Civic Center: Silverton seeking proposals

February 2020 Posted in News | Comments Off on Civic Center: Silverton seeking proposals

By James Day

The plan to build a new Civic Center complex in Silverton has moved another step forward.

The city has issued a request for proposals from architectural design firms who want to participate in the project. Firms were required to attend a pre-submission meeting Tuesday, Feb. 11, with the final deadline for proposals set for Feb. 26.

Silverton is planning to build the new civic complex on 3.46 acres that once was occupied by Eugene Field School. The school closed in the spring of 2016 and was demolished last February.

Open Doors: Changing lives one cup, one project at a time

February 2020 Posted in People | Comments Off on Open Doors: Changing lives one cup, one project at a time

By Dixon Bledsoe

Imagine a young adult, just finishing high school and heading out into the world for college, work or travel. A challenging time for an 18-year-old, right? Both exciting and scary.

Now imagine an 18-year-old with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She had a support system in high school, from counselors to aides, from teachers to friends with similar challenges. He had activities and clubs and maybe a network of friends, too.

Many kids with special challenges may not be the best candidates for the college experience. Where do they go? Where do they live? Where do they fit?

Uncensured: School board opts for training

February 2020 Posted in News, School | Comments Off on Uncensured: School board opts for training

By Brenna Wiegand

Move forward with training, not censure, was the direction from the Silver Falls School District Board Feb. 10. On a 6-1 vote, additional training was endorsed as the appropriate response to the Nov. 25 citizen complaint lodged against five board members.

The complaint charges challenged the way board members followed – or did not follow  – district policy, particularly on confidentiality and communications. The complaint was investigated by two district-hired attorneys, each submitting an independent report. The initial conclusion found that Janet Allanach and Lori McLaughlin were not members of the board when they participated in the electronic chain of communications submitted as evidence, and therefore not bound by board policies.

Contracted: School district, teachers agree

February 2020 Posted in News, School | Comments Off on Contracted: School district, teachers agree

By Brenna Wiegand

It took eight months, but Silver Falls School District and Silver Falls Education Association have shaken hands on a contract.

The school board ratified a three-year contract Feb. 3. Silver Falls School District Assistant Superintendent Dan Busch said the administration made a special effort to get teachers their retroactive pay, providing educators the reimbursement along with their paychecks for February.

“That was something that the district really wanted to be able to do for our teachers,” Busch said. “As bargaining was winding down, we made a verbal commitment to provide that retroactive check within 30 days.”

Opening rush: Dodgeball coordinators receive Distinguished Service Award

February 2020 Posted in People | Comments Off on Opening rush: Dodgeball coordinators receive Distinguished Service Award
Mindy Duerst and Erica Rumca. Photo by Melissa Wagoner.

Mindy Duerst and Erica Rumca. Photo by Melissa Wagoner.

By Melissa Wagoner

Raising funds for Silverton’s Project Graduation – a parent organization which puts on an all-night, drug and alcohol-free post-graduation celebration – is no small feat. With an average of 225 kids attending the party each year, costs can range into the thousands. But it is well worth all the effort it takes to fund this annual fete, according to Erica Rumca, who, along with Mindy Duerst, heads up the primary fundraiser – the Silverton Dodgeball Tournament.

Starbucks proposed: Coffee outlet would be part of development

February 2020 Posted in News | Comments Off on Starbucks proposed: Coffee outlet would be part of development
The site at North First Street and D Street. Photo by James Day.

The site at North First Street and D Street. Photo by James Day.

By James Day

A Starbucks coffee outlet has been proposed for property adjacent to the Roth’s market on North First Street in Silverton.

The property is owned by the Roth family, with the site located south of the market parking lot and bounded by North First, North Second and D Street.

The proposal, if approved by the city, calls for development in two phases, with the Starbucks piece coming first. The Starbucks is planned for the section of the property fronting North First, directly across from the BrucePac plant. The coffee shop would have a drive-through lane, with vehicle access coming from the Roth’s lot and a new driveway on D Street.

Contract accord: SFSD negotiations get wide-ranging attention

February 2020 Posted in News, School | Comments Off on Contract accord: SFSD negotiations get wide-ranging attention

By Paula Mabry

After a final mediation session that lasted well into the evening Jan. 27, Silver Falls Education Association and the Silver Falls School District came to an accord on wages and contract language.

Now the proposed settlement must go to the school board and SFEA membership for ratification. The school board meets Feb. 3. As of Our Town press time details of the agreement had not been released and no date had been announced for the union vote.

