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Month: April 2018

No Escape: Puzzle-maker aims to confound

Of the Keizertimes

To call Jonathan Graf a puzzle-maker is something of an understatement.

The mazes he constructs on paper dance gleefully on the line between hobby and artistic pursuit. Some of his largest creations – like one titled The Red Door that has a working space of roughly 400 square inches – he’s turned into prints. Others are etched into thick parchment paper that gives them the feel of relics. Smaller ones vary in size from 4-by-4-inch cards to large sketchbook pages.

While size and the intricacies of his work have changed over the years, the reason Graf has stuck with forging mazes hasn’t.

“When I was about 10, I started making them in the classroom and getting in trouble, but it helped me focus in school. It helps me even now, especially when I am trying to focus. The only difference is now I know how to make it look like I’m taking notes,” he said.

Graf is no ordinary maze-maker, but he started out the way most others do. The “easiest” way to make a maze is starting out with a large outline and adding smaller shapes with openings into the next smaller shape until the center of the largest object is filled. Then, most maze-makers map out the path they want the solver to take through the maze. At that point, the only task left is to close off all the other possible paths.

“That doesn’t work for me because it feels like I can see the solution right away and I think others will, too,” Graf said. “I know it’s easy to cheat mazes. If you start at the exit, you’ll find your way to the entrance fairly quickly. I want my mazes to be just as difficult starting from the exit as it is if you start at the beginning.”

Graf has an idea of the overall maze he wants to create in his head before he begins, but everything is constructed in the moment, section by section, without plotting out the solution in advance.

In his Red Door maze, which has a large, red rectangle in the center, solvers will know they are on the right path if they’ve touched all four inner and outer corners. However, there’s another wrench in the works, too. None of lines guiding the solver touch another or cross paths. That means there is no easy way to eliminate dead-end options because the whole thing looks like the folds of a two-dimensional brain.

Inspiration for Red Door came from a combination of the cover to Carl Jung’s The Red Book and listening to an audiobook version of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick while he made the maze. The final version took somewhere between 40 and 60 hours to complete.

“There’s a story to most of the mazes, but I couldn’t tell you what each one was,” Graf said.

What he’s discovered by talking to other maze makers is that each designer has his or her own set of rules. For Graf, rule No. 1 is: the lines don’t touch. Rule No. 2 is: no right angles. Rule No. 3 is: use all the space.

“Some people make elaborate mazes with relatively simple paths to solve them. If the solution is simple, make a smaller maze,” said Graf.

Beyond those three guideposts, his rules can vary from project to project.

After more than three decades of sticking with his hobby, Graf said there is an apology built into each time he tells someone new about his favorite pastime, but the responses are generally one of acceptance.

“Most people say it’s really cool, and then hit me with a pun,” Graf said. He grew tired of maze-inspired puns years ago.

Even Graf’s 8-year-old daughter is picking up some of her old man’s habits. Graf frequently uses his mazes to focus his attention when the family engages in reading aloud, his daughter is now doing essentially the same thing, but her chosen medium is the three-dimensional world of Minecraft, a video game.

Knowing how forging mazes improved his own attention while learning, he’s much more understanding than the adults in his life were at the same age. As much as maze-making is a tool for his personal learning, Graf said, there is something else that keeps him pushing his limits as far as creating them.

“I haven’t made a perfect maze. I don’t really have a goal in mind. I get lost in making them; and I hope for a short time, someone gets lost finding their way out. Perhaps the perfect maze is the one in which I forget I’m drawing,” he said.

Editor’s note: Jonathan Graf’s mazes are going to be a new, regular feature in the Keizertimes. Make sure to check back each week for a new one to solve.

Shore heading Northeast to UNE

Of the Keizertimes

When McNary senior Jessy Shore narrowed her college decision down to four schools, not one was closer than 3,000 miles from home.

“I knew I wanted to go somewhere far away,” Shore said. “I’m not fond of the midwest and I’ve been on a couple of (Washington) D.C. trips and I liked the east coast.”

McNary senior Jessy Shore heads the ball during a game played last season.

