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Month: June 2017

When it’s time for me to leave this mortal coil

Retirement has freed up a lot of time.  I’ve decided to use some of it for growing up and doing mature things.  It’s come to my attention that most responsible adults fill out wills in order to simplify life for their survivors.  Our chosen attorney says we should create the will, assign durable power of attorney to a trusted family member/friend, and leave an advance directive.  It’s the advance directive that excites the imagination.

The first thing we learned is that the attorney wants $250 an hour.  American pay scales aren’t associated in any way with stress levels.  Our daughter makes a fraction of that teaching math and science to middle-schoolers.  Never mind.

We are a family of modest means—an uncomplicated estate.  The will was simple. We assigned durable power of attorney to each other, then to the eldest child.  The advance directive provoked the interesting discussions.

Our advance directives came in a helpful booklet. The opening pages suggest different scenarios to jumpstart conversation about miserable ways to die. Can you talk about it?  Does money matter?  Religion?  Do you worry about being a burden to your family? Persistent vegetative state?  Incurable illness?  Then you are to discuss what measures should be taken to keep you alive even facing no hope of recovery.  As of this writing I don’t think I want any family member patiently keeping a bedside vigil, wishing they were somewhere else.  At my finest I am not a particularly responsive individual.  If I am totally unresponsive, pull the plug.

Then there is a worksheet to record your decisions.  They saved the best for last.  About my death:   Would I rather die at home or in a medical facility of some sort? Ideally I would vanish unnoticed into the forest.  Then you figure out who you would like present at your death. The people I care most about should not feel obligated to attend.  Instead I would like mandatory attendance by people who repeatedly take a full cart of groceries through the express lane, people who don’t say please and thank you, and people who post stuff that is vile and/or untrue.

At last you are asked to discuss what should be done with your remains. There are only two listed choices: burial or cremation.  Neither of those is very celebratory.  One thing that came to mind was a funeral pyre. I know that outdoor burning is prohibited in Keizer, but maybe we can make an exception.  I am hoping we can build a nice tall wooden structure with plenty of fuel in the center of our new roundabout.  Wrap me in plain linen and light me up.  Allow people to slowly circle and add combustibles that commemorate my existence.

If that seems too much to ask then we can go with my real first choice.  Wrap me in linen and set me on an Oregon beach atop a substantial pile of explosives.  There is precedent for this rite of passage.  We may be able to raise funds for charity by auctioning off the right to press the detonator.

My only other wish is to have Sean Spicer as funeral spokesperson. That will allow reports boasting the largest crowd ever to witness a funeral pyre in Keizer, or certainty that my remains will be blown to altitudes never reached by any stupid whale carcass.

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

Ismay to dual enroll at Linn-Benton, Oregon St.

Of the Keizertimes

Matthew Ismay, three-time Greater Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year, will be terrorizing a whole new group of opponents over the next two basketball seasons.

The 2017 McNary graduate has decided to play at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany.

Before Ismay chose Linn-Benton, he first had to decide which sport he would play in college.

Playing third base and hitting in the heart of the Celtics lineup this season, Ismay was unanimously voted to the All-GVC First Team by the league’s coaches after hitting .425 with two home runs, 11 doubles, 20 RBI and 22 runs scored.

But Ismay’s mind was already made up before the baseball season even started.

“I probably had a choice to play either (basketball or baseball) but I’ve always just enjoyed basketball a little bit more,” Ismay said. “I think it’s a little more exciting, a little more vigorous, and that’s why I like it. Even though I knew I was probably better at baseball, my goal was always to play basketball.”

While Ismay also looked at Southern Oregon and Oregon Institute of Technology, he ultimately chose Linn-Benton for more playing time on the basketball court and a dual enrollment program at Oregon State, where he plans to major in engineering.

“If I go to a place like that (OIT), I might not play for a couple of years,” Ismay said. “I’d rather just go to Oregon State where I’m going to have a lot more of my friends and people I know going there and just play right away.”

