Monthly Archives: February 2007

Brain Labor Report: The Oscars, SOU Town Hall, Karma & Bob Sexton on Brain Labor Report

Jason Houk hosts an interview with Bob Sexton, vice president of SEIU 503 sublocal 84 which represents over 200 classified staff at Southern Oregon University.

Audio MP3 February 26, 2007 >>> Listen Here


Southern Oregon Songwriters Association


SOSA’s mission is to provide the tools and resources necessary for songwriters to improve their writing & performance skills.

Nurses union victorious in RVMC case

Rogue Valley Medical Center will spend about $2 million to pay its nurses for rest breaks and meal breaks they missed while caring for patients and to hire new nurses to spread the workload.  Story Here

Green Living Journal

A Practical Journal for Friends of the Environment Green Living has been publishing environmental news since 1990. The focus is on the practical and positive: most articles focus on how the reader can help the environment or improve their health.

Stephen Morris
Green Living
Editor & Publisher
Stephen Morris

Green Living is primarily distributed in parts of New England and Southern Oregon and Northern California, its articles are often of national interest. Most have a how-to focus and make good reference material.

16,000 copies printed every quarter. Most are distributed free to almost 500 locations in the Pioneer Valley (the Connecticut River valley around Brattleboro where southwestern Vermont, southeastern New Hampshire, and northwestern Massachusetts meet) plus, starting in December 2006, a growing number of outlets radiating from Medford in Southern Oregon and Northern California. 

Flowstone News

To bring the diverse and colorful community of Southern Oregon together through the pages of Flowstone. Fostering creativity and confidence in the human condition is a large part of our vision. Flowstone will also serve as a guide to the rich and varied cultural environment that exists in our region. There is no shortage of exploration to be done with so many wonderful restaurants, vineyards, theatre companies and talented artists defining our community. We also seek to protect and preserve the silent members of our community, which includes the mountains, and rivers that make up our landscape and the animals that make them their homes.


All rights will remain with the author / artist. Payment will be in the form of a free one month ad with Flowstone or an one year subscription. We hope to be able to pay our contributors in the near future!

Written Work – Articles can be on virtually any topic, 500 – 800 words. Poetry is encouraged as are essays and humorous pieces.
Email your work to .
If sending as an attachment please use rtf or pdf formatting.

Musical Submissions – If you have a song that you would like to showcase simply send us a CD via snail mail (P.O. Box 703 Grants Pass, OR 97528) or a link and we will post it online.

Photography – Black & White photos are encouraged as we can publish these in the print version of Flowstone.  submit your work via email to .

Alternative Arts – Perhaps you are a sculptor or large scale artist. Email us a little about what you do and we can possibly showcase your work online at .

Place your classified ad today!
Deadline is the 25th of each month.

Healthcare, Union Rights and Brain Labor

On the 60th Episode of the Brain Labor Report, Wes and Jason discuss the Employee Free Choice Act, and John Conyers National Healthcare Bill HR676.

Audio MP3 February 9, 2007 >>> Listen Here

 Music includes:
Anne Feeney “War on the Workers”
George & Julius “Its Hard to put Food on Your Family”
David Rovics “Walmart”

Local high-tech industry not so local

The Ashland Fiber Network has always operated as a wholesaler of its Internet service for the purpose of fostering the local high-tech industry.

But more retailers of AFN’s service are outsourcing customer service jobs. Some are not even based in Ashland. That raises the question of whether AFN should continue forgoing the money it could make retailing its own services in order to support those businesses.

AFN charges its Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, a wholesale rate of $26 per month for the average home customer. The ISPs then charge a monthly retail rate of about $35 to $39, Ashland Information Technology Director Joe Franell said.

ISPs add on the charges to cover customer service and other costs, and to make profits.

InfoStructure, an AFN Internet service retailer based in Talent, plans to out-source customer service jobs this quarter, said co-owner Jeff Rhoden.

It joins Ashland-based JEFFNet as one of the ISPs that outsources customer service.

Two other major ISPs, UNICOM and Computer Country Internet Services, are not based in Ashland or Talent. They both have offices in Medford and Grants Pass.

Rhoden said even though InfoStructure is outsourcing customer service jobs, it still has a local office and local workers.

“Outsourcing is a supplement to our in-house service,” he said. “We’re not going to 100 percent out-sourcing. People can still walk in our door.”

Rhoden said InfoStructure, which has customers across Oregon, will be able to offer customer service 24 hours a day, seven days a week by outsourcing. The change will not save InfoStructure significant amounts of money, but it will allow staff members to concentrate on other aspects of the business while trained customer service specialists handle calls, he said.

Like Gary Nelson and his company Ashland Home Net, Alan Oppenheimer has kept his company, Open Door Networks, all local. Oppenheimer said outsourcing customer support can bring short-term financial gain, but ultimately could cost businesses money if they can’t build strong, personal relationships with customers.

However, Oppenheimer said Ashland’s economy still benefits more when services are provided by local businesses — even those that outsource — than when customers choose national companies.

“Even if they are outsourcing, that is only some percentage of their business,” he said. “The profit dollars remain here and the operations remain here.”

Oppenheimer said AFN has fostered the local high-tech industry through its wholesale Internet model. But only a small number of local high-tech businesses retail AFN Internet service. Instead, high-tech businesses and other companies have mostly benefited by using, not selling, the high-speed Internet service, he said.

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 479-8199 or To post a comment on-line, visit