Author: Salem Weekly

The Way I Talk

By Sarah Rohrs    People who stutter are generally not known for being garrulous, and what so many don’t like to talk about is, in fact, stuttering. Take it from me. I’ve been stuttering since the second grade. I’ve spent nearly fifty years confounded by my speech, trying to keep my stutter a secret, and berating myself when it pushes its way to the surface. On particularly bad days when my voice seems to squeeze through a crack in my throat I despair. Those are the days I long to know what it’s like to speak without thinking first. Those are the days I really wish I didn’t stutter.    But those thoughts pass quickly now that I moved to Salem and opened the drapes onto my speech. That happened after I saw “The Way We Talk,” a documentary feature about stuttering by local filmmaker Michael Turner. As the lights dimmed and Turner’s stutter filled the Salem Cinema theatre on Broadway, something broke free in me. It felt and sounded so familiar. He spoke of feeling like something was wrong with him each time he opened his mouth. When he said his family never spoke about stuttering, I realized neither did mine.    Stuttering Awareness Week, the second week of May, gave me a chance to do just that. It was a great week for me, a time for...

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How many pot shops is too many?

Few people nowadays would have difficulty finding a local pot shop. If you drive along Highway 101, you will see store after store. It may even seem like there’s one on every street corner. In Salem, South Commercial is being called The Green Mile. Another Green Mile exists along River Road in Keizer. This abundance of shops begs the question: how many is too many? Initially the OLCC estimated issuing about 850 licenses. As of May 19th, OLCC has issued 1186 licenses, with 446 retail store licenses issued. Applications currently total 2560. With an unlimited number of licenses on the market, competition has become very stiff. Marion and Polk County support 9 liquor stores. When Salem City lifted their 1000 foot rule for cannabis stores, the number went from 16 in the Fall of 2016 to 33 and counting today. These numbers would seem unsustainable. Salem, for instance, has a certain number of potential customers for cannabis stores. As more and more stores open, the potential market share for each store diminishes. An over saturated market can become a concern for state and local governments wishing to collect taxes, as well as business entrepreneurs trying to follow a business plan.  As more stores open, that pool of tax money is split amongst more businesses. The potential risk to government lies in the fact that smaller or mismanaged stores that...

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Salem Climate Action Plan

By Laurie Dougherty Portland; Beaverton; Corvallis; Eugene; Ashland, Spokane; Boise; Tacoma; Boulder; Salem, Massachusetts – and on across the country and around the world. Where is Salem, Oregon? What these cities and others have that Salem lacks is a well-defined plan for dealing with the crisis of climate change. Climate change is real and already disrupting natural systems and cycles that we depend on for life and livelihood and the stability of our society. It will only get worse unless we take solutions into our own hands. Salem, Oregon needs to be on this list.  Why bring it up now?...

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Love and death, death and love

If the most powerful theatre concerns the fact that we die or that what we love dies (or simply that we love,) then local theatergoers have two excellent productions to consider this week. In one, Keizer Homegrown Theatre’s production of “Hearts Like Fists” a rock ‘em sock ‘em band of female crimefighters take the stage at Chemeketa Community College Auditorium to solve the mystery of a spate of murders of lovers while they sleep. Play written by Adam Szymkowicz, directed by Jay Gipson-King, the comedy thriller spans two rotating stages, 10 locations, numerous fight scenes and multiple simultaneous goings...

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Somewhere Else Memories of Dad on his 100th

This is for my late father, on what would have been his 100th birthday, and for the many folks here in the valley who have childhood memories of somewhere else. My first memory of dad takes place in the cab of a truck at the grain elevator in Condon on a hot summer day in 1950 or ‘51.  Dougy and I sit restlessly on the slippery black passenger seat. The cab is superheated and smells like tar.  The windshield is streaked and the sun is so bright that it is hard to even see the building.  We wait awhile and then pull into the shade where dad has a jocose conversation with a man named Slim.  I can’t see well enough to know whether he really is slim.  With a haarooom! we go into the sun again and stop.  We pile out and dad boosts us into the back of the truck onto the load of wheat.  The wheat is warm on top and cool underneath.  We flail on the surface, like swimming.  The wheat promptly spills into the holes we dig. This folkloric kind of memory, related to weather and work life, sticks with me like the spindly roots of winter wheat in the clumped soil.  It is what I mean when I hear myself telling someone, Well, I am originally from eastern Oregon. Don’t eat the wheat,...

