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Month: August 2017

Robert D. Hoover

August 17, 1938 – July 25, 2017

Robert D. Hoover passed away peacefully on July 25.

He was born in Salem, Ore., to Melford and Nelda (Crum) Hoover, was raised in the Buena Vista and Independence areas and graduated from Center High School in Independence.

He married Loretta Walters in 1968 and the couple raised six children, Randy Fitzgerald, the late Warren Fitzgerald, Laurel Chase, Dennis Hoover and Jeffrey Hoover. They had 11 grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren.

Hoover enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1961. He opened his own repair shop in Independence before working at numerous other television repair shops and retiring from Sears in 1999.

Family came first, but Hoover enjoyed flying, radio controlled planes and fishing. He was also an active member of the Keizer Elks Lodge #2472. He was an Elk for 49 years.

An eclipse brings us together

Just like our ancestors over the past thousands of years, we will cast our eyes to the skies on Monday to experience a once-in-a-lifetime event: a total eclipse of the sun.

Keizer and everything in a 60-mile-wide swath of land from Lincoln City to Ontario will come to a halt as the day grows darker due to the moon passing slowly between the sun and the earth. This  astronomic event engages scientists and arm-chair Gaillelo’s alike.

Centuries ago people believed that the eclipsing of the sun was a sign of angered gods. As the moon continued its path out of the sun’s direct light, people celebrated: their sacrifaces and prayers pleased the gods.

Modern science has proven that a solar eclipse is nothing more than the aligning of heavenly bodies. Some people may imbue the event with spiritual meaning.  One thing the eclipse does is bring people together. Most people in Keizer have never experienced a total eclipse before. Tens of thousands of Oregon faces will be turned to the sky and we will all marvel at the rarity.

That will be in such constrast to what is happening in other parts of the country right now.

It is more difficult to maintain anger and hatred at other people when everyone is awed by nature’s grand design. Keizer sits in western Oregon. Though we are relatively conservative, our location in the progessive northwest influences how we we treat each other. It is hard to imagine people in Keizer tolerating the type of protests and rallies as occured in Charlotteville, Va. last weekend. We think that residents of Keizer would rise up, non-violently. to blunt any rally expousing racism and intolerance.

Keizer is a tolerant place. The city council has been asked to pass an inclusivity resolution that would put the city squarely on the side of equality. As the city grows it will become more diverse which is a great opportunity to show how open and accepting the city and its residents are.

Keizer can show how tolerant it is beginning this weekend with the expected throngs of visitors coming to see the eclipse. Depending on the source, we can see up to half a million people come to Marion County. We will all have to be patient with the extra traffic, longer waits at restaurants and other businesses.

An eclipse may be a rare thing but Keizerites treating others with respect and diginty should not be.


End the denial about Trump


It should not have taken the death and injury of innocents to move our nation toward moral clarity. It should not have taken President Trump’s disgraceful refusal to condemn white supremacy, bigotry and Nazism to make clear to all who he is and which dark impulses he is willing to exploit to maintain his hold on power.

Those of us who are white regularly insist that the racists and bigots are a minority of us and that the white-power movement is a marginal and demented faction.

This is true, and the mayhem in Charlottesville, Virginia, called forth passionate condemnations of blood-and-soil nationalism across the spectrum of ideology. These forms of witness were a necessary defense of the American idea and underscored the shamefulness of Trump’s embrace of moral equivalence. There are not, as Trump insisted Saturday, “many sides” to questions that were settled long ago: Racism, anti-Semitism, discrimination and white supremacy are unequivocally wrong.

A president who cannot bring himself to say this immediately and unequivocally squanders any claim to moral leadership.

Advisers to the president tried to clean up after this moral failure, putting out a statement Sunday morning —attributed to no one—declaring that “of course” his condemnation of violence “includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.” But if that “of course” is sincere, why didn’t Trump say these things in the first place? And why hang on to the president’s inexcusable moral equivalence by adding that phrase “and all extremist groups”? This was simply a weak philosophical cover-up for a politician who has shown us his real instincts throughout his public life, from his birtherism to his reluctance to turn away 2016 endorsements from Klansmen and other racists.

More Republicans than usual broke with Trump after his anemic response, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, was especially poignant in offering historical perspective on this episode: “My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”

But that so many others in the party preferred to keep their discomfort on background was itself a scandal. “I can’t tell you how sick & tired I am of the ‘privately wincing’ Republicans,” Peter Wehner, a veteran of two Republican administrations, tweeted. “It’s a self-incriminating silence.” Yes, it is.

