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Month: November 2017

No victory dance yet on tax bill

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By DEBRA J. SAUNDERS

When the GOP House voted to repeal Obamacare in May, President Donald Trump invited supporters to the Rose Garden to celebrate with him and to pat themselves on the back for making history in record time.

In the fall of his first year in office, Trump has come to understand that passing the halfway mark is no guarantee you’ll cross the finish line.

Yet it took only three dissenting Republicans—Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona—to announce their opposition to a Senate bill before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided not to bring it to the floor in September.

This go round, Trump is wiser to the ways of the swamp.

“Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,” Trump marveled in February—to the delight of his entrenched critics. On tax policy, on the other hand, Trump pretty much refrained from oddball assessments. When it comes to matters of the wallet, Trump has a long personal history.

Another difference: Mark Harkins, senior fellow at the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University, noted that Trump has refrained from lashing out at reluctant Republicans as he did on health care.

Already Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., has let his dissatisfaction with the current Senate tax bill be known. As Harkins sees it, that means Trump probably cannot afford to lose the votes of the two Senate Republicans whom he has savaged most mercilessly—McCain and Bob Corker of Tennessee.

“If you’re a member of Congress, the last time you went to the White House to celebrate a bill signing, a week later your bill was being pilloried by the president,” Harkins recalled. Trump did not help himself on Capitol Hill when shortly after the House passed its Obamacare makeover bill, the president called it “mean.” Who wants to go out on a limb with that guy?

The Trump White House worked harder to promote tax reform and did a better job reaching out to like-minded stakeholders. Linda McMahon, administrator of the Small Business Administration, spoke to state and local officials Thursday about how the measure can help small businesses in their jurisdictions. That followed trips she made across the country to listen to what entrepreneurs say they need most.

In a meeting with reporters Tuesday, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said he thinks the tax bill will pass both the House and Senate because “folks want to get a deal done, and many of the basic principles have been established.”

Probably the most useful principle is that Republicans aren’t even trying to pay the whole freight for the cuts, and instead are adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt over a decade.

“For those who care about deficits, you should vote no because this bill increases deficits by over $1.5 trillion, likely more,” warned Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “Any deficit hawk should be against such an increase.”

To that, Republicans can respond that Schumer and other Democrats weren’t worried about adding to the national debt when it rose from $10.7 trillion in December 2008 to almost $20 trillion at the end of President Barack Obama’s tenure. At least the GOP plan is designed to grow the private economy.

As Mulvaney sees it, the only way to “get a truly healthy economy” is to attain 3 percent sustained economic growth, and that requires reforms that encourage investment.

Another factor in the tax reform effort is absence. Harkins isn’t sure the House would have passed this bill if not for the president’s 12-day Asian tour.

“I think another thing that assisted this time is the fact that he was out of pocket for almost two weeks,” said Harkins. That absence made it easier for the leadership to do what needed to be done to keep House Republicans on the team.

As Harkins put it, rather diplomatically, “It seems that it’s easier for Congress to move these large, difficult bills when they have less guidance from the executive branch.”

One more thing: After failing to repeal and replace Obamacare, Republicans in Congress know that 2018 is right around the corner — and if voters think they can’t get things done, some of them will be political toast.

(Creators Syndicate)

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Today’s safe cars: thank an activist

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By GENE H. McINTYRE

My cable service includes the Velocity channel. It is all about cars, how various models are manufactured, how they’re rebuilt when rusted and generally used up but can be made to look like new again, engine types and kinds, safety features and anything else auto-related.

The car was not invented in America but we’ve made it ours. Technical innovations, vehicle mass production, the electric starter—Americans added these features.  As the world has turned, Europeans can claim just as many automotive achievements, including unibody construction, disc brakes, and front-wheel drive. Yet, nowhere else in the world can any other group of nationals compete with what we’ve given to the meaning of cars along with our insatiable American appetite for their dream fulfillment.

Cars became important to me at an early age when I owned and drove several grossly-used versions, such as a 1956 Chevy Bel-Air, until I was able, during my first teaching job, to buy my first new one, a Chevy Corvair.  Some readers will remember the Corvair as a poor man’s sports car, rear-engined, air-cooled “space-age” compact.   Ralph Nader was primarily responsible for doing away with the Corvair by his first book, Unsafe at Any Speed.

It was only later, as I learned more about how cars made in the 1950s and ‘60s, that I considered myself, and most every other young person I ever knew, fortunate to have escaped the use of them and still kicking.  Unpadded metal surfaces, blunt knobs and rods, steering columns that could impale in a crash, while seatbelts could not be purchased or even installed as options on those cars.

Hoping not to cause cold sweats among those who were driving around in Chevys and other brands way back when we look at such features then as A-Pillars, that looked attractive in wraparound windshield designs, but left the roof supported only by thin pillars of sheet metal ready to collapse underneath a car’s weight if a rollover occurred.  Collapsible steering columns were invented in the 1930s but General Motors (Chevy’s parent company) did not use them until 1967. Steering wheels included a bullet-nose cap that in a crash almost guaranteed forehead and sternum-wrecking injuries. Meanwhile, the dashboards had no cushioned material, the hood ornament could fillet a person in a pedestrian altercation, and door latches jammed in a crash while the doors thereafter wouldn’t open.

The facts about the young lives of my wife’s and mine, regarding safety, is that we had been, as babies, small children, adolescents and young adults, riding around in unsafe cars.  My mom and dad owned an aged Chrysler from the late 1930s they used to take me home from the hospital without seat belts or any other safety feature and used thereafter during my growing-up years.  Whenever we went anywhere we kids were in the back seat fighting with each other and for the most part using the area as a wrestling mat and boxing ring.  My wife’s growing up years were similar with several siblings to make every trip somewhat like being aboard a scary carnival ride.

Modern day car-driving protections, in the U.S. at least, can be attributed in large measure to the work of Ralph Nader and his team of young Nader’s Raiders. One of his earliest safety calls resulted in those goofy automatic seatbelts while his supercilious manner sometimes discouraged some Americans from enthusiasm for his safety appeals. Nevertheless, against the mighty General Motors, and its car-manufacturing competitors like Chrysler and Ford, and other car companies, Nader began his campaign by going after the Corvair.

Nader turned the nation’s attention to some dangerous negligences that the auto industry had overlooked in production of cars for decades.  His work resulted in the enactment of car impact, safety, and passenger-protection regulations.  He promoted and lobbied successfully for the impactful National Traffic and Motor Safety Act. Further, if you appreciate clean tap water, safe operating equipment at your job, protections against predatory banks, private universities, insurance companies, drug companies, electrical and telecommunications utilities, government transparency and accountability, to the extent you do, you have Nader to thank.

Specialty car shops across the country can make old cars look new again.  Those cars are still old cars without most or any modern safety features; therefore they remain inherently unsafe but are fun to look at for nostalgic satisfactions.  They should be seen at summer fairs and festivals but not out in traffic competing for space with the current models. If your life has been saved by an air bag, anti-lock braking, crash-worthy frames and the like then you may want to keep your new or near-new car for the length of the Trump administration as The Donald wants, as his inimitable contribution to America, to do away with all federal regulations and those include the ones that have made our cars so much safer.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)

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Lockdown follows day of threats at MHS

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By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Miscommunication in the front office at McNary High School resulted in a Condition 2 lockdown on the morning of Thursday, Nov. 16.

The incident started when a person went into the office and said they were just in the parking lot and heard gunshots.

“The way it was translated was there are gunshots in the parking lot,” said McNary principal Erik Jespersen, who was in an administration meeting at the time. “There was something lost in translation.”

