Day: August 31, 2012

Study could make case for expanded city limits

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes Only 7 percent of the Keizer labor force actually works in the city where they live. A local economic opportunities analysis aims to provide specific suggestions for raising that number – and the final recommendations could conclude that the city simply doesn’t have the available land to make that happen. Nine in 10 people leaving the city daily to work is hardly uncommon among bedroom communities, said Jerry Johnson, principal at Johnson Reid. His firm is contracted to perform the analysis, with help from a local task force. “Most places really do aspire to become more balanced between jobs and housing, particularly in a property tax-reliant state like Oregon,” Johnson said. He explained states and communities with sales taxes are able to capitalize better on residential areas, but that homes tend to need lots of services, but pay much less in taxes than commercial and industrial properties. The task force’s first meeting was Wednesday evening, after press deadline. Sam Litke, the city’s senior planner, said the study will include recommendations for land needed to shift towards a more balanced local economy. “At the conclusion of the study, I think there will need to be a discussion of expanding the urban growth boundary,” Litke said. “The regional analysis points in that direction.” Part of the process is identifying community traits that could either hurt...

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Jobless number growing

Unemployment in the Salem area rose in July to 9.3 percent. That represents a 0.3 percent increase from the June rate of 9 percent, and is higher than the statewide seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 8.7 percent. Some 18,789 people were considered unemployed in a labor force of 198,661 for the month. About 1,146 less people are unemployed than in July 2011, according to the Oregon Employment Department. Total nonfarm employment is up 400 jobs since July 2011. The private sector added 600 positions in that time, with government jobs falling by 200. However, in the past month area employment fell by 1,200 jobs – much larger than the typical July job decline of about 500 jobs. In key industries: • Manufacturing has shed 600 jobs in the past 12 months, but added 1,000 positions in the past month, 800 of those in food processing. • Professional and business services added 200 jobs. • Leisure and hospitality also added 200 positions. • Construction gained 500 jobs in July – a normal occurrence for this time of year. The industry has lost 600 jobs in the past...

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Middle school is key

There are few times as promising as the first day of school. Children entering first grade are aglow with both apprehension and excitement; their parents are proud of their little ones who are growing up. Teens entering high school are staring their final four years of primary education in the face. Freshmen will have many opportunties at their new school to carve out their own niche, both educationally and extra-curricularly. The students entering their first year of middle school are a different breed altogether. They are taking their first step of a path that will  transfrom them from child to teenager. The anticpation was palpable as incoming sixth-graders were oriented to Whiteaker Middle School this week. More than 200 kids spent most of the day on Monday learning about the rules and regulations, location of classrooms, schedules, and how to use a combination lock for their lockers. As exciting as it is for the incoming middle schoolers, it is also a time to realize that this the time when we can get kids hooked on learning. In grade school children learn the basics that are used to build their knowledge in middle school. Middle school is the place to instill, if not a love, then the joy of learning. Middle school is when kids learn about teamwork and cooperation. Extracurricular activities start to play a larger role in their...

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Unbiased review of film available

To the Editor: It is amazing to me how many people are ready to believe what they want to believe.  For a relatively unbiased report about Obama: America 2016, I suggest that you read the Washington Post August 24 critic’s review of this 1 1/2 star “infomercial for the far right.” Art Burr...

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