Author: Salem Weekly

How Poetry Makes Sense of Science

Poems by Alvaro Rodriguez Someone asked me not long ago about the source of my inspiration and I couldn’t answer that question until I sat down and reflected on my poetry. Poetry has many shapes and forms. We give the gift of poetry to the world after we release our words. My inspiration for poetry changes day after day. It is fueled by the interaction with the world. My journey is my inspiration because I talk about my experiences in life, but the real muse is love, passion and admiration. In April this year I was invited to read during the open mic section of the Salem Poetry Project at Barrel & Keg on Thursdays. The girl that invited me was the muse for many of my poems. I found the voice inside me to give my poetry to the world. I am sharing my favorite poem below.              Wednesday I still don’t know who you are I have many questions I ask and wonder Why is not Wednesday, the day I can see you? Fiction and reality collide Are you a middle-of-the-week vampire? Simply gone and absent for me to see Darkness and blindness are not my allies Letters, words and phrases are built on Tuesday Filling the avenues at dusk Piling up and waiting To be recorded and delivered Can it be...

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Standing Up for Social Change & Climate Policies in Oregon

I study social change and how it happens. I’ve done research on how people transition to greener lifestyles and why people become members of environmental movements. If you’re wondering in these uncertain times, “what’s the one thing I can do to support social change?” It’s joining an organization that engages in civic and political action to reduce emissions and transition us to a clean energy economy. Because the reality is that there are comparatively few sources responsible for the vast majority of pollution and it will take new laws and regulations to make sure big business is doing their...

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Smokey Bear Propaganda

Criticisms of the way the U.S. Forest Service responded to wildfires in the Cascades near Brietenbush this summer highlight an evolving understanding of how to best manage fire in western forests. From late July and through September, the Whitewater and Little Devil fires torched about 11,500 and 2,200 acres in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, part of the Willamette National Forest in the Cascades. Largely because the Whitewater fire was believed to threaten human property – including Brietenbush Hot Springs, an unincorporated residential community of cabins called Summer Homes, and corporate timberland – the forest service created firebreaks and burnbacks...

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“I love it here”; Ward 6’s Chris Hoy is just getting started

Chris Hoy, a tall man with a direct, intelligent, warm gaze, spends much of his weekends working to brighten and fortify his community. He might be found gathering trash with NESCA neighbors in a Park-Ride zone; he might be planting saplings with Friends of Frees in McKay Park for future generations of families to enjoy. He might be reviewing the thick packet of material provided to city councilors by City of Salem staff to prepare for a Monday night City Council meeting “I believe public service is one of the greatest things we can do,” Hoy says. A fourth-generation...

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What Say You… Two

Guest Opinion (response) by Philip D. “So, I’ll say it here: if you haven’t seen a local act playing original music in the last six months, you’re the problem”  Salem Weekly September, 2017 Um…no. This ain’t Field of freekin’ Dreams. Just because you build it doesn’t mean the community is obligated to come. Ask Ken Ham how that approach is working for the Ark Encounter. If you want us to get our collective asses off the couch on any given evening you need to offer us something worth getting off the couch for. There are 15 year olds at...

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Salem Harvest

Local non-profit Salem Harvest held its annual Garden Party fundraiser on Sept. 10. The event was hosted by Bill & Julie Walters in the historic Fairmount district of Salem and sponsored by Dewey Whitton of The Salem Real Estate Group. Salem Harvest connects farmers and backyard growers with volunteer pickers to feed hungry families by harvesting fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. The group’s principal purpose is the distribution of food without charge to children or homeless, unemployed, elderly, or low-income individuals. Founded in 2010, Salem Harvest has donated more than a million pounds of fresh,...

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What Say You?

Guest Opinion by Chris Pelka I’ve been active in the Salem music scene for two years now, playing in a number of acts, organizing a few events and even starting a show aptly named “Salem Music Scene,” and I’ve gotta say one thing: I’m disappointed in the lack of interest in this city for original music. I know a lot of us feel this way, but no one wants to say it out loud for some reason. So, I’ll say it here: if you haven’t seen a local act playing original music in the last six months, you’re the...

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Conception of Reading – Abro el libro de tus ojos para leer en ellos las páginas de tus años.

By Juan Cervantes    When we read a book, every page is a form of conception.  Reading is a unique experience that occurs for each reader, conceiving among the pages the form of the form.  That is to say that each reader, as the writer does while writing, returns to his or her past to construct each page – not because the page needs to be constructed, but because the moment the reader opens a page he needs to see himself in the act of interpreting, of imagining what he reads.       This necessity for interpretation opens up the past, first in an involuntary form while reading, and afterwards voluntary, when the reader pauses to analyze, or encounters difficulty in interpreting.  Each reader is an interpreter of the reading, and therefore has a unique experience.  One cannot assume that two readers would have the same experience from reading a certain text.  Each individual is an experience of self, and as reader of a text, conceives of experience that reaches out from his or her past to come alive in the reading.    It is said that society forms the individual, and given that fact it is possible to think, if the idea is not too ambiguous, that two readers could have similar experiences of the same text, but not the same experience; a common form of interpreting but...

