Subscribe to get tough, fair journalism seven days a week.
Subscribe today

Month: June 2017

Legion team calls Keizer home

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

The Crushers Post 58, an American Legion baseball team in Stayton, have moved to Keizer.

Led by former Stayton High School coach Drew Heard, the team is a collection of the best players from McNary, McKay, Silverton, Regis, Kennedy and Stayton.

“I chose not to coach in high school this year because I wanted to focus on the Legion program and I wanted to move us out of Stayton because it didn’t make any sense for us to be out there,” Heard said. “The majority of our team is coming from Salem. To have kids driving all the way out there every single day for a ‘home game’ or practice was just kind of silly.”

Heard also wanted to pick the right kind of players.

Riley Hays, a 2017 McNary graduate, hits a ball to left field. (KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley)

“I wanted to scout and I wanted to get really good character kids and I think we did that,” Heard said. “I really feel good about our club. I feel good about the direction that we’re going and I feel really good about representing the community.”

Eight of the 18 Crushers played for the McNary varsity team last season—2017 graduates Josiah Gilbert, Jonah Geist, Joshua Benson, Riley Hays, Brendan Frizelle and Daniel Johnson as well as rising senior Carl Rumbaugh and junior Tyler Covalt.

The Crushers, who have more than 30 games scheduled between June 12 and July 19, play their home contests on McNary’s Vic Backlund Field.

Keizer plays in the six-team Area 3 with squads from Salem, Dallas, Albany, Corvallis and Newport.

After the regular season, the top four teams will play another area in a best of three super regional with the winners advancing to the double elimination state tournament in Klamath Falls at the end of July.

The Crushers opened the season 4-3 after falling at Corvallis 7-0 on Monday, June 19.

Keizer split with the Gerding Builders on Sunday. After losing the first game 6-3, the Crushers won the second game 2-1 in 12 innings. Geist scored the winning run on an error.

Gilbert got the start on the mound and allowed just six hits and one unearned run over eight innings. He struck out 11 and walked two.

“The difference in Josiah from a year ago is almost indescribable,” Heard said.

“His mentality is entirely different. He’s mechanically 10 times better. He’s just doing a great job and he deserves all the credit in the world for all of the work that he’s put in.”

Hays earned the win, allowing just two hits over four shutout innings.

Keizer swept N.W. Stars Academy 8-3 and 8-5 on Saturday.

Geist was 1-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs while Covalt was 2-for-3 and scored a run in the first game. Brycen Schumacher was 1-for-2 with a double and two runs in the second game.

The Crushers are taking a break from league play to host a tournament June 22-25 that includes a team from Perth, Australia.

Pool play games are scheduled for 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The championship game will be played on Sunday at Willamette University.

“We had a lot of meetings before the season that we wanted to change the mentality of the program and to change the way the program has done things in years past,” Heard said.

“These kids have bought in and they are working incredibly hard and I’m just really proud of them and I think that we have great potential. as a team and as a program. I feel really, really great about how we’re going to represent the community.”

New bike repair hub headed to civic center

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

After almost a year of talking about installing a bike air pump/repair station around the Keizer Civic Center, the new amenity is on the way.

Hersch Sangster, chair of the Keizer Traffic Safety, Bikeways and Pedestrian Committee, updated the committee on rapid progress in a meeting Thursday, June 8.

A new bike repair station, complete with tools and an air pump, is expected to be installed at Keizer Civic Center by August. (File)

Sangster said he’d been passing out fliers hoping to drum up financial support for the project whenever he could and crossed paths with Steve Dickey, operations officer for Salem-Keizer Transit. That led to contacting Kiki Dohmman, head of the Cherriots Trip Choice program, which had extra funds to spend before the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

“The station has been ordered and we will be reimbursed for the cost,” Sangster said.

Keizer public works staff will install the station near the bike rack at the Keizer Civic Center. Sangster hopes it will be up and operational by August.

In other business:

• Committee members Pat Fisher and Kathy Lincoln took a field trip to Cummings Elementary School to observe traffic problems around the school in hope of finding some way to alleviate potential hazards.

“The problem is that there is more than one problem,” Fisher said.

The 450-student school has only one bus route and the rest of the student body walks, bikes or gets dropped off by parents and guardians.

