Day: March 6, 2015

Venegas denied state title, not defined by it

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes In the 24 hours after his defeat in the state tournament finals match at 195 pounds, Alvaro Venegas did a lot of soul searching. Venegas went into the tournament seeded first in the state, and went into the final match with a 51-1 record. He ended up losing 3-2 after his opponent, Brian Barnes, took him down in the third round. “I dwelled on it for the whole day after, but I thought back to my coaches and the older guys and a title doesn’t define me. “(Jason) Ebbs said there’s always someone who wants it more than you do. That may not be the case for me, but this guy has been wrestling his entire life. He dedicated his life to it,” Venegas said. “Brian was ready to wrestle. I think I choked. Maybe I got too cocky, but Brian is going to do great for himself,” Venegas said. Ebbs is McNary’s head wrestling coach. If that answer sounds humble, it’s par for the course for Venegas. Talking with him after matches this past year, he never had a harsh word for any opponent. He mostly talked about them being “cool guys.” That attitude defines him more than any title – regional, state or national – ever could. “As he wrestled through this season, he was the strongest mental wrestler I...

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Big Toy site gets cleared

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Even while taking down 198 trees last week, Jerry Nuttbrock could see what the orchards would soon look like. Nuttbrock was recruited by Clint Holland to help clear out space in the orchards at Keizer Rapids Park, where community volunteers are expected to build the Big Toy play structure over a five-day period in June. Though the construction itself won’t be happening for another three months, the area has to be prepped for the work. Holland long ago pledged a team of volunteers to help get the ground ready. “Whatever Clint tells me to do, I do,” Nuttbrock said with a grin on Feb. 26. “I’m removing the trees for the Big Toy. I will later bring in another machine. For the trees that are close together, I can carry two at a time.” While the machine Nuttbrock used last Thursday morning – rented from Hertz Equipment Rental in Keizer – picked up the trees like they were Lincoln Logs, he brought in a different Caterpillar machine later to push all items toward a big pile. Cutting nearly 200 trees may sound like a lot, but the orchard has far more trees than that. Mark Caillier, general coordinator for the Big Toy project, marked all the trees for Nuttbrock to cut while Tony Weathers trimmed the trees, following a suggestion from Robert Johnson,...

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Boys to second round after Newberg scare

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes If the best-laid plans often go awry, the McNary High School varsity basketball team’s were also going sideways and pear-shaped Tuesday, March 3. The boys faced Newberg High School in the opening round of the state tournament and had to overcome more turbulence than most would have expected in the game. The Celtics eked out a 48-45 win and will travel to North Medford High School Friday, March 6, for the second round of the tournament. The Black Tornadoes ousted Barlow High School from contention in a 63-49 win. “Newberg wasn’t more than we were expecting, but they were different. We were game planning around their bigs and their lefty hurt us, but No. 32 (BJ Ulloa) was a big surprise and exposed us in some ways,” said Harry Cavell, a McNary junior. McNary fell behind the Tigers early. Newberg led by as many as seven points in the first period. By the middle of the second period, the Celts had cut the lead to 16-11. At the halftime buzzer, however, the Keizer team was still trailing 23-16. “They were really slowing down the game. We were trying to compact the paint and push them out, but we couldn’t get any momentum and we couldn’t get out to the open floor,” said Trent VanCleave, a Celt junior. From the outset of the...

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Roundabout spun off to 2016

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes In between Groundhog’s Day and April Fool’s Day comes this update: a major construction project involving Chemawa Road in Keizer has been delayed. Previously, the Chemawa Road Reconstruction Project from River Road to Keizer Rapids Park was delayed multiple times before finally being completed late last year. Now, it’s the roundabout at Chemawa and Verda Lane being delayed yet again. The roundabout was originally going to be constructed last summer. That timeline was pushed back until this summer, but last week got pushed back another year. Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, announced the news via a faxed press release Friday evening, Feb. 27. The release was not posted on social media by the city. The issue was not brought up at Monday’s Keizer City Council meeting. Lawyer said the decision was jointly made between project leaders with the Oregon Department of Transportation, the city and the project’s consultant. The bid opening date is now Nov. 19. “Officially it changed the end of the week last week,” Lawyer told the Keizertimes on Monday. “There have been concerns about keeping the project timeline. We’ve been working hard to stay on the schedule. It just became very clear the original schedule, while it may have been possible, was becoming more and more unrealistic.” Prior to the delay, the most recent schedule had called for...

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Do not be goaded into war

When in doubt, cut taxes or send in American military troops. Those seem to be the only choices for some of the nation’s politicians on the right. No tax is good—taxes feed the government beast that has an insatiable appetite. Cut off its food source and government will shrink to a manageable size, whatever that is. Taxes are especially bad when they fund things conservative politicans don’t support—food stamps, unemployment benefits, clean air and water. For some the only good tax is the tax that feeds the military budget. That’s especially true these days when some are calling for American boots on the ground and missles in the air to fight the Islamic State. Or, to follow Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s exortation to take out the regime in Iran before it gets any closer to a nuclear weapon. In a recent Keizertimes web poll, 75 percent of the respondents were against an increase in the Oregon gas tax even if the money was earmarked solely for transportation and highway projects. The American people do not like taxes, a feeling that thas been re-enforced by talking heads, pundits and politicans for decades.  But there is always money to funnel to defense, which is the only governmental responsibility that gets universal approval. There is no doubt that the United States needs to spend money on defense. The issue is what that...

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