Wildfire retrospective: Santiam Canyon challenged by forest fires

October 2017 Posted in Community, Nature | Comments Off on Wildfire retrospective: Santiam Canyon challenged by forest fires

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By Mary Owen

Recent wildfires have wreaked havoc on local businesses and area events in the upper Santiam Canyon.

“Many of our local communities, especially Detroit and Idanha, rely on summer and shoulder season tourism to support their businesses,” said Allison McKenzie, executive director with GROW-EDC.

“Though the lake was full this year, the smoke from nearby wildfires kept many visitors away and reduced the amount of time vacation home owners spent in the area. People visit our area to experience our beautiful outdoors, but with so much smoke around the past few weeks spending time outside hasn’t been much of an option. Folks took their boats out early, canceled vacation plans and spent less time than usual the past few weeks. All of this has had an impact on local businesses.”

On the fire line: Siegmund’s new system makes short work of steep slopes

October 2017 Posted in Business, Community, Nature | Comments Off on On the fire line: Siegmund’s new system makes short work of steep slopes

By Mary Owen

Siegmund Excavation & Construction’s new logging harvest system helped firefighters contain recent area fires.

“This logging harvest system was able to cut close to one mile of fire line through standing timber on steep slopes in approximately three days,” said Andrew Siegmund, owner of Siegmund Excavation. “The same task performed by hand-crews would have potentially taken 20-40 men two to three weeks to complete with great personal risk.”

Most recently, the system was used to cut a fire line on land owned by Freres Lumber Co. and Marion Forks Investment to protect their private timberlands from a fire advancing off of Forest Service land, Siegmund said.

Distracted driving: ’No touch’ law carries steep fines for device users

October 2017 Posted in Community | Comments Off on Distracted driving: ’No touch’ law carries steep fines for device users
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By Mary Owen

Oregon Department of Transportation statistics show that a distracted driver crash occurs every two and a half hours in Oregon.

To help prevent these accidents, a new Oregon law will go into effect on Oct. 1, specifically targeting distracted driving while using an electronic device.

“The hope is to reduce traffic accidents and increase public safety,” said Stayton Police Chief Rich Sebens. “In 2016, our officers stopped vehicles 48 times for cell phone use. So far to date, 98 have been stopped for 2017.”

Rhoten: Colleagues pay tribute to city attorney

October 2017 Posted in Business, Community | Comments Off on Rhoten: Colleagues pay tribute to city attorney

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 1.58.39 PMBy Mary Owen

The city of Stayton is mourning the passing of longtime City Attorney David Rhoten.

“I am deeply saddened by the news of David’s passing,” said Keith Campbell, city administrator. “He was a gifted and talented attorney who was passionate and dedicated to our community. More importantly, he was a warm and kind individual whose joy and happiness was infectious. He will be greatly missed.”

Mayor Hank Porter said he enjoyed working with Rhoten, who served as the city attorney for almost 30 years. Rhoten was given several months to live after a cancer diagnosis in early summer, Porter said.

Screenagers: Insight into digital distractions

October 2017 Posted in Other | Comments Off on Screenagers: Insight into digital distractions

By Mary Owen

Do your kids clock in several hours a day on their cell phone and other devices? The producers of the award-winning documentary, Screenagers, claim teens scroll through their day with “rapid thumbs and a six-second attention span,” often spending 6.5 hours daily
on screen.

To explore the issue, the Stayton High School varsity girls soccer team will host a screening of the documentary, which reveals how tech time impacts youth development. The movie also offers solutions on how adults can empower kids to best navigate the digital world, finding balance, according to the project’s website.

Adding in person to online: ORCA events expand experiences

October 2017 Posted in Community, School | Comments Off on Adding in person to online: ORCA events expand experiences

Football toss game, ORCA, Fall Celebration, courtesyBy Mary Owen

Oregon Connections Academy students study online but socialize offline.

“There are many events, field trips and clubs that ORCA hosts throughout the year to provide in-person socialization opportunities for students,” said Brenda Ballinger, a third-grade teacher from Silverton. “Some of these activities are the same as the ones that students would experience in a traditional brick-and-mortar school such as student government, an in-person prom, and a graduation ceremony.”

ORCA also offers clubs and other extracurricular activities, including National Honor Society, Science Olympiads, Writer’s Guild, Debate Club, Poetry Out Loud and college tours. Around 200 field trips are planned throughout the state each school year, offering activities for all grade levels, Ballinger said.

Grant will preserve negatives

October 2017 Posted in Community | Comments Off on Grant will preserve negatives

By Mary Owen

The Santiam Historical Society recently received a $1,000 grant from the City of Stayton Community Grants program to preserve and protect a historic glass negatives collection.

“We found 100 glass negatives in a crawl space above the restroom at the old museum when we were packing up the collection to go to storage,” said Diana Maul, SHS president. “These are gelatin emulsion-style, so date between 1878
and 1940.”

Maul said old newspaper pages had been placed between the negatives, and ink transferred onto some of them. The $1,000 grant will go toward professionally cleaning each negative, she said.

On the march: Santiam football starts league undefeated

October 2017 Posted in Columnists & Opinion, School, Sports & Recreation | Comments Off on On the march: Santiam football starts league undefeated

James DaySantiam High headed into the Tri-River football schedule with a 4-0 record. The Wolverines have steadily improved in their first three years under coach Dustin McGee, who led the squad to a 4-5 mark in 2015 and a 7-4 record last year, including a playoff win against
Lost River.

“We’ve had a very good start to the season,” said McGee, whose seventh-ranked squad opened league play after Our Town’s presstime against No. 1 St. Paul.

“Our boys are playing hard, and striving to be their best every day. We have made a lot of improvement since week one, and I think we have put ourselves in a great position to make some noise in league play.”

Human kindness: Something special is in our genes

October 2017 Posted in Columnists & Opinion | Comments Off on Human kindness: Something special is in our genes

carl-sampsonIt was 16 cents, but what it meant to me was worth a lot more.

I was at the convenience store the other day, buying a pint – of 2 percent milk, that is. I buy milk almost every day to have with lunch.

When the cashier asked for $1.39 I came up short. I was sure I had the exact change but when I pawed through my pockets I came up 16 cents short.

Before I could reach into my wallet to grab out a dollar bill, a man standing behind me reached forward with his own dollar. “Take it out of this,” he said.

Highlights #1: Stayton High dance team wins 13th state title

April 2017 Posted in Community, School, Sports & Recreation | Comments Off on Highlights #1: Stayton High dance team wins 13th state title

stay-dance-routineBy James Day

The Stayton Highlights dance team finished second to Valley Catholic of Beaverton at the past two state championships.

This year’s squad was determined not to let that happen again.

“This team is driven beyond words,” longtime coach Robin Meier told Our Town. “They came into this season with a goal. They wanted that state title. They were determined to improve, work and sacrifice to make that goal a reality.”

On March 18 all of the hard work paid off. The Highlights scored 91.33 points, just 0.38 points ahead of another strong Valley Catholic squad, to take the Class 4A-1A title at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.