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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 […]

20 years on: Silverton group holds vigils for peace, advocates for justice

By James Day Silverton People for Peace, a group that formed amid the buildup to the 2003 start of the Iraq War, has turned 20.   The informal group, which began with vigils in opposition to the Iraq buildup, has broadened its focus and also participates in Silverton’s MLK Day observances as well as the Homer Davenport Community Festival, where […]

Moving on – Benedictine Sisters to leave monastery site

By Stephen Floyd After 134 years, the Benedictine Sisters of Mount Angel will be leaving the Queen of Angels Monastery, with plans to repurpose part of the facility as transitional housing for families in need. Membership within the monastic community has been in decline, as elsewhere in the U.S., with the number of religious sisters nationally dropping from 161,000 in […]

WiseMind – Educators team up to offer resilience education to kids, parents

By Melissa Wagoner Jenifer Trivelli has always been interested in what makes people tick, especially kids.  “That led me to neuroscience,” Trivelli said. “And then, pairing that together with childhood development led me to counseling.” Initially working as an elementary school counselor, Trivelli left that vocation when she became a mom. “I wanted to start my own thing,” she recalled. […]

20th MLK Observance – Joel Autry to give keynote

When the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown his Silverton restaurant in 2020, rather than feel sorry for himself, Joel Autry saw the opportunity for community service, an ethic modeled by his parents. He opened his heart and pantry up to local residents hurt financially by the economic slowdown or folks who had relied on Silverton’s weekly community dinner, also closed by the […]

Serious clowning – Rose City Clowns recognizes Giggle Britches’ hard work

By Melissa Wagoner Becoming a clown wasn’t actually Bonnie-Jean Brown’s idea. “My mommy made me do it,” she laughed, when asked how she – recognized by most as Giggle Britches the clown – got her start. She’s not exaggerating. From the very beginning her mother, Glendora DeSantis, has had a hand in what would eventually become her daughter’s life-long passion […]

‘No victims here’ – A different kind of Christmas for Silverton family

By Dixon Bledsoe Imagine life is humming along like a finely tuned sports car. Wonderful spouse, four awesome sons, a huge extended family full of love, faith, support and laughter. A job you love, and you like to run. Running with your wife is fun and stress-reducing.  Then, you notice the running is not as efficient. Small wounds take forever […]

RIP Medical Debt – Duo sets out have over $1 million forgiven

By Melissa Wagoner When John Dallum discovered there was a nonprofit whose sole purpose is to relieve the medical debt of millions of Americans, he knew he had to help. “One interesting thing about Oregon is, the program has never been started here,” Dallum – a former Oregon Senator and House Representative – said. In fact, upon contacting the organization – RIP […]

Election 2022: Kelly congratulates fellow Scotts Mills candidates

In the Oct. 15 issue of Our Town, the article entitled “Incumbents re-elected to Scotts Mills” should have included the following statement from candidate Shawna Kelly, which was received after the article was submitted for publication. “First, I would like to thank everyone that voted,” said Kelly. “Regardless of if I was the recipient of their vote or not. To […]

Kidnapping plea deal includes treatment

By Stephen Floyd A Silverton man has been admitted to substance abuse treatment after pleading guilty to kidnapping and assault, with the potential for nearly six years in prison if the program is not completed. Zachary Todd Lander, 40, pleaded guilty Nov. 14 to second-degree kidnapping and fourth-degree assault for a domestic violence incident Oct. 1 when he unlawfully transported […]

Silverton FFA adviser earns top honor

By James Day Longtime Silverton High FFA adviser Scott Towery received the group’s highest honor at the 95th national convention in October. Towery, who has taught agricultural science at Silverton since 2006, was awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree at the Indianapolis event. The degree is awarded to individuals who have created high-quality agricultural education programs which inspire and motivate […]