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Life lines – Kidney recipients describe life and plans after transplants

By Melissa Wagoner In the spring of 2020 Patty and Mike Kloft learned their seven-year-old son, John, needed an emergency kidney transplant. “Stanford concluded his kidneys just never formed right,” Patty said, recalling the family’s trip from their home in Mount Angel to the teaching hospital where a team of specialists examined John. “Basically, they just said, we don’t know […]

Nabor Castro and his wife, Irma. Courtesy Lisa Castro

Remembering Nabor – Long-standing city employee leaves legacy

By Melissa Wagoner Nabor Castro’s face was familiar to many Silvertonians, including Barbara Nusbaum Rivoli who, on Aug. 16, 2021, wrote in a Facebook post on Silverton Connections, “For many years I have been coming to the… YMCA building on Water Street in Silverton. There has been one consistently helpful, kind, friendly and hard-working city worker there tending to the maintenance […]

Pepper and Keith Teem in front of the Mt. Angel Public Library. Stephen Floyd

Teem power: Mount Angel couple lauded for 50-year service to library

By Stephen Floyd Keith and Pepper Teem started volunteering at the Mt. Angel Public Library in 1974 and since then have played central roles in both its day-to-day operations and major projects. Now the Mount Angel couple has retired after 50 years of service at the library and city leaders are marking this milestone with official proclamations and a celebration […]

Ivy Pemble holding her new daughter, Wren, and sister-in-law Megan Peetz holding her new son, Wesley. Both babies were born on Leap Day 2024. Courtesy of Laura Pemble

Wild odds – Unexpected Leap Day arrivals keep family members hopping

By Melissa Wagoner If the odds of giving birth on Leap Day are one in 1,461, the odds of two cousins sharing the same Leap Day birthday are, well, extremely low. “We did the math,” Laura Pemble said, recalling the day she discovered that not only was her daughter-in-law, Ivy Pemble, pregnant with her first child, but her daughter, Megan Peetz, was pregnant with […]

Baldwin receiving recognition from the Asphalt Pavement Association and ODOT in Abby Shetler’s graphic design class at SHS. Submitted photo

Symbol of life – SHS student has billboard design chosen for safety program

By Melissa Wagoner Every time a member of the Asphalt Pavement Association (APA) of Oregon is killed in a work zone related accident, executive director John Hickey hand-delivers a check for $5,000 to the deceased person’s family. “The idea is that most of the time the worker is the primary breadwinner,” Hickey explained. “Very often these people are just getting […]

Prop Master, Kelly Farrah

Prop master – Local production specialist gets back to work

By Melissa Wagoner Kelly Farrah is a self-taught historian who never does anything halfway. As a child growing up in Southern California, he developed an interest in both the American Civil War and the Revolutionary War. But it was the materials used during those time periods – the flags, guns, clothing and everything that was a part of daily life […]

A Keeton family photo from the 1990s with Joe Keeton (in hat) with his father and three of his daughters as children. Courtesy Autumn Keeton

Slipping through the cracks: Reflections on a life lost

By Melissa Wagoner When Jenna Keeton received a phone call from her mother alerting her that her father had died, she wasn’t surprised. “I had been preparing myself for his death for years,” Jenna admitted. “But I was expecting a heart attack or an overdose.” Instead, Jenna learned that her father, Joe Keeton – a man who had struggled with […]

Todd Ferrell, nominated as an Angel Among Us by neighbor and friend, Marianna Davis

Angels among us: Neighbor builds sense of community

By Melissa Wagoner In the eyes of Marianna Davis, Todd Ferrell is an absolute angel. “One definition of a person who is angelic is someone of exemplary conduct and virtue, someone with outstanding qualities and abilities,” Davis said, adding that, in her opinion, Ferrell fits the bill. Originally from Southern California, Ferrell moved to Silverton with his wife, Ann, in 2007 and […]

Molly, John, Kate and Julia Pattison with Milo, Elijah, Emily and Kelly Neves. Submitted Photo

One video at a time – Answering questions about co-living

By Melissa Wagoner Co-living in the same house for the past ten years, the Pattison and the Neves families have often found themselves joking about what it would be like to be “a TLC reality TV show”. “But we always said we weren’t dramatic enough,” Emily Neves said, referring to the everyday lifestyle the two families share. But when a […]

John Baker standing in the community garden at the Silverton Grange

The simple things – Grange member gives back by growing food for SACA

By Melissa Wagoner Before John Baker moved to Silverton in 2016 life was rough.  “I was in pretty bad shape…” Baker said. “I had severe arthritis, both of my hips needed to be replaced, I’d spent five years in a wheelchair, and I was pushing 400 pounds…I was crippled and unemployed.” That’s when Baker and his wife, Amanda, decided to […]

Principal Jeff Taylor. Submitted Photo.

