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Day: November 17, 2017

Diede signs to play D-I volleyball

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By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary senior Valerie Diede has wanted to play volleyball in college for as long as she can remember.

“I think I always knew I wanted to play in college, pretty much ever since I was little,” Diede said. “I always looked up to the big girls. We would go to U of O games and I would always love watching them. I knew I loved playing volleyball so why not play in college.”

On Wednesday, Nov. 8, Diede officially became one of those “big girls,” signing with the University of Hartford, a Division I program in Connecticut.

But Diede didn’t pick Hartford just because of its Division I status.

“It’s not so much that it’s Division-I. Yes, it’s cool that it is but it was all about the school and that it felt like it was the right fit for me,” Diede said.

Diede committed to the Hawks more than a year ago after visiting the campus the summer before her junior year. Hartford was the only school she visited.

“I was talking to other schools but I didn’t get to that point,” Diede said. “I just really liked that school (Hartford) and I knew that’s where I wanted to go. The coaches were really welcoming and just walking around there, I could see myself going there and the academics are really good and it was just everything I wanted.”

Diede got in touch with Mitch Kallick, the head volleyball coach at Hartford, through her club coach at North Pacific Juniors—Adam Ellis.

Committing to Hartford so early, allowed Diede to relax and enjoy her junior and senior volleyball seasons.

“I don’t have to worry about filling out all of this information. I didn’t have to look into colleges or worry about how much money I’m going to spend for it,” Diede said.

“At tournaments, I don’t have to worry about the pressure of getting recruited.”

Deide, a middle blocker, made the McNary varsity team as a freshman. Her junior and senior seasons were her favorites.

“Our team really connected well,” Diede said. “We were all just really close and the teammates were just amazing and really fun to play with.”

Diede had three different head coaches at McNary—Kellie Scholl, Bruce Myers and Crystal DeMello.

“They all really pushed me and they encouraged me and they were all amazing people,” Diede said. “It’s learning different coaching styles and learning how to adapt to that.”

Diede made an impression on DeMello as a player who never stopped working even though she’d already committed to play in college.

“Val is a fantastic leader and I definitely lucked out getting her when she’s established herself as a player,” DeMello said. “She not only led statically but she’s just a positive vibe on the court. She has so much energy it’s contagious. I appreciate that about her. I appreciate that she’s willing to continue to work just as hard if not harder than everyone else in order to set the example and I think that’s a big reason why she ended up reaching her goals ultimately and setting herself up to be a Division I player.”

Diede’s leadership shown even when she wasn’t on the court after suffering a concussion and missing a few games during the middle of her senior season.

“Even though she wasn’t on the court she still contributed,” DeMello said. “She would sit right at the front of the bench. She would talk to the front row players, tell them where to hit. Her role changed because she wasn’t on the court but her influence over the team didn’t change. They still respected her. She’d jump into the timeouts, talked to them and that is just amazing to have someone who can analyze the game even though they’re still a player.”

Diede, who was voted First Team all-conference, led McNary in both total blocks (62) and hitting efficiency (.397).  She also had 118 kills.

Diede said she didn’t plan on going to school so far away from home but she has cousins that live close to the university. She wants to be a ultrasound technician.

“They’re a private school and they have a really good medical program,” Diede said. “Once, I saw that, I knew it was right.”

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School district bond should include new McNary orchestra space

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Twenty years ago, a bond measure was passed that was responsible for the creation of a dedicated music wing at McNary High School. This new music wing included new, spacious rehearsal areas for both band and choir. However, the intended orchestra room was inadequate for the needs of four full orchestras now in the program, and will only increase in size as the next generation of string musicians come in. The “Ensemble Room” has unfortunately been relegated to being only a storage space for instruments and a practice room for small groups, because of the size of each of the four ensembles.

Consequently, the orchestra program has resorted to sharing space in the dedicated choir room, but the choir program has more than 250 students that often come and go during instructional time. This has created issues with both the choir and the orchestra interrupting each other’s rehearsals. Not only do they share a space with one another during the school day, but the room is often overbooked by multiple ensembles for their rehearsals, section practices, and faculty meetings after school.

