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Where will veterans get urgent care on weekends?

The Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center will downgrade its 24/7 emergency department to a 12-hour, five-day-a-week urgent care next week, but that will leave Roseburg area veterans with a gap in service on the weekends.

The Roseburg VA is officially converting its emergency department to an urgent care as of Aug. 16, but it won’t offer weekend hours.

Under the new Mission Act that took effect in June, veterans have the option of visiting an urgent care that’s on the VA’s list of in-network private providers.

There’s just one catch, though. None of the in-network private providers are in Roseburg.

“We’re the only area in Southern Oregon that doesn’t have an urgent care that’s on board with the Mission Plan,” said Douglas County Veterans Forum President Larry Hill. He said it would ease Roseburg area veterans’ angst over the recent changes at the VA if a Roseburg urgent care signed onto the VA’s network.

The VA says it’s working on it. Currently, though, the only facility within 50 miles of Roseburg that appears on the VA’s online search for in-network urgent care is Canyonville Health and Urgent Care, and even it does not have weekend hours.

The VA operates clinics in North Bend, Brookings and Eugene, but they are also closed weekends.

Eleven additional in-network urgent cares are listed within 100 miles, with locations including Medford, Ashland, Grants Pass, White City, Brookings, Springfield, Eugene and Lebanon, and they do offer weekend service for those veterans willing and able to get there.

The closest in-network urgent care facilities that offer some weekend hours include Peacehealth Medical Group at 3321 W. 11th Ave., Eugene; Valley Immediate Care, 162 NE Beacon Dr., Suite 103, Grants Pass and Asante Urgent Care at 537 Union Ave., Grants Pass.

Other options within 100 miles of Roseburg include Asante Urgent Care in White City and Medford; Peacehealth Medical Group in Springfield; Valley Immediate Care in North Medford, South Medford and Ashland; Curry Medical Center in Brookings and Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital in Lebanon.

The Asante, Valley Immediate Care, Peacehealth and Samaritan Lebanon facilities are open weekends during the daytime. Curry Medical Center’s urgent care is open Saturdays but closed Sundays.

Some veterans will have $30 co-pays, depending on their assigned priority group and how many times they’ve already visited an urgent care that year.

There are three private urgent care facilities in Roseburg. All of them have weekend hours. But since they’re not part of the network, the VA won’t pay if veterans receive care at them.

“When Veterans are using their urgent care benefit they must go to an urgent care provider in VA’s network. VA is working diligently with TriWest to add urgent care centers,” said Roseburg VA spokesman Tim Parish on Friday. TriWest is the company contracted with the VA to manage community care for veterans.

The VA referred veterans with questions about urgent care to its website at

That page leaves veterans with four options if they find themselves at an out-of-network urgent care: to pay for their own care at the out-of-network urgent care, to go to a different urgent care provider that’s part of the network, to go to the nearest VA medical facility or to go to the nearest emergency department. If the veteran goes to the emergency department for an urgent care-level concern though, one that’s not an emergency, the veteran will wind up with the bill.

Roseburg VA Director Keith Allen said in an interview earlier this summer that the Roseburg VA hasn’t really had a full-service emergency department for awhile and calling the ED an urgent care will be more accurate. About 89 percent of the cases seen at the VA’s emergency department were actually urgent care level concerns, Allen said.

The VA’s intensive care unit shut down in 2009, and Allen cited staffing shortages and patient safety as the reasons for completing the conversion to an urgent care this month.

Whether the VA clinic’s open or not, veterans are being advised to go directly to the nearest emergency room — Mercy Medical Center for most local veterans — if they reasonably believe their health or lives are at risk. The VA does pay for emergency care at an outside hospital for life-threatening situations.

Thrice brings an authentic performance to Douglas County Fair

After a quick rainstorm swept through the fairgrounds, alternative-rock band Thrice performed the last concert of the Douglas County Fair concert series to a sparse crowd at the Cascade Community Credit Union amphitheater Friday evening.

