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Day: May 5, 2017

Exchange students come to McNary

Of the Keizertimes

When a group of German high school students spent three weeks at McNary, they didn’t just observe classes, try new food and get a chance to work on their English.

They also got a taste of what it’s like to be an American teenager.

“I noticed especially for girls the parents seem to be a lot more protective in terms of dating,” said Elisa Hermann, one of the exchange students. “My host student for example wants to date a guy but her parents say that’s not okay and I don’t think that would be a normal thing in Germany. We’re a lot more independent in Germany.”

High school students from Stuttgart, Germany spent three weeks of April at McNary observing classes and taking in American culture. (KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley)

The 55 students, juniors all from the same bilingual high school in Stuttgart, Germany, each stayed with host families, 31 with McNary students and 24 in West Salem.

This summer, a group of West Salem students will travel to Germany for their part of the exchange. McNary students will then go to Stuttgart the following summer.

Since the German students go to a bilingual school, they take biology, history and geography in English, a language they begin learning in the first grade with lessons really picking up in middle school.

“I think our English got a little bit better,” David Lippert said of the trip to America.

The students got to pick which classes to observe at McNary, which was refreshing.

“We don’t get electives and we don’t get our own individual schedules,” Hermann said. “It’s pretty cool to have the freedom to actually choose from all of the subjects that we don’t have.”

“Just the variety of different subjects here is crazy cool,” Lippert said. “You could go cooking and then to animal behavior.”

Philiip Class was most impressed by the weight room.

“In Germany, we don’t have a weight room at school and I really like that,” he said.

The exchange students did acknowledge visiting a German class was a little awkward.

“When we were supposed to work with the Americans some just wouldn’t talk to us because they were ashamed and I get it but it was a little bit sad,” Hermann said.

The German students also noticed a different dress code at McNary.

“Here you have some people walking around in PJs and some people are all dressed up,” Hermann said. “In Germany, there isn’t a rule that would prohibit that (PJs) but people would just judge you. We probably wouldn’t wear sweat pants to school.”

Both Hermann and Carlotta Keppler’s eyes got big when they were asked about shopping at the Woodburn outlets.

“There was this one deal in the Converse shop, (buy) one pair and (get) the second pair for half the price and we did it together,” Keppler said. “In Germany it wouldn’t be possible for two girls to get this deal because probably it would be for one person.”

“I feel like the stores would be a lot stricter in Germany,” Hermann said. “I think the general prices are pretty comparable to the German ones but they have deals that we just wouldn’t get.”

The students also said they don’t have streets like River Road with restaurant after restaurant next to each other. There also isn’t any Mexican food or leftovers.

“Here a family cooks dinner and they eat it for two or even more days,” Class said. “In Germany, we usually cook what we can eat for one meal.”

Lippert has been fine eating leftovers.

“I like my food a lot because my exchange father he cooks very good,” Lippert said.

Another big difference is schools having their own sports teams.

“It’s not like that in Germany at all,” Class said. “Sports in Germany are always separate from the school. You can participate in a sport if you join a private club.”

Lippert noticed how much more time Americans spend in cars.

“Cities in Germany are much more compact,” he said. “There’s much more space here in America.”

The German students spent the weekends exploring the rest of the state. Hermann went to Silver Falls State Park and Sisters.

“What’s interesting here is you can drive to the Cascades and get a completely different climate and that doesn’t happen in Germany,” Hermann said. “Everything is quite similar climate-wise in Germany and here it’s a big change just like that.”

Exchange programs are more common in Germany. Class, Hermann and Keppler had already been in similar programs before they came to Oregon.

Class spent a year in Minnesota. Herman was in Canada for six months and Keppler went to France for three months.

The students left Keizer on Friday, April 21 and then spent a week sightseeing in San Francisco before going back to Germany.

McNary senior up for Oregon Sports Award

McNary senior Katelyn Lester will attend the Oregon Sports Awards on June 18 at Nike’s World Headquarters as one of 12 nominees for the Play It Forward award. (Submitted)

Of the Keizertimes

A year ago, McNary senior Katelyn Lester “never in a million years” thought she would be invited to the Oregon Sports Awards show along with the best athletes in the state or up for the same honor that in 2015 went to former Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Last April Lester was diagnosed with mononucleosis and when the symptoms lingered for months she went to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland for more tests. Lester had a 104 degree fever, severe joint pain, migraines and doctors didn’t know why. A year later, they still don’t.

Due to fatigue, Lester gets out of school everyday at 12:45 and, except for a single serve to open the match on senior night, she wasn’t allowed to play volleyball.

But that didn’t stop Lester from contributing in other ways. One of those was keeping stats.

“It was definitely hard not to play volleyball, just because it was my senior year but I was happy that I got to be part of the team in some way,” Lester said. “I still feel like I made an impact on the team. I went to all of the practices and all the tournaments and games and it was still cool to be a part of that.”

Lester also wanted to show people that even if you have an injury you can still be part of a team.

“You have the freshmen that come in and the program can be intimidating at first because you go from middle school to high school and I wanted to help them get comfortable,” Lester said. “I’ve played with the girls on varsity for years now. I didn’t just not want to be part of that experience anymore.”

Lester has taken the same route with golf this spring, going to practices even though she can’t compete.

And it’s that mentality along with volunteering with OSAA that got Lester one of 12 Play It Forward awards.

The honor, presented by Nike and Providence Health and Services, went to two high school and two college athletes each season, fall, winter and spring.

Of the 12, one will be honored as the Play It Forward Athlete of the Year at the Oregon Sports Awards on June 18 at Nike’s World Headquarters in Beaverton and receive a $2,500 scholarship.

On the same night, the top male and female athlete in each sport will also be announced.

“There’s a lot of amazing super talented athletes that will be at that event,” Lester said.

“Never in a million years would I of thought that I could be there. Even if I don’t win, I still can’t thank them enough for this opportunity. I can’t thank my coaches and OSAA for giving me the opportunity to help people. Even if I don’t win, the scholarship is going to someone who helped people, too, so I can’t be upset about that.”

Lester wants to be a nurse and would be the first in her family to go to college.

Lester’s volunteer work includes the OSAA foundation, which provides athletes in need with clothes, shoes and equipment.

The foundation gets lists from different schools, goes shopping at DICK’S Sporting Goods and then boxes the items up at the OSAA office in Wilsonville.

“That’s one of my favorite things to do because then I feel like I can help athletes all over Oregon,” said Lester, who also volunteers at different championship events—football, volleyball, wrestling and track and field.

Her main job is social media.

“I love sports and I just love helping out,” Lester said.

Sidewalks for Cummings

To the Editor:

Hooray for Cummings Elementary School Principal Martina Mangan and school crossing guard Carol Doerfler for advocating for sidewalks adjacent to Cummings School.  A sidewalk is more than a decade overdue. Cummings Elementary, built in 1953, replaced the original wooden Keizer School. When constructed, Cummings was the only functioning school in the Keizer area.  Since then, McNary High School, the two middle schools and five elementary schools have been added within the city.  Keizer became a city in 1982.  A year later the population was 19,650 and by 2016 had increased to 37,505 residents.

The sidewalk near Cummings is the city’s responsibility not the school district’s. The Salem-Keizer School District is challenged to make ends meet with increasing student enrollment and growing societal demands for services beyond the classroom.  Statewide budget shortfalls are causing school districts to make cuts to their 2017-2018 budgets.  The Salem-Keizer District estimates a deep cut of about $6 million smaller than the current school year.  Traffic Safety Committee member Kathy Lincoln’s statement:  “If we can get some cooperation and investment from the school district it might help the process along,” is completely unrealistic.

Times have changed and the city must be responsive to the safety needs of students and their families.  Continuing with an outdated budget is not responsible for meeting an expanding city’s needs.  Keizer City Council and the Traffic Safety Committee should plan for and write a budget that includes sidewalks near schools. Verda Lane is another example of a heavily trafficked road near two schools used by elementary and middle school students.  As Keizer grows investment improving infrastructure in residential areas impacted by that growth needs to be a top priority.

Cathey Philbrick

The conduct of Rep. Bill Post

To the Editor:

I happen to agree with Mr. McCall (Letter to the Editor, April 21) to a degree with his remarks regarding the conduct of Rep. Bill Post when it comes to him representing House District 25. Bill Post, despite his good intentions,  does not fully campaign for issues that don’t benefit his vision of what House District 25 would be like.

