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Day: March 2, 2018

Amid school safety furor, Wyden visits McNary HS

Sen. Ron Wyden takes questions from students and members of the public (KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley)

Of the Keizertimes

School safety and protecting Dreamers were two of the topics that dominated the conversation as Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) visited McNary High School for a town hall on Friday, Feb. 23.

McNary junior Lauren Murphy, a reporter for the student newspaper, the Piper, asked Wyden about both issues.

The senator said school shootings have become normalized.

“We can’t accept this,” Wyden said to applause from the crowd, which consisted of about 40 members of the community and more than a hundred students. “This should never be considered normal. We are better than this.”

Wyden said he supported an “airtight, loophole-free background check system for every single gun sold in America,” as well as a ban on bump stocks, a repeal of the law that protects gun makers after a shooting and that he would lift restrictions on doing research.

Wyden also took the time to respond to President Donald Trump’s tweet about arming teachers.

“I’m for teachers teaching,” said Wyden, who noted he supported more funding for law enforcement at schools. “They are so important to the well being of our families.”

McNary senior Beau Reitz asked Wyden what schools could do for safety besides gun control.

Wyden let McNary principal Erik Jespersen address this issue.

“We’ve got an amazing safety and security team,” Jespersen said. “The No. 1 thing you can do (as students) is have open ears and eyes.”

Jespersen pointed to warning signs and red flags in school shootings found on social media.

“You know your classmates and who is having a hard time,” he said. “You can let us know. Pay attention and look for signs.”

On Dreamers and immigration, Wyden said “those who have grown up in Oregon have done so much good in our state” and that President Trump chose “to hold back dreamers rather than to help our economy.”

“We need them (Dreamers) to create jobs in a growing economy,” Wyden added.

Wyden also said he “detested” the idea of spending $25 billion on a border wall and would rather spend that money on infrastructure like roads and bridges.

“My pledge to all the Deamers is I’m staying at this until we get justice for the Dreamers,” Wyden said. “They’re an asset for us.”

A man from the carpenters union asked Wyden about infrastructure.

“We can’t have big league quality of life with little league infrastructure,” Wyden responded. “I’m prepared to work with anybody that has a good idea but the country deserves more than Trump tolls,” referring to the President’s plan to lift the federal ban on interstate tolling.

McNary senior Jonas Honeyman asked Wyden which issues were not being discussed enough.

His response was health care and in particular Medicare, which in its current state will “dominate the budget for years to come,” leaving less money for education, job training and parks.

“We are really in this together,” Wyden said.

A member from the community asked Wyden to tell the crowd about the importance of voting.

Wyden, who serves on the Select Committee of Intelligence, started by saying its “crystal clear that Russians meddled in our 2016 election and intend to do so again in 2018 and 2020.”

“I’m not going to let this be swept under the rug,” he added. “It’s too important to Oregon.”

Wyden said he hoped by 2020 to take Oregon’s vote by mail system nationally.

He was impressed with the questions he received from McNary students.

“I’m leaving McNary High School today feeling really good about the future,” Wyden said.

Whiteaker outduels Claggett

Of the Keizertimes

Whiteaker wrestler Jeremiah Ratliff won his match at 160 pounds to seal the win over rival Claggett Creek at McNary High School on Thursday, Feb. 22.

When 160-pounder Jeremiah Ratliff earned a pin on Thursday, Feb. 22 at McNary, he didn’t just get his first win of the season.

Ratliff also sealed the victory for his team as Whiteaker Middle School topped Clagget Creek 58-36.

“He’s worked hard last year and this year,” Whiteaker head coach Kelly Hafer said. “He’s just wrestled studs all year and he got a great win to seal the win for the team.”

Whiteaker led from the beginning as CCMS had to forfeit the first two weight classes, 75 and 80 pounds, as brothers Brandon and Max Blanco, both undefeated, were absent.

Jesse Dyer (85), who finished the season undefeated at 10-0, then won his match 7-0 to give the Wolverines an early 15-0 lead.

Jordan Orr (90) got the Panthers on the scoreboard with a pin. CCMS then won by forfeit.

But Whiteaker won the next six matches to take control. Hunter Ruberto (102), Jacob Moore (110) and Luke Moreland (117) all won by fall. Ben Standley, who finished the season 8-0,  added a 16-4 major decision at 125 pounds. Aiden McCoy (132) then won by decision and Destiny Rodriguez (140), who finished the season 9-0, got a quick pin.

“I’m just really happy with how my kids wrestled,” Hafer said. “They always run back to the middle. That’s huge. That shows a lot of hard work and belief in the fact that hustle and pressure wins matches You can have a couple of trick moves and that works most of the time but the kid with good solid technique who can pressure his or her opponents is going to win more often than not.”

Claggett finished the dual strong, winning four of the final six matches as Aron Montoya (150), Jakob Munson (175), Luis Cortez (195) and Layne Runyan (220) all won by fall.

“Overall, these kids competed and worked hard,” said CCMS head coach Aaron Carr. “Whiteaker got us today. Having those two forfeits early cost us.”

Aldo Villalvazo (275) finished the dual with another pin for the Wolverines.

Whiteaker, which had 57 wrestlers, including 10 girls, both school records, finished the season 8-2.

“We really turned it on the last half of the season,” Hafer said. “We kind of got our feet under us the first half of the season and we were fortunate to have the schedule we did before we hit the tough part of our schedule. It really worked out well.”

Claggett had 42 kids participate in wretling this season and finished 6-3-1.

“Numbers are growing so that’s great for McNary,” Carr said. “The more kids we can send into the program, the better they’re going to be.”

Last chance to see Lend Me a Tenor

McNary’s drama department is performing Lend Me a Tenor on Friday, March 2 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, March 3 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Ken Collins Theater.

General admission tickets, available at the door or in advance at, are $5 for students and seniors and $7 for adults.

Lend Me a Tenor, a comedy written by Ken Ludwig, received nine Tony Award nominations when it premiered on Broadway in 1989.

It is rated PG-13.

The play, which takes place in 1934 in a hotel suite in Cleveland, Ohio, stars McNary students Jon Taylor as Max, Matthew Albright as Saunders, Steven Cummings as Tito, Sydnie Gould as Maria, Bella Fox as Diani, AB Feinauer as Julia, Rachel Herries as the bellhop and Elise Myers as Maggie.

Saunders, the general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company played by Matthew Albright, and Max try to wake up Tito after the opera singer has taken a double dose of tranquilizers.