Given the miscommunication, the threatening graffiti in several Keizer neighborhoods the day before, and “chatter” on the radio between campus monitors, Jespersen said McNary went under a brief lockdown “in an abundance of caution.”

The lockdown lasted 15 minutes, but Jespersen and school resource officer David Zavala knew there was no threat much sooner.

“Within just a few minutes we realized there’s not an imminent threat,” Jespersen said. “Our protocol is we have to call the district office and we talk to either Ray Byrd or John VanDreal, of Safety and Risk Management Services, they have to release us from lockdown because we may not be aware that something is going on down the street. They have to check to make sure it is indeed safe and then we let them out, so instead of a lockdown for 3-4 minutes, it turned into 15 minutes.”

Within 30 minutes, Jespersen sent an auto-dialer to all McNary families informing them of the lockdown. He then sent an email to the McNary staff, telling them to communicate with their students why the school went into lockdown.

“We want to communicate with our families as fast as possible,” Jespersen said. “Once things were done, I needed to get a very quick debrief with everyone involved. I got my facts straight. I had someone from the communications office write this for me, and then we went from there. We tried to get it out as fast as we possibly could in a responsible and clear way.”

Exactly where the gunfire sound came from is unknown.

Area residents went to the Keizer City Council in the past to demand action regarding a private shooting range across the Willamette River from Sunset Park.

McNary golf course has an air cannon they use to scare off geese. However, Alex Kantner, assistant golf shop pro, confirmed the cannon wasn’t shot on Thursday morning.

A cannon fire sound can also be heard across the river from Keizer Rapids Park.

The Salem-Keizer School District has three levels of lockdowns—Condition 1, 2 and 3.

Condition 1 occurs when there is danger away from campus. Teaching continues but everyone is out of the hallways, doors are locked and kids can’t leave the room.

In Condition 2, the threat is not currently in the building but is on its way. Instruction then stops, doors, windows and blinds are closed and locked, the lights are turned off and everyone moves to a pre-designated safe area away from windows.

Condition 3 is when a threat is in the building. Doors are barricaded.

“We have formal drills a few times a year. Our students and staff are very aware of what a Condition 1, 2, and 3 are,” Jespersen said. “The kids and the staff were amazing. They responded in probably 15-20 seconds. We had 2,000 students that were where they needed to be.”


Graffiti threats hit Keizer homes

Graffiti threatening violence at McKay High School and “everywhere” was discovered at multiple homes in Keizer Wednesday, Nov. 15.

While nothing came of the threats, Salem-Keizer School District had extra security in place at McKay and McNary high schools in response to the vandalism. The Keizer Police Department continues to investigate the incident and is looking for leads. Anyone with information can contact 503-390-3713 or email [email protected], reference Keizer Police Department Incident #17-4776

The first graffiti, with the message “school shooting today @McKay,” was discovered by Keizer patrol officers about 3:40 a.m. on Horizon Ridge Drive Northeast. While the patrol officers were in the neighborhood investigating the initial report of graffiti, officers discovered at least three additional residences had been vandalized with similar threatening graffiti.  Two of the residences were also in the 1400 block of Horizon Ridge Drive NE, while the other residence is located in the 6800 block of Jakewood Court NE.  Garage doors were targeted at the homes on Horizon Ridge, while a fence was targeted at the home on Jakewood Court.

Additional messages included: “29+ dead today bombs everywhere;” “school shooting today;” and “Sandyhook2” among others.

In addition to those instances of vandalism, a stop sign at the intersection of Jakewood Court Northeast and Horizon Ridge Drive Northeast had the word “go” painted on it, and a City of Keizer Parks Regulation sign at Country Glen Park had “Sh school shoot” painted on it.

Salem-Keizer School District Superintendent Christy Perry released the following statement: “Overnight, some houses in our community were tagged with graffiti communicating a threat of violence that has impacted multiple schools. Your child’s safety is our highest priority and we are working on closely with all of our law enforcement partners which includes additional security across the district. We will continue to update you as we gather more information. Classes are continuing as usual. If you have any information regarding the graffiti, please contact your local law enforcement. Thank you for trusting us with your children. We take this responsibility seriously.”

