Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Chamber resumes annual business awards

June 9, 2022 at 4:52pm

Top belly dancers converge in Salem this weekend for national competition

(Courtesy/Belly Dancer USA)

Salem residents this weekend won't have to make a trip to watch live, competitive performances from some of the best belly dancers in the country.

The Belly Dancer USA competition will have dozens of dancers competing in both solo and large troupe performances at Salem's Historic Grand Theatre, slated for Saturday through Sunday.

Headlining the event is Vanessa of Cairo, an American-born dancer who has been living and dancing full-time in Egypt since 2008. She's the first and only American woman to start a production company in Egypt, according to a press release.

She will headline a gala event Saturday at 8 p.m.

Laura Leyl, the reigning Belly Dancer USA 2021 and a multi-award-winning professional belly dancer based in Los Angeles, will also perform at the gala event.

Cassandra Rose Pangburn, a Salem-based belly dancer and owner of dance studio Rose Empire Dance, "acquired the competition as part of a lifelong dream" to move it to the city, the press release said.

Salem resident Lindsay Pirelli, who is competing Sunday, takes classes at Rose Empire and has been belly dancing for about nine years.

Pirelli will compete in the professional fusion category, which incorporates other styles of dance or music into the traditional Middle Eastern movements and music seen in typical belly dancing.

She'll be wielding two swords during her dance, performing under the name Liska. It's a Czech surname meaning "fox," to honor her Czechoslovakian ancestry.

Pirelli encouraged anyone who is interested in dance to take classes at Rose Pangurn's studio and to come out for the weekend competition.

"If you're interested, come out and support us," she said.

Tickets are available online and are $15 for the Saturday daytime competition, $20 for the Saturday evening gala, $30 for a Saturday full-day pass, $10 for the Sunday daytime competition, $15 for the Sunday evening competition, $20 for a Sunday full-pass, and $45 for a full weekend pass.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

June 9, 2022 at 1:25pm

Ward 4 council race heading to November ballot

Dynee Medlock, left, and Deanna Gwyn, are running to represent south central Salem, Ward 4, on the city council (Campaign photos)

South central Salem residents will have to vote again in November for their city council candidate.

After a final ballot tally released Wednesday evening, just six votes separate Dynee Medlock and Deanna Gwyn, both political newcomers vying for the ward 4 council seat.

Medlock, 42, a network specialist, has 2,554 votes, while Gwyn, 59, a principal broker with Blum Real Estate, has 2,548. Gwyn was up by one vote in the previous ballot count on May 25.

The tallies include all ballots eligible to be counted, including those where voters corrected mismatched or missing signatures, said Marion County Clerk Bill Burgess.

The nonpartisan council races are generally settled during the May primary, but candidates must win 50% of all votes cast plus one. With 13 write-in votes in the race, Burgess said neither candidate has cleared that threshold, which means both would appear on the November ballot.

Burgess said his office will certify the election results Monday. The race is close enough to trigger an automatic recount under Oregon law, which he expects the elections office to complete by June 16.

“I don’t expect anything will change," Burgess said of the recount.

-Rachel Alexander

June 9, 2022 at 12:30pm

Salem Chamber brings back annual business awards

Tom Hoffert, chief executive officer of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, left (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

The Salem Chamber of Commerce is resuming its annual Business of the Year awards with a presentation Monday.

The awards ceremony will be held at the Salem Convention Center from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. as a special event in the Chamber's monthly forum speakers series.

The Chamber last issued the awards in 2017.

"Following the challenges of a pandemic on Salem’s local business community, our 25-person volunteer Board of Directors identified 2022 as the ideal opportunity to bring back a program which recognizes excellence and innovation within the resilient Salem business community," said Tom Hoffert, Chamber CEO, in an email.

Six awards will be given: Business of the Year, Employer of the Year, New Business of the Year (recognizing a business which opened in the last 24 months), Key Community Initiative or Non-Profit of the Year, Agriculture, Processing or Manufacturing Business of the Year, and Small Business or Entrepreneur of the Year.

Advance registration is required, and Chamber members get a discount on tickets. For more information, visit the Chamber website.

-Rachel Alexander