Day: June 20, 2011

Chickens liberated by Council amid minimal clucking

Chickens will soon be allowed in Keizer backyards. The Keizer City Council voted Monday night to draft an ordinance allowing a limited number of hens in many Keizer backyards. The vote was not unanimous;  Councilors Jim Taylor and David McKane voted no. Previously chickens were banned as an agricultural use in almost all zones. The ordinance itself must be formally approved. A sunset clause recommended by the Planning Commission was not included in the recommendation. Here’s the pertinent information: • No roosters, and three hens maximum allowed. •  No-fee permit required. •  Chickens allowed on property with single family or duplex residence on it. • Personal and non-commercial use only. •  Coop required, and it must be in side or rear yard at least 10 feet from property...

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“Ever By My side” by Dr. Nick Trout

“Ever By My Side” by Dr. Nick Trout c.2011, Broadway Books $24.99 / $27.99 Canada 309 pages By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER Pictures don’t lie – at least not the ones taken of you as a child. As you look through old albums, you have so many memories. There you are in your crib with a kitten, both of you curled up asleep. There you are, a toddler on horseback, smiling wide as the saddle. There’s you with your first puppy, a neighbor’s gerbil, you at the zoo, each proving that animals have always had a place in your heart. Author Nick Trout is a veterinarian these days, but he’s known several notable critters in his lifetime. In the new memoir “Ever By My Side”, he remembers pets, patients, and his father, who loved animals, too. But things didn’t start out well. When he was very young, Nick Trout’s maternal grandmother had a dog that she doted upon. Marty loved Trout’s grandmother, but he nipped and snarled at children, Trout included. There were other animals in the neighborhood, dogs and cats to play with and a patient Dalmatian in the family, but Trout’s mother refused to allow her family a dog. Despite begging and pleading (and not just from the children), her foot was firmly down and the answer was always “no.” Enter Patch, an Alsatian with a fierce guarding instinct...

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Former Celt is one step away from major leagues

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes The only thing standing in the way between Austin Dirkx-Bibens and a spot in major league baseball is a bit of consistency. “I’ve had a couple of big games this year and two or three bad ones. It’s all about consistency and if I get that things will take care of themselves,” he said. Last year, Bibens-Dirkx got called up to the Iowa Cubs, the triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, and became the first former Celtic in nearly three decades to reach the rung just below the majors in professional baseball. This season, he’s on the road with the Iowa Cubs and reaching the midway point of the season with three wins, three losses and an earned-run average of 6.79 as a starting pitcher. He’s pitched 67 innings with 42 strikeouts. Bibens-Dirkx started his minor league career with the Mariners organization as a reliever, but it was the Cubs who gave him his first shot as a starter. “You approach the hitters a little differently and you’re going to end up with either the win or the loss, but it’s about keeping your team within reaching distance by the end of the game,” he said. One of the bigger changes to switching clubs is that he’s no longer the elder statesman on the team. As the Mariners extended his contract for...

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Celt art program shrinks as teacher is reassigned to Olys

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes When Connie Toland started as an art teacher at McNary High School nine years ago few of her students were considering careers as art instructors. She considers it a sign of success, and the most humbling form of flattery, that a number of her students are planning to pursue the vocation. “Working with the kids and working to build the program here at McNary has been incredible,” Toland said. “Some people see art as a place to stick students who have trouble in other areas, but I’ve seen those same students sit quietly and do something for 90 minutes that monks might have done centuries ago.” Toland has been reassigned to Sprague High School next year and her exit will mean the art program offerings at McNary will shrink from eight possible electives per semester to seven. In her tenure she’s supervised classes in everything from drawing to painting and calligraphy to crafts. “I do not feel good about it all. It can never be the same depth and breadth as when you have a full staff,” she said. During that same time, her students have excelled in class and in the community at large winning top prizes in local and national competitions. Prizes awarded to her classes as a result of student entries in competitions tally nearly $3,000. “People don’t really...

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Two layoffs, slight water rate hike in new budget

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes A city budget resulting in two layoffs passed the Keizer City Council unanimously last week. Councilors also approved a 2 percent water rate increase effective January 2012. Finance Director Susan Gahlsdorf said that would cost the average ratepayer about 54 cents on their bimonthly bill. Two employees will lose their jobs; the codes enforcement officer was unemployed as of June 1 and the assistant to the city manager will remain on board through September 1. Severance for the code enforcement officer added up to $4,208 minus statutory withholdings; the assistant to the city manager will receive no severance. In addition, both the police and public works unions gave up their cost of living allowances this year. To receive the severance employees were required to sign a document in which they agree not to pursue legal charges against the city “related in any way to your employment or separation from employment with the city.” A third layoff – this one a police support position – was taken off the table after the Keizer Police Association voted not to take a cost of living increase. The budget was mostly unchanged from what the Budget Committee recommended; the council did opt to grant the West Keizer Neighborhood Association $400 for printing and other costs. Rhonda Rich, president of the West Keizer Neighborhood Association, made her pitch...

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