Some of the issues identified included: drivers making U-turns on Delight because of poor connectivity in the streets around the school; parents and guardians parking along most of the neighborhood streets adding to congestion and pedestrian traffic; and volunteer traffic coordinators are not always in sync.

“Solving a problem in one area could push it into another area,” Fisher said.

The pair came to the conclusion that the best path forward would be following the Safe Routes to Schools action plan, which would involve assembling a committee of parents, faculty and city staff to come up with a holistic solution.

“You would at least have a chance to hear about all the issues and get a consensus about things that could be done and the inconveniences associated with some of the options,” Fisher said.

• Fisher also had an update on the potential for new wayfinding signs along the Salem-Keizer Parkway bike path. Fisher spoke with Dorothy Upton, an engineer with the Oregon Department of Transportation, and determined that sign content as well as locations would need to be approved by ODOT officials.

The next step in the process is sitting down with city staff to determine specifics and then running those by ODOT. After that, there will be a push to find funding. The projects is estimated to cost about $650.

Man arrested in teen sex sting

A Hubbard man is being held without bail after attempting to lure an underage victim to the Pilot Travel Center in Brooks with the intent of trading money and marijuana for sex acts.

J. Ahre

Keizer Police detectives arrested Joseph Ronald Ahre, 41, for multiple counts of sexual related crimes after foiling his plan to meet a female victim.

Keizer police detectives arrested Ahre at 12:41 a.m. Saturday, June 10, at the Pilot Travel Center as he waited in a private shower room for what he believed was a 16-year old girl.

Ahre thought he was going to personally meet the girl after communicating with her through text messages and making payment using PayPal, but in reality he was communicating with a Keizer detective who posed as the victim. Keizer police were made aware of Ahre’s activities after a prior allegation of similar contact with a teenage victim via Skype.

Ahre was taken into custody without incident and is currently being held for the crimes of using a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct, online corruption of a child, purchasing sex with a minor and luring a minor. He was transported to the Marion County Correctional Facility.

Due to the nature of the allegations against Ahre and his admission to having similar online contact with other girls, investigators are concerned there may be additional victims of whom they are not aware.

Anyone who experienced or is aware of concerning and/or inappropriate contact involving  Ahre is asked to contact Keizer Police Det. Ben Howden directly at [email protected] or 503-390-3713, ext. 3525.

McNary grad earns music scholarship

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Miguel Araiza, a 2017 McNary graduate, got the most out of the trumpet he picked up in the fourth grade, playing in the school’s marching band, basketball band, wind ensemble, brass quintet, jazz band, symphony and pit orchestra for the musical the Addams Family.

Now, Araiza is taking his talents to the University of Northern Colorado.

After auditioning in March, Araiza received a $36,000 Music Award to go along with a $8,000 provost and $4,242,04 Lois J. Erickson scholarship. He also earned three $1,000 scholarships—Keizer Rotary Wheat, LLC, Sheila Goodman Memorial and Withnell Music.

Araiza said all of the scholarships combined should pay for a little over half of his college costs.

Araiza was introduced to Northern Colorado through his trumpet teacher, Jamie Hall, who he began taking private lessons with at the end of the eighth grade.

Araiza picked the trumpet because his father played the instrument when he was younger.

“I was okay in middle school and it wasn’t until I started taking lessons coming into high school that I got a lot better,” Araiza said. “About halfway through junior year is when I decided this is what I want to do. This is what I wanted to pursue. I like that it’s a way for me to express myself and I feel like through it there’s a lot of different opportunities.”

During Araiza’s senior year at McNary, the brass quintet placed second at the OSAA/OMEA state ensemble in April. The wind ensemble then finished fourth in the state in May.

At Northern Colorado, Araiza plans to major in music performance.

“My main goal at this point is to not be a middle school or high school band teacher but I’m going for performance because my hope is I want to be a performer with a professional group,” Araiza said. “I know through that there’s plenty of opportunities, that many professional players now they teach. That’s when you can have opportunities to teach at universities or teach privately. I know I’ll still be able to get to teach and impact other people while performing, which is what I like to do.”

While McNary has given Araiza the opportunity to play all types of different music, his favorite is classical and orchestral.

