Keizertimes. (Salem, Or.) 1979-current, December 25, 2015, Image 4

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Wish list
Sadly, the 2015 holiday
season is slowing ebbing
away. The Christmas gifts
have been opened, the
wrapping recycled and the
tree is beginning to look a
little forlorn.
The time between
Christmas and New Year’s
Day is spent by many looking for-
ward to the coming 12 months, some
people make resolutions (and stick to
them). Others think about what they
will do with the new year and what
they wish to happen.
We have our wish list, too, of
things we’d like to see in the com-
ing year.
• The round-about at Chemawa
Road and Verda Lane to be complet-
ed on time and with signage that will
make it easy for uninitiated drivers
to navigate a traffi c control tool that
works just fi ne all around the globe.
• A plan to make the Keizer Civic
Center conference room fi nancially
stable, enough so that a lighting sys-
tem can be installed that won’t leave
speakers and performers in dark.
• Money is obtained to fi nish the
big playground at the Keizer Rapids
Park and other amenities so we can
move onto other projects.
• A home for Keizer Homegrown
Theatre. We think a pavilion at Keiz-
er Rapids Park would do very well.
It would serve not only as a 200-seat
theatre for our performing groups
including the Keizer Community
Band and non-profi t groups. The
pavilion would also serve as a green
room for weddings and concerts held
at the Keizer Rotary Amphitheatre.
• A move forward to expand the
Urban Growth Boundary. We advo-
cate for an expanison along Interstate
5 north of Keizer Station and zoned
for light industrial, medi-
cal and offi ce park that
would attract the types of
business that would create
jobs here.
• A serious and sober
discussion on the state of
Keizer’s main commer-
cial thoroughfare. Wish-
ing River Road to be a vibrant retail
core won’t make it so. We seek action
utilizing all the tools the city and
other organizations have to foster
a plan involving business, property
owners and stakeholders.
• Push to have the 97303 zip code
correspond exclusively to the border
of the city of Keizer. This will make
marketing the city to business a more
straightforward endeavor.
• We push for the Keizer City
Council, once again, to add neigh-
borhood tours to its agenda just as
they do park tours several times a
year. National Night Out in August
is a good time for residents to see
their councilors, but we want them
to be seen more regularly out in all
the neighborhoods, where the peo-
ple are.
• We want to see a push for more
density in the city’s core in place of
infi ll development that makes our
desirable neighborhoods less so. The
city should build up rather than out.
Small town Keizer is long gone—our
city is a mid-sized city that is close to
busting at the seams. Rather than en-
croach on valuable agricultural land,
let’s go tall and make it expensive for
those who want to push out.
• We wish everyone a good new
year that is fi lled with good health,
prosperity and tolerance for others.
“Without my back I
could not do this job,” said
Greg Biben, a fi refi ghter/
paramedic with the Keizer
Fire District for the past
14 years.
Unfortunately, Biben hurt his
back while on the job on two differ-
ent occasions. The fi rst was in 2012
while lifting a man onto a stretcher.
Biben ended up with a ruptured disk
and needed surgery.
Two years later at the scene of a
house fi re, Biben felt his back pop as
he was cutting siding off an exterior
wall to get at the fi re.
“That took me to the absolute
lowest that I’ve
ever been,” said
Biben. “With the
injury and my
mental state of be-
ing hurt again and
not being able to
go to work, I felt
His doctor re-
ferred him to
Outpatient Reha-
bilitation Services
and its Work Injury
Management team
of physical and oc-
cupational thera-
“The staff there Greg Biben
is just amazing,”
said Biben. “They
create a routine that mimics your
work, whatever it is. In my case, they
customized all of the exercises for
fi refi ghters.”
“I eventually pulled a 50-pound
bag that was strung from a second
fl oor balcony in the rehab center to
mimic lifting a bundle of fi re hose
from one fl oor to the next,” said
Biben. “Also, I pushed a 300-pound
sled to simulate rescuing somebody
or moving the heavy gear
we have.”
“The exercises shad-
owed the constant barrage
of bending and working
your back on the job. The
rehab staff took the time
to research my job and
customize my experience there,” said
The Work Injury Management
physical therapist also developed
a customized workout routine for
Biben to help prevent future back
“Every time I get off work, I have
a set routine that strengthens my
back and core, and puts me back to
square one,” said Biben. “And hope-
Back on the job
Submitted Photo
fully it will see me throughout my
“I owe them my life,” said Biben.
