Local News That Matters

Police seek tips after two 17-year-olds shot in southeast Salem

7 months ago

Wanted: Candidate to hire on as Polk County commissioner

Polk County Courthouse (Courtesy of Jolene Guzman/Polk Itemizer-Observer)

A top job is opening up in Polk County government – county commissioner.

Commissioner Mike Ainsworth is retiring early from a post he can hold until December 2022. He has decided to exit early, leaving office at the end of July.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners said Thursday it would start accepting applications for Ainsworth’s job on Friday, April 2.

Those wanting the job have to submit a cover letter and a resume to the board by May 3 and undergo a criminal background check. Submissions can be sent to the board at Polk County Courthouse, 850 Main St., Dallas OR 97338.

According to the Polk County Itemizer-Observer, Ainsworth said he was retiring to spend more time with his family, particularly his 87-year-old mother. He was elected in 2010.   He has been involved in the timber industry his entire career, and is a former production supervisor at Weyerhaeuser/Willamette Industries.

The other commissioners are Craig Pope and Lyle Mordhorst.

7 months ago

Can sick leave be used for Covid shots? A state agency says yes

Florinda Velasquez, 74, prepares to receive her second dose of Covid vaccine from medical assistant Ana Barcenas at Lancaster Family Health Center in southeast Salem on Thursday, March 4 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

As Oregon continues ramping up inoculations against Covid, a state agency took to Twitter on Wednesday with a reminder for the state’s workforce: “You can use sick time to get your vaccine.”

The tweet came from the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, which included a website with more information on the ins and outs of the state’s sick-leave law. 

“I encourage every person to get their shot when they’re eligible, and I encourage employers to do everything they can to support vaccination efforts,” Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle said in a statement. “Each and every shot in the arm is a step forward to protect our entire community from widespread disease and severe illness.”

According to the website, workers at companies with 10 or more employees get paid sick time under Oregon law. Sick time is protected at smaller companies but is unpaid. 

That time can be used for many reasons, including doctor visits and helping sick or injured family members. Workers get at least one hour of protected sick time for every 30 hours worked 90 days after starting a job. 

-Jake Thomas 

7 months ago

Police seek tips after two 17-year-olds shot in southeast Salem

Investigators from the Marion County Sheriff's Office process the scene of a shooting in the Four Corners area of southeast Salem on March 24, 2021 (Courtesy/Marion County Sheriff's Office)

Police are searching for tips and additional suspects after two teens were shot Wednesday afternoon in the Four Corners area, leaving one critically injured.

Callers reported hearing shots around 4:19 p.m. near the intersection of Durbin Avenue Southeast at Wiley Lane Southeast, police said in a news release. Deputies with the Marion County Sheriff's Office responded and found two 17-year-old boys with gunshot wounds in the back parking lot of Four Corners Elementary School.

Deputies searched the area and detained two additional 17-year-old boys. One was charged with first-degree robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon and theft in the first degree, the release said. The other was released to his parents. Investigators believe the shooting took place during a marijuana deal, the release said.

No one has been charged in the shooting and investigators are looking for additional suspects.

“We’ve got some people, we don’t think we have everybody," said Sgt. Jeremy Landers, spokesman for the Sheriff's Office.

Medics transported both victims to a local hospital. One is in critical condition, while the other has non life-threatening injuries, the release said. The Sheriff's Office is not releasing their names because they are minors.

Investigators are seeking community tips which may help identify additional suspects involved in the shooting. Tips can be submitted online at https://www.co.marion.or.us/SO/Pages/tip411.aspx or by calling the Sheriff's Office tip line at 503-540-8079.

-Rachel Alexander

7 months ago

Oregon Employment Department offers initial claims form in Spanish

Oregon Employment Department. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Oregon Employment Department has launched an online Spanish-language form for laid-off workers to file initial unemployment claims. 

The claim form is for those filing a new unemployment claim. Those eligible for benefits will need to file weekly claims to continue receiving benefits. 

“Ensuring equal access to our programs is part of living our agency values of respect, integrity, and community,” said David Gerstenfeld, acting director of the Oregon Employment Department, in a prepared statement. 

The Spanish-language initial claim form is available on the Online Claim System. Those without internet access can file initial claims and weekly claims with one-on-one phone assistance by calling the Unemployment Insurance Hotline at 1-877-345-3484.

-Jake Thomas