Due to Oregon Promise, Ismay, who was one of 20 valedictorians in McNary’s 2017 Class, can also take classes at Linn-Benton for free, before taking engineering and science courses at Oregon State.

“I’ve always had an affinity for science and math and I’ve taken some classes like that in high school that I’ve really enjoyed so that was one of the key things I was looking for was a good engineering program,” Ismay said.

Ismay, who was voted all-league First Team, led the Celtics in points (13.5), assists (4.6) and rebounds (5.1) last season.

His favorite memories on the basketball court were when McNary cut down the nets after winning league his sophomore season and then a 61-47 win at home against West Salem on senior night.

“I’ve always had a ton of great teammates over the years and I’ve been able to play on a lot of good teams,” Ismay said.

“There’s just a lot of big games and it was always fun to play in that environment.”

Few barriers for Keizer youth wanting tobacco

A Keizer kid under the age of 18 has about a 50/50 chance of walking into a River Road business and walking out with a pack of cigarettes they paid for.

That’s according to numbers provided based on Oregon Health Authority inspections in 2015. According to 2016 figures, the successful purchase of tobacco by minors was down to about 14 percent, but it’s difficult to compare year-over-year, said Inga Suneson, a health educator with the Marion County Health Department (MCHD).

“Because the teams don’t go to the same locations at the same times, there’s no real control number,” Suneson said.

The numbers themselves are alarming, Keizer has one of the worst rates of tobacco sales to minors in all of Marion County – Salem averages about a 13 percent rate with exponentially more outlets – and there are no inspections of vaping shops that now line River Road.

KEIZERTIMES/Andrew Jackson

To arrive at the aforementioned numbers, OHA sends 16-year-olds paired with retired Oregon State Police officers to tobacco-selling retailers and successful sales are logged. The teens are even look-tested by others to make sure they appear underage.

Suneson and MCHD Prevention Program Supervisor Kerryann Bouska set out last year to take the temperature of local jurisdictions’ openness to increasing regulation of tobacco products in all forms. The process included interviewing as many city councilors and mayors as they could regarding the potential support for new policies and regulations.

Suneson and Bouska are concerned about tobacco use by youth in all forms, but especially given an onslaught of new products seemingly aimed at the youth market.

Federal rules banned flavored cigarettes in 2009, but new products quickly took their place.

“Cigarettes have a minimum pack price, but you can roll flavored tobacco in brown paper and sell them two for $1.29,” Suneson said. “A lot of parents don’t go into the gas station when they are getting their fill-ups, we have to remind them that this is part of their world.”

The new products, dubbed “little cigars” and often in brightly-colored packages, sidestep the federal rules.

“It’s constantly evolving and we’re chasing them all the time trying to keep up,” Suneson said.

Current penalties for selling to underage users are also less-than-helpful. The clerk selling the tobacco is the one cited not the retailer.

“That means the owner can put the blame on individual clerks rather than establishing better policies for the whole store,” Bouska said.

The latest trend the pair is trying to catch up to is vaping.

“The idea that vaping is a better choice than using tobacco in another form is just erroneous. Taking superheated liquid into your lungs is not healthy,” Bouska said.

Vaping pens can also be used to smoke cannabis oil without the distinct associated odor.

Suneson said the general scientific consensus is that vaping is not the effective quitting tool it is sometime sold as.

“More often people start vaping and continue using traditional tobacco. The amount of nicotine in vaping liquid is also anybody’s guess,” Suneson said.

Also, because a single vaping tank can last for hours, it’s likely that vapers are ingesting more nicotine than they would otherwise because they no longer reach the natural end of a cigarette, she added.

Currently, Oregon does not require a license to sell tobacco products – even though one is required for selling Christmas trees and owning a dog – but that is the part Marion County health would like to change. Proposed legislation at the state level often gets hung up in the process, so MCHD is advocating for local jurisdictions to take up the issue.

