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Month: September 2017

Ask legislators to help opioid crisis

To the Editor:

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the leading cause of accidental death in 2015 was drug overdose. The life toll from the drug epidemic has been consistently growing over the past couple of years with opiate addiction and overdose being one of the lead causes.

 Each year, more people use drugs for the first time and wind up addicted. Right now, the highest number of opiate overdoses are in the Northeast. The problem originally started with heroin as the main contributor however newer drugs have begun to escalate the problem. Fentanyl has begun to be mixed into heroin with devastating consequences. This combination is so potent there have been fatal overdoses of non-users who merely got the substance on their skin.

 Now more than ever, those in our country who are struggling with substance abuse need help getting into a heroin addiction rehab. According to the Center for Disease Control or CDC, drug overdose deaths have increased more than 2.5 times compared to what they were in 1999. In fact, according to a study by experts at 10 universities, the problem can get much worse. At this point, the best-case scenario would be overdose deaths peaking in 2020 before going down and that would require government support.

 Please write your local officials and senators to begin taking action to combat the opiate epidemic and steer us away from the disaster course we are on.  There are many different approaches to the challenge of how to address the opiate epidemic. For more information visit: www.narcononnewliferetreat.org/blog/the-horrifying-future-of-the-heroin-epidemic.html.

Aaron Olson
Narconon New Life Retreat

Crossing the Columbia River

To the Editor:

Presently, there isn’t enough money available to replace the aging Interstate 5 bridge in the manner currently envisioned. But there still might be a way to build the badly needed replacement by constructing a new crossing in stages.

Phase one:  Build a northbound span.  Include an emergency access lane.

Phase two:  Open the new northbound span and convert the existing steel bridge to southbound only traffic. This change will immediately cut the traffic flow over the old bridge by one half which will greatly extend the life of the bridge. Provide for emergency access.

Phase three:  Construct a new southbound span when future funding becomes available.  Include an emergency access lane.

Phase four:  In time, dismantle and remove the existing and worn steel bridge.  Or adapt it to accommodate light rail to create an experimental light rail link between Portland and Vancouver.

By building the new crossing in stages it may be easier to align existing and new roadways and lanes which will minimize the need for right-of-way purchases.

Designers and planners will argue that there is no project engineering economy by having to mobilize for construction more than once and in an ideal situation this would be correct. But realistically, there may be no alternative to constructing the project in phases. There simply isn’t enough money available to build a complete replacement all in one step.

Jim Parr
Keizer

Divisons in our united state

By GENE H. McINTYRE

What is most challenging is to keep our country united when we are so divided. Nevertheless, it’s not at all like this is a modern day phenomenon. Really, our divisions go back to American beginnings as any study of those times past does not reveal an integrated, interdependent and unified America. To believe the contrary is to ignore and misread our history.

What is referenced is the polarization and philosophical and political differences among those various states and regions of this country as there are the red states and blue states, the coastal states and the heartland states, the big states and little ones. Pondering life in our time means to ask the most salient question: Is the American democracy at risk because of the deep divisions and separations throughout the country?

Our nation’s founding had what would become the United States by way of the Articles of Confederation which created a weak form of central government with no power to Congress.  This loose condition of togetherness with all its difficulties got our forebearers to the 1787 Continental Convention “to devise such further provisions as shall appear to render the constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the union.”

Those fits and starts were no piece of cake as the convention of 55 delegates from 12 states (opposing it without debate, Rhode Island, sent no one) was convened in Philadelphia in May, 1787 where, after many proposals through September, 39 of the 55 delegates voted to adopt the Constitution.  Among its provisions: it restricted Congress from regulating the slave trade for 20 years, counted slaves as three-fifths of a person, but did lastingly decided that representatives would be based on population with two senators from each state.

Getting it adopted in Philadelphia was the easy part as ratification required further compromises and amendments. The most compelling concern, and the biggest bugaboo ever since, was the concern about too much power given to the central government; after all, the American patriots, those who didn’t flee to Canada, had just fought a six-year war to rid themselves of the British and the much-loathed King of England.

Ultimately, what was demanded by those with a voice became the Bill of Rights with, at the time, and to the present day, the Tenth Amendment that reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people.”

