SOU in the News: July 31 – August 6, 2012


SOU finalizing talks for new food service provider

Mail Tribune August 6, 2012

SOU to study building a biomass cogeneration plant

Mail Tribune August 3, 2012

Downtown Medford groups look at pedestrian safety near RCC/SOU Higher Education Center

Mail Tribune August 2, 2012

OLLI at SOU offers learning opportunities for mature minds

Mail Tribune July 31, 2012

SOU grad lands generous fellowship

Mail Tribune July 31, 2012

James Michael Hollens

Mail Tribune August 3, 2012


SOU will study biomass for future power

KOBI August 3, 2012


Football coaches pick SOU to finish fifth in the Raiders debut season in the Frontier Conference
KXLF Butte, MT August 4, 2012

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SOU finalizing talks for new food-service provider
A’viands Food is replacing Sodexo after 3 years there
By Sam Wheeler
for the Mail Tribune
August 06, 2012 2:00 AM
ASHLAND — International food services company Sodexo Inc. won’t be serving meals at Southern Oregon University next year, as its contract will not be renewed at the end of this month, university officials said.
Minnesota-based A’viands Food and Services Management has been singled out from four similar organizations who returned a request for proposals made by SOU in April.
A’viands is taking part in one-on-one negotiations with SOU for a 10-year contract to oversee its food services on campus, university Housing Director Tim Robitz told the Ashland Daily Tidings.
Sodexo, A’viands, Chartwells Catering Services and Aramark Food Services submitted proposals for the contract, each estimating it could generate between $300,000 and $500,000 in profits for SOU annually, Robitz said.
“We are in the process of negotiating with them (A’viands) and identifying a contract,” Robitz said. “Transitional planning should be coming out here over the next three to four weeks.”
Robitz said A’viands expects that it could generate between $8 million and $15 million of revenue over the contract period, which will include managing a 27,800-square-foot, one-story dining and community hall being constructed along with two new residence halls north of Ashland Street on the east side of SOU’s campus.
Those buildings are on pace to open by fall term 2013, SOU Vice President of Student Affairs Jonathan Eldridge said.
A campus committee tasked with reviewing the proposals from each food service provider unanimously selected A’viands to take the helm at SOU, Robitz said.
“We’re optimistic about what we can accomplish “… it’s not just about generating money, it’s about increasing the value of food service at SOU and taking care of our students,” he said.
Students should expect new, “more flexible” meal plans, he said, adding A’viands would encompass local food providers and farms in its offerings.
Sodexo, who inked a deal with the university three years ago, will clear out Sept. 1, Robitz said, when A’viands will take over if the pending deal is reached.
Sodexo General Manager at SOU Mary Sossaman declined to comment, as did representatives from A’viands.
Robitz said Sodexo was a good fit at SOU, but the emergence of a new dining facility on campus meant the university had to reprocess its food services contract and A’viands stood out as the better choice.
The organization plans to provide between $1 million and $3 million for capital improvements to campus dining facilities if it is awarded the contract, Robitz said.
As negotiations are ongoing, Robitz said he could not discuss how much the 10-year contract will be worth.
Reach Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email

SOU to study building a biomass cogeneration plant

The 1.2-megawatt plant would replace aging boilers that now heat buildings on the campus
By Paul Fattig
Mail Tribune
August 03, 2012 2:00 AM
Southern Oregon University officials say a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the feasibility of a 1.2-megawatt woody-biomass cogeneration plant on the campus may lead to the real deal.
Such a power plant could meet 100 percent of SOU’s electrical needs as well as 70 percent of its heating demand, they said.
“SOU is strongly committed to environmental sustainability,” said university President Mary Cullinan in a prepared statement. “Our plan is to make the campus climate-neutral by 2050, so biomass may be one option for us.”
The grant award announced Wednesday comes at an opportune time, said Drew Gilliland, SOU’s director of facilities management and planning.
“Two of our four steam heat boilers are nearing the end of their useful life,” he said. “If we were to make this change, the remaining two boilers would be converted to back up heat generation when needed.”
The two older boilers, now heated by natural gas with an oil backup, are more than 40 years old, he said, adding, “We cross our fingers when we start them.”
Two of the older boilers were replaced a few years ago, but SOU didn’t have the money to replace all four, he said.
“We have to use all of them in winter when we have full demand,” he said.
The study, which could take up to two years to complete, will involve engaging the community in a discussion on producing local energy through cogeneration, Gilliland said.
The focus would be on the feasibility of using slash and other byproducts from nearby forests, wood pellets or other biomass fuel to generate heat and electricity needed on campus, he said. In addition, the study would confirm whether the recommended system meets the requirements of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and other regulatory agencies, officials said.
If a woody-biomass plant were built on the SOU campus, Gilliland estimates it would cost close to $12 million.
The nearest school using wood to fuel its boiler is Illinois Valley High School in Cave Junction, which is using pellets, he noted.
“We want to consider all options — pellets, woody debris and other byproducts,” he said. “In this part of the state, it’s important to look at this.”
The city is interested in helping the largest customer of its municipally owned electric utility on the project, said Lee Tuneberg, acting assistant city administrator.
“We look forward to working with the university as they develop this alternate energy source that could benefit the college and the residents of Ashland,” he said.
The grant was included in the $1.3 million in grants the department announced for wood energy projects in the Pacific Northwest to help expand regional economies and create new jobs.
All six projects in Oregon and Washington will use woody material, such as beetle-killed trees removed from forests to aid in wildfire prevention, according to the department. The material then will be processed in bio-energy plants to produce green energy for heating and electricity, it added.
“This grant is great news for Southern Oregon University and the future of biomass energy in the region,” said U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore, in a release. “I am a strong supporter of investment in alternative forms of energy, and the woody-biomass cogeneration system has the potential to be efficient, effective, and environmentally friendly.”
Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail him at