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Keizer schools salute veterans

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McNary principal Erik Jesperson called it one of his favorite days of the year as he welcomed local veterans to the high school’s annual Living History Day assembly.

McNary invited veterans to the school on Thursday, Nov. 9 to share their experiences with students. They went to classrooms to tell stories and answer questions.

The veterans were then served lunch.

During the morning assembly, cadets in McNary’s AFJROTC posted the colors and performed an armed drill routine for the guests. McNary’s wind ensemble, directed by Jennifer Bell, also played.

Veterans spent the afternoon at Claggett Creek Middle School, eating lunch and then participating in classroom visits.

During an assembly, the CCMS band, orchestra and choir performed The Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful.

George Krause, computer lab teacher at the school, spoke to the students about the sacrifice veterans make for their country. Principal Aaron Persons listed the conflicts and invited veterans to stand.

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Board voted for judicial review, no mention of new policies

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By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

A decision by the Oregon Court of Appeals regarding the dismissal of an employee for failure to report a potential case of sexual abuse (see related story, Page A2), threw a wrench into the way the Salem-Keizer School District had been interpreting its mandatory reporting guidelines.

While the court sided with the counselor who chose not to report a somewhat vaguely-described  incident of abuse, it additionally determined that for mandatory reporting to be required “reasonable suspicion of sexual abuse necessarily encompasses a judgement as to whether the asserted physical contact was sexually motivated.” Essentially, the court said that for an incident to fall under the sexual abuse category, and therefore trigger mandatory reporting to the Department of Human Services, the incident had to include the touching of private or intimate parts for the purpose of arousing either party.

That determination, and two executive sessions on the topic, led to a special meeting of the Salem-Keizer School Board on Aug. 15 to consider asking the Oregon Supreme Court for clarification on mandatory reporting laws.  Board members approved moving forward with the request in a  4-2 vote with one abstention.

While the board is no longer seeking to punish the counselor whose actions led to the court decision, the action has led to new guidelines for mandatory reporting in the Salem-Keizer School District that includes a student inquiring about birth control options after admitting to sex with a partner; reports of a pregnancy; a student confiding in a teacher after being kicked out of his home for divulging a sexually active, same-sex relationship; in addition to suspected abuse or neglect.

Board Member Sheronne Blasi said she believed the Fair Dismissals Appeals Board (DFAB) made the wrong decision to reinstate the counselor involved in the inciting incident, but “I think that it’s in the interest of children and protecting children and it’s incredibly important that we bring this forward.”

Board Member Jesse Lippold contended that such an action would reinforce the need to report and it would take pressure off teachers because they wouldn’t have to make extra judgement calls or perform investigations.

Board Chair Paul Kyllo disagreed.

“I think it puts more responsibility to report any suspicion they hear,” Kyllo said. “Any time there’s somebody having sex under the age of 18 they must report it. Therefore, any time they don’t report it, under the new standard we are setting, it means the mandatory reporter could be sent to the police and put before the DFAB board. We create that new problem.”

Kyllo added the reporting guidelines might also be weaponized by students who are mad at one another.

“I believe that then clogs up the system and creates more problems than it helps solve in any way, shape or form,” Kyllo said.

Board member Kathy Goss worried that a court might respond with requirements the district didn’t want.

“The court has to rule on the facts but, in so doing, they could articulate a standard that is better for (mandatory) reporters, the same or worse. That’s all within the conceivable,” said the school district’s attorney Paul Dakopolos.

Lippold responded, “I don’t want a teenager who is worried about whether or not she is pregnant to be taken to court to be prosecuted along with any other because we decided to
take this to court.”

Dakolopos said his concern was the introduction of reporters needing to determine whether sexual gratification was part of a reported incident.

