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Fire destroys backyard structure, knocks out internet service in west Roseburg neighborhood

A fire from an outbuilding in the neighborhood of West Union Street and West Harvard Avenue spread to a nearby utility pole before it was extinguished by members of the Roseburg Fire Department.

Damage to the utility pole knocked out internet service in the area for a few hours.

Firefighters responded to the fire at 2:27 p.m. Wednesday. The fire burned from the outbuilding to the backyard fence and caught the utility pole on fire. It burned about two-thirds of the way up the pole, damaging the internet line.

Firemen had the blaze knocked down in just a few minutes.

Roseburg Fire officials said some stored materials were destroyed but the residence on the property was not damaged and there were no injuries.

Douglas Fast Net had the line repaired and internet service restored to the area about 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The cause of the fire is still undetermined.

Student-run Rogue Credit Union to open at Umpqua Community College in fall

A student-run branch of Rogue Credit Union will open on the Umpqua Community College campus in fall 2019 as part of the credit union’s Campus Branch program.

A section of the bookstore will be renovated by RCU during the summer to accommodate the credit union and would be open the same hours as the bookstore.

The branch would function just as any other, with the opportunity for students and staff to cash checks, deposit money or any other transactions.

The program was introduced to board members Wednesday by Dean of Student Services April Hamlin at the board meeting, where several of the board members warned about the inherit risks that come with this program.

RCU reached out to UCC to start the program, but some of the college’s programs receive grants and scholarships from other banking institutions, and board director David Littlejohn warned that “the optics are not as rosy as it appears” and that it might endanger already existing scholarships on campus.

College officials did not reach out to any other financial institutions to see if they had similar programs that could be implemented at the school. RCU has six high school campus branches and one college branch at Southern Oregon University.

Students hired to work at the branch would be supervised and mentored by an RCU employee, the branch will provide internship opportunities for students and scholarships will be made available to students working at the branch.

RCU will give students access to financial literacy materials and give students meaningful employment and experience in a not-for-profit financial industry, according to Hamlin.

UCC’s board of directors did not have a say in whether the branch would come to campus, because it is not a paid service for the college.

UCC catering services eliminated, cafeteria decision on hold

WINCHESTER — Catering services by Umpqua Community College were cut during the UCC board meeting on Wednesday, while a decision on the fate of the campus cafeteria is under discussion.

The board of directors unanimously approved the motion to outsource catering, introduced by Director David Littlejohn. The makeup of the campus cafeteria is expected to be discussed at the June 12 board meeting.

Campus administrators proposed to partner with an already existing vendor to open a micro-market in the bookstore, but board members asked for more options.

Littlejohn said the administrators’ plan seemed to be created “in the vacuum of accounting, while ignoring the culture.”

UCC Cafeteria Specialist Steven Fair-Harrison said he felt his solutions had fallen on deaf ears.

He suggested eliminating food sales from the bookstore, taking on small on-campus catering jobs, or outsourcing cafeteria sources to outside businesses.

“We have reviewed those ideas and there would be a deficit,” UCC chief financial officer Natalya Brown said.

UCC President Debra Thatcher added that she was “confident we have explored all possibilities.”

The cafeteria has run at a deficit seven of the past nine years, including a negative fund balance of $10,854 in the 2018 fiscal year and a negative balance of $27,754 through April 30 for the 2019 fiscal year.

Catering had a $207,855 deficit in the 2018 fiscal year and a $234,544 through the first four months of 2019.

“Anyone who’s ever cooked knows it’s a labor of love,” Courtney Mochizuki said. “All that effort, love and care is worth forgetting the bottom line.”

Umpqua is one of five community colleges in Oregon that still provides an in-house cafeteria — 11 contract out and one has no cafeteria.

Under the proposal of the micro-market, the place to socialize would remain while people would have options for wraps, sandwiches and possibly pizza or soups, among other items. The micro-market would move into the bookstore by the beginning of fall term, if approved by the board.

“The proposal is the opposite of what the ask is,” Director Doris Lathrop said. “It seems cold. It reminds me of an airport. I for one would not support vending machines.”

Brown created a slide presentation that showed the average daily sales of the cafeteria are $502.

She also completed a variety of surveys from staff and students to gather input on how to help offset the cafeteria’s deficit.

According to Brown’s survey, 77% of students and 82% of staff use the cafeteria, with the majority saying they come a few times a week.

UCC Registration and Records Specialist Cathy Chapman spoke in support of the cafeteria: “It’s a huge community part of this college.”

In the survey, 41% of people said they would prefer to bring food trucks to campus if the cafeteria was eliminated.

The survey also revealed that 25% of people found the cafeteria too expensive, while 21% asked the college not to close the cafeteria because it’s a place to socialize, study and network.