Front Page Stories: April, 2015   
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  Oregon Business Journal
  P.O. Box 93
  Salem, OR 97308

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From Top:

Alan Pennington
Host of Marion County
Green Awards
Kerr Concentrates
Business of the Year Award
Oscar Torres and Griselda Puga
Rafns’ Restaurant,
Small Sustainable Business Award
Rochelle Rafn and Beth Casper
Nathan Good Architects,
Green Service of the Year Award
Nathan Good and Lydia Jesse Peters
Mid-Valley Businesses, Organizations, & Individuals Show They Can Mix Business With Sustainable Efforts

By Beth Casper
Special to the Salem Business Journal

     The Mid-Willamette Valley’s Green Award ceremony honored exceptional environmental practices by unique businesses and individuals, and it also brought a few surprises.
     The sixth annual Mid-Valley Green Awards ceremony was Saturday, March 7. The ceremony was presented by the Straub Environmental Center, Marion County Public Works Environmental Services and Capitol Subaru.
     Logan Blanco and Millie Estrin brought a roar of approval from the crowd as they took home the first-ever “Green Bookend Awards,” which prove that inspiring others in green practices can be done at any age. Logan Blanco, 8, and Millie Estrin, 90, are each doing what they can to change the world.
     Blanco, who attends Gubser Elementary, collected bottle caps for recycling and enlisted the help of several coffee shops, which now understand the importance of keeping this item out of the waste stream.
     He puts his work this way, “I’m saving the world, one bottle cap at a time!” Millie Estrin, 90, has volunteered more than 250 hours as a Master Recycler and has educated thousands of people about recycling. Her nominator said, “She is kind and curtious about her direction, but make no mistake, Millie, a pint-sized 90 year old, is a force to be reckoned with!” Dana Canning, who earned the Individual Recycler of the Year Award, tackles two problems with her efforts: homelessness and the proliferation of plastic bags. Through her Salem Sleeping Bag Project, volunteers crochet mats and sleeping bags for homeless people from recycled materials and plastic bags. The project has put to good use 108,000 plastic grocery bags to make 180 sleeping mats.
     Ten other people or businesses were honored with Green Awards and the Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Mike and Karen Weddle. Mike, a longtime teacher and founder of the Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School, continues to volunteer at the school teaching French, leading hands-on stream restoration efforts, and serving on the Charter Board. Karen, a retired industrial chemist, has assisted at the school with many behind the scenes efforts such as tutoring students, field trips, and countless administrative details that helped get the school off the ground.
     The Green Apple Award recognized Dan Hoynacki’s engagement of almost 3,000 atrisk youth and the establishment of several environmental education programs that teach students ecological principles, community gardening and natural resource management. Hoynacki’s students have provided more than 130,000 hours of service to the community.
     Zena Forest Products, winner of the 2015 Green Product Award, sustainably harvests its oak resources to create durable hardwood flooring with a third-party Forest Stewardship Council certification. The company works hard to maintain and expand the rare Oregon white oak ecosystem, which has only about 5 percent of the original pre-settlement area left intact in the valley, by providing an economic incentive for forest landowners to responsibly manage their oak ecosystems.
     The durable hardwood flooring that is produced from these forest lasts longer than any other flooring alternative, reducing the pressure on our valuable natural resources, and ensuring that these forests will be maintained.
     Rafns’, a restaurant and specialty grocery store supplying local and responsibly raised products, won the Small Sustainable Business of the Year Green Award. The Rafns’ efforts include using every part of food scraps—chicken bones for broth and pork fat for rendering. Every item in the business—from menus, paper tickets, and food containers to wash water, wood pallets, and glass jars—is reused as many times as possible before being recycled.
     As Rochelle Rafn said after receiving her award, “Nothing is thrown away before talking to Nate (Rafn).”
     BrucePac, winner of the Large Sustainable Business of the Year Green Award, operates a thriving meat-processing business while redesigning its processes to reduce energy by 22 percent, save more than 2 million gallons of water annually and recycle 1.3 million pounds of cardboard last year. Employees even worked to redesign a major supplier’s cardboard box so that it could be recycled.
     Nathan Good Architects, winner of the Green Service of the Year award, has had more than 15 homes certified by one of four green programs in the past decade. He designs homes and businesses to be 20 percent more energy efficient than required by Oregon building codes. It’s not just the company’s designs that make an eco-difference, it is also its education and advocacy. For example, Willamette University, Nike, SeaTac Airport and have sought Nathan Good’s consulting services for their sustainable design.
     South Salem Cycle- Works, winner of the Business Recycler of the Year, hasn’t had garbage service in 25 years of business, collects compost, refurbishes old bikes using as many used components as possible for those unable to invest in a new bike; scraps unusable bikes for parts, and recycles other parts. The shop also focuses on education— encouraging Bike Safety Classes for the elementary schools, helping provide sheltered bike parking for the elementary and middle schools, and participating in (and winning!) the statewide Bicycle Commute Challenge.

