Month: July 2010

Keizer trio together for a last hurrah

By LANCE MASTERSON Of the Keizertimes A top 25 performance will be just fine for the 18U Willamette Valley Fastpitch (WVF) softball team. The team, which qualified for the national tournament in Hemet, Calif., is comprised of players from throughout the area, including three from Keizer: outfielder Mollie Bello, catcher Genetta Bennett and pitcher Erin Hento. The trio were members of the 2010 McNary softball team that made it to the semifinals of the Class 6A state tournament. This is most likely the last time they’ll all play as teammates. Though Bennett and Hento will take their game to George Fox University – next year will mark their sixth straight year as battery mates – Bello is headed to the University of Oregon. Neither Hento nor Bello will play ASA ball next summer. “I’m excited. I’m going to work my hardest  because I know it’s the last time I’m going to play. I want to end it on a good note,” said Bello. This is WVF’s second trip to nationals in as many years. Last year they finished 66th out of 132 teams. “We were middle of the pack last year,” said Coach Don Harp. “But we were mostly a 16U team, playing up to 18. Probably nine of our 12 girls were 16U eligible.” Harp expects a higher finish in 2010. “I’d like to be in the top...

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National Night Out is Tuesday, Aug. 3

In partnership with the National Association of Town Watch, the Keizer Police Department will be co-sponsoring the 27th Annual National Night Out event citywide on Tuesday, August 3 from 6 – 10 p.m. More than 34 million people in more than 15,000 communities throughout the country will join forces to promote police-community partnerships, crime, drug and violence prevention, safety and neighborhood unity. National Night Out is designed to heighten crime awareness; generate support and participation in local anti-crime efforts; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community relations; and  send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. Residents in neighborhoods in Keizer and across the nation are asked to lock their doors, turn on lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors and police.  Many neighborhoods will be hosting a variety of special events such as block parties, cookouts, potlucks, dessert socials and youth activities. Last year, 19 officer teams from the Keizer Police Department visited 50 block parties. Neighborhood Watch block captains are encouraged to organize an event as an opportunity to contact their participants, meet new neighbors and update their rosters.  All other neighborhoods are also encouraged to participate. Between now and National Night Out, participants are asked to designate a particular problem area in their neighborhood. Called “Project 365,” it could be anything from a problem park, a suspected drug house or car break-ins....

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On a crumbling county building, no easy answers

By HERB SWETT For the Keizertimes SALEM — “Our goal is to get people moved out (of the Marion County Courthouse Square) as quickly as possible, a Marion County official told a joint meeting of the Marion County Board of Commissioners and the Salem Area Mass District Board of Directors on Monday. Dave Henderson, business services director for the county, said he hoped to have all occupants and county employees moved out of the Courthouse Square, the object of studies because of architectural hazards, well before the deadline of the end of October. Neither board took any action at the meeting, held at the Courthouse Square. It was an informational session, consisting mostly of a slide presentation by Joe Pinzone, principal-in-charge of SERA Architects, one of several companies working on flaws in the 10-year-old building. Before Pinzone spoke, Henderson reviewed the history of the problems, which he said were first noticed in 2002. The county and the transit district, Henderson said, jointly filed three lawsuits.  One filed against Arbuckle Costic, the architectural company, was mediated for about $695,000. Also mediated was a suit against the contractor, Pence Kelly, and its subcontractors, for $1.169 million. A suit against Century West Engineers, which provided services to Arbuckle Costic, has not been settled; mediation is scheduled for September. Describing his report as “an interim snapshot,” Pinzone differentiated between the “imminently dangerous” finding...

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Burglars smash and grab from jeweler, netting $10k in loot

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes A burglary at Boucher Jewelers in Keizer netted a thief more than $10,000 in jewelry. At about 10:06 p.m. Sunday, July 25, an unknown suspect shattered a window at the 4965 River Road store, stealing several items and exiting out the same window he entered through. It was the first break-in at the store since 1994, according to Jeff Boucher, a co-owner. The suspect is described as a white male between ages 20-30, standing approximately 6 feet tall with a medium build. He was wearing a black baseball cap, white t-shirt, black shorts with a pinstripe on the side and white shoes. Officers from Keizer Police arrived moments after the burglary, but according to Sgt. Andrew Copeland the suspect had already left the scene. A K9 search tracked back to a set of tire tracks in an adjacent parking lot, which makes officers think a vehicle was waiting on the suspect. It appears the burglary took just a few seconds. The suspect tossed a brick through a plate glass window,. Officers were on site within a minute, Boucher said. An officer nearby heard an audible alarm, and a pedestrian on River Road also phoned authorities. “This is very unusual and seems like an act of desperation,” Boucher said. “In the video you can see cars driving by as he’s doing it. That’s how...

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Local petitioning advocate not thrilled with court ruling on redistricting initiative IP50

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes Keizerite Ross Day – whose Common Sense for Oregon backed an initiative seeking to turn redistricting over to a panel of retired judges – was disappointed, but not shocked, that a Marion County Circuit Court judge ruled against the initiative’s supporters Tuesday. Initiative 50 sought to ask voters whether redistricting should be handled by a panel of retired judges, appointed by the chief justice of the state Supreme Court, replacing the current system, whereby district lines are decided by the legislature and the secretary of state. The crux of the lawsuit, filed last week by chief petitioners Eugene Derfler, Nikki Witty and Wayne Brady, asked Judge Mary Mertens James to reinstate more than 12,000 signatures disqualified by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office. According to SOS spokesperson Don Hamilton, some 114,973 were accepted for verification, and 79.7 percent were determined to be valid, which in this case was 91,617. It needed 110,358 to qualify. The complainants’ suit alleged the office didn’t have the right to disqualify signatures based on rules spelled out in Oregon Administrative Rules regarding petitions. James ruled that, even if the signatures in question were counted as valid, the measure would still have failed to make the ballot. “The case law pretty much had her hemmed in,” Day said. “We were asking her, I think, to do something that was...

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