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Month: August 2018

Lady Celts fall in five

If McNary and Mountain View’s first match is a sign of things to come, the two volleyball squads have quite the rivalry ahead of them.

Both teams opened the season on Tuesday, Aug. 28 with the Cougars coming from behind to win 3-2 in five games.

After splitting the first two games, with Mountain View taking the first 25-18 and McNary the second 27-25, the Lady Celts appeared to take control of the match in the third, dominating 25-14.

But the Cougars roared back in the fourth 25-16 and edged McNary in the fifth 16-14 to win the match.

The Lady Celts open the season against the three Bend schools.

They travel to Bend on Tuesday, Sept. 4 and then host Summit on Thursday, Sept. 6.

Bend defeated Summit for the 5A state championship last season.

Wiley: Week one tough for local teams

The Keizertimes is expanding its high school sports coverage this fall and that begins this week.

As part of that extended coverage, I’ll be breaking down each week’s football slate with my prediction for each game.

Here’s Week 1:

West Albany at McKay

The Royal Scots open the season in a new league against a familiar opponent.

After struggling in the the 6A Greater Valley Conference the past four years, both programs are moving down to 5A, where the Bulldogs once ruled, winning the 2008, 2008 and 2013 state titles.

West Albany has won the past three matchups between these teams, including a 46-14 blowout last season. That’s all I really need to know. But with both teams breaking in new quarterbacks, I expect a lower score.

Prediction: Bulldogs 20, Royal Scots 14

North Salem at Crescent Valley

The Vikings are another program moving down from 6A to 5A and start on the road against a team that began last season 8-0 and reached the state quarterfinals. While North Salem brings back experience at quarterback and along the line and should find 5A more competitive, the Raiders are expected to once again be one of the top teams in 5A.

Prediction: Raiders 31, Vikings 21

Newberg at South Salem

The Tigers went 2-7 last season but played in the brutally tough Three Rivers League with the likes of West Linn, Tigard, Tualatin and Lake Oswego. I could argue that Newberg was much better than its record but most of the losses weren’t even close. Led by senior Ashton Adams, I expect the Saxons to win the line of scrimmage and the game.

Prediction: Saxons 34, Tigers 27

Liberty at Sprague

The Olympians open the season with one of its most inexperienced teams in years against an up-and-coming Falcons squad that finished the 2017 regular season on a five-game winning streak before falling in the first round of the state playoffs. Liberty returns starting quarterback Brad Norman as well as a collection of weapons headlined by senior receiver Aidan Maloney. I’m confident Sprague will figure it out eventually but the Olympians will take their lumps early.

Prediction: Falcons 30, Olympians 22

West Salem at Lake Oswego

This is a game fans from all over Oregon will be watching as the Titans and Lakers are projected to be two of the top teams in the state. In OSAAtoday’s preseason 6A football coaches poll, Lake Oswego was voted No. 7, just one spot ahead of No. 8 West Salem. And that’s not all they have in common. Both squads were eliminated by state runner-up South Medford in the 2017 playoffs, West Salem in the quarterfinals and then Lake Oswego in the semifinals. Both are loaded at the skill positions. Both have rebuilt lines and both have talented senior quarterbacks, who have waited their turn, making their first start. Can the Titans show that they’re not only the best team in the new Mountain Valley Conference but also one of the best in the state? I’m voting yes.

Prediction: Titans 48, Lakers 44

North Medford at McNary

Two years ago, the Black Tornado came to Keizer and knocked around McNary 38-17. North Medford was clearly more physical and the Celtics couldn’t handle it. But last year McNary responded with its own 40-20 whooping at North Medford, racking up more than 500 yards of offense. Although the Black Tornado bring a much different challenge in a season opener than what North Salem has given the Celtics the past four years, a team that has preached toughness and tenacity all off-season shouldn’t get pushed around.

Prediction: Celtics 37, Black Tornado 34

Derek Wiley is associate editor of the Keizertimes. 

Lady Celts get revenge on Forest Grove, improve to 2-0

Of the Keizertimes

McNary had not beaten Forest Grove in the past four seasons and hadn’t even scored on the Vikings in the past two.

Senior Abbie Hawley put an end to that, putting two balls in the back of the net, as the Lady Celts ran away with a 4-0 victory on Thursday, Aug. 30.