It would start by establishing a citywide tobacco retailer licensing program and that would allow enforcement of associated rules, which could range from regular audits of the kind OHA performs to even increasing the purchasing age to 21. Suneson said roughly 90 percent of underage tobacco users are supplied by those age 18 to 21.

While middle school and high school students learn how to avoid things like peer pressure and deconstruct advertising campaigns, which are essential skills, more could be done to protect youth from the dangers of tobacco use, Bouska said.

“We have the tendency to put the onus of refusal on the youth, and their frontal lobe that includes reasoning and logic are still developing until the age of 25,” she said. “The economy is important, but at what health cost? And what could the (policy) umbrella do for our youth?”

Suneson suggested putting yourself in the shoes of a 15-year-old with all the power of Google in your pocket.

“If you’re 15 and do a quick Google search on vaping you will find arguments on both sides,” Suneson said.

Choosing which to believe, at a young age, is likely a better reflection of desire than informed decision-making, she said.

Thomas exits stage for film school

Of the Keizertimes

Ashton Thomas, the son of middle school choir and drama teachers, has spent as much time in the Ken Collins Theater as any McNary student over the past four years, acting in plays or musicals and singing in the choir.

But in college, Thomas has decided to step off stage to go to film school at Azusa Pacific University in Los Angeles.

Thomas said the decision has surprised many in the community who have praised his work after performances like Gomez in The Addams Family musical earlier this year.

“I was flattered but at the same time I feel like going as anything else but film would be, I don’t want to say I couldn’t do it but you have to have a certain mindset and drive for that sort of thing,” Thomas said. “I don’t think I would be able to keep up with the rest of the world out there.

“Not to say that I don’t love it (theatre) and I don’t really enjoy doing it more of just a hobby or for fun sort of thing, I do. I feel like film is a lot more comfortable and I still get the same artistic benefits and I still get to reap those rewards without necessarily having to compete in such a hard, dense, fast-paced musical theatre world. Behind the camera you can just show up, work hard and just be artistic.”

McNary drama director Dallas Myers, who presented Thomas with one of three outstanding senior actor awards at the Golden Onions, wishes he would continue theatre but knows Thomas will excel in whatever he does.

“I know you’re going into film and I’ll continue to shake my head for as long as I live but you’ll add life on the other side of the camera I’m sure every day of the week,” Myers said.

“You are a gift to this stage. A dynamic, transformative actor and a professional in every sense of the word, unbelievable, and can do anything on stage and anything that I ask him to do, he’ll do it. Every single time you grow and you transform yourself.”

Myers used the example of Gomez and Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast, as similar characters that Thomas was able to make different.

“They were so different and so wonderful and rich and full body and that is something that professional actors would die for,” Myers said.

While Thomas grew up acting, singing and dancing at Children’s Educational Theatre in Salem and in the annual cabaret at Whiteaker Middle School, his interest in film began as a sophomore at McNary when he took his first media productions class with Jason Heimerdinger.

“Right away Heimerdinger and me just connected,” Thomas said.

“I would spend hours every night just watching film tutorials and Youtube things so that was my first clue that I was going to do film because I wasn’t spending hours watching musical performances or new choir songs. It was all about film for me.”

At McNary, Thomas has worked on the Celtic Network News program and produced the senior film at the end of the year.

“I’ve found I like the production side a lot more, rather than sitting back at the computer,” Thomas said. “I love being out with the camera actually filming things and then editing it.”

At the senior awards banquet, he was named one of two Media Productions Students of the Year.

“Ashton appreciates taking the time to make something look beautiful rather than just pointing a camera and hitting record,” Heimerdinger said.

Thomas was also paid  to produce two commercials for the Salem-Keizer school district. In March, he directed a short film, APEX, for McNary’s One Act Festival.

When looking at colleges, Thomas applied to three film schools in Los Angeles and was accepted into Azusa and Biola.

The decision ultimately came down to money. Along with a $64,000 academic scholarship, Thomas is receiving a $20,000 grant and $12,000 cinema and arts scholarship from Azusa.

