SOU in the News – Sept 4-21

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Move-in day at SOU

Daily Tidings September 21, 2012


Student Affairs post cut in SOU transition

Mail Tribune September 21, 2012


SOU professor Craig Wright and “Cast of Clowns” perform next week at Applegate Lodge

Daily Tidings September 20, 2012


SOU archaeologist Mark Tveskov says Ashland’s Plaza is an area of historic interest

Mail Tribune September 12, 2012


An SOU administrator started Cycle Oregon rolling 25 years ago

Daily Tidings September 8, 2012


SOU is a “Military Friendly” school

KDRV September 18, 2012


The President’s blog is back

September 20, 2012

SOU’s gym gets a new floor

YouTube September 4, 2012


Saturday is home opener for football Raiders

Klamath Falls Herald and News September 20, 2012

Full version of print clips

Move-in day

New and returning students have help settling in at SOU

By Sam Wheeler

Ashland Daily Tidings

September 21, 2012 2:00 AM

Thursday was move-in day for hundreds of students who will live in the dormitories at Southern Oregon University this fall.

More than 50 volunteers from SOU’s sports teams and Reserve Officers Training Corps helped their new colleagues schlepp luggage up countless flights of stairs as the mercury climbed well into the 80s.

“That was awesome “… they ran right up to the truck when we parked and started unloading stuff,” said Josh Barnhart, 19, a freshman from Roseville, Calif., who plans to major in criminal justice, minor in outdoor leadership, and play goalie on SOU’s lacrosse team.

With all the extra help, it took just two trips to haul Barnhart’s five or six loads’ worth of luggage, refrigerator, microwave, posters, books and other belongings into his fourth-floor room in the Greensprings Residential Complex.

“I really became interested in the school after I became interested in the area,” Barnhart said. “I am from around Sacramento “… so it’s a big change. I just like everything about it here.”

Barnhart considered multiple colleges in the Midwest and California that expressed interest in his lacrosse talent, said his dad, Sonny Mannan.

“We said no to scholarship money to make this happen,” Mannan said. “That’s what you’ve got to do; he loves the outdoors, loves to snowboard. You can’t be somewhere flat if you like to do that sort of thing “… his happiness is what’s important.”

About 1,000 students are expected to move into the Greensprings, Cascade Residential Complex, Madrone Apartments and Susanne Home, bringing capacity to about 95 percent, said housing director Tim Robitz.

About 300 athletes and participants in a civil engagement program have been in the halls for a few weeks, Robitz said. About 500 students moved in Thursday, and another 200 will trickle in throughout the weekend, he said.

“We have more returners this year “… I don’t think we have that large of an incoming class,” Robitz said.

The university isn’t expecting its enrollment to climb any higher than last fall term’s 6,744 students, said Jim Beaver, director of Interactive Marketing and Media Relations at SOU, but enrollment figures won’t be available for about a month.

Last year, more transfer students from Rogue Community College, an influx of students from California and a more than 25 percent increase in Hispanic student enrollment were primary contributors to a record-breaking term. If fall enrollment does not increase this academic year, it will mark the end of a five-year population swell at the institution.

There is still a steady flow of California students choosing SOU, Beaver said, but the number of registered transfer students coming from community colleges is down.

Mannan, who plans to stay in the Rogue Valley and “have a look around” this weekend, said he wants to give his son plenty of space to settle in and meet his new neighbors.

Freshman Jonathan Dotson of Coquille had all of his stuff packed away into his new room by 10:30 a.m. The only thing missing, he said, was food.

“We’re heading to the grocery store right now,” Dotson said, alongside mom Andrea Murphy and grandmother Jackie Dotson.

Dotson said he plans to major in biology.

“I’m not worried about him. … He’s the responsible one,” Murphy said. “No tears yet, we’re having fun “… but we haven’t said goodbye.”

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or

Student affairs post cut in SOU transition

By Sam Wheeler

for the Mail Tribune

September 21, 2012 2:00 AM

Southern Oregon University is eliminating its vice president of student affairs position, leaving Jonathan Eldridge without a job by the end of the year.

