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.

Public Domain

Getting out of jury duty is as American as apple pie.  And maybe that's part of the reason that jury trials are becoming rare. 

But since they are a cornerstone of our legal system, it's not necessarily a good thing that so few cases now go to a jury trial.  Drury Sherrod, a psychologist who studies juries and jury behavior, wrote a book about the situation, The Jury Crisis: What’s Wrong with Jury Trials and How We Can Save Them

We're getting better at understanding and showing compassion for mental illness.  For one thing, we no longer "warehouse" people with mental illness in huge state hospitals, miles from the patients' communities and support systems. 

But people working through mental illness can still be social pariahs.  Clubhouse arrangements like Southern Oregon Compass House in Medford help.  Club members hang and work in a supportive environment. 

Once a month, we meet a member of the club in our Compass Radio segment, and this month, we hear from Jenna. 


You hear the complaints about "activist judges," but there's something very important to keep in mind: judges rule on cases brought into the court system. 

And those cases are often filed to push the envelope on current law, to take the law in places where legislatures fear to tread. 

The ACLU is known for this, and David Cole is its legal director.  He wrote a book on using the courts to expand rights: Engines of Liberty: The Power of Citizen Activists to Make Constitutional Law


Report cards are out for efforts to get people to stop smoking, and Oregon's includes a couple of Fs.  California got all As and Bs on the same report from the American Lung Association, "State of Tobacco Control 2019."

The Lung Association says Oregon should charge more in taxes for cigarettes and pay more for tobacco prevention programs.  Smoking is down in America, but annual deaths still top 480,000--about the population of Atlanta. 

Mark Lincoln/Wikimedia

By now, most of us are familiar with the basic mechanics of earthquakes: there are cracks in the earth's crust, and movement along those cracks or faults makes for quakes. 

Scientists expect a major earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone, and it may give a warning.  Research shows swarms of small quakes may act as harbingers of much bigger seismic events. 


Ever put something up on social media, then obsessively check for the next few hours to see if anyone "liked" it?  If so, you're not alone. 

The current age offers all kinds of technological distractions that can turn into compulsions.  And it goes way beyond just the technology, as Matt Haig points out in his book Notes on a Nervous Planet

He explores the ways in which modern life can put a dent in our happiness. 


It's shocking and upsetting for drivers and generally worse for the animal when vehicles collide with deer and elk. 

Oregon law now in effect allows people who hit the animals to "salvage" them for food.  But there are plenty of regulations on the roadkill salvage, dealing with animals and locations and procedural matters. 

Brian Turner via Flickr

The right to a lawyer for people charged with crimes, even if they can't afford lawyers, is assured by the sixth amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  But the quality of that free legal representation can vary from state to state. 

And in Oregon, says the Sixth Amendment Center, the system has some problems. 

Among them: lack of transparency, complexity of bureaucracy, and disincentives for lawyers to provide the best representation. 


To a planet of seven billion people, getting to nine billion sounds like a lot.  But population experts are convinced that the number of people will begin to decline around the middle of this century. 

And there are examples already, like Japan, where the overall population is dropping.  Which sounds great if you've had a hard time finding a seat on the train, but has potentially dire implications for the labor force and old-age pensions. 

Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson explore in Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline

CBP/Public Domain

Just say the word "border" out loud, and you can probably start an argument. 

Sonia Nazario prefers to research issues like immigration and find people affected by them.  She won Pulitzer prizes for her work, including for "Enrique's Journey," her series of reports on a Honduran boy searching for his mother in the United States. 

Sonia Nazario speaks in Redding tomorrow (February 6th) about immigration and journalism. 

CDC/Public Domain

It would not be unusual to see so many headlines about measles... if this were 1919.  But 100 years later, the disease had become rare indeed, until the distrust of vaccines led more parents to opt not to have their kids immunized. 

So Clark County, Washington (Vancouver) has an outbreak of dozens of cases, one of which is from across the river in Portland.  Jackson County Health officials point out that there are NO cases of measles in the county at the moment. 

But they're putting out reminders of vaccines and their uses just the same. 


Abby Ellin is an award-winning journalist, and her investigative skills came in handy when her fiancé's tales of his life began to sound suspicious. 

He was indeed lying, but the bigger surprise was finding out how common such lies can be.  Abby's discoveries and her research led to a book: Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married

Lulu Vision

The actual counting is done... now comes the analysis.  Volunteers and staff from several agencies counted the homeless people in Jackson County on January 21st, the annual point-in-time (PIT) survey. 

The hard numbers will not be released in official form for many months; 2018's numbers were noticeably higher than 2017's. 

Access, Inc. is one of the partner agencies, as is the Continuum of Care in Jackson County. 


They go farther on each gallon of gas, they pollute less, and they run quieter.  The vehicles of today are very different from the cars and trucks of a generation ago. 

The computer systems in modern vehicles constantly adjust them for optimum performance.  But cars can and do still break down. 

That's where Zach Edwards and the technicians of Ashland Automotive come in.  Zach shares his voluminous knowledge of vehicles with us every month in a segment we call The Squeaky Wheel. 


Sandy Allen had always been aware of the family's hermit uncle, Bob, who lived in the California desert. Out of the blue, a long handwritten manuscript landed on Sandy's desk.

It was Bob's autobiographical tale of his life with schizophrenia. Sandy polished up the work into a book called A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise: A True Story About Schizophrenia

The author worked to translate the often incomprehensible work into a rare portrait of mental illness from the inside. 

Cephas, CC BY-SA 3.0,

February, already?  We're not complaining... how could we object to the arrival of the month that includes Black History Month, St. Valentine's Day, and other highlights? 

It's a short month, but an action-packed one, and we aim to cram as many arts events as time allows into the February edition of our First Friday Arts segment.  For listeners, it's a buffet of arts events from around the region, called in to 800-838-3760

We invite arts organizations from all around to call in. 

RVTD Facebook page

Getting around in the greater Medford area usually involves a car, but there are public transportation options.  Rogue Valley Transportation District, RVTD, expanded bus service after voters passed a tax levy in 2017. 

Now RVTD is planning for the longer term, creating a "2040 Transit Master Plan."  RVTD is inviting the public to take part, through virtual open houses and other events. 

WAMU American University

Her revered public radio show is no longer on the air, but Diane Rehm keeps going and going. 

Before she left the NPR scene, she visited many stations to talk about her book on her late husband's struggle with the medical and legal systems. 

On My Own told the story, and Diane Rehm visited in April 2016 to talk about it. 

Alan Sylvestre/OPB

With term limits looming, Kate Brown can't run for Oregon governor again. 

Which means she's got most of four years left to press for the programs she wants to see in Oregon state government, without having to stop for an election. 

The legislature is just getting started on its all-important budget-making session, and the governor is touring the state making the case for her priorities. 

Canine Recovery Team

Archaeology tends to deal with events in the remote past.  But it also has value in the present; people with skills digging carefully in the ground have proven helpful in disaster situations. 

Like the deadly fires in California, where archaeologists and canine forensic units have helped recover human cremains.  Not people who died in the fire, but people already cremated whose families still had their ashes. 

That process--dogs and people--is the focus of this month's edition of Underground History, with our partners at the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology

Guests are Lynne Engelbert of the Institute for Canine Forensics and Mike Newland at Environmental Science Associates