Giving their time, giving their all: Bill and Sylvia Long receive Judy Schmidt Lifetime Achievement Award

February 2020 Posted in People | Comments Off on Giving their time, giving their all: Bill and Sylvia Long receive Judy Schmidt Lifetime Achievement Award
Sylvia and Bill Long, recipients of the Judy Schmidt Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by Nancy Jennings

Sylvia and Bill Long, recipients of the Judy Schmidt Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by Nancy Jennings

By Brenna Wiegand

Bill and Sylvia Long will be honored as recipients of the 2019  Judy Schmidt Lifetime Achievement Award at the First Citizen Banquet Feb. 8 at the Mt. Angel Festhalle.

“It’s very humbling to be given this award, especially that was established in Judy Schmidt’s name,” Sylvia Long said. “We’ve never gotten this kind of award, and to be nominated as a couple – all I can say is that it’s very, very humbling.”

Future First Citizen: Zahra DeShaw contributes on many fronts

February 2020 Posted in People | Comments Off on Future First Citizen: Zahra DeShaw contributes on many fronts
Silverton Future First Citizen Zahra DeShaw. Photo by Dixon Bledsoe.

Silverton Future First Citizen Zahra DeShaw. Photo by Dixon Bledsoe.

By Dixon Bledsoe

Awesome grades? No-brainer. Mad skills in everything from public speaking to leadership? Certainly. Lots of awards for speech and debate, academic excellence, and benevolent, community-centric volunteer? You bet.

Zahra DeShaw is a young woman who not only has taken loads of Advance Placement classes in Psychology, Anatomy, Physiology, Language and Composition, as well as Environmental Science, she not only knows how to spell S.T.E.M. and what it means, she understands what it means for high school students in general and young women in particular. And it doesn’t intimidate her since she has a great grasp on Precalculus and Trigonometry.

Personalized expertise: Silverton Pill Box named Business of the Year

February 2020 Posted in People | Comments Off on Personalized expertise: Silverton Pill Box named Business of the Year
Amber Grant of Silverton Pill Box Pharmacy, the 2019 Business of the Year. Photo by Jim Kinghorn

Amber Grant of Silverton Pill Box Pharmacy, the 2019 Business of the Year. Photo by Jim Kinghorn

By Brenna Wiegand

Silverton Pill Box Pharmacy will be celebrated as Silverton’s 2019 Business of the Year Feb. 8 at the First Citizens Banquet.

“I cried,” Pill Box owner Amber Grant said. “We are thrilled beyond words.

“When you’ve been here as long as we have, these people have become my family. We grew up together; our families interacted over sports and other community stuff.”

Nominators say Grant’s interactions go far beyond love of neighbor.

First Citizen: Becky Ludden honored for impressive contribution to community

February 2020 Posted in People | Comments Off on First Citizen: Becky Ludden honored for impressive contribution to community
Becky Ludden

Becky Ludden

By Melissa Wagoner

A list of organizations in which Becky Ludden does not volunteer might very well be shorter than the list in which she does. She is a member of the Silverton Garden Club, Zenith Women’s Club, Silverton Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary, the Silver Falls YMCA Advisory Council, the Elks, SABLE Quilt Group, the Silverton Home Garden Tour Committee, the Habitat for Humanity Selection Committee, Silver Falls Parks and Recreation District Committee, Homer Davenport Community Festival Committee and a self-proclaimed City Council groupie. With such an extensive list of community activities, it is no wonder Ludden was nominated to the Silverton Chamber of Commerce for First Citizen for 2019.

Journey to the Frozen Continent: A breathtaking look at Antarctica’s landscapes, inhabitants

January 2020 Posted in Travel | Comments Off on Journey to the Frozen Continent: A breathtaking look at Antarctica’s landscapes, inhabitants
Steve Ritchie in Antarctica. Photo by Steve Ritchie.

Steve Ritchie in Antarctica. Photo by Steve Ritchie.

By Steve Ritchie

When I arrived in Ushaia, Argentina last month, I found many Ushaia souvenirs printed with the slogan fin del mundo which can be roughly translated as “end of the world.”

A city of about 80,000 people at the southern tip of South America, Ushaia is definitely remote. It is the southernmost city in the world, in fact. But it is not the end of the world. That would be where I was going.

How much, too much?: SFSD investigation into board communications enters second phase

January 2020 Posted in News, School | Comments Off on How much, too much?: SFSD investigation into board communications enters second phase

By Brenna Wiegand

Silver Falls School District is conducting further investigation into allegations brought against school board member in a Nov. 25 complaint from 112 petitioners.