“We have never trained, nor has any school district ever trained, mandatory reporters to ask that question because sexual gratification is what law enforcement would have to prove in a sex abuse case,” Dakopolos said. “There were specific words spoken and gestures made in this case. Are the facts as described enough to trigger mandatory reporting? Should the reporter inquire regarding sexual gratification? It’s a complicated question that the court of appeals has added: the idea that a reporter could dismiss a report because the touching was not for sexual gratification. That’s a change for all mandatory reporters. ”

Jim Green, Sheronne Blasi, Jesse Lippold and Chuck Lee supported asking the Supreme Court for additional clarification. Kyllo and Kathy Goss opposed. Marty Heyen abstained.

Keizertimes asked Kyllo how district officials got from the vote for judicial clarification to the issuance of new mandatory reporting guidelines.

Kyllo responded: “The reporting guidelines are not new. If you looked at the mandatory reporting videos required to be watched in other school districts you would find that it is mentioned in those videos. Salem-Keizer has just taken a position to follow the law. No one is being hounded to report the abuse, no one is being monitored, and no one is excused from not reporting if there is a complaint or later allegation of abuse made by someone on behalf of an underage student, Is your newspaper advocating that the school district employees be exempt from following the law?”

No other school district in Oregon has yet moved to include consensual sex between students in the list of reportable incidents.

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Nicholas A. Waldner

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Sept. 28, 1988 – Oct. 31, 2017

Nicholas A Waldner — son, brother, grandson, friend and brother-in-arms—died on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, at his home in Keizer, Ore. He was 29 years old.

Born on Sept. 28, 1988, Nick was always known for his quick wit and love of word play. By age 10, no one would doubt his ability to become a lawyer.

N. Waldner

Nick was a difficult teenager who loved to push the envelope and sometimes past but he recognized he needed to make changes. At the age of 18 he got himself into the Job Corps where he excelled.  Upon its completion he had three choices, stay on at Job Corps as a paid mentor, enter public life or join the military. He decided he needed more personal growth and entered the Army at the age of 19 where he served two tours in Iraq.

Upon his discharge Nick had grown into a remarkable man and was filled with both passion and an intense sense of empathy, though also subject to depression due to PTSD which he battled for several years. He ended his life as a combination of PTSD and personal life issues that became too much for him to handle. He is survived by his parents, Renee and Damian Lopez; his brother, Kyle Lopez; his grandparents, Jerry and JoAnn Elliott and Gilbert Lopez; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins – too many to list. He is predeceased by his grandmother Rosalia Lopez.

Funeral services were held on Nov. 10 at Virgil T. Golden Funeral Home. The family requests that donations be sent to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or the Wounded Warrior Project.

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Theater design unveiled, approved

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By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The owner of a planned cinema still hasn’t signed a lease to locate on a city-owned portion of land in Keizer Station, but all the evidence points to it becoming a reality.

At a meeting of the Keizer Planning Commission Wednesday, Nov. 8, the planning commission approved a design variance that will allow the theater building to have fewer windows and compensate for the lack with additional landscaping.

“The requirement is 50 percent glazing/windows on the ground floor according to the master plan for Keizer Station but, since it is a theater, that many windows wouldn’t work,” said Nate Brown, Keizer community development director.

In October 2016, Chuck Nakvasil, owner of several theaters in Oregon and Washington, approached the city about the possibility of a long-term lease on a portion of the land across from the Salem-Keizer Transit Center.

The city has been working out the lease details during the past year, but the request for a design variance is the surest sign yet that the plan is moving forward. The granting of a variance alone is a rarity for the city.

Since adopting its design code, only two variances have been granted. The first was for additional awnings at the Smoker Friendly location on River Road in 2004. The second, in 2005, was a waiver for a pedestrian access at the Willow Lake Treatment Facility. Approving such variances is also one of the few actions the Planning Commission can take without needing additional approval by the Keizer City Council.

