Month: July 2014

Keizerite speaks out about SAIF

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Brandon Smith has plenty of pots going. The former Keizer City Councilor, currently chair of the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, is running for the council seat being vacated by Jim Taylor. Smith is also a grandpa who is helping to take care of his daughter, who was struck by a car in December. Workplace drama can be added to the list as well. Both Smith and wife Krystal work in Salem at SAIF (State Accident Insurance Fund) Corporation. Smith worked at SAIF from 1989 to 1997 and returned in 2003. He is currently a claims adjuster while Krystal, a SAIF employee since 1992, is a claims director. SAIF is Oregon’s non-profit workers’ compensation insurance company, providing coverage to more than 600,000 workers in the state. Company executives respond to a board of directors appointed by the governor. SAIF has been in a bit of turmoil since early last month, when new CEO John Plotkin was abruptly fired. That happened during a May 9 meeting, where more than 100 of SAIF’s 800-plus employees showed up in support of their CEO. According to a report in The Oregonian and a series of stories at www.workerscompensation.com, the latter of which has attracted a large number of comments from former and current SAIF employees, with many supporting Plotkin. Plotkin sent out a statement May 9, following his...

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Council goes over medical marijuana

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes This spring, a moratorium was established to not allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Keizer until May 2015. The moratorium, like ones passed by various cities and counties around Oregon, was designed to allow time for the Keizer City Council to finalize local rules for medical marijuana, which was made legal in Oregon earlier this year. Councilors established a medical marijuana dispensaries task force, which met three times and sent a list of recommendations to council for approval. Those 10 items were discussed by councilors at their June 16 meeting. City Attorney Shannon Johnson noted he and Nate Brown, director of Community Development for Keizer, attended a League of Oregon Cities conference on medical marijuana. Johnson said a partial list of concerns not addressed by state legislators at the conference included how to track and monitor grow receipts, how to provide adequate police inspections, requiring minimum distances from residences and regulating aspects of the businesses not addressed by state statutes, including extraction, grow sites, discharge of pollutants, regulating security measures and whether to limit the number of stores. “There are two general issues,” Johnson said. “One is procedural. This issue is whether council wishes to schedule the matter for additional public hearings. The council should decide initially whether they want to hold additional public hearings or instead move directly towards adopting regulations.” If there...

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Salem-Keizer falls to AquaSox in 13 innings

By HERB SWETT For the Keizertimes A 13-inning home game with Everett ended with the Volcanoes on the losing side Tuesday, 6-5. Salem-Keizer performed well in some ways, including a rebound from starting pitcher Jose Reyes, allowing no AquaSox player to reach base in five innings following a three-run top of the first for Everett. In the AquaSox first, Chris Mariscal walked, Kyle Petty doubled down the right field line, and Adam Martin scored both with a double down the left field line.  After a wild pitch sent Martin to third base, Phillips Castillo drove him in with a single to right. Reyes said after the game that an adjustment in his mechanics made the difference between the first inning and the rest of his time on the mound. The next hit of the game was a bunt single by Johneshwy Fargas, leading off the bottom of the fourth. However, Everett starter Blake Holovach retired the next three batters. In the Volcano sixth, Jonathan Jones reached first base when Bryan Brito, Everett’s third baseman, made a high throw toward first. Two outs followed, and Randy Jones singled to left center, moving Fargas to third. Craig Massoni brought both runners home with a double to right, and Everett’s lead was cut to 3-2. Steven Neff relieved Vargas and pitched a scoreless seventh inning. Dusten Knight pitched the eighth and ninth...

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Making a run for the (Keizer) border

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Taco Bell may have changed its advertising slogan, but the old one would be appropos in this case. The California-based fast food restaurant subsidy of Yum! Brands is expected to open a new location in Keizer Station either late this year or early next year. In other words, Taco Bell is making a run for the Keizer border. “It’s projected to open between November 2014 and January 2015,” said Johanna Albertsson, a public relations intern with Yum! Brands. “This Taco Bell will be a new location, owned by a franchisee.” Albertsson said the store will be the same size as the current Taco Bell location at 4690 River Road. A permit applied for on Tuesday listed the size as 2,671 square feet with a valuation of $450,000. Nate Brown, director of Community Development for Keizer, said the restaurant will be on Jorie Lane, next to Burger King. The permit listed an address of 2635 Jorie Lane. What does this mean for the future of the current location? “There will now be two Taco Bells in Keizer,” Albertsson said. “There are no talks of demolishing that location.” The look of the new Keizer Station location represents a change made at the corporate level. “This is our new facade up and running,” Albertsson said. “It’s a new design being rolled out. Our new restaurants will...

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