think we’re aware of what we do well and our areas for improvement.”

And playing in such a strong league will benefit the Celtics at the end of the season.

“It’s an unbelievably tough year,” Kirch said. “We probably have five, maybe six of the top 20 teams in the state. I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least four of our teams in the final 16.

“One of the things I think is good for us is we’re seeing lots of different styles. Hopefully, when we get to the point where we’re in the playoffs, whether you’ve got a team that wants to press or zone you, half court and slow it down, by that point we should be pretty battle tested.”

At 7-2, the Celtics are tied atop the GVC standings with West Salem. Sprague is 6-2, Forest Grove 5-3 and South Salem 5-4.

McNary senior Matthew Ismay is averaging nearly 14 points, five rebounds and five assists per game.

The Lady Celts, who are 4-3 in league play, have also face an improved GVC.

After starting 1-2 with losses to West Albany and West Salem, McNary won three in a row before falling to South Salem 58-56 on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

“There were a couple of games that I wish we could’ve taken care of that we didn’t but I knew before the year started that our league as a whole was better,” McNary head coach Derick Handley said.

“I knew there were some teams like West Albany and Forest Grove that were going to be tough.”

Since North Salem’s girls are playing a non-league schedule and a game against Beaverton was canceled, the Lady Celts have had 10 days off before they return to the court on Friday, Jan. 27 at Sprague.

Handley noted McNary was playing its best basketball of the season before the break.

“In the last four league games, we’ve been a lot more balanced,” Handley said. “I think we’re becoming more of a unit. Less than just a couple of girls and more of a team. We’re growing and learning our new roles.It’s kind of unfortunate to have 10 days in between but hopefully Friday we’ll be back where we were and ready to go.”

Senior Sydney Hunter leads McNary, averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds per game.

Kailey Doutt is scoring 12 points per contest.

The Lady Celts are fourth in the GVC behind South Salem (8-0), West Salem (6-2) and West Albany 5-3).

“We do have the ability and the talent that we could run the table in the second half,” Handley said. “It’s huge. The second part of league is going to be big for us.”

Men of the hour

The Keizer Chamber of Commerce held its annual award banquet last Saturday, honoring four men who have played an outsized role in the community.

James Trett was announced as Keizer’s First Citizen for 2016. He stepped up to the microphone to thunderous applause from the attendees, with a shocked, yet humble look on his face.

Trett’s biggest impact over the past four decades has been his work with Keizer’s youth. His work as the Keizer Fire District’s public education officer brought him in contact with students at schools. Growing from that role Trett soon was teaching first aid and CPR to kids.

His work with kids did not stop when he left the public education post. Whiteaker Middle School was  his second home as he assisted with the choir program and other duties around the school. The Chamber recognized him the first time in 2006 when he was presented with the Service to Education award.

Keizer is what it is because of people exactly like Jim Trett. He is a person who always asks “How can I help?” Like all good volunteers, Trett does what he does out of duty and passion, not recognition.

His quiet demeanor belies a fierce determination to do what is right and fair. All those that know Jim Trett personally is his friend; he’d have it no other way.

Trett’s choice as the First Citizen  was the right pick for this or any other year. Just as he has inspired decades of Keizer youth, he inspires Keizer’s grown-ups to do their duty and do their best.

Saturday’s award banquet was an evening of inspired choices. Bob Shackleford, local realtor, was named as Merchant of the Year. He was chosen for his volunteer work in many areas but especially with a group he now leads: Men of Action in Keizer (MAK), the counterpart to the Keizer Network of Women (KNOW).

Shackleford is constantly on the watch for projects MAK can do to help the community, organizations or individuals. No project is too small. From clearing brush and weeds to creating better sightlines for drivers, to assisting a widow of a late veteran, Shackleford rouses the group of men to do what needs to be done—all without any benefit to himself. That’s the definition of winner.

Keizer’s Mr. Christmas, Dave Walery, received his second President’s Award (the only person to have won the same honor more than once). The award was selected and presented by Chamber president Scott White.

White cited Walery’s non-stop  volunteer work that benefits Keizer and its residents from installing the Christmas lights on River Road to co-chairing the Keizer Iris Festival.  His position on the Chamber board of directors allows him to bring his common sense business acumen to the table.

Another person who has had major influence on Keizer kids is Larry Smith, who was honored with the Service to Education Award. Smith was a long-time football and softball coach at the club and school level.  His early works with youth football led, eventually, to McNary High School winning two state championships in four years.

Tough but passionate, Smith’s unwritten motto could easily be: never let winning get in the way of right and wrong. He taught his teams, at every level, the importance of playing the game fairly over any trophies or ribbons. A lesson that should still be very much in vogue.

Along with the Chamber of Commerce, the Keizer community congratulates all the deserving winners. They all bring to life our city’s motto of pride, spirit and volunteerism.

  –—LAZ

Rarin’ to go in 2017

From the Capitol
by Bill Post

On January 9, 2017, I took the oath of office as state representative from House District 25 (Keizer, St. Paul and Newberg) for the second time. I can assure you that other than the fact I had some kind of flu virus, the thrill was not one iota less than it was the first time in 2015.  To stand with 59 other citizens from all over the state of Oregon, citizens who decided to take the plunge and jump into public office, some for the first time, some for the 10th time, all willing to put aside family and free time to serve this state and its citizens, well, that was just a plain honor.  Just as it is an honor to serve the good people of Keizer for another term.

Many ask “What’s it like being on the House floor for the swearing in?” I can tell you that it is a very exciting moment when you are asked by the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, to raise your right hand and then to solemnly swear to uphold the U.S. and Oregon Constitutions.  Then to sign a document saying the same and knowing that you are one of only 90 members between the House and Senate, to sign that document.  It’s something I will never get used to.

So what happens from here?  My staff and I have moved to a new office this year and we’d love for you to come by.  We are still on the third floor of the House side of the building in office 387.  Once we are back in session on February 1, it will be crazy but exciting to try to bring all the ideas that have been crafted into bills together and try to do what’s best for Oregon. I can assure you I’ve not changed from two years ago when I first stepped into the office: I believe in less government, more freedom and a high regard for personal liberty. I will be serving on three committees this year including my second term on House Judiciary but now adding the House Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee as well as a brand new committee called Economic Development and Trade.

I still have the nickname of “No Bills Bill” and I am trying to limit the amount of bills that I submit.  At this point I have five “pre-session” bills that have now been read into the record and I have plans for three more.  I’ll have details on all of them at my website: www.billpost.us and I also strongly recommend the Oregon Legislative Information System website (olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/) as that site will tell you all the details of every bill  and committee in both chambers.  It’s a great site to get to know.

I look forward to serving you again in the 2017 session and want to let you know that my office is always ready to assist you in whatever way we can.

(Bill Post represents House Dis- trict 25. He can be reached at 503- 986-1425 or via email at rep.bill- [email protected])