• Police said a handgun discovered in a lost-and-found bin at McNary High School was stolen. The full story has yet to be revealed by police.
• Councilor David McKane submitted his resignation from the Keizer City Council, saying backroom talks between councilors subverted the public process and released emails showing pressure from Mayor Lore Christopher to vote in favor of a fee on cell phone users. McKane later rescinded his resignation, and is still on the council.
• Officials suspected arson in a house fire on Arnold Street NE that destroyed a garage.
• Lisa Zielinski was found shot to death in the home she shared with husband Peter on Nightingale Court NE in north Keizer. Police said the husband confessed to shooting her after suspecting an affair. His trial on murder charges is set for May 2012.
• Old Navy opened its Keizer store.
• Councilors voted not to send a proposed cell phone fee to voters.
• Linda Baker bowed out as McNary High School’s drama director. She planned to return to teaching reading.
• A three-year-old boy was credited with saving his dad’s life after an accident with a woodworking chisel. A.J. Hayes called 911 to tell dispatchers his father needed an ambulance.
• The Planning Commission approved a plan allowing a large-scale grocer, office and medical buildings in Area C of Keizer Station, despite vocal opposition from neighbors.
• The Marion County Fire District #1 board voted unanimously to reprimand Chief J. Kevin Henson for his role in crashing a district vehicle in December, and rescinded his approval to carry a weapon. He had a loaded handgun in the truck when he crashed while responding to a fire.
• Christine Speten was found killed in her apartment on Orchard Court in west Keizer. Police have yet to make an arrest in her death.
• It was a busy month for supporters and foes alike of the proposed large-scale grocer, likely to be Walmart. Councilors approved a master plan containing it. By the slimmest of margins, voters rejected a measure which would have prohibited such large buildings outside of the currently-developed portion of Keizer Station – just 39 out of more than 8,000 votes cast made the difference.
• City councilors adopted police protection levels, sidewalk coverage and analyzing how transient occupancy tax dollars should be best spent as its short-term goals.
• McNary High School art student Sam Kerr won the Salem-Keizer Schools Art Show for the third time.
• Residents of a 55 and up mobile home park were forced to boil their tap water for weeks after E.coli was found in McNary Oaks Mobile Villa’s private well system. Some tenants said they’d had other problems with the water, including odors and a black tar-like substance that required extensive filtering.
• Ryan Ripp, a McNary High School student, pushed the Oregon State Legislature to ban picketing at military funerals. The bill was ultimately unsuccessful but he got the backing of Republican state Rep. Kim Thatcher, who represents Keizer.
• The Oregon Health Plan reimburses ambulance service providers for transporting its patients, but the numbers showed the rejection rate was 15 to 30 percent in Marion County, versus 1 to 2 percent elsewhere in the state. That trend directly affected bottom lines for those agencies.
• This newspaper revealed Keizer Station co-developer Chuck Sides was behind more than $400,000 in local improvement district payments to the City of Keizer. Subsequent investigation showed Sides also owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in back property taxes.
• Police chased down and arrested Nicholas J. Miller, 26, of Keizer, after he was accused of three robberies of a Keizer pharmacy.
• Vandals inflicted significant damage on the Keizer Grange facility on Chemawa Road N.
• A spate of home burglaries were under investigation by police. Two men were arrested in separate incidents just minutes after the break-ins took place.
• A medical marijuana club and lounge opened in the former Keizer Eagles lodge on Cherry Avenue.
• A neighborly dispute turned public when one posted a profane sign lambasting the neighbor for calling police on an argument between a man and his wife.
• Once honored by Keizer Fire District for saving lives when he called 911 on a house fire, Eric Han-Christian Suess made headlines again for a much more dubious reason: He was arrested for encouraging child sex abuse.
• A man robbed the 7-Eleven store in south Keizer at gunpoint.
• Town halls on possible school cuts heard impassioned pleas to save librarians and sports.
• The Keizer Chamber of Commerce begged city councilors to let them keep about $59,400 in tourism occupancy tax dollars to promote tourism in Keizer. The city council ultimately voted to keep the funds in order to balance its own budget, justifying it by saying the community center generated visits to Keizer.
• Ulta Cosmetics opened at Keizer Station.
• Staff at McNary Golf Course resorted to sound cannons to drive off geese who roost in the course’s ponds.
• The Salem-Keizer School Board voted to close Lake Labish Elementary School.
• The Festival of Lights Parade announced plans to hold the event in Keizer.
• A house fire on Verda Lane caused more than $200,000 in structural and property damage.