Though the music borders on heavy metal, audience members would be surprised to know that lead guitarist and singer Dustin Kensrue has roots in Christian music.

Less than an estimated 150 people occupied the reserve seats with small pockets of dedicated fans spread across the grassy area and bleachers. One fair volunteer blamed the rain as a factor for the small crowd.

Despite the lower attendance, the audience proved to be passionate fans.

Tyson Arrant, of Newport, said he started listening to the band when he was in the military. He served from 2000 to 2003 in Iraq.

“They inspired me throughout the years. Their message and their tone. I just loved these guys since 20 years ago,” Arrant said.

Travis Wager, of Winston, has been a fan of Thrice for the past 20 years. His birthday was on Friday and he said he was grateful that his favorite band happened to perform on his birthday.

“It’s a pretty sweet day for me,” Wager said. “I bought my tickets four months ago. It’s been a long wait.”

Wager said his favorite part of the band is its progression from its earlier days to its modern music.

“They started off punk-ish and you could hear them grow and mature through their music,” Wager said. “They went from young energetic kids to like adults with problems that they want to sing about.”

Andy Martin and his daughter Emily are newer fans and have been listening to Thrice for the past couple of years.

“It’s neat generationally to be able to share that together because I didn’t have that with my parents,” Andy Martin said.

Emily Martin said the band is “authentic and raw” and the messages in the songs speak to her.

Andy Martin owns a music shop in Grants Pass. He said listening to Thrice’s music inspires him to play his own guitar more and teach others as well.

He said one of his favorite parts of the band is its ability to write from a “Christian perspective.”

“What I love about him is he can write about life from a Christian perspective so it makes you think about stuff, but he doesn’t do it such a way where it’s beating it over your head,” Andy Martin said. “It invites you, I don’t know, to look into it deeper and think about things for yourself.”

Roseburg police looking for armed robber

The Roseburg Police Department is seeking the public’s help in identifying and locating a man who allegedly robbed Renard’s Deli on Stewart Parkway in Roseburg Thursday night.

At approximately 11 p.m., police responded to the deli at 2230 Northwest Stewart Parkway and learned that a male suspect, described as being between 6-foot-2 and 6-foot-4 with a slender build and a bandanna covering his face, entered the deli and walked up to the register.

The man pulled out a firearm and demanded money from the employee working at the counter, according to police. The employee opened the register and gave the suspect an undisclosed amount of money before the man ran away.

Officers, along with a K-9 from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, responded and immediately searched the area, but were unable to locate the suspect.

Jeff Eichenbusch, a spokesman for the police department, said anyone with information about the robbery can contact police at or through the tip line at 541-492-6794.

First-degree robbery, which is defined as when a deadly weapon is used during a robbery, is a Measure 11 crime that holds a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 100 months upon conviction.

A little bit for everyone at the Douglas County Fair exhibits

Table settings, photography, art, quilts and a variety of other things are on display at the exhibit hall at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

“We’ve got something for everyone,” fair worker Camron Pope said, adding there are driftwood competitions and Lego competitions.

There were eight different exhibits inside the hall. Fair worker April Moon said photography was the most popular category this year.

“We didn’t get quite as many (contributions) as last year,” Moon said. “But it’s not too bad of a turnout.”

Moon said her son competed in the baking competition, but overall the number of contributions for that exhibit was down.

A tribute to Sandra Gardner was also set up inside the exhibit hall. Gardner died late last year and had entered 350 competitions at the Douglas County Fair throughout her life, she won 131 first-place ribbons, 104 second-place ribbons and 52 third-place ribbons.

There were hundreds of divisions in the exhibits, and the entrees varied from preschool drawings to professional artists.

Tristen Harp created a “Lunch on the Death Star” table setting that had a Star Wars theme from the menu, to the way the napkins were folded, the cups and the centerpiece. Even the tablecloth was decorated with swirling stars.

The exhibit hall was fairly quiet Friday afternoon, as were many of the other buildings.

Vendors inside the Community Conference Hall speculated it may have been due to the rain.