“I really appreciate what those folks
did for me. I’m back on top again.”
For more information about Sa-
lem Health’s Outpatient Rehabilita-
tion Services, ask your doctor or visit
(Mark Glyzewski is a public rela-
tions consultant with Salem Health.)
Wheatland Publishing Corp. • 142 Chemawa Road N. • Keizer, Oregon 97303
phone: 503.390.1051 • web: • email:
Craig Murphy
Eric A. Howald
One year:
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Paula Moseley POSTMASTER
Send address changes to:
Andrew Jackson
142 Chemawa Road N.
Keizer, OR 97303
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Salem, Oregon
Lori Beyeler
Which political party loves Amer-
ica? Not the United States that once
existed, but the fl esh-and-blood nation
that we all live in now.
The debates we have witnessed
—too few and far between for the
Democrats, frequent enough for the
Republicans to constitute a new re-
ality TV show—have provided an in-
contestable answer to that question.
The Democrats embrace the Unit-
ed States of Now in all of its raucous
Democrats are not free of nostalgia.
They long for the more economically
equal America of decades ago and cel-
ebrate liberalism’s heydays during the
New Deal and civil rights years.
But Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders
and Martin O’Malley all stand up for
the rights of a younger America —to-
day’s country—that is less white, more
Latino and Asian (and, yes, more Mus-
lim) than was the U.S. of the past. The
cultural changes that have reshaped us
are welcomed as part of our historical
trajectory toward justice and inclusion.
The Republicans, particularly Don-
ald Trump and Ted Cruz, don’t like our
country right now. They yearn for the
United States of Then. The current
version is cast as a fallen nation.
True, the party shut out of the
White House always assails the incum-
bent. But a deeper unease and even
rage characterize the response of many
in the GOP ranks to what the coun-
try has become. This can cross into a
loathing that Trump exploits by prom-
ising to deport 11 million undocu-
mented immigrants and block Mus-
lims from entering the country while
dismissing dissent from his program of
demographic reconstruction as noth-
ing more than “political correctness.”
I am certain
that in their
hearts, every
candidate in
still likes to see
us as “a shining
city on a hill”
and “the last
best hope of earth.” Within the GOP,
Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush have been
especially careful not to abandon the
virtue of hope and any confi dence
in the present. But this makes them
stronger as general-election candidates
than within their own party.
The stark cross-party contrast com-
plicates any assessment of last Satur-
day’s Democratic debate. As Clinton,
Sanders and O’Malley all made clear,
each believes their own disputes are
minor in light of the chasm that has
opened between themselves and the
“On our worst day, I think we have
a lot more to offer the American peo-
ple than the right-wing extremists,”
Sanders declared at the debate’s end.
O’Malley concluded similarly: “When
you listened to the Republican de-
bate the other night, you heard a lot
of anger and a lot of fear. Well, they
can have their anger and they can have
their fear, but anger and fear never
built America.”
Democratic solidarity was Clinton’s
friend. She emerged stronger simply
because neither of her foes made a
clear case for upending the campaign’s
existing order. Her own solid perfor-
mance will reinforce those who al-
ready support her.
But two big quarrels between Clin-
ton and Sanders are important to the
Democrats’ future. By pledging to
avoid any hike in taxes on those earn-
ing less than $250,000 a year, Clinton
strengthened herself for her likely fall
encounter with the other side. But
Sanders deserves credit for speaking a
truth progressives will need to face up
to (and that social democrats in other
countries have already confronted):
that the programs liberals support are,
in the long run, likely to require more
broadly based tax increases.
On foreign policy, Clinton contin-
ued to be the more openly interven-
tionist candidate. Here again, Clinton
likely positioned herself well for the
long run. But Sanders may yet capital-
ize on his comparative dovishness with
the generally peace-minded Demo-
cratic caucus electorate in Iowa.
Each also offered revealing one-lin-
ers as to whether “corporate America”
would love them. Clinton nicely de-
fl ected the question by saying, “Ev-
erybody should.” But Sanders was un-
equivocal. “No, they won’t,” he replied
with starchy conviction.
