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Day: August 11, 2017

Scholars simulate Mars mission

Of the Keizertimes

SALEM—Brent Preston, of Keizer, was just one of 12 local students to participate in the inaugural Oregon Washington Aerospace Scholars Sophomore Experience.

The three-day camp, which took place July 30-Aug. 1 at Garmin Industries in Salem, gave scholars the opportunity to design a plan for a future robotic mission to Mars.

The students were split into four groups—engineers, science, finance and public relations.

Preston was placed on the finance team, which had to determine why the mission should be funded, who is paying for it and what the money would be spent on.

The group determined most of the mission would be paid for by the U.S. government in conjunction with other countries as well as private industry. The cost was $2.5 billion to be split up between the launch, science, power, computer, communications and the landing.

While Preston didn’t choose to be on the finance team, he was glad it was assigned to him.

“I like thinking about that,” he said. “It wouldn’t be very challenging if you had all the money to do whatever you want. It’s more realistic and more fun to see how you can squeeze everything perfectly into that budget.”

Preston said his love of science began with playing with Legos and then expanded with Kara McGuirk’s class at Early College High School, where he’ll be a junior.

To get into the camp, Preston had to complete two college-level lessons using University of Washington curriculum. Of the 28 students that applied, only 12 were accepted.

“It was pretty challenging,” Preston said. “It was really technical and it took a long time. Read articles about the history of NASA and aerospace, the planets, how things move in space. It covered a lot.”

Along with the mission to Mars, the scholars toured the Garmin Factory and met STEM professionals in career pathways they might wish to follow.

Preston wants to be an engineer, which he learned isn’t exactly what he thought it was.

“There was a lot more speaking than I thought there’d be in engineering,” Preston said. “We talked to the people at Garmin and they said they have to coordinate with other teams that do different things, all these different levels of making one product. They said they do more talking than they do programming, which now that I think about it makes sense, but I didn’t know.”

Preston’s favorite part of the camp was experiencing the Martian Mission Simulations aboard the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s submarine.

“It was really cramped and it just made you appreciate how difficult it would be,” Preston said. “It’s not only the fact that it was cramped, there was so much to look at, all those wires and buttons. It made your eyes go crazy so it made me appreciate how much those astronauts have to go through.”

Campers, using NASA’s spinoff technology, also had to sell a product like on the television show Shark Tank. Preston’s group, which won the people’s choice award, was assigned Anthrax smoke detector.

The entire Summer Experience, which included staying overnight and meals, was provided at no cost thanks to a grant from NASA.

Preston plans to attend the WAS junior camp next summer, where students from all over Oregon will spend a week at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville. The students who complete the program will be reward five credit hours from the University of Washington.

Keizer crashes Hoopla

Of the Keizertimes

Every team that signed up for Hoopla, a 3-on-3 street basketball event on Aug. 5-6 in downtown Salem, was guaranteed at least four games.

Most of the 17 squads representing Keizer played many more.

Bronbron Squad, a team made up of McNary incoming freshmen, had the most success. Nate Meithof, Gabriel Martinez, Landon Moore and Eli Petilo went 3-0 in pool play on Saturday and then won four tournament games on Sunday to capture the 14-and-under boys recreational championship.

McNary sophomores Junior Walling, Nick Zuro, Peyton Kreitzer and Riley Flores, playing as Big Ballers, also won their first six games to reach the finals, but lost to Bucket Squad 29-27 in the championship game of the 15-and-under recreational division.

Two teams made up of recent McNary graduates clashed in the semifinals of the Men’s Division-III bracket as Trent Van Cleave, Jared Van Cleave, Tregg Peterson and Kyle Cooper got the best of Adam Harvey, Alex Martin, Hayden Sader and Matthew Ismay.

The winning McNary alumni then lost to KEY Home Furnishings 31-23 in the finals.

More current McNary players also participated. Andrew Jones, Chandler Cavell, Lucas Garvey and Daniel Zwemke went 3-0 on Saturday. Playing as Big Baller Brand, they won their first game Sunday before losing the second 35-29 in the 17-and-under competitive boys division.