Campus officials said Thursday the position was being cut as part of an effort to hand over the responsibilities of the department to other areas of campus.

The university hopes to have the reorganization and transition process wrapped up by the end of December, officials said.

“We have a transition team in place “… we’ll be working over this term to come up with a new plan to complete the reorganization,” said Jim Beaver, SOU director of interactive marketing and media relations. “Our goal right now is to be as student-focused as we possibly can “… we want to achieve more interdependence and more collaboration across campus.”

Eldridge did not return multiple voice messages left on his office and cellphones Thursday.

Eldridge last month announced that four management-level positions would be eliminated in the Department of Student Affairs, including dean of students, held by Laura O’Bryon. SOU hoped to increase student retention and graduation rates by replacing those positions with up to eight lower-level, student support personnel.

Beaver wasn’t certain exactly how many positions could arise from the department’s reorganization, or whether there will even be a students affairs department after the process ends.

“That’s what the transition is about “… they’re trying to figure most of that stuff out,” he said.

Eldridge will remain on SOU’s payroll through the end of December to help the university work through the reorganization, Beaver said.

After that process is over, Eldridge “will be moving on,” Beaver said.

SOU hopes to increase students’ access to one-on-one advising time focused on post-graduation success, such as career development and finding a job, Beaver said.

SOU currently is working to hire a director of retention, which will be an administrative position and hold many of the responsibilities O’Bryon handled as dean of students, Eldridge said last month.

Some of Eldridge’s responsibilities likely will be taken over by the Academic Affairs Department, Beaver said.

The school is also hiring a career preparation coordinator, an additional adviser, a coordinator for the university’s student support program called Success at Southern, a councilor in the student health center, and two administrative program assistants, its website shows.

Eldridge said last month the reorganization may also include hiring two part-time counseling positions.

SOU’s goal is to push the retention rate to 75 percent within the next two years. In 2005, the school retained 62 percent of its previous year’s non-graduating student population. Currently the school’s retention rate is floating around 70 percent.

In an email Eldridge wrote to the entire SOU staff announcing the reorganization effort, he said, “It goes without saying that staff reductions due to state disinvestment, coupled with student demographics that require significant levels of support, have hampered our retention efforts. This is why the following reorganization is being launched.”

Beaver said the reorganization will help SOU better align its resources to meet student needs, and “get the most out of what we have.”

Reach Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or

‘Have a Heart’

By Teresa Thomas

for Revels

September 20, 2012 6:00 PM

From the beginning, Cast of Clowns was a means for bringing some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s best to Southern Oregon.

“My intention was to use it (the band) as a vehicle to play with world-class players,” says frontman and Ashland-based guitarist Craig Wright.

Formed in 2008, the band features a revolving lineup of local and California musicians, including Greg Anton (Zero), Melvin Seals (Jerry Garcia Band), Bill Kreutzmann (Grateful Dead), Hutch Hutchinson (Bonnie Raitt), Damian Erskine (Peter Erskine and Gino Vanelli) and Jeff Pevar (Crosby, Stills & Nash and Ray Charles), to name a few.

These and other Clowns are featured on the band’s debut album, “Have a Heart,” set for release Oct. 28.

A configuration of Cast of Clowns, featuring Wright, Anton on drums, Erskin on bass and Applegate musicians John Stiemert on keyboards and Aaron Alkire on pedal-steel guitar, as well as several surprise guests from the Bay Area, will perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, at Applegate River Lodge, 15100 Highway 238, Applegate.

“Have a Heart” comprises seven original songs and an interpretation of Merl Saunder’s “Merl’s Boogie.” The album was recorded live at the Oregon Country Fair near Eugene and produced by Brian Risner of Los Angeles.

“It’s a wonderful reflection of the band,” Wright says. “There’s some beautiful music on the thing.”

For the most part, the album is made up of improvisational, good-time rock ‘n’ roll steeped in swampy, Louisiana-style jazz, blues and folk, but there also are a few darker songs, such as “End of the World Blues” by Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter and “An Offering,” a funk prayer by Wright.