  Additionally, preparing the choir room rehearsals everyday means setting up music stands and chairs, as well as tearing down after practice, which takes up precious class time. This issue has also been responsible for the delay of the next class that takes place in the room and often causes students to be rushing to their next class.

One choir student, Camryn Ronnow, stated that “Having to share the choir room with the orchestra students has resulted in many conflicts regarding space. Every period that there isn’t a choir class there is an orchestra class, limiting growth for both departments. Having an orchestra room would benefit both the choir and orchestra departments and allow for more students to be involved in the programs which is the ultimate goal here at McNary High School.”

The choir teacher, Joshua Rist, agrees. “Right now our ability to grow is capped by the limited space. I’m happy to share my room with a colleague as generous and kind as Mr. Williams, but both programs can’t grow when all the periods are used up by ensembles.”

The orchestra program would not be the only recipient that would benefit from an orchestra room. Having another room in the music wing specifically meant for the orchestra program is very important for future students and their parents. It will benefit students and staff in the other music departments, as well.

Nicholas Weathers said, “If there was an added Orchestra room then everyone in the music department would have more space to practice, and use more space efficiently, to overall get a lot better and just be fantastic!”

McNary and the Salem-Keizer school district take pride in their excellent music programs.  Performances and after-school events bring the community together.  A new room for the orchestra will improve the music education for the future generations of musicians. It seems right for an orchestra that placed in the top five at state to have their own room at McNary. This coming Monday, Nov. 13th, at McNary High School is an opportunity for people to listen and contribute to discussions that can change the community.  Starting at 6 p.m. Monday evening is a meeting to propose what can be done with the money that the bond promises for our district. Already on the table are new science classrooms and extra parking space. We believe that the community should be informed of this chance, and implore anyone with strong faith in the cultural prosperity of Salem-Keizer to attend and share their thoughts.

Sincerely,

The McNary Orchestra

Outreach Committee

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Keizer turns out for bond forum

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By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Of the first four bond measure forums, Lillian Govus, director of community relations for the Salem-Keizer School District, said McNary High School’s drew by far the largest crowd as more than 70 people packed into the library on Monday, Nov. 13 to see how Keizer schools would benefit from a nearly $620 million bond package.

About half of the attendees were focused on McNary, which would receive $42 million to build 14 new general classrooms, one new science lab, one flexible lab space and two Career and Technical Education spaces.

The money would also go towards reconstructing office space so it’s easier to check students in and out and relocating softball/soccer fields and tennis courts to the nearly 4.5 acres purchased from St. Edward Catholic Church, which would allow for parking expansion and give McNary a blank slate to reconstruct the school’s entrance.

But it was an item that wasn’t on McNary’s list that led the discussion—a new orchestra room.

“It’s a storage space and it can’t be anything more than that with our current number of students,” McNary senior Emma Snyder said of the current orchestra room, adding that the orchestra consistently finishes top five in the state.

Matt Haymowicz, an orchestra parent, said, “In the same way you can’t add a sink to a room and call it a science lab, you can’t add a music stand to a room and call it an orchestra room.”

McNary principal Erik Jespersen said he was all ears.

“We have a choir room, a band room, and an orchestra closet,” Jespersen said. “That sort of thing is what we’d like feedback on.”

Everyone at the meeting was given a survey with four questions: Does the concept meet your vision for the growth of the school? Does this concept support your child’s learning? Does this concept support your child’s safety? And knowing that there isn’t much flexibility with the budgeted amount, are there changes you would recommend?

The results will be shared with the school board and used to finalize the bond package.

In order to make changes to the orchestra room, McNary would have to take money away from other projects.

The new construction at McNary would take place on the turf field side of the campus. Jespersen added spending money in the current building, where the orchestra room is currently located, is more expensive because of code compliance.

Construction would begin in the summer of 2019 and be completed in September of 2020.

Michael Wolfe, chief operations office for the school district, led the forum.

“This is not a wish list, these are real needs,” Wolfe said.

Salem-Keizer School District has grown by 1,745 students since the last bond passed in 2008 and is expected to grow by another 1,000 in the next five years.

Wolfe said if the district did nothing, there would be no room for 1,300 high schoolers and that number jumps to 2,200 without portables.

The needs for each school were determined by an 18-member citizen’s facilities task force over three and half months, who recommended a $766 million bond.