The complaint asserts that board members Shelly Nealon, Jennifer Traeger, Jonathan Edmonds, Janet Allanach and Lori McLaughlin violated board policies, the Board/Superintendent Working Agreement, prior Superintendent Andy Bellando’s employment contract, the Hiring Confidentiality Covenant and the Oregon Public Meetings Law regarding executive sessions.

The district hired Portland attorney Jollee Patterson for an initial review of the complaint and its accompanying evidence, largely emails. Out of the 17 allegations examined, Patterson singled out eight that “could support a violation” of the referenced policies or agreements and about which “the district may want to engage in additional steps.”

Running standouts: Area cross country alums shine in college

January 2020 Posted in School, Sports | Comments Off on Running standouts: Area cross country alums shine in college

James DayIt was a banner year for former Silverton-Mount Angel cross country runners. Here is a look at how four standouts from the running scene fared in college:

Kaylin Cantu, Kennedy: The Western Oregon sophomore finished 51st overall and second among WOU runners at the NCAA Division II regionals on the Wolves’ home course at the Ash Creek Preserve in Monmouth. Cantu ran 22:02.2, a personal best and 29 seconds faster than at last year’s regionals. The Wolves finished 17th as a team.

Haile Stutzman, Silverton: The freshman at Huntington (Indiana) University helped lead the Foresters to 17th place in the NAIA nationals in Vancouver, Washington. Stutzman ran 25:56.7 to finish 46th overall.

Looking back, looking forward: Five stories of goals and breakthroughs

January 2020 Posted in People | Comments Off on Looking back, looking forward: Five stories of goals and breakthroughs

By Melissa Wagoner

There is a reason why setting New Year’s resolutions is a popular activity. As a new calendar year begins, it can feel essential to lay the groundwork for the days ahead, filling the squares with trips to the gym, the bookstore and maybe even a tropical beach. But with all that talk of the future, the past can become forgotten – those special goals already achieved no longer celebrated.

So, here’s to creating a new, New Year’s tradition, one that celebrates not just the unwritten future but also the important struggles and successes of the past because it is these, after all, upon which the future is truly built. Here are five community members doing just that.

Handshakes, blockbusters and popcorn: Hollywood agent reflects on career aimed at bringing uplifting stories to the screen

December 2019 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, People | Comments Off on Handshakes, blockbusters and popcorn: Hollywood agent reflects on career aimed at bringing uplifting stories to the screen
Frank Wuliger with the writer/director of Harriet  Kasi Lemmons; Deborah Martin Chase, producer; and Daniela Taplan Lundberg, producer in Washington D.C. Submitted Photo Frank Wuliger with the writer/director of Harriet  Kasi Lemmons; Deborah Martin Chase, producer; and Daniela Taplan Lundberg, producer in Washington D.C. Submitted Photo

Frank Wuliger with the writer/director of Harriet Kasi Lemmons; Deborah Martin Chase, producer; and Daniela Taplan Lundberg, producer in Washington D.C. Submitted Photo

By Dixon Bledsoe

In many ways, Frank Wuliger’s career as a Hollywood agent is like an onion, with layers upon layers revealing complexities that can be so deep they become frighteningly simple.

In some ways, he is a throwback. Who in Hollywood conducts deals with a handshake as the basis of doing business?

Counties win one: State loses billion-dollar timber lawsuit, plans appeal

December 2019 Posted in News | Comments Off on Counties win one: State loses billion-dollar timber lawsuit, plans appeal

By Mary Owen

After week-long deliberations, a jury sided with 14 counties – including Marion – in a $1.06 billion class action lawsuit against the state of Oregon.

With financial backing from the timber industry, Linn County led the case against the state of Oregon and the Oregon Department of Forestry. In addition to Marion, Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Coos, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Polk, Tillamook and Washing counties joined Linn, as well as 151 special taxing districts.

If the jury decision stands, Marion County would receive $9.6 million in damages and $11.5 million in future damages predicted for the next 50 years. The funds would come out of state income taxes.

Resignation requested: Board authorizes investigation into complaint

December 2019 Posted in News, School | Comments Off on Resignation requested: Board authorizes investigation into complaint

By Brenna Wiegand

Silver Falls School District has hired a third-party investigator to review a formal complaint brought against five Silver Falls School Board members at the board’s Nov. 25 work session.

Directors Shelly Nealon, Lori McLaughlin, Janet Allanach, Jennifer Traeger and Jonathan Edmonds are cited in the document, signed by 112 community members.

Ken Hector and Lesli Kaufman read the complaint to the board which, they say, is the result of public record requests and “a growing public concern regarding verbal and written communication between board members, community members and members of special interest groups.”