Shore got to her final four colleges by using Oregon’s Career Information System, which allows students to plug in the major, location and type of college they are looking for and then gives them a list of schools.

After visiting Bridgwater State and Fitchburg State in Massachusetts, the University of New England in Maine and the University of New Hampshire, Shore narrowed her choice down to two and over spring break went to Bridgwater and New England for a second time.

She then signed with New England in the McNary library on Wednesday, April 11.

While Shore was determined to play soccer in college, academics was the most important part of her decision.

“It was definitely first academics and then I looked at soccer, just because I love it and I didn’t want to part with it so soon,” Shore said. “ I really wanted to play, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my schooling for the ability to play.”

Choosing between her final two came down to team chemistry.

“Both times I met one-on-one with the players and to see how I meshed with their style of living and how they were as people and I bonded a lot better with UNE and those players,” Shore said.

Shore began playing when she was six with Keizer Soccer Club.

“I’ve never played another sport,” Shore said.

“I’ve always loved it (soccer). I know my first year playing I was one of the worst people on the team. I was definitely not the best player out there but I loved it enough that I kept working at it.”

Shore started 55 of 57 games at McNary, scoring 15 goals and adding 11 assists.

She was a team captain for three years.

“It’s been awesome to have a leader like Jessy on this team to help mold this program,” McNary head coach A.J. Nash said. “Her leadership has changed the course of McNary soccer. It’s been pretty fun to watch. It’s been through grit and effort. Jessy from the very beginning has exemplified good character and being a great teammate, always fighting for the person on the team that maybe doesn’t have that voice. Shows up early, stays late, all of those things that are going to make (her) great at life.”

After McNary finished 4-10 Shore’s freshman year, the Lady Celts improved to 6-8 her sophomore season and then qualified for the state playoffs the past two years, with a combined record of 16-9-5.

“It’s definitely been a journey,” Shore said. “First year was very rough, definitely. I think that the biggest thing that we’ve all tried to do is have fun throughout the four years and the more that we had fun, the better we played. The more that we loved what we were doing, the more work we were willing to put in for it.”   

Before leaving the program, Shore got Nash back for a prank he played on her and the rest of the team four years ago, when he pretended to have the senior captains arrested.

“He got a police officer to come and ask for our senior captains my freshman year. But nobody else on the team knew except for the captains. They acted it out. They were stone-faced and totally playing into it. He brought us all over to the girls and they were standing behind a shed with their hands behind their back so it looked like they had been cuffed. They were playing into it a lot. I was freaking out. They pulled their hands from behind their back and they had squirt guns and sprayed us all.”

Her senior season, on Nash’s birthday, Shore had cops come to practice to arrest her coach. The officers told Nash that a player had filed a complaint against him and then called over Shore, who said Nash was the coach who had pranked her four years earlier.

“It was a lot of fun,” Shore said of pranking her coach. “I didn’t tell any of the girls either so all of them were into it. My mom got it on film and even from where she was filming you could see his facial reactions. He had no idea what was going on.”

The University of New England, located in Biddeford, Maine, 20 miles south of Portland, is a Division III program in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

High explosives do not constitute a Syria policy


“Mission Accomplished” may be the most famous presidential words never actually uttered by a president. I know because, as head of presidential speechwriting at the time, I didn’t write them. They were found on a banner, but never in a single draft of President George W. Bush’s 2003 remarks aboard the USS Lincoln.

But now that this phrase has been tweeted and defended by President Trump, it is worth examining what he has accomplished by his missile strikes in Syria.

High explosives do not constitute a Syria policy, which has been lacking across two administrations. So it might be more useful to ask a narrower question: What principle is America trying to enforce?

Trump seems committed to the norm that chemical weapons attacks against civilians should bring kinetic consequences. That is superior to President Obama’s version, in which chemical attacks brought only unenforced threats. Trump’s carefully calibrated application of Tomahawks easily clears his predecessor’s bar, which was barely off the floor.