Aside from the inherent problems of having windows in theater spaces, the request to replace windows with landscaping is an attempt to offset the size of the nine-screen theater.

“This planting plan is a natural-look with a random placement of vertical trees. It is a 35-foot building and the intent is to break up some of the verticality,” Brown said.

Jeremy Grenz, of Multitech Engineering, the engineering firm for the project, said he was personally excited to be involved in the project to bring a theater back to Keizer.

“That the city planners are willing to work with us tells me that they understand the excitement around this project,” Grenz said.

Keizer did have a theater in the past – located at what is now Skyline Ford – but it was shuttered in the 1990s.

Commissioner Garry Whalen asked whether the city or the tenant would be responsible for maintaining the landscaping given the nature of the lease. Brown said the theater owner would have responsibility for the maintenance.

Whalen also wanted it to be known that the variance was being approved because of the unique nature of the development, not because the city was trying to sidestep its own development code on property it owned.

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School board will appeal OSAA league realignment

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By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes

Athletic realignment that puts Salem-Keizer School District high schools and three Bend high schools in the same conference drew a strong negative response from the Salem-Keizer School Board on Tuesday.

The board action follows a district staff recommendation and protests from many district parents who are concerned that travel over the Cascade Mountains could endanger athletes in winter weather, disrupt academic scheduling, and cost the district many thousands of dollars.

The Oregon School Activities Association, concerned that there are only three 6A classification schools in central Oregon, has placed the Bend high schools of Bend, Mountain View, and Summit in the Greater Valley Conference with McNary, McKay, West Salem, South Salem, and Sprague high schools for the next four school years.

Several audience members urged the board to appeal the decision. One, Angie Livengood of Salem, said the altitudes of the Cascades could keep cell phones from carrying messages of accidents in the mountains.

The board voted 6-1 to appeal the OSAA move. Chairperson Paul Kyllo cast the negative vote, saying, “I believe that the district is taking steps to mitigate the cost.” He called the appeal a bad way to spend district money.

Paul Dakopolos, the district legal counsel, said that any appeal would go to the OSAA board of directors and that the OSAA board could take the case to the Marion County District Court.

In other business, the board elected three of nine candidates to the district budget committee. Virginia Stapleton was elected on the first ballot, incumbent Adam Kohler on the second, and Kathleen Harder on the third. The other candidates were Christin Erikson, Virginia Gomez, Anna Kraemer, Adriana Miranda, and Derek Olson.

The board approved 13 grants to the district, the largest being $5,861,423 from the Oregon Department of Education to expand career and technical education programs in high schools. ODE also provided $3,036,394 for the district’s Head Start program, $1,651,200 for continuing the teacher and administrator mentoring program, $1,443,057 for programs for migrant children, $324,929 to reimburse food purchases, $209,835 for secondary career pathway funding, $148,800 for fresh fruits and vegetables outside the meal program, and $5,000 to enroll non-traditional students in Sprague CTE programs.

The other grants are $666,187 from Early Learning Hub for additional pre-kindergarten programs in highly impacted attendance areas, $286,000 from Early Learning Hub for increasing readiness for kindergarten, $81,711 from the Community Resource Trust for startup equipment at the Career and Technical Education Center, $20,084 from the city of Salem for after-school programs at Walker Middle School and Leslie Middle School, and $11,618 from the Oregon Response to Instruction and Interventions.

Personnel actions approved by the board include the following in the McNary attendance area:

• Temporary part-time teaching contract for Marie Curran at Gubser Elementary School.

• Temporary full-time teaching contracts for Leona Hall at McNary and Hailee Young at Keizer Elementary school.

• A first-year full-time probation contract for Veronica Rhodes at Keizer.

• A full-time contract for Elizabeth Armstrong at Cummings and Scott elementary schools.

The board approved first reading of a resolution to organize the Oregon School Boards Association as a nonprofit corporation.

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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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