“This is the first time they’re doing a cinema arts scholarship of any caliber at all,” Thomas said.

“I was actually very surprised.”

While on campus, Thomas also auditioned for the Azusa choir.

John Sutton, director of choral activities, was so impressed that he offered Thomas a $15,000 scholarship per year if he changed to a music major.

Instead, Thomas is getting $4,000, the cap for non-music majors.

“He (Sutton) really, really liked me and he had some very nice things to say,” Thomas said. “I was very blessed by that. It definitely had me rethinking a couple of things.

“I do love choral music, especially this year with the new choir teacher (Joshua Rist) here. He’s really made that decision hard to not be a music major. I will be performing in one of their choirs because the way scheduling works out, it would be too hard to do more than one. It’s a great deal. I get paid to sing in a choir.”

Thomas is thankful for McNary, which allowed him to be a part of so many things while helping figure out what he wanted to do with his future.

“I think being in such a great place for the arts, such a great school that does it all so well has provided me with a lot of great opportunities to be a part of everything without overextending,” Thomas said.

“I’ve always had time for everything and I’ve always been able to feel like I’m committed to everything,  and I feel like it’s helped me sort out what I want to do with my future, which is all I can ever ask for.”

Longtime broker hangs new shingle on River Road

Of the Keizertimes

Karen Cota, the principal broker of At Home Real Estate, feels well-equipped to help her clients because she’s lived through the tough times herself.

She and her family had built their dream home on five acres in the Coburg Hills near Eugene when the bottom dropped out of the housing market in 2009. When she had to sell the home, it was devastating but she feels the lessons learned have made her a stronger broker.

“The things I have gone through have helped me ask the hard questions on everything from owning properties to managing rentals,” said Cota, who opened her new office at 4131 River Road North in May.

Even through the tough times, Cota maintained her membership in the local Multimillion Dollar Club for brokers with more than $1 million in sales annually.

“A broker has to know the most important information – if someone is behind on their payments, for example – so that we can build a good, solid understanding of where the clients want to go.”

As much as she’s interested in her clients’ immediate needs and desires, she wants to be able to place a home purchase in a larger picture of what her clients hope to accomplish.

Now in Keizer, Cota is looking for new clients with homes to sell, buyers looking for a new place to call home and even property management opportunities. She would also like to bring additional brokers into the At Home fold.

“I like helping people succeed, whether it’s someone buying their first home or a broker in their first year. That gives me energy,” Cota said.

For an appointment, call 503-990-6600.

KPD officer tapped for major award

Of the Keizertimes

Officer Martin Powell of the Keizer Police Department (KPD) can tell a lot about you just by looking into your eyes.

He’s particularly adept at determining whether you are or have recently been under the influence of an intoxicant or drug. Not only that, he could tell you what classification of drug you ingested with an accuracy rate of better than 80 percent.

For instance, he might ask you to follow his finger with your eyes as he traces a line across your field of vision. A sober person could do so with ease, but certain intoxicants will cause pupils to stutter – like when you turn on the windshield wipers on a dry day – a “nystagmus” in his terminology.

“There will be small pauses and then spurts of movement,” said Powell. “Depressants will cause pupils to constrict to pinpoints even at nighttime. Stimulants and hallucinogens will cause pupils to dilate at a much slower rate than normal.”

Officer Martin Powell, of the Keizer Police Department was recently honored with the Kenneth Snook Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Award of Excellence. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Those are just a few of the more than 200 clues he can use to make his assessments, and he is very good at it. He’s kept up his 80 percent accuracy rate for five years running in addition to racking up a number of DUII arrests and training his fellow officers in-house and at other agencies.

It was those combined efforts that led KPD Sgt. David LeDay to nominate Powell for the Kenneth Snook Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Award of Excellence. Powell was selected as the winner by the award committee last week.

