Author: Lance Masterson

Keizer trio together for a last hurrah

By LANCE MASTERSON Of the Keizertimes A top 25 performance will be just fine for the 18U Willamette Valley Fastpitch (WVF) softball team. The team, which qualified for the national tournament in Hemet, Calif., is comprised of players from throughout the area, including three from Keizer: outfielder Mollie Bello, catcher Genetta Bennett and pitcher Erin Hento. The trio were members of the 2010 McNary softball team that made it to the semifinals of the Class 6A state tournament. This is most likely the last time they’ll all play as teammates. Though Bennett and Hento will take their game to George Fox University – next year will mark their sixth straight year as battery mates – Bello is headed to the University of Oregon. Neither Hento nor Bello will play ASA ball next summer. “I’m excited. I’m going to work my hardest  because I know it’s the last time I’m going to play. I want to end it on a good note,” said Bello. This is WVF’s second trip to nationals in as many years. Last year they finished 66th out of 132 teams. “We were middle of the pack last year,” said Coach Don Harp. “But we were mostly a 16U team, playing up to 18. Probably nine of our 12 girls were 16U eligible.” Harp expects a higher finish in 2010. “I’d like to be in the top...

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Sisi explores Lake County

By LANCE MASTERSON Of the Keizertimes My wife Simone is no stranger to fishing. As a child growing up in Brazil she remembers her father bringing home fish longer and heavier than she. They were so large they required two men to lift them into the boat and some fancy footwork to avoid injuries caused by the thrashing, not to mention disagreeable, captives. That said, Simone is still a newcomer when it comes to trout fishing in Oregon. Her introduction to this pursuit comes courtesy of Walter Wirth lake in Salem and the pond at E.E. Wilson State Wildlife Area, which is located about halfway between Monmouth and Corvallis off Highway 99. Each of these bodies of water is stocked – although we’ve always had better luck at the latter – and neither can be described as a destination location. E.E. Wilson comes closer to this description, but it loses points due to the constant low-grade hum coming from Highway 99, the stench coming from the local landfill and the weeds that have a choke hold on the pond from early summer on. These drawbacks don’t dampen Simone’s enthusiasm, however. “It doesn’t bother me if I don’t catch a fish,” she said to me often,” I just love being out here.” But this year I wanted to give her a better understanding of what trout fishing should be. Which...

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Lady Celts focus on own game, not weather, as they prepare for Tucson

By LANCE MASTERSON Of the Keizertimes Alan Kinler isn’t a weatherman, but he knew how hot it was in the Arizona desert when questioned last week. “It’s 105 degrees in Tucson right now. It’s only 75 or 80 degrees here,” Kinler said. This 25 to 30 degrees difference is important because Kinler coaches the Lady 10U state champion softball team, the very team that represents the state at next month’s national tournament in, you guessed it, Tucson. And while other teams from the Southwest are acclimated, the same can’t be said for teams from the Pacific Northwest. This heat differential isn’t lost on some of the Celts players. “It’s going to be really hot, and it’s going to be fun,” said Emma Kinler, 10. A second 10-year-old, Heather Arp, noted many of her team members played in last year’s national tournament as well. Temperatures for that tournament, which was in Salem, approached the century mark. “We played during the heat wave (last year),” said Arp. “It was fun and it was a good experience. We’ll be ready.” Despite having one eye on the Tucson thermometer, Coach Kinler doesn’t expect his team to be beaten by the heat. “Our girls will cope. And they’ll do fine,” Alan Kinler said. “They’ll do whatever they have to do to win some games.” The Lady Celts are undefeated in tournament play up to...

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Fire district looks to students for help; grant funds CERT coordinator position

By LANCE MASTERSON Of the Keizertimes A student fire fighting program could be coming to the Keizer Fire District (KFD) in September. “I’d like to get students on board and go with this,” Keizer Fire Chief Jeff Cowan told his board of directors during its Tuesday, July 20, meeting. Students considered for the program must be enrolled in a community college’s fire or paramedic program. Given its proximity to the district, it’s expected most students will attend Chemeketa Community College in Salem. The proposed program allows the district to augment its volunteer ranks with college students. Because of attrition, the district needs to recruit on average 14 volunteers each year. Among the required qualifications, students must: • Pull shifts (12 hours on weekdays, 24 on weekends) every three days; • Meet minimum requirements as outlined in the district’s job description; and, • Maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0. In addition, it’s preferred incoming students are state certified as both an EMT Basic or higher and NFPA pumper operator. Students serve at the discretion of the fire chief. Cowan noted “sleeper programs,” as they are called, are not a new concept. He added there are 16 fire jurisdictions in the immediate area that partner with colleges. No two programs are the same due to discrepancies within each jurisdiction. Fire districts aren’t the only beneficiaries. Students get scholarship funding,...

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