Author: Lyndon Zaitz

What’s for dinner?

In too many homes the cry of “Hey, mom, what’s for dinner?” is met with tears and growling stomachs. The current economic climate has sent many more households in the region to supplement their daily food needs with a trip to a local food bank. Each week the Keizer Community Food Bank’s shelves are left bare as more families who have never visited a food pantry now rely on it to stave off food insecurity. The Keizer Community Food Bank receives donations of food and money from local residents and they also receive food from Marion-Polk Food Share, the large organizaton that supplies food to more than 80 food banks in the two counties.  Each year the number of people who seek food boxes goes up, more so these days because of the economy. When a child is hungry or underfed they do not do as well in school.  Every child should have enough nutritious food to eat to assure they are ready for the school day. It doesn’t matter if a person donates one can of soup or a whole pallet of rice, every bit helps when the need in our own background is so acute. When a kid asks what’s for dinner, our community should do what it can to assure there is an answer that’s edible....

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County needs to act

For the fourth time since 2000 a driver was killed in an accident at the intersection of Wheatland Road and Brooklake Road just north of Keizer. On Thursday, Sept. 16, Jeff Weathers’ vehicle crashed over the steep embankment on the west side of the T intersection.  Local citizens have expressed concern over that junction for years.   Some cite a lack of a strong barrier, such a guard rail, to keep drivers from overshooting Wheatland Road and crashing down the incline.  Others cite the need for better signage. Four deaths in 10 years at the same location is four too many.  The public expects their governments to make public roads as safe as possible; Marion County’s public works deparmtnet needs to address this location. At least the county needs to erect a guard rail on the west side of Wheatland Road at Brooklake Road along with a large yellow and black striped barrier.   A guard rail itself won’t stop accidents there but it will stop cars from careening over the embankment. Beside a guard rail the Marion County needs to update road signs on Brooklake Road approaching Wheatland Road.  Currently there is a stop ahead sign but additional signage needs to be erected.  A big road ends ahead sign will alert the most distracted driver to what’s ahead.  The speed limit on the final half mile of the...

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A bird in the hand

There is more than $600,000 in the Keizer park improvement fund gathered from system developmen charges.  The city says most of that money, if not all, is earmarked for the proposed boat ramp at Keizer Rapids Park. The city money is being hoarded to serve as matching funds from the state of Oregon.  Fat chance.  With the state eyeing a $2 billion budget shortfall it will be hard for the state legislature to tell students they can’t get new books because Keizer wants a boat ramp in their gem of a park. At any time a boat ramp would be a luxury (want to have versus need to have) item.  In these days when every government’s budget is stretched tight as a drum, it doesn’t make sense to hold back money that is already in the bank for a feel good project. Much like Keizer Station, Keizer Rapids Park is a work in progress.  It will take a number of years for all the amenities to come to fruition:  boat ramp, BMX bicycle course, professional tennis courts and a recreation center. These amenities are said by some to boost economic development in Keizer, by bringing visitors to our city.  That is a good goal, but we need to prove we can attract visitors here first and then get those visitors to spend money in our local businesses. Money in...

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Strike up the band

On Saturday, Sept. 11, McNary High School band members will spread out across Keizer seeking donations for its programs. When a student in a band uniform comes knocking we hope that most  households will find a little something to offer, even if it’s only bottles and cans that can be turned in for the deposit. The McNary band programs are some of the most respected in the state.  In a time of slashed arts in school budgets, Keizer schools have a found a way to not only keep their programs alive, but keep them thriving. Inside every band member one will find a dedicated student who works together as a team to achieve their goals of excellence.  Anything the community can do to help the program along with money or volunteer time would  not be wasted.  It has been reported that students involved with extracurricular activites are involved students and do well with their studies. Students go to school to learn in their classrooms, but there are also big life lessons to be learned by being part of a group larger than oneself, much as being involved with school sports does. When band members come ringing doorbells on Saturday, Keizer should open its wallets and help retain this little part of what makes our city the quaint town everybody loves....

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Music in Keizer

There is a lot of music in Keizer.  The Keizer Community Stage Band has grown into an excellent and passionate group of musicians. The music programs at the high school and middle schools are envied by other schools.  Local groups such as Steelhead attract loyal followers wherever they play.  Keizer is a musical town, it’s one of the facades of the city everyone should promote. The Keizer Community Band, under the direction of Dennis Bierman, has been playing around the city for years.  They have become a cohesive musical group that its listeners respond to, be it a standard composition or a jazzy number.  The band staged summer concerts this year at the gazebo at Chalmers Jones Park at the Keizer Civic Center.  They have appeared at other community events such as National Night Out. The band, like many organizations in Keizer, is comprised of volunteers who play for the fun of it and to feed their passion for music.  They are yet another example of volunteers who make life in Keizer a little sweeter. It’s probable that most of the members in the community band first learned how to play an instrument in school.  As arts programs continue to face budget cuts across the nation, our local schools maintain their programs through massive efforts by the school district, teachers and parents. The music programs at McNary High School,...

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