Taylor named Principal of the Year

By Stephen Floyd Mount Angel Middle School Principal Jeff Taylor has been named Oregon Middle School Principal of the Year for his relationship-building and inspiring approach to academics. The title was awarded June 22 during the annual conference of the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA), in Seaside. In a news release, COSA said Taylor has had a positive impact […]

Jan Holowati. Melissa Wagoner

Planting seeds – Jan Holowati retires after ‘rehoming’ community events

By Melissa Wagoner Unbeknownst to many, when Silverton Together closed its doors on June 30, 2022, the face of the organization, Program Coordinator Jan Holowati, stayed right where she was. “We had all these programs and I said, I just can’t let this go away,” Holowati said of the duty she felt to find entities willing to take over the […]

Silver Falls School District math teacher Stacy Barker participates in a breakaway roping competition at a rodeo. Submitted Photo

Rodeo, teaching star – Stacy Barker proves expert in two paths

By Naiya Brown Stacy Barker is the math teacher at Sequoia Falls Academy in Silverton, but she has other strong interests, as well as a second career in rodeo. Barker, who grew up in Oregon City and graduated from Canby High, has been breakaway roping for 32 years and competing for 30 of them after initially enrolling at the University […]

Firefighting veteran – Grambusch retiring as Silverton assistant chief

By James Day Silverton native Ed Grambusch grew up wanting to be an air traffic controller. He tried work of a similar vein as a 9-1-1 emergency dispatcher. But once he hooked on as a volunteer with the Silverton Fire District, the career search was over. Grambusch continued his 9-1-1 work as he worked his way into a career as […]

Nature guiding – Discovering wellness in the woods

By Melissa Wagoner Autumn Kuenzi has battled depression and anxiety her entire life, but when her first child was born eight years ago, that battle raged at a whole new level.  “I got postpartum depression and anxiety,” Kuenzi recalled. “And I just couldn’t sit with it. So, I made the decision to take control of it.” Which meant, along with […]

Demystifying surrogacy – Silver Falls Surrogacy hopes to help more couples struggling with infertility

By Melissa Wagoner After Melissa Farmer’s fourth daughter was born and her family was nearing completion, her thoughts turned to something she had been contemplating for some time – surrogacy. “I have wonderful pregnancies,” she said of the impetus for the idea. “And I get pregnant easily.” She is also aware that not everyone does. “There are so many people […]

Future First Citizen: Hannah Bashor honored by Silverton Chamber

By Melissa Wagoner When Silverton High School senior, Hannah Bashor, found out she was being named this year’s Future First Citizen for her demonstration of leadership as well as her contributions to her school, her community and her family by the Silverton Chamber of Commerce it gave her the sense of being seen. “I am so happy that others see that […]

Lifetime Achievement – Arlene Harris honored for stepping up

By Melissa Wagoner Arlene Harris is a Silvertonian through and through. Born at Silverton Hospital, Harris spent the majority of her life in her hometown, only leaving when it came time to attend the University of Washington, where she earned her degree as a Physical Therapist before returning home to get married and start her career. “My fiancé at that […]

Distinguished Service – Meg Feicht’s commitment recognized

By Brenna Wiegand Meg Feicht – better known as Teacher Meg to generations of kids and their families – was bestowed the Silverton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Service Award for 2022 at its First Citizens Awards Gala on Feb. 25. Feicht began leading classes focusing on kids and families nearly 25 years ago as a volunteer for the YMCA. […]

Holden retires from Oregon Garden Foundation Board

Founding Member and long-time advocate of The Oregon Garden, Verl Holden, retired from his position as a member of the Oregon Garden Foundation Board on Feb. 14.  A well-respected nurseryman, horticultural innovator and owner of Holden Wholesale Growers, Holden first joined the Foundation Board in 2018, and after five years of faithful service has chosen to make his position available […]

First Citizen – Dana Smith honored for broad community commitment

By James Day With someone like Dana Smith you have to look below the surface and keep in mind the layers of community commitment. Yes, Smith has served in elected positions such as the Silver Falls School district board and her recent eight years on the Silverton City Council. But in the nomination form that elevated her to Silverton’s First […]

Cupcakes & bouquets – Local baker competes in international contest

By Melissa Wagoner It all started with a bouquet of cupcake flowers. “My longtime friend sent me a picture from Pinterest… and said, ‘I want you to make these,’” Judy Moffitt Marston recalled. A lifelong baker, Moffitt Marston was no stranger to the kitchen, but she had never attempted anything quite so grand as a cupcake decorated to look exactly like […]

Mrs. Douglas – Victor Point second grade teacher leaves behind 43-year legacy

By Melissa Wagoner “It’s hard to even somewhat capture my mom in words, let alone the impact she had…” Molly Bray-Yurovchak said of her mother, Kathi Douglas, who died from pancreatic cancer on Dec. 31, 2022. “There are so many fun stories to tell.” A teacher at Victor Point Elementary School for the entirety of her 43-year career, Douglas labeled […]