“I was just trying to be aggressive and I knew I could push myself and get a little faster and just get past them,” Hawley said of her two goals which came in the 35th and 45th minute.

McNary came in confident after getting a 2-1 win against a physical South Medford squad just two days prior.

“I think coming back from South Medford, they were really aggressive and they kind of pushed us to our limit,” Hawley said. “So I think we brought back that intensity that they gave us to our home field and we just came out and knew that we had to play aggressive against this team, too.”

Senior Katy Wyatt assisted on McNary’s first three goals. The first started with a Hawley corner kick, which Julie Dieker finished to give the Lady Celts a quick 1-0 lead.

The final goal came from McNary’s second team as Caitlyn Yates gave the Lady Celts a 4-0 lead with 11 minutes left to play.

“Our depth is as strong as it’s ever been in my 10 years here, which means when we put seven starters on the bench and put seven people off the bench in the game like we did, we didn’t drop in play or intensity,” McNary head coach A.J. Nash said.

With games still to come against Sheldon (Sept. 11), Lake Oswego (Sept. 13) and Lincoln (Sept. 18), the Lady Celts are in the midst of playing their toughest schedule in years, maybe ever.

“We’re trying to keep our expectations just on that next game and not get too far in front of us because we don’t have any easy games,” Nash said.

The girls are looking forward to playing some of the best teams in the state.

“The team is really embracing that and we’re encouraging each other to do the best we can do,” Hawley said.

From Berkeley to Clear Lake

Of the Keizertimes

Artonya Gemmill, Clear Lake Elementary’s new principal, was planning on going to graduate school for psychology when she got a job as a live-in nanny for two boys with special needs.

“I knew I wanted to work with kids in some capacity,” Gemmill said. “I just fell in love with teaching.”

Gemmill, who grew up in Southern California and got her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of California in Berkeley, went back to school to get her master’s in education from San Francisco State.

After five years teaching at an elementary school in California, she followed her then husband, a Keizer native who attended the original Clear Lake Elementary, to Oregon.

“He convinced me to move up here and I just kind of fell in love with Oregon,” Gemmill said. “Once I was divorced, I wasn’t moving back.”

Gemmill’s first job in Oregon was as a special education teacher at an elementary school in McMinnville. She then accepted a position with McKay High School, working with students with serious emotional behaviors.

She blended right in.

“I think the part that was the biggest hurdle for me to overcome was the fact that I looked like the students,” Gemmill said. “Things they would not normally do in front of an adult they would do, not realizing I’m a teacher.”

Inspired by her principals in California and McMinnville, Gemmill decided to get into administration.

With the principal at McKay as her mentor, Gemmill enrolled in Salem-Keizer’s inspiring administration program.

Taking classes at Willamette University in the summer and evenings, Gemmill began working towards her admin license. When Willamette closed its school of education, she finished at the University of Oregon.

After three years as a high school administrator at West Salem and two at South Salem, Gemmill became the principal at Brush College Elementary in West Salem in 2013.

Being in an elementary school is where she belonged.

“I knew that I’d always wanted to go back to being at the elementary school level but I also knew that I needed to get some experience as an administrator,” Gemmill said. “It’s where I wanted to be but it just took a couple of years to get back into the elementary school mindset.”

Gemmill, who lives in South Salem with her 13-year-old son, wants to build relationships with parents and students.

“I tend to be the type of person that pretty’s outgoing,” she said. “I like to be inclusive. I like to just make sure that people can feel safe and comfortable coming into the building, that students can feel safe being at school and not feel like I’m not friendly.”

She wants to spend more time listening and learning about Clear Lake before making any changes.

“I don’t necessarily want to rock the boat right now because I don’t know what things are like just yet,” Gemmill said. “Whatever’s working, let’s continue to make it stronger and whatever’s not working, let’s go back to the drawing board and see what we can do to make this more effective. I’m not coming in a bulldozing everything, not my approach.”

Clear Lake Elementary’s first day of school is Wednesday, Sept. 5.

McNary vows to be tougher in 2018

Of the Keizertimes

McNary reached the second round of the state playoffs last season for the first time since 2013.

But the Celtics didn’t play their best in the biggest games, particularity in blowout losses to Sprague and West Salem.

“We’re working on our toughness and our tenacity, which people think of as physical things but they’re mental things as well,” said Jeff Auvinen, who enters his fourth season as McNary’s head coach.