“You have to be above and beyond the average officer for the DRE field and you have to go above and beyond that to be worthy of this award, but that is Martin. He does this for no extra pay or extra incentive than what he gets out of it,” LeDay said.

Powell is only the seventh officer to receive the award since its inception in 2010, but he’s now joined the ranks of the very same people who trained him in drug recognition techniques.

“Those people on that list (of award winners) were the ones that instructed me and they know the material inside and out as far as teaching. It was humbling to even be considered for that list, much less have my name on it,” Powell said.

Powell started as a reserve officer with Polk County in 2002 and caught the DUII-recognition bug from his fellow officers.

“I learned their passion. The reason I liked it is it’s an opportunity to prevent crime, it’s proactive,” Powell said.

LeDay equates a DUII arrest to stopping a homicide in progress. Not every instance of driving under the influence ends in a fatality, but the ones stopped before reaching that point can save lives.

Powell had to undergo a rigorous selection process to qualify for DRE classes and then had to complete the classes themselves before being certified five years ago.

While drunk driving can be assessed with the assistance of technology, Powell’s DRE skills are brought into play when a breath test yields negative results. When that happens, Powell is brought in for an assessment that covers everything from basic physiology, like pulse rate, to behavior to recent history.

In the best cases, he can help divert someone from their trajectory into rehab or open up a single arrest into a larger investigation into the production or delivery of controlled substances.

“I get letters from people I arrested that thanked me for doing it. They know it was terrible at the time, but they’ve changed their life or helped others after getting clean or sober,” Powell said.

Powell doesn’t come out and say it, but he takes a lot of pride in his work and seeks out arrests – DUIIs – that other officers are less comfortable with because of the amount of work they entail and the scrutiny that follows in court.

“There is no purpose for a DUII. Most people have the ability to take a taxi or walk. They just don’t think anything bad is ever going to happen to them. We hope to curb that behavior in others with the arrests we make,” Powell said.

Life sentence issued in Valentine’s Day murder

Of the Keizertimes

Timothy Calloway, one of two men charged in connection with the homicide of Jerrid Goodpaster on Feb. 14, 2016, was found guilty of murder, robbery and unlawful use of a weapon in Marion County Court last week.

On Thursday, June 6, Calloway waived his right to a jury trial in front of Judge Courtland Geyer and was found guilty on all three of the original charges stemming from the incident. On Tuesday, June 13, Geyer issued lifetime sentence with a minimum of 25 years before Calloway is eligible for parole.

Timothy Bernard Calloway

A court document provides details of the day of the murder that began with arranging a marijuana transaction.

Calloway and Diontay Wilson, drove to Keizer in the car of Calloway’s girlfriend to make the deal and decided en route to steal Goodpaster’s marijuana and cell phone.

The transaction was set to take place in the Starbucks parking lot at Keizer Station. Once they arrived, Wilson was driving and Calloway was in the front passenger seat.

Goodpaster was told to get in the back seat of the car when he approached the pair and Calloway told the court he pointed a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun at him. Wilson told Goodpaster of their intent to rob him and Goodpaster pulled a .22 caliber revolver from his jacket.

Wilson turned in his seat and began hitting Goodpaster and Calloway fired three shots: one through the back of the car, one into the car seat and one into Goodpaster that hit him in the left side and exited through the right side of his body.

Goodpaster was later transported to Salem Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Using cell phone pings and information from an informant, Keizer police officers determined that Calloway and Wilson drove the vehicle to Clackamas and abandoned the car with a shattered rear windshield. Police also found a debit card in Calloway’s name, a .40 caliber cartridge, marijuana, a spent .40 caliber bullet and Goodpaster’s glasses.

Calloway and Wilson were arrested in Eugene the next day. Wilson dropped a .40 caliber handgun and its magazine while running from police. Goodpaster’s .22 was found in the house where the men had spent the night.

In November 2016, Wilson was convicted of robbery in connection with the incident.

Richards looks back on career as McNary AD

Of the Keizertimes

Three things were on Ron Richards’ mind as he counted down his final days as McNary High School’s athletic director.