Other amendments to the U.S. Constitution have what are called pivot points in our history. However, the tensions between states rights and federal rights have determined whether our “united” states have come closer or fallen apart.  Some examples of these issues have been the Civil War, the 14th Amendment, Brown v. Board of Education, Civil Right Act of 1964 and Roe v. Wade.

Some among us would argue that states rights has got us to where we are today.  Yet, the dysfunctional Congress, ignorant and gullible citizens, political polarization, economic inequality, the changing nature of work in America, culture clashes between society’s segments here, negative attitudes regarding our institutions, globalization of corporations, fear of Muslim immigrants are viewed as more destructive than, for just two examples, whether the disparate populations of Rhode Island and California should each send two senators to D.C. and the Electoral College.

What weighs most heavily on this column writer’s outlook for a viable U.S. future or the end of a great experiment in self rule is the number of legislators and other elected officials in my state, and the other states, so many office holders, and those we send to the nation’s capital.  Rather, it’s those who are there due to the money they collect to win elections.  Yet, in our entire history as a nation there’s been no time that exceeded ours in what looks most often like a virtual stampede to make money and use it to power one’s way to influence the nation’s direction to new laws and the interpretation of old ones.

No matter what issue is reviewed, among them, corporate and the wealthy tax breaks, medical insurance, Muslim immigration, voting rights, justice equality, Russian meddling in our elections, et cetera, all things come down to who’s got enough money to power his way with promises made to donors and the beholden that result in things getting done or not, too often by those with the most money.  When moolah  is the main, monopolizing, most important value in our country then we end with a place that’s mainly amoral, unethical and undesirable to those within and outside with far too many having have no stake in its future.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.) 

Dog shelter seeks volunteers

The Marion County Dog Shelter is calling for volunteers for its annual Fall Frenzy event on Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Woodburn Premium Outlets.

Fall Frenzy is a day of fashion, savings, giveaways and fun. Proceeds will benefit Marion County Dog Services, Family Building Blocks and the Oregon Volunteer Firefighters Association among six others.

Three to four volunteers are need for 3-4 hour shifts during the event which runs from 9 am. to 4 p.m.

Duties can include: check-in, including raffle ticket sales, staffing the charity table, talking with attendees, helping with garbage, among others.

If you are available and interested in helping contact the Dog Shelter Program specialist Janice Jenkins at 503-316-6690.

The dangerous triumph of tribalism

By MICHAEL GERSON

In his prescient science-fiction novel The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson describes a post-national world in which people organize themselves into affinity groups called “phyles.” Some choose to be Victorians, emulating the beliefs and aesthetic of 19th-century Britain. Others identify with the values and dress of the Boers. The Celestial Kingdom is a Chinese culture phyle. In The Diamond Age, globalization has erased the nation-state and left people—always hungry for belonging—to identify themselves entirely by culture.

A provocative new essay by Andrew Sullivan, America Wasn’t Built for Humans, describes the emergence of two American phyles. One is more racially diverse, urban, secular and globalist. The other is largely white, rural and exurban, religious and nationalist. Their conflict is the context of American politics. At stake is the idea that “American” describes a single people.

In Sullivan’s description, the “myths” that used to help unify the country—the ideal of assimilation, the idea of America’s founders as exemplars of constitutional values—have been weakened. “We dismantled many of our myths,” he argues, “but have not yet formed new ones to replace them.” The result is the dangerous triumph of cultural identification over unifying political ideals.

Who is at fault for the depth of this mental divide? It is the nature of political polarization that both American tribes blame each other. Sullivan blames them both, but not quite equally.

According to Sullivan, members of the blue tribe have created problems in the realm of ideology. Some have promiscuously accused the red phyle of hate speech and white supremacy, rendering the terms less powerful when required to describe the real thing. Marxist ideologies on race and gender have “become the premises of higher education, the orthodoxy of a new and mandatory religion,” says Sullivan.

But it is the red tribe, in Sullivan’s view, that has most effectively injected tribalism into politics. It was Barry Goldwater (by opposing the Civil Rights Act) who re-racialized the competition between the two parties. It was former California Gov. Pete Wilson who cultivated a fear of migrants for political purposes. It was Newt Gingrich who disdained comity and embraced politics as combat. And it is Donald Trump who has given angry whites their own form of identity politics.