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The Values of Service and Transparency

by Matt Ausec Growing up in a home with two teachers as parents, one of the core values I developed was to serve the public. All of my life I have paid attention to the quality of life that I have experienced compared to the quality of life others experience. The injustices that I witnessed drove me to study political science, public administration, and to focus my career on working public service jobs. The reason that I worked hard to get elected to a second job with no pay and long hours was to expand the impact I make...

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Health care for underserved Oregonians in jeopardy

Northwest Human Services, which offers affordable, quality health care to community members, including the underserved, held an open house on August 17th. One of its messages was that the work of it, and other Community Health Centers across the country – may be cut by 70% if Congress does not take action in the next month. Northwest’s service numbers are impressive; 11,565 local patients were served in 2016, including 2,043 area homeless individuals. 17% of its patients have no insurance. 50% of its patients have income at or below 100% of the federal poverty guidelines. Though the group seldom...

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Photography show celebrates dynamic seniors

Salem’s Millie Estrin, photographed by Jessica Ramey The Salem Photo League will exhibit a new project, called, Salem Over Seventy, at the Salem 50+ Community Center during the month of September. The exhibit features photo essays spotlighting the unique lives of featured seniors as captured by local photographers. The Salem Photo League is a collective of documentary photographers who support each other and collaborate on projects that shed light on local issues in Salem, Oregon. The group started in 2011 when photographers partnered with the Salem Multicultural Institute to portray the growing diversity in Salem. Since then, the Salem...

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NASA says wear safe eclipse glasses

More than 300 million people in the United States may be watching on August 21 when the total solar eclipse occurs. In Oregon, 4 million residents and an estimated 1 million visitors will watch the moon pass in front of the sun in what NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, calls “a spectacular sky show.” Eclipse glasses are being sold in nearly every Salem venue imaginable – including fast food restaurants – because serious retinal damage can result when people look at even the smallest area of the sun during the eclipse process. NASA issued info on what to look for in eclipse glasses in late July. “Only with special-purpose solar filters,” NASA says, “such as eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer, you can safely look directly at the Sun.“ NASA recommends that anyone viewing the eclipse should check their viewing glasses ahead of time. Eclipse viewing glasses and handheld solar viewers should meet all the following criteria: · Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard · Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product · Not be used if they are older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses · Not use homemade filters · Ordinary sunglasses — even very dark ones — should not be used as a replacement for eclipse viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers....

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More than $31,000 per month for ‘consultants’

New data shows that taxpayers finance thousands of dollars per month for consultants to study an unbuilt, controversial bridge. In July, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) released figures showing that taxpayers currently pay more than $31 thousand per month, on average, for consultants who regularly bill hours related to a possible 3rd Bridge across the Willamette River. In 2016, taxpayers paid $78,548 per month, on average, in consulting fees. In 2017 – although the process is waiting for a decision from the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals since a December 2016 Salem City Council vote – (see, LUBA case...

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Two Pieces of Musical Ekphrasis

Poems by Kelley Morehouse and Vere McCarty When a poet responds with his or her own art to another work of art, the result is ekphrasis.  Music is the art form that inspires these two poems.  In one poem the artists play a sonata.  In the other the artist is a songbird.  Products of quiet morning writing time, these verses celebrate the capacity of music to lift the spirit.      _________ “The Starving Masses” imagines the notes of a sonata tumbling out windows and down the side of a building, becoming bread for the people below.  It describes a mutation of sound into other senses, satisfying the needs of taste, motion and touch. With its dwindling verticality on the page, “The Starving Masses” takes the shape of something light as dotted eighth notes falling, falling. The Starving Masses by Kelley Morehouse The pianist said             the musical notes were birthed that day on the 12th floor,              issued as they were from violin and grand piano.              Violinist said, No. They were released.  Dispersed like manna to the masses, scattered to the city below. The music fell upon the women waiting on lower floors at their kitchen’s window sills, catching it like falling snow, to savor its flavor long enough to waltz with...

