Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Learn about stress management, interviewing for jobs in free workshops

27 days ago

Salem's city librarian resigns

City librarian Sarah Strahl invites Salem Public Library patrons to leave favorite library memories on a tree in the downtown building (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Salem’s city librarian, Sarah Strahl, has resigned.

Kathy Ursprung, city spokesperson, said the city received the announcement last week.

Norman Wright, director of the Community Development Department and Strahl’s supervisor, said Strahl was part of a pivotal chapter in the library’s story and leaves things better than they were before.

The email did not give a reason for Strahl's departure.

“She has overseen some tremendous change at the library and was the driving force behind many great enhancements, including much of the improvements we see in the main branch, along with our curbside service, our free parking policy, our successful move-out and move-in, and our collection development practice,” Wright said in an email to staff.

Strahl didn’t respond to a phone call or email Monday seeking additional details about her resignation.

She was hired in 2018 after working at the Hillsboro Public Library and oversaw the library's move to a temporary facility during a seismic renovation completed this summer.

-Saphara Harrell

27 days ago

Salem-Keizer cancels school on Nov. 12

Local students will have a four-day weekend for Veterans Day.

The Salem-Keizer School District announced Friday that students wouldn't have classes on Friday. Nov. 12.

"Because Veterans Day falls on a Thursday this year, the district has a unique opportunity to support the well-being of staff and students by allowing a longer break in instruction," the district said in a news release.

The day is intended to give teachers the opportunity to catch up, according to a Facebook post from the Salem-Keizer Education. Association, the union representing district teachers.

"(Union) leadership met with district leaders and made the case for November 12th becoming a non-student day to allow teachers some additional time to catch their breath," the association said in a Facebook post. "It was anticipated that November 12th would be a high-absence day and likely add more stress to the plates of SKEA members while not being a productive day for teaching and learning."

The district will not make up the day, according to a news release, because the district will meet state-required instructional hours without it.

The release said the district is working with local child care providers to offer child care at some sites, and families can check with their child care providers for more information. To-go lunches will be offered at some schools during the closure, with more information to be shared this week.

-Rachel Alexander

28 days ago

Oregon to get $422 million in federal funding to recover from 2020 wildfires

Firefighters pick up the remains of a destroyed fire command at the Gates Elementary School on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Oregon is getting $422 million in federal funding to help recover from the wildfires that started on Labor Day in 2020.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Monday the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds will be used for “disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure and housing, economic revitalization, and mitigation, in the most impacted and distressed areas.” 

President Joe Biden signed the allocations into law on Sept. 30.

“This (disaster recovery) appropriation will help with the unmet needs of Oregonians in impacted areas. We look forward to working with the state and continuing to support the recovery efforts from the devastating 2020 wildfires,” said Tony Ramirez, director of HUD’s Portland field office, in a statement.

The release said the money is Oregon’s first disaster recovery allocation.

Oregon got the second-largest allocation out of the 10 states that were awarded money, behind Louisiana which experienced damage from Hurricanes Laura and Delta. 

-Saphara Harrell

28 days ago

Library, Chemeketa offer free classes on job skills, mental health

Chemeketa Community College (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

This week, you can catch a free class on stress management, household budgeting or modern job interviewing.

The Community Wellness & Recovery Workshop Series has a variety of free one-hour workshops available through mid-December. Preregistration is required.

The series is a partnership between the Chemeketa Cooperative Regional Library Service, which includes Salem's library, and Chemeketa Community College. Most courses are taught by Chemeketa instructors.

Offerings later this fall include presentations on caring for art, finding the right career path and design basics for small businesses.

To view a complete schedule and register, visit the workshop series website.

-Rachel Alexander