A particular issue that I think was never going to work with him is and remains true to this day is the issue of public transportation. It remains my opinion that Post campaigned against the payroll ballot measure last fall despite needing support to win reelection it all comes down to money…the power of money is ever apparent in the world of politics. He claims to have supported this campaign against this measure solely as a private citizen—he supports other issues such as the water crisis in St. Paul during the last storm period always wearing his “private/public” hat. To me you cannot have it both ways. Even after this “dirty” campaign he put forth a half-hearted bill to supplement his participation in the campaign itself—that, too, failed. All he could say was “Well I tried, you could give me credit at least.”

To me this is 100 percent both disappointing and shameful. I do continue to support Bill Post despite his lack of effort on bills that are considered by most Tea Party-styled Republicans to be dead issues.

You can do anything and everything you want that you think is good, Bill Post, but the people don’t forget and the people who put you where you are now will continue to watch and listen to what you say. Please be mindful of the fact that the upper 10 percent who have hundreds of thousands of dollars weren’t the only ones who put you into office; we all put you into office

Dakota Saunders

A lesson for Rep. Bill Post

To the Editor:

I wish to thank Representative Bill Post for his article of April 28th.  He presented a lesson on how to miss the point.  Even though the bills he sponsored help low income families are admirable, would it not be helpful to build up our economy?  Why has Mr. Post not worked to help working people earn a living wage instead of giving a public handout? Or, as Ronald Reagan said, “There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.”

Mr. Post has forgotten the lessons of Ronald Reagan. Those lessons were to do your job and build consensus to pass legislation. Any member of the legislature can submit legislation, but true leadership of a representative is working to build consensus to get it passed. Instead Mr. Post spends his time blaming others. Mr. Post should be mindful that 2018 is not that far away instead of sitting on his incumbency and making excuses.

David McCall

Convenience parking lot for McNary High

To the Editor:

The City puts forth a false representation in word of supporting the Newberg Drive residents but they show a huge difference in their actions.

They are supporting making this neighborhood into a parking lot for only the convenience of the students. I say this because two years ago and many years previously this problem of students overtaking and using our streets as a parking lot and drop-off point for the school and they parked and dropped off the students in other places without problems.

Now each morning the students fill our neighborhood and so its no longer “public parking” it is now a “free parking lot” for the school. The city is telling us one thing and doing another by trying to upgrade McArthur St. to accommodate the student parking and even going to the extreme to send over two uniformed motorcycle police officers to “convince” the neighbors to allow the city to make changes to McArthur St. for a student parking lot.

I came to Keizer 19 years ago and made improvements to the city only to have my improvements and property degraded by turning it into a “Student Convenience Parking Lot”

At the May 1 council meeting City Manager Chris Eppley told me to go to the school district to file my complaints, but I already did that last year with no results and the school district suggested that I go to the City of Keizer with my complaint. I feel that we are being taken advantage of and jacked around by the school and the City of Keizer.

In addition to the “Convenience Parking Lot” for the students they have created a traffic hazard by all the students being dropped off and picked up where there are no sidewalks, crosswalks, or traffic control. When one of them gets hit by a car then who gets the blame? I would say the city should get the blame for not using the authority they have to stop this madness. Get a backbone Keizer and stand up for your residents and safety of the students and tell McNary High School that the city of Keizer demands they lock the gate or you will block it (which you can do). This would solve all of the problems that exist purely for the convenience of the students.

Charles Anderson

Same results after state elections

To the Editor:

Strange, I didn’t see Gene McIntyre criticizing former President Obama when he flew his wife and daughters to South Africa, Hawaii, etc. (Change how colleges do business, Keizertimes, April 21). And, by the way, after whose watch do we have all these homeless, hungry people?

How many times do we have to elect the same people before we realize they are the problem? The same is true, by the way, in our state.

The Democrats have been in charge for decades. How much have conditions improved? Time to think.

C. Kent McCurdy

Read more to parse ‘fake news’

A Box of Soap

Believe me, vocabulary in America is a total disaster.  Many, many of us don’t know how really, really bad this is. We’ve got to get very, very tough in order to stop this American carnage.

