Day: October 12, 2011

OUTSTANDING: McNary leads district in high school improvement

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Despite budget cuts. Despite losing staff. Despite larger classes. McNary High School was standing tall this week after the Oregon Department of Education released its report cards on Oregon schools. The Celts improved their rating from “satisfactory” to “outstanding” in the annual ratings. McNary was the only high school in the Salem-Keizer School District to improve its rating in the assessments and one of a select few in the state to do so. “The work we’re doing is the right work and we’ve demonstrated that now,” said John Honey, McNary principal. “There was concern from some parents with classes beginning later one day a week, but it’s not a bad idea because look what’s happening. We’re using our time purposefully and to the right means and right end.” Oregon School Report Cards provide an overview of school data. The data includes Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) ratings, information on student test performance and school improvement, attendance, graduation rates, dropout rates, class size, SAT scores, expulsions due to weapons, teacher education and experience, and information on student growth. The final rating is based on four factors: achievement index, which is rated according to meeting state assessment standards; graduation rate; participation, which is the percentage of students taking state assessments; and AYP ratings. McNary saw a 14 percent increase in students meeting state standards in...

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Garden idea has east Keizer neighborhood split

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes A proposed community garden in east Keizer has neighbors split. Tanya Hamilton is proposing it be placed on an undeveloped portion of right-of-way called Brandon Avenue, which is between Harcourt Avenue and 12th Avenue NE. She proposes a partnership with Marion-Polk Food Share, which says such gardens are “a wonderful way to beautify the city, bring people together, provide healthy food for local families, and create a sense of community in the neighborhood.” The parcel in question is in effect a pedestrian walkway, partially blocked off to vehicle traffic. But two neighbors wondered aloud at Monday night’s Keizer City Council meeting if the wrong kind of people might be attracted by a new addition. Jan Ramos noted police statistics showing that district (Keizer is divided into four) had the highest number of crime incidents in 2010. “We don’t need any more traffic down the street,” Ramos said. “We don’t need any more people over there.” She and Delores Teipel presented a petition from neighbors who said they didn’t want the garden. “I feel our houses will wear these vegetables,” said Teipel, who fears vandalism. Hamilton said she has the support of many homes which would surround the garden. She said it would give children a constructive recreational activity and help participants eat heathy. And Ian Dixon-McDonald, community gardens coordinator for Marion-Polk Food Share,...

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New facility trains K-9 units to earn their keep

By HERB SWETT For the Keizertimes An area just north of Keizer is now used to train dogs for the Salem Police Department. The facility, at the Willow Lake Water Pollution Control Facility on 5915 Windsor Island Road N, has been in operation since Aug. 3. The training course, a longtime dream of the Salem police department, has 26 obstacles and training stations that train both patrol and narcotics dogs and will be used for annual certifications. Dennis Miller of Silverton, the project manager, said that after reading in a newspaper that the department was interested in building a dog-training facility, so he contacted the foundation, volunteered to head the project and recruited his family to help. The facility was completed in 10 months, and at the ceremony, Miller thanked the many donors and volunteers involved. “The ball just got rolling faster and faster and never slowed down,” Canine Sgt. Steve Smith of the Salem department said. Lt. Dave Okada of the Salem police said the facility is state-of-the-art and the first one to be part of the department. Previously, he said, the department worked with other agencies for training dogs. Okada added that the Willow Lake facility was donated by the Salem Public Works Department. Other major donors were: *Kilgore Blackman, 100 boards (2 by 4 by 14) as well as cedar and screws. *Parr Lumber, 50 boards...

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