The Jefferson Exchange

News & Information: Mon-Fri • 8am-10am | 8pm-10pm

JPR's live interactive program devoted to current events and newsmakers from around the region and beyond. It airs on JPR's News & Information service. Choose that service from the stream above or find your station here.

Participate in the live program by calling 800-838-3760 or emailing JX@jeffnet.org

Wikimedia

Oregon has a vibrant technology sector, so it's not like people in the state don't know their way around computers. 

But the state government got low marks for the utility of its websites in the recent "Benchmarking State Government Websites" report. 

The report's authors checked out state sites across the country, and found some pretty good ones.  Just not in Oregon, which got dinged for access, security, and transparency issues. 

Open Oregon is a group pushing for greater state transparency. 

Somehow, the things that we fear in our society are just a little less fearful when we get the story from puppets.  That's right, puppets, fuzzy puppets. 

Those are the medium of performance for the Rogue Valley-based theatre troupe Puppeteers for Fears

The group's latest work, about artificial intelligence creeping further into human domains, is called "Robopocalypse: The Musical!"  So fuzzy puppets AND songs. 

Josh Gross, the coordinator of our "Rogue Sounds" segment, is the work's playwright. 

Pixabay

Critics of American education have many areas of concern, and grading is just one of them. 

Teachers are human, and humans have beliefs and biases that can show up in the process of assigning grades to students. 

Longtime educator Joe Feldman proposes a way to get things right, in his book Grading for Equity: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How It Can Transform Schools and Classrooms

Dickson Phua / Flickr

Several Oregon counties will vote in November on versions of a “Second Amendment Protection” measure.  The measure expands the definition of firearms and limits enforcement of firearms in laws.

If passed, it would mandate that definitions of firearms be interpreted as including firearm accessories and ammunition.  In general, it would put the county on record as opposing state efforts to curtail gun ownership rights. 

Jackson County's version is Measure 15-181, the Right to Bear Arms Amendment.  An organization called Patriotic Revolution supports the measure. 

bizmology.hoovers.com

California is one of just a handful of states that allows rent control, but the price caps on rent are limited by the Costa-Hawkins act of the mid-1990s. 

So it should surprise no one that the limits on rent control are being challenged in the November election. 

Proposition 10 would repeal Costa-Hawkins, allowing more flexibility for cities to put controls on rents.  And that troubles a number of groups, who worry that rent control will drive some landlords out of the market and make housing even more scarce. 

The No on Prop 10 campaign is putting a lot of effort and money into defeating the measure. 

Public Domain

Latin America was not a major battleground in the second World War, but it was pivotal in other ways.  The region's riches in natural resources made it important for support of the war effort, and both Allied and Axis powers stayed busy in the region. 

As Mary Jo McConahay reports in her new book, the efforts paralled each other so closely, it was like a tango.  So McConahay calls her book The Tango War: The Struggle for the Hearts, Minds and Riches of Latin America During World War II

Resources and spies, American boosters and Nazi sympathizers all make appearances in the book. 

Wildlifeimages.org

Wildlife Images near Grants Pass started simply: take animals that have been injured, rehabilitate them, and return them to the wild, when possible. 

Easier said than done, because animal healthcare and rehab can get tricky indeed. 

But the organization has been doing it for nearly 40 years now, through snow and smoke and whatever else nature throws at animals and the facility. 

Ascentron.com

The technology sector of the economy is about ideas; cool new things that can make the world a better place.  But after the ideas, somebody's got to make the stuff. 

And that's where Ascentron, based in White City, comes in.  The company manufactures a variety of items, from printed circuit boards to complete assemblies, for industries ranging from medical to military. 

And the company managed to survive the recession of several years ago. 

This month's edition of The Ground Floor, our business segment, focuses on Ascentron and its ascent (sorry). 

Wikimedia

Maybe John Wayne provided the most iconic example, the image of the "manly man" inhabiting the American West during settlement.  It was indeed a society dominated by men, so you could not blame a woman for feeling excluded. 

Oregon author John Larison explores in fiction what that feeling might lead to, in the novel Whiskey When We're Dry.  His main character, Jessilyn Harney, decides to pass as a man in society, for a variety of reasons. 