Pedestrian safety gets a closer look at busy downtown intersection

August 02, 2012 4:45 PM
The Heart of Medford Association and a Medford traffic committee are studying the idea of placing flashing lights at the intersection of Main Street and Bartlett Avenue to warn drivers about crossing pedestrians.
“Watching people cross here is terrifying,” said Dana Harris, 19, who works at My Daughter’s Closet on Main. “We’ve seen several near misses.”
City Councilwoman Karen Blair said that with more students at Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University, the intersection is seeing a lot more foot traffic. And when The Commons opens to the north, it will increase the potential for an accident.
“There needs to be something at the intersection there to warn motorists that people are crossing,” said Blair. “In the winter time, it will be really critical.”
Blair said she’s received complaints from merchants at the corner of Main and Bartlett who are concerned about the safety of pedestrians.
She and other city leaders believe the time may have come to install flashing lights to warn motorists that pedestrians are entering the crosswalk. The lights would be similar to ones on Riverside Avenue that were installed after the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center brought more students downtown.
Blair said there is also a problem with motorists not stopping for pedestrians at Eighth Street and Bartlett, but it is not as severe as at Main Street.
She thinks motorists likely are more aware of students milling about at the campus on Eighth, so they are more prepared to stop and tend to look more carefully before making a turn.
— Damian Mann

OLLI offers learning opportunities for mature minds

By Betty R. Kazmin
July 31, 2012 2:00 AM
“What classes are you taking?” our 40-something kids asked us during a recent visit. Like students everywhere, we are taking the summer off. But we have already received our list of OLLI course offerings — about 90 classes to choose from — and the enrollment period for fall classes begins August 1.
OLLI is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a nationwide program with a prominent presence here in the Rogue Valley. Its purpose is to promote continuing education for older adults, whether working or retired. Membership is open to everyone; the annual membership fee is $100. That buys the opportunity to choose from approximately 90 different classes each term — fall, winter and spring — taught at either the Southern Oregon University’s Campbell Hall in Ashland or at the RCC-SOU Higher Education Center in Medford, next to the public library.
Classes cover a wide array of subjects. Categories include history and social sciences, language and literature, science and mathematics, visual and performing arts, personal exploration and activity courses. Topics change each term and classes run from three to 10 weekly sessions of 90 to 120 minutes each per term. There is no limit to the number of classes OLLI members can take. Learning is a stress-free process — no tests, homework or grades. Just learning for the joy of learning, and meeting other people with mature minds.
Those who teach OLLI courses represent a wealth of knowledge and experience. Most are retired from their professions, eager to share their knowledge and insights. One can study the 2012 Supreme Court decisions and their impact with a law professor and trial lawyer. Study the British monarchy with a professor of modern European history. Study Shakespeare with a professor and dean of humanities. Study the plight of the honeybee with a professor of comparative physiology. Study the evolution of life, the Inuit culture or medieval Islam — all with experts in the respective subjects.
One can take art history courses with PowerPoint presentations of masterpieces, presented by professors of art history. Study the New York City Ballet’s George Balenchine with a professor of performance studies. Go backstage at the Camelot Theatre with its artistic director and actor. Join a book club led by a librarian and storyteller. Or a wine camp led by a winemaker.
Subject matter for fall courses also includes communicating effectively, personal explorations through films, women in the global community, genealogy, creative writing, financial literacy, jewelry making, foreign languages and using a digital camera and other electronic devices.
Imagine the wealth of knowledge so readily available to anyone who chooses to join OLLI. Yet we are amazed at how many people in the Rogue Valley are unaware of this program and how user-friendly it is. The only problem my husband and I have encountered since joining OLLI years ago is that some classes we would love to take conflict with other commitments.
You can learn more about OLLI and how to join and register for fall classes by calling the office, 541-552-6048, or visiting the website, In addition to its wide selection of classes, OLLI also presents a variety of public forums during the school year, at both the SOU campus in Ashland and the RCC-HEC in Medford. As members you will be informed about these and other special activities. Enrollment for 2012-2012 membership and fall class sign up begins August 1. OLLI always welcomes new members as both students and instructors. No mature mind need be left behind.
Betty R. Kazmin of Medford is a retired teacher and former school board member in Willard, Ohio.

