Subscribe to get tough, fair journalism seven days a week.
Subscribe today

Day: May 25, 2018

Champion Cheer climbs the Summit

Of the Keizertimes

McNary senior Madesyn Samples had been with Champion Cheer Athletics in Salem for 13 years, since she was five. Brynlee Ramsay had been with the gym for 10 years, since she was six.

But neither had experienced a season like this last one.

Competing in the D2 Summit at Walt Disney World Resort’s new ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orland, Fla., Samples, Ramsay and Champion Cheer’s Level 3 Blaze team advanced to finals for the first time in the program’s 14-year history and placed third in the nation.

“It was amazing, especially my senior year to get third at Summit, it’s just crazy, especially with all my friends there with me,” Samples said. “I think we did so well because we all wanted it so much for ourselves and four our teammates. Everyone jumped up and was screaming and hugging each other and crying and it was really awesome.”

Blaze competed in the semifinals on Saturday, May 12 and then were one of seven teams to advance to finals on Sunday, May 13. They performed a two-and-a-half minute routine of tumbling, stunting, jumping and dancing to music.

Judged by the number of athletes performing each skill, Blaze received zero deductions for a total score of 96.97 out of 100.

“It’s so awesome to see them work all year and then to come out and end the season in such a big event and perform so well and place so high,” said Angela Rasmussen, co-owner of the gym. “In Orlando it is a huge stage at ESPN. It’s very intimidating. They just opened a brand new arena at Wild World of Sports just for cheerleading. Just with the nerves and all of the pressure and all the build up from being there, our kids just did so amazing.”

Champion Cheer has 26 girls on its Level 3 team, ages 11-18, including 10 from Keizer—Ramsay, Madesyn Samples, Ashlin Samples, Kayla Camper, Raegan Bedingfield, Taylor Johnson, Katelyn Hampton, Emily Daniels, Stephanie Wade and Angelina Fajer.

“It was really, really cool,” Ramsay said. “We were the first Champion team to actually make it to finals to day two, let alone take third in the whole competition was just crazy. It was a super cool experience and I’m glad I got to be a part of the team that actually made it to day two.”

Olena Rumbaugh, Brooke Junker and Kaitlyn Roop competed on Champion Cheer’s Level 2 team Burn, which also competed in the D2 Summit in Orlando.

The two teams qualified for the Summit at a national event in Portland in January.

Blaze placed first in the CHEERSPORT National Championships in Atlanta in February.

Burn finished second.

But the D2 Summit was the biggest stage yet.

“It’s much more stressful and everyone is really nervous,” Samples said. “Once we start performing, I think that everybody just looks at each other and realizes that we just have to be calm and trust each other.”

Rasmussen co-founded the gym with Lynelle Blum in 2004 and its has grown to over 130 athletes on its competitive all-star teams, ages 4-18.

“You never know how far you can go but it has been so awesome,” Rasmussen said. “It’s crazy to see how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. Several of our kids have been with us for over 10 years. It’s been really cool to watch them grow up and learn to love the sport just like us.”

Champion Cheer began its 15th season this week with team evaluations.

“It pumped them up so much for this upcoming season,” Rasmussen said of finishing third at the D2 Summit.

“They’re all excited to get back to work and do even better next year hopefully.”

Cherriots mulls cheaper fares

Of the Keizertimes

Cherriots, the Salem-Keizer public transit system, is currently reviewing its fare structure and seeking public input on possible changes.

The full proposal and a short online survey are available at Comment is being sought through June 8.

Some of the possible changes include:

  • Instituting a reduced fare program for low-income users, provided the riders can supply proof of Oregon Health Plan coverage or SNAP benefits.
  • Standardizing fares to $2.25 on regional routes.
  • Eliminating a $60 monthly pass that works only on regional routes and reducing the cost to $75 (from $85) for a universal pass that could be used on all local and regional routes.
  • Reinstating free youth and student passes. Children 11 and under could ride for free with a paying passenger, middle and high school students could ride for free with a student ID.
  • Creating a $90 monthly pass for Cherriots’ LIFT paratransit service. Current;y, lift riders have no monthly pass options and one-way fares are $3.20.


The Salem-Keizer Transit System Board is seeking to help families and low-income riders; simplify the fare structure and make it more equitable, ease transfers between local and regional buses, and encourage youth ridership. Changes to the fare structure will be based on public input and incorporated in July 2019.

Area residents can also offer comment on the proposal at several upcoming events:

  • Tuesday, May 29, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Chemeketa Community College Free Speech Table in Building 2.
  • Thursday, May 31, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Downtown Transit Center.
  • Wednesday, June 6, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Downtown Transit Center.
  • Thursday, June 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Keizer Transit Center in Keizer Station.

Lyle Anderson

February 25, 1932– May 19, 2018

Lyle Anderson was born on Feb. 25, 1932, in Parshall, ND and passed away peacefully on May 19, 2018.