The Celtics return eight players who started on at least one side of the ball last season, and due to a lack of depth, more players will be counted on to play both ways.

On the offensive line, seniors Joshua Schmeltzer and Wyatt Sherwood are back at guard and tackle. But Auvinen wants both guys on defense, where they were used sparingly last season.

“I wish they could play every play but we need them on offense,” Auvinen said. “I don’t know if we can because of our pace and it’s a tough game anyway. In the trenches like that is very demanding.”

One player that will definitely play offense and defense is Junior Walling, who led the Celtics with 991 yards rushing and nine touchdowns while also leading McNary’s defense at outside linebacker.

Walling will move inside this season to Mike linebacker.

“As far as our defense goes, he’s the overall leader and he’ll be that way this year and next year,” Auvinen said of Walling, a junior who has started on defense since he was a freshman. “Mike allows him to play the whole field. It allows him to run sideline to sideline. Junior has all the skills to play inside, outside. He’s got good strength and quickness and good instincts. I think he’s going to lead by example. He’s also become more of a vocal guy this year.”

Dyami Rios, a sophomore who dominated freshman ball last year, could follow a similar path as Walling.

“He works like a beast in the weight room and really has continued to keep his speed and quickness,” Auvinen said. “He’s going to take some people by surprise coming up from the freshman level and playing really well.”

While Rios will primarily play outside linebacker, McNary offensive coordinator Brad Emmert also has a plan for him at running back whenever he shows he’s ready.

“First year varsity guys we try to focus on one side of the ball,” Emmert said. “I have a plan for him but it’s going to depend on how he progresses. He’s going to be a stud, no doubt.”

Senior Robert Benson is another kid who will play both ways, getting carries in the backfield and also snaps at strong safety.

Senior Jacob Jackson, who led the Celtics in receiving with 562 yards and four touchdowns last season, will start at free safety.

“I’ve never had a kid who will catch the ball in traffic the way that he does,” Emmert said of Jackson.  “He has no worries about getting hit. He understands space. It’s stuff that you really can’t teach. I am jacked to see what he does this year. He’s in better physical condition than he’s ever been. He’s such a tough kid.”

Noah Bach, another senior, will move back from the defensive line to outside linebacker. On offense, he’ll also gets snaps at H-back.

For the first time in three seasons, McNary knows who its starting quarterback will be as junior Erik Barker returns after throwing for 2,252 yards and 19 touchdowns last season.

“It’s just going to make us better,” Emmert said. “We were good last year offensively. In fact we were the best (statistically) since I’ve been here. But I expect us to take even another step by getting a little bit more elaborate with what we do offensively.”

Barker is physically more mature than last season.

“He throws a much more complete game,” Emmert said. “He can throw deep outs. He can throw deep posts. His deep ball has improved a ton and that’s one of the things that we’ve focused on.”

While Barker is clearly the starter, McNary also has a capable backup quarterback in senior Ryan Bamford.

“He would start at a lot of schools,” Emmert said. “We’re going to try to use Ryan some this season because I think he is a different style of kid. I think he’s a tough kid. It’s nice to have some stability there and be able to focus on some other positions.”

With the graduation of McNary’s second and third leading receivers, senior Griffin Oliveira is ready to step in.

“He has worked his tail off,” Emmert said of Oliveira. “Last year he was committed but not as committed as he is now. He’s worked so hard in the offseason. He dominated at the freshman level three years ago and he’s got his body in great physique.”

Devyn Schurr, another senior, has been more consistent catching the ball this summer, while Nigel Harris and Riley Flores will fill out the receiving corp.

Oliveira, Schurr and Harris could also play on defense in the secondary.

“We’re probably going to need to play more guys both ways but we’re also going to need some guys to step up and spell some of those kids so they can rest and play at their best,” Auvinen said.

Ian Koenig (OL/DL), Mike Ridgeway (OL/DL), Nico Sandoval (RB/CB), Noah Lelack (S), Layton Thurlow (RB) and Andrew Brown (H-back) are other players to watch.

“I like how these kids are running around, how enthusiastic they are,” Auvinen said. “They’re bringing a lot of energy. It’s a fun group of kids that are working hard. I just wish our numbers were a little better as far as depth goes.”

West Salem led by team speed

Of the Keizertimes

West Salem is almost always a favorite to finish atop the league standings.

With the 2017 Greater Valley Conference offensive and defensive players of the year, Anthony Gould and Alex Hurlburt, returning, this season is no different.

