Month: June 2014

U.S. can’t solve Shia-Sunni conflict

Long ago and far away, Muhammad, Islam’s founder and author of the Koran, passed away.  That year was 632 A.D.  Two factions formed almost immediately.  “One who follows the traditions of the Prophet” was the Sunni mantra; they wanted Muhammad’s closest friend and advisor to succeed him.  The Shia or “people of the household of the Prophet,” sought a Muhammad family member to take his place. Thus the battles for supremacy began and have been waged between Sunni and Shia ever since while both want to realize conversion to Islam by everyone on earth. The dispute between the sects is a religious war that has been underway for centuries. We got involved after Sept. 11 for reasons sold to us by the George W. Bush administration that were neither accurate nor true. Those keeping track know we spent about 11 years in Iraq after a preemptive invasion. We suffered fatalities among our fighting men and women close to 5,000 in number with tens of thousands more suffering lasting and debilitating mental and physical wounds.  We also significantly deepened our national debt and drained our national treasury, resulting there in an estimated 100,000 collateral deaths. Then we were kicked out by the new Shia government, leaving the place to the Shia in charge to rule in place of Saddam Hussein and the Sunni Baath Party. Now the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an off-shoot of al-Qaeda from Syria’s civil war, are in Iraq and determined to establish strictly conservative Muslim rule by Sharia law not unlike the Taliban’s reign in Afghanistan.  It’s said the ISIS was kicked out of al-Qaeda by that terrorist group’s regulars...

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Keep it legal, keep it safe on the 4th

The Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM), Oregon fire service, Keep Oregon Green, natural resource agencies, Oregon fireworks wholesalers, and safety experts encourage Oregonians to keep itl legal and keep it safe when using fireworks. The 2014 Oregon fireworks sales season opened this week and runs through Sunday, July 6. The OSFM and their partners want everyone to know what fireworks are legal in Oregon, where they are permitted, and the important steps to take for fireworks safety. “People often forget that legal fireworks can only be purchased from Oregon permitted fireworks retailers and stands,” says interim State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. “And, regulations limit where those fireworks may be used. For example, fireworks are prohibited on all Oregon beaches, in parks, and campgrounds.” July 4th holiday forest visitors are advised to leave all fireworks at home. The use of fireworks is prohibited on all national forestland, and most other public lands. “Fireworks compound the threat to already dry forests,” states Keep Oregon Green President Kristin Babbs. “Enjoy fireworks where they belong: on the pavement- away from houses, vehicles, and flammable vegetation.” Oregon law bans possession, use, or sale of fireworks that fly, explode, or travel more than six feet on the ground or 12 inches into the air. Fireworks commonly called bottle rockets, Roman Candles, and firecrackers are illegal in Oregon. Over the past five years, from 2009...

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Fun ride will help eradicate polio

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Keizer Rotary is sponsoring a family bike ride Sunday, June 29, that will double as a fundraiser to end polio. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is matching all money raised 2:1 as part of its efforts to fund polio research and get vaccination programs into countries without them. That means the $25 registration fee translates into $75 worth of research and vaccinations. “We thought long and hard about how we wanted to run it, and we didn’t want people who want to do the ride to have to go out and fundraise independently,” said Hersch Sangster, co-coordinator of the ride with Chuck Fisher. Additional donations to the cause are welcomed, but not required. The goal of the inaugural ride is $1,000 before the Gates Foundation match. About 1,000 people are diagnosed with polio each year. Earlier this year, doctors in California diagnosed about 25 children with a form of the disease that attacks motor neurons and can cause flaccid paralysis. Participants will have their choice of two routes. One is a family-friendly 12-mile loop to Mission Bottom. The second is a 40-mile loop that will take riders to Mt. Angel’s Fisher Park. Both rides start at Volcanoes Stadium where day-of registration will be available from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Registration forms can also be downloaded, and maps of the routes viewed,...

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Candidates filing for Keizer council

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Earlier this month, Keizer City Council president Joe Egli announced he will not be running for mayor or council. Others are running, however. Mayor Lore Christopher has announced she is not running for an eighth term this year. So far, current councilor Cathy Clark is the only one who has filed to run for mayor. There are three open council seats: position 4 (currently held by Clark), position 5 (currently held by Egli) and position 6. The position 6 is currently held by Jim Taylor, who announced last year he will not be running. Brandon Smith is currently the only person who has filed to run for Taylor’s seat. Former longtime city employee Roland Herrera has filed to run for Clark’s current seat, while Amy Ripp and Matt Chappell have filed to run for Egli’s seat. The election filing period ends Aug. 26. Smith was the first to file, doing so early – very early. “I look forward to continuing my service to the community and plan to run in the 2014 election for City Council position No. 6, currently held by Councilor Jim Taylor, who has informed me he will not seek re-election,” Smith wrote in May 2013. Smith posted a message on his Facebook page June 10. “Last year, I announced my intent to run for election to position No. 6...

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MHS, PSU alum kicking for Thunder

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes It’s surprising to hear Zach Ramirez talk about his success at Portland State University as “unexpected.” Ramirez, who went by Zach Brown when he was a Celtic at McNary High School, started racking up school records as a sophomore and continued growth led to his being named as an All-American in numerous polls and venues after his junior season. His name is in the Viking record book for most career field goals and a field goal conversion rate of 89 percent among others, but he didn’t join the team as a kicker. “I was up there to be a receiver,” Ramirez said. “The transition was harder than I thought it would be because I wasn’t getting many minutes, maybe a few at the end of each game. It was difficult to have the whole team out there playing and watch it from the sideline.” Last week, a year after graduating from PSU, Ramirez signed on to play with the Arena Football League’s Portland Thunder as their place kicker. In his freshman year at PSU, the Vikings had a senior kicker and three more lined up right behind him. When his field time didn’t grow much in his second year, Ramirez made the decision to try out for kicker but he had to beat out the players in line ahead of him. “The...

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