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Killing and Dying for Trump

by Mark Wigg Donald Trump has not divested his properties. The dozens of hotels and resorts around the world bearing his name are now symbols of America just like our embassies. Our embassies are defended by Marines, blast walls, and elaborate security measures. The Trump properties are not. These properties are soft targets. Terrorists and maybe some of our ‘allies’ are already planning attacks on these properties. Targeting high-profile symbols of America such as embassies or the World Trade Center has happened before. It won’t be a surprise to our intelligence agencies if a Trump property is attacked. After...

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How to Be Funny

by Michael Townsend Smith, book review by Vere McCarty    Before we start, I would like to opine that being named Michael Smith is funny.  Some people think it is not, but Michael thinks it is.  The Townsend fits in nicely, like a wagon road between home and work.  Maybe your name is funny too.  I know mine is.  The book is funny even before you start to read it.  To begin with, it starts on page one.  Starting on page seven can also be funny.  You see, I am already under the spell of “How to Be Funny”.    Smith, an active octogenarian, does not shy away from including himself in what can be funny. Self is an image. What you think other people see is not what you see. Old people trying to go fast are funny. Old people swimming are funny. Old people all by themselves are sometimes sad. Everyone is sometimes sad.                                      I was recently transfixed by Smith’s piano as he played a Debussy sonata. Funny the way music frees the mind to move. One part listens, another part dances, another part thinks. Time tangibly expands. The present breathes. Anything is possible.                             Imagination...

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It matters how cities are built

* Stroad Strong Towns’ definition: “a street/road hybrid … besides being a very dangerous environment (yes, it is ridiculously dangerous to mix high speed highway geometric design with pedestrians, bikers and turning traffic), they are enormously expensive to build and, ultimately, financially unproductive.” Lead pipes to carry city water? Graceful public transit or weekday-only buses? An engaging downtown to attract businesses and customers? Open spaces for healthy living? Car-centric or bike friendly? Decisions on matters like these are made every day in American cities, and they impact generations to come, reaching hundreds of years into the future. Once made,...

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The man whose money talks in Salem

Larry Tokarski began his real estate career in Salem in 1973. Since then he has founded and managed Mountain West Investment Corporation through which he has influenced the development and building of over a billion dollars of real estate. This includes over 1,000,000 square feet of commercial and residential facilities and more than 30 subdivisions. Tokarski has also been involved in the development and building of 47 retirement communities in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, and Nevada. Not a Salem resident (Tokarski lives in Wilsonville) the developer has invested a minimum of three-quarters of a million dollars in local political...

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On Some Reasons for Writing Poetry

by James Merrill The reasons for why a poet faces the blank page—these are more important than the words that the poet will put on that page. And then, after the writing, the words he or she puts down are all we have. They are the traces or the breadcrumbs, only the dust we have left of what was experienced by the writer. Non-poets don’t know this, and this causes a lot of consternation—perhaps even fatigue, weariness–both for the poet and for the reader.  But why? Some or perhaps many poets want this not to be true … so for them, it is not the case. For them, the artifact on the page is the only thing that matters. They have written “set pieces” or still life paintings with words. And they can be very beautiful. And when they have achieved beauty this way, through word pictures – they have given something to the world. A piece of art, and it is a nice gift. But it is usually not a Picasso, or a Van Gogh, or even a Keats poem. This kind of art-piece poem is often done to get the recognition that comes with producing fine art in any genre. There are fine arts colleges—even in writing. So there is a market for this kind of training, and it can be very exciting, even fulfilling to go...

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Planting seeds of power in fields and cities

The list of things wrong with the modern food system is a long one. Pesticides, soil depletion, processing are just a few problems with the way crops are grown and food makes it way to stores and dinner tables. But two Portland filmmakers set out to harvest a different message, to present stories of hope in two very different settings – the agriculturally-rich Willamette Valley and an inner city neighborhood where drive-by shootings are common. Filmmakers Elaine Velazquez and Barbara Bernstein show change is possible and empowering in “Gaining Ground,” the subject of this month’s Salem Progressive Film Series....

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DYNAMIC NEW SHOW TO HIGHLIGHT LEGISLATURE

“There isn’t much that the Oregon Legislature does that doesn’t affect me personally,” says Jan Margosian, co-host of the new radio show, “Legislative Matters, Tune In and Take Part,” on KMUZ – Salem and Keizer’s community radio station. “Too often, ordinary citizens find out too late the effects of a new law on their personal lives. From tax increases, to availability of affordable health care, to insurance increases and having to obtain a certification in order to work… All of these could happen without any input from the citizenry.”  Legislative Matters kicks off on Monday, March 13 at 8...

