Author: Sarah Rohrs

Film shows US actions are direct link to Latin American immigration

The opening images of “Harvest of Empire,” a film about the roots of Latino immigration, paint a complex picture of the crisis we face today. In one image a cop is putting handcuffs on a Latino college graduate dressed in a cap and gown. In another a parade of Latinos wave flags and signs, one reading “We are Americans. We want to be part of the dream.” Finally, a conservative TV news commentator angrily tells immigrants they don’t belong. “You have no rights,” he says. Immigration is not a simple issue, but at this time of heated and divisive...

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More hunting and fishing proposed for ten wildlife refuges, including Baskett Slough west of Salem

Hunting birds, deer and other creatures in a wildlife refuge may seem like a shame for some people who want these areas off-limits to guns. But, some national wildlife refuges already allow hunting. Further, the office of the U.S. Secretary of Interior is on a course to expand those opportunities. Baskett Slough, west of Salem and Siletz Bay, south of Lincoln City, are among ten wildlife refuges proposed to offer more chances to hunt and fish. The plan is already drawing ire in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service public comment section. One citizen wrote, “The Basket Slough NWR...

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New festival takes root and branches out in city’s oldest park

Blanketed with stately trees and full of local charm and history, Englewood Park in a northeast Salem neighborhood is the proverbial hidden gem in Salem. Neighbors certainly know about the 7-acre oasis of trees, the city’s oldest park at 1260 19th St. NE. Some have long floated the idea of a festival to nurture environmentalism and community, and to celebrate arts and the wealth of talent in the neighborhood. A side benefit is to introduce the park to others in town. That idea has come to fruition with the Englewood Forest Festival that will take place 11am to 5pm,...

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Film urges people take lead role to save planet earth

It’s a scene straight out of a good disaster movie –  mass flooding, permanent drought, forests hacked down, and landscapes bursting and burning. But when it comes to global warming and climate change such a scene is not such a script of make believe. Film star and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio delivers this point in the powerful documentary, “Before the Flood,” the subject of this month’s Salem Progressive Film Series. While no means the first movie on climate change, “Before the Flood” boils down the science in simple terms and attempts to empower people to demand their leaders exert...

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Script for sick American health care system

Something’s wrong when the only thought a man has as he falls off a roof is that he hopes he dies. His thought? The medical bills will be just too much for himself and his family. That story is not uncommon in the United States and it’s those tales that have galvanized advocates, organizers, students and physicians to demand a new health care system that doesn’t strike fear in the bodies of the users Filmmakers Laurie Simons and Terry Sterrenberg tell the story of this movement in their second health care documentary Now Is The Time, the subject of...

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An army of ideas on how to make America better

Despite its provocative title, Where to Invade Next, Michael Moore’s latest film is not about waging war, though its message is delivered with great stealth and subversion worthy of a great general. Armed with humor and information, Where to Invade Next is a clever film that has viewers laughing one minute and shaking their fists in anger the next. The film confronts much of what is wrong in the United States and much of what is right in other countries. Can America do better? The film delivers its target, a resounding yes. The film’s positive notes are surprising aspects...

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OPEN HOUSE ON TINY HOUSES, GRANNY FLATS IN SALEM

Salem needs more housing, city studies conclude, and the city has come up with a plan to try to address that need. The City is considering allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which include granny flats, mother-in-law units, tiny houses and conversions of garages, sheds, basements and attics into living spaces. Proponents say ADUs can expand housing choices, help provide affordable housing and meet Salem’s unmet need for more multifamily housing. An ADU is a second housing unit that is part of a main house, or it is a detached unit that is smaller but on the same lot. This form of housing has never been allowed in Salem, said city Project Manager Eunice Kim. Earlier this year, the council directed staff to come up with a proposal to allow them. “When zoning was first in place in the 1920s they were never put in [city codes],” Kim said. “In recent years we’ve gotten a lot of input from the public asking them to be allowed.” City staff and Housing Choices Advisory Committee members have explored this year how best the smaller units could be integrated into existing Salem neighborhoods. Size, setbacks, height, design, owner occupancy and neighborhood impacts are among some of the issues discussed. Impacts to parking, sidewalks and neighborhood density are among big concerns expressed. The committee includes representatives of neighborhood associations, the Planning Commission, City Council,...

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NEW YEAR, NEW SALEM CITY COUNCIL FACES

As 2016 draws to a close, all eyes will likely be on Washington, D.C. where President-Elect Donald Trump will be sworn into office on January 20. January will also usher in new faces on the Salem City Council. Newcomers to be sworn in include Cara Kaser who won Ward 1, Matt Ausic who won Ward 5, and Sally Cook who won Ward 7. Ward 3 incumbent Brad Nanke will also be sworn in for another term. He ran unopposed in May. Current Ward 1 City Councilor Chuck Bennett will advance to the mayor’s seat. The May elections serve as a primary for Salem. The top two winners advance to the November general election. However, if one candidate captures a majority of the votes in May, he or she wins the race. The Salem City Council races in the May election had two candidates (except Ward 3). Hence, the top vote-getter won at that time. Their names appeared on the November 8 ballot, although they had no contenders. The City Council swearing-in ceremony takes place during the first meeting of January. However, the exact date of that meeting has not yet been...

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The Planet: Reuse It or Lose It

Like tides of trash filling oceans and clogging streams, the reuse movement is an equally strong current. Reuse—simply using products a second time, or in a second way—chips away at mountains of stuff, keeps items out of landfills, and saves money and natural resources. Just ask Alex Eaves who has made a film promoting the practice of reuse, the subject of this month’s Salem Progressive Film Series. Eaves is part of a progressive movement fueled with creativity, positivity, and passion to find new uses for stuff routinely wasted and discarded. His film, “REUSE! Because You Can’t Recycle the Planet,”...

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