Trump’s position, however, has its own share of inconsistencies. It prioritizes the lives of children killed by a nerve agent above the lives of children killed by a barrel bomb. Targeting civilians — through terror bombing, forced starvation, torture and the repeated use of chemical weapons — has been an essential element of Bashar Assad’s strategy in the Syrian civil war. His aim has not merely been to reclaim territory from the rebels; it has been to terrify the Syrian people into submission or flight. And, with the help of Russia and Iran, he has largely succeeded.

There is a further inconsistency. The images of children after a chemical weapons attack seem to move the president. The images of 5 million refugee children — many out of school, many traumatized by violence and loss — seem to lack that power. So far this year, America has taken 11 — yes, 11 — Syrian refugees. The Trump administration, apparently, will avenge the deaths of Syrian children, but not welcome them.

In spite of all this, it can be argued that the norm prohibiting the use of chemical weapons is a special one. In a world where wars often involve criminal barbarity, it is useful to place at least one act beyond the pale.

But this should not be mistaken for the deterrence of future chemical attacks. Hitting a few sites with perhaps 100 missiles may reduce Assad’s capability to make more sophisticated chemical weapons. But the chemical attack on Douma was fairly primitive. The coalition strike probably did not deprive Assad of the ability to repeat this kind of tactic. And Assad still has a powerful incentive to do so, since press reports indicate that it was the chemical attack that finally broke the spirit of resisters in Douma.

Trump’s standard — that a dictator can indiscriminately kill his people as long as he doesn’t use chemical weapons — is nearly lost in the overarching lesson of the Syrian conflict. Assad has established his own international norm: If you make war on your own people — if you kill enough of them, brutalize enough of them and displace enough of them — the world will let you stay in power.

Here is the norm that America might have defended: Mass atrocities against civilians as a method of warfare won’t be allowed to succeed. This would involve not only punishing the use of chemical weapons as a tactic, but also making sure that the use of chemical weapons and other violence directed at civilians fails as a strategy.

The last two administrations have placed their main emphasis on two goals — defeating the Islamic State and opposing the use of chemical weapons — for a reason. In the chaos that once was Syria, Obama and Trump have wanted to define America’s mission in ways that are discrete, limited and achievable. Both men can claim credit in the campaign against the Islamic State — not a trivial matter. One of them has, at least, maintained the pretense of an international norm on chemical weapons.

In the real world, however, battles are not won by limiting your objectives. The outcome in Syria that would have best served American values and interests? A well-armed coalition of moderate rebels forcing the regime to the negotiating table, resulting in a coalition government that includes some regime elements but not Assad. After several wasted years of indecision and indifference, this is a distant, perhaps impossible, dream. But it is the only result that would have re-established the norm that murdering innocents as part of a military strategy won’t be allowed to prevail. This mission was never even attempted.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

Trump’s turnover is huge


Kathryn Dunn Tenpas has been keeping track of White House staff turnover since the late 1990s, but until President Donald Trump took the oath of office, the Brookings Institution senior fellow told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “no one’s ever cared about it.”

Turnover in the Trump White House is, well, huge. The president loves to compare himself to his predecessor, and in this department, Trump exceeds President Barack Obama exponentially. In the first year of the Trump White House, turnover was more than triple that of Obama’s freshman year.

Already Trump has burned through four communications directors—five if you count Sean Spicer twice for his stints doing double duty as press secretary/comms director—as well as hired three national security directors —Mike Flynn, H.R. McMaster and John Bolton—and two chiefs of staff.

As a reality TV show host, Trump famously told contestants, “You’re fired.” Tenpas uses a different phrase to capture what it’s like to be canned from the Oval Office—RUP for “resigned under pressure.”

“It’s rarely one thing,” Tenpas explained.

Indeed, it’s a standard question when a cabinet member of staffer leaves as to whether the individual quit or was fired.

For one thing, the process of being shown the door can take weeks, months even. It starts with a leak about the president’s dissatisfaction with an individual. Then come the denials, and even presidential tweets damning said speculation as #fakenews. A week or so later, the gallows drop.