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SALEM CITY CLUB INFORMS ON HOMELESS ISSUES

On Friday, March 17 and Friday April 7, Salem City Club will present programs to inform people about the challenges and issues of homelessness in our community. Meetings are open to everyone with an interest. Jimmy Jones, Ph.D of the Arches Project of the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency and Ron Hays, Director of the Community Resource Trust will appear on March 17 to discuss, “A Profile of Salem’s Homeless Population.” Dr. Jones has conducted in-depth interviews with members of over 1,000 households living in Salem without housing, while Hays serves as the lead on the development of 180 low – income homes in North Salem. At the April 7 program, called, “Programs Actively Working to Help the Homeless: Housing and School,” attendees will hear from Andy Wilch, Head of the Salem Housing Authority and the lead on the redevelopment of Yaquina Hall into 50 low income housing units, as well as Kim Lemmon, Director of St. Francis Shelter for homeless families and Melissa Wisner, Director of Salem-Keizer Public Schools STEP program (Students in Transition Educational Program) which works with the hundreds of students known to be homeless. For more information, and to register, Salem Weekly readers should visit salemcityclub.com. 2017 Salem-Keizer Community Connect Resource and Health Fair Tuesday, March 28th 9:00am – 3:00pm Salem First Baptist Church 395 Marion St NE, Salem Community Connect is a one-day resource...

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Oh, how far we have come

In just an few short years, state legal cannabis has come a very long way, very quickly. It was just 2013 when the Oregon legislature passed House Bill 3460 to legalize medical cannabis dispensaries.Medical dispensaries began licensing in Oregon, in March of 2014. The legislature gave local government control, via Senate Bill 1531, over time, place and manner restrictions affecting how these businesses could operate within local municipalities. Here in Salem, a medical marijuana committee was formed, with representatives from the city council, neighborhood associations,the police department, Salem Keizer School District and industry stakeholders. The ink was barely dry on the new Salem medical marijuana ordinance when Measure 91 was passed  by 56% of the voters of Oregon in November 2014. This past March 13th, the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce held a Forum Speaker Series Luncheon at the downtown convention center, on “ Marijuana in Oregon”. A large turnout was present to hear Rob Bovett, Legal Counsel of the Association of Oregon Counties and Sam Chapman of New Economy Oregon Speak on the subject. The Salem Chamber’s host speaker used adjectives such as “confusing, amazing, and surreal” to describe our new industry. Trying to break through the stigma of the past, he endevored to “talk out loud” on the subject. In attendance was Dan Clem, Chamber President and also Chuck Bennett our new Salem Mayor. Both men sat...

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Sacred Waters

Poems by Franca Hernandez Poetry opened doors to me for political activism and lately activism brings me back to poetry. “Water Is Life”, a poem of protest, is my visceral reaction to a picture of teepees on the prairie against a relentless backdrop of miles of snow. The quiet reflection it communicates after a season of violence struck me deeply. Water is Life Frozen landscape of protest Brilliant in its seething purity A site on which outsiders have found meaning Like pilgrims we gather at this sacred spot Where our atavistic memory seeps under our skin And will not let us go Here seekers linger gazing on the white horizon Unmindful of the Artic breath that wants to kill us Here one is frozen with one’s thoughts Compelled to ponder Washing away hyperbole One focuses on what is important and fundamental Essential in its whiteness It strips the unessential Under the snow there is strength A muted time to contemplate one’s death Our bones under the virgin prairie Content to lie still Listening with gladness to the padding steps of children And the flow of sacred water In the Italian Alps, land of the ancient Celts prior to the settlement of the Lombard peoples, I discovered a small ancient temple within the halls of a monastery.  I saw this as a suppressed memory of the Celtic goddess Danu’ and...