“I don’t mind as a coach saying we’re talented enough to be league champions and make a playoff run,” West Salem head coach Shawn Stanley said. “I’m not scared to say that. If we don’t, we didn’t do a very good job as coaches.”

Along with Gould, who was also voted special teams return man of the year, and Hurlburt, the Titans also bring back linebacker Micah Pugh and cornerback Stanley Green, who were both selected to the All-GVC First Team defense last season.

But West Salem does have question marks entering the 2018 season. The Titans return zero starters on both the offensive and defensive line.

Hurlburt played on the defensive line last season but is moving to linebacker.

“It’s crazy to think two years in a row we replace pretty much the entire line,” Stanley said. “I’m encouraged and feel real positive about those guys but until you’re tested on a Friday night that’s the part that’s unknown.”

Senior Daniel McNeely will be counted on to lead both lines. Holden Whipple is an athletic sophomore that could break out.

West Salem’s strength is team speed as Gould and Green along with Simon Thompson and Jamal McMurrin all ran on the Titans 4×100 relay team that placed second in the OSAA Track and Field State Championships last spring.

McMurrin will play receiver and defensive back for West Salem this season. Thompson, the state champion in the 110 hurdles, is the team’s new quarterback.

But Stanley said Thompson, who has already made his mark with the Titans in previous seasons at free safety, is more than just a runner.

“He’s been the consummate team guy and waiting his turn and he can do some things that no quarterback that I’ve had can do and I’m really excited,” Stanley said. “He fit a ball in a window 40 yards down field. If he gets out in the open, there’s not a lot of guys, even on our team, that are going to catch him.”

Thompson will also continue to play defense.

“He has to for us,” Stanley said. “He’s too much of an impact player.”

The Titans return only two full-time starters on offense—Pugh at tight end and Gould at receiver.

Both will play at the next level as Pugh has committed to Air Force and Gould to Oregon State.

“Obviously people are going to try to take him away,” Stanley said of Gould. “We’re lucky enough we have some other guys and we’ve just got to be creative with where we put him.”

West Salem has one of the toughest schedules in the state, opening the season at Lake Oswego on Aug. 31 and then hosting Sheldon on Sept. 21.

“It’s not going to be a slow build up,” Stanley said. “It’s going to be one of the best teams in the state week one, which I look forward to. We’re going to find out a lot about ourselves, win or lose. I think they see it as an opportunity to play the toughest schedule we’ve ever played and we want to compete with the best and we definitely have two of them on our schedule.”

June M. Abbott

June 17, 1934 – August 21, 2018

A longtime Keizer advocate and volunteer, June M. Abbott, passed away in Salem on Aug. 21. She was 84.

J. Abbott

June was born on June 17, 1934, to Roy Francis and Emma VanDiest in Three Forks, Montana.

She attended Silverton High School and later married James L. Abbott. The couple owned Keizer Kleaners on River Road North for 32 years.

June was deeply involved in Keizer politic and the Keizer Heritage Center. She was a volunteer with the National Guard and achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel and a past commander with Amvets and Disabled American Vets.   

June was preceded in death by her husband, daughter Dianna Christianson, son James L. Abbott II, daughter Tammy Ruzicka, two sisters and five brothers.

June’s survivors include sons Timothy R.A. Abbott and Gerald A. Abbott, seven grandchildren and a host of great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland on Monday, Sept. 10, at 1:30 p.m.

Arrangements are being handled by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Home.

One too many

Learning that Keizer was the site of a hate crime earlier this year will likely come as a surprise to some, others were probably waiting for it to happen, still others might offer to pay court costs for the assailant.

None of those responses is acceptable.

In February, a Hispanic man was punched in the face by a neighbor while standing outside his apartment and waiting for his son so they could go to work. The victim’s offense? His assailant believed he was in the United States illegally.

We do not know the legal status of the victim, but it doesn’t matter. One act of this kind is one too many, and every resident should be confronting the harmful stereotypes and prejudices that result in physical violence at every opportunity.

Hate for others is not something we are born with, but neither is love. Both must be carefully taught. The lessons – both helpful and harmful – are fused into our being through daily interactions with others. But when we choose to self-segregate for reasons of race, creed, sexual identity, or national origin, we cut ourselves off from the essential thing that helps us grow.