L. Anderson

Lyle married DeNae S. Reuter on Jan. 25, 1957 and they settled in Salem, Ore. Lyle got his teaching degree at Oregon College of Education and after graduating they relocated to Creswell, OR for the offer of a one-year teaching position at Creswell Middle School. He retired from there 27 years later. Shortly after retirement, they moved to Keizer to be closer to family.

Lyle’s hobbies were golfing, bowling, yardwork and of course his trips to Reno and the casino.

Lyle was preceded in death by his wife DeNae in September 2013. He is survived by his daughter Kris Kahler, son-in-law Bruce Kahler and granddaughter Kari Kahler, and his extended family, Brandon and Nic Kahler, Kristal Clubb and their families.

A Celebration of Life Open House will be held from 2 p.m.  to 5 p.m., on June 16 at his daughter’s house in Keizer. Arrangements by Restlawn Funeral Home; online at

Threats are an unavoidable fact


Those who find “globalists” to be villains should attend to recent events in Congo. In the remote region of a remote country, government agencies and international institutions identified by sterile acronyms are working to prevent the spread of a disease that could result in the swift globalization of panic.

This week could well prove decisive in Congo’s current Ebola outbreak—which started in April and, at this writing, counts 40-some probable and confirmed cases. If the disease remains largely rural and grows by ones and twos, contact tracing and the use of an experimental vaccine are likely to remain on top of things. If there are outbursts in multiple parts of the city of Mbandaka—which counts more than 1 million people—or clusters are found downriver in Kinshasa, it will mean trouble.

The good news? The response to this outbreak, according to National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, is “vastly further along” than four years ago in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Last time, the World Health Organization (WHO) was slow, confused and ineffective. This time, teams from WHO and Doctors Without Borders were quickly on the scene. WHO’s new director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, visited the site of the outbreak within weeks. Stockpiles of the vaccine being deployed had already been prepositioned in Liberia and Mali, with the help of the global vaccine alliance GAVI. Congo’s health minister, Oly Ilunga Kalenga, has been in daily contact with Anthony Fauci’s staff at the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (When I talked to Fauci, Kalenga had contacted him 15 minutes before with a request). All involved knew this day would eventually come, and they have been preparing for it.

There are serious challenges in responding to a highly infectious disease in the rural Equateur province, parts of which can only be reached by helicopter. But medical authorities have some new tools, including the more aggressive use of experimental drugs. The vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV seemed dramatically effective during the West African outbreak four years ago, but circumstances did not allow for a controlled trial. About 4,000 doses are now in Congo—with perhaps 3,000 more on the way—and health authorities are in the process of creating a cold chain of refrigeration to deliver the drugs where they are needed. They will be deployed in a strategy called “ring vaccination,” in which anyone who has been in contact with an Ebola victim, and anyone who has been in contact with those contacts, is vaccinated. There is also a second vaccine and a NIH-developed anti-viral treatment (which only appears to be helpful when administered within five days of becoming sick) that may be employed in Congo.

Congo has had eight outbreaks of Ebola before this one—each of them eventually defeated. A lot of good people, representing a number of global institutions, are working to ensure that the ninth ends the same way.

Like tremors before the “big one,” every defeated outbreak provides a frightening hint at what an epidemic might look like. The West African Ebola outbreak of 2014 took about 11,000 lives. If it had spread into the cities of Nigeria, the levels of death and global panic would have spiraled beyond control. But this is not even the worst prospect. A flu pandemic—with a strain that is easily transmitted and has a high mortality rate—could take tens of millions of lives.

When it comes to health, the world has become a single, massive body. A serious infection arriving at the weakest part of the immune system—say the health systems of West Africa—can easily spread to the whole. This argues for strengthening our health defenses—the ability to detect and respond to pandemic threats—in remote places. And it will require vaccines that can ring a disease and make a global immune response more effective. At NIH, Collins has been pushing hard for the development of a universal flu vaccine, which would be broadly protective against pandemic strains. Funding that effort could end up the most important spending in the entire budget.

The globalization of threats—from terrorism to pandemic disease —is a bare, unavoidable fact. And it will only be met and mastered by determined, heroic globalists.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

So they were spying


Months ago, the Old Media proclaimed that President Donald Trump was more than a bit nutty in insisting his campaign was the subject of surveillance by the Obama administration. Now it’s emerging that this wasn’t the slightest bit nutty. The New York Times reported — in a tone much like having its fingernails dragged across a chalkboard — that the FBI used an “informant” (not a “spy”!) to chat up (and in one case, dangle money at) Trump staffers and investigate Russian finagling with the 2016 election.