• A Keizer man stabbed a woman and punched her toddler in the face while they were watching the Keizer Iris Festival parade. He was later sentenced to six years in prison.
• A report claims the city of Keizer needs room for about 2,800 homes in order to meet projected local housing demand.
• The Keizer Fire District announces plans to attempt annexing the area of north Keizer covered by Marion County Fire District No. 1.
• Members of the Salem City Council showed reluctance to supporting an urban growth boundary amendment that would give Keizer more land to expand upon.
• Whiteaker Middle teacher Carolyn Ream announced her retirement after 32 years of service.
• The Keizer Chamber of Commerce announces plans to move its offices to Keizer Station, with a goal of recruiting more tourists.
• Keizer city councilors vote to allow hens in non-agricultural areas of the city.
• A U.S. District Court judge ruled Keizer Police officers didn’t violate constitutional rights of a man arrested in 2007 on a variety of marijuana-related charges. While the charges the man – a medical marijuana patient – faced were ultimately dismissed, the court found officers had probable cause for arrest. The ruling has been appealed.
• Keizer Police Sgt. Andrew Copeland won the Toughest Competitor Alive competition.
• The last video rental store in the city limits closed when Blockbuster Video left town.
• A 19-year-old was robbed at gunpoint on Candlewood Drive NE.
• The Good Vibrations motorcycle festival was headquartered at Keizer Station and at the Keizer Renaissance Inn in its second year in the Mid-Valley.
• Police arrested a 20-year-old man after he was accused of kidnapping his girlfriend.
• Kevin Watson, assistant to the city manager, left the city of Keizer to become city administrator of Junction City.
• A large blaze at Clearview Apartments damaged four homes and killed a cat.
• A federal judge ruled the McNary Homeowners Association discriminated against a disabled boy by disallowing porch screens that the plaintiff argued kept the boy from running off the property.
• A visitors center would not get funding from urban renewal funds, city councilors decided, after the Keizer Urban Renewal Board unanimously recommended against it.
• City councilors opted to support Keizer Fire District’s push for an election which would place the Clear Lake neighborhood within the fire district’s boundaries. It’s currently served by Marion County Fire District No. 1.
• Local elementary schools sought to fight overcrowding by blending grades, where second graders might share a classroom with third graders.
• A pair of animal rights activists out of Portland were arrested after they chained themselves to the doors at Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, at Cherry Avenue and Salem Parkway.
• Keizer resident Soraida Cross was half of a grape-stomping team sent on an all-expenses paid trip to Sonoma for the Sonoma County Harvest Fair and World Grape Stomping Championship.
• City leaders went public with a plan to extend the urban renewal district in order to repay bond debt from Keizer Station. The city is liable due to the city council’s decision to back developer Chuck Sides to the tune of more than $26 million in publicly-financed bonds.
• Community members formed a support group for Roland Herrera, a longtime city employee who was fired after 19 years of employment. City officials have declined to explain the reasons.
• While cell phones are the bane of some teachers’ existence, McNary High School began using graphing calculator apps on smartphones to save cash. It allowed the school to purchase less of the calculators themselves.
• A 13-year-old Whiteaker Middle School student was arrested for disorderly conduct after threatening to bring a gun to campus and shoot other students.
• Four-year-old Sebastian Iturbe died of head trauma after police allege his stepfather pushed him with a child carrier, causing him to fall down a flight of stairs at Hawk’s Point Apartments in north Keizer. The stepfather, Gerardo Chavarria, faces murder by abuse charges. It was Keizer’s third homicide of 2011 after none in 2010.
• Meanwhile, Keizer Police said budget constraints could get worse after a public safety fee of $4.86 failed spectacularly with voters. Only one in five voters said yes to the fee.
• The owner of Party Mart announced he was opening his third store in Keizer. Douglas Gray, who owns the two stores in south Salem and Tigard, successfully kept secret the intent of his new River Road building for months.
• The Festival of Lights parade lit up River Road on Dec. 10, marking the event’s first year in Keizer.
• The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld a state Land Use Board of Appeals ruling remanding the Keizer Station Area C land use decision back to the Keizer City Council. The board had said the traffic study was flawed and that accompanying office and retail buildings must be constructed at the same time.
• McNary High School junior Anthony Aguilar was featured on MTV’s “Made,” with a wish to become a ladies’ man. He got help from 2010 Miss USA Rima Fakih.
• St. Edward Catholic Church announced a $5.5 million capital pledge program to go along with plans for a new, $5.5 million church building.