However, a community survey showed that price tag, which would result in an increase of $3 per thousand of accessed property value, was a little too high.

Wolfe added that polling showed for the first time in decades that people were willing to pay more, just not that much. A $620 million bond would be an increase of $1.28 to $1.39.

The majority of the money, $433.5 million, would go towards adding capacity to support enrollment and educational programs.

Construction at Claggett Creek Middle School, which would begin in 2020, includes cafeteria expansion and repurposing two general classrooms into science labs. Whiteaker would also turn a general classroom into a science lab as well as replace its gym floor.

Two elementary schools, Gubser and Keizer, would get new cafeterias, kitchens and classrooms. Cummings is set to expand its cafeteria. Construction at Cummings and Gubser would begin in 2020 and at Keizer Elementary in 2022.

Weddle Elementary is already over capacity but has no room to expand due to wetlands. However, other elementary schools, like Kennedy and Forest Ridge, are under capacity.

“There will need to be changes in Keizer’s feeder system,” Wolfe said, referring to boundaries.

Increasing the safety of schools in the event of a seismic event like an earthquake would cost $66 million.

Wolf said each structure was evaluated for risk of collapse and $56 million would be used to make sure people can get out of buildings in case of an emergency. The other $10 million will increase the design standard of new additions to an immediate re-occupancy standard.

The rest of the bond would go towards an increase in safety and security ($33 million), non-routine maintenance ($73.5 million) and technology and upgrades that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act ($13.2 million).

“These numbers are not final. That’s what these sessions are about,” Wolfe said.

The school board will finalize the bond package in January to be put on the May ballot.

To follow the developments, go to www.salemkeizer.org/about/2018-bond-measure.

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A glorious holiday for every home

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Does anyone need to be reminded that next week is Thanksgiving? Television is filled with soft-focus ads showing families enjoying preparing and eating the holiday dinner.

This weekend every store that sells groceries will be packed with shoppers picking the fixings for dinner. Many of us will step back and marvel at the sight of the table with its themed-holiday centerpieces, the ‘good’ china and cloth napkins.

After dinner many will either be cleaning up, suffering a food coma or watching a football game. Some, though fewer of us, will be preparing for the frenzy of the Black Friday sales at stores and malls throughout the region.

Roll back the tape of that Norman Rockwell-esque scene and start over at a Keizer household where abundance is rarely seen and the reasons to give thanks seem to belong to someone else. In a rich nation there are too many families who can’t take part in the great American pageant of our Thanksgiving rituals. The lucky families are able to get to the food bank for generous donations of food. The unlucky families treat Thanksgiving as just another Thursday.

We ask that as Keizer families shop for their Thanksgiving dinner, they add extra items to their basket that can be donated to help every family enjoy the holiday.

Every store has a bin for food donations that will be donated to Marion-Polk Food Share or Keizer Community Food Bank. When we have plenty it should not be a heavy lift to help our neighbors who may not be as fortunate as we.

Other ways to help this season is to volunteer at Wednesday’s community dinner at St. Edward Church from 3 to 6 p.m. Or help out in downtown Salem locations to feed the needy. Thanksgiving will take on a whole new meaning when we help our brothers.   —LAZ

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District should pay for Newberg

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To the Editor:

On Oct. 12, I attended a meeting at McNary High School regarding parking and traffic issues on Newberg Drive.

The meeting was hosted by McNary Principal Erik Jespersen and Salem Keizer Public Schools Chief Operations Officer Michael Wolfe. Each of these individuals stated that they were concerned about the safety of students arriving at McNary High School, and wanted to stress that keeping the gate open to MacArthur Street was allowing a safe entrance. All the individuals that attended the meeting stated that this is not correct, and leaving the gate open to MacArthur is unsafe. Newberg Drive has no sidewalks or street lights for the safety of the students walking to school, whereas Celtic Way and Dice Lane both have sidewalks with street lights providing a safer entrance for the students.