“The community of Keizer is outstanding in its support for academics and athletics,” Richards said looking back at the last seven years.

“The staff at McNary High School is all about kids, very student centered and a pretty cohesive staff and the student athletes here are outstanding.”

Ron Richards is retiring after seven years as the athletic director at McNary High School. (KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley)

Richards moved to Oregon in 2001 when he retired from coaching college football at the University of Montana. After nine years as the athletic director at McKay, Richards took the same position at McNary in 2010.

“McNary was so similar to the high school that I began at,” Richards said.

“I began at a high school in Butte, Mont. of about 2,000 students at that time and a single high school in a single town, great athletic success, great academic success. A friend of mine (Mike Maghan) retired and I thought that would be a great place to end my career in a place similar to the one that I started.”

Richards strived to be the kind of athletic director that he would want as a coach.

“Basically that’s a person that works hard to meet all of the needs for each of the sports but pretty much stays off of day-to-day activities in any sport,” Richards said.

“My model has been I hire great head coaches, the expectation is they hire great assistants and I monitor through the head coach.”

One of Richards’ first actions was forming a booster club.

“I put a call out that we needed one. The community stepped up and it’s been really supportive of McNary athletics since that time,” Richards said.

While the McNary Athletic Booster Club wanted to immediately tackle the turf field, Richards had a different project at the top of his wish list.

“The project in my mind was too big so I asked the booster club, we had a training room that was stuck down in the weight room, we were trying to treat our athletes and we were doing it in a cubby hole in the middle of the weight room,” Richards said. “That just didn’t work. We needed a first class training room and I wanted the first project to be doing something to upgrade our training facilities. Community, booster club, they jumped behind it. We repurposed an area. That then led me to believe that we were maybe ready to take on a bigger project.”

Next came the $1-million turf field project.

“We had a group get together, Bob Zielinski and Ted Anagnos, they were really behind the project and sat down with Rhonda Brattain and many others to plan how this would happened,” Richards said.

“They believed they could do it. I then contacted the (Salem-Keizer) district to find out all the procedures that we would have to do and the timelines that we needed in order for that to happen. Then a number of us started figuring out what kind of turf and going around to different places.

“Booster club president Danielle Bethell was a real integral part in the ending of that. She came in midstream as we were doing it and she was able to put the finishing touches on the financing that we needed in order to complete the project.”

The booster club continued that momentum into raising $20,000 to paint and resurface the gym floor as well as building new dugouts on the softball field.

“The booster club, they have been such an ally,” Richards said. “They created an allegiance between the community and McNary High School. Many of the things that I’ve done in my tenure here would never have happened without the booster club and all of the volunteers. Keizer is amazing.”

Richards has been rewarded mostly by the effort the kids give in all sports on the field and in the classroom.

The Celtics had 13 sports teams compete at the state level during the 2016-17 school year.

Academically, the softball team, which advanced to the state quarterfinals, tied for second in 6A with a 3.6 GPA. Of all the 6A boys basketball teams, McNary had the top GPA (3.7).

Three of its five starters were valedictorians. The cheerleading team had a 3.85, which was the best of any classification.

Richards decided to retire in the fall of 2016.

“It’s time for some new people,” Richards said. “It’s time for a little different vision. My wife retired a year ago and she’s enjoying her retirement and I’m a little envious.”

Richards is looking forward to spending more time with his grandson in Colorado, fishing and playing more golf.

He’s also taken a position at Ohio University, where he’ll teach one online class per semester in the master’s program for interscholastic athletic administrators.

$4 monthly police fee advances

Of the Keizertimes

The Keizer City Council unanimously approved moving forward with a $4-per-month fee to create dedicated funding for new police officers at a special session Monday, June 12.

The vote does not enact the fee – an ordinance will come back to the council for final approval at a future meeting – but there didn’t appear to be many roadblocks standing in its way during the meeting.