The spectacle makes so much noise that it drowns out the damage done by staff churn. Generally, a president’s first staff represents the A-team—the best hires of a new executive—while their replacement picks—the B-team —usually lack their predecessors’ star power.

“Either he doesn’t realize or he doesn’t care,” Tenpas said of Trump, but “it’s really undermining his agenda.”

The confirmation process eats up a lot of political capital in the Senate.

Consider CIA Chief Mike Pompeo, Trump’s pick to succeed unceremoniously dumped Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Pompeo is the exception to the replacement-as-B-lister scenario. To Washington, Tillerson always will be the remote corporate big shot who hollowed out Foggy Bottom.

With his sterling credentials that include West Point and Harvard Law School, his background of military service, as a member of Congress and successful leader at Langley, Pompeo seems the perfect pick to bring talent back into the State Department while working with Trump to craft smart foreign policy.

In January 2017, the Senate confirmed Pompeo’s nomination as CIA director by a vote of 66-32, with 14 Democrats crossing the aisle to support him and one Republican, Rand Paul of Kentucky, voting against him.

And yet Pompeo’s confirmation as secretary of state is not in the bag—as it should be given his qualifications, acceptability to Democrats just a year ago, and the nation’s need to have a powerhouse at State’s helm as Syria and Pyongyang threaten American national security.

After he fired Tillerson, Trump told reporters he felt “close to having the Cabinet and the other things I want.” Now it’s not completely clear he’ll get the top diplomat he wants.

And if Pompeo does make it, the road to confirm his successor as CIA chief, Gina Haspel, will be that much rockier. “You shouldn’t have to be going to well over and over again,” Tenpas noted.

As of mid-March, according to the Brookings tracker, 49 percent of Trump’s top 65 people had left their positions due to an RUP, firing, resignation or promotion.

Trump has flirted with firing a number of Cabinet officials, including Chief of Staff John F. Kelly. Worse, he’s let it be known he is thinking of not hiring a replacement.

Trump has not hired a replacement for his last communications director, Hope Hicks. He seems to think he can be president and dabble in other jobs that used to be prestigious.

“Who are the people who want these jobs now?” Tenpas asked. “How many people have walked out of there with their reputations intact?”

(Creators Syndicate)

Oh, for the days of bipartisanship

Many Americans remember a more constructive engagement between members of Congress and may wish for similar relationships considering the great number of problems facing our nation’s present and future. Cooperation and  unity once characterized deliberations in Washington, D.C., but has now become one of the most destroyed hopes in modern American times. Meanwhile, what are the background trends in America now preventing such an accord?

One trend reminds of a time when Republican lawmakers included left-of-center members while Democrats had its share of right-of-center members.  However, at present, each of our major parties couldn’t be further apart.  Interestingly, during the 50 years between 1930 and 1980, both parties were generally balanced by centrist views. In the last 40 years, the parties have steadily drifted from each other to become more and more ideologically pure. Not only have conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans almost disappeared but few if any centrists remain; hence, with each passing congressional session, the GOP has gone ever more right, the Democrats more left.

Before 1980, it was difficult to predict from party affiliation whether this and that American held liberal or conservative views. The relationship between party and voter, however, has become close to totally predictable.  It’s argued that the differences have become more observable and the dislikes more apparent.

Meanwhile, the Democrats, formerly more often from agrarian settings with its power base in the South, have in more recent times become the urban party with attention focused mainly on concerns to city dwellers with cosmopolitan and secular values.  Rural areas have shifted toward the Republican Party whose members tend toward religious, patriotic and family-oriented interests and values.  These changes can arguably be attributed to in large measure from federal legislation in the 1960s, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The United States is diverse by way of its multi-racial, religious and social makeup. Many a social scientist has noted that ethnic uniformity makes it easier for groups of like-minded background to reach agreement. The realignment of political parties has led to increasing divisions by race, with the Republican Party increasingly white and Democrats more of color.

When the trends are studied, one finds that the major parties have come to represent diverging material interests with different moral values and ways of living. As the divisions have become more intense, oftentimes Americans hold attitudes characterized by hostility and distaste that’s focused on the other political party and its members.  Again, using 1980 as a benchmark year, the feelings toward the opposite party have been trending down with what’s been more noticeable since 2000.  Democrats more often nowadays dislike the GOP and the people who support it with duplicate feelings for Democrats by Republicans.  Consequence: lawmakers are influenced accordingly and thereby typically won’t compromise.

When Newt Gingrich became House Speaker in 1995, he eagerly sought many changes to the institution that had been dominated by Democrats for 40 years. One big change was to discourage new House members from locating in Washington, D.C.  That proximity of location, in the past, resulted in more Republicans and their families getting to know Democrats and their families while the House leader altered the calendar so that most work got done midweek, allowing members to fly conveniently in and out from their respective districts.  The U.S. Senate now resembles the House.

Other trends include politicians working the phones for dollars rather than developing social relationships while they think and worry about not being partisan or ideological enough to satisfy constituents, adhering thereby to their party’s purest story line.  World War II united Americans but the Cold War, and now dove versus hawk, further divides the electorate and office-holders.  Then, too, but not necessarily a complete list of trends, is the fact that the generations now in charge had their political instincts shaped by the internal American culture war that got underway in the 1960s.

A resolution to work better together does not appear likely in the immediate future as we Americans seem more inclined to metaphorically race from one side of the Titanic to the other with few willing to reflect on a middle of “ship” passage.  Some among us have concluded that democracy in a nation as large and diverse as America’s is simply impossible and thereby we drift more and more into “strong man” leadership to embrace an autocracy.  It will be possible to preserve our Constitution, our freedoms, our way of life, and our institutions and norms only if the people of the U.S. demand it.  An autocracy should be better known here as it means an end to our way of life and, with high predictability, one most citizens will regret.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)

Juanita Simon

June 20, 1946 – April 8, 2018

Juanita Simon, of Tempe, Ariz., passed away April 8, 2018.

J. Simon

She was born to Gilbert and Bernice Scott on June, 20, 1946, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She graduated from Woodburn High School and worked in communications for major airlines for more than 40 years.

She had a daughter Denise (Ron) and son, Scott (Kim), along with four grandchildren, Maddie, Max, Abby and Kenedy. She enjoyed walking, church and spending time with her grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, niece and a brother. She is survived by two brothers, two sisters and a sister-in-law.

Memorial services are still being planned.

Clifford Jackson (Jack) Crocker

April 18, 1945 – March 31, 2018

Clifford Jackson (Jack) Crocker was a man who loved classic cars, good music, family, animals, the lottery, and, of course, his home state of California.

J. Crocker

Being born in Monterey Park, Calif., Jack was loyal to his Southern California heritage and the vintage cars that embodied that area.  On April 18, 1945, his parents Violet and Samuel Crocker brought Jack into this world. He was drafted in the Army, and served his country during the Vietnam War, and received his GED after serving in the military. During his time in the service, he met and married the love of his life, Mary Ellen Cassin, and tied the knot in Las Vegas on August 9, 1970. They had three children together; Kasie, Jennifer, and Jack.

After moving to Oregon, Jack started work at the Oregon Lottery in 1992, retiring there after 25 years in 2017. When he was not working, Jack spent his time enjoying classic cars, and always had a dream to restore these cars, specifically a ‘40s Ford, ’63 Impala, and a ’68 Triumph Bonneville Motorcycle just to name a few. Jack was a wonderful mentor, great storyteller, a hard worker, and someone who took great care of his family. His attention to details made him special, and he always had quirky sayings that left a room laughing, confused, delighted, or all of the above. Jack will be truly missed.

Jack is survived by his wife Mary Crocker; daughters Kasie (Dennis) Paynter, and Jennifer (Brett) Freeman; son Jack Crocker; and brother Jim (Barbara) Crocker; and was preceded in death by his parents Violet and Samuel Crocker.

Services in his honor will be held at Keizer Funeral Chapel on Saturday, April 21, at 11 a.m. with a reception afterward, located at the Pour House in Keizer, Ore.

Witt going to California, Ebner to Eastern Oregon

Of the Keizertimes

McNary seniors Nadia Witt and Haley Ebner weren’t always good at softball.

According to the girls, they were actually quite bad.

McNary seniors Nadia Witt, above, and Haley Ebner (below), teammates since they were 13 years old with the Oregon Titans, will play on different college programs next year. (KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley)

“I was so bad. It was rough,” Witt said, remembering her early playing days on the Oregon Titans as a nine-year-old. “Going up to bat, almost in tears because I knew I wouldn’t hit it. I didn’t play that much either. It was so sad. I don’t know why I didn’t quit but I didn’t.”

Ebner told a similar tale.

“I would walk up to the plate crying and dragging my bat every time because I just didn’t want to go up there,” Ebner said.

For Witt, the breakthrough came when she began hitting left-handed. Ebner just needed to open her eyes at the plate.

They both also had to mature.

“It’s a mental game so you can’t go up there already defeated,” Witt said.

Their coach with the Oregon Titans, Rick Muranaka, confirmed their story.


“They were like the Bad News Bears,” Muranaka said. “There was times when they were crying and I had to console them and they’d come up and I’d give them a hug and say, ‘You can do it.’ I just kept building them up like I would my own daughter, and over time they started to get a lot better.”

On Wednesday, April 11, Witt and Ebner celebrated how far they’d come, announcing their college decisions to play softball at the University of California, Riverside and Eastern Oregon.

Ebner committed to Eastern Oregon in December of 2016.

Witt was originally going to play at Western Oregon but de-committed with the quest of joining a Division-I program. She signed her national letter of intent with Riverside in November.

“I just felt like I needed a change, a new environment, a new everything,” said Witt, who ultimately chose Riverside because of its location and the relationships she built with head coach Nikki Palmer and the current players she met.

McNary head softball coach Kevin Wise introduced the girls at the celebration in the school’s library.

“These two young ladies are two of the best that I’ve had the good fortune to coach and I’ve been doing this probably as long as they’ve been alive,” Wise said. “I’ve seen a lot of girls come through and they are not only the best athletes but two of the best kids that you will ever be around.”

Witt, who was voted Co-Greater Valley Conference Player of the Year last season as well as First Team All-State, hit .600 with four home runs, 14 doubles, 28 RBIs and 38 runs.

“It’s a treat to watch her,” Witt said. “She makes it look effortless.”

Ebner, who has played first base the past two seasons but will catch in college, was also voted to the All-GVC First Team last year after hitting .465 with two home runs, 30 RBIs and 33 runs.

“She is the smartest player that I’ve ever been around,” Wise said. “Anyway you can imagine, she knows the game and she’s like another coach on the field.”

Witt and Ebner won a conference championship as freshmen and then again last season as juniors.

Best friends, they’ve both enjoyed watching each other grow up and develop.

“Watching her (Witt) be the star of the show has been really fun for me,” Ebner said. “It’s just been a great journey and I’m excited to go on to the next level.”

Debban looks to the sky, PRs in pole vault

Of the Keizertimes

SALEM—Haley Debban had a horrible track practice on Tuesday.

But Wednesday was a new day as the McNary senior PR’d by a foot in the pole vault, clearing 9 feet, 6 inches, to win the event in a league meet at South Salem.

“I have a bad habit of bailing off the pole too early and balling up and thinking that will be good enough, but instead I need to drive forward and actually get my feet up,” Debban said. “That’s what I was trying to do yesterday and I was just a mess, so then today I looked at the sky and that worked. I actually used the technique that my coach (Dustin Walker) has been drilling into me.”

After matching her personal record of 8-06 and then clearing 9 feet, Debban made 9-06 on her second attempt. She was stunned.

“I hit the mat and thought there’s no way,” Debban said. “I honestly didn’t believe it. Then I got really excited. That was an awesome moment.”

Debban’s vault is tied for third in the Greater Valley Conference this season behind Forest Grove junior Mila Lumae and teammate Paige Downer, who have both cleared 10 feet.

Debban started vaulting last season after watching Downer compete the year before.

