Day: August 5, 2011

Keizer faces pack cast of Kroc’s ‘Big River’

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes The Kroc Theater program is gearing up for its first-ever musical, and Keizerites have a prominent place on the playbill. McNary High School student Camden Davis has the lead role in “Big River,” a musical adaptation of Mark Twain’s classic “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Jim, the slave who is freed by the end of the book – and teaches Huck a thing or two about humanity and equality – is played by Spencer Williams. Other Keizerites include Tim Davis (the Duke), and Kendall Jacobsen-Sheng, who plays piano in the orchestra. Jessica Peterson (Alice) manages Broadway Cafe, just a stone’s throw from the city limits. Camden Davis had never read Huck Finn, but has come to learn about the legendary literary character. “He doesn’t quite know where a moral standard is yet,” Camden said. Through the novel Huck Finn runs away, and through his journeys with Jim “he’s starting to see racism, and how Jim cares for his children, and everyone perceives them as slave’s children. For Jim, it’s his children.” Williams said what he likes about playing Jim is that “he has set a goal for himself and he’s fighting for it. For a lot of us today we don’t have to live such a life as Jim had to live. Against all adversity – and literally fighting for his life –...

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Jobless rate jumps to 9%

Unemployment in the Salem area jumped slightly in June to 9.7 percent, and was higher than the statewide average. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate was up a tenth of a percentage point from May’s revised rate of 9.6 percent. The statewide rate for June is 9.4 percent; however, for the Salem area unemployment is 1.1 percent lower than in June 2010. Keizer is part of the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Total nonfarm employment in June was 142,500 jobs, falling 2,500 positions since June 2010. Private employment lost 1,000, and the public sector fell by 1,500 jobs. From May to June the local economy added 200 jobs, with the private sector tacking on 600 and government shedding 400 positions; however, that’s less than the typical overall gains of 600 jobs, said Pat O’Connor, regional economist for the State of Oregon. In key sectors: • Educational and health services has gained 400 jobs in the past 12 months. • Manufacturing has stabilized, O’Connor said, losing only 200 jobs in the past 12 months. • Construction added 300 jobs and has dropped 100 in the past 12 months. • Local governments dropped 300 positions and state government shed 100 jobs. • Leisure and hospitality added 100 jobs in the...

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North side, south side… all around the town

More than 40 National Night Out block parties were  held throughout Keizer on Tuesday, August 5. Long-time residents met new neighbors and grills across town were cooking up everything from hamburgers to hot dogs to shrimp. Teams of Keizer Police and Keizer Fire District personnel made the rounds along with members of the city council. Kids got to shoot water from a fire truck. In north Keizer, the grown-ups joined the kids in a series of “Survivor: Brunner Court” games. At the Cedar Falls Court party Candi Bailey and her daughter Mahlaya went to the first Night Out party; they moved to Keizer six weeks ago from south Salem. Ms. Bailey said there were never any National Night Out parties in her former Salem neighbor.  She said that she feels welcome by neighbors in her new home in Keizer. For more photos of National Night Out parties in Keizer visit our Photo...

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Public hearings

When a hot button issue is the subject of a public hearing the Keizer City Council needs to schedule it for the maximum number of people to speak. It was heartening to see a full chamber at last Monday’s Keizer City Council meeting.  A majority of those who attended  Monday’s meeting were interested in the public hearing about withdrawing Marion County Fire District #1 from the Clear Lake neighborhoo in north Keizer. There were three public hearings before the main event; the issue of Clear Lake and the fire district started a little after 8 p.m.  The first 90 minutes was devoted to testimony  from Marion County Fire District and Keizer Fire District followed by questions from the councilors. Comments from the public did not start until close to 11 p.m.  By then many people had to call a night without speaking before the council. That’s a shame because the Clear Lake fire service issue is important to a lot of residents.  Although the issue concerns the Clear Lake neighborhood there could be financial implications for the rest of Keizer. This public hearing, and future public hearings with great public interest, should be scheduled first during the council meetings to allow time for all those who wish to speak to the issue.  Some of those who left without speaking could have had opinions that might have changed the discussion. ...

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Politics: the science of government

By ALLEN PRELL No, politician does not mean genius, ability to communicate clearly, or problem solver. A candidate for political office can run some political ads, speak eloquently during a debate to the people, and earn our vote to be part of the government process. Does  this mean they understand how the process works in real life? The headlines in past weeks during the budget debt talks were confusing at best:  “SNAPSHOT- Developments in US debt talks. Debt-ceiling vote: Can John Boehner win it? “ I don’t pretend to understand how the process works, and truth be told, I don’t expect members of Congress to understand it either. Recently,  I overheard a conversation between two women in their 50s: “I will never vote for Obama again. He is the worst president I can remember. Look at the mess we are in.” I laughed to myself, because I heard these similar words in conversations when President Bush was in office four years ago. The country did vote for change, didn’t we? Words of gloom and doom were also mentioned during the Reagan Administration. The answer at that time became known as Reaganonomics or trickledown economics. Tax breaks were given to the most wealthy Americans to create jobs and opportunities within Fortune 100 companies. It is still being debated today as a failed strategy. Reagan was a politician and a great...

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