Public testimony offered by about a dozen residents resembled a lovefest for Keizer cops with only a limited amount of concern voiced for any aspect of the fee (see related story).

File photo

The $4 fee would be charged to each commercial and residential utility customer in Keizer, but there was no mention of how the fee would be collected during the meeting. If the fee proceeds at that amount, the city would collect about $630,000.

The money will be used to hire five additional officers in a variety of specific roles. Two officers would be added to the night patrol shifts, and one officer each would be added to the Community Response Unit, the detective unit and the traffic unit.

A lack of resources has affected the department in a variety of ways. In recent months, a lack of officers on the night patrol has resulted in the delay of some responses and arrests. Property crimes have also taken a back burner to more pressing persons crimes.

“Too often, only with property crimes, investigations grow stale because of lack of resources,” said KPD Police Chief John Teague.

The proposed fee is slightly more than what Teague requested – $3.66 per month – but the additional funds could be put toward start-up costs like purchasing additional uniforms and patrol cars or even expanding outreach programs like KPD’s annual BLAST Camp, which filled up in just two days last month.

KPD currently has 37 officers, four fewer than it did a decade ago, and the population has only grown since that time.

The most cost-effective way to collect the fee would be to add it as a line item to existing utility bills. That method has taken fire when it came to establishing a fee for parks, but it wasn’t even broached during the meeting Monday.

Resident Rhonda Rich told the council it would be “wise” to put the fee before voters in the form of a ballot measure, but the city would have to wait until May 2018 to do so without additional cost.

That didn’t sit well with Mayor Cathy Clark.

“I appreciate the concerns about finances and the ability (for households) to absorb the increase in cost. I also appreciate the voice of an election. The reason, at this point, I feel we need to move forward with the audience is timing. For me, this has waited too long,” Clark said.

Without addressing the specifics of a vote, a timeframe for the fee to begin being collected, or the methodology by which it will be collected, all the other counselors chimed in with support.

The ordinance the council directed city staff to draft will include opportunities to raise the fee for inflation-related reasons.

Keizer cops get glowing reviews, strong fee support

If there was any question regarding support for a fee to fund additional Keizer police officers, all one had to do was take a drive down River Road North Monday, June 12.

Nearly every business with an available reader board had some sort of message notifying residents of a city council meeting to talk about a proposed fee to hire additional officers (see related story) .

That support was echoed by attendees at the actual meeting who lavished praise upon the Keizer Police Department and its officers in addition to supporting a $4-per-month fee.

“This past week, the first inkling I had about this meeting was all the reader boards. I felt compelled to tell you I wholeheartedly support this,” said resident Jeannie White, a Keizer resident for 27 years.

Former Keizer Police chief Marc Adams provided something of a history lesson.

“In 2008, we had 41 officers and Chief (John) Teague left for a position in Dallas and that was frozen. Then the positions of the next three officers who left were frozen. Failing to adequately fund police puts citizens and police officers at higher risk,” Adams said.

Adams’ point about officer safety was picked up by Garry Whalen, a former city councilor and longtime volunteer on city committees.

“They need to feel safe and secure to perform their sometime dangerous duties,” Whalen said.

Whalen also suggested a 90-day lead time between the approval of the fee and the beginning of collection so that residents can adjust their budgets accordingly, especially given that landlords will likely pass along the costs to tenants.

Ken Gierloff spoke as president of the Southeast Keizer Neighborhood Association and said the group supports both a police and parks fee, but police should take precedence.

“Chief Teague has done a wonderful job of stretching resources, but I think we’ve reached the tensile strength of that line,” Gierloff said.

Echoes of Gierloff’s testimony could be found in that of Mark Caillier, a former city councilor and veteran of the Salem Police Department.

“I have never seen an agency do more with less and we are approaching the point of doing less with less,” Caillier said.

After resident Rhonda Rich advocated for putting the fee on the ballot and letting voters decide, another resident, Matt Lawyer, put the ball back in the court of the council.