The proper response is for Democrats and Republicans willing to take a stand to force a vote in Congress condemning the president for his opportunistic obtuseness and making clear where the vast majority of Americans stand on white supremacy. This is important for many reasons, but especially to send a message to America’s minorities that whites are willing to do more than offer rote condemnations of racism.

For make no mistake: No matter how accurate it is to say that neo-Nazis and Klansmen represent a repugnant fringe, the fact that our president has consistently and successfully exploited white racial resentment cannot help but be taken by citizens of color as a sign of racism’s stubborn durability.

The backlash to racial progress is an old American story, from the end of Reconstruction forward. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words from 1967 speak to us still: “Loose and easy language about equality, resonant resolutions about brotherhood fall pleasantly on the ear, but for the Negro, there is a credibility gap he cannot overlook. He remembers that with each modest advance the white population promptly raises the argument that the Negro has come far enough. Each step forward accents an ever-present tendency to backlash.” This is what we saw this weekend.

The battles over Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville and elsewhere, reflect our difficulty in acknowledging that these memorials are less historical markers than political statements. Many were erected explicitly in support of Jim Crow and implicitly to deny the truth that the Southern cause in the Civil War was built around a defense of slavery. Taking them down is an acknowledgement of what history teaches, not an eradication of the past.

But history is also being made now. As is always true with Trump, self-interest is the most efficient explanation for his actions: Under pressure from the Russia investigation, he is reluctant to alienate backlash voters, who are among his most loyal supporters.

The rest of us, however, have a larger obligation to our country and to racial justice. As the late civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer might suggest, it is time to ask about Trump: When will we become sick and tired of being sick and tired?

(Washington Post Writers Group)

Cleanse the world away with a tree


Forest Bathing is a thing. I heard about it on National Public Radio.  A guide—certified and trained—leads a group into a forest or similar natural environment and instructs them in ways to better immerse themselves in the beauty and peace of nature: touch the bark, sniff the leaves, hear the birds.  I was surprised to learn that drinking in nature’s serenity requires a sippy cup to start.   

In one of those studies that make you scratch your head at the methodology it was estimated that stress alone in 2015 added $190 billion to American health care costs. Some studies in Japan show that a significant time in a forest environment can lower blood pressure and reduce production of stress hormones. It is believed that compounds released from trees called phytoncides may be responsible for these good effects.

A possible problem is that while a walk in the forest is verifiably better for you than the same walk in the city, the duration of the compared walks was four hours. This is not a shower, it’s a long soak. One probable cause of stress is that very few Americans have four hours they can give up to walking in the forest.  Many Americans that can get away for a four-hour walk don’t have a forest convenient to them.

The NPR story featured a Forest Bathing class on Theodore Roosevelt Island on the Potomac River.  In the heart of Washington DC, this restored natural environment is a quiet retreat for stressed out locals. Except, of course, the quiet is sometimes interrupted by its location in the approach path of the Ronald Reagan National Airport. During the audio portion of this story the forest guide sometimes had to shout instructions for enjoying the pastoral quality over the thunder of passing jetliners.

I might be a pioneer in Refuge Bathing.  The reason we need regular bathing is that national discourse about current events in our country is highly toxic and totally dispiriting—stressful.  I am able to flush this sludge from my head and my heart by a slow and lonesome visit to any of several local wildlife refuges.  I am sometimes asked how I got a picture of this bird or that critter.  The single answer is time spent where they live instead of where I live.

Much could be learned by watching how everybody gets along at a refuge. There is little evidence of bigotry, avarice, pride, or arrogance. No liberal-conservative name-calling.  No religious animosity.  Herons and deer are not threatening one another with nuclear annihilation.  All parties mainly seem concerned with providing for their families, too busy to resent other families or other species.  When I stop and watch all this I realize they are smart and I am less so.

So if you are having health problems—high blood pressure and stress related complaints—go stroll around at one of the local refuges.  You won’t need a guide, just shut up and listen.  Watch.  Breathe.

I realize this is not a treatment easily available to all so I am developing one of those little green felt trees that hangs from your car mirror.  In this case it will be infused with actual phytoncides and will give you the benefits of a forest walk in the comfort of your climate controlled car.  The accompanying CD will play forest noises.  After years of failure I finally have an idea that can make me rich.