Northern Colorado is located in Greeley, Colo., about 60 miles from Denver.

“I really liked the feel of the campus, the community,” Araiza said. “A lot of the students I met were really nice and friendly. They have an amazing faculty there. They were all really nice and seemed interested in me going there.”

Staffing changes on deck for MHS

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary is beefing up its one club, one sport, one activity for every kid every year initiative.

Instead of one activities director, the high school will have two in 2017-18.

Derick Handley, former girls basketball coach, is taking the lead on activities but he’ll be joined by art teacher Todd Layton.

“Derick is a great teacher who has great relationships with kids,” McNary principal Erik Jespersen said. “Todd is a great teacher who also has great relationships with kids and we really think between the two of them we’re really going to bring in a lot more kids into the fold and even more kids involved in clubs, sports and activities. It’s pretty exciting. I think it’s going to be great.”

Handley and Layton are replacing Dan Borresen, who has been promoted to assistant principal, where he will be in charge of the student management system as well as supervising the English department, counselors and attendance.

“Dan brings 27 years of teaching experience into this role,” Jespersen said. “He’s one of our strongest teachers we’ve had go through McNary. Really excited about having him on board.”

McNary will have two new assistant principals next school year as Rhonda Rhodes is leaving to become the Career and Technical Education Center principal.

Susanne Stefani is moving over to the curriculum assistant principal position formerly held by Rhodes while Christian Chapman in transferring over from instructional services to take on Stefani’s old responsibilities—supervising special education, health, summer school as well as working to close the access gap for advanced placement classes.

McNary will also have a new advisory period in 2017-18. Every student will meet for around 40 minutes once a week with the same teacher all four years.

“We do a great job of teaching our kids reading, writing and listening skills in a variety of different areas, science, social studies, whatever,” Jespersen said. “What we want to do an even better job of though is developing personal relationships with our kids. It’s hard to incorporate that sometimes when you’re teaching a content and we want every single one of our kids to have an emotional attachment to McNary High School. We just want to give dedicated time. It’s part of our overall mission to provide a world class education.”

Tom Cavanaugh has been hired to replace Dallas Myers as McNary’s drama director.

Cavanaugh was the drama teacher at Parkrose High School in Portland for four years and did his student teaching at McKay.

Jespersen, band director Jennifer Bell, choir director Joshua Rist and orchestra director Sean Williams interviewed seven people for the position.

“He (Cavanaugh) was highly recommended by his principal Molly Ouche, who I’ve known for a while, just highly relational with kids and the faculty,” Jespersen said. “I really feel, as everyone did, it was an unanimous selection to pick him, we just really felt like he’s going to be able to take us to the next level. We’re really excited. Theatre is a big deal in our school and our community. That will continue.”

Due to budget cuts, McNary lost two full-time equivalent positions. No one lost their job but two teachers were transferred within the Salem-Keizer School District.

“It’s not like it was in 2008-09 when people were actually losing their jobs,” Jespersen said. “As people retire or move on, that’s where the spots are filled. We are down two teachers. Our class sizes will go up a little bit next year.”

You can’t force people

The goal of identifying Keizer as a welcoming, safe and inclusive city is one that can be embraced by all citizens.

The plea from a small group of Keizer residents that went before the city council was for a Inclusivity resolution. Mayor Cathy Clark rightly asked the group to come back to the council with a plan of action the city could consider. The group (it doesn’t have a workable name yet) reported that other cities around Oregon are working on their own inclusivity resolutions.

The group is asking the city to spend precious resources to establish an official body that would work on language to put Keizer on the correct side of the issue. Even the simplest of city task forces or committees requires a meeting space, an official recorder and printed reports and meeting mintues.

Keizer and other local governments operate under federal non-discrimination guidelines. Many federal mandates are written to assure rights of individuals and organizations are maintained and protected.

What the inclusivity group is seeking is to legislate beliefs and behavior.

You can not force people to do what you want them to without the threat of consequences. Unfortunately, public messages meant to influence the actions of the public often falls deaf on the ears of those who are the message’s target audience.

Plus, you cannot pass an ordinance calling for the average citizen to welcome into their hearts and minds people they disagree with.

