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Imagination Library participant, Talon Najera reading a book. Alicia Najera

Imagination Library – Dolly Parton program’s Silverton branch turns five

By Melissa Wagoner It’s been five years since the Silverton Kiwanis Club and the Silverton Library District joined forces to bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – a program that gifts one curated book each month to kids ages zero to five – to the children of Silverton. “I was tasked with contacting the Dolly Parton Foundation,” library director and head of […]

Doug Ousterhout

Curtain call – Doug Ousterhout retires after directing SHS theater for 34 years

By Melissa Wagoner When asked how long he has been a teacher, Doug Ousterhout (or “Mr. O” as his students affectionately call him) says, “All my life.” But what’s incredible about that answer is how close he came to never becoming a teacher at all. “I grew up in Monmouth and started out at Western,” Ousterhout said, recalling his freshman […]

Steph Baker, right, and her sister, nominator Esther Nelson-Garrett -- courtesy of Steph Baker

Angels Among Us: Stephie Baker

Stephie Baker always knew she wanted a house full of kids. And so, although she was already a mother to two biological children, when she was presented with the opportunity to also adopt, she didn’t hesitate. “My son was best friends with another kid in the fourth grade and he was spending so much time at our house that I […]

Silver Falls School District staff members picking up donated pies. Melissa Wagoner

Pies given to School District employees

By Melissa Wagoner When Andrew Martin, director of grocery sales for Willamette Valley Pie Company, wants to make a difference in his community his thoughts naturally turn to pies. “This pie thing doesn’t fix it but that’s what we’ve got,” he said of a recent giveaway he hosted in partnership with Larsen Flynn Insurance and The Satern Agency. The goal, […]

The Ifenuk family, owners of Island Fusion Barbecue in Mount Angel. Melissa Wagoner

Island Fusion – Sharing food, culture through barbecue

By Melissa Wagoner The food of the islands has made its way to Mount Angel in the form of the food cart, Island Fusion Barbecue, located at 235 North Main St. “When you say ‘island’ everyone thinks Hawaii,” Jayceleen Ifenuk – who runs the food truck with her family – said. “But there are way more islands.” Including the Micronesian […]

Paul Scoville helping Kenneth Sanchagrin and Aurora Grant make their cooking contest submissions. Melissa Wagoner

Yes chef! Kids cooking contest aims to encourage more time in kitchen

By Melissa Wagoner On April 23 five fifth grade contestants entered the kitchen at Robert Frost Elementary School, donned aprons and toques and began baking a host of delicious desserts hoping to impress the panel of judges. “It’s all going to be fun,” Kenneth Sanchagrin said as he began mixing the ingredients for his grandmother’s devil’s food cake. “I’m going […]

London Wagoner

Food for furloughs – Moms take action to supply food during school closures

By Melissa Wagoner There was no shortage of concern when a group of six Silver Falls School District moms got together to discuss the negative effect the early closure of nearly all SFSD schools will have on students. “One of the immediate concerns about the furlough week was that students wouldn’t have access to the free lunch program that many […]

Your Garden: Bringing in Backyard Birds

By Melissa Wagoner Creating backyard gardens that coexist with nature, commonly known as naturescaping, is a great way for birders to encourage the birds they love to come to them. “It’s one of the easiest things because we’re working with what’s already here,” Ron Garst – a retired biologist for the Department of Fish and Wildlife who now volunteers with the ODFW’s Naturescaping […]

Your Garden: The Best Plan… is To Plan Ahead

When putting in a garden or new landscaping it’s easy to get ahead of yourself by simply buying plants and putting them in wherever there’s room. But that kind of haphazard horticulture can quickly become problematic according to Ben Hare, owner of Garden City Landscapes in Silverton. “If you don’t have a plan, your landscaping will come out disorganized and […]

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 […]

David Brautigam with the cover of his book surrounded by posters of the movies that influenced his writing. Submitted Photo