Above all, this debate should em-
barrass the Democratic National
Committee for scheduling so few of
them, and for shoving some into ab-
surdly inconvenient time slots that
confi ned their audiences to political
Debates are a form of propaganda
in the neutral sense of the word: They
are occasions for parties to make their
respective arguments. Given that the
divide between the parties this year
is so fundamental, it’s shameful that
Democrats did not try to make their
case to as many Americans as possible.
If you have faith in your response to
anger and fear, you should be ready to
bear witness before the largest congre-
gation you can assemble.
Should we in any way be con-
cerned that middle income Ameri-
cans are no longer America’s eco-
nomic majority?
Concerned or
not, it is reported that the middle in-
come set is no longer the economic
majority as there are now more low-
income and high-income Americans
than there are people earning middle
According to a PEW Research
Center report, there were 120.8 mil-
lion adults living in middle-income
households and 121.3 million in low-
er- and upper-income households
combined in 2015. This marks the
fi rst time in the center’s four decades
of tracking this data that the size of
the two lower and upper groups have
been greater than the middle group.
The study defi nes middle incomes
as adults earning two-thirds to dou-
ble the national median, translating
nowadays to a range from $42,000
to $126,000 a year in a 3-person
household. Meanwhile, the Pew
folks report that since 1971, the per-
centage of adults living in the low
income bracket (below $42,000)
has increased from 25 percent to 29
percent, and the percentage of adults
living in the highest income bracket
(above $126,000) has increased from
14 percent to a stratospheric 21 per-
cent. The middle class has diminished
to near 50 percent from 61 percent.
These percentages can be viewed
as good news, meaning that shrinking
middle incomes have gone into the
upper class ranks, and bad news that
as many formerly in middle incomes
have gone downhill to be among the
low income Americans. These num-
bers tell us that more Americans are
doing better by a 7 percent increase
while the others falling down have
“gone south” by
4 percent. As
with all per-
data gathering,
a person can
grieve over the
rich getting richer at a pace consid-
erably faster than all others but that
there’s always room for the smartly
industrious to realize gains in Amer-
ica practically unheard of most else-
where in the modern world.
The rich are getting richer at a
pace much faster than the middle
and lower classes. It’s not within my
socio-economic position to be pals
with anyone in the much maligned
“one percent” or the very top-most
income set in Oregon or anywhere
in the U.S. Meanwhile, my out-and-
about views of others leads me to
conclude that while there are many
in America who are homeless and ap-
parently destitute, everywhere I go I
see hordes of other American shop-
pers who are moving about malls and
the stores within them or the su-
permarkets with shopping carts full.
Drive by any one of Oregon’s outlet
store malls, (such as the one in Wood-
burn) or big box stores and the park-
ing lots are full.
Credit remains relatively loose
and state and federal agencies make
it possible through food stamps and
other help programs to lessen the
pain of lower income. That probably
explains why wherever anyone like
myself goes these days, consumers
are very busy being consumers, buy-
ing, buying, and buying. That can be
the purchase of anything from wool
socks to new cars.
What’s written here so far prob-
ably sounds good, right and true, or
very “American.” However, there
are a couple of boils on the national
skin that appear in the form of per-
sons who work for wages too low
to meet even basic needs and the
homeless, being among those desir-
ous of affordable housing of which
there is a kind of deprivation crisis.
There are other pertinent issues like
a better design for national health
insurance, a college education with-
out lifelong debt and a whole host
of matters in need of redress. These
boils could be lanced effectively and
the body America could heal itself.
Perhaps, the greatest weakness in the
U.S. nowadays is inadequate income
It is optimism about improve-
ments that keep this writer seeing
the glass as half full, not half empty.
Where I grew up in Oregon was a
fairly typical Oregon community
back 50 years ago: Everyone who
wanted to work found a job, a living
wage was paid to those who worked
and, since there was full employment,
there was not one case of homeless-
ness known to this former Astoria
resident. Hence, from seeing with my
own eyes that we can do much better
than we do now by providing an ec-
onomically viable place for everyone
who wants one. It simply requires a
change of attitude where all income
levels think of “America” as worthy
of saving—without going every-
where in the country to peasants and
overlords—and act in concert, mainly
the excessively wealthy doing more
to help those without means, to make
this nation once again the best place
to live in the world.
(Washington Post Writers Group)
Gap in incomes gets wider and wider
Which party loves the USA?
gene h.
(Gene H. McIntyre’s column ap-
pears weekly in the Keizertimes.)