SOU grad lands generous fellowship

Competitive program aims to improve science, mathematics teaching
By Teresa Ristow
Mail Tribune
July 31, 2012 2:00 AM
A Southern Oregon University graduate and former chemist is receiving a teaching fellowship worth $175,000 as he studies to become a high school science teacher.
Jesse Stonewood, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2006, returned to SOU this month to pursue a Master of Arts in teaching, thanks in part to a hefty gift from the New Jersey-based Knowles Science Teaching Fellowship.
“Teaching has always been something in the back of my mind,” said Stonewood, 34, who has other teachers in his family.
After graduating six years ago, Stonewood spent two years as a chemist for Medford’s Neilson Research Corp.
But after getting married and having two daughters of his own, Stonewood, who lives with his family in Talent, said he became more interested in becoming a teacher.
“I felt a pull towards education,” said Stonewood, who began the 13-month program this month.
Stonewood will receive a monthly stipend for five years, significant help to pay his way through SOU and annual contributions to classroom materials once he is a teacher.
The fellowship, which seeks out students who have real-world experience in their chosen field, also allows Stonewood to communicate with current and former recipients to talk about teaching.
As part of the fellowship, Stonewood will have to meet annually with Knowles Fellowship representatives to renew his fellowship, and work to constantly improve his own teaching style.
“Self-reflection is a really important part of the teaching practice,” said Knowles. “You’re constantly learning.”
Begun in 2002 as a way to encourage quality teachers to remain in the classroom, the Knowles Fellowship has been awarded to 200 new teachers over the past 10 years.
Stonewood was one of two recipients selected statewide this year, and 34 chosen across the country.
There was a rigorous application process, Stonewood said, which included a weekend-long trip to Philadelphia full of individual and panel interviews.
Stonewood said the fellowship was the most generous and long-lasting financial support he found when searching online for sources of help for school.
“They offer a depth of support,” said Stonewood, who is pursuing credentials to teach high school chemistry and integrated science.
The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation specifically targets people interested in becoming teachers in the subjects of biology, physical science and math.
Designed to retain new teachers in the profession by offering five years of assistance, the foundation believes that investing in strong teaching candidates is more worthwhile than constantly hiring and training new teachers.
According to the foundation, nearly half of new teachers leave the profession in the first five years, dramatically reducing the average experience of educators in the country.
The average teacher in 2007 had just two years of experience, while in 1987 the average teacher had 14 years of experience, according to the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.
Stonewood said that he wants to shift people’s focus on the negative aspects of the education system, and help them to realize the good things happening in classrooms.
“I want people to understand there are positive things happening in schools,” said Stonewood, who wants to erase the idea of eliminating the “bad teachers” and instead have schools focus on promoting and retaining the good ones.
Stonewood will begin student teaching at South Medford High School this fall, where he will work in three levels of chemistry classes.
“I have an interesting challenge ahead of me,” said Stonewood, who hopes to stay teaching in the Rogue Valley after receiving his credentials.
Reach reporter Teresa Ristow at 541-776-4459 or

James Michael Hollens

August 03, 2012 2:00 AM
James “Jim” Hollens, age 67, of Ashland, Ore., passed away Tuesday, July 24, 2012, at home surrounded by his wife and children. Jim was born July 26, 1944, in Hollywood, Calif., to George W. Jr. and Rita Getzen Hollens, and grew up in the San Fernando Valley. He graduated from California State University at Northridge in 1969 with a B.S. in Biology. In 1973 he completed a M.S. at Southern Oregon University followed by two years of post graduate work at Oregon State University in Range Management.
Jim worked several years as a secondary school teacher in Medford, a summer Rogue River guide, and for 15 years as a technician for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Medford. He retired in 1995 because of conditions secondary to brain cancer.
Jim fell in love with Southern Oregon and was passionate about the native vegetation of the Rogue Valley. He loved taxonomic botany, fishing, gardening, jazz and classical music, and later helping brain tumor survivors in coping with their physical and emotional challenges.
Jim is survived by his beloved wife of 42 years, Deborah Melone Hollens; and his children, Peter Hollens, of Eugene, Ore., and Meghan Hollens, of Bend, Ore. Jim was extremely proud of the achievements of Peter, a professional singer and music producer, and Meghan, a neuro/trauma nurse.
The family owes their deep gratitude to the team at Ashland Home Health and Hospice and to Jim’s excellent caregivers from Interim Health Care, Medford. A fund has been established at SOU Hannon Library in Jim’s memory for the purchase of botanical and ecological books concerning the Pacific Northwest.

Southern Oregon University Launches Honors College

First Group of 25 Students Starts Classes in Fall 2013

(Ashland, Ore.) Southern Oregon University President Mary Cullinan announces the launch of the Honors College at Southern Oregon University. Applications will be accepted starting September 1, 2012. The first class of 25 students will begin studies in fall term 2013. Read more

SOU Receives $250,000 Grant to Explore a Woody Biomass Co-Generation Plant on Campus

(Ashland, Ore.) A $250,000 grant from the U S Department of Agriculture to Southern Oregon University could lead to a 1.2 megawatt woody biomass co-generation system on the university campus. If built, the power plant could generate 100 percent of the current campus electrical need and 70 percent of SOU’s heat.
Read more