The hate crime that took place in Keizer is an example of how ignorance, propaganda, and segregation can forge hatred that erupts in moments of violence. In all likelihood, the accused man is not a member of a hate group but someone worn down by time and toil into thinking he is losing something that, in fact, never belonged solely to him.

Stemming the tide of such hate will not occur overnight and it’s going to take all of us to do it. Working to be less biased and less prejudicial in our thoughts is where it starts. Applying those practices to our interactions with others in the community is the next step. But, some of the most significant changes must occur at the institutional level through changing laws and workplace policies. It is here where the City of Keizer needs to step up.

A request for the city to adopt an inclusivity resolution – a statement declaring the city a safe and welcoming space for everyone regardless or race, creed, national origin, gender identity, and sexual identity – has languished at the city council for more than a year. Opponents to the notion wasted little time in voicing their concerns about providing cover for undocumented residents, but there can be no exceptions. There will never be a better time for the council to act on this request and waiting only prolongs the environment where hate festers.

Unfortunately, that is not the only stumbling block for Keizer. In 1993, residents of the city voted to revise the city charter to marginalize those whose sexual identity doesn’t conform to traditional Christian values. Doing so was wrong in 1993 and the longer the language remains part of the city’s founding documents, the worse it makes the city look. It will require another vote of residents to change it, but the cost is minimal in relation to the quiet harm being done to LGBTQ+ residents.

The people of this country have proven time and again that we can remake ourselves into something better. But it’s on all of us to educate ignorance out of ourselves and our children, reach out to those who live on the edges of society and disrupt hateful ideologies when opportunities arise.

To live in any community as an accepted part of it is a privilege, but it comes with the responsibility to stand up for the most vulnerable.

– Editorial Board

Supporting the local team

To the Editor:

I feel someone needs to reach out to say thanks for your sports section. Your sports department has always shown great support of our team (I feel it should encourage people in our community to go to more games).

The Volcano players have tried as well as they can, even though they have faltered at times. They may not win first place in their division but their win/lost record is in a good shape to reach the playoffs.

Their manager, Hector Borg, is doing an outstanding job trying to cope with decisions handed down by the San Francisco Giants, beyond his control. He also has to deal with three players now on the disabled list, due to being hit by opposing teams.

It is the Keizertimes, not the Salem newspaper, who I personally feel has taken more time showing support “stepping to the plate” to cover the Salem-Keizer Volcano baseball team.

Congratulations Keizertimes and your sports section for such support of our local team.

Sam La Masa

An inconvenient truth

The Keizer City Council and Keizer Planning Commission will be discussing the most recent findings of a revitalization study focused on Keizer’s business corridors at a work session Monday, Aug. 27.

The goals of the study are two-fold: determining how can the city promote new and redevelopment and how can it capture more housing units in the process. While both are important, the council should be paying close attention to the ramifications of the housing component.

Three months ago, this paper ran an article looking at some of the early results of the study that showed Keizer moving in the direction of gentrification—the process by which low-income families are pushed out of an area as redevelopment occurs. In the preliminary findings, the number of households making less than $25,000 dropped 5 percent since 2000, and the number of even moderate-income households is decreasing steadily. In the past 18 years, the number of households making less than $75,000 declined rapidly while the growth of households making $100,000 steadily increased. More worryingly, low income families find themselves relegated to certain pockets of the city and even rental rates in those areas are rising meteorically—more than 50 percent in the past five years.

The more recent results of the study show continued warning signs. Two of the three scenarios of growth the council will discuss Monday call for redevelopment of many existing properties into multi-story, multifamily developments like apartments and townhouses. New developments along these lines would most likely replace existing structures in the dwindling pockets of affordability with top-of-market spaces that current residents and their families will no longer be able to afford.

In the wake of our last article on the topic, we heard from several readers who suggested we got it wrong. They wanted more gentrification, a more elite status for the neighborhoods of Keizer.

That is understandable, but it ignores an inconvenient truth: In a capitalist society, a certain segment of the population must inhabit the lower rungs of the economic ladder for those at the top to flourish. Ideally, those at the low income end of the spectrum can work their way up, but chances at upward mobility in America are drying up and not every “American Dream” looks the same.

Keizer must continue to have housing available for those with challenged incomes. It’s a matter of decency and compassion at its core, but city councilors and residents should remember that even those with modest incomes contribute to the success of our local businesses and the fabric of our community.

— Editorial Board