Month: June 2012

Life, liberty and happiness

Regardless how one feels about the current state of politics in the United States, most people would concede that the freedoms we enjoy today are worth the battles we fought to win and keep them. The paralysis of Congress, the debate over hundreds of millions flowing into the national campaign, the Supreme Court decisions that further divide the country—all could be reasons to be discouraged about the short-term future of the country,  but we’ve seen worse in our history and come out all right. The people will always come to the rescue of their country. Next week will mark the 236th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a document that continues to inspire people around the world. Witness the changes happening around the globe, especially in the Middle East. The Egyptians just concluded their first ever democratic election. Tunisia and Libya both ousted their dictator leaders.  A wind of freedom is sweeping through that part of the world. The American model is still the best example for billions of people. No system is without its flaws, but most people would prefer to live in the United States. America is still the shining city on a hill. It is easy to take our freedoms for granted. When you have freedom it is hard to fathom living without them. We all forget too often. Our Independence Day holiday...

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Why the ‘disrespect’ for Obama?

By LARRY ELDER  A few weeks ago, a reporter interrupted President Barack Obama as he explained his executive order that bars deportation for at least 800,000 illegal aliens who came to America—“brought to this country by their parents”—before the age of 16. As Obama stood in the White House Rose Garden and outlined the plan, Neil Munro, a reporter with a conservative website, shouted, “Why do you favor foreigners over American workers?” Based on his colleagues’ reaction, one would have thought he’d thrown a shoe at the President. Reporters and pundits called him unprofessional, rude and even racist for interrupting Obama. Never mind Munro asked a legitimate question—one that probably wouldn’t have even occurred to amnesty-supporting media: Will this harm the job prospects for struggling young American citizens? Munro, for his part, claims he assumed the President had concluded and wanted to get in his question. Obama holds few press conferences, a matter of frustration to the White House press corp. When a president restricts access to the press, the newshounds grow restless and become more aggressive —at least they should. In Munro’s case, MSNBC contributor Julian Epstein asked: “Would the right wing be doing this if we had a white president there? … We’ve never had a president heckled so disrespectfully. We’ve never had this otherness afforded to any other president. And I think the right wing is...

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Summer concert series begins this weekend

A free concert series returns to the Keizer Rotary Amphitheater at Keizer Rapids Park this summer. This year’s shows include rock, gospel, country, blues and more. The series is sponsored by the City of Keizer, CenturyLink, Gilgamesh Brewing and Salem Electric. Promoters are KRA. All the shows at Keizer Rapids Park are free and open to the public. They all kick off at 6:30 p.m., and gates open at 5 p.m. Food, beer, wine and liquor available at most shows. Patrick Lamb, a Portland-based artist, is just one of the big additions to this year’s lineup. Among the unique new events are Shakespeare in the Park and Movies in the Park. The Shakespeare production features MacBeth as performed by Keizer Homegrown Theatre. The movie has yet to be decided. Clint Holland of KRA said JFK drew a crowd of 650 last year and the Ty Curtis Band brought in nearly 800 fans. He hopes turnout gets even better this year. “We’re trying to add one big-time band each year,” he said. The concert schedule runs through Labor Day, here’s the full line-up: June 30 – High Point – Top 40 rock and blues. Sponsored by Advantage Precast. July 14 – JFK – High energy hard rock. Sponsored by West Coast Bank. July 21 – Five of Clubs – Classic rock and blues. July 27 & 28 – Shakespeare in the Park – Keizer...

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More than just a view at McNary Restaurant

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes Having owned McNary Restaurant and Lounge for a year now, owner David Zahradnik thinks he’s found the formula for success. A Keizerite for most of his life, his family moved to McNary Estates in 1990, and he played on the golf course for years. He was a varsity member of McNary High School’s golf team and bought his own house in the development a few years back. He sees three distinct audiences: The residents of McNary Estates, golfers and the larger communities of Keizer and Salem. His first step was to establish breakfast as a cornerstone for the business, then added quick-serve lunch items like sandwiches, burgers, soup, salad and wraps. His aim at midday is to attract the lunch-hour crowd, getting them in and out in a timely fashion. Dinner brings on dishes like steak, grilled salmon, pork ribs, meatloaf, teriyaki chicken, seafood combos and several pastas, including a macaroni and cheese with three cheeses and bacon. Zahradnik’s personal favorite courses include the reuben sandwich for lunch, and for dinner the ribeye steak and the chicken and shrimp rustica – sauteed with artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes. The chicken parmesan, which can be served in several ways, is also popular. McNary Restaurant’s menu features a handful of vegetarian dishes, and they’re working on adding more gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly items. Then there’s the view....

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Councilor Smith says he won’t seek second term

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes  Brandon Smith announced he will not seek re-election to the Keizer City Council seat he’s held since 2007. Smith, 40, said he’s looking forward to spending time with his family, which includes a brand new grandson born just last week. But he’s proud of the changes that have taken place during his tenure on council. “We have a beautiful new civic center, an amphitheater for public performances, new events like Good Vibrations and the Festival of Lights Holiday Parade, and a public art program,” he said. Smith also touted “less glamorous” projects like an updated Transportation Systems Plan, expanding public television offerings and a stable budget. He also thanked fellow city councilors, who “have educated, collaborated, argued, mentored and laughed with me over these last five years.” First appointed after Troy Nichols resigned to take a job out of state, Smith won a full term in 2008, easily beating Marty Matiskainen. He’s not necessarily done with elected office and enjoys being on the council, he said, but it’s time to focus on family. In the meantime he’s considering applying to be on a committee once his term expires at the end of the year, or even forming a neighborhood association in his area of east Keizer, just off Chemawa Road N. “I have lots of ideas and plans and things I can do...

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