Geoffrey Riley

News Director | Jefferson Exchange Host

Geoffrey Riley began practicing journalism in the State of Jefferson more than three decades ago, as a reporter and anchor for a Medford TV station. It was about the same time that he began listening to Jefferson Public Radio, and thought he might one day work there. He was right.

Geoff came to JPR as a backup host on The Jefferson Exchange in late 2000, and he assumed the full-time host job at the beginning of 2010. The two hours of the Exchange allow him to join our listeners in exploring issues both large and small, local and global. In addition to hosting The Exchange, Geoff oversees JPR’s news department as its News Director.

Geoff is a New York native, with stints in broadcast news in Missouri, Alabama, and Wisconsin before his arrival in Oregon. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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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. 

UC-Berkeley/DailyCal

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

SOAR

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. 

JESHOOTScom/Pixabay

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. 

FrankGeorg/Pixabay

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. 

maria-anne/Pixabay

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

Mysticsartdesign/Pixabay

Any society heading for more repression tends to put a lid on its fiction writers. 

Azar Nafisi, who lived under the regime in Iran, has seen it happen.  She demonstrated fiction's power when she taught there; she appreciates it at least as much now that she lives in the United States. 

Azar Nafisi joined us in 2015 to talk about books that should and do motivate Americans: The Republic of Imagination: A Life in Books

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

nesslinger-it/Pixabay

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. 

skeeze/Pixabay

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? 

rawpixel/Pixabay

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

Ian Poellet, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27045930

Medford is one of many cities dealing with rising numbers of people living on the streets.  And along with them come rising complaints about trash and a general decline in cleanliness downtown. 

Southern Oregon Digital Archive

Dr. Jim Shames has been a frequent guest of The Exchange, since he's Jackson County's chief medical officer.  But we did not realize what a backstory he has! 

Jim first arrived in Southern Oregon to deal with an outbreak of hepatitis at a commune in Takilma, in the Illinois Valley. 

TheDigitalArtist/Pixabay

When a country uses a bomb, the world knows.  When a country uses cyber warfare instead... well, our intelligence services say Russia did, and Vladimir Putin says it did not. 

That's one of the major differences in an age that allows warfare through computers.  It's no accident that security correspondent David E. Sanger calls his new book The Perfect Weapon

It's subtitled War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age.  No soldiers need apply; hackers step forward. 

BenjaminNelan/Pixabay

The concept of money you never touch is a little easier to understand in the age of debit cards. 

But Bitcoin?  Virtual wallets?  Cryptocurrencies?  It takes a little more work to wrap our minds around recent developments in concepts of money, especially the blockchain technology that makes cryptocurrencies possible. 

Fortunately, Stephen McKeon is well-versed on the subject matter.  He is an assistant professor in the Department of Finance at the University of Oregon. 

California Air National Guard

Thousands of people lost their homes when wildfires swept through California north of the Bay Area last year.  And many of those people got confusing and just plain bad information from insurance adjusters sent to help them get back on their feet. 

Attorney Jon Eisenberg, who lost a house in the Oakland fire of 1991 and nearly lost his Healdsburg home last year, helped some of last year's fire victims untangle the insurance/legal snarl. 

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