The best the city council should do is assure that the city charter uses inclusive language from top to bottom. The truest way to affect change is through action rather than word. City leaders can work to invite underrepresented communities into the civic fold—it is sad when almost a fifth of Keizer’s population is Hispanic and we’ve only had one Hispanic sit on the council in the city’s 35-year history.

To be inclusive Hispanics and other groups need to be invited to the table, appointed to city commissions, invited to take leadership roles in both civic and private organizations.

You can’t change people’s hearts and minds with ordiances so you have to do it with persistent messages of respect and invitation.

—LAZ

Fees

To the Editor:

This is in regard to the city council imposing a free for additional money for police and parks in Keizer.

After watching Police Chief  John Teague’s presentation at the special city council meeting, I am inclined to encourage the council to go ahead now with the fee for five police officers at $4 per month per city utility billing.

I am also in favor of indexing the fee if approved by future budget committees. As for the fee for parks, I would not have any problem with a fee of $2 per month and allowing that to be indexed by future budget committees. I would strongly oppose at fee of $4 per month for parks at this time.

Bill Quinn
Keizer

Why some people are unwelcome 

To the Editor:

In the letter sent by “Concerned friends” to the Keizer mayor, most readers will notice a gaping hole in the “friends” argument for making Keizer a “welcoming and inclusive city.”

“Inclusive” is a current buzzword used to obscure the fact that some people are defying the basic right of our nation to control immigration. Should such people be welcomed and made to feel included?

A nation that doesn’t have respected and enforced immigration controls, quite simply, cannot endure. The U.S. has clear borders, and a federal immigration system.

Every person entering the U.S. is supposed to be inspected by federal agents before being admitted.  The agents will check that the person is either a returning citizen, or has a valid visa or other official proof of identity giving that person the right to enter.  Anyone who sneaks in uninspected, or overstays a visa, is by law defined as an illegal alien.

Sadly, many Americans have died overdosing on drugs smuggled into the U.S. across our southern border by vicious illegal alien gang members now entrenched in Oregon. Our country has suffered deadly terrorist attacks made easy by poor immigration controls.  Excessive immigration has increased U.S. population beyond environmental carrying capacity, threatening natural resources.

 Our new president is dedicated to restoring integrity in immigration management.

Oregon and Keizer should cooperate in these efforts, not try to stop them.

Elizabeth Van Staaveren
McMinnville

Time for a good buddy tale

By DEBRA SAUNDERS

Americans needed a good buddy movie after a deranged gunman targeted Republicans practicing for a bipartisan ballgame to raise money for charities last week.

The attack left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., in critical condition and sent others to the hospital, including Capitol Hill police officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey, who fought off the shooter even after he wounded them.

So while Griner and Bailey recovered, Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and Michael Doyle, D-Pa.—managers of the rival Republican and Democratic teams—showed Americans a side of Congress voters rarely see on the news: partisans who disagree but are still friends.

Neither Doyle nor Barton used the violence to make a political point. Barton told PBS NewsHour, “We have an R or D by our name, but our title is United States Representative.”

Thursday, President Donald Trump wondered if Scalise “in his own way may have brought some unity to our long-divided country.”

Can something good happen from something so wrong?

Doyle suggested a path toward civility. “When people see their leaders being uncivil toward one another, then you see the public being uncivil toward one another and toward their leaders.”

He wasn’t blaming anyone for the lone-wolf shooter’s rampage. He was acknowledging how Americans look at Congress—and what members can do to restore their image. A recent Gallup poll found that 20 percent of Americans approve of Congress, while 74 percent disapprove. And that’s up from December 2013 when fewer than 10 percent of voters approved of Congress.

Mark Harkins, senior fellow of the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University, blames the jet airplane. Since the 1970s, as air travel became more ubiquitous, House members have gotten to know each other less and treat each other worse.

Congressmen and women often spend so little time in Washington, said Harkins, a former staffer for House Democrats, that they talk to each other like users of “an internet chatroom.”

Harkins noted that more than half of House members have been in Congress for less than eight years. Today’s congressmen and women, he said, “don’t have houses here. They don’t bring their families here, for the fear of seeming to have ‘gone Washington.’”

House Speaker Paul Ryan built his image as an anti-Washington frugal spender because he slept on a cot in his office and showered in the House gym. This is a model for many lawmakers who say their $174,000 salary cannot support two homes.