Jackson County Cultural Coalition

Who would come to see a play with the actors just standing and reading off a script?  Lots of people, it turns out.  Especially if the plays are new works still in development. 

The Ashland New Plays Festival presents four plays (twice each) to packed houses every October. 

ANPF returns Wednesday, October 17th through Sunday, October 21st, with another slate of plays, plus workshops. 

socompasshouse.org

Fall down and hurt yourself, and there's a good chance someone will come to your aid.  Develop a mental illness, and the circumstances are different. 

Society still misunderstands and even fears mental illness.  Southern Oregon Compass House in Medford works to ease club members into society, and shares stories with us every month in a segment called Compass Radio. 

This month we meet Mihn and Dan and hear about their struggles with both mental illness and blindness. 

Oregon Senate District 3 is a hot commodity.  The switch of the seat from Democrat to Republican in a special election two years ago changed the course of business in the Oregon Legislature. 

Incumbent Alan DeBoer chose not to run again, opening the door for Democrat Jeff Golden and Republican Jessica Gomez

They join us for a candidate forum co-sponsored by JPR and Southern Oregon University, held on the evening of October 11th. 

Wikimedia/Public Domain

California continues to pass laws--like the recent net neutrality bill--that challenge the rest of the nation to keep up.  With a huge chunk of the country's population, the state is in a position to lead. 

So it could be highly influential in healthcare legislation.  Should the state stick with the battered Affordable Care Act, or could it set up a single-payer system of its own? 

These are questions Richard Scheffler mulls; he is a healthcare economist at the University of California-Berkeley. 

Georg_Wietschorke/Pixabay

For 25 years now, people enthusiastic about keeping birds on the planet have celebrated World Migratory Bird Day.  One teensy little problem: birds don't all migrate at the same time, so the day has been observed on different dates in different parts of the world. 

So many organizations just observe the Year of the Bird.  Klamath Bird Observatory in Ashland works to protect birds and educate people about them. 

The Storm That Blew Oregon Away

Oct 10, 2018
Oregon Historical Society, PGE Collection

Weather forecasting was not very sophisticated in 1962, and Western Oregon paid a price for that lack. 

The Columbus Day storm blew onshore with winds in excess of 100 miles an hour, toppling buildings and trees and more. 

Dozens of people died in the storm, described in John Dodge's new book A Deadly Wind.  The book is from Oregon State University Press; OSU itself sustained heavy damage in the storm. 

bizmology.hoovers.com

California is one of just a handful of states that allows rent control, but the price caps on rent are limited by the Costa-Hawkins act of the mid-1990s. 

So it should surprise no one that the limits on rent control are being challenged in the November election.  Proposition 10 would repeal Costa-Hawkins, allowing more flexibility for cities to put controls on rents. 

The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and the Yes on Prop 10 campaign support the repeal. 

The current version of Oregon's 2nd Congressional District has never elected a Democrat to represent it. 

The district stretches from Grants Pass to the Idaho state line, and contains far more registered Republicans than Democrats.  But Jamie McLeod-Skinner is putting great effort into capturing the congressional seat from 20-year incumbent Greg Walden. 

McLeod-Skinner joins us to talk about her qualifications and positions.  

Philipp Hertzog/Wikimedia

The numbers and reports about the Earth's temperature are fairly grim.  By the most recent accounts, there's little chance we can avoid having temperatures rise sharply this century. 

But that doesn't mean we should not try.  BF Nagy is all for the effort, and he takes a practical and positive approach for people to follow, in his book The Clean Energy Age: A Guide to Beating Climate Change

Nagy says he doesn't want to shame or scold, just make some progress in arresting the change. 

Rogue Retreat

Rogue Retreat has several programs in place to get people living on the streets into housing.  And it recently got approval from the City of Medford to expand Hope Village, its tiny house community. 

To help raise awareness and money, former Hope Village residents and volunteers are spending a night each in one of the tiny houses, parked at the Rogue Valley Mall in Medford.  The Overnight Challenge runs through October. 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife

After a long and costly fire season, few people want to talk about burning trees.  Unless it's their job to do so. 

We're reminded frequently that fire is a natural part of life in our forests, and the Western Klamath Restoration Partnership is right in the middle of its annual training exchange, or TREX. 

The 13-day event involves controlled burns and many other activities related to fire-adapted ecosystems. 

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