They then claimed that the students that live on Newberg would have to walk that much further to get around to these streets, which is also not true. There is only one student that lives on Newberg Drive, and his parents agree that the entrance on MacArthur is unsafe with all the cars driving in and out of the school parking lot. They prefer their student walks around, and he always has. The fact is, leaving the gate open on MacArthur is creating an unsafe environment to the students that are walking in the street on Newberg without proper lighting, and subjecting them to possibly being hit by a car some morning. There are also cars driving on Newberg to drop their kids off at the corner of Newberg and MacArthur that are making the situation even more unsafe. Does a child have to get hit by a car and possibly killed before the Salem Keizer School District stands up to take notice of this unsafe situation? Several people have signed a petition and attended Salem Keizer School District meetings, and Keizer City Council meetings to address this issue of unsafe habits caused by the gate being left unlocked, only to be ignored and told that the entrance is safe. Even Chief of Police John Teague will not send an officer to the neighborhood as the traffic congestion is too obstructive. Please feel free to sit anywhere in the vicinity of MacArthur and Newberg and see for yourself how unsafe this has become. When talking with Keizer Mayor Cathy Clark, she states that the city is trying to get the residents of Newberg Drive to pay for street lights and sidewalks on Newberg. Why should the neighborhood have to pay for this if the school wants to provide safety for the students to use the MacArthur gate? Why doesn’t the school district pay for it?

Jeff Weekly
Keizer

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Morally and intellectually exhausted

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By MICHAEL GERSON

Political commentators are supposed to be somewhat objective and analytical when it comes to tracking trends. In that spirit, I find the polling snapshot of President Trump at one year since his election to be interesting—if “interesting” is defined as a downward spiral of polarization, pettiness and prejudice that threatens the daily functioning and moral standing of the American republic.

Our times are not normal—and it is a disservice to the country to normalize them. In a recent Washington Post-ABC News survey, Trump’s approval rating is worse —far worse—than any president at this stage in seven decades of polling. About half of those surveyed strongly disapprove. The public assessment of Trump’s leadership, character and competence has grown harsher in every category.

All this is true following two quarters of more than 3 percent economic growth, with the stock market booming and unemployment at 4.1 percent. Practically, this means that Trump has no cushion or margin of public support when economic circumstances worsen.

And yet.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that if the Trump/Clinton presidential race were re-held today, it would be a tie. Think on that. Arguably the worst president in modern history might still beat one of the most prominent Democrats in America. This indicates a Democratic Party in the midst of its own profound crisis. During the Obama years, it collapsed in large portions of the country. Its national establishment has been revealed—with extensive footnotes provided by Donna Brazile—as arrogant, complacent and corrupt. But the only serious ideological alternative to that establishment is frankly socialist—the fatuous and shallow sort of socialism held by college freshmen and Bernie Sanders.

We have reached a moment of intellectual and moral exhaustion for both major political parties. One is dominated by ethnic politics—which a disturbingly strong majority of Republican regulars have found appealing or acceptable. The other is dominated by identity politics—a movement that counts a growing number of Robespierres. Both seem united only in their resentment of the international economic order that America has built and led for 70 years.

Normally, a political party would succeed by taking the best of populist passion and giving it more mainstream expression. But in this particular, polarized environment, how is that possible? Do mainstream Republicans take a dollop of nativism and a dash of racism and add them to their tax cuts? That seemed to be the approach that Ed Gillespie took in the Virginia governor’s race. But this is morally poisonous—like taking a little ricin in your tea. Do mainstream Democrats just take some angry identity politics and a serving of socialism —some extreme pro-choice rhetoric and single payer health care—and add them to job training programs?

The lead ideology of the Republican Party at the national level is now immoral and must be overturned—a task that only a smattering of retiring officeholders has undertaken. The lead ideology of the Democratic Party is likely to be overturned—by radicals with little to offer the country save anger and bad economics.

Where does this leave us at year one of the Trump era? With two very sick political parties that have a monopoly on political power and little prospect for reform and recovery. The stakes are quite high. If America really develops a political competition between ethno-nationalism and identity socialism, it will mean we are a nation in decline—likely to leave pressing problems (educational failure, unconstrained debt, a flawed criminal justice system) unconfronted. Likely to forfeit global leadership, undermine world markets and cede to others the mantle of stability and firm purpose.

There is a serious prospect that the president will truly crash and burn in a colossal fiasco so disastrous as to be undeniable proof against all things Trump. But that would be so bad for the country that it is hard to wish for.