We are grateful that we were able to raise our children in Keizer, home of average schools for our blessedly average children.  From this decent and humble platform they have taken off to accomplish things that leave us slack-jawed in amazement. The credit is theirs, same as it would be if they were both imprisoned for stealing hubcaps.  If I were to immodestly take credit for any small advantage we provided to our children it would be our interest in words.  Every time an unfamiliar word came up at the table, or in their homework, or in the newspaper, or anywhere else, we immediately looked it up to learn exact meaning and pronunciation.  We thought it was important.  We still do.

“The limits of my language are the limits of my mind.  All I know is what I have words for.”  Thus sayeth Ludwig Wittgenstein, renowned philosopher interested in mathematics, the mind, and linguistics.  That is a frightening concept when applied to a whole generation being raised on Tweets and Facebook memes.

In what seem like imprecise estimates, I was able to find studies that show average American adults to have a vocabulary of 20–35,000 words.  A college educated speaker may have 80,000 words to choose from. The same studies held that vocabulary growth stops at middle age. Middle age was also left undefined, though I am certain it’s not in my own future.

A word I have always loved is curmudgeon.  After reading some of the pieces I had submitted in this space many years ago my mom thought I sounded curmudgeonly.  I plead guilty.  But that doesn’t mean I believe knowing more words makes you smarter or better.  Words are the tools of communication.  Communication is what can make you smarter or better.  Understanding of everything you hear or read is dictated by your vocabulary.   If there is a complete set of tools in your vocabulary toolbox you can analyze the work of all the brightest authors and speakers.    

It has been a little off-putting to read the news lately.  Even stories from national wire sources have what seem to be clumsy and poorly chosen words and phrases.  That is probably the result of the modern necessity for reporting news thirty seconds after it takes place. It may also be the result of media understanding the modern American attention span. Media sources can hear the clickers clicking when they dare to cover a story for more than ninety seconds.

“Sound is the vocabulary of nature”

– Pierre Schaeffer.

Because I don’t understand anything happening in national affairs anymore I have been spending a lot of time slowly wandering around wildlife refuges. It is a comfort.  Birds and critters communication always seems constructive.  Not much of the petty, shrill, and hurtful.  It is in some way restorative and peaceful.

The studies about vocabulary also discovered that the best method of increasing your vocabulary is to read fiction. Authors of novels and stories are freed of time constraints and able to lovingly and painstakingly seek out the word they really want.  That is good for all of us in the age of “fake news.”  Everything is fiction.  I would also add that some of you with truly expansive vocabularies might email some of your extra, little-used words to the White House.   We would all win and winning is very, very tremendous.

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

President Trump hits a milestone


There are two ways to look at President Donald Trump, observed Lee Edwards, distinguished fellow of conservative thought at The Heritage Foundation. One is that Trump is “a feckless idiot” who is “almost dysfunctional.” The other is that “this man actually knows what he’s doing.”

Which is the real Trump? At a Heritage symposium on Trump’s first 100 days in office, Edwards went with the second option. He said he believes Trump “very cleverly” does what many politicians do—get the opposition to underestimate them.

“This is more work than in my previous life,” Trump told Reuters on Thursday. “I thought it would be easier.”

Was this an attempt at get Democrats to underestimate him? More likely these remarks are just another example of Trump being Trump—a supremely confident and perennially impulsive billionaire who just admitted that he underestimated how difficult it is to actually be the leader of the free world.

People often forget that presidents are human beings, with great strengths that carry with them corresponding weaknesses. Trump voters went with the brash billionaire because he was a non-politician who promised to shake the Washington power elite to its core.

The flip side of that coin is that, as an outsider, Trump doesn’t have any experience navigating Congress. And as a true outsider, he hasn’t tried particularly hard to hire top staffers who know how. It is no surprise then that Trump’s first foray into the sausage making of legislation—his bid to repeal and replace Obamacare—fell flat, even though his party controls the House and Senate.

Trump’s behavior in his first six weeks in office handed his critics ammunition to fire back at him. As he took the oath of office, Trump did not use the occasion to reach across the aisle, as he did during his election night acceptance speech.

The next day, as anti-Trump marchers filled the streets of Washington and other cities, Trump sent out Press Secretary Sean Spicer to launch his first press conference haranguing the news media for its “shameful” reporting on the size of the new president’s inauguration crowd on the Capitol Mall.

