The Jefferson Exchange Team

Jefferson Exchange Team

The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. John Baxter is the senior producer, April Ehrlich is the producer and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.

To contact the producers to pitch a segment idea or make a comment about the show, email them at or call 541-552-7075.

ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0-igo,

What causes the intense and long fire seasons in California?  The Pacific jet stream, among other features. 

Penn State University researcher Alan Taylor says the Pacific jet determines where moisture goes in California, and its recent movements suggest more rain than snow, and continued hot, dry fire seasons. 

Taylor recently published research on the subject, including reconstruction of 400 years of data on the movements of the jet. 


Just talking about smoke from fires can make people uneasy in our region.  The last few fire seasons have featured smoke hanging around--at unhealthy levels--for weeks at a time. 

The state of Oregon just enacted new rules for its smoke management program, which deals with prescribed burns in the forest.  But the rules also have a bearing on notification of smoke from wildfires. 

Nick Yonker manages the Smoke Management Program for the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).  Michael Orman runs the Air Planning Program at the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). 


And the Oscar goes to... a guy.  Men still get most of the attention in the movie industry behind the camera, but it's not for lack of effort by women. 

They've been cranking out quality work since the beginning of the industry.  Many of today's independent producers tell their own stories in the book Independent Female Filmmakers: A Chronicle through Interviews, Profiles, and Manifestos

Michelle Meek collected the independents' writings as the editor of the project. 

Andrew Kumler/KLCC

The name might provide an ominous tone, but "Devil's Staircase" makes people in Oregon happy.  The stairstep-like water feature in the Coast Range is now part of a wilderness area, protected by the public lands bill that recently sailed through both houses of Congress. 

Cascadia Wildlands, Trout Unlimited, and Oregon Wild both worked for years to protect Devil's Staircase and other areas under the Oregon Wildlands Act.  The act ended up a portion of a much larger bill. 


Would you like to hear about today's specials?  By the time you get that question, you've got a restaurant menu in your hands.  And a Rogue Valley company makes sure the menus have an impact on a customer. 

Jim Williams is the CEO of Ashland-based Must Have Menus; he is our guest in this month's edition of our entrepreneur segment, The Ground Floor. 


Milicent Patrick was one of Disney's first and few female animators. She was also the creative mind behind one of the all-time classic film monsters: "The Creature from the Black Lagoon."

But credit for her creation was taken by an envious male co-worker, and Milicent faded into oblivion.

Mallory O'Meara's tale of the search for the creator of the Gill Man tells the almost forgotten story of an extraordinary creative career, and the Hollywood sexism that erased it.  The book is called The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick


The people who make acronyms outdid themselves with the naming of the Systematic Underwater Biogeochemical Science and Exploration Analog at NASA.  The letters spell out SUBSEA, which is the kind of exploration in question. 

At NASA?  Yes, because the agency aims to treat the exploration of the deep ocean similar to the approach to exploring deep space. 

Shannon Kobs Nawotniak is one of the staff scientists at SUBSEA, an expert on undersea volcanoes. 

William Smith

One of the features of the "eat local" movement has been an urging to get to know the farmers who grow your food.  But not all local foods involve farmers. 

Confused?  Food still grows wild, despite the overwhelming presence of agriculture.  And this month's edition of our food segment, Savor, takes in the great variety of foods available by foraging in the woods. 

Our partner, food stylist Will Smith, is out of town this month.  But we welcome Chef Josh Dorcak of MÄS, which offers a tasting menu of local delights. 


Any period you can think of as "the good old days," someone else can counter with a portion of society that was oppressed in those times.  Nostalgia doesn't help us deal with the issues of now, says Yuval Levin. 

He's the author of The Fractured Republic: Renewing America's Social Contract in the Age of Individualism.  Levin points to the problems inherent in thinking of ourselves as individuals above all else. 


