Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Queen of Peace recognized for environmental work

April 25, 2022 at 3:06pm

Polk County to be designated as Purple Heart county at Tuesday ceremony

(Courtesy/Polk County)

Local veterans who were wounded or killed while in service will be honored Tuesday when Polk County is officially designated as Oregon's third Purple Heart county.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners and the county's County Veterans Service Office are inviting anyone to attend the ceremony.

The board will honor Purple Heart recipients in Polk County with a special recognition certificate. People can fill out an online form to receive a certificate at the ceremony or in the mail.

The ceremony is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at The Academy Building on the first-floor conference room, located at 182 SW Academy Street in Dallas. The ceremony was moved inside due to forecasted weather.

There will be light refreshments after the ceremony.

Correction: This story was updated to reflect that the ceremony also honors those wounded while in service.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

April 25, 2022 at 2:17pm

Person dies, officer injured in shooting after Marion County SWAT team called to Aurora truck stop

A person died of injuries Monday morning at a truck stop near Aurora after a shooting involving law enforcement, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said in a news release Monday, providing few details about the incident.

The sheriff's office said the suspect, who had barricaded himself in a vehicle during the incident, died of injuries at the scene following "an officer involved shooting."

A Woodburn Police Department officer was also hospitalized due to injury, according to Tommy Moore, spokesman for the city of Woodburn.

Around 6:15 a.m., deputies were called to the Flying J Truck Stop outside Aurora "after a wanted person was spotted outside."

The suspect barricaded themselves inside of a vehicle, and the Marion County Interagency SWAT Team were called for assistance.

"During the incident there was an officer involved shooting," the news release said.

The sheriff's office did not say who fired or whether any of the injuries were caused by gunfire.

The sheriff's office said in the news release that one law enforcement officer was injured and transported to an area hospital for treatment. The agency said did not have information about the officer's condition.

Moore confirmed Monday afternoon that a Woodburn officer was injured during the incident and was in stable condition after being taken to the hospital.

The suspect was injured during the incident, and law enforcement and emergency medical personnel tried providing medical aid at the scene. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, the news release said.

"There is no outstanding danger to the community at this time," the news release said.

The Marion County District Attorney's Office and Oregon State Police will be coordinating the investigation into the incident as required under state law.

This post was updated after the city of Woodburn confirmed the officer injured during the incident was a Woodburn officer.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

April 25, 2022 at 1:34pm

Salem's Queen of Peace school wins federal recognition for environmental efforts

Queen of Peace students explore outside (Courtesy photo)

Salem's Queen of Peace School earned federal recognition last week as a model school for environmental education and sustainability.

The private Catholic elementary and preschool was named a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, one of 27 schools in the country recognized, and the only one in Oregon.

The decade-old federal program recognizes schools that promote that reduce environmental impacts and costs, promote health and wellness and provide effective sustainability and environmental education.

The school's efforts include a school native plant garden, a community recycling program and a curriculum that integrates environmental education into science, technology, engineering and math.

"Our school has been transforming unused, manicured lawn areas into outdoor, natural learning spaces for students while supporting wildlife. We have recently expanded our native pollinator garden and an organic vegetable garden. These spaces are pesticide-free. This requires a substantial amount of service hours by our students, staff, parents, and community. Weeds and invasive plants are removed by hand and disposed of properly," school leaders wrote in an application.

School leaders said using environmental issues as part of their curriculum has had a positive impact on student learning.

"We have seen growth in questioning, investigating, defining problems, analyzing, interpreting, reasoning, developing conclusions, and solving problems. Our environmental and sustainable education are teaching students how to think and not follow step-by-step procedures," the application said.

-Rachel Alexander