Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem teen, teacher receive awards for community leadership

February 1, 2022 at 5:16pm

Data digest: Covid by the numbers for Feb. 1, 2022

A screengrab of the Covid cases in the region encompassing Marion, Polk, Linn, Lincoln, Yamhill and Benton counties.

As Covid hospitalizations remain high due to the omicron variant, Salem Reporter is again publishing case and hospitalization information daily. Here’s our report for Tuesday, Feb. 1. 

Total Salem Hospital patients with Covid: 113 as of Tuesday morning, a decrease of 10 from Monday.  

Of those, 16 are in the intensive care unit, and five are on ventilators.

Sixty-one of those in the hospital are not vaccinated against Covid, and 52 are vaccinated.

Salem Health does not consistently report the number of patients who have received a booster vaccine dose because of the difficulty tracking whether patients are eligible for a booster in real time, spokeswoman Lisa Wood said. The vaccinated patient count includes any patient who has received at least two doses of a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Total Salem Hospital bed occupancy: 493 patients; the hospital is licensed for 494 beds.

Total people hospitalized with Covid in Region 2 (Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton, Lincoln counties): 190. Of those, 26 are in the intensive care unit and nine are on ventilators.

Total Region 2 hospital bed occupancy: 82 of 86 staffed ICU beds and 560 of 562 non-ICU beds in use. 

New Covid cases reported in Marion County: 544

New Covid cases reported in Polk County: 140

New Covid deaths reported: 24 in Oregon

-Saphara Harrell

February 1, 2022 at 2:00pm

AGENDA: Marion County commissioners consider support services, mentoring for people in criminal justice system

Colm Willis, Marion County commissioner, speaks during a north county special meeting concerning COVID-19 response on May 5, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Marion County Board of Commissioners meets Wednesday to consider contracts for repair inspections on the Independence Bridge, support services for people under community corrections supervisions and mentoring to help keep people get out of criminal justice system.


Angie Onyewuchi, president and chief executive officer of Travel Salem, will present the nonprofit's first quarter report for 2021-2022. The report found Salem’s estimated economic impact from travel in 2020-2021 was $315 million.

Commissioners will consider adding around $316,000 to a contract with DOWL, LLC for inspecting repairs on the Independence Bridge across the Willamette River through June 2022, which would bring the new contract total to around $950,000.

The board will consider adding $70,000 to a contract with the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency to provide legal, medical, educational and employment assistance for people under Marion County Community Corrections supervision. The new contract would total $270,000.

Commissioners will also consider a roughly $260,000 contract with The Pathfinder Network to mentor people involved in the criminal justice system and help lower the number who reoffend.

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

February 1, 2022 at 10:00am

South Salem student, McKay choir instructor recognized with leadership awards


Student Dara Elkanah at a ribbon cutting ceremony at South Salem High School on Oct. 21, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A South Salem High School student and a McKay High School teacher last month received statewide awards for their work as leaders in the community.

The pair was recognized with the second annual ILEAD Impact Awards, which recognize teen leaders or groups that positively impacted their community and a youth leadership development professional, program or organization that influenced the next generation of leaders, according to a Monday news release from the city of Salem.

Senior Dara Elkanah was recognized for her community service at her school and in the Salem area. She is the founding president of South Salem's Best Buddies chapter, which helps build friendships, inclusive activities and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the news release said. 

Elkanah is in a mental health club as well as leadership development program DECA, collects food for the homeless, works with in a nonprofit that supports African refugee families and volunteered more than 100 hours at Camp Attitude to help kids with  disabilities. "She’s also facilitated training to school staff, serves as a Community Outreach Intern for the Salem Keizer School District, and is a representative for the Student Equity Committee at the school and District level," the news release said.

Peter Sepulveda, a seven-year teacher the choir instructor at McKay High School, received the ILEAD Impact Award for "leadership development professional recognition."

Sepulveda graduated from St. Olaf College with a bachelor’s of music  in vocal musical education and earned a master’s of science in education from Portland State University. He said he enjoys McKay High School's diverse community and "appreciates the opportunity to see students grow as leaders and change agents in their community," the news release said.

Peter Sepulveda, a seven-year teacher and McKay High School's choir instructor (Courtesy/City of Salem)

The public submitted nominations for the awards at the city-run ILEAD Youth Leadership Summit Dec. 11., and the ILEAD youth committee voted on the recipients.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian