SOU in the News: July 25-31, 2013

IEditorial: Mail Tribune endorses “pay it forward” plan for Oregon universities
Mail Tribune July 31, 2013
SOU’s Hannon Library gathers a local wine industry treasure trove
Mail Tribune July 31, 2013
SOU professor earns Fulbright Award
Mail Tribune July 25, 2013
Federal magistrate denies SOU request to dismiss Ron Kramer’s lawsuit
KMVU July 30, 2013
SOU earns national acclaim for video
Mail Tribune July 27, 2013
Conference coaches pick Raiders to finish third in football this year
Mail Tribune July 31, 2013
Full version of print clips
Investing in human capital
State treasurer’s plan would ask voters to approve state bonds for college grants
July 31, 2013 2:00 AM
State Treasurer Ted Wheeler has joined the chorus of reformers bent on improving higher education in Oregon, but he is focusing on the people who, ultimately, are supposed to benefit from post-secondary studies: the students.
The state’s largest universities — the University of Oregon, Portland State and Oregon State — got a bill from the 2013 Legislature allowing them to create their own governing boards. The idea is that independent decision-making and large-scale fundraising could free those campuses from micromanagement by the Legislature and help keep tuition from continuing to soar.
Wheeler’s approach is less sweeping, but it could have a big impact on college affordability by tapping the state’s bonding authority to expand Oregon Opportunity Grants to students pursuing college or vocational training.
Wheeler notes a new study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce that examines where job growth will occur through 2020 and what level of education will be required to qualify for those jobs in each state. In Oregon, 70 percent of jobs will require at least some education beyond high school, above the national average of 65 percent. That’s because much of Oregon’s job growth is expected to be in technical fields.
Lawmakers responded positively to Wheeler’s proposal, but insisted that voters should be asked to sign off on it.
The bill that passed will ask voters in November 2014 whether state bonds should be sold to expand the money available to help low- and middle-income Oregon students pay for postsecondary education.
The state regularly issues bonds, essentially borrowing against future revenue. The proceeds usually pay for capital construction projects — buildings, roads, bridges and the like — but there is no reason why the money can’t be invested in human capital instead.
The Oregon Opportunity program has been in effect for decades, but suffered cuts along with the rest of state government during the recession. At the same time, demand soared as unemployed people returned to college or delayed entering the workforce to increase their education.
Now, only two of every 10 qualified students receive an Oregon Opportunity Grant.
If voters agree to use bonds to finance college grants, that would not mean higher taxes. But the state’s capacity to issue bonds is limited by law. Every dollar borrowed to fund college grants would be a dollar not available for other purposes — such as new buildings on state college campuses.
For our part, we endorse the idea of investing those dollars not in more bricks and mortar, but in human potential.
A sip of history
Hannon Library at SOU gathers a treasure trove from Southern Oregon’s wine industry
By Janet Eastman
Mail Tribune
July 31, 2013 2:00 AM
Inside a climate-controlled storage room, Eric Weisinger is tasting his past.
For 25 years, the Weisinger family has been making wine in Ashland and it’s time, says the second-generation winemaker, to evaluate every vintage and varietal, and decide which to continue to age, sell or distill.
Weisinger’s of Ashland was the first winery in the city to bottle wines made from a tiny patch of gewürztraminer grapevines John Weisinger planted in 1979.
Now, there are about 200 acres of grapevines quilting nearby hillsides and enough wine producers to create a map to hand out to customers wanting to visit one tasting room after another.
The local enology enterprise is so long-lived and interesting that Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library is archiving historic documents — photos, wine labels and reports — donated by local grape growers and wine producers. These will be preserved, organized and made accessible online.
The Wine of Southern Oregon project, in partnership with Linfield College’s statewide project, will be added to SOU’s vast collection of enology and viticulture books and journals donated by retired winemaker Will Brown of Ashland.
Today, people in the wine industry will be able to see the collection and meet some of the original quixotic pioneers and self-taught winemakers who defied pessimists and planted the roots to an industry that has taken hold. The state’s wine industry was estimated as worth $3 billion annually at last count.
The next wave of wine producers in family-owned businesses are stepping in. Many spent their youth in vineyards, carrying buckets during harvest and sitting on oak barrels as their parents tasted and blended what would later be bottled and sold.
“My dad handed over the reins this year and he likes to say he’s retired, but I still keep him in the loop on current activities and future planning,” said Eric Weisinger, 44, who was underage when he tasted his dad’s first vintage, a 1988 gewürztraminer. “He likes where things are going.”
After graduating from Ashland High School, Eric Weisinger took classes at U.C. Davis, surrounded himself with reliable mentors and spent three years learning New Zealand’s wine production techniques. Newly married, he’s home for good now and facing a hard chore.
As he slowly takes over from his 72-year-old father, he is setting up the business for the future.
He sees his label, with the telltale image of an American kestrel, as representing his family, the region’s history and terroir. The fourth pillar is quality, and to improve the taste and ageabilty of his wines, he has to evaluate what the soil, sun, rain and a series of winemakers, including himself, have produced before.
Over the last week, he has tasted about 100 different bottles from the “wine library,” which is a fancy term for the cases that he has sorted and stacked on the concrete floor in a storage building that is a parking lot away from the winery and tasting room.
He quickly sniffed, sipped and then spat out a taste from each bottle. He then rated it and wrote its future on a simple chart: Keep it. Sell it. Distill it.
Weisinger picked up a bottle of 2001 merlot that captured an impressive 89 points from Wine Spectator and caused a rush of sales in the tasting room. The family kept a few cases.
As he did with other wines, he looked at the label and sentimentally spoke about that year. Where he was living. Where the family was on their quest to make good wine.
“I have winemakers friends who endured sadness during a year and they won’t even drink their wine made then,” he said, before sniffing at the merlot’s earthy, fruity scent.
Absent or distracted winemakers affect the wine, he said. If they’re unable to work early in the morning until late at night, or systematically check on wine aging in a barrel, it can be tasted in the bottle.
“I know all these wines intimately,” he said, “and I know how they should taste.”
He then shook off emotions, and recalled that the merlot was made with the old winery equipment and a yeast carefully selected to bring out the flavor.
He sipped, spat and then graded the merlot as excellent on his chart.
“This is the best wine I’ve had in here,” he said, adding that he may create a special event at the tasting room to celebrate it being released from storage. “We will do something fun with it. Right now, though, I’m going to take a few bottles home.”
Digging deeper, he found a case he hoped had been saved. It contains bottles from the earliest year, a wine so precious that John Weisinger and his wife, Sherita, signed and numbered the first 100 bottles.
“This,” said Eric, holding a bottle high as if offering it to the heavens, “is what I will donate to the history project.”
He then carefully puts bottle No. 16 back into the box and closes the lid without a single taste.
Reach reporter Janet Eastman at 541-776-4465 or
Learn more
The Wine of Southern Oregon history project is at Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland. For more information on the project, contact Mary Jane Cedar Face, 541-552-6836 or
In addition to new documents online and oral history interviews, SOU Hannon Library’s has nearly 1,300 enology and viticulture books and journals, most of them donated by Will Brown of Ashland, who was a winemaker at Agate Ridge Vineyard in Eagle Point.
More information can be found on SOU’s Special Collections Enology and Viticulture page at
SOU professor earns Fulbright Award
July 25, 2013 12:00 PM
A Southern Oregon University English and literature professor has received a Fulbright Scholar Award, providing her with funding to do research at the University of Liverpool.
Professor Diana Maltz will do research for her new book, “The Child in the House: Lifestyle Aestheticism, Visual Culture, and Family Identity, 1880-1910.” In a news release announcing the award, she described Liverpool as a remarkable city for any scholar of Victorian studies, praising its libraries, art galleries, and university community.
SOU officials said the US-UK Fulbright Commission is the only bilateral, transatlantic scholarship program that offers awards for study or research in any field.
SOU earns national acclaim for video
Documentary of 2012 football season earns top honor in contest by
By Kris Henry
Mail Tribune
July 27, 2013 2:00 AM
Sometimes from small ideas come big things.
When Craig Howard was debating whether to take on the challenge of guiding the Southern Oregon University football program in 2011, he did what anyone might do in this age of technology.
“I just typed in Southern Oregon football,” Howard said of an internet search from his Florida home. “The only thing I really saw was a thing about their bus on one of their trips that caught fire. It really didn’t talk much about Southern Oregon University or Southern Oregon football.”
He made it through that first season just fine, but couldn’t shake the desire to shed more light on the Raiders program if possible. Then came his directive prior to the 2012 campaign that seemed innocent but wound up taking on a whole life of its own.
“I just talked to our young coaches and some of our older players and said, ‘Get a camera and start filming stuff,'” said Howard. “My intention was just to get more stuff on the internet and more stuff recruits could see to spread the word about Southern Oregon University and Southern Oregon football, something that told our story and let people know who we are and what we’re about.”
What transpired after that could not have been predicted, even by the ever-optimistic Howard.
With student assistant football coach Matt Adkins taking the lead, a series of promotional videos were borne through a breakthrough 2012 season by the Raiders. That ultimately led to a full-length documentary titled “Team of Firsts” that’s available on YouTube.
“It turned into a storybook season last year and they just happened to have a camera crew filming it all,” said Howard, whose team earned the Frontier Conference championship, advanced to the NAIA national quarterfinals and finished ranked No. 5 in the final NAIA poll.
Southern Oregon submitted one of the video trailers to a contest sponsored by and, as a result, learned Tuesday that it had been named Video of the Year for the non-FBS division.
“I’m so tickled for Matt and all of them,” Howard said of those involved in the project. “He didn’t have any money to do that, just some guys with a video camera and some creative minds. They put together music and all those things you have to do in a production like that with the editing and telling a story without really any budget. You really have to know what you’re doing and they did a fantastic job, I’m just so proud of them.”