Voters may well think that’s a good thing. After all, who wants an elected representative more beholden to the machine than the people who sent him or her to Washington?

The downside of the new order, however, is that members feel little loyalty to the institution they serve. They run for Congress trashing Congress, just as Trump ran for president promising to “drain the swamp” that is D.C.

They visit their districts most weekends. They fly into the capital on Monday or Tuesday morning and fly home Thursday night.

The House working calendar has adjusted accordingly. Last year after reviewing the congressional work schedule, Reuters found that members “have been spending fewer days working in Washington since the late 2000s.” In 2016, the House scheduled 111 workdays. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform recommended 180-200 working days.

It’s no wonder then that Washington seems so dysfunctional. House members can’t get out of the beltway fast enough.

PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff was so taken with the team of Barton and Doyle that she wondered why news coverage didn’t reflect their mutual admiration.

“It doesn’t surprise me that Doyle and Barton are trying to do this kind of thing,” said Harkins; both men have been in the House for decades. Voters sent Barton to Congress in 1984 and Doyle was first elected to the House in 1994.

“Find me two guys who have been here for less than six years” who exhibit such friendship, said Harkins —then “you’ve got me interested.”

For his part, Doyle fingered the media. He told Woodruff, “We tend to be not the ones the media’s interested in interviewing … maybe the news media too could reflect a little bit more on that.”

(Creators Syndicate)

New tactics needed in Afghan war

By GENE H. McINTYRE

After 15 years of trying the same strategies and tactics to defeat the Taliban, would it not seem high time that something new is tried? Reference is made to our ongoing, apparently interminable military-on-the-ground presence in Afghanistan where draining the U.S. treasury and losing many young American lives goes on year-in and year-out to what’s now recognized as a protracted stalemate with neither side in the win column. This condition of futility goes for Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, too.

We went into Afghanistan for what was argued a good reason after 9/11, when the origin of that dastardly attack was determined to be al-Queda training camps located there.  The U.S. intent also was to exterminate the Taliban.  What began as an effort to exact revenge for killing thousands of Americans in New York City and Washington, D.C., and prevent a repeat, has turned into a war without victory for us and no end to resurgent activity by a deeply dedicated, and extremist-entrenched terrorist movement .

Now, American media report that there’s serious thought being given to increasing the number of U.S. military trying to end the Taliban, U.S. military numbers having waxed and waned to a present several thousand (8,400) with several thousand more under consideration.  Yet, the average taxpayer and the peace-loving American, with a heavy heart and moral conscience, wonders what, for heaven’s sake, is to be gained with the same performance repeated again and again.

Should U.S. numbers and accompanying NATO forces (13,500) leave Afghanistan, would those resurgent elements not turn from the fighting there to plot and scheme again, acts of violence in America and throughout Europe?  The answer is most likely, yes.  Nevertheless, a withdrawal by the U.S. and NATO would most surely be less expensive in most every way than the slippery slope of more-involvement-is-better U.S. actions now practiced in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, technology in abundance has been developed by sophisticated spy satellites, drone-carrying cameras and CIA informants to maintain surveillance on what those people are up to.  So, what’s keeping us from approaching the Afghan problem this way?  Once we’re gone, and NATO, too, keep a sky-eye on them and destroy activities that are judged by photo-analysis to be preparing to attack the U.S. and our allies.

As usual, this plan of surveillance-and-destroy accordingly presents a ‘fly in the soup’ of war.  There’s a huge military-industrial complex in our nation that makes monumentally large profits by building armaments and all the doodads that go to putting an army into the field and keeping it supplied with every possible support. Then there are those politicians and military personnel who keep themselves safe and entrenched in Washington, D.C. by supporting and beating the war drums so we can remain “safe.”

We could do much, much better at the ways and means we manage our human and material resources for national defense.  However, as long as a majority of the American people are willing to let those who keep us warring-by-feet-on-the-ground in Afghanistan and the like, even those who campaign against it when running for public office (remember what current Oval Office occupant repeatedly promised and his comments about Iraq before we invaded) while soon thereafter reveal their real intentions and thereby provide no light at the end of this tunnel.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)