Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Photos with Santa begin Saturday at Riverfront Carousel

November 29, 2021 at 3:55pm

AGENDA: Marion County commissioners to consider compensation for losses during wildfires, funding to help keep sentenced offenders and their children together

The Marion County Board of Commissioners meets Wednesday to consider applying for funds to cover revenue losses from last year's wildfires, replacing heating, ventilation and air conditioning units at the Marion County Courthouse, and grant funding to divert some offenders' prison sentences to probation so they can be with their minor children.


The commissioners will consider adopting a resolution and submitting an application for $715,634 in grant funding to cover the estimated revenue lost from the 2020 wildfires to distribute among taxing districts.

The commissioners will also consider adding $18,696 to its contract with Salem-based Interface Network, Inc. to support community access to temporary vaccination clinics as well as a radio campaign by Univision, a Spanish-language television network. The new contract total would not exceed $443,896 and and would extend to Jan. 31, 2022.

The board will consider spending $1,293,317 for manufacturer Trane U.S. Inc. to replace four heating, ventilation and air conditioning units at the Marion County Courthouse that have passed their expected life cycle and are failing more often.

Commissioners will consider a $323,827 purchase order to Peterson Machinery Co. to replace a front-end wheel loader used by Marion County's Environmental Services Division at solid waste sites that has surpassed its useful life.

The board will also consider approving $515,104 through Family Sentencing Alternative Pilot Program, which allows the state Department of Corrections to provide grants to counties for programs that divert people with minor children who would otherwise go to prison into probation to keep families intact, according to the agenda review form. The funding would be retroactive from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2023.

Meeting details: The commissioners meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Senator Hearing Room at 555 Court Street N.E. The meeting is streamed live on YouTube

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

November 29, 2021 at 1:29pm

Families have until Tuesday to seek compensation for school meals lost during online school

Veronica Diaz squirts mayonnaise on her son Victor's sandwich during a free summer lunch at Washington Elementary School on June 18, 2019 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Oregon families with kids eligible for free school lunch should have received a card in the mail from the state to cover the cost of meals lost due to school closures last year.

Any family that hasn't received the money or has questions about the benefits must contact the Oregon Department of Human Services' Pandemic EBT program at [email protected] by Nov. 30 to get the issues resolved.

State officials announced over the summer that about 450,000 Oregon children would receive $1,100 to help their families pay for food following a year of mostly online school. A second round of help in the fall gave families another $389 per eligible child.

The group included nearly all students in the Salem-Keizer School District, because 63 of the district's 65 schools offer free meals to all students, regardless of income. Payments were put on families' existing EBT cards, often called food stamps, or on cards mailed out for families that don't receive food stamps.

The department said any family that didn't receive a card or didn't receive the correct amount must report the issue by Tuesday to get it resolved.

-Rachel Alexander

November 29, 2021 at 10:08am

Santa photos at Riverfront Carousel sold out for the season

Addie Calderon, 4, of West Salem, visits with Santa at Salem's Riverfront Carousel on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Update: As of 11:30 a.m. Monday, all sessions with Santa at Riverfront Park are sold out. Original post below.

Santa is back in Salem starting Saturday.

Riverfront Carousel is booking appointments for photos with St. Nick from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 4 through Dec. 23. A 10-minute session costs $15.

The carousel is located in Riverfront Park, 101 Front St N.E.

As in 2020, Santa will sit behind a plexiglass screen with a bench in front of his window for visitors to sit on.

Each session includes a "keepsake photo" with Santa, according to the event description, and up to five shots on a personal device. Groups are limited to 10 people per visit.

More information and tickets are available here.

-Rachel Alexander