Month: February 2012

Couple honored for keeping local history thriving

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes The transformation of the old Keizer School building into a community center was just the beginning. A community-wide effort to save the local landmark was critical. So was a match of urban renewal dollars and a cheap place to put the building when all was said and done. Al and Anne Rasmus got involved on the ground floor. Anne volunteered in the city manager’s office and they lived across the street from Les Zaitz, a Keizertimes publisher who helped raise $250,000 in 90 days to spare the Keizer School from the bulldozer. Al had recently retired after selling his title business, and at age 52 was looking for something to do. Anne had been in engineering and was volunteering in her own right. “I’m the second of 12 children,” Anne said. “I’ve been busy all my life. It was an opportunity to learn, to work with the community.” Al drafted a business plan and Anne helped with the fundraising effort. Soon enough the money was raised, the building moved and restored. “If there hadn’t been the plan, we wouldn’t have this (building),” said JoAnne Beilke, a former Keizer Heritage Foundation president and its current strategic planner. “He pulled together a plan that was workable for the fundraisers to get behind.” But once the fanfare died down, someone had to run the thing. Al and...

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Public rallies around honoring Keizer educators with new school name

By HERB SWETT For the Keizertimes Audience comments on naming the two new elementary schools in the Salem-Keizer School District took up much of the time of Tuesday night’s School Board meeting. Neither school under construction is in or near Keizer, but a few Keizer residents spoke. A district oversight subcommittee has recommended Cesar E. Chavez Elementary School for the one in East Salem and Battle Creek Elementary School for the one in South Salem, and the board approved first reading of the proposal. Action is scheduled for the board’s February meeting. Without specifying which school should get which name, most speakers favored naming them after Salvador Reyes and Cathy Mink. Reyes, who moved with his family from Mexico to Salem, did volunteer work for the district in several capacities, including coaching soccer at McNary High School, and worked with the Keizer Soccer Club. Mink was a longtime teacher and principal in the district. A few spoke in favor of the committee’s recommendations. Terry Murphy, Rosanna Reyes and Melinda Culwell, all of Keizer, favored Reyes and Mink, preferring names from school system history to names for a national figure who was not specifically associated with this area and for a geographic feature. Matt Faatz of Keizer spoke for the Reyes name but did not mention Mink. Mary Paulson, school district chief of staff, said the committee, after receiving more...

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Sustainability summit set for March 12

Registration is now open for the Salem-Keizer Sustainability Summit, set for March 12  at the Salem Conference Center. Featured speakers are Secretary of State Kate Brown and Dave Dahl, owner of Dave’s Killer Bread Co., who will talk about his company’s purchase of wind power for its facilities and other green efforts. Area residents and businesses are invited to attend.  Registration for event attendees and exhibitors can be completed online at www.sustainabilitysummit.info.  Registration for the full day summit is $45 and includes the choice of a variety of break-out session topics. Attendees can also explore nearly two dozen exhibitor booths and peruse the Green Transport Show featuring alternative fuel bicycles, cars, and buses. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. and the event will conclude at 1:30 p.m. with an optional tour of the Salem Conference Center’s green initiatives, including their kitchen.  Registration for the lunch and key-note speaker is $20.  EarthWISE certified businesses will receive a $10 discount on...

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Backed by Keizer teen, curb on funeral protests nearly law

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes Seeing protests at military funerals was too much to take for a Keizer teen. Now Ryan Ripp’s idea is nearly law. Senate Bill 1575 has gotten approval from both chambers of the Oregon Legislature and awaits Gov. John Kitzhaber’s signature. A representative from the governor’s office said he intends to sign. It makes it a crime to fight, make threats or unreasonable noise or obstruct traffic within 200 feet of a funeral. The bill is in response to protests staged by Westboro Baptist Church, a small Kansas church whose members regularly carry anti-gay signs and messages to funerals of U.S. soldiers. “I’m really happy that it’s finally a law, that Oregon’s finally protected,” Ripp said upon hearing the bill cleared the house with nearly unanimous consent. In order to be charged with disorderly conduct, in this case a Class A misdemeanor – a maximum fine of $6,250 and up to a year in jail – the person must know a funeral is taking place. Normally disorderly conduct is a Class D misdemeanor. Legislation with similar intent failed in 2011, in part because of a section some said could impede free speech. Removing that was the difference maker for Rep. Jules Bailey, D–Portland, who opposed last session’s bill. He noted the changes in his remarks on the House floor Tuesday. Rep. Jim Weidner said the...

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Saxon upset puts Lady Celts in third headed to playoffs

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes The McNary High School girls varsity basketball team discovered just how hard it is to beat a team three times in a season last week. The Lady Celts fell to the South Salem High School Saxons 48-43 in the teams’ second meeting in less than a week. The loss set up the team to play for third place in the Central Valley Conference Tournament against McKay High School, Tuesday Feb. 21. McNary won that contest 60-43. After an early McKay lead, McNary surged past the Royal Scots in the first quarter. McKay never threatened again. Celt Deven Hunter poured in 30 points on the night. Averi Wing put in 10 points, Teresa Peterson and Jessica Darras had four points each, Ashlee Koenig and Menley Neitzel had three points apiece, Caitlyn Tartak, Lauren Hudgins and Stacey Titchenal had two points apiece. Despite the loss, McNary’s game with South was a thriller. A week earlier, the teams were neck-and-neck in the last six seconds when the Celts put in the go-ahead basket at the buzzer. That outcome had Molly Gehley, McNary head coach, anticipating a tough rematch. “We expected a tough game going in that would be down to the wire,” Gehley said. Both teams stumbled out of the block with nearly three minutes of scoreless play. The Saxons struck first on a lay-in,...

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