Garvey also joined a team of McNary football players, David Alfaro, Hakam Nagra and Jakoby Doke, in the 17-and-under recreation division. JLHD went 2-1 in pool play and then lost to Clash of Clans West 21-15 in their first tournament game.

Another team of McNary basketball players, Alfredo Villarreal, Griffin Oliveira, Jacob Jackson and Jason Elliu finished 2-1 in pool play of the 16-and-under competitive division. They won their first game Sunday but lost in the second round, 30-27, to Good Times.

A group of Lady Celts, Sabella Alfaro, Regann Donahue, Lexi McKay and Ellie Bemrose, were in the 15-and-under girls recreation division. Playing as Dutch Gang, the girls went 1-2 in pool play but rebounded to win their opening tournament game 16-13. They then lost 12-10 to MVP Plus T in the second round.

Eight teams made up of future Celtics also made their mark.

Capitol City Ballers (Alejanrdo Gonzalez, Brandon Stinnett, Ethan Wollangk and Tony Correa) went 3-0 in pool play and won their first tournament game before losing to Catch and Shoot 35-32 in overtime of the 12-and-under competitive semifinals bracket.

The second round tripped a lot of Keizer teams up.

Celts 14-and-under (Benjamin Roth, Carter Nelson, Isaac Johnson and Kyle Martin) went 2-1 in pool play. They edged Springfield Millers 24-23 in the first round of tournament play but lost another close game, 34-31, to Scot City in the second round.

Celts 12-and-under (Ben DeVos, Connor Roop, Jackson Alt and Kobe Villarreal) went 1-2 in pool play but bounced back with a 18-14 victory over Off the Couch in the first round of tournament action.

However, the Celts then lost to Upper Class Athletes 26-13.

In the 10-and-under division, Keizer Attack (Kanon Kintner, Aydn Dallum, Konner Cleveland and Teagan Brown) went 2-1 in pool play, which included a 15-13 win in the closing seconds. The boys then easily won their first tournament game before falling in the second round 23-20 to Razors.

The Keizer Warriors (Gavin Aguilar, Karsten Ostrom, Steven Adams and Vincent Estrada) got off to a blazing start, going 3-0 Saturday and then winning their first tournament game 28-7. However, their run ended in the second round with a 27-26 loss to Cherry City Ballerz.

Keizer had three 11-and-under teams.

In the competitive division, Keizer Elite 2025 (Kaden Donahue, Kyler Donahue, Landon Ostrom and Noah Dallum) finished 1-2 in pool play and then lost to Dream Team Fly 35-25 in the opening round of the tournament.

In the recreation division, K-Town Ballers (Pierce Walker, Ryan Lyda, Gage Smedema and Carter Hawley went 3-0 on Saturday and easily won their first tournament game.

However, they too lost in the second round to WA-OR Friends 35-23 on Sunday. Keizer Clutch (Elijah Clendening, Kelson Whalen, Maguire Montgomery and Ryder Symington) finished 1-2 in pool play and then lost to The Little Hoopsters 23-18 in the first round of the tournament.

K Town Benchwarmers (Gunner Smedema, Hayden Kaiser, Tyler Copeland and Zane Aicher) went 2-1 in pool play of the 14-and-under division. They then lost in the first round of tournament play.

Around 4,000 players on 1,000 teams participated in the 19th edition of Hoopla, which is believed to be the second largest event of its kind in the country.

Words vs. war

Fire and fury like the world has never seen. Those are decidedly not diplomatic words—those are fighting words. Words that President Trump spoke about continued threats from North Korea.

Trump said if Kim Jong-Un’s regime persisted with its threats against the United States, North Korea would suffer the harshest military reaction ever seen by mankind.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson walked back Trump’s comments. He said that Americans can sleep easy at night, that there is no credible threat of a Korean ballistic nuclear weapon hitting the U.S.

Those are the two sides of the current American foreign policy coin:  tit for tat and diplomacy. Trump threatens a rain of military might while the nation’s top diplomat seeks to lower the tension. Unfortunately, Trump’s words ring too much like the Soviet Union’s Krushchev’s “We will bury you” speech at the height of the cold war.  Secretary of State Tillerson tried to calm the world upon his return from a visit to Asia.

