- In Syria, hospitals are bombed by Russian-backed forces of Bashar-al-Assad in a civil war which has killed half-a-million people.
- Mother Teresa is canonized. Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill meet: first meeting since 1054 of Catholic and Orthodox leaders.
- Britain votes to quit European Union.
- The International Atomic Energy Commission announces Iran has disposed of all nuclear weapons. The World Health Organization reports an outbreak of Zika virus. Ebola vaccine proven effective.
- In the deadliest mass shooting in US, a gunman kills or injures over a hundred patrons of the gay nightclub, “Pulse”, in Orlando, Florida.
- First reports of Russian tampering with 2016 US presidential election result in expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and sanctions against their intelligence agencies.
- Donald Trump wins US presidency in a surprise result.
- Trans-Pacific Partnership voided by Trump Administration
- North Korea conducts nuclear tests.
- Academy Awards: “Moonlight” (US), The Salesman (Iran). Prize-winning books: The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen and The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead.
Senior citizens, even those who were once librarians, are surprised by the number a variety of services offered by libraries these days. Our Salem Public Library, in the Civic Center, is no exception. Walk in the welcoming entrance and a treasure of leisure and professional offerings are spread before you for your choice. In addition to books available there at the library, audio books can be accessed from your home. Adult literary groups meet regularly, at convenient times of the day, teenagers have a section for themselves and younger children are encouraged to come together to share stories appropriate to their ages. Activities for all ages vary from table top games to tech instruction. The library offers something for every age and interest. Plus, you can buy inexpensive second hand jigsaw puzzles in the Book Store.
As you approach the library entrance, you will notice to your right another doorway, this one into Loucks Auditorium. Lectures and concerts are offered here to an audience of almost 300 listeners. One evening, at the end of November of this election year, a very different meeting was held. A City Council meeting convened here to hear a special concern because a very large crowd was expected. The auditorium was “standing room only” by the time the meeting began. And, to the astonishment of the local crowd, Salem Police lined the walls. What was the occasion? A councilman had published a video on his Facebook page that showed deadly violence toward African-Americans. The city administration had feared “outsiders” would come and cause problems. On the contrary, for over two hours citizens stood politely and gave personal evidence of racial bias and mistreatment they or their families had suffered recently. The councilman had resigned by that time and several members spoke on behalf of maintaining the best of American ideals here in Salem during the current heated political climate. The library continues to be an arena for courteous discussion and community education.
When You Visit
Unfortunately, the City of Salem budget does not allow the library to be open on Mondays, but the doors open at 10 am Tuesday through Saturday and at 1 pm on Sunday. Parking is free in the adjacent garage on Sunday, otherwise 75 cents an hour.
- A bond issue on this year’s ballot proposed moving and expanding our police facility, now on the lower floor of the Civic Center, at the cost of $82 million. It was defeated partly because of high price tag, but also because this proposal left City Hall itself and the Library at risk of severe damage in case of earthquake.
- Chuck Bennett was elected as future mayor as well as 3 councilors sponsored by Salem Progressives: Cara Kaser, Matt Ausec and Sally Cook.
- The Historic Landmarks Commission designated SESNA as the second Heritage Neighborhood. Planned activities included an illustrated calendar, “toppers” for street signs indicating the historical names of individual areas within the neighborhood and signage at significant intersections.
- December 14 brought a heavy snow that imperiled traffic, but delighted the residents.
- The Barrick funeral home on Church Street downtown was demolished for a new Starbucks.
- A new children’s playground, on the former site of Oregon School for the Blind, is completed and opened to the public.
- The City of Salem Urban Renewal Agency Board published a fact sheet outlining a plan to improve transportation in West Salem by constructing an underpass at the intersection of Wallace Road and and a reopened 2nd. Street. This underpass would facilitate a new traffic link by continuing to the Union Street Bridge and Trestle and into Wallace Park to connect, eventually, with projected “3rd Bridge” at a landing north of the park. See the green line in the city’s illustration above. According to local residents who objected, the new commercial traffic highway would cut off a section of the historic, National Register trestle, intrude into park land enjoyment, disrupt natural resources and disturb households along the park. The project was debated in neighborhood meetings and by City Council testimony.