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.

Uproot Meats

Natural farming is a popular concept right now.  The "eat local" movement only added to a standing desire for food that is grown in natural conditions, and not far from the table where it is served. 

Uproot Meats appears to check those boxes, but it has run into controversy over its hog-and-chicken operation on the south end of Ashland.  Opponents are not happy with the business model of growing animals--and their wastes--on a sloping hillside above other agriculture operations. 

Public Domain, Pixabay

You'll find libraries in schools all over Oregon.  School librarians, not so much. 

The Oregon Association of School Librarians, an arm of the Oregon Library Association, reports only about 150 school librarians in the entire state.  And just when the legislature is considering increases in school funding, OASL is pushing for more librarians. 

The case includes research showing schools that add librarians boost student achievement. 


It seems a little off-the-mark to celebrate a centennial for a place that is millions of years old.  But February 26, 1919 was the day legislation was signed making Grand Canyon a national park. 

And while plenty of people celebrate the centennial, there's also a crowd that would rather see federal lands, particularly in the west, turned over to states and counties for resource use.  That is the tension at the heart of Stephen Nash's book Grand Canyon For Sale: Public Lands versus Private Interests in the Era of Climate Change

The tension is greater because of both climate change and the fossil-fuel-friendly nature of the Trump administration. 


Nobody is firing guns, but the Russians certainly seem to be engaged in a cyber war with the United States. 

The efforts to create argument and discord extend into the vaccination debate here.  Researchers reported recently that Twitter bots and trolls got involved in passing along information, solid and not, to amp up the battle between pro- and anti-vaccination forces.  And it's been going on for years. 

Steve Boutcher, courtesy, 3155 via the Oregon Encyclopedia

Just when most Americans thought Congress could not work in a bipartisan way, the Senate passed a public lands bill by the unlikely count of  92 to 8, and the bill passed the House easily as well, 363 to 62. 

The bill creates new national monuments, extends wilderness protections to new areas, and protects other lands from drilling and mining. 

It probably helps that the protections are in many states, including in Oregon.  New protections for Rogue River tributaries are part of the bill, welcome news to the Rogue Riverkeeper program. 

Oregon Arts Commission

Oregon bears a permanent stain from joining the union (in 1859) with black "exclusion laws" on the books.  Nobody with dark skin was allowed to live in the state. 

The laws neither got much enforcement nor lasted long, but African Americans remain a small minority.  A significant one, though... and the history of African Americans in Oregon is celebrated in the photographic display "Black Legend, Black, Oregon," on display in the governor's office through late March. 

Intisar Abioto is the photographer and artist who assembled the work. 

Mount Shasta Avalanche Center

Mount Shasta is gorgeous in the snow.  But dangerous, too, and that's why there's a Mount Shasta Avalanche Center

The center, a joint venture of the U.S. Forest Service and a private nonprofit, works on all things avalanche: observations, forecasts, training, and more.  The skills of the staffers have come in handy of late, with some recent avalanche activity on the big mountain and nearby. 

Riverside Superior Court

It's a little tricky explaining the California grand jury system to people from just about any other state.  Because grand juries in the California go beyond criminal cases; they function like auditors, investigating and reporting on the doings of public agencies. 

And people can actually volunteer for service on the grand jury, which stays in office for a year.  Shasta County is recruiting for new grand jury members. 


Babies are sometimes born with natural variations in genitalia, or with traits that do not align with one sex.  For most parents, the response has been to assign gender to an intersex baby through surgery, very early in life. 

That practice would stop in California if a bill in the state Senate becomes law.  Senate Bill 201 would ban cosmetic surgery on intersex babies until they grow up enough to make their own decisions. 

InterACT Advocates for Intersex Youth pushed for the bill's introduction. 

Chuck Grimmett

The acres and acres of land in the region planted in cannabis should have been a clue: growers were making too much product. 

The glut of marijuana crashed the market, bringing prices way down.  Great for consumers, but economically hazardous for the growers. 

There is one spot that may be bright for producers but a concern from other angles: marijuana usage appears to be on the rise in Oregon and in the other states that legalized weed for personal, recreational use. 

The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis tracks the trend.

Talk about dedication: Siddhartha Mukherjee works to defeat cancer in his own medical career, teaches students in medical school, and writes books about the subjects. 

He won a Pulitzer prize for his book on cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies.  And he followed that with a look at how human genetics get intertwined with cancer and a lot of other conditions in The Gene: An Intimate History

Nigel Chadwick, CC BY-SA 2.0,

By the middle of February, a majority of the snow basins east of the Oregon Cascades were actually above normal. 

West of the mountains, it's a different story... but a familiar one, based on recent years.  Snowpack just has not measured up for many of those years. 

Scott Oviatt works for the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the federal government, keeping an eye on snowpack levels. 

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Marthe Cohn escaped Nazi oppression in France before the Allies liberated the country.  But rather than celebrate the freedom, she chose to enter Germany--potentially lethal for a Jew--to spy for the French in the waning days of the war. 

It's a story she tells in her book Behind Enemy Lines, a story she'll recap in an appearance in Ashland on February 26th. 

Wikimedia Commons

We don't like to think about death.  And that's a problem when the event approaches and we've made no plans. 

It takes some advance thinking to stay healthy late in life and meet the end of life on our own terms.  Northern Californian Katy Butler walks us through the kind of thinking necessary in the book The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life

Rogue Theater Company

A place that probably already has more stage plays per capita than just about anywhere just got more. 

The Rogue Valley is now home to an additional outfit, the Rogue Theater Company, lighting up an Ashland stage with its first production in early March.  "Fragments" is written by RTC Artistic Director Jessica Sage; it draws from her own life growing up on New York's Long Island.  Ashland theater veteran Liisa Ivary directs the production. 

Public Domain

The title of Oregon's new five-year housing plan is aspirational: "Breaking New Ground."  The report is part of a state effort to spur the building of new housing, with an emphasis on housing affordable to people who do not make much money. 

The report shows more than a quarter of Oregon's low-income residents spend more than half their pay on rent.  The report comes from OHCS, the Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services


Insects outweight humans on the Earth.  So when the large numbers of insects become somewhat smaller numbers, there is cause for concern. 

A long-term review of scientific research shows insects going instinct at an alarming rate; up to 40 percent of all species could be at risk. 

Entomologists can give us some insight into causes and effects; Alan Journet of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now is retired, but paying plenty of attention.  So is Lynn Kimsey at the University of California-Davis, as well as Kristina Lefever at the Pollinator Project Rogue Valley.


We trust that regulators will make sure nothing deadly gets into our food.  But that doesn't mean our food is completely pesticide-free. 

Recent research by Friends of the Earth and Eugene-based Beyond Toxics sampled store-bought foods away from the organic aisle.  The research found measurable amounts of pesticides in many products, including breakfast cereals and produce like spinach and apples. 

Janna Nichols/REEF via UC Davis

Sea stars--starfish to the kids--took a pounding from an undetermined pathogen along the West Coast several years ago.  Since them, some populations of sea stars have rebounded. 

But not sunflower sea stars.  These creatures, given the name because of multiple arms that make them resemble sunflowers, are still very hard to find in waters close to shore. 

The zone extends from Baja California to Alaska.  Researchers from University of California-Davis,  Cornell University, and other institutions are tracking the situation. 


The demands of the workplace would seem to work against the calm practices of Zen.  But that's exactly the point, says Marc Lesser. 

He is a longtime Zen practitioner who developed a program that he teaches to big corporations to help ease strain on workers and smooth workflow.  The principles are contained in Lesser's book Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader: Lessons from Google and a Zen Monastery Kitchen