As an electoral matter, Sullivan finds the two American tribes “eerily balanced” and committed to obliterating the other side. We are seeing what happens when an unrepentant tribalist controls the presidency. Depending on the political fate of the House of Representatives, we may see what happens when the opposing tribe tries to remove him.

The problem identified by Sullivan is that tribalism is our default value —the “our” here covering all Homo sapiens. The ability to quickly and intuitively distinguish “us” from “them” —likely someone from another tribe intent on taking resources or lives —was a tremendous evolutionary advantage on the plains of Africa. It is slightly less helpful in the halls of Congress. But the history of demagoguery shows how useful it can be in the gaining and holding of power. “We have created a Star Wars civilization,” said E.O. Wilson, “with Stone Age emotions.”

Sullivan believes that America’s founders would have been surprised by our cultural tribalism and skeptical that any republic could survive it. I’m inclined to think that Alexander Hamilton—who viewed men as essentially “ambitious, vindictive and rapacious” —would be unfazed. But few (or none) of the founders would have viewed political parties based on cultural identification as a positive thing.

Most interestingly, Sullivan proposes a response to tribalism that is not structural, but essentially spiritual. He urges a renewed appreciation of individuality, citing himself—a gay Catholic, conservative independent, religious secularist—as a misfit challenge to tribal conformity. As an evangelical sympathetic to gay rights, a Republican critic of Trump and a compassionate conservative, I can relate. We need a political system that makes room for human complexity.

Sullivan also urges “mutual forgiveness” as the basis for genuine reconciliation. “No tribal conflict,” he says, “has ever been unwound without magnanimity.” We need the spirit of Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela in our politics, which is essentially to call for a miracle. It is the secret strength of democracy that miracles occasionally happen.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

Celtics come back, tie West Salem

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary showed it will not go down without a fight in its Greater Valley Conference opener, coming from behind to earn a 2-2 tie against West Salem on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

For nearly 60 minutes, the Celtics created opportunity after opportunity, firing shots off the post and the goalkeeper’s hands, but trailed 2-0.

The Titans scored their first goal on a header off a free kick in the opening three minutes. West Salem struck again in the 50th minute, using a cross to slip the ball past McNary goalkeeper Sebastian Lopez.

But the Celtics never stopped believing.

“I feel like the start of the game was just unlucky,” McNary sophomore Jack Baez said. “We had so many opportunities and we just kept our intensity high and never let up. That’s something we’ve been working on for a while is just not letting up and going after it. No matter how far you’re down, you can always come back. We just had that mentality. We knew we weren’t going to lose from the beginning of the game.”

With 20:49 remaining in the match, Baez finally got the Celtics on the scoreboard, slipping the ball past the keeper and into the left corner of the net.

“I didn’t even look at the goal,” Baez said. “I just hit it. I knew what corner I would put it into. I’m just so relieved that it went in. It was amazing and I think that brought up the whole team. It gave us confidence because we had so many opportunities and it just wouldn’t go right for us. I got that one and we knew we could do it. We knew we weren’t going to lose this game.”

Bhavdeep Bains then rocketed a shot in the 74th minute, which the goalie was able to keep in play but Jovanie Bravo finished to tie the game.

McNary fired another shot off the bar in the 77th minute before the final whistle blew.

The Celtics nearly scored at least two more goals in the first half. A free kick by freshman Jose Martinez went off the West Salem goalkeeper’s hands and then off the bar before going out of bounds in the 12th minute. The keeper then made two saves on a shot by senior Luis Martinez, the second by diving on the ball as it nearly rolled across the goal line in the 34th minute.

“Halftime, coach (Miguel Camarena) talked to us and got us back on our feet and once the opportunities started coming we were more ambitious,” Baez said. “We were taking more shots.”

McNary continued to control possession and create more opportunities in the second half. Jose Martinez had two goals overturned for being offsides.

“That’s been our problem for the past few games is just putting them in,” Baez said. “We’ve been working on that a lot, literally every practice. It’s just been netting them because we’ve been playing great and our finishing had not been there. Tonight, I feel like we could have finished a lot more but at least it’s a start.”

While the Celtics have scored just nine goals in its first six games, Baez hopes the strong finish against West Salem will carry over to the rest of the season.

“We’ll continue on this,” Baez said. “We’ll piggyback on this and start finishing more and winning games.”