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Public broadcasting viewers feeling cheated by Comcast

This January, Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), Oregon’s non-profit, publicly funded television, changed the way it transmitted one of its two adult broadcasting channels. Some local Comcast customers feel that the way the cable provider has handled the matter is unfair. OPB has transmitted its primary television channel in high definition (HD) since 2011, but has transmitted it in both HD and standard definition (SD). This continues to be the case, so customers who have SD service have been able to receive OPB programs in their homes. In January, OPB began to offer its second channel, OPB Plus, in HD only. Although cable provider Comcast could continue to make OPB Plus programming available in SD for its SD customers, it has elected not to, forcing these customers to pay an extra $10 charge for HD service if they want to continue to see these programs. Comcast is the largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world by revenue. All OPB programming and channels are supplied to Comcast at no charge. No monies collected from Comcast customers for HD are remitted to the non-profit. In January an OPB spokesman said, “The fact that we began transmitting OPB Plus in HD did not require cable providers to drop that channel from their SD channel lineup. We transmit regular OPB TV in HD also, and all cable providers have the capability to...

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City introduces community-centric website 

On March 1, the City of Salem will “soft launch” a new website it hopes will be more straightforward and clear, as well as mobile-responsive, for people accessing it by phone or tablet. “We’ve even rewritten the content,” says Kenny Larson, Communications & Community Engagement Manager for the City of Salem, removing “jargon wherever possible to make things easier to understand.” The “soft launch” means that, for the month of March, visitors will see a button in the corner of the current website, inviting them to preview the new site. During this ‘beta-test’ period, Larson says City staff will...

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City of Salem out of touch with identifying stakeholders

As part of its Salem Strategic Plan process, the City of Salem held a stakeholder “charrette,” or solution-mapping meeting, on January 31. Its strategic plan was a process, according to the city, “to get feedback on key issues in our community” and to develop strategies to address them. The problem-solvers selected by City of Salem staff did not meet the city’s stated goal for diversity and inclusion. “Stakeholders,” according to a statement released on February 7 titled “Stakeholder Engagement” are people “able to represent the interests and opinions” of those with a specific interest in the work the city does. “Our goal,” the statement said, “is to achieve a balanced and broad range of community perspectives, with an emphasis on the community’s diversity (gender, age, ethnicity and a mix of business and neighborhood voices).” For the January 31 meeting, the city invited 32 people it felt met this definition to participate. • Nearly half (47%) were Republican (and 33% Democrat) in a town where Democrats hold a 9-point registration advantage over Republicans (40% to 31%) and Hillary beat Trump by 11 points (49% to 38%) • 27% did not live in Salem but instead in Keizer, near Independence, Canby, Turner, Aurora and rural locations outside of Salem • 43% had strong affiliations with the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce • 30% (9 of 32) have held present or past...

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SALEM OREGON VALUES

Many downtown Salem businesses have begun to display a sign proclaiming inclusion for all members of the community. The signs state, “We welcome ALL races, ALL religions, ALL countries of origin, ALL sexual orientations, ALL genders. We stand with you, you are safe here.” They are a work of personal advocacy by a local man disturbed by the country’s division and the demonifying of certain groups since the Trump election. His work reflects, on a small scale, potentially far-reaching decisions made on a larger scale at the Capitol building, where Governor Kate Brown showed Oregon’s priorities on February 2....

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17TH ANNUAL SILVERTON POETRY FESTIVAL

Silverton Poetry Festival Schedule of Events: Friday through Sunday February 24-26, 2017 On the spring-anticipating last weekend of February, the Silverton Poetry Association (SPA) hosts its yearly festival. The events are various and the venues are scattered through the art-drenched town of Silverton and at the Mt. Angel Abbey. All events (except the workshop) are free and open to the public. FEATURED POETS READING: Friday 7pm  Oregon Gardens Frank Lloyd Wright Gordon House Poets Marjorie Powers, Annie Lighthart, and Joanna Rose open this year’s festival with readings in the woodsy and atmospheric Gordon House.  Food and wine, gratis. FAVORITE POEM PROJECT & OPEN MIC:  Saturday, 11am-12:30 pm Silver Falls Library Auditorium 410 S Water St, Silverton This 21st year of Robert Pinsky’s National Favorite Poem Project, we invite you to listen in and to share a favorite poem. MUSIC AND POETRY: Saturday 3 – 5 pm Main Street Bistro Mezzanine 201 Main St (at Water St), Silverton Frost, Machado, Langston Hughes, Stafford and Szymborska set to original music by Jon Young and Vere McCarty.  Sing along and discuss the marriage of two arts.             WABI-SABI WRITING WORKSHOP Saturday, 1 – 4 pm Borland Gallery, Silverton Arts Assoc’n “Big” City Park, 303 Coolidge St. Wabi-sabi, an inspiration of Leonard Cohen, is the Japanese aesthetic of transient moments. Write in a circle of poets, share transient poetic...

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