Though he was chosen to lead the State Department due to his experience as a globe-trotting CEO of Exxon Mobil, he does not have the training, education or background that delicate situations such as North Korea need. Even with his limitations, we prefer Tillerson’s diplomacy over Trump’s bellicosity.

The West can believe that no man, especially a leader, would ever take the drastic step of starting a war of nukes. The problem is that Kim Jong-Un is an unknown quantity: would he—could he—order a missle tipped with a nuclear weapon be launched against Guam or some point in the western United States?

Until our intelligence sources can say, without a doubt, that Jong-Un is not the irrational child he appears to be and does not have his finger poised over the launch button, we need to opt for safety and security.

After Trump’s ‘fire and fury’ remarks the North Korea regime threatened to hurl a missle at Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base and its 6,000 military personnel.

The tit for tat bluster serves no purpose. It is anyone’s guess which audience Jong-Un is playing to since he has so few allies; he might be playing to the hometown crowd. Nothing whips up patriotic frenzy like warning against an enemy.  Trump is playing to his base, which doesn’t tend to shy away from a fight. Words matter and war-mongering words matter more since they make other countries in east Asia nervous and uncertain which camp to gravitate to: America and the West, or China.

Some decry the lack of results from diplomacy, but as long as two sides are talking to each other they are not warring against each other. The key is talking to each other, not at each other. The United States sat down at a table with a delegation from North Vietnam for years at a chateau outside Paris. Negotiations eventually bore fruit, but it was an arduous journey.

In the early 1970s American diplomats purposely portrayed President Richard Nixon as a madman who was capable of anything so the Soviets and Vietnamese better deal with him before he did something rash. That strategy worked partly because both the Soviets and Chinese needed something from the U.S. North Korea needs nothing from America except respect and a promise not to invade. That seems an easy program to follow. It’s better than the unfathomable alternative.   —LAZ

Writer gets inclusion right

To the Editor:

Thank you Eric Howald for your thoughtful, compassionate and well written column (Why inclusivity matters) in the Aug. 4th issue of the Keizertimes.  It was in stark contrast to the guest  opinion of  L. Brent Bozell, III and Tim Graham, right next to it.

And thank you for all the ways you are obviously contributing to make our community more welcoming and comfortable for everyone.  Some people say you can’t legislate behavior.  But we do that all the time with laws regulating driving, drinking and smoking, and other abusive or dangerous behaviors.  As you pointed out, words matter. Laws, policies and leadership matter.  I believe we can make a difference day by day, person by person, by treating our neighbors and even strangers in the community with respect and consideration.  Thank you for setting a great example.

Kathy Lincoln

Rex Tillerson ineffectual at State


If Cabinet members are to be judged by the gap between expectation and performance, Rex Tillerson is among the worst. He was supposed to be one of the adults in the room, a steadying force. But Tillerson has managed to be both ineffectual and destabilizing—unfamiliar with the workings of government, unwilling to provide inspirational leadership, disconnected from American values and seemingly hostile to the department in his care.

Who would want to be known as the secretary of state who retreated from the promotion of justice and democracy? Yet this is exactly what Tillerson seems to desire.

To a certain kind of corporate mind, a statement of organizational purpose—following a bottom-up, 360-degree, consultant-driven review process—is a big deal. The one currently under consideration at the State Department (according to an internal email obtained by my fellow Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin): “We promote the security, prosperity and interests of the American people globally.” In contrast, the previous version called for “a peaceful, prosperous, just and democratic world.”

Let’s set aside the offensive clunkiness of the new statement. No, let’s not. Organizations like corporations have statements of purpose. Institutions like the State Department have traditions, values and missions. Tillerson’s new purpose statement could be adopted by any country in the world with the change of one adjective—the “Russian” people or the “Belgian” people. This involves a crude reductionism. Exxon Mobil may measure its success in interests and profits. But America is a nation dedicated to the principle that all are created equal. If our country does not stand for a “just and democratic” world, who will?

