Author: Lance Masterson

Raises abound at Keizer Fire District

By LANCE MASTERSON Of the Keizertimes Non-represented staff at Keizer Fire District will receive 2 percent raises in fiscal year 2010-11, a unanimous board of directors decided at Tuesday’s regular meeting. The pay increase is retroactive to July 1. Non-represented staff will also receive 2 percent raises in 2011-12 and another 2 percent in 2012-13. These raises are consistent with what union represented employees received earlier this year following contract negotiations with the board. According to Fire Chief Jeff Cowan, it’s the practice of the district to have benefits offered to represented and non-represented employees mirror each other. Union employees also received a more generous benefits package, specifically as it relates to the monthly accumulation of sick leave and vacation. But non-represented employees will have to wait at least a month before they receive similar benefits after Director Greg Frank requested more time to review the policy changes proposed by Cowan. A survey of similar-sized districts from throughout the state showed district staff were underpaid by about 10 percent. In other news: • Deputy Chief Randy Jackson estimated the district will receive half of its ambulance service billings for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Jackson said while $2 million was billed, an estimated $1.1 will be written off as bad debts. Medicare and the Oregon Health Plan pay set fees that average about half what the district charges for ambulance...

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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Presented by Copper Creek Mercantile

Carleen Natividad, 35, bowled her first 300 game in the sanctioned Bar League Challenge on Thursday, July 8, at Town & Country Lanes in Keizer. “It is only the second perfect game ever bowled by a woman at the lanes” said owner Don Lebold. “It’s a truly remarkable feat.” Don added he knows of only three women in Salem-Keizer who have ever bowled a 300 game, until Carleen bowled her game last week. With regards to her 300 game, Carleen said she wasn’t nervous going into the 10th frame.  Her dad, Ted Natividad, an avid bowler and assistant coach with the McNary girls high school team, kept her calm, she said. Her only thought before throwing the final strike was, “OK….here it goes.” On throwing the last strike she turned and ran to her dad and burst out in tears. Trying to calm down and with shaky legs, she went outside to get fresh air until reminded by a team mate she needed to come back in and bowl the third game. Carleen’s last three balls were solid shots, perfect pocket strikes. Due to an accident in 2008 Carleen has not bowled regularly on a team until this summer’s league; her current average is 164.  Her previous league average was 198.  Recently she competed in the “Bowl Down Cancer” tournament in Portland and won $500. Carleen lives in Keizer and...

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To expand or not

Mayor Lore Christopher has cited the expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) as one of her goals for her self-imposed final term if she is re-elected this fall. Others also talk about expanding the boundary for the sake of future growth of Keizer, both residentially and commercially. Before dicussion of the expansion of UGB gets too far, Keizer will need to take a step  back and decide what is most important for the future of the city. One can assume that if the UGB is expanded then the next obvious step is to expand the city limits, opening hundreds of acres for development.  Adding new subdivisons with hundreds or thousands of homes will cost millions of dollars in required infrastructure—sewer lines, power lines, streets, curbs, etc. More expensive than the cost of all that expansion is the danger of Keizer losing its biggest current selling point:  small town quaintness.  It is what draws people to Keizer, it’s what current citizens say is why they love Keizer so much. Even though McNary High School is overcrowded, having one school draws the community together—we are all Celtics.  The addition of thousands of homes would mean more schools and probably a second high school.  Results from the Keizer Compass report on Keizer’s future showed that most people didn’t want another high school because it would divide loyalties within our city.  Two...

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Youths gain added incentive when conservation efforts are close to home

By LANCE MASTERSON Of the Keizertimes Charles Goodenow won’t have to travel far to see the fruits of his physical labor. The 19-year-old is an OutDoor Oregon crew member, and he helped clear the trail at Keizer Rapids Park of blackberries, English ivy, stinging nettle and other irritants, many of which also fall in the invasive species category. Goodenow wasn’t alone in this effort. He was joined by nine other crew members and two crew leaders. But he was the only one from Keizer and he is very familiar with the layout of the park. This sense of community provided him with added incentive. “It’s really heart-warming,” he said of the effort. “My family comes here a lot with our animals, so it makes me feel good to be able to clean up the environment of the area where I’m living.” OutDoor Oregon specializes in conservation. It is part of Northwest Youth Corps (NYC), the program that takes crews into the Pacific Northwest back country five months at a time to repair trails or do other projects. Crew leader Rachel Lauriat came to OutDoor Oregon from NYC. “This is a newer program; it’s more of an urban conversation program,” said Lauriat. “Most of my experience is leading crews in the back country of Washington, Idaho, Oregon and northern California … doing more back country living and more back country...

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Waiting comes before confirmation

By LANCE MASTERSON Of the Keizertimes The only thing Col. Dan Hokanson can do now is wait … at least when it comes to his promotion to brigadier general. Hokanson, the 47-year-old former Keizer resident who was nominated for brigadier general by Major Gen. Raymond Rees, needs presidential approval before any promotion is finalized. But first Hokanson and the other nominees for promotion must gain Senate confirmation. A list of nominees from different branches of the military was submitted to a Senate subcommittee. Qualifications for each nominee are being reviewed and concerns resolved before the list is sent to President Barack Obama for his signature. At this point, the president’s signature is considered a formality. “It could happen any day now, or it could take months. It’s hard to say,” said Hokanson of the process. “The process is lengthy and unpredictable, but generally it can take anywhere from seven months to more than two years.” Rees’ nomination came as Hokanson ended his tenure as commander of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Oregon National Guard. The brigade has a long history including the longest deployment of any division during World War II, and recently returned from a year-long deployment in Iraq. Hokanson’s combat deployments include: Operation Just Cause, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. “I feel fortunate to have...

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