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.

Quantum Innovations

If you've ever been to an eye doctor and got quizzed about the kind of coating you'd like on your glasses, you've got the beginning of an understanding of what Quantum Innovations in Central Point does. 

But lens coating is just the tip of a very big iceberg.  Quantum founder Norm Kester is the guest on this month's edition of our business segment, The Ground Floor. 

Rowland Scherman; restored by Adam Cuerden - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain,

The observance of Martin Luther King's birthday sends us into the archives in search of MLK-related material. 

Newspaper reporter Marc Perrusquia joined us a while back to talk about his book A Spy in Canaan: How the FBI Used a Famous Photographer to Infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement.  The level of infiltration and detail is amazing. 


We continue our observance of Martin Luther King's birthday with more material about his time in history. 

The Vietnam War was one cause MLK devoted attention to, and it alienated him from some previous supporters when he spoke against the war. 

Christopher Goscha considered the war and all that came before in Vietnam: A New History

Thomas J. O'Halloran/Library of Congress

Have you heard the stories of "segregation academies?"  Those are the private schools that sprang up in the South after the Supreme Court ruled that public schools must integrate. 

Jim Grimsley's family kept him in public school, and his white life got quite an awakening when the first black students showed up. 

He tells the story in How I Shed My Skin: Unlearning the Racist Lessons of a Southern Childhood

Library of Congress/Wikimedia

Ashland has come a long way in nearly 100 years.  The town that was a hotbed of Ku Klux Klan activity in the 1920s now puts on one of the region's larger celebrations of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.  It's at high noon on the day MLK's birthday is observed, this year on January 21st. 

D.L. Richardson has MC'd the event for many years and Gina DuQuenne has helped shape the program for some time, too. 

Savor: Making The Most Of Meat

Jan 17, 2019
William Smith

Even people who eat meat and enjoy it immensely can have a few pangs of conscience about it.  It's nice to know that the animals we eat didn't suffer in life or its end. 

This month's edition of Savor, our food segment, brings food stylist Will Smith back into the studio.  We talk about hearty meat dishes for mid-winter.

Does life at 50 match up to what we thought it would be at age 20?  For that matter, does any 20-year-old even imagine life at 50? 

Former NPR reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty took serious stock of her life when she went through what she now calls a "faux midlife crisis."  It led to a book called Life Reimagined

The numbers come flying at us daily: unemployment reports, Dow Jones averages, top-grossing movies, you name it. 

But just once every year, the Oregon Community Foundation releases its TOP report, TOP standing for Tracking Oregon's Progress.  Last year's TOP tracked several measures of success for children in the state, and found some issues. 

The new report is arriving now, accompanied by OCF's Sonia Worcel.   Its title is "Oregonians Mobilizing for Change."


You've probably heard about people who try to avoid using plastic for a month, or who spend a year not buying products from China.  But a month not using any products from Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, or Microsoft? 

It's harder than it sounds.  Daniel Oberhaus even wanted to run his phone on something other than Android or iPhone platforms.  He wrote about his experience for an article on Motherboard, focusing on not sharing his information with the tech giants. 

Public Domain

The deep rifts in American society are evident. But how did they develop?

Historian Kevin M. Kruse and CNN political analyst Julian E. Zelizer have traced the divide back to 1974, a year in which the country was rocked by political, economic and cultural events (think Watergate). Their new book, Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974, is based on a popular history course they teach at Princeton. 

California State Parks

The last time Shasta State Historic Park was open was a scary time.  The Carr Fire was bearing down on the park and workers loaded all the portable valuables onto trucks for a trip to Sacramento. 

Only now is the park ready to reopen (on January 25th), minus the Old Schoolhouse, which burned in the fire. 

Park Superintendent Lori Martin and crew spent the last several months making the park habitable again.  


We like to think we're long past the days when people were forced into slavery or prostitution.  But the stories of people who have been victims of human trafficking reveal how contemporary a problem it is. 

Shine A Light plans to raise awareness and money in its annual yoga fundraiser, January 27th in Ashland.  Celina Reppond runs the program, while Staysha Hackmann spoke last year and coordinates the Jackson County Sex Trafficking Task Force at Community Works.  


We're generally heavier than we used to be across society, we get more kinds of allergies and other health issues, and nobody seems to be making much money. 

Pediatrician/professor/researcher Leonardo Trasande points the finger in his book Sicker, Fatter, Poorer: The Urgent Threat of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals to Our Health and Future . . . and What We Can Do About It.   The author asserts that endocrine-disrupting chemicals in common household products are causing a whole range of serious health problems, especially in children.  

Khagani Hasanov, CC BY-SA 3.0,

It will be a while (we hope) before anyone says "sure is a hot one today."  July, maybe?  We don't really know anymore, now that our summers seem to come earlier and hotter (and smokier, in our region). 

Health workers have to deal with more cases of heat-related illness and even death each year.  Science journalist Dave Levitan says that's something health departments should be prepared to handle. / Oliver Cory

They show up in the news all the time: events in which police and/or sanitation workers come to a homeless camp and clear the place out, people and all. 

There's compassion for the people who don't have permanent homes, but what about the people who do, and not far away?  It's a tricky situation, one we explore in this discussion. 

Rogue Retreat helps homeless people find homes; Julie Akins covers homeless issues as a journalist, works to create spaces for homeless people, and recently joined the Ashland City Council. 


The party bosses and the people they got elected used to wield all the power in America.  But we've democratized many processes, through initiative and referendum laws, and party primaries and caucuses. 

Which raises the question: how's that working out for us?  Putting more of the machinery of the politics in the hands of the people produces things like ballot measures legalizing marijuana... but also results like Brexit, in the United Kingdom. 

The idea that the problems of democracy are solved by more democracy gets a critique from Yale University political scientists Frances Rosenbluth and Ian Shapiro, in Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy From Itself


When money gets tight, what do you do?  Payday and car-title loans are among the options that low-income Oregonians resort to, according to a recent report from the Center for Responsible Lending

Student loans, car loans, and credit card debt exert a crushing burden on people who make between $20,000 and $30,000 a year. 

The report includes input from several Oregon nonprofits, including Innovative Changes, which makes small loans itself. 

Midnightblueowl, CC BY-SA 3.0,

We give credit to the British for a wicked sense of satire.  But maybe the credit really should go to their Anglo-Saxon forebears. 

We'll be sure to ask Martha Bayless, a professor of English at the University of Oregon.  Her research focuses on Anglo-Saxon England and many aspects of its culture... including its entertainments and diversions. 

Derek Bridges, CC BY 2.0,

The heart of Mardi Gras season is still a few weeks away.  But why wait? 

New Orleans is unique and exotic among American cities, and worth a look anytime.  Jason Berry observes the recent anniversary of the city's founding in City of a Million Dreams: A History of New Orleans at 300

From the swampy beginnings to its modern-day near-death and rebirth, it's a long and complicated story.

Gary Halvorson/Oregon State Archives

The unemployment rates for the nation and our states continue to look pretty good. 

Oregon and California are both right around four percent unemployment.  But not uniformly; Klamath and Lake Counties in Oregon, for example, tend to run about two points higher than the statewide average. 

Damon Runberg is a regional economist with the Oregon Employment Department