Day: May 4, 2012

[UPDATED] Budget requests ready for committee’s vote

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include the budget committee’s recommendations. They are added in bold. It’s budget season at the City of Keizer, which means local groups are lining up to request small (and a couple of not-quite-as-small) budget appropriations for a variety of causes. Keizer Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center Amount sought: $16,360. What they got: $3,500 for an informational tourist kiosk, $1,080 to operate community-wide calendar, $500 for Interstate 5 signs, $800 for a booth at a tourism conference, $5,000 for police services at the Iris Festival parade and $3,000 to restore and repair holiday lights posted along River Road. Total: $13,900 Current year’s appropriation: $0, but the city has budgeted to pay police overtime for the Iris Festival parade. What for? The chamber is the primary organization promoting visitors services in Keizer. Included in their request are funds for an iRIS (Information Referral Internet Station) kiosk at the Keizer Civic Center, maintaining Christmas decorations hung yearly on utility poles, conference attendance, co-op advertising, signage and welcome gift bags. The chamber had received some $11,000 prior to this current budget year from hotel and motel taxes. That amount was cut to zero as the city kept the money for civic center promotion and maintenance. City Manager Chris Eppley said the facility’s role in bringing in outside visitors justified the move. Festival of Lights Holiday...

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Money for baseball fields

The talk of Keizer being a “Tournament Town” continues. But for that to work, kids have to have somewhere to play. Volunteers for Keizer Youth Sports Association and Keizer Little League have much to be proud of: They have for decades operated an all-comers baseball and softball program for every child who wants to play. Say what you will about the KYSA-Little League split that still has hurt feelings left in its wake. The bottom line is KYSA finds itself unable to keep the park up to a high standard without the city’s help. If we are serious about becoming “Tournament Town,” some sort of steady funding stream makes sense. Instead of lamenting the good old days, we should be proud that volunteers have kept the park up and running this long. In a city that doesn’t have a public library or many other amenities other communities provide for youth, it’s not too much to ask parents to carry the bulk of the load when it comes to youth sports. That is the bargain, after all, and KYSA’s leaders knew this when they took on the contract. It is unfair, however, to ask them to spend their own time and money bringing in outside visitors for other businesses to profit and the city to collect more revenue via hotel-motel taxes. Based on the way urban renewal dollars have been...

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In celebration of mom

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13. That gives children of ever age a little more than a week to decide how they will honor their moms this year. Florists, candy makers and restaurants will do blockbuster business for the special day. Retailers will promote the gifts that mother would love to receive on her day. There are other gifts that any mother would love to receive such as time with their children (especially if they are grown up and moved out), a custom, hand-made gift from the heart. It doesn’t matter if people don’t think they are creative, t mom won’t care, as long as it was made with love. A poem expounding on the virtues of one’s mother will stay in her heart long after the flowers have wilted and the chocolates eaten.  A poem doesn’t have to rhyme, it just needs to express thoughts in iambic pentameter; and, it doesn’t have to be long. A poem can greatly expand on “I love you, mom.” Another gift that will be hung in her home forever is a  framed collage of pictures of oneself in various stages of life. A photograph that illustrates a mother’s character can be taken and framed. The artist can paint or draw something complex or something simple, such as a picture of mom’s favorite flower.  Or a drawing/painting of mom’s favorite things such as...

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Marion County Fire’s levy

By RANDY FRANKE Marion County Fire District #1 is responsible for providing fire and emergency medical services to approximately 50,000 residents who reside in a district of approximately 80 square miles.  We have eight fire stations strategically placed within the district to effectively provide fire and emergency medical services.  Our district utilizes a combination of highly trained career and volunteer firefighters to serve our community 24 hours a day.  In 2011 we responded to 5,800 calls…an average of more than 15 emergency requests each and every day of the year.  We serve our community with dedicated personnel totaling 40 employees and 81 active volunteers. We, like many organizations and individuals in this down economy, are having to tighten our belts, reorganize our operations, and look at all options to operate as efficiently as possible and maintain the current level of services.  We will also continue to re-evaluate what our critical core services are over the next several months. While we have had differences with our union, management and union personnel have worked diligently together to come up with creative solutions to make cuts and not impact our core services to the community.  Our union personnel voluntarily developed a proposal that resulted in voluntary demotions and a reorganization of many employees that will save more than $260,000 per year. All employees (union and non-represented) have also agreed to take a...

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New law protects privacy of CHL holders

By KIM THATCHER Imagine being stalked by a deranged individual threatening your family, but you’re too afraid to exercise your constitutional right to carry a gun. Why? Because if you get a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) the stalker can find out where you live. Until now, that was reality for a Keizer woman and many other Oregonians who worried about their safety because CHL records were released to the public. A new state law took effect last month putting tight restrictions on the amount of information a sheriff’s office or other agency can divulge about the nearly 150,000 CHL holders. The Oregon State Sheriff’s Association supported the legislation I drafted, House Bill 4045, because it improves public safety while also providing limited access in certain legitimate circumstances. Concealed Handgun License documents are not like other public records designed to hold government accountable. These records are a collection of data on individuals required to get permission from a law enforcement agency to fully exercise their Second Amendment Rights. Publicly releasing private information about these individuals not only defeats the whole purpose of the term “concealed” but also makes them vulnerable to identity theft or other crimes; we’re talking about good citizens such as the convenience store owner who has to transport cash late at night. Opponents of these new protections say the public has a right to know if someone...

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