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No masks – Maskless students asked to leave high school during Feb. 4 protest

By Stephen Floyd Around two dozen students were asked to leave Silverton High School Feb. 4 during a maskless walk-in protesting state COVID-19 mandates. Demonstrators gathered outside the school entrance that morning, prepared to disregard mandates requiring masks in all school buildings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They were met by administrators who explained, though the district supports students’ […]

Letters to the Editor: Ballot qualification?

Although I live in Silverton, I work in California, most often remotely. I am a strong supporter of Nick Kristof and his run for Governor of Oregon. I don’t understand why he is not on the Ballot. I read a news story about former Supreme Court Justice Riggs[’] opinion that Nick qualifies, and a guest opinion by three former secretaries […]

People Out Loud: Mr. In-between – Seeing the edges, listening to each community

Editor’s note: Dixon Bledsoe invited a guest columnist for this month. We’ll let Fred Vandecoevering introduce himself…  Growing up a farm boy north of Mount Angel I never have belonged.  I started out at Monitor Elementary. Well, Monitor itself as a school had an identity crisis.  Half the kids lived in Marion County, half in Clackamas. Of the ones living in […]

A Grin at the End: Clocks, calendars & choppers – Going through my list

It’s that time of year for the “To-Do” lists to come out. My personal list is the same this year as every other year: lose weight, win the lottery, travel more and screw around less. That last one is the toughest. My DNA is chock full of genes that enable me to shift into neutral at the drop of a […]

A Slice of the Pie: The Stocking Spree – Rediscovering the holiday with spirit

I’ve always had a soft spot for Christmas stockings. This, in large part, is thanks to my mother who is an impeccable gift giver. She always knows exactly the right thing or – as was the case with our Christmas socks, many right things – to buy.  Cheap polyester, scratchy on the inside, fuzzy on the outside, the stockings themselves […]

People Out Loud: Faith – Regardless of our beliefs

I asked a young acquaintance recently if she believed the Christmas Story, that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, died for our sins, and that if we believe in God and act as He would wish us to act practicing Christian charity, we will join Him in Heaven with everlasting life. As a reliable Sunday morning church attendee, her […]

A Grin at the End: Congratulatory antics – A bit too much, a bit too often

    As a red-blooded, all-American guy, I’ve been watching a lot of football these days. There’s nothing better than a Sunday afternoon of watching highly paid athletes knock heads with one another to lower the stress level. But as I watched the games I noticed something – actually, it was pretty hard to miss. Often, when a player caught […]

Not so fast – COVID-19 vaccinations and mandates challenged

Guest Opinion by Colleen Beyer Recently, Dixon Bledsoe intimated that any reason to not get the COVID vaccine(s) is “misinformation.” The following are possible reasons not only of why someone might be hesitant to take the vaccines, but why someone might question “approved” sources. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is the data capture method critical in cases where vaccines […]

People Out Loud: Exceptional experiment – Veterans, flags and corn bread stuffing

By the time this edition of Our Town is published, Veteran’s Day 2021 will be a thing of the past. Perhaps you bought the 9,000 thread count California King sheets at the “Massive Veteran’s Day Bedding Sale,” where they pretend to care about those who serve and served. Maybe you drove around town with your American Flag waving proudly from […]

A Grin at the End: Algorithm monster – Pushing us to the edge on purpose

For six hours last month we were all safe. Safe from misinformation, safe from ads targeted at us. Safe from posts that were only there because someone paid for them. Facebook and Instagram were offline. How this happened is anyone’s guess. Facebook said the “configuration” got out of whack. That is IT talk for “I don’t know.” Someone at headquarters […]

A Slice of the Pie: Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters or a plumber?

I recently learned something rather astounding – if you ask for ghost stories, prepare for an onslaught. Houses, storefronts, restaurants, nursing homes – and apparently nearly every school in area – all come with a ghost story or two attached. And many of them took place in… bathrooms?  Which prompts the question – why bathrooms? Because – and I don’t […]

People Out Loud: Unequivocal – You have a choice on vaccinations, your employer does too

Social Media is rife with misinformation, especially in the chaos of COVID.  Lazy people use it as their “research.” VAERS is the “Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System”, a reporting system co-managed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). People grab stats at random from VAERS and then perpetuate inaccurate data to anyone who […]

A Grin at the End: Crypto creeps – Hidden for a reason

The other day I was hanging off a ladder trying to patch a leak in the gutter over our garage doors. It had leaked for 11 years, but this was the moment I chose to fix it. One of my weapons of choice was some thick, industrial-strength waterproof tape. I figured if I used enough of it, anything could be […]

People Out Loud: Balancing act – Oktoberfest, school, life and COVID

It is so difficult being a writer, even one throwing out unsolicited opinions just once a month. There is a natural flow of subjects that occur annually, starting with New Year’s resolutions and ending with taking the tree down as Santa heads to the tropics for a well-earned rest. There is Valentine’s Day, Easter, Tax Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, […]

A Grin at the End: Faster, higher, stronger – Oregon style

The Olympics have been over for some time now, but I’m not over the Olympics. The thrill of victory – and the agony of defeat – played out on an international stage is the best way I know to recognize our commonality. We are, after all, passengers on a single lonely planet amid billions of galaxies. To keep that spirit […]

Letters to the Editor: It’s going to take more than words

A response to Silverton Mayor Kyle Palmer’s column in the city newsletter distributed with the July 15 edition of  Our Town. I congratulate you on your article concerning a very significant issue facing this country and more pointedly seems to be surfacing in Silverton. …  You’re challenging us all to be an ally of those individuals being oppressed is spot […]

Letters to the Editor: The ‘heart’ of JFK wrestling

I would like to take a moment and point out a person who went above and beyond in developing a positive program in the Mount Angel high school. This person has steadfastly worked to bring a sport … that has been absent for many years. He has a dedication, not only to the sport of wrestling, but to the kids […]

People Out Loud: ‘Promises to Be Good… In Writing.’

This was an ad for Heidelberg Beer back in 1969-1970.  I recall the big billboard was on North Water, right around where Photo Express sits today, and across from the turkey plant. Yes, the turkey plant, where the gobblers hung on hooks on a conveyor built and grossed us out as we walked toward school. The sign simply said, “Heidelberg […]

A Grin at the End: What you leave out … but don’t take out the soul

The key to good writing is what you leave out. Too often, writing makes its way into the public circus without the benefit of editing, and it’s painful. The basic points may be there but they are crowded by half-baked thoughts and fictionalized versions of reality. Add a dash of ignorance about history – or science or math or politics – […]

A Grin at the End: Perspective – Beating the cynicism disease

We’re all going to be OK. That is the inescapable conclusion I have reached. I was at a minor league baseball game a few weeks ago, scanning the crowd between pitches. There were families enjoying the evening as the boys of summer sparkled on the diamond. The homers were accompanied by lusty cheers, a light breeze played among the pennants […]

People Out Loud: Life lessons – Class of 2021 got more than their share of them

To the graduates of 2021, my sincere congratulations for your wonderful accomplishments. It could not have been harder, right? You weathered COVID-19, quarantines, wildfires, ice storms, and an entirely new but hopefully temporary “normal.” You learned online in your pajamas, caught sneak peeks of your friends on weekends or when the Zoom teacher was looking the other way, missed out […]