Wright says the tempo and style of a song may vary from show to show depending on the musicians and audience. Typically, he and Anton lay down a base rhythm and let the other musicians layer their magic over the top.

When you’ve got great musicians backing you, there’s no need to work out every arrangement in advance, Wright says.

“And rarely do I tell somebody what to play,” he says. “For the most part, they honor my intent but do what is most comfortable to them.”

Wright, who teaches creative writing at Southern Oregon University, says his lyrics tend to be abstract. He says he likes to write about “the invisible people we walk past every day on the street and in the mall.”

One example, “Lois Lane’s Lament,” a song rife with Superman references, suggests Superman could be anyone. The chorus goes, “She don’t know I’m Superman.”

Tickets to Cast of Clowns’ concert at Applegate River Lodge are $15. Call 541-761-9394.


If you go

Who: Cast of Clowns

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26

Where: Applegate River Lodge, 15100 Highway 238, Applegate

Cover: $15

Call: 541-761-9394


A buried past?

Uncertainty about what historic artifacts might be found under the Ashland Plaza could delay implementation of its redesign

By Sam Wheeler

for the Mail Tribune

September 12, 2012 2:00 AM

The city of Ashland is waiting to hear back from the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office on whether it will be required to carry out an archaeological survey of the downtown Plaza before a planned redesign can begin.

The state office asked the city to send a map of the project so it could determine whether that part of the Plaza is included on the state’s list of historic and archaeological properties.

“We know that certain areas of downtown Ashland are in that inventory … They will let us know if there is anything we are required to do,” said City Administrator Dave Kanner.

Kanner said he doubts the city will be required to survey the site for traces of Native American and settler artifacts because most of the original topsoil there has been covered by several feet of fill dirt since Ashland was settled in the mid-1800s.

“We’re not excavating to a depth that is of concern,” Kanner said. “We’re disturbing dirt only at the surface level.”

Two past archeological surveys that were conducted along Ashland Creek upstream from the Plaza uncovered large quantities of Native American and settler artifacts, said Mark Tveskov, Southern Oregon University associate professor of anthropology and director of SOU’s anthropology laboratory.

In 2002, Tveskov led a limited survey along the creek that uncovered remnants of an ancient fireplace, a glass bead, arrowheads, pieces of stone tool and several chips of worked stone, he said.

Another unofficial survey was conducted in the 1980s on the grassy area at the entrance to Lithia Park, but never was finalized in an official report, Tveskov said.

That dig, where the former Ashland Flour Mill stood, was led by then SOU professors Nan Hannon and Rich Olmo and revealed hundreds of Native American and settler artifacts, Tveskov said.

Tveskov said he is not familiar with the intricacies of the Ashland Plaza redesign or its proposed impact, and he is uncertain whether the project warrants a similar survey.

“Certainly, Ashland’s downtown is an area of interest,” he said. “It’s the downtown core, and it’s been that way since pre-history.”

Ashland resident Cici Brown said she would like to see the Plaza area surveyed by an archaeologist before the redesign begins.

“I am not against the redesign, I’m just annoyed that they (the city) didn’t do an investigation into this before approving the plan,” she said.

The potential archeological significance of the area was not formally discussed by the City Council before it voted on the redesign.

Council members Mike Morris, Greg Lemhouse, Dennis Slattery and Russ Silbiger voted in favor of the redesign, while council members David Chapman and Carol Voisin voted against the plan.

Before work can begin on the redesign, the city will have to wait for the state to determine what impact the project might have on artifacts that potentially lie buried beneath one of Ashland’s premier public spaces.

“If SHPO tells us we need to do something, we’ll do it,” Kanner said.

Reach Daily Tidings reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or


Cycle Oregon honors idea originator

Movement was sparked in 1987 by Ashland resident Jim Beaver

By Paul Fattig

For the Tidings

September 08, 2012 2:00 AM


A quarter of a century ago an Ashland innkeeper planted a seed that continues to grow across Oregon.