Lady Celts

Playing at West Salem, McNary’s girls soccer team also had to come from behind to earn a 1-1 tie.

The Lady Celts started strong and spent the majority of the first 10 minutes of the match on the West Salem end but failed to produce a dangerous opportunity.

About 15 minutes into the match the momentum shifted, and West Salem began to settle in and control the midfield.

In the 32nd minute McNary defender Ashlyn Lyda took a tough knee-to-knee hit in a 50/50 challenge that needed medical attention. West Salem then switched the field and ended up with a shot inside the penalty area that forced a save from goalkeeper Sydney Snapp.

Lyda’s replacement, junior Olivia Purkey, stepped in and helped finish out a scoreless half.

West Salem started the second half controlling possession, and settled for a number of shots from outside that were handled with ease by Snapp.

But pressure began to mount as the Titans forced a couple corner kicks around the 50th minute.

In the 54th minute, West Salem collected a ball inside the box on an attempted clearance, and put a shot on goal that deflected off McNary’s central defender on its way toward goal, forcing an initial diving save by Snapp that took a fortunate bounce off the post toward a charging Titan attacker who finished the second effort from close range to give West Salem a 1-0 lead.

In the 64th minute, senior captain Jessy Shore made a run up the left wing and put a cross toward the far post that skipped off the turf, and was finished by junior captain Abigail Hawley in the top right corner from close range.

School district works to quell fears regarding end of DACA

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By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

It’s barely 10 days into the school year, and McNary High School Principal Erik Jespersen has already had several conversations about the impact of a federal decision to roll back protections provided to undocumented students through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“I know that we have some (Deferred Action students) and there are some students and families that are concerned. Our stance is that we are wanting to support all of our students,” Jespersen said. “I’m certain that despite the anxiety there’s a lot of questions to be asked and answered.”

On Sept. 5, the Trump administration announced it would wind down the DACA program that provides opportunities for work permits, drivers licenses and other benefits in exchange for registering with the federal government. Only undocumented residents who entered the country before their 16th birthday qualify for DACA protections. Unless Congress comes up with an alternative by March 5, 2018, those registered under DACA could be deported.

The Salem-Keizer School District planned to address the issue at a school board meeting Tuesday, Sept. 12. However, the board adopted an inclusivity resolution in January mandating fair treatment of all students.

One of the concerns that has arisen is whether schools would allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents access to schools. The board will review policies and procedures for employees if ICE agents turn up at Salem-Keizer campuses.

“Short answer, we are not authorized to allow them access to our students,” said Lillian Govus, director of community relations and communications for the school district.

Jespersen said the goal is for all Celtic students to feel safe and secure, but the uncertainty regarding the future of DACA has some students afraid to fill out college applications. That is at odds with the mission of making all students college or career-ready by graduation.

He is encouraging everyone to take a deep breath and see what happens next as lawsuits filed to block the ending of DACA protections make their way through the courts. Oregon is one of numerous states suing to stop the Trump administration’s actions.

“What I want people to know is that the school is backing all of our kids and all of our families regardless of the political climate. My number one job is looking after our kids,” Jespersen said.

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Celtics crushed by Sprague

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary figured it would get Sprague’s best, coming off an embarrassing loss to West Salem.

Combine that with the Celtics worst and the end was a 62-6 Olympians rout on Friday, Sept. 15.

“I’m sure they were embarrassed and pissed and I’m sure they had a very long challenging week of practice from their coaches,” McNary head coach Jeff Auvinen said. “We were the brunt of them being really good and we did not play well in any aspect. I don’t think we could have played worse.”

The Celtics received the ball first and went right down the field as quarterback Erik Barker and Jacob Jackson connected for a 28-yard gain. Runs by Lucas Garvey and Junior Walling got McNary to the Sprague 20-yard line but four consecutive incomplete passes resulted in a turnover on downs.

The Olympians needed only five plays to reach the end zone as running back Noah Mellen got to the edge of McNary’s defense and raced 67 yards down the sideline for the first score of the night.

The Celtics again moved the ball into Sprague territory but Barker was intercepted on a jump ball to Jose Solorio. Five plays later, Sprague was back in the end zone on a Mellen two-yard run.