So what should we wish for? It is a measure of our moment that this is not obvious. It is quite possible that moderate conservatism and moderate liberalism are inadequate to explain and tame the convulsive economic and social changes of our time. Which places America’s future —uncertain, maybe unknowable—on the other side of an earthquake.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

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Mandatory reporting in our schools

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By GENE H. McINTYRE

The front page article, Law Professor on SKSD mandatory reporting in last week’s Keizertimes resulted in a “Do I laugh or do I cry?” reaction.  There were several reasons for being torn asunder, the most notable being the hypocrisy angle, what a modern day U.S. public school district will do to curry favor with local persons of conservative interests even though the Salem Keizer School District is a secular-founded public organization.

But let’s get to the meat of this matter.  The hypocrisy between what so many of us Americans say and what we do may be unparalleled in the rest of the world.  There is in fact so much hypocrisy in America that one must only scratch the surface of life here to know its depths.  For one, Americans will tell pollsters they’re in church when they’re actually sleeping in or watching a ball game; similar examples could fill a book. Politicians don’t dare talk about legalizing certain drugs because Americans are reputed more likely to use drugs than other nations where use is accurately reported. Meanwhile, American hypocrisy is possibly most bizarre when it has to do with sex.

Facts show that Americans are sexually active because Americans are human beings, as is true of every other species on earth. As humans we can’t help ourselves as sex usually strikes like a bolt of lightening at puberty, although curiosity about it gets underway often long before it can result in a pregnancy.  Yet, so many Americans object to other people engaging in it that our local school chief administrator and others there want to make the school environment here not unlike a religious dictatorship.  So much so that they will intrude with threat of law enforcement into the private lives of the most vulnerable among us, our youth.

American prudery means that both tabloid and actual news media are regularly dominated by sex scandals.  These are often conducted as though the worse thing a person of any age can do is to have consensual sex with someone to whom he or she is not married. Most of what happens regarding this topic in this country seems actually to be controlled by middle-aged spinster-resembling persons, trying to force our youth into strict 19th century lives.

Facts on the subject reveal that Americans have sex on average 2.3 times a week, while 19 out of 20 Americans have had premarital sex, not holding back from getting started during the years of intense, internal fires burning, the teenage years that get well underway in middle school and hugely drive the high school years.  Americans like to have sex for pleasure as indicated by the count of contraception devices sold in the U.S.  Another revelation from research is that Americans love porn, while conservatives, who denounce other people’s sexual choices, have themselves been discovered, when anonymously surveyed, to be avid consumers of porn.

Americans just love judging other people, even when they themselves behave in similar, if not identical ways.  Abortion clinics receive an earful of how common the hypocrisy is when sharing stories about anti-abortion patients telling how they deserve an abortion when “Those sluts in the waiting room don’t.” Meanwhile, statistics inform us that 99 percent have used contraception; yet, 38 percent of women want to take away funding from Planned Parenthood and 46 percent of men want contraception subsidies cut while they benefit from their use.

A not small number of Americans are a study in extreme hypocrisy.  They wanted and participated in reckless unmarried sex as a teenager but escaped the peril of an enraged father seeking justice for his pregnant daughter. Then, they get older and purportedly “wiser” and suddenly are rabidly against teenagers having sex.  This attitude in view of statistics that show that teenage sex is not as rampant as it once was and actually has been in free fall for the last half century.  The facts point out that teenagers in the 1950s, for example, were a whole lot less chaste.  Yet, no matter the prohibitions and denunciations, it goes on everywhere.

Holding back on judgments, it’s probably a good guess that those in charge of the schools here in Salem-Keizer are overzealous and far too aggressive in application of SKSD Mandatory Reporting Guidelines; instead of a light touch, they’ve chosen the nuclear option.  Offering counsel, they are strongly advised to back off and substitute educational means instead of an effort at total control which will only drive the whole matter further underground where secrecy substitutes for good sense. Should Superintendent Christy Perry, her immediate subordinates and board member decision-makers feel they must interfere in the lives of youth to the extreme suggested by them they want to do so, then they are respectfully encouraged to seek positions in non-secular schools where religious behaviors rule.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)

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