April Ehrlich

Morning Edition Host/Jefferson Exchange Producer

April Ehrlich began freelancing for Jefferson Public Radio in 2016. She officially joined the team as Morning Edition Host and a Jefferson Exchange producer in August 2017.

April previously worked as a reporter covering local government, housing, and the environment in rural Oregon and Idaho. She also served a two-year stint with AmeriCorps, where she worked with nonprofits helping low-income communities in rural Oregon. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English at Cal-State University, Fullerton, where she worked as an editor for the campus paper.

April spends her free time hiking through nearby forests with a rambunctious border collie or reading fiction at home with her two favorite cats.


Two statements about wildfire are both diametrically opposed and simultaneously true.  Here they are: nobody wants to talk about fires anymore/everybody wants to talk about fires. 

It's just this: we're tired of fire season, yet need to have discussions about how to keep future seasons from getting worse than this one. 

Richard Fairbanks knows a thing or two about fire, after a career in the U.S. Forest Service that included a big role in the Biscuit Fire recovery project. 


It's one thing to read a cookbook, quite another to actually make some of the recipes in one.  There are limits to our time and kitchen abilities. 

That's why we jumped at the chance to visit with the author of Now & Again.  It's a book about LEFTOVERS. 

Sure, leftovers dressed up for a new day on the job, but leftovers just the same. 

Haven't we all looked for ways to turn an old meal into something new?  Julia Turshen answers the question with an emphatic yes. 

Noa Traylor of Weed, California
April Ehrlich | JPR News

Dozens of wildfires are filling the West Coast skies with thick smoke. In Southern Oregon, unhealthy air has forced people to wear smoke-filtering masks almost every day for more than a month. It has become part of the norm.

But in recent weeks, people have gotten tired of wearing the plain white paper masks every day. Instead, they’re investing in nicer ones made of fabric, and some even have artsy designs.

Noa Traylor of Weed, California, found his mask online. It’s a black fabric mask with a white decal of a zipper.

April Ehrlich/JPR News

Two weeks after the Carr Fire roared into Redding and destroyed hundreds of homes, the Small Business Administration came to town and set up shop. 

SBA offers disaster assistance for both business owners and homeowners.  That bears repeating: you can use an SBA loan to rebuild your home, not just a business. 

Chelsea Irvine is a public information officer with SBA. 


The climate news just gets grimmer all the time.  Nature continues to add insult to injury

Example: the recent study that shows the increase in temperature becomes more pronounced during droughts... which also appear to be more frequent as the planet heats up. 

Felicia Chiang is a doctoral candidate in civil engineering at the University of California-Irvine. 

Jessie Eastland, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49866394

Racism is alive and well in America.  Which should not surprise us, given its long history in the country. 

Few places would admit to being "sundown towns" now, but many once bore that moniker; they were places where African-Americans were expected to be out of town by sundown, at the risk of limb or life. 

James Loewen began researching sundown towns, expecting to find maybe 50 across the country.  He found thousands, including Grants Pass and others in our region. 


Businesses can go to college, too. 

Small Business Development Centers like the one at Southern Oregon University provide advice to entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them launch and stay airborne. 

Most of the advice and guidance are provided free of charge.  But a new, intensive, nine-month program called the Small Business Management program starts this fall, and does charge a fee.

Todd Tippin is the trainer/advisor for the program. 


The people who lived here for thousands of years before white people arrived knew how to feed themselves.  And the traditional knowledge has not been lost; in fact, it is being revived over time. 

The Karuk Tribe and the University of California-Berkeley developed a partnership several years ago to rebuild Traditional Ecological Knowledge. 

Now that partnership got a boost, a grant of $1.2 Million from the federal Department of Agriculture to develop resilience in tribal food and plant resources in the face of climate change. 

The handsome chief of the Canadian Cherokee had it all: good looks, a great story, and lots of money.  Oh, and one other thing: his story was a complete fabrication. 

"Chief White Elk" was really Edgar Laplante, a grifter and vaudeville performer who upped his game by pretending to be someone and something he wasn't.  And people in the celebrity-obsessed culture of the 1910s and 20s bought it. 

