Day: January 13, 2012

School board approves charter school proposal

By HERB SWETT For the Keizertimes A charter school proposal for the Salem-Keizer School District won approval at Tuesday’s board of directors meeting. Action came several months after a similar proposal was tabled because the Salem-Keizer Charter Review Committee found it incomplete. The developers of the proposed Proficiency Academy of Salem-Keizer (PASK) provided additional information in October and December 2011, and the committee determined it to be complete. Two concerns remained, but the committee found that they could be addressed through contract negotiation. One concern involved access to recruitment for children who were second-language learners and those who were in poverty. The other involved defining the legal relationship between PASK and the Redmond Proficiency Agency (RPA) regarding governance structures. Michael Bremont, executive director of RPA, was one of seven people who spoke to the board in support of the charter school, which would be a high school. Before the board voted unanimously for the proposal, director Jim Green asked whether PASK’s board of directors would be local. Paul Dakopolos, counsel for the board, said it would. Green asked for specifics on guaranteed academic performance. Mary Cadez, an assistant superintendent, said so far the performance in Redmond looked very good. Noting that Bremont said timing of programs would be tailored to individual students, director Ron Jones asked if it could mean taking more than four years for some students to graduate....

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Cowan cleared in election inquiries

Elections complaints were dismissed against Keizer Fire Chief Jeff Cowan last week. The Oregon Secretary of State’s office ruled in Cowan’s favor on two complaints filed by Keizer City Councilor David McKane and local resident Michael Welter. Both sought the Election Division’s opinion as to whether Cowan violated state laws prohibiting public employees from campaigning on work time. In McKane’s complaint, Deputy Director Brenda Bayes found there was insufficient evidence to show a violation of the law. While campaigning on work time is not legal under state law, that statute does not prohibit simply using public employee email for those purposes. On the complaint from Welter, Bayes said the measure was not yet certified, so there was no grounds to investigate whether public employee work time was used to promote it. Keizer Fire District announced the decisions Monday. “It should not be a surprise to anyone that I advocate for public safety in Keizer,” Cowan said. “I am delighted to be cleared of any wrong...

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Celts clawed by Lions, roll Gophers

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes To call the McNary High School boys basketball preseason (2-11) a struggle might be an understatement of criminal proportions. But as the team closed out its final opponent before heading into league play, its members learned one of the most important lessons: how to win. “Learning how to win and how to close out a team is huge,” said Ryan Kirch, McNary head coach. The Celts beat Gresham High School 52-40 in one of their best outings of the season. “We slowed things down and spread the offense out and we ran it the way we’ve been taught. We haven’t been running a consistent offense, but we adapted to what they were doing,” said McNary senior Justin Burgess, who poured in 19 points against the Gophers and scooped up 10 rebounds. McNary retained control throughout the game putting in no fewer than 11 points in any quarter. “It was our best game as a team and I felt like a lot of us came together for the first time. We also kept turnovers to a minimum,” said senior Garren Robinett, who chipped in three points toward the final score. Johnathan Doutt put up 15 points for the Celts, Isaiah Montano had seven, and Nick McDonald, Dylan McHugh and Connor Goff had two points apiece. “Nick, Johnathan, Isaiah and Garren did a good...

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Mat Men skate by Saxons, complete York Invite trifecta

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes After a rough week, the McNary High School varsity wrestling squad got back on track with a dual win over South Salem High School and a tournament win at Don York Invitational. However, things didn’t start out so rosy with the Saxons. “South had their first five light guys in to start the dual and that’s where the bulk of their talent is. We ended up pinned four times and then and tech falled once,” said Jason Ebbs, McNary head coach. Ebbs was waiting for someone to make something good happen when Celt Grant Gerstner took to the mat. It looked like Ebbs would be waiting even longer as Gerstner ended up on his back underneath his opponent in a leg ride. “I got taken down and I heard the other coach yelling ‘Keep the legs in, keep the legs in.’ I remembered a move that Coach [Jay] Goin taught me where you reach back and grab the guy while arching your back,” said Gerstner. He didn’t remember the name of the move, a bridge back, but gave it a shot. “I’ve seen it done a number of times, but rarely a ref with the courage to call the fall. It’s basically a defensive pin,” Ebbs said. You flop yourself over and you reach behind you and pull your opponent straight to...

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The little library that could

It started in a cubbyhole in the Keizer City Hall as The Reading Connection, a children’s library. It moved in a small space in the Keizer Heritage Center and became the Keizer Community Library. In the coming weeks the library will double its space and offer more services. It is the little engine that could. Due to the tireless efforts of its directors past (Art Burr) and present (Steve Prothero), the board of directors and volunteers, the community library is serving more needs and more visitors than ever before. In years past the library survived by receiving a small stipend from the city; those days are long past because of tight government budgets. The directors, board members and volunteers rolled up their sleeves, went to work, and created, and continue to create, a library that can serve the needs of its patrons, be they children  or adults. The library is doubling its space because of changes in the Keizer Heritage Center. The Keizer Chamber of Commerce has moved into its gleaming new office at Keizer Station. The Keizer Heritage Museum is in the process of moving into the Chamber’s old space, giving that institution a bit more breathing room and a research room. With that move the community library will spread out into the museum’s current space, doubling its size and the ability to offer more services. Last summer...

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