Day: October 23, 2015

Celts, Saxons clash

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes The McNary High School varsity football team kicks off against the Greater Valley Conference’s top dogs in a game at South Salem High School Friday, Oct. 23. The Saxons were ranked fifth in the state headed into the game and hadn’t lost a contest all season. “They have a quarterback (Gabe Matthews) with good eyes and a great touch on the ball. They also have big lines on both sides of the ball so we are going to have to be ready in the trenches,” said Jeff Auvinen, McNary head coach. Matthews was 12-18 passing for 187 yards with two touchdowns last week in a 39-14 win over North Salem High School. Matthews also had 78 yards rushing with a touchdown, kicked one 42-yard field goal and four extra points. Saxon wide receiver Joseph Carey led the offense with five catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns while running back Francisco Ramirez-Perez piled up 110 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown. “It’s hard going into the game coming off a loss, but we have a chance to get a good seed going into playoffs and we have to focus on winning this game and that possibility,” said McNary’s Kyle Aicher. McNary lost a 43-40 heartbreaker as the clock wound down to West Salem High School last week. McNary was leading the...

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How transit payroll tax works elsewhere

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Having a payroll tax help pay for transit costs has long been done both north and south of the Salem-Keizer area. The idea of implementing a 0.21 percent payroll tax for increased Salem-Keizer Transit District bus service is on the Nov. 3 ballot. The tax, if passed, would bring in about $5 million and restore weekend service, extended weeknight service and fund student bus passes. Comparing a transit system in the Salem-Keizer area to the TriMet system in Portland isn’t exactly an apples-to-apples comparison due to factors such as size differences between the two areas. A more apt comparison comes when looking at the Lane Transit District, the transit system in the Eugene-Springfield area. In Eugene, a payroll tax has been used since 1970 to help bring in funding. According to the LTD website, the transit district serves a ridership of about 300,000 people. By comparison, Salem-Keizer Transit serves a ridership of about 400,000 people. Given LTD’s history with the payroll tax, the Keizertimes reached out to Andy Vobora, director of Customer Services and Planning, to learn more about the payroll tax and what services it’s helped provide in the Eugene-Springfield area over the decades. Vobora has been with LTD since 1983. According to Vobora, LTD started with a .6 percent payroll tax in 1970. After the state enacted a cap of .8...

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Lies heroin tells him

Editor’s note: The names of the people in this story have been changed to protect their privacy. This article also contains adult language and content that is not suitable for children. This is the first in an ongoing Chasing Dark series of Keizertimes stories looking at heroin and other types of drug abuse in Keizer.  By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Spencer has felt like a god lately. “I’ve lost three friends to heroin overdoses in the last eight months, but it doesn’t scare me. I feel like I can’t die and I’ve always felt that way when one of them goes,” said Spencer, 24. What he mostly feels, when he gets news of another overdose, is anger. “I’ve had to breathe for many people by doing CPR and that is something that sticks with me, but I’m more angry that they didn’t know their limits,” he said. The lie of invincibility is just one of many the drug has whispered in his ears since he was 18 years old. Unlike those who have sought the refuge of heroin after a supply of pain-killing opiates dried up at the doctor’s office, Spencer’s first dances with heroin came while doing the drug circuit as a student at McNary High School. He started with marijuana but doesn’t believe it’s a gateway drug, instead it was one spoke on a wheel of...

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Australian gun laws have worked

HuffPost Australia reports that a generation of Australians have grown up free from mass shootings.  A change of course on gun matters by political action occurred there after a deadly rampage in April 1996, when a 28-year old stalked through a tourist attraction in Port Arthur killing children, women and men with a high-powered weapon.  While the gunman sits in a Tasmanian prison serving 35 life sentences the Australians do not know why he committed his heinous crime spree. The Australians grasped what they called ‘never again’ when The National Firearms Agreement banned semi-automatic rifles and shotguns and pump-action shotguns and brought to law their rigid licensing requirements.  Thereafter, a gun amnesty was declared and the federal government spent $500 million dollars, paid for in a special levy, to buy back—for their market value—weapons ruled illegal.  Nearly one million guns were purchased by the government and destroyed. All firearms in Australia must be registered to a licensed owner and stored under strict conditions, separate from ammunition. Obtaining a gun license requires considerable effort, including background checks that are thorough with no overlooking of anything in an applicant’s past.  As a result of this nationwide tightening of the rules, some government officials who promoted gun controls lost their political jobs but have commented  since that it was worth it because it got the job done and it was the right thing to do. The...

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