The building and busting of Laplante's myth is told in the book King Con: The Bizarre Adventures of the Jazz Age's Greatest Imposter


People love to go look at baby animals, but that's not really the purpose of SOAR Wildlife Center in the Green Springs outside Ashland. 

SOAR stands for Southern Oregon Animal Rehabilitation; the plan is to "rescue, rehabilitate, release."  So the center does not give tours and does not make a lot of money for its efforts. 

Tiffany Morey created the center and has ridden the ups and downs of getting baby animals back to the wild. 


Of all the businesses you could start in today's world, would a bank be on top of the list? 

The megabanks seem to rule the business, continually buying up the local operations.  Yet one regional outfit, People's Bank of Commerce, has managed to stay local and independent for 20 years now. 

How is the number one question for Ken Trautman, who started the bank with Mike Sickels.  Ken is our guest in this month's edition of The Ground Floor, our survey of entrepreneurs in the region. 


Maybe you can tell the story of your life through the cars you have known.  The Datsun you took your driver's test in, or the Dart where you kissed somebody important to you. 

Melissa Stephenson certainly has stories to tell about the cars of her life, and she tells them--marriage, suicide, and more--in Driven: A White-Knuckled Ride to Heartbreak and Back

Listen to the list of vehicles and the milestones they represent in her life. 

Ian Poellet, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26898939

We're long past the days when we ignored and abused our streams to the point where they'd actually catch fire (Cuyahoga River, Cleveland, 1969). 

But our flowing waterways still need plenty of attention to be able to support all the creatures that live in them and depend upon them. 


Nothing like a little closeness to nature to get your mind off something bothering you.  It works for many people in many circumstances. 

Pam Mindt has a story to tell in this vein; she's a retired colonel in the National Guard who served in Iraq, among many places.  And she likes bees. 

She found that beekeeping was therapeutic, both for her and for buddies coping with PTSD at the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

The tourism business is taking a pounding in the region this year.  Even the people who love living here don't want to stick around when the wildfire smoke gets too thick. 

Outdoor events have been cancelled, and visitors have voluntarily cancelled many more. 

So how do you convince visitors to follow through on planned visits?  That's an question the Ashland Chamber of Commerce has been mulling, along with the people at Travel Southern Oregon


Bee appreciation continues its upswing in the United States.  Just take a look in your neighborhood, and see if any of your neighbors have planted pollinator gardens. 

Honeybees and their output are celebrated at the Oregon Honey and Mead Festival, coming this weekend to Ashland. 

Sharon Schmidt is a beekeeper and the festival founder.  She visits the studio, while we get Amina Harris on the phone. 

Dr. Harris is the director of the Honey and Pollination Center at the University of California-Davis. 


When you're based in The Beaver State, once in a while you'll get around to talking about beavers.  And we do, with Ben Goldfarb. 

He wrote a book called Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter.

That last phrase is the key; beavers were instrumental in creating the landscape that early white visitors found when they arrived in the region. 

And those visitors promptly set about trapping the beavers, thus changing the landscape.  Can it look like that again? 


College is expensive, and housing is tight in much of the country.  So it should not be much of a surprise to learn that some students are technically homeless while they go to college. 

A study released earlier this year showed that across the California State University system, more than 10% of students were at risk of homelessness at some point in the academic year, and another 41% experienced food insecurity. 

Jennifer Maguire at Humboldt State and Rashida Crutchfield at Long Beach State joined forces for the study.  They join us to lay out some of the facts. 

Rev Sysyphus, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5929199

Opponents of the proposed wall on the Mexican border often express their concerns in terms of people affected. 

But a wall that big would have an effect on the natural environment as well, and the Center for Biological Diversity has gone to court to make its case. 

CBD lists 93 endangered, threatened, and candidate species that could be adversely affected by the construction of the wall and patrols around it. 

michael clarke stuff, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24330893

Of all the fascinating creatures in the sea, one of the most important has neither fins nor tentacles nor eyeballs, and doesn't even move.  If you guessed seaweed, you guessed well. 

It's not really a weed, but a form of algae.  And it comes in thousands of varieties, many of them packed with nutrients good for many other creatures on the Earth. 

Seaweed harvesting is becoming a bigger business in Maine, and that's where Susan Hand Shetterly takes us in her book Seaweed Chronicles: A World at the Water’s Edge