Arts - Business Partnerships

Historic Elsinore Theatre,
170 High St SE,
Salem, OR 97301,
(503) 375-3574

Arts and Business partnerships are a natural match. In order for arts organizations to present great events in a community it takes planned coordination and partner cooperation: Patrons to purchase tickets, organizers to bring together all the elements and businesses to help support the event.
     When a business chooses to sponsor an event they help bring awareness of the event and the arts organization to the community and respectively the arts organization is able to bring awareness to the public of the individual business.
     The Elsinore Theatre has been fortunate that many local businesses have seen the value in supporting the Theatre in addition to supporting other local arts organizations over the years.
     This season the Theatre is appreciative of the support provided by its season sponsors. Doty, Pruett, Wilson & Co. in partnership with Diversified Financial Benefits have shown their support for the Theatre by sponsoring three incredible fantastic events:
* IN THE MOOD, a 1940's Big Band Revue.
     Their involvement with these three performances helped bring capacity crowds to the Theatre.
     Doty, Pruett, Wilson & Co. (Doug Doty and his team) along with Diversified Financial Benefits (A.J. Stoll and his team) have been staunch business supporters of the Theatre for a number of years For the past two years Country Financial has been a proud supporter of DANCING WITH THE SALEM STARS. This special event presented by the Elsinore Theatre mirrors the Network TV Version of the dance show, except the stars are "local Salem Stars" who compete for the coveted mirror ball trophy. Congratulations to this year’s winner Robert Salberg. Robert followed in the footsteps (or should we say dance steps) of our Season 1 winner Kelly Swanson-Jaecks. Planning is already underway for "Season 3" of DANCING WITH THE SALEM STARS.
     Additional business support this season for the Theatre has come from Chamberlain Financial Services along with MassMutual Oregon with their sponsorship of THE TRAIL BAND, Cubanisimo Vineyards with their support of HABNEROS, Redhawk Vineyard & Winery with their support of REMEMBER WHEN ROCK WAS YOUNG; ELTON JOHN TRIBUTE and KBZY 1490 AM with their support of THE BROTHERS FOUR concert. The WEDNESDAY EVENING FILM SERIES has been supported this season with the generosity of Illahe Vineyards, Saalfeld Griggs and the Bauer Families.
     In recent years there have been more great Salem Businesses that have chosen to partner with the Elsinore Theatre for multiple events; The Roger Yost Gallery, Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisors, Salem Health, Columbia Bank, and Portland General Electric. Businesses are able to assist arts organizations with their financial and marketing support to help ensure quality and positive events happen within our community and also at The Historic Elsinore Theatre. It is important for each business to identify an event which represents their business values to ensure a positive partnership.
     On behalf of the Elsinore Theatre I would like to offer a BIG THANK YOU to all our sponsors, present and past, who have been our partners throughout the years. And remember ... it's never too soon to plan for next seasons arts partnership.

Comfort & History

Marlene Blanchard Owner
of Court Street Dairy Lunch
    The Dairy Court Restaurant is so much more to Salem that a just a place to eat. For most of the folks that frequent the old downtown diner it's like a second home.
     They have their favorite booth or stool at the counter. Clearly the livelihood of this small Cafe is extremely important to the citizens of Salem. While many people have been coming here for their entire life, newcomers are made to feel just as welcome as the old-timers. Deals are made by the business crowd that jam into the booths today as they did back when Salem was a growing little Oregon state capitol.
     The customers are a who's who and regular people in every type of profession. You will see government employees, shop keepers, executives, students, blue collar workers, white collar workers, lawyers, judges, politicians, cops, artists, actors, kids and senior citizens all meeting in one place. The crowd gathers for the same reason, to enjoy the fresh pancakes, great breakfasts, good coffee, simple hamburgers and chocolate milk shakes just the way they like them. A craving for comfort food with no surprises just like they remember from back in the day is the commonality.
     It's the longest running hangout in the mid Willamette valley. This timeless habit was built to last. While it is basically unchanged from it's rich and colorful history, the Dairy Court has seen a few owners. Running the show for the past decade is Owner and Manager, Marlene Blanchard. She fully understands and respects the institution and how important is to honor the past while serving the present. Her first job was a pizza maker, so she has had many years experience in the kitchen. Knowing her customers is very important to Marlene and her staff.
     "Sometimes a regular will order breakfast and forget to mention how they want their eggs or what kind of toast they want," When the ticket is turned into the kitchen the cook is paying attention and will say "Doesn't Bill want these eggs scrambled?" or "Donna always has sourdough toast."
     The Dairy Court kitchen is busy and efficient. It runs like a Swiss watch. No matter how old it gets or how many times it strikes noon, it is still on time. Sitting at the counter is always entertaining. Watching the biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak, ham and eggs, piles of bacon with homemade hashbrowns passing through the pick up window is torture while you are waiting for your order of hot oatmeal that is ideal for lowering cholesterol.
     Marlene cooks the chili from scratch. It's the kind of traditional chili that keeps the customers coming in for more.
     A sort of bourgeois dish that has fans way beyond its simple ingredients. Marlene is from Texas. She once worked as a waitress at the famed Gilly's. That's the place in the movie Urban Cowboy, starring John Travolta and Debra Winger.
     Marlene Miller is as friendly as the Lone Star State and as tough as the cowboys that rode in to her tables every night at Gilly's. Salem has a fond spot for her true grit and her authentic nature.
     Don't mess with Marlene. She has found a home at the Cout Street Dairy Lunch. Her employees: Brian Walther (cook), Amber Hanson (waitress) enoy Marlene’s wit and certainly respect her work ethic. It's a trickle down effect that is passed along to each meal served. Quality people, quality food and quality service equal a quality eating experience. Since 1929 The Dairy Court remains a flourishing foodie staple in Downtown Salem.