During a bipartisan meeting with congressional leaders Trump groused that millions of “illegal” voters deprived him of the raw vote victory he otherwise would have won. To this day, Trump has provided no proof of such massive voter fraud, and the sort of bluster that worked for the unorthodox candidate during the 2016 primary has backfired.

And that was just his first week.

Former Congresswoman and Obama State Department Under Secretary Ellen Tauscher said she would give Trump a grade of D or F for his first 100 days, “because a lot of the mistakes are self-inflicted.”

On day seven, the Trump administration botched its rollout of a travel ban on individuals from seven Muslim majority countries. It was a poorly drafted document that needlessly alienated allies in America’s war on terrorism. Trump’s attacks on the “so-called judge” forced his Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to distance himself from the president’s rhetoric.

A second more carefully crafted travel ban released weeks later also was blocked by federal judges.

The specter of Russia haunted Trump’s first days in office as Democrats argued for a bipartisan investigation into Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 election. Although he provided no proof, Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told the media there was more than circumstantial evidence that the Trump team colluded with Russia.

It didn’t help when The Washington Post reported that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his relationship with Russia. After the story went public, Trump fired Flynn.

Then on March 4, Trump tweeted that “Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower.” Trump’s failure to produce any corroborating evidence enraged the left.

Thereafter Trump exercised more discipline on Twitter. About this time, the Trump White House hit a turning point. Trump’s Feb. 28 joint address to Congress received rave reviews. The president seemed to move away from his more bellicose advisers and toward the people whose advice, when heeded, resulted in praise.

With Flynn gone, Trump found a savvy foreign-policy triumvirate in Flynn’s replacement, H.R. McMaster, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis that lifted his standing on the world stage, and guided Trump to enforce former President Barack Obama’s red line against the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

In the last few weeks, Trump has been talking about how much he likes Angela Merkel. They talked on the phone twice in April.

“He likes to talk to people who take him seriously,” James Carafano, a Heritage senior fellow and member of the Trump transition team, explained.

It was that motivation that won Trump the GOP nomination and the White House last year. Trump wants history to take him seriously as well. He has come to understand that it won’t be easy. (Creators Syndicate)

‘He was walking him right toward the wood chipper’

Scott Edward Iverson

Man charged with attempted murder

Of the Keizertimes

A Stayton man is being held without bail after allegedly trying to push a co-worker into a running wood chipper.

Keizer Police Department was contacted by an employee of a Salem tree service working in the 900 block of Moneda Avenue North about 2 p.m. Thursday, April 27. The caller reported that one employee “snuck up” behind a co-worker, assaulted him and attempted to throw him into a wood chipper. The incident had occurred about 45 minutes prior to contacting police.

Investigating officers learned that the victim was loading brush into the wood chipper when his co-worker – identified as Scott Edward Iverson, 26, of Stayton – came up behind him and put him in a chokehold while pushing his torso over onto the feeding table of the machine.

The struggle continued and the victim told police Iverson attempted to push him into the wood chipper a second time. A third co-worker spotted the altercation and intervened by pulling Iverson off the victim. Iverson then reportedly walked away from the scene on foot.

Kris Adams, a neighbor a few doors down from where the incident occurred, said she had just pulled into her driveway and looked down the street toward the noise.

“They were just going at it. The guy getting beat up was a little bigger it looked like, but the smaller guy was just pounding on him,” Adams said. “The little guy looked pretty strong and the thing that absolutely terrified me was he was walking him right toward the wood chipper.”

Adams said she started to approach them men and had her cell phone out to call 9-1-1 when the other worker intervened.

“The victim’s face was bloodied when it was all over,” Adams said.

The victim told police he was unaware of any reason for the attack, but that he feared for his life at the time.

Investigators located Iverson at a restaurant and lounge in Stayton about 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 28, and he was taken into custody without incident.

He was taken to Marion County Correctional Facility where he is being held without bail on one count of assault in the fourth degree and one count of attempting to commit a Class A felony (murder).

According to court records, Iverson’s only prior run-in with police was an arrest from driving under the influence of intoxicants.

Anyone having any information about this incident is asked to contact Detective Ben Howden at 503-390-3713 Ext. 3525.