Revenge is a Must – Silverton screenplay writer publishes novel

By Melissa Wagoner David Brautigam’s writing career began unexpectedly in 2008 when he and his father went to the theater to watch The Happening, and ended up walking out before the end. “I was just fuming about this movie,” Brautigam – who thought the storyline lacked substance – said. “So, I went home and researched how to write a screenplay.” Then he sat […]

Silverton Country Historical Society authors Fred Parkinson, Gus Frederick, and Norm English meeting in the museum. Jeff Marcoe

Silverton Country Historical Society authors celebrate 50th anniversary with event

By Melissa Wagoner The Silverton Country Historical Society boasts numerous authors whose published works tell the story of Silverton and its citizens from its inception in 1854 to now. “It’s history from under the rugs and between the tracks,” Historical Society president Gus Frederick said. Now the community will get a chance to take some of that history home when […]

Silverton High presents one-act plays

By Melissa Wagoner The Silverton High School Theater Department’s Spring One Acts hit the stage May 16 – 18 at 7 p.m. in the SHS auditorium.  The lineup includes Little Women – an adaptation of the famous novel by Louisa May Alcott, directed by Maddy Rich;  a short comedy drama titled, The Audition, directed by Don Zolidis and Sofia Miranda; […]

The Teen Art Show at the Silverton Arts Association’s Borland Community Arts Space. Melissa Wagoner

Teen Art Show: Silverton Arts Association welcomes public to annual display

By Melissa Wagoner The Silverton Arts Association’s gallery was packed with art enthusiasts admiring drawings, paintings and ceramics during the opening of the Teen Art Show on May 3. “The student show is something we look forward to each year,” Silverton High School’s ceramics instructor Banyon Boyd said, “our students spend a lot of time making and choosing a quality piece […]

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 […]

Your Garden: Which to buy? GMO, Hybrid or Heirloom?

By Melissa Wagoner Choosing plants and seeds for a backyard garden can feel daunting, especially when faced with unfamiliar words like GMO, hybrid and heirloom. “These terms are important depending upon the gardener’s goals, offering different qualities especially for seed saving,” Michael Paruch – who has spent the past 34 years working and volunteering in various horticultural endeavors, including ag […]

Native pocket gopher naturally thinning camas -- courtesy of Stephanie Hazen

Your Garden: Gardening with Nature, not against it

By Melissa Wagoner Fighting off invasive pests – those insects, weeds and animals that aren’t a part of a gardener’s original plan – can turn a beautiful garden into a war zone filled with toxic chemicals. But it doesn’t have to be that way. “As a head gardener it is my responsibility to focus on IPM, integrated pest management, which […]

Butte Creek brings Matilda on stage

By Melissa Wagoner Dylan Uselman was a self-described shy child, anxious about public speaking – then in high school he discovered theater, and everything changed. “[T]he fantastic teacher, [Doug] Ousterhout – who’s still teaching drama and putting on shows at the high school to this day – created such a welcoming and safe space for anyone that wanted to join,” […]

Cassy Proffitt, owner of PNW Pooch in Mount Angel, posing with a customer. Submitted Photo

Dog grooming 101 – Mount Angel practitioner shares insights

By Melissa Wagoner Having dogs regularly groomed isn’t about looks – though that is a benefit. Rather, regular baths can contribute to skin health, keeping nails trimmed ensures a comfortable gait and consistent grooming reduces the likelihood that yeast infections, dander, ear infections and dental disease will become an issue. “Groomers often notice and identify things that the client has […]

The Oregon Crafters Market -- courtesy of Patricia Tatum

Crafters Market kicks off in May

By Melissa Wagoner The Oregon Crafters Market in downtown Silverton will open for the summer season on May 3, 6 to 9 p.m. with food, drinks, live music and a host of craftspersons. “My goal is to get local artists involved more and to promote it outside Silverton as well,” Dodie Brockamp, the new head of marketing, said. “I want […]

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 […]