Author: Lyndon Zaitz

A glorious holiday for every home

Does anyone need to be reminded that next week is Thanksgiving? Television is filled with soft-focus ads showing families enjoying preparing and eating the holiday dinner. This weekend every store that sells groceries will be packed with shoppers picking the fixings for dinner. Many of us will step back and marvel at the sight of the table with its themed-holiday centerpieces, the ‘good’ china and cloth napkins. After dinner many will either be cleaning up, suffering a food coma or watching a football game. Some, though fewer of us, will be preparing for the frenzy of the Black Friday sales at stores and malls throughout the region. Roll back the tape of that Norman Rockwell-esque scene and start over at a Keizer household where abundance is rarely seen and the reasons to give thanks seem to belong to someone else. In a rich nation there are too many families who can’t take part in the great American pageant of our Thanksgiving rituals. The lucky families are able to get to the food bank for generous donations of food. The unlucky families treat Thanksgiving as just another Thursday. We ask that as Keizer families shop for their Thanksgiving dinner, they add extra items to their basket that can be donated to help every family enjoy the holiday. Every store has a bin for food donations that will be donated to...

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Sex reporting will do more harm than good

Salem-Keizer School District’s decision to enforce a standing Oregon law is causing quite a stir. The law the district is instructing its teachers and staff to follow is Oregon statute 163.315, which says a person under the age of 18 is incapable of consenting to a sexual act. The child abuse mandatory reporting guideline requires teachers and other school employees to report if they believe two students under the age of 18 are having sex, even if one of their own children is involved. The renewed focus on this issue came after a member of the community  asked for clarification of the statute. Every story has two sides. The school district responded to a question and decided that the existing state law needed to be heeded. Teachers were informed by the school district that they would need to take additional mandatory reporting training. The response from teachers and students alike was swift and generally opposed to the school district’s focus. Rightly, some teachers expressed that many students turn to them or school counselors to discuss intimate details of their lives including sex. That’s because some households do not welcome discussions of sex, especially discussions of gender identification. Teachers invite and welcome discussions with students because they understand how home life can be for some kids. Some parents think the schools should take the lead on sex education; others think...

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Pick your battles

Many people have found their political voice at every level of government in America. It is easy to express one’s opinion, especially if it is anonymously on social media. Conversations touching on everything from taxes to schools to the U.S. foreign policy is rife with angry words that leap off the computer screen:  outraged, angry, unbelievable, treason and worse. Either side of any issue its supporters and its detractors. People on both sides of any subject cannot believe that anyone would think opposite of themselves, and therefore are deserving of invectives. It is impossible to read through Facebook  or Twitter on any day and not see the words that people use to show their displeasure on the opinions or actions of others. This poster is outraged, that poster is angry. To what end? Most people know their rights when it comes to speech, religion and guns. Rights are one thing, societal responsibility is another. Even though we have the right to say and write that we are outraged over something, it doesn’t foster understanding, it only hardens people into silos of righteousness. It is our right to express anger at things we don’t agree with; it should be our responsibility to attempt to be part of a solution to the problem at hand. If neighbors disagree and throw verbal tantrums, disinterested spectators can be concerned about the level of...

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Start of the holidays

Next Tuesday is Halloween, which has taken on a larger role in our modern-day culture. Most of the celebrating, especially by adults will presumably occur this weekend. It is inescapable that Halloween is, for all intents and purposes, the beginning of holiday season. Yes, Halloween is a holiday to many people. From now until the Super Bowl, America and Keizer will be marking Thanksgiving, Channuka, Kwan-za, Christmas, New Year’s Day and football’s Super Bowl with parties, events, promotions and sales. A meeting of the Keizer Festival Advisory Board, led by Councilor Marlene Parsons, shows that there is a wide variety of events to enjoy right here in the Iris Capital. The Keizer Chamber of Commerce takes the lead of many events including the Holiday Parade in December and several runs, including the always-popular Turkey Dash early on Thanksgiving Day. As we move into December, the sound of music will be constant as every school has a band/orchestra/choir concert not to mention the appearance at the State Capitol by Keizer  school choirs. There will no reason not to be in the holiday mood. A family-centric and kid-friendly city like Keizer will always provide plenty to do, see and enjoy. For those who love holidays, you are in your time of bliss. For those who merely tolerate the holidays, you mark the season your own way and in your own tradition....

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You, too?

Social media has been filled with posts that say “Me, too,” over the past week or so. That two word message alludes to the fact that the poster had been a victim of sexual harassment. The ‘Me, too’  campaign started after it was revealed that a Hollywood producer had paid out huge sums of money to a number of his accusers. That producer has since lost his company and has been kicked out of some organizations including the one that passes out the Academy Awards. It is good there is a ‘Me, too’ campaign; it brings the issue to the forefront of the  news. It does not necessarily bring it to the forefront of the collective consciousness. There are people who will  harass regardless of public norms. Harassment is, and always has been, a matter of power and control, not about sex. No one asks to be a victim of this behavior. No one invites inappropriate comments and physical touch. And certainly, no one is eager to have their career in the hands of a boss who uses their position to maintain control. Harassment has been part of the human condition forever. If you don’t put out, you’re put out. How does society stem the tide of this type of harassment? As all things, it needs to start at the beginning. We teach our children the golden rule—do unto...

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