Day: March 3, 2016

Keizer kid wins state Hoop Shoot

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Fifth grader Bella Rodriguez is a deadeye from the free throw line. Two weeks ago, the Forest Ridge Elementary School student won the state title for her age group in the annual Elks Hoop Shoot, a free throw competition. “It was tough, but it helps thinking that you’re good before you start,” Bella said. Her ascension to the top included winning local, all-city, and district competitions before advancing to the state finals. In the first round at state, Bella shot six of 10, but it left her trailing her closest opponent by one. In the second round, she hit 14 of 15 including an 11-shot streak. She drained 20 of 25 in the finals to take the win. Her next stop is the regional competition in Washington. If she does well there, she’ll head to nationals in Chicago. South Salem High School alum and basketball star Katie McWilliams was the last Salem-Keizer area student to win a state title in the Hoop Shoot. Bella has been playing basketball for six years with Keizer Youth Basketball Association (KYBA). “I like that you get to work hard at a lot of different things,” she said. “I’m also a gym rat.” She collected three trophies and a medal for her hard work in the Hoop Shoot, but free throws aren’t even her favorite part of...

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Lights out! No more Christmas parade

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Last December marked the 25th year for the Festival of Lights Holiday Parade. Turns out, it also marked the last parade. Cheryl and Bob Mitchell, who have volunteered with the parade for 23 years and been in charge since 1999, announced Monday they are retiring and thus concluding the parade, which started in Salem in 1990 and moved to Keizer in 2011. “We are very excited for our retirement,” said Cheryl Mitchell, the CEO of the parade. “Bob and I were in our late 30s and early 40s when we started with this wonderful event. Now we are in our late 50s and early 60s. It’s time for Bob and I to start enjoying our retirement. Our awesome Board of Directors and operations team have decided to pursue other passions of business and personal interests as well.” Mitchell thanked all who have sponsored, viewed and participated in the parade. “The parade has been a very special, magical and exciting event that has been bringing families, businesses and our non-profit community together for the past 25 years,” she said. “This event has been made possible year after year because of the awesome teams and their passion, our dedicated entries, sponsors and community supporters. We feel very blessed and honored that we have been able to produce this wonderful event and create wonderful holiday memories for...

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