Health insurance enrollment ends Dec. 15

December 2019 Posted in Other | Comments Off on Health insurance enrollment ends Dec. 15

A majority of Oregonians may not realize they only have until Dec. 15 to enroll for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act or go without health insurance
for 2020.

This year, coverage is more affordable. According to a new Health and Human Services report, people can find cheaper plans this year than in years past. For the last two years, over 4 million uninsured people have been eligible for plans with $0 monthly premiums thanks to
financial help.

Here are five vital facts Oregonians need to remember when signing up for coverage at HealthCare.gov:

Santa comes to Silverton: Skeptics take a breather

December 2019 Posted in Other | Comments Off on Santa comes to Silverton: Skeptics take a breather

By Melissa Wagoner

For people around the world Christmas is a magical time of year.

“Throughout humanity, Christmas was our way of convincing ourselves that winter will end,” Santa Claus, that magical and iconic Christmas symbol, recently told me as we chatted about the upcoming holiday season. “And we need to know that it will end.”

Because what are the signs of Christmas after all? The temperatures dropping, the trees going bare, snow falling and people coming in to share in the warmth they find indoors and with one another. Every one of those have a powerful story, Santa said.

Hazelnut Fest German-inspired holiday market

December 2019 Posted in Other | Comments Off on Hazelnut Fest German-inspired holiday market

By Nancy Jennings

The Mount Angel-Silverton Hazelnut Festival is about to get nuttier.

New this year is the addition of a  Friday evening “sneak preview”, Dec. 6, 4 – 8 p.m. Because popular items have sold out in previous years, the Friday hours give the serious holiday shopper a chance to make sure they get what’s on their gift list – whether hazelnut inspired foods or beverages or handcrafted, one-of-a-kind items. 

Hazelnuts in closeup

The festival continues Dec. 7 and Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with more than 50 booths, lots of food and drink, a children’s Cookie Crawl, live holiday music and free admission. 

The Galarage: A neighborhood modern art-happening just round the corner

December 2019 Posted in Other | Comments Off on The Galarage: A neighborhood modern art-happening just round the corner

By Brenna Wiegand

Artist Laura DeVito is taking art to the streets by converting her garage into an art studio and gallery
of sorts.

“I have a friend who is doing a garage gallery in Portland and I thought it was a really great idea,” DeVito said. “It’s dialing into the neighborhood and enabling more people to have an art gallery. It also cuts down on cost and allows for a lot more freedom.

Change in flow: Scotts Mills Dam removal slated for September 2020

December 2019 Posted in Other | Comments Off on Change in flow: Scotts Mills Dam removal slated for September 2020

By Melissa Wagoner

Oregon’s dams are a part of an important story according to Ron Garst, the Natural Resources Representative for the Pudding River Watershed Council (PRWC). And the 150-year-old dam in Scotts Mills Park is no exception.

“This is a history lesson,” Garst said, noting that defunct dams, like the one in Scotts Mills, are a record of the often-wanton use of natural resources during the late 19 Century.

‘The Pub Players’: Traditional Irish music band takes root at brewery

December 2019 Posted in Other | Comments Off on ‘The Pub Players’: Traditional Irish music band takes root at brewery

By Brenna Wiegand

Violinist Eadie Anelli moved to Silverton 17 years ago, grateful to land in an “ideal situation” teaching music and beginning orchestra in the Salem-Keizer School District. As she acquainted herself with Silverton’s music community Anelli  pitched in when she could, including hiring musical entertainment for Silverton’s Fine Arts and Wine & Jazz festivals.

Along the way she met Brad Johnson, a self-taught, multi-instrumental artist who has performed widely at festivals and ceilis (pronounced kay-lee; Irish for gathering or dance).

Harry’s whistlin’: Lessons in hard work, fun times

December 2019 Posted in Other | Comments Off on Harry’s whistlin’: Lessons in hard work, fun times

I’ve had a lot of jobs over the years. I was a dishwasher at the Woolworths luncheonette in the King of Prussia, Pennsylvania shopping mall; a bass player in several rock bands; a newspaper reporter and editor; a stock broker and financial planner… I’m sure I left out a few.

But one of the best jobs I ever had was as a janitor at an elementary school.

It wasn’t the money. I received a whopping $1.60 an hour. That was the minimum wage, and it was hard work. One summer I cleaned an entire school from top to bottom by myself. I changed every light bulb, scrubbed and waxed all of the floors, washed every desk and window – I’m getting tired just thinking about it.