Adkins served as director for the project, which followed the SOU football team from the opening of practice through a dramatic postseason run. The documentary was produced by a company called “Dose of Dopeness” that included Adkins and current SOU players Chris Kammel of Phoenix and Colin Amsler, Zach Urrutia, Mike Bibbee, Grant Torgerson, Zac Ward and Nick Kurland.
The group was given full access and wound up telling a compelling story on what life is like in a small-college atmosphere. In an honest, straightforward and informative way, the group was able to capture the bond that can be created as a member of a football team as well as the life lessons that can be learned through victory and defeat through a series of interviews and season highlights.
Howard said there was no direction given from his office to the crew, other than one basic ideal.
“I always wanted it to be positive, upbeat and clean and portray the story of Southern Oregon football,” he said. “What they were attempting to show in this film was so many of our guys weren’t recruited by big-time schools but still found joy at playing football at our level, which is maybe the purest level of football there is, and that the emotions of a big loss or big win or big game are just as magnified and important as they’d be at the big-time football level.”
The full-length documentary is 1 hour, 48 minutes but there are a handful of shorter video trailers for the “Team of Firsts” project also available on YouTube. The film premiered at the Ashland Street Cinemas in February and drew a tremendous response.
“People were really moved by it,” said Howard. “People were crying by the end of it because it was such a good movie with such a great message. We didn’t realize it was going to go on and be a nationally recognized video.”
SOU’s submission to was selected as one of six finalists in its category, and subsequently evaluated by a panel that consisted of Sports Illustrated senior writer Andy Staples, Bleacher Report lead college football writer Adam Kramer, Smart Football editor and author Chris Brown and SB Nation managing editor Brian Floyd.
Howard said he’s proud of the project as a whole, but his favorite moment likely involves the special moment shared in the locker room by seniors Cole McKenzie and Patrick Donahue after his team’s season-ending 47-44 overtime loss to Morningside.
“They had full access to everything we did and the cameras were right there in the locker room after we lost that game and guys who were seniors and knew they wouldn’t play again were there and didn’t want to take their uniforms off,” said the coach. “They’re crying together over their bond, and there’s Pat Donahue and Cole McKenzie both consoling one another, one’s the No. 1 receiver in the nation and the other’s No. 2, and they had bought into everything we were about. When you see them hugging each other and consoling each other, it kinda makes you cry, too.”
While the documentary provides a great time capsule of memories for SOU’s breakthrough season, Howard hopes it also will help promote the idea of coming to Ashland for future Raiders.
“I think it sells the program and what we’re trying to accomplish and our core values that we try to teach of character, strength and honor,” he said. “When you go to recruit and go on the road and go to a high school that hasn’t seen us play, as coaches we can get a laptop out and break that out and show that video and give them a flavor of what Southern Oregon football is all about.”
Adkins was in Sweden on vacation and unable to respond to interview requests, but Howard said he has no desire to stop chronicling his team’s seasons anytime soon.
“We want to keep it going in the future,” he said. “I don’t know if we’ll have a guy as talented as Matt Adkins, and our budget’s still zero, but we still want to do things in a big-time way here at Southern Oregon.”
Reach reporter Kris Henry at or
WHAT: In-house video production chronicling Southern Oregon University’s breakthrough 2012 football campaign.

  • OF NOTE: Recently was named Video of the Year for the non-FBS division by

Raiders picked to finish third in Frontier
SOU shared conference crown last season
July 31, 2013 2:00 AM
WHITEFISH, Mont. — Defending Frontier Conference football co-champion Southern Oregon University will enter its second season as a conference member once again looking to out-perform preseason expectations after the league’s coaches predicted the Raiders to finish third this season.
The Raiders tied Montana Tech with an 8-2 record to share the 2012 conference title, with Tech claiming the league’s automatic bid to the national playoffs. Southern Oregon qualified as an at-large team and advanced to the NAIA quarterfinals. They were No. 5 in the final poll.
Southern Oregon defeated Montana Tech and Carroll during the final three weeks of the 2012 regular season, but those two teams were ranked ahead of the Raiders in the 2013 poll.
Montana Tech claimed four first-place votes, Carroll got three and they both had 43 points and go into the season as conference co-favorites. Southern Oregon landed the final first-place vote and totaled 40 points.
Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
Southern Oregon’s season-opening opponent, Rocky Mountain, tallied 34 points to rank fourth. The Raiders will host Rocky Mountain on Aug. 31 at Mel Ingram Field in Grants Pass for the 2013 Kickoff Classic.
Montana State-Northern was picked to finish fifth (22 points), followed by Eastern Oregon (18), Montana Western (17) and Dickinson State (7).
The Raiders will host Montana Tech on Oct. 5 and will visit it in Butte in the final game of the regular season on Nov. 16. Southern Oregon will travel to Helena, Mont., on Nov. 2 to face Carroll.

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