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

Take the business out of health care

Among some of us Americans there’s the opinion that only those who can hold a job where health insurance is provided through their workplace, and have thereby “earned it,” should have health insurance.  These folks apparently are unaware of the consequential outrage should the Affordable Care Act (ACA) be ultimately repealed with immediate premium price increases 20 percent and higher expected.

One consideration that brings sadness in addition to the extreme social unsettling that would result from the ACA’s demise is the attitude of uncaring that delivers the message, “I’ve got mine and care not what happens to you.” Meanwhile, relative to health insurance in America, some of those who harbor contempt for their fellow citizens most likely don’t realize that their own “great” health plan could sour considerably by taking all of us back to pre-ACA with regular health insurance owners paying for the emergency room care of millions of Americans without health insurance.

Look to Medicare as a model that’s much more efficient than any for-profit health insurance because it provides a means by which the middleman position of our American health insurance companies is eliminated and thereby does not profit from the fact that virtually all of us need medical attention to one degree or another throughout our lives.  We are all Americans, “created equal,” and should not by any intervention of our fellow humans be denied it because we were not fortunate enough to be employed in a place providing health insurance or financially solvent at the American version of the game of life.

A relevant remembrance of my youth of several decades ago was an America where medical science was not nearly as advanced as now and where many American families took care of the sick and elderly in their own homes.  America has changed so that that condition no longer prevails.  Nevertheless, there are ways we can continue to be sympathetic and benevolent by collectively, through our national wealth, look after the sick and aged by a dramatic reform in health coverage and availability.

I was reminded the other day of Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary, Sicko.  The film was made before the ACA but is a salient reminder of how national health care works for the people of Canada, Cuba, France, the United Kingdom and others aspiring to embrace a caring-for-others national life culture.  Other, even much less wealthy nations than ours, have it and it works very well for them while the only real complainers about it are profit-making health insurance companies here who want only to make profits at the expense of so many Americans who can just barely afford it.

Of course,  such a big change as national health care would upset the American Medical Association and the pharmaceutical companies.  Had we the members of Congress whose campaigns were supported by the public purse—and thereby could ignore the thousands upon thousands of insurance and medical lobbyists and their bags of money—the change could be made and American lives would be more important than money-making.  The bottom line that makes most sense is the line that brings us to a health care system that serves all of us rather than only the lucky ones.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)

Closing the gaps

Of the Keizertimes

Less than a year ago, the Keizer Police Department and Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) embarked on a pilot project to place two child protective services (CPS) case managers at the Keizer police station.

The program’s successes are already changing the way DHS assigns case workers and smoothing relationships between public safety officers and case managers.

“Police and social workers have different ways of going about the same job, keeping kids safe, and there have been rough patches and confusion about each person’s role,” said Tristina Mariquez, one of two case workers assigned to the Keizer Police Department. “With that there are also frequently two separate investigations happening, one with police and one with DHS, and that is frustrating for the families that we work with.”

Hillary Roeder, the other CPS case manager working alongside Keizer police offered an example.

“If we get a report of potential abuse, we need to respond in 24 hours, which means talking to the child and then letting the parents know we talked with their child,” Roeder said. Typically, that means meeting a child at school where the concern was raised and then meeting with the parents at their home, but those needs can clash with priorities on the law enforcement side of the equation. “If it becomes more of a criminal investigation, law enforcement likes to wait to talk with the perpetrator until after they have done other interviews. Knowing that, we can often coordinate and go do those interviews together,” Roeder said.

The collaboration is streamlining the process for everyone involved, said Dawn Hunter, child welfare program manager for DHS.

“If we can get all the information we need off one interview, it’s better for kids and better for families,” Hunter said.

The idea for the program sprouted from conversations between Hunter and Det. Chris Nelson, who are both part of a multidisciplinary team at Salem’s Liberty House. Liberty House provides free medical screening is cases of suspected abuse and neglect.

Nelson told Hunter that when he was working drug investigations in years past, the team had a dedicated case manager they worked with and the relationship was highly beneficial. They took the idea back to their respective agencies and Manriquez and Roeder soon had new desks at the Keizer police station.

“When it started we didn’t know what to expect. We weren’t sure if our case managers would be just checking in at the front desk and then working somewhere else, but KPD has been very gracious,” Hunter said.

CPS case managers are often the first contact for children and families when suspected abuse is reported. Manriquez and Roeder might work with a family for an average of six weeks before closing out a case or making the decision as to whether alternative housing or long-term assistance is needed for children.

The closer communication between case managers and detectives, as well as patrol officers, has helped in some expected ways and even more unplanned ones.

