Vernonia's voice. (Vernonia, OR) 2007-current, January 05, 2010, Page 6, Image 6

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city news
january 5
Investigation of Kay Concluded
Stolen Property
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 
matter administratively.”
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-
Vernonia Bicycle
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, 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 
  Go 
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 
in Vernonia. 
The  Strengthening  Families  Project  offers 
2 0
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 
AM-5:00 PM. 
New Year
Start Off
with a
Meyer’s Auto
493 Bridge St.