After another Barker interception, a two-yard touchdown run by Michael Murphy gave the Olympians a 21-0 lead with 4:23 still remaining in the first quarter. Sprague quarterback Spencer Plant then connected with Zach Lovell to stretch the lead to 28-0.

With 30 seconds remaining in the first quarter, the Olympians added one more score on a 35-yard pass from Plant to Alek Altringer. Plant then found Altringer again for a 50-yard strike to put Sprague on top 42-0 less than a minute into the second quarter.

Altringer wasn’t done. On defense, the Sprague senior intercepted Barker and ran untouched to the end zone to extend the lead to 49-0.

The Olympians added one more touchdown, this time on the ground, to lead 55-0 with 5:04 remaining in the second quarter.

Sprague finished the first half with 176 yards rushing and 200 passing. The Olympians had seven plays of more than 25 yards.

“We didn’t get through blocks,” Auvinen said. “We didn’t keep any leverage. We didn’t do much of anything on defense, right. We tried lots of pressure. We tried a little bit of pressure. We tried man. We tried zone. It didn’t matter what we were running if the kids aren’t going to play. We just got it handed to us and we didn’t respond like we needed to.”

With 44 seconds remaining in the first half, Garvey fought his way into the end zone from the three-yard line for McNary’s only score of the game. The extra point was then blocked.

Mellen added his third rushing touchdown early in the third quarter to complete the scoring.

“Take nothing away from Sprague because they’re a good football team and they did not play like it the week before and our kids may have put too much into that,” Auvinen said.

McNary finished with 236 yards. Garvey had 42 yards on 19 carries. Barker completed 14 of 32 passes for 139 yards and three interceptions. Brayden Ebbs was his leading receiver with five catches for 45 yards.

Wrestling reunion to honor coach

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Former McNary High School wrestlers are invited to McNary Restaurant and Lounge on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 5 p.m. for a reunion and celebration of longtime coach Jerry Lane.

After wrestling at Iowa State Teacher’s College and then coaching in Colorado, Lane came to McNary when the school opened in 1965.

At the encouragement of his old high school coach, Cy Bellock, who was now leading the wrestling program at North Salem, Lane had interviewed for a job in Salem two years earlier but decided to stay in Colorado. When Bellock called Lane again to tell him the district was opening a new school, Lane couldn’t turn down the opportunity to build his own program.

“It was a dream,” Lane said. “At McNary you were able to start from scratch.”

Lane was an assistant at North Salem under Bellock for two years while McNary was being built. Bellock then left North Salem and joined Lane as an assistant coach at McNary.

The Celtics joined a stacked league that included recent state champions Lebanon and Sweet Home. Corvallis was on its way to winning two titles.

McNary defeated both Salem schools, North and South, in its first year but finished fifth in the conference. In its second season, the Celtics had their first district champion in heavyweight Dick Wilmschem. Dave True was district runner-up.

McNary took three wrestlers to the 1968 state tournament and placed them all. The Celtics then won their first district title in 1970.

Larry Hayward, one of the former wrestlers in charge of the reunion, was on the 1970 team.

“This was a great man that influenced a lot of of kids’ lives both as a coach and a teacher and we just want to celebrate what he’s done for so many,” Hayward said of Lane.

McNary went 21-0 in 1974 but wasn’t quite ready for the bright lights of the state tournament. While Sam Hewitt won an individual state championship, no one else on the team placed.

“Most of our kids were sophomores and juniors and we really didn’t do a good job,” Lane said. “We really bombed.”

The Celtics were ready in 1975 and became the first Salem-Keizer school to win a wrestling state championship. No SKSD school has won the title since. McNary finished second in 1976. North Salem and Sprague have also been state runner-up.

McNary was the last three-grade high school (sophomores, juniors and seniors) to win the state tournament.

“We were really good in 74 but in 75 we had the experience,” Lane said.

The Celtics sewed up the title in the semifinals by advancing three wrestlers to the finals, where they went 1-2. Stacey Stone won the individual title. Tony Young placed second. Howard Harris, a junior who would later become a four-time All-American at Oregon State University, forfeited his match after straining his back earlier in the tournament. That was the only loss Harris had in his final two seasons at McNary, where he finished 80-5 in his high school career.