Within the department, case managers and officers are learning how each agency conducts interviews and what they are looking for when contacting a person.

“We have greater confidence in each other’s interviews because we’ve done enough of them together,” Roeder said.

There is also greater information-sharing, which can make a huge difference in helping a child or family in crisis. Having deeper roots in the department means Manriquez and Roeder can put a face to an officer name on a police report and seek out additional information when needed. When reports come into one agency and the other is familiar with the family from past encounters, that information is shared as well.

“We’ve also had situations when KPD is executing a search warrant and they expect to find kids in the home. We can talk about what we’re expecting before the search warrant is served and go with them to talk with parents on the scene about options if it turns out that we need to find somewhere else for the children,” Manriquez said. “That is usually much easier on the kids.”

While the stereotype of DHS work is taking children from their families, Roeder and Manriuquez said the number of times when that’s necessary is surprisingly low.

It’s also common for officers to call on Roeder and Manriquez when talking with families at the police station. Without the case managers’ presence, an officer would have to call a hotline number and then wait for the next case manager to come available. Both case managers had worked those kinds of shifts before coming to KPD.

“Before this, I might travel from Keizer to Mill City to Stayton to Brooks,” said Roeder. “I feel lucky to be in Keizer because I’m never going far and I can swing by and check in on other families when I am looking in on someone else.”

One of the more unexpected benefits is the reception by the larger community. Roeder and Hunter both heard from school administrators who are relieved when a familiar face shows up at the school once a report is made.

“That wasn’t a benefit that was even on my radar when we started this program,” Hunter said.

Because the program paid such rapid dividends, Hunter said Marion County’s 36 CPS case managers are now being assigned geographically rather than traversing the county on a sometimes hourly basis.

As the program continues, Roeder and Manriquez said mentioned a benefit that is more intangible. Keizer Police Department is understaffed for a city of 38,000 people, Manriquez and Roeder take on three to five new cases each week. Both  roles often require long hours with occasionally traumatic work that creates mental burdens not easily shared with loved ones.

“At the end of the day, when we’ve had a rough case, we can sit down with the officers and debrief and move past it together,” Manriquez said.

“Over time we’ve built good relationships. There’s laughter and humor in addition to the rough stuff, and that has been so helpful when there are hard cases,” added Roeder.

McNary hosts volleyball camp

Of the Keizertimes

Crystal DeMello’s first volleyball camp at McNary didn’t look like a program in transition with its third head coach in three years as more than 50 high school girls packed the gym floor.

“It’s exciting to see the girls ready to join a program and have the seniors lead a program,” DeMello said.

“Great leadership starts with a great program and they’re setting the tone and the pace. I love having that from the returners to the incoming freshmen.”

DeMello noted the participation has been strong all summer as 30 girls consistently attended open gyms twice a week through July. They used the workouts to get to know each other.

“Coming in as the new coach, I wanted to make sure that the girls and I are all on the same page,” DeMello said. “It’s always nice to settle in as a new coach and get to know the girls. I think that dynamic is really important.”

DeMello has been impressed by what she’s seen.

“They’re a great group of girls,” DeMello said. “They are coachable. They are inspiring. They push each other to the next level and that’s something that has to do with their own competitive drive.

“That’s not coachable. That’s something that’s innate and they’re pretty amazing.”

The Aug. 7-9 camp gave DeMello the chance to go back to fundamentals and get players ready for tryouts, beginning Aug. 14.

“Right before tryouts I like to break it all back down again and make sure that we’re all on the same page, keep it simple, get tons and tons of reps,” DeMello said.

That’s particularly important for freshmen.

“Sometimes it’s the first time that they’ve tried out so walking into tryouts they know what to expect, calm the nerves and make sure they’re set up for their best presentation for tryouts,” DeMello said.

McNary bonds at AVID Summer Institute

Of the Keizertimes

McNary principal Erik Jespersen, athletic director Scott Gragg and 17 teachers spent July 25-27 at the AVID Summer Institute in Denver preparing for the 2017-18 school year.

“It was just a great opportunity for more of our staff members to understand AVID strategies and be able to apply them for their instructional practices for next year,” Jespersen said.

McNary has attended the summer institute for three years in a row. Sixty-six staff members have been trained in AVID with the goal of ultimately getting to 100 percent.

“In addition to teachers that actually teach the AVID elective, we want all of our staff to be familiar with AVID and the instructional strategies, everything from how to take notes to be organized,” Jespersen said. “It’s just a package of good instructional strategies and we want all of our staff to have that experience.”

