Day: February 23, 2015

Abbas a merit finalist

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Of all the high school students in the country, McNary High School senior Zach Abbas has an honor few others can claim: National Merit Finalist. “I wasn’t expecting to be a semifinalist. I was completely blown away. Then hearing that I was a finalist … it was just crazy,” Abbas said. Abbas qualified as a semifinalist based on his PSAT scores as a junior, then submitted an application and essay to achieve his finalist status. He’s one of 15,000 finalists in the U.S. – the only one from McNary – and about half of those will receive scholarships. “Zack is not only very intelligent, he is one of the kindest, most compassionate, hardworking young mn I have ever worked with,” said Stephanie Hanson, Abbas’s counselor at McNary. Abbas has a 3.78 grade point average and balances that with working at Walgreens part time and other extracurricular activities. Teacher Dan Borresen said writing has always been a strong suit for Abbas. One testament to that was his inclusion in the annual anthology of student creative writing produced by McNary’s Write Club. “Zach has the ability to view concepts and reading activities from varying perspectives. This unique skill allows him to connect to ideas and the claims of authors in a thorough and scholarly manner, making his insights and analyses incredibly thoughtful and perceptive....

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Keizer Florist set to reopen March 2

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Car after car pulled into the parking lot of the flower shop both Feb. 13 and 14, with regular customers getting out to buy flowers for Valentine’s Day. Except there were no flowers to be bought at Keizer Florist. Lisa Vasquez and her husband Rich bought the business from Julie Wallace earlier this year, with the sale closing on Feb. 4. Lisa is busy getting things up and running for a reopening on March 2. The store closed shortly before Christmas. The new opening date means Keizer Florist was closed for Valentine’s Day – traditionally the busiest day for a flower shop. “It was torture,” Lisa said of not having flowers to sell. “For so many of the people, for years they pull up and pick up flowers for Valentine’s Day. I lost count of how many people came up and saw the store was closed.” With the sale closing shortly before the big day, Lisa said there wasn’t time to get things like taxes, flower accounts and a myriad of other details arranged in time. “We didn’t want to open when we weren’t ready,” said Lisa, who noted she has hired three of the store’s former employees. “All of these things have to happen before you can start. Last Friday was the worst. It was the same on Saturday. People didn’t see...

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“A Spool of Blue Thread” by Anne Tyler

“A Spool of Blue Thread” by Anne Tyler c.2015, Knopf / Bond Street Books $25.95 / $32.00 Canada 368 pages BOOK REVIEW by TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER Cut from the same cloth. That’s what your grandma said about you and your siblings, but it couldn’t have been further from the truth: you were different as sun and rain. You came from the same set of parents, and that’s about all you had in common. Still, there are always things in life that stitch families together and in the new book “A Spool of Blue Thread” by Anne Tyler, the Whitshanks needed that kind of mending. When Junior Whitshank built the house on Bouton Road just after the Depression, folks noticed that he threw his heart into it, but no one fully understood. They didn’t know that Junior aimed to someday live there himself, even though Bouton Road was built for well-to-do clients, and Junior wasn’t. Even so, eyeing a dream that would surely come true, he insisted that every door, newel, and window were the finest his clients’ money could buy. Red Whitshank knew that the house he inherited from his father was a great place to raise a family but he never thought much past that. Over the years, as he and Abby brought each baby home, Red remodeled some, moved the girls to make room for boys, and added...

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After open-heart surgery 11-year-old back in the game

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Mehki China was practicing with his baseball team last spring when something started going wrong. “I got panicked because it was hard to breathe and I started stumbling,” said Mehki, who was 10 years old at the time. He had been diagnosed with sports-induced asthma prior to this attack, but it didn’t take long for his mother, Brooke, to figure out something else was going on. She was playing with her younger son when one of Mehki’s friends came to let her know something was wrong. “I went outside and he was slumped against a wall. I tried to stand him up and get him to breathe through it, as he tried to stand up his eyes turned black and rolled up, then he passed out,” Brooke said. Assuming it was an asthma attack, Brooke ran back inside and began yelling for someone to get an inhaler. Mehki’s had been left in the car that day. She went back to check on Mehki and found him still unconscious on the ground, then back into the gym to find Andrew Copeland, one of the team’s coaches and a Keizer police officer, running across the gym with an inhaler. “Mehki was still out and I thought, ‘How is this going to work if he’s not breathing?’” I went into terror all over again,” Brooke...

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