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A busy year in Oregon cannabis legislation

Well, the 2017 Legislative session ended early last month and the legislature passed several cannabis related bills. In 2018 the Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation will not be reconvened, but state agencies will be continuing with the rule making a process for the new statutes. Among these new statutes is Senate Bill 1057, which regulates medical cannabis, and requires growers to use Metrc seed to sale tracking by July 2018. It also changed the immature plant limits for OMMP growers, limiting them to twice the allowable number of plants grown. In addition, it requires disclosure of financial interests for licensees, increases the number of OLCC commissioners from 5 to 7, allows for a 10% increase in existing grow canopies for medical use, and transfers labeling oversight from the Oregon Health Authority to the OLCC. It further protects OLCC licensees from potential federal Adult Use obstacles, by creating a fallback position to exclusively serve medical patients. Another new statute, SB 863, disallows cannabis retailers from retaining any information that could be used to identify customers. This was passed as a precautionary action to protect the privacy of Oregon consumers. SB 1015 now allows industrial hemp growers licensed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture to transfer hemp to OLCC processors, creating an avenue for hemp growers to market products within the state. It provides that industrial hemp, industrial hemp concentrates, and...

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Urging civility

A week ago last Monday at the West Salem Neighborhood Association, there were a series of totally inappropriate vocal and physical disturbances instigated by folks who support a new bridge, based primarily on emotions without much critical analysis. It was very disturbing, especially in light of what is happening nationally. I commented on it at length at Monday’s council meeting. I spoke from written notes which are reproduced below. Sorry for the length (especially without pictures!) but this issue is important. One of the functions of Salem neighborhood associations is to receive and discuss information concerning city projects and...

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LEGACY OF ANCIENT AMERICAN WOMEN LEADERS

By Leonide Martin Last weekend I declared freedom from I-5 by taking Amtrak to attend the Historical Novel Society conference in Portland. It was a banquet of delights for historical fiction lovers, where I rubbed elbows with famous and not so famous authors, joined spirited discussions of the art and content of writing, and spent far too much money buying books by inspiring writers. This international group is based in England, with U.S. and Australian branches. Naturally, there was a big focus on fiction set in Europe. I browsed the bookstores noting many titles featuring powerful European women: Victoria, Elizabeth I, the White Queen, Ann Boleyn, Tudor queens, Catherine the Great, Isabella of Spain. Where, I wondered, was historical fiction about women leaders in the Western Hemisphere? Important women from the Far and Middle East, Egypt, and Mediterranean regions were there. The Americas were represented by some sagas about women in the 18th-19th centuries, with more books on women during the world wars.  But the ancient Americas? Nothing. I was particularly struck by this omission, since my books are about powerful native women in ancient times. Although a few native women such as Pocahontas and Sacagawea have been portrayed, stories set in pre-European contact Americans are rare. Yet, it is exactly in these ancient eras when native women had the greatest influence upon their cultures, holding positions of highest...

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Note from the publisher  – A.P. Walther

We are gratified when our readers take the time to comment on the stories we work hard to bring you. Our last issue’s cover story, “Tales from the ER” generated a high level of feedback, and we appreciated every letter. We were, however, concerned by some comments in which readers took issue with the focus of our story. Let me be clear; we believe the staff at Salem Hospital go above and beyond to provide health services under very trying conditions. Our intention in writing this article was not to denigrate Salem Hospital’s overworked staff, but to start a conversation about how ER services might be improved. The negative experiences we described were, in our opinion, created by the combination of an overworked staff scheduled too thin by administrators focused on an inappropriate “bottom line” even though the institution is called nonprofit, and a health care system that forces millions of people to use the ER for their care because they cannot afford or access anything else. When life is on the line, front line staff should never be overworked or under-resourced. Over the years, we’ve heard many complaints about Salem Hospital’s ER, so many that we knew a story would one day be printed on our pages. After Kelly Williams Brown’s experience earlier this year, we knew the time had come. In putting the story together, we were...

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What it’s like to serve on Salem city council?

by Cara Kaser This 4th of July will mark exactly six months since I was sworn in as the Ward 1 Salem City Councilor. Serving as a councilor during these last few months has been an enlightening, challenging, and rewarding experience. It has also been eye-opening in that I’ve learned that many Salem residents are unaware of what serving on a volunteer city council is really like. To that end, I want to help demystify the council experience for you a bit. First off, I am not a career politician, nor do I have aspirations to be one. My...

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LET’S BUILD A COMMUNITY FRIENDLY POLICE FACILiTY, NOT A FORTRESS

by Geoffrey James, AIA The new police facility that Salem citizens approved in the May election will be the first public building built in Salem since 2005 when we cut the ribbon on our new convention center. The project has been controversial. I know. I served on the first Blue Ribbon Task Force appointed by Mayor Anna Peterson that came up with a plan that the city council rewrote and submitted to voters — that failed. The new plan for a smaller facility that voters approved is an improvement. But it is only that; a plan. It is not...

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