“It was hard because I was still running a lot,” Debban said. “I did not do as well as I wanted to in the district meet, 8 feet. Senior year, I just want to vault. I have really bad back issues so running is really hard for me. It’s worked out in my favor.”

Debban and Downer have brought out the best in each other.

“We’re actually best friends,” Debban said. “We hype each other up. If we’re competing for first place at districts, I know we’re just going to be cheering each other on no matter what, same as state. We’re always there for each other. For me to strive to match her in height, it keeps me pushing and driving.”

McNary freshman Ashlin Samples takes the baton from senior Kailey Doutt in the third leg of the 4×100 relay at South Salem on Wednesday, April 18.

McNary freshman Ashlin Samples PR’d in the long jump at 16-02.5. Samples also ran the third leg of the Lady Celts 4×100 relay team, which finished first in 52.13.

McNary senior Lucas Garvey won the 200 in 24.08 and the 400 in 53.08.

Other winners were: Dyami Rios (boys 100, 12.37), Leah Doutt (girls 100, 13.64), Caitlyn Kiefiuk Yates (girls 100 hurdles, 17.81), Noah Grunberg (boys 110 hurdles, 17.25), Casey Toavs (boys 300 hurdles, 42.51), Bo Rahm (boys shot put 45-07), Tim Kiser (boys discus, 134-04), Logun Anderson (boys javelin, 153-05), Sabella Alfaro (girls javelin, 95-08), Rian Canini (boys high jump, 5-10) and Sunny Hoang (boys pole vault, 10-0).

McNary sophomore Logun Anderson throws the javelin 153-05 at South Salem.

Sound wisdom: Celts produce audiobooks for student readers

Of the Keizertimes

McNary senior Crystal Llanos has spoken Spanish for as long as she can remember.

But she didn’t learn to read and write the language until the third grade.

Wanting to make sure the next generation learns at a younger age, Llanos jumped at a chance to record audio books for Kennedy Elementary School students.

“I spoke it. I just couldn’t read it and I couldn’t write it and I don’t want that to happen to other children,” Llanos said. “I want them to learn at a young age and I want them to learn well. Even me learning on my own, there were a lot of mistakes that I made. With this, it will help them to avoid those mistakes.”

Llanos recorded three titles — Where the Wild Things Are, The Giving Tree and Yaci and Her Doll.

“It was super fun listening to my own voice,” said Llanos. “I did such a good job. My parents were so proud and happy I was doing it.”

Llanos wasn’t new to voice over work. She recorded a commercial for Carl’s Jr. about a year ago.

“I learned a lot from them because they taught me how to speak and project my voice,” she said.

McNary senior Camryn Ronnow recored three titles in English—Beef Stew, Little Bear and The Day I Had to Play with My Sister.

Another McNary student, Ethan Schra, who has done sound effects for the drama department and many other recordings at the school, recorded Llanos and Ronnow’s voices.

McNary senior Emma Snyder played violin for the books.

Science teacher Frank Hanson and media productions instructor Jason Heimerdinger supervised the project.

“They did an awesome job. We’re so excited,” said Maria Neads, who teaches second grade at Kennedy Elementary. “The engagement is so much higher when they have something to listen to, rather than just have them sit and read it by themselves.”

Llanos returned to Kennedy with McNary senior Ivy Parker to pick up a new series of books—Arthur’s Tooth, Baby Whales Drink Milk and Curious George in English and The Magic School Bus in the Center of the Earth, Ramona the Pest and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs in Spanish.

“My biological father is blind so we relied heavy on audio books,” Parker said. “I understand that some kids don’t have the opportunity to have people read to them. I thought this was a really fun experience to have. I really love kids and I really wanted to be able to help with this.”

Kennedy Elementary received a $5,000 grant through Keizer Rotary last summer to expand its audio library to over 100 titles. Along with McNary students, Rotarians and fourth and fifth graders at Kennedy have helped record books.

Community members who would like to volunteer to record books can contact Lori Stapleton, library media assistant at Kennedy, at [email protected]

Hearing set on two new subdivisions