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About Vernonia's voice. (Vernonia, OR) 2007-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 5, 2010)
Investigation of Kay Concluded
City Funds Expended to Investigate Accusations Recovered
The City of Vernonia has received written
notification from the Oregon Department of Public
Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) that Ver-
nonia Police Captain Mike Kay is no longer under
At the December 21, 2009, City Council
Meeting, Vernonia Police Chief Frank Grace in-
formed the council that he had received a letter from
DPPST on Saturday, December 19 th, that cleared
Kay of any further investigation by DPSST. Grace
read from the letter he received from Teresa King,
Professional Standards Coordinator at DPSST. The
letter stated: “Based on the totality of the circum-
stances, I do not believe Mr. Kay’s conduct rises to
the level of violation of the established moral fit-
ness standards as defined in ORA2590080070, nor
do I believe that the department would prevail in a
contested case hearing. I recommend we close this
Grace continued on with his own com-
ments on the matter. “My conclusion is that the
written and verbal allegations witnessed by mem-
bers of the public and city council and the direct
impact it has had on Captain Kay cannot be erased.
However, based on the outcomes supported by sev-
eral sources, I find the complaints unfounded, and
Captain Mike Kay is exonerated in my opinion. ”
City Administrator Bob Young added that
he was glad that Kay had been exonerated. “This
has gone all the way to the top and they have agreed
all the way with what we found out,” said Young.
Officer Kay has been the subject of repeat-
ed questions by a handful of personal detractors in
relation to a case against him when he worked at the
Toledo Police Department over ten years ago. Kay
was accused of Domestic Assault, but was found not
guilty of those charges. He was later sued in Feder-
al Civil Court, where charges against him were also
dismissed. An appeal to that decision was thrown
out before it was heard in court. He was later found
guilty of Civil Contempt of Court for violating a
restraining order, a complaint that was made against
him while he was performing regular duties associ-
ated with his job as a police officer. Members of
the Vernonia community have questioned Kay’s fit-
ness to serve as a Police officer based on this case
and have questioned whether Kay was truthful in
his job application concerning the matter when he
was hired in Vernonia.
An investigation in the fall of 2009 by the
City of Vernonia found that Kay had done nothing
wrong during the hiring process, and City Admin-
istrator Young declared the case closed during the
November 2, 2009, city council meeting. Contin-
ued insistence by Kay’s detractors led to DPSST
opening an investigation into Kay’s conduct, which
has now been concluded.
During the December 21st City Council
meeting, City Administrator Young also clarified
statements he made during the previous council
session on December 7, 2009, concerning costs ac-
crued by the city were in relation to the investiga-
tion of claims against Kay. “I want to make it per-
fectly clear. The subject (of those costs) was about
the accusations against Officer Kay,” said Young.
“That is what the attorney’s fees have been for. I
would imagine the costs are over $6,000 that we
have incurred, just on attorney’s fees, not counting
staff time working on this.”
The Vernonia Police Department has recovered six-
teen laptop computers which had been stolen from the Verno-
nia Middle School in December.
According to Vernonia Police Chief Frank Grace,
there is an ongoing investigation, and the case has been
turned over to the Columbia County District Attorney’s of-
fice. Vernonia police were awaiting more information from
the D.A.’s office at press time.
Chief Grace reported that Vernonia police officers
worked extensive hours, talking with residents and following
leads and were able to solve the case in less than three days.
He stated that four adults and six juveniles were possibly in-
Skills Park Reaches
The City Of Vernonia received construction develop-
ment drawings for the planned Vernonia Bicycle Skills Park.
According to Bill Haack , Economic Recovery Man-
ager, Columbia Pacific Economic Development District,
serving as the City’s project manager, we are at 50% draw-
The proposed plan has been reviewed by the com-
munity last month when Bryan Cole, Mackay & Sposito Inc.
made a presentation to the City Council.
According to Bob Young, City Administrator, City
of Vernonia, the City Public Works Director is reviewing the
plans for the park improvement and will hand the plans over
to Carole Connell , the City of Vernonia planning consultant
when he is through.
Haack will prepare an agenda item to the Planning
Commission by early February 2010.
Be a Piece of the Puzzle: Do You Speak Teen or Pre-Teen?
By DeAnna Pearl, Director of the Vernonia Prevention Coalition
Do your New Year resolutions
include having better communication
with your teen or tween (youth between
the ages of 9-12). If not, it still could
be! According to the Oregon Research
Institute, the majority of teens still report that their
parents—not their peers or the media—have the biggest
influence on their decision to stay away from alcohol or
Some tips for parents who want to learn more about
what their teen or tween is listening or being exposed
to. The following tasks can take parents a step closer to
bridging the generation gap with your teen.
Pick up your teens MP3 or iPod and go the “Top
25 Most Played” section. Listen for references
to alcohol, drugs or other risky behavior. Then
talk to your teen about what you heard.
Visit social networking sites like Myspace.
com or Facebook.com, and browse the profiles
of teens in your child’s age-group to see what
they say, what their interests are and what they
are doing online. *Fact-- most kids don’t
report their actual ages on the social networks,
leaving them vulnerable to predators.
Can you name your teen’s favorite TV show?
Watch it with him or her and discuss story
Go to a video-sharing website and type in
“smoking weed.” Watch some videos. Did
you know your teen might be exposed to these
ParentChronicles for more tips from other
parents just like you.
Now you have the information, but you’re still
not sure how to approach your teen or tween? Starting
on January 11, parenting classes focusing on families
with kids between the ages of 10-14 are being offered
The Strengthening Families Project offers
communication-building exercises for both the youth
and parents separately and then create an opportunity
in which they practice the new skills together. The
series of classes starts Monday, January 11 th , and runs
for seven fun-filled weeks. If you would like more
information on classes in Vernonia, contact Sonia
Spackman, SFP Trainer, at (503) 429-6540 or David
Spackman at the Washington Elementary School.
This is one of the many programs that is
supported by the Vernonia Prevention Coalition. Our
mission is to develop safe and healthy neighborhoods
through collaborative planning, community action,
policy advocacy and enforcement.
With programs like this, we are making a
difference in our community. For meeting times and
programming scheduling, contact DeAnna Pearl, VPC
Director at (503) 369-7370, or stop by her office at the
Vernonia Community Learning Center weekdays, 9:00
493 Bridge St.