Month: November 2016

Homeless student numbers on the rise

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Keizer schools served 199 homeless students during the last academic year, students who were spending the night doubled up in homes with other families, in shelters, hotels and motels, cars and on the street. McNary High School was third among the Salem-Keizer School District high schools with 52 homeless students. Claggett Creek Middle School was second among district middle schools with 42 homeless students. With 33 homeless students, Weddle Elementary School was tied for first (alongside Highland Elementary School) among Salem-Keizer elementary schools. If those numbers are sobering, consider this: there are no dedicated shelters for homeless youth in Marion County. “There is no place but the streets,” said Tricia Ratliff, program director of Salem’s HOME Youth and Resource Center. Ratliff spoke to members of the Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative Task Force at its meeting Monday, Oct. 17, providing an overview of what is available and what is needed as far as local services. HOME, which is administered by Community Action Agency, provides local homeless youth, ages 11 to 18, with a contact point for engaging support services and a safe place to spend time studying or simply among friends. HOME administrators are seeking to expand the scope of what it offers, but Ratliff said the most glaring hole is the lack of a dedicated shelter. “We’re working to provide a continuum of...

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Eclipse planning hits logistic hurdles

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Planning for an event centered around the total eclipse that will pass over Keizer in August 2017 is beginning to stumble and time is growing short for things to begin taking shape. That was the message from Sherrie Gottfried, a member of the Keizer Festivals Advisory Board and the volunteer coordinator of “Keizer Eclipse 2017. Totally!” Current plans call for the Keizer Parks Foundation to take over Keizer Rapids Park for the weekend preceding the Aug. 21 celestial event and provide onsite camping and activities. “It’s not been easy so far,” said Gottfried. “I went out with Allen Barker (a candidate for Keizer City Council Position #1) to do some measuring and we came up with some ideas, but a lot of them were shot down when we presented them to the Foundation Board.” Gottfried said one of the primary concerns is parking. In addition to outstanding questions about whether the event will need to be Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, there is limited space to accommodate the parking space campers would require. “Are cars going to park by the tents? If not, we have to shuttle them in. These are the logistics that nobody knows yet, and any (vehicle) over 5,000 pounds will damage the pathway to access parts of the camping site,” Gottfried said. Gottfried and Barker determined there would be...

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