As one might expect, since this is considered a “pro-Trump” narrative, it must be shot down, even as the facts are coming together. Writing in the Daily Beast, “conservative” CNN political commentator Matt Lewis warned that “there are tens of millions of Americans living in this alternative universe” who think this spying on “inexperienced and sketchy” Trump campaign aides was “nefarious.” “(Y)ou have to believe that the intelligence community is wholly corrupt and utterly politicized — that there was a conspiracy (at least, at the top) to stop Trump from becoming president,” he said. “(T)his requires a conspiratorial mind.”

That’s funny. Right after the election, that was the sour-grapes line from Team Clinton. A “vast right-wing conspiracy” at the FBI under former Director James Comey conspired to stop Clinton from becoming president with his blundering announcements about her private email server. But that wasn’t considered nutty. That was what good Democrats believed. Once Trump fired Comey, the campaign conspiracy narrative switched sides.

Here’s what conservatives can declare to Matt Lewis: Our media are wholly corrupt and utterly politicized and were transparently dedicated to stopping Trump from becoming president. That’s not a kooky conspiracy theory. No one who witnessed their reporting in 2015 and 2016 should doubt it. It would not have been difficult for Team Obama to collude with them.

We would ask Lewis: Doesn’t pushing the idea that Trump colluded with the Russians require “a conspiratorial mind”? Is it fair to speculate endlessly on CNN and MSNBC about how special counsel Robert Mueller might prove collusion, when he hasn’t done so after a year of trying? The media don’t have to prove their Trump conspiracy theory to damage Trump’s political standing. It can keep that black cloud of speculation hanging over his head on every front page and every newscast.

Try this intellectual exercise: Imagine that the Justice Department under former President George W. Bush had sent a spy/informant into the Obama campaign in 2008 to see whether foreign powers were attempting to influence its “inexperienced and sketchy” aides. Hundreds of media heads would have exploded.

Now we’re at a point where we should be asking what Obama’s top intelligence hacks, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-CIA Director John Brennan, were cooking in 2016. But guess what. CNN hired Clapper, and NBC News hired Brennan. Now they are paid by the networks to tell the folks at home that Trump is nutty for insisting they did anything nefarious. Were Clapper and Brennan leaking anti-Trump dirt to the networks that have since hired them? Wouldn’t that look “wholly corrupt and utterly politicized”?

John Fund wrote in National Review that while in a greenroom of a network, he asked a journalist this question: Can’t the media spend time exploring why Team Obama sent a spy/informant into the opposing party’s campaign? “There’s only room for one narrative on all this,” the reporter replied. “And it’s all about Trump.” So much for following the facts wherever they lead instead of carefully curating facts against Trump.

Why must Matt Lewis and his media pals bemoan “two Americas”—one painted as soberly fact-based and the other destined for a rubber room —instead of considering both narratives?

(Creators Syndicate)

School budget garners near-unanimous approval

For the Keizertimes

A 2018-19 budget proposal of $1,147,797,142 for Salem-Keizer Public Schools received a favorable vote from the budget committee Tuesday.

A favorable vote on the bond measure and new revenue estimates from the Oregon Department of Education increased the amount from the original $691,458,464. The revision includes two full-time nurses, four full-time counselors, a full-time equivalent of 3-3/4 behavior specialists, an additional $1 million for elementary mathematics, and $424 million more for the 2018 bond capital fund.

Final approval of the budget is expected at the June 12 meeting of the school board. The board makes up half of the budget committee and appoints the other members from the district.

The vote was 12-2, with negative votes coming from board members Jesse Lippold and Paul Kyllo. Both of them also were the only committee members in favor of a motion by Lippold to terminate the district’s employment of Educational Excellence and transfer the $350,000 budget for it to increase the mentorship program and pay AVID teachers.

Lippold’s position was that because Educational Excellence is a for-profit company, the $350,000 would be better spent for programs under district control.

Asked after the committee meeting why he voted against adoption of the budget, Lippold said the composition of the budget that convinced him that the district did not do everything it could for the students and teachers. Kyllo left the building immediately and was not available for comment.

One proposed change to the original budget was unanimously approved. Kathy Goss, a board member, had moved that $150,000 be transferred from the contingency fund to have health services fully funded.

The meeting started with comments from the audience. A long succession of teachers, including Keizer residents Nubia Green and Lindsay White, credited Educational Excellence for the strong academic improvements in the schools targeted for its help.

Although district employees normally are not allowed to comment publicly on district political issues, the committee asked Superintendent Christy Perry, who supervised preparation of the budget, why staff had recommended that Educational Excellence remain in the budget. She replied that it had achieved the expected results of improving the underachieving schools.

Perry added that the employment of Educational Excellence involved both Title I and Title II federal funding. She said that terminating the program was doable under Title II but that she had doubts whether abandoning the program would keep the district qualified to receive Title I funds.

Several speakers from the floor also commented that transferring money to provide more health services was necessary for students.