McNary, which had 200 students in eight AVID electives—three for freshmen, two for sophomores and juniors, and one section for seniors, last year, hopes to become an AVID demonstration school by 2020.

A partnership with NIKE helped fund the trip to Denver.

“They helped pay for a good chunk of that,” Jespersen said. “We’re thankful for NIKE’s ongoing contributions to the development of our staff.”

Each staff member was put in a strand based on the subject they teach and their experience with AVID.

David Holcomb went to the institute last summer as a social studies teacher. This year, he’s teaching a freshmen AVID elective.

The biggest thing he got out of the conference was collaborative study groups, or as AVID calls them, tutorials.

“That method gets a group of six to seven kids together and just helps them work through it and when you teach something as a student that’s when it sticks with you so it helps a student become a master of it but is also helps a student that’s kind of struggling with it,” Holcomb said.

Andrea James, who teaches English at McNary, attended the summer institute for the first time.

“I loved it. It felt like a summer camp,” James said. “I think the best part was just getting to be with out team in a different environment and get us away from here and I think we were able to think more creatively and just get to know each other better and work off of each other’s strengths.”

The McNary staff was also able to plan out the school year without the distractions of grading papers or other day-to-day responsibilities.

“It’s an opportunity for my staff members to essentially sit down and really envision, plan for the following year,” Jespersen said. “And because we’ve been able to do this for three consecutive years, our staff knows the direction we’re going and there’s a tremendous amount of camaraderie that our staff feel and I think part of it we’ve had an opportunity to sit, think and plan this and actually execute it when school starts.”

Lessons in eclipse viewing from someone who saw the last one

Of the Keizertimes

When the total solar eclipse passes over Keizer on Monday, Aug. 21, the first instinct for many will be to pull out their phone or camera and try to capture a defining image.

Steve Davidson, a photographer with Photos by Orion, advises against it. Primarily because there is a lot to miss if you’re only looking through a camera lens.

“When I went to photograph the eclipse in 1979, I immediately went into my planned series of exposures changing shutter speeds and f-stops and it finally dawned on me that I hadn’t seen the eclipse with my own eyes,” Davidson said.

For the final 15 or 20 seconds, he put his camera aside and he remembers those moments most vividly.

“The sun was shimmering as it passed behind the peaks and valleys of the moon. You could also see the sun’s prominences in a pinkish-red color. It was startling to be able to see that. Those are explosions that would consume the earth,” Davidson said.

A solar prominence is an eruption on the surface of the sun. Davidson isn’t any armchair astronomer either, his undergraduate degree was in physics and astronomy. When the last eclipse passed over Oregon on Feb. 26, 1979, he was the director of the planetarium for the Southwest Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Eugene.

He and a small team of colleagues traveled to Goldendale, Wash., to view and capture the eclipse on film and through telescopes. His account of the event serves as a reminder that there will be much more to see than just a big black disc in front of the sun.

Davidson said he would have been among the first to discount ancient beliefs about the sun disappearing as an omen of end times, but experiencing it firsthand was something altogether unexpected.

“As totality started to arrive, my psyche and physiology was saying it wasn’t right – it’s slowly creeping up on you and in the last five minutes or so it really starts to feel spooky,” Davidson said.

A total solar eclipse is defined by four phases called “contacts.” While the second contact – in which the sun is directly behind the moon – is always the headliner, there is plenty to see in the hours and moments leading up to that brief period.

In 1979, Davidson’s viewing spot was atop a hill and he could see the shadow approaching. He was actually still watching the shadow approach when someone in another group called out that the diamond ring effect was happening overhead. That’s when he began snapping photos.

The diamond ring effect can be seen about 15 seconds before and after totality when the solar corona becomes visible and the gives off the appearance of a sparkling diamond along an edge.

While Davidson didn’t spot any in 1979, he was also looking for Baily’s beads, which appear around the edges of the eclipse about five seconds before and after totality. The effect is created by the mountains and valleys on the moon’s surface. They are named after English astronomer Francis Baily who provided the first exact explanation of the effect in 1836.

Once totality arrived, Davidson could also see the band of shadow in the sky.

“It wasn’t as dark as I thought it would be. I could see stars, but there was a big dark band in the sky and on either side the sky was basically normal,” he said.

If you are dead set on trying to capture the eclipse, Photos by Orion is offering a class Aug. 17 at Bush’s Pasture Park in Salem. Cost is $50 and pre-registration is required. Call 503-385-1435 to sign up.

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.