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MAC lobbies for levy

For operation of district
Over the next six weeks, the five-member Madras Aquatic Center Board of Directors will be pushing for passage of a new operating levy for the pool and recreation district.
   The district will ask for a special levy of 40 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to add to the existing levy of 25 cents per $1,000, which was passed along with the construction levy in 2004.
   With the additional operating levy, which board members expect would bring in about $240,000, the MAC would have an adequate budget for pool operations, and would no longer need to close down for the month of April, as it has for the past two years.
   To the owner of a home with an assessed value of $100,000, the levy would cost an additional $40 per year, for a total of $65 per year.
   The successful passage of the levies in 2004 followed decades of attempts to get a pool in Madras.
   "When I was in high school, we tried for the first time to get a swimming pool, and Madras residents tried many times before we were finally successful," said Steve Hillis, the longest serving current board member.
   "I joined the MAC board just before the pool opened, because I am committed to having this type of program in our community as it helps Madras be a better town," said Hillis, who was appointed to the board in December 2007. The pool opened in January 2008.
   "Madras is a great community, one whose true value is mostly hidden from the rest of Central Oregon, but we can be proud of our community and what we have to offer our residents and visitors," said Hillis, a retired high school teacher, who has lived in Madras since 1948.
   Sally Bird-Gauvin, board chairwoman, and member Anita Goodwin were both elected to the board in May 2009, and both feel strongly about the benefits of having an aquatic center.
   Bird-Gauvin said she became involved with the MAC "to help support youth."
   She and her husband Michael Gauvin, a fish biologist for the state, have three children under the age of 10: Zoe, Carter and Isabelle.
   Bird-Gauvin, who has been an archaeologist since 1995, has been employed by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs since 1999, and serves as the cultural resource manager for the tribes.
   Goodwin got involved because she wanted "to see the MAC do well, and be a part of helping it to succeed. It's a great way to stay healthy and an important part of the community."
   "I could not swim to the end of the pool without resting when it opened back in 2008," she recalled. "I love to swim now at least three times a week."
   Goodwin, who taught a year each at Madras and Warm Springs elementary schools, and currently works as a baker at Great Earth, has been a certified USA swim official for the past four years.
   Her two sons Ian, 16, and Aidan, 15, have both been involved with the Madras Swim Team. Ian remains a member, in addition to playing water polo for Madras High School.
   Other members include Martha Bewley, who has worked for Mountain View Hospital since 2006, and is currently the hospital district's chief financial officer, and the newest member, Heidi Boyle.
   A graduate of Culver High School, Bewley earned bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration from Oklahoma Christian University, before returning to Madras, where she lives with her husband, Timothy Bewley.
   Boyle and her husband Ryan married and moved to Madras 14 years ago, after she graduated from the University of Idaho with a bachelor's degree in recreation. Her husband returned to farm with his father, Don Boyle.
   Her first local job was working in recreation at the Kah-Nee-Ta pool.
   "While teaching swim lessons and life guard trainings, I realized I loved teaching young kids, so I went back to school and got my master's in education," she said.
   Boyle, who now has three children, ages 7, 5 and 3, taught second grade until her second child was born.
   "All of my children learned to swim at the MAC and the oldest is doing swim team this fall," she said. "My family has enjoyed the MAC since the day it opened and we don't want it to close."