This sad and serious shift—begun in Donald Trump’s inaugural address—has been carried forward by Tillerson. In his first remarks to State Department employees, the new secretary of state said that the promotion of American values “creates obstacles” in pursuit of American interests. The administration’s proposed budget essentially zeroes out democracy promotion funding. Tillerson refused (against tradition) to personally unveil the State Department’s annual human rights report. The impression that America no longer cares about human rights has filtered down to third-rate despots everywhere.

Every American president since World War II has believed that our nation benefits from the spread of economic and political freedom. Oppressive regimes are more likely to seek destabilizing weapons and to harbor terrorists. Democratic nations are more peaceful and more likely to engage in trade. Democratization (for the most part) cannot be imposed, but it can be encouraged, unless that great, defining national mission doesn’t fit in the PowerPoint presentation.

Meanwhile, Tillerson’s organizational review has been employed as an excuse to avoid making key hires. He complains that the government is “not a highly disciplined organization.” And surely there is room to consolidate proliferating State Department bureaus and to rationalize management structures. But under what theory of reorganization would the State Department not have assistant secretaries covering Europe, East Asia, Latin America and the rest? Not a single assistant secretary position has been permanently filled.

Tillerson’s aloofness, his public criticisms of the department and his support for drastic budget cuts (including for embassy security) have naturally had an effect on morale. And why is morale valuable? As secretary of state, George Shultz motivated (much of) a naturally skeptical department to implement Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy vision. As secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice motivated (much of) a naturally skeptical department to support President George W. Bush’s freedom agenda.

If the Trump administration continues to treat professional staff as the “deep state” enemy, the department will be in a mix of despair and revolt. Bureaucracies cannot be reorganized or threatened into effectiveness. They must be led and inspired. People must know that loyalty goes both ways. They must believe that the ultimate goal is to strengthen, not undermine, the institution they have dedicated their lives to serve.

As of now, there is no reason for State Department employees to believe this. In Trump world, tearing down institutions is a mark of virtue. This type of radicalism was once familiar on the hard left (“burn, baby, burn”). It may be more effective in the hands of a bland capitalist.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

Worried for the United States


Millions of American voters were willing to forgive Donald J. Trump for all they knew about him before he was a candidate, yet, they voted for him anyway. Hope can spring eternal but the evidence from the views of Trump and his advisors over his six month tenure leaves those trying to remain objective about him with dismay, as the Oval Office has become a “black hole” of credibility crises that worsens nearly every hour of every day.

Most recently, former Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied he was aware of the retracted Fox News story on slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich even though it was well known that he attended a meeting on the subject. President Trump’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, denied that the president was involved in the writing of Donald Trump Junior’s statement on Russia (while we now know that the president dictated every word of it). President Trump claims that he received a call from the leader of the Boy Scouts praising his speech to the Boy Scouts at their jamboree—a matter even the White House soon refuted.

Since President Trump and his inner circle of advisors continue daily to mislead the American public about everything from crowd sizes to campaign meetings to what was said by the Boy Scout leadership, announce totally untrue and proven untrue claims like the one about “Obama wiretapped my phones” and 3 million illegal immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton, and then blast reporters for so-called “fake news” explained by “alternative facts” then why should any American believe anything coming directly from the president or those he requires to carry his unfounded and mendacious messages to the public?

President Trump has accumulated a virtual mountain of pernicious comments he’s delivered to Americans as well as other persons throughout the world.  Hence, this writer is not confident in the state of Trump’s mental health. It was hoped that once he assumed the responsibilities of president he would adopt the related responsibilities; unfortunately, a fully functioning, stable and steady-course mind continues to elude him.

What worries this writer is the fate of my nation with Trump holding its highest public office.  At his job as president, Trump continuously lies by setting the most horrible of examples but also using his authority as president to require obedience through  pledges and acts of loyalty to him rather than the nation.  Thereby, persons under him must suspend their beliefs and values while a sustained democracy with truth at its core and an informed citizenry becomes a national casualty.