Getting a job can be an adventure in the best of circumstances.  Having a criminal record is not the best of circumstances, but people with prison in the past need work in the present and future. 

Nathan Beard helps people with criminal records find work.  His assignments include helping people through Jackson County's probation office. 

The 24-hour news cycle is more intense than ever; sometimes it feels like a 72-hour news cycle crammed into a single day. 

Numbers aside, there's always plenty of material when we convene our monthly media roundup, Signals & Noise. 

Andrew Gay and Precious Yamaguchi of the Communication faculty at Southern Oregon University join us for a wide-ranging perusal of items in the media. 

And when we say media, we mean everything from the latest electronics to books... and beyond. 

New York Times photo archive, Public Domain,

Maybe you can name a few of the leaders of the women's suffrage movement in the United States.  Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton come to mind. 

But how about Ida B. Wells, or the Forten sisters?  They got less attention, as members of minority groups. 

Sally Roesch Wagner, a scholar of the movement, gathers a wide range of voices together in a new book she edited called Unsung Heroes of the Women's Suffrage Movement

Oregon State University, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Left unchecked, Sudden Oak Death syndrome could run rampant in Oregon coastal counties, costing something like $50 Million a year in lost wages in the timber industry. 

That is just one of the findings in a recently published report assessing the economic impacts of SOD.  Another finding: spending some money now to stop SOD could result in not spending a much greater amount of money later. 

Sarah Navarro is a forest pathologist for the Oregon Department of Forestry, ODF. 


Sunshine Week sounds like something related to the arrival of spring, but it's really the other kind of sunshine: that kind that shines on the work of government.  Or should, in theory. 

But journalists and other people interested in the workings of government often find themselves stuck in gaps in laws regulating public records and public meetings.  Like in 2011, when two Oregonian reporters launched a criminal investigation into the Solar by Degrees program that led to $13 million — and counting — being returned to the state of Oregon. That's the power of public records.

The Oregon Territory Society of Professional Journalists pushes for changes in state law to allow more sunshine. 


Public health agencies work to solve our biggest health issues.  And they often take on private partners to do it. 

Case in point: the research to find cures for cancers.  There's a lot of public money in it, but the therapies will likely be owned by private entities. 

Health ethicist Jonathan Marks lays out his concerns in the book The Perils of Partnership: Industry Influence, Institutional Integrity, and Public Health


There's nothing simple about moving to a new country, whether legally or not.  Especially for people fleeing bad situations in their countries of origins, there can be trauma. 

And the trauma and other mental health concerns often go untreated if the immigrant is undocumented.  That's the finding of a recent report from the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network

It focuses on the difficulties of obtaining mental health care for people living in the shadows. 

Fry Family Farm

Several generations are often represented in Stories of Southern Oregon, and that is the case with Fry Family Farm.  Steve and Suzanne Fry started the all-organic operation nearly 30 years ago, and now their daughters are taking up the work. 

Amber and Terra Fry left and came back to help manage the farm.  Steve and Terra visit the studio to tell the story of their work and its rewards. 


Bob Quinn says he wasn't really aiming to run an organic farm.  But organic methods seemed to work well on his Montana farm, so he kept at it, making more discoveries over time. 

Re-discoveries, actually, since some of the techniques date back a very long time.  Bob and co-writer Liz Carlisle tell the story in Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food


People who don't have much money can have their lives turned upside-down by a health crisis.  California's Whole Person Care program identifies people who receive Medi-Cal (medicaid) benefits who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and provides additional attention and benefits to them. 

Shasta County is one of the areas participating in the Whole Person Care pilot program. 


We've been hearing for a while now about the importance of the microbiome within each of us, the collection of bacteria and other living things inside us that help us stay healthy. 

If you stop and think for a moment, you realize microorganisms are all around us.  So buildings have microbiomes, too. 

The Biology and the Built Environment Center (BioBE) at the University of Oregon studies that microbiome.  Dr. Suzanne Ishaq is right in the middle of the work.