Consider this: Since 1987, when Jim Beaver proposed what became Cycle Oregon, 44,000 riders have pedaled more than 20 million miles across Oregon, pouring more than $137 million into the state.

“It’s incredibly humbling,” said Beaver, now 64, of his idea’s legacy. “It’s like Johnny Appleseed planting a seed. It has turned into a giant apple orchard across the state.

“But it was an idea whose time had come,” he added. “I just happened to be the lucky guy who thought of it.”

The silver anniversary ride of Cycle Oregon begins Sunday in Bly and ends there on Sept. 15.

Back in 1987, Beaver was on the Ashland Visitor and Convention Advisory Board and was attending a meeting in a conference room at the Daily Tidings newspaper. The event was a brainstorming session on how to promote a proposed sister city relationship between Ashland and Astoria.

Drawing on memories of a biking tour he and his wife, Nancy, had made in Europe in 1979 and a magazine article about a bike ride across Iowa that drew 7,000 riders, Beaver figured a bike ride from Ashland to Astoria was the answer.

“If they could get 7,000 to ride across cornfields in Iowa, imagine what we could get in Oregon?” he recalled thinking. “We have beautiful forest trails, whitewater rivers, incredible beaches, just amazing scenery.”

His idea was picked up by Oregonian newspaper columnist Jonathan Nicholas. His column, which included an interview with Beaver, prompted Debby Kennedy, head of tourism promotion in the state office of economic development, to contact Beaver.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

The first event was from Salem to Brookings. And Beaver was working and couldn’t take time off for the ride.

But the following year — Cycle Oregon II — he rode in the Portland-to-Ashland tour as the “ambassador” for the event.

The bright idea of Beaver’s has lost none of its luster: The 2,200 riding slots available for Cycle Oregon XV sold out in 31 minutes, according to Jerry Norquist, Cycle Oregon’s executive director. In addition to the record time for filling the openings, the 500-person waiting list was filled in an additional 40 minutes, he added.

“We are where we are today because of Jim — he made it a reality,” Norquist said. “He came up with the idea. He saw the opportunity.”

To honor Beaver and the anniversary, the 25th annual event will tour through Southern Oregon Sunday, spending two nights in Ashland.

“We’re getting back to our roots,” Norquist said.

Beginning in Bly on Sept. 9, the riders will spend their first night in Silver Lake, some 70 miles north. On Sept. 10 they pedal southwest to historic Fort Klamath where they stay overnight. On Sept. 11, they will ride up to the rim of Crater Lake where they can take a lap around the lake before coasting much of the way down to Prospect where they will spend their third night.

They will ride to Ashland on Sept. 12 where they will have a two-night layover. Participants on Sept. 13 can rest or ride to the Mount Ashland ski area. A ceremony will be held that evening to honor Beaver.

Cycle Oregon heads east on the morning of Sept. 14 via Dead Indian Memorial Road to spend the night in Klamath Falls. On Sept. 15, the riders head back to Bly to complete their tour of Southern Oregon.

Cycle Oregon has a Facebook page, a Flickr page for photos and a Twitter feed. Event organizers are providing riders with a mobile technology station that will allow them to post updates and photos.

Like past Cycle Oregons, the 2012 event will inject much-needed money into small towns while supporting cycling and Oregon tourism by providing riders with a beautiful perspective of the state, Norquist indicated.

He likened the event to a traveling town that includes thousands of camping tents, a huge dining tent, a concert stage, beer garden, retail tents, food and drink vendors, facilities for massage, yoga and acupuncture, and portable showers and toilets.

“We have 130 volunteers who travel with us,” Norquist observed, adding that it takes hundreds of other volunteers throughout the state to pull the event off each year.

“There are so many people who contribute to Cycle Oregon each year,” he said.

Meanwhile, two riders who will be participating this year are Jim and Nancy Beaver.

“It’s a big challenge — I’m not in condition for it,” Jim Beaver said. “I had to borrow a bicycle and riding clothes. But I’ll be wearing the same shoes I rode in our bike tour in Europe in 1979.”

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail

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