Month: June 2011

Next stop for McNary alum: Kenya

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes When Trevor Bassett-Smith got off the field during his final McNary High School football game, he wasn’t greeted, as he expected, by his mother. He was met by friends of the family. “They told me that my mom had gone to the hospital to be with my dad,” Trevor said. Trevor’s father, Ron Bassett-Smith, had been battling with cancer and a malformed kidney, both the result of exposure to the synthetic pesticide DDT while serving in Vietnam. Ron had recently undergone surgery to treat kidney issues and doctors knicked an artery that been displaced because of the malformation. He’d already undergone one surgery to repair the bleeding, but it ruptured again while Trevor was on the field. Tom Smythe, McNary’s then-football coach, drove Trevor to the hospital to meet his parents. “The first words out my dad’s mouth were, ‘Hey, I’m sorry, but how was your game,” Trevor, now 23, said. “Even then he still wanted to give me so much.” Trevor’s relationship with his father weighed heavily in his decision to apply for the Peace Corps last year and he deployed on assignment to Kenya earlier this month. “I started thinking that I had a lot of opportunities in my life that were handed to me, and I thought it would be a good choice to give to someone else who...

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Just Ask! Can urban renewal build bus turnouts?

Ask us a question about just about anything and we’ll do our best to answer it, or find the people who can. Just Ask is a recurring Keizertimes feature. “Can the money they get for the River Road Renaissance be used for more practical purposes, such as turn outs for the buses or even updating the traffic signal devices on River Road for better traffic flow?” – Peter D., Keizer   Dear Peter, Starting from the south end of town, the Urban Renewal District starts at the city limits and stretches east to take in Cherry Avenue. It also has Candlewood Drive. Then the district boundaries narrow where River and Cherry meet, extending north to about Country Glen Avenue. It also goes down Lockhaven Drive and takes in Keizer Station. All increment taxes collected by the district must be spent on “capital improvements and land within the boundaries of the district,” said City Attorney Shannon Johnson. Money can also be used to pay bonds used on bigger projects or for administrative costs (a portion of several city employees’ salary is paid by urban renewal income). Program income is another type of revenue, in Keizer’s case proceeds from land sales at Keizer Station. That money is limited to similar uses, but under some circumstances can be spent outside the district boundaries, Johnson said. This money is being used to purchase...

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Counselor helped kids map future

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes McNary High School loses nearly three decades of experience as their career counselor, Judy Peterson, retires and her position is eliminated, but her value to the students goes beyond the input she’s had in helping them plan their lives beyond high school. “Without her, we wouldn’t be as sure about what we’re doing or even know what to do. She’s always there standing behind us in our decisions,” said Randy Varney, a recent graduate of McNary and one of Peterson’s student aides. “She’s made a big difference and I don’t know if people realize how hard her job is. Without her job, a lot of kids aren’t even going to know where to start for college.” Peterson’s role at the school and as part of the Keizer community made her an indispensable resource for a generation of Celtic students as she helped them navigate the stormy waters of high school and chart a course for whatever came next. Career counselor positions are being eliminated at all Salem-Keizer High Schools in response to a $55 million budget crunch, but Peterson doesn’t plan on calling it quits completely. “I’m already working on plans to go into middle schools and come back [to McNary] to talk to kids as a guest speaker,” Peterson said. Eliminating the position of career counselor means that students will have...

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