The hitch is that what is now going on at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is fundamentally unhealthy and increasingly contrary to a freedom-loving people who, by increasing numbers, don’t trust government any more. Mendacity must be recognized as bad, evil and destructive to a nation’s wherewithal and ability to survive intact with a viable future. What’s going on is that Trump is not just lying to the press but lying through it, creating an authoritarian regime where the people are fed misinformation they know is not true as we move ever in the direction of those countries we held in contempt, laughing at its awful shenanigans and death throes.

(Gene McIntyre lives in Keizer.


Angelica Castillo speaks with reporters at a press conference Aug. 9. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

KPD asks for public’s help finding missing woman

Of the Keizertimes

The Keizer Police Department is asking the public for assistance in the case of a Woodburn woman who went missing after an evening at Tequila Nights Bar & Grill last month.

Cynthia Martinez, 26, was last seen leaving Tequila Nights about 2:35 a.m. on July 16. Her mother, Angelica Castillo, filed a missing persons report with KPD a little less than 24 hours later.

In the intervening three weeks, Martinez, a mother of four, has not been seen or heard from. Deputy Police Chief Jeff Kuhns held a press conference regarding the case Wednesday, Aug. 9, and released additional information to coincide with asking for public assistance. Family members were also present.

Jaime Alvarez-Olivera, a “person of interest” in Martinez’s disappearance.

Shaking and holding back tears, Castillo told reporters that the family wants their daughter back, “We are asking for anybody who knows to call the tip line, call us. Whatever feels comfortable.”

Martinez’s children, ages 3 months to 9 years, are staying with their grandparents and Castillo said the family is eating dinner together every night and praying.

“They miss her and they want her home. We pray and ask Jesus to keep her safe and bring her back to us. My heart tells me she is alive and she will come back to us. We pray for the officers every day and to give our daughter strength,” Castillo said.

Martinez had attended a birthday party in the Woodburn area Saturday evening, July 15, and then went to Tequila Nights in Keizer arriving at about 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 16.  She was last seen leaving Tequila Nights with two Hispanic males approximately two hours later in a blue 2004 Honda Odyssey minivan.  The minivan has since been located by investigators.

Investigators have identified both men seen leaving the bar with Martinez.  One of them, 30-year old Jaime Alvarez-Olivera, is a person of interest in the disappearance.

Kuhns said police identified both men soon after Martinez vanished and have talked with one of the men, who is still cooperating with police.

“We released very little because we thought it could hinder the investigation. By identifying a person of interest, we believe it can give us the leads, facts and information to move this forward,” Kuhns said.

Alvarez-Olivera was last thought to reside in the Woodburn area, however investigators have not been able to determine exactly where he resided or with whom prior to July 16. He was last known to be employed locally as a laborer who harvested berries. Identifying his residence or individuals he lived or worked with, or who may have known or associated with him could be very important to the ongoing investigation.

“He worked for a labor firm and he would call in and find out where to report each morning. His location and coworkers could change from day to day,” Kuhns said.

Anyone who believes they may have information about where Alvarez-Olivera lived, whom he lived or associated with, or whom he may have worked with, or where he might have gone is asked to contact the Keizer Police Department at 503-856-3529.

Cynthia Martinez

Alvarez-Olivera is believed to have left the Marion County area on Sunday, July 16, a short time after Martinez was last seen with him. He has not been located and his whereabouts are unknown. Kuhns said investigators are confident he is no longer in Marion County, but could not say whether he might have left the country.

Alvarez-Olivera has prior arrests stemming from illegal harvesting in Lincoln and Benton counties.

Since the initial report, KPD officers have devoted more than 1,000 investigative hours to the case and are being assisted by members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Oregon Department of Justice, the Marion County District Attorney’s Office, and other local law enforcement agencies in both Marion and adjoining counties.

Martinez is Hispanic, 5-foot-3, with long black hair and multiple tattoos. Two on her chest read “Dominguez” and “Trust No One.”

The Keizer Police Department is asking anyone who may have information about the disappearance of Cynthia Martinez to please come forward.  Those who wish to remain anonymous may do so.