Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About Polk County itemizer observer. (Dallas, Or) 1992-current | View This Issue
SPECIAL SECTION INSIDE
ALL REGION PREP GIRLS
Volume 140, Issue 11
March 18, 2015
IN YOUR TOWN
Curtis Alexander was the picture of health and en-
Alexander, 29, a Polk County Jail deputy and re-
serve patrol deputy in Benton County, worked hard
and exercised every day.
“He was perfectly healthy,” Curtis’ wife, Shauna,
said last week. “He was running three miles a day.”
Curtis had his future in mind. He wants to become a
police officer some day, and his wife was expecting a
son, Colton. The Dallas couple got to meet their little
guy on Feb. 10. Only six days later, they received dev-
FALLS CITY NEWS
Julie Schneidecker, left, helps junior Kendyl Dobbins Friday at Dallas High School’s new Dragon Study Center.
Kids helping kids
Peers help each other excel at studies
By Jolene Guzman
DALLAS — Imagine this: You’re 16
with four younger siblings. Your par-
ents both work swing shifts to support
your family, so it’s up to you to be
home with the younger children after
school, feed them dinner, coordinate
bath time and put them to bed.
By 10:15 p.m., you have your first
moments to do your own homework
and you can’t concentrate because you
are falling asleep. OK, so you will go to
bed and get up early to do homework,
but you can’t completely fall asleep be-
cause you are stressed out about what
you need to do the next day.
At school, you struggle to stay awake
in class — oh and your homework isn’t
This is not a social, discipline, or ac-
ademic issue. It’s a matter of not having
“There’s no way that this child can
do his homework until we get to the
root of why he wasn’t getting any
sleep,” said Dallas High School Assis-
tant Principal Darlene Geddes. “I re-
member being a new mother — and
he’s only 16.”
Geddes said that’s just one of many
situations where the reasons behind a
student’s struggle in class has more to
do with what is happening outside
school hours than problems with
In an effort to find — and try to
solve — those problems, DHS turned
its in-school suspension room into the
“Dragon Study Center” and is building
a peer mentoring program.
Creating the study center — which is
open to all students, not just those as-
signed to go there by teachers for disci-
plinary or academic reasons — takes
away the stigma of being punished and
encourages students to seek help on
Behavior specialist Julie Schneideck-
er works in the room all day, assisting
students with assignments and helping
them with discipline issues. She said
regardless of the reason they are there,
students are all treated the same.
“When you are in here, we do work,
we print grades,” Schneidecker said.
“We kind of go through the same rou-
tine with everyone.”
Like Geddes, Schneidecker has
found, through building relationships
with students, that struggles often stem
from simple things, like a lack of orga-
nizational skills or not knowing when
to ask for help. Some don’t even know
how bad their grades are, thus the
focus on looking at progress reports.
“We are finding that we are able to
help kids get caught up in classes and
kind of problem-solve to see why is-
sues are happening,” Schneidecker
Geddes, who is new to the school
this year, said many of the reasons stu-
dents were sent to in-school suspen-
sion were minor offenses, such as skip-
ping class. Most of the time that behav-
ior can be changed once students open
up about why. Geddes suggested
switching the focus off punishment to
finding ways to help.
“It gives us that opportunity to have
those conversations,” Geddes said. “It’s
pretty amazing, especially when you
have students … start developing rela-
tionships not only with each other, but
with Julie, that they will begin to share
little pieces about what is bothering
them or what their struggle is.”
See PEERS, Page 15A
Cyclists need to follow road rules
By Emily Mentzer
MONMOUTH — Ever
wonder who has the right of
way at a stop sign, a bicyclist
or a vehicle?
It may surprise you to
know that bicyclists are
under the same laws as cars
when it comes to the rules of
“They’re not pedestrians
once they’re on two wheels,”
said Chris Eggen, general
manager of Veal Bikes Plus.
Educating cyclists — or
maybe gently reminding
them — about that fact is a
goal among many in Mon-
mouth, from Mayor John
Oberst to Councilman Mar-
shall Guthrie, from the po-
Chris Eggen offers a variety of safety items at his shop.
lice department to Eggen.
“We’d like to see them
stopping at stop signs and
riding a little more safely in
Head down to the
Rogue Farm Hopy-
ards for some fam-
Dogs are always
6:30 p.m. Free.
town, staying off sidewalks
in the downtown area,” said
Darrell Tallan, Monmouth
police chief. “We try and re-
The city of Falls City and Luckiamute Domestic
Water Cooperative have approved a contract that
will keep water flowing for the co-op.
After more than two years of negotiations, a law-
suit, and an appeal of the decision in that lawsuit,
the two sides have found common ground and
sealed it with signatures on Friday.
“I’m really happy with the agreement,” said Danny
Jaffer, LDWC president.
Approved by LDWC on March 9 and Falls City on
Thursday, the new 10-year contract charges a rate of
$2.25 per 1,000 gallons for up to 400,000 gallons.
mind people that it’s danger-
ous to be riding on that side-
Another thing police see a
lot of is cyclists who don’t
obey traffic signs, which is
unsafe for the rider and oth-
ers, Tallan noted.
To help get people back
on track, Guthrie — who has
been called a model cyclist
by Tallan — has teamed up
with the folks at Veal Bikes
Plus and applied for a grant
from the Monmouth Parks
and Recreation Board.
If approved, the $500
grant will be used to offer bi-
cycle safety courses for two
groups: one for adults and
youths 16 and older; another
for those 16 and younger.
See BIKES, Page 15A
If Humpty Dumpty had protection from the
young physicists in Greg Craven’s class, he may have
survived his fall from the wall.
Or maybe not.
Many of the 35 eggs dropped from roughly 80 feet
did not survive. Jello, peanut butter and flour all were
unsuccessfully used to help lessen the impact.
The unfertilized embryos were dropped in con-
traptions designed by Central High School juniors in
Craven’s physics class on March 9. Polk County Fire
District No. 1 assisted at the scene with its ladder
truck and firefighters doing the actual dropping.
After hearing Jean Love read the laundry list of
things Kimber Townsend has participated in, she was
a little overwhelmed.
“I just sat there for a second thinking, really?”
Townsend, 44, said with a laugh. “Reading through
that list, I thought, who did they talk to to get that
list? I never ran through things on a list like that be-
She was doubly overwhelmed to be honored as
First Citizen at the 50th annual Monmouth-Indepen-
dence Community Awards Banquet Friday at Eola
POLK COUNTY NEWS
Fifth-year programs at Dallas, Central and Falls
City — and other districts throughout the state —
appear to be on the chopping block if a bill slated
for a public hearing Thursday in the Oregon Senate
Committee on Education is approved.
Senate Bill 322 as currently written would create a
funding formula for fifth-year programs, but lan-
guage will be replaced Thursday with an amend-
ment that will phase out the programs by 2017.
Dallas’ version of the fifth-year program, Extended
Campus, has students defer receiving their diplo-
Network with other
business people at
the MI Chamber
after hours mixer at
Arena Sports Bar
5:30-7 p.m. Free.
Grab an instrument
or just head on
down to Guthrie
Center to listen to a
7-10 p.m. Free.
Listen to the stylings
of Callaghan on
piano and guitar at
Casino in this 21-
8 p.m. $10-$15.
Today is National
Goof Off Day, so do
something fun and
a little goofy and
have a good time,
regardless of the
New Horizon’s Or-
chestra is open to
anyone 40 and older
who wants to learn
to play an instru-
6:30-8:30 p.m. $25.
Kitchen offers a free
meal. Everyone is
welcome to attend
and dine together.
4:30-6 p.m. Free.