Day: November 27, 2015

Bids come in low for roundabout

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Like it or not, a roundabout is one step closer to coming at Chemawa Road and Verda Lane. Bids for the project were opened last week by Oregon Department of Transportation officials. The project is expected to start next summer, having been delayed a couple of times. Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, said the project is on schedule. “It’s on track,” Lawyer said last week. “Prep work is being done now. First it was the phone company contractor, then last week it was the gas company. They are moving lines.” Construction bids for the project were opened last Thursday, November 19. According to ODOT figures, 10 bids were submitted for the project. The low bid of $838,731.60 was submitted by North Santiam Paving Co. of Lyons. The next lowest bid was $867,725.63 by R&R General Contractors Inc. of Salem. Of the 10 bids, six were less than $1 million. The highest bid was $1,173,163.15 submitted by 3 Kings Environmental Inc. of Battle Ground, Wash. Keizer City Manager Chris Eppley noted the low bid is about $140,000 under the engineer’s estimate for the construction phase of the project. That figure does not include other phases such as engineering and right-of-way acquisition. “The bidding contractor is a solid company, so this is all good news,” Eppley said in an e-mail last week. Lee...

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‘It’s a gift she’s still here’

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Most of the time, Elizabeth Smith is a strong woman. Part of that strength comes from fighting for her daughter, Samantha Nixon, who nearly died of a heroin overdose in July 2012, to get clean. In order to help her daughter, Elizabeth had to learn dark truths and be exposed to friends of her daughter who were also fighting drug addiction. Some of those friends have died of heroin overdoses. Samantha was a lucky one. During a two-hour conversation with the Keizertimes for this latest Chasing Dark story, Elizabeth broke down once: when asked why her daughter survived her overdose when others didn’t. “I don’t know,” Elizabeth whispered, breaking into tears. “I don’t know. It’s a gift she’s still here. You can’t just take that for granted. Everything happens for a reason. Samantha and I have discussed this many times. You feel really guilty as a survivor. As a parent, you always worry you’re going to join the club; the club of parents that have buried their children who have lost their battle to drug addiction. It’s a club you never want to be a part of. At the same time, fighting addiction can consume you and ruin you, or you can harness this hell and make it something powerful. I’m not going to let it ruin me, I am going to fight...

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Is it free enterprise or defacing of public property?

A business is going about Keizer neighborhoods painting address numbers on the curb in front of houses. A flyer is left at the door by a person calling themselves an Address America Indpendent agent. The flyer asks for a $5 ‘donation’ to have the house number painted on the front curb as a security service. The flyer says “This is an essesntial service as FIRE,Police,Paramedics, and Neighborhood Watch personnel will look first to the curb for your address.” The flyer continues on saying the curb painting is a communtiy service project and that the homeowner is free to decline to the representative that calls. But, if a homeowner accepts the offer, they will be charged the $5 fee and they are invited to ‘donate’ up to $20 more. Painting addresses on the curb in front of one’s house is a good idea and makes it easier for public safety personnel in case of an emergency, but the outfit currenting trolling Keizer for business makes it seem like this is a project of our local police and fire services. They are not. In a health emergency seconds can be the difference between life and death. The less time that police, fire or medical personnel spend trying to locate a specific house, the better for the person in trouble. The public is not required to have a number in front of...

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Young talent does Keizer proud

By this time those who live for sales have waited in the dark for doors at local malls and stores to open so they could rush forth and grab their own “must have” item for this holiday gift giving season. Those who don’t want to hassle with the crowds might migrate to e-commerce and order gifts from the comfort of their sofas. Regardless of what is happening in the world the holiday season will arrive and we will each celebrate according to our own tradition. Some traditions are steeped in the religiosity of the season—church services, being charitible to others, reveling in the warmth and spirit of the holiday—be it Christmas, Chaukah or Kwanzaa. The season can be enjoyed even more when we look about us and partake in the events that mark the season. It doesn’t matter if one has children in school or even in arts programs in one of local schools. Salem-Keizer schools has some of the best arts programs anywhere and that is never so true as now. McNary High School just came off the rousing success of its production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (a sell out). The Whiteaker Middle School choir will join the Willamette Master Chorus for three performances of Vivaldi’s Gloria in December. We’re duly impressed by that—these are sixth, seventh and eigth graders joining professional-grade singers in a classicial...

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The Trump effect, still understated

By MICHAEL GERSON    The presidential candidate who has consistently led the Republican field for four months, Donald Trump, has proposed: forcibly expel 11 million people from the country, requiring a massive apparatus of enforcement, courts and concentration camps; rewrite or reinterpret the 14th Amendment to end the Civil War-era Republican principle of birthright citizenship; build a 2,000-mile wall on our southern border while forcing Mexico to pay the cost. He has characterized undocumented Mexican immigrants as rapists and murderers, and opposed the speaking of Spanish in America. Republican candidates have proposed: to favor the admission of Christian over Muslim refugees from the Middle East; to “send home” Syrian refugees, mainly women and children, into a war zone; to “strongly consider” the shutting down of suspicious mosques; to compile a database of Muslims and (perhaps) force them to carry special identification showing their religion. They have compared Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs,” ruled out the possibility of a Muslim president, and warned that Muslim immigration to America is really “colonization.” There are, of course, Republican presidential hopefuls who have vigorously opposed each of these proposals, arguments and stereotypes. But Donald Trump has, so far, set the terms of the primary debate and dragged other candidates in the direction of ethnic and religious exclusion. One effect has been the legitimization of even more extreme views—signaling that it is OK to...

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