In 1980, Harris’ senior year at Oregon State, he moved from 191 pounds to heavyweight and pinned all five of his opponents to win the NCAA championship. Harris defeated Indiana State sophomore Bruce Baumgartner in the finals. Baumgartner went on to wrestle in four Olympics and win two gold medals.

Harris was voted the outstanding wrestler of the 1980 NCAA tournament. He still owns the OSU record for career wins (169) and is second in pins (87).

“Nobody ever asked me who my best wrestler was,” Lane said of Harris. “Everybody knows who my best wrestler was.”

McNary also participated in the Oregon Wrestling Cultural Exchange, which beginning in 1963 sent a team as far as Russia, New Zealand, Japan, Germany and Cuba. The exchange ended in the 1980s but the Celtics had at least one wrestler make the team in every decade.

Lane, who retired from teaching in 1994 and quit coaching in 1996, said he had great assistants at McNary—Bellock, John Wayland, Mike Morgan, Bill Sanford, Craig Nickalaus and John Mangan.

Over 30 years, Lane led McNary to four conference championships, coached seven individual state champions, 58 district champions and 37 state placers.

For his lifetime service to wrestling, Lane was inducted into the Oregon chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1996.

While Lane, now age 79, living in Portland, acknowledged the state championship team was a “special group of kids,” he enjoyed every season.

“We had years when we weren’t as good as other years but in that era, if McNary didn’t win the league, they were going to be second or third,” Lane said. “I didn’t care about winning and losing but you just had to get better, you had to show improvement to be able to live with yourself. You had to realize you can outwork people. The most important thing wasn’t did you win or not, did you wrestle up to your capabilities? That’s what we were all about, I hope.”

RSVP to the reunion at [email protected]

“Caroline: Little House, Revisited” by Sarah Miller

Caroline: Little House, Revisited” by Sarah Miller

c.2017, Wm. Morrow
$25.99 / $31.99 Canada
371 pages

BOOK REVIEW
by TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER

Packing stinks.

Wrapping up all your things, cushioning breakables, putting things where you won’t find them for months. Ugh. Is it worth it to have a new home? A new life?  As in “Caroline: Little House, Revisited” by Sarah Miller, is the sacrifice worth a new beginning you’re not sure you want?

She loved him so.

Looking at her husband, Charles, Caroline Ingalls saw the light in his face as he spoke. She knew he’d heard that the government was selling Kansas farmland at reasonable prices, just as she knew how he wanted that, and an adventure. His eyes told her that he also wanted her permission, and she loved him too much to say no.

She hadn’t informed him yet that their family would increase by one, come summer. She barely knew it herself, and she couldn’t imagine giving birth without family nearby. Still, she could never deny her husband his hearts’ desire, so she said yes to making plans, to packing their belongings in a canvas-topped wagon, to estimate what supplies they might need for their travels. They’d depart from Wisconsin in late winter, when the river was still frozen solid. They would be in Kansas by mid-summer.

It was cold when they started: five-year-old Mary and three-year-old Laura needed mittens until they reached the southern part of Iowa . Caroline’s own quilts ensured the girls’ comfort; supper often came from an open-pit fire. They might go days without seeing anyone but each other and oh, how Caroline missed her sister! She missed her little cookstove, the rocker that Charles made for her when Mary was born, and the feel of solid floorboards. She missed everything there was to miss about Wisconsin , but the state was weeks behind her.

In front of her was a promise, and a husband who sang when he was happy. She imagined a garden, and crops spread beneath a big sky dome, family, new friends, and a new baby. She could also imagine danger…

Remember thrilling to tales from “The Little House on the Prairie”? If you do, then author Sarah Miller has this: there’s another side to the story and in “Caroline,” it’s no less exciting.

At the outset of this novel, you know you’re in for something good. Miller makes this a love story, first: Charles and Caroline Ingalls are sweetly bashful and still courting, even though, as this novel opens, they’ve been married a decade. Caroline adores her husband and her girls, but Miller lets her be flawed: the title character is unsure of herself, prone to seethe silently, and there are times when she briefly wishes she was childless. Truly, that introspection drives this novel as much as does the new world Caroline encounters, making it a perfect addition to a beloved story.

In her afterword, Miller explains how she used Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books to make a “marriage of fact and fiction,” and fans are going to love it. If you grew up devouring “Little House” books, the covers of “Caroline” pack a great story.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is based in Wisconsin