“You are the elected body and you have the ability to make these choices. I respect the need to have that voice but it’s why you all are here,” Lawyer said.

The city council has the ability to impose a fee without a vote.

After declining to speak on the issue earlier in the meeting, Rep. Bill Post opted to chime in as public testimony wrapped up, but said he was speaking solely in his capacity as a resident of Keizer.

“I want to acknowledge what Chief Teague said earlier, that there is nothing more noble a cop can do than prevent crime. For that alone, I am in favor of this. Nobody on this earth is more anti-tax than Bill Post, but I support this,” he said.

Seattle’s Hit Queen

Of the Keizertimes

Paige Bouska went to Seattle University just wanting to get better at softball, season after season.

But the 2013 McNary graduate is leaving the program with more career hits than anyone who has ever played for the Redhawks.

“It wasn’t really ever about setting records,” Bouska said. “I had a goal every year to do better than the year before. For me, it’s really cool that I set it but I wasn’t really trying to, at all.”

Bouska said she didn’t think about the record until the start of her senior season once she realized she only needed 48 hits to break it. She made sure the historic hit, the 209th of her career, was one she wouldn’t forget.

With Seattle trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Bouska lashed a triple to left field to drive in two runs. The Redhawks went on to defeat Santa Clara 5-3 on March 26.

“Before the game I knew I only had two hits to break the record, one to tie it and then two to break it,” Bouska said.

“That at bat in general I wasn’t thinking about it at all. I just knew that we had people on base and we were behind so I needed to find a way to score them or at least find a way to get on so I was just more focused on that. It was super cool and exciting, just because I scored the run to put us ahead and I also beat the record and I hit a triple so there was just so much excitement in that moment.”

Hitting a triple wasn’t uncommon for Bouska, who also has the single season (7) and career (14) records for triples at Seattle.

During her senior season, Bouska also broke the single season hits record with 74 and led the team with 37 runs scored. From March 11 to March 31, Bouska went on a 13-game hitting streak. She also led the  Redhawks with 23 multi-hit outings, including seven games with three hits. She reached base in 24 straight contests, including every game played in March.

Bouska said the key to her success was small victories.

“Every game I had a goal to just get on base,” she said. “I would rarely ever get shutout in a game from getting on base so just having that little goal for every game helped me to be better.

“My job as a slapper is to just get on base so that power hitters can hit me in. If I’m doing my job other people can do their job to hit me in.”

Bouska was also named to the All-Western Athletic Conference First Team and voted MVP at Seattle’s team banquet.

“That was amazing because it was my team that voted me for that (MVP),” Bouska said. “For them to think of me like that was really cool. It was a nice feeling that my teammates think I’m valuable in that way.”

Along with her individual success, Bouska also helped the Redhawks reach new heights as a team as Seattle played in the WAC Championship game for the first time in school history.

Bouska drove in the tying run as the Redhawks upset top-seeded New Mexico State to reach the finals.

“Just being in tournament play is so exciting because the adrenaline is so high and everyone wants to do so good,” Bouska said. “Everyone’s behind each other’s back so much and cheering each other on. Everyone is so loud and pumped up all of the time. It’s an amazing atmosphere to be in. I’ll miss that for sure.”

However, the Aggies came back through the loser’s bracket to beat Seattle twice to win the championship.

Regardless, Bouska, who finished with 235 career hits, left the program stronger than she found it.

“The team has definitely improved so much in my four years,” Bouska said. “We’ve grown so much. Coach (Geoff) Hirai has really made the program incredible and I’m excited to see where they go now.

“Coming in, my class, that was something that we talked about. We wanted to not only leave softball better but the culture of the team and how we treat each other. We wanted everyone to be more like a family and like each other more. Everyone treats each other better and that helps on the field, too. I’m glad the softball is obviously better but the team culture is also way better.”

Bouska graduated from Seattle University on Sunday, June 11 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She is back in Keizer to figure out her next move. Her dream job is to work for the FBI.