John Baxter

Jefferson Exchange Producer

John Baxter's history at JPR reaches back three decades.  John was the JPR program director who was the architect of the split from a single station into three separate program services.  We're thrilled that John has taken a hiatus from his retirement to join JPR as co-producer of the Jefferson Exchange.

Maxim Kozin, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45205912

The history of science--for that matter the history of knowledge--begins with curiousity.  It's what drives people to ask questions like "how do birds fly," and "what causes diseases?"  Vera Keller at the University of Oregon studies and teaches the history of science, and she refines her approach to the study of the history of curiosity.  Only fitting that we have this discussion with Dr. Keller in our monthly "Curious: Research Meets Radio" segment. 

naturalearthpaint.com

We want to encourage kids to be creative, but yikes, that is a big paint stain on the floor!  Although... that's not an issue if the paint is a certain kind, as in the kind made by Ashland-based Natural Earth Paint

The company's products are for kids, from the environment, and good for the environment.  And they clean up pretty well, too. 

We learn more about the company and its creation from founder Leah Fanning, in this month's edition of our business segment, The Ground Floor. 

NikolayFrolochkin/Pixabay

Income inequality, environmental destruction, and the constant churn of old and new jobs in the economy produce heated arguments.  Many seek to assign blame, some seek solutions. 

Edgar Villanueva proposes looking to the original inhabitants of North America for solutions.  Villanueva, a member of the Lumbee Tribe, proposes Native America as a guide, in his book Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance

The book examines issues in the financial and philanthropic sectors, and suggests using a new way of thinking--actually a very OLD way--about addressing those issues. 

Pavla Pelikánová, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37180275

We're not done learning after high school, not by a long shot.  And the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute--almost universally known as just OLLI--continues to teach people who have many decades behind them. 

OLLI's programs are based on the differences between how people learn at different ages.  The OLLI program at Southern Oregon University is reaching out for potential new faculty members. 

socompasshouse.org

The commercial image of the Christmas season is nearly impossible to live up to.  All that smiling and singing and buying and wrapping and surprising can wear people out. 

And people often need to step back to restore mental health.  Mental health is the regular focus of "Compass Radio," our regular monthly segment with Southern Oregon Compass House in Medford. 

And this holiday season, we acknowledge the deep depression some people feel amidst all the bright lights.  The focus this month is suicide and its prevention. 

USDA/Public Domain

Only after government pressure on the tobacco industry increased did we learn how big a fight Big Tobacco put up.  The release of volumes of documents from the industry revealed how hard it worked to twist the science and influence public opinion, keeping people smoking for years. 

Anybody else use this strategy?  Yes, the food industry, says Cristin Kearns, an assistant professor in dental public health at the University of California-San Francisco.  She points to the large archive of food industry documents now housed at UCSF. 

Every election, Oregon voters must wonder what all the fuss is about in most of the other states.  Reports of having to show ID to vote, or waiting in long lines, do not sound familiar in a state where all elections have been conducted by mail for two decades. 

The Vote At Home campaign aims to make mail-in elections the norm in other states, and Jackson County Clerk Chris Walker is part of the effort.  And there's a potential bonus for Oregon voters: Walker favors pre-paid postage, negating the need for stamps on ballots. 

Sarah Ruhl is a playwright, author, professor and MacArthur genius grant recipient.

Max Ritvo was one of her students. When Max's pediatric cancer resurfaced, the two developed a deep friendship and exchanged an extraordinary series of letters in the four years before Max's death in 2016.

Their relationship comes alive in their collected letters, published in the book Letters from Max: A Book of Friendship

Casey Minter/Oregon Public Broadcasting

Southern Oregon stood to lose some clout in the state legislature when Mike McLane opted not to run again for his position as House Republican leader. 

But the loss of regional clout didn't happen because another southern Oregonian stepped up.  Rep. Carl Wilson of Grants Pass is another legislative veteran, and he will lead his party in the House in the next session. 

US Bureau of Reclamation

Plans to raise Shasta Dam by 18 feet are still on the books.  But there's a long process to go through before any construction might start, including a lawsuit filed over a creature that could be affected by an expanded Shasta Lake. 

The Center for Biological Diversity filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for not acting on a 2012 petition to protect the rare Shasta salamander. 

paulbr75/Pixabay

Housing is already tight in both Oregon and California, and the Camp Fire wiped out nearly 14,000 homes in a single day.  Many decisions remain to be made about the future of Paradise, where most of the homes were lost. 

But there's a ripple effect elsewhere, as people driven out by the fire seek new places to live, either for now or for good.  We talk about the impacts with Steve Bade, who runs the Community Development office in Redding, Ryan Buras, a housing specialist at FEMA, Christina Curry at Cal OES, and Ashland realtor Colin Mullane, who is a past president of the Oregon Association of Realtors

The job title "firefighter" is self-explanatory; what it is is what they do. 

But wildland firefighters can have some questions about the tactics used on large fires.  That's the case with the group Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology, or FUSEE. 

FUSEE takes exception to the firefighting methods used in some environmentally sensitive areas, including on the Soberanes Fire in Southern California in 2016.  That fire alone cost more than a quarter of a billion dollars to fight, and included multiple retardant drops from planes, to little effect. 

Southern Oregon Digital Archive

Just because trees grew here once doesn't mean they'll grow back just like they were before.  Forests can be tricky things to create, and it takes more than just planting a lot of trees. 

Darwin Moore knows that from years of experience.  He's this month's guest in our regular segment "Stories of Southern Oregon," curated by Maureen Flanagan Battistella. 

Darwin's days with the Forest Service included leading the crew that successfully replanted the notoriously difficult Cat Hill Burn near Butte Falls. 

Staff Sgt. Jennifer Cohen, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39627441

17 years and counting.  That's how long the United States has maintained a military presence in the frequently hot war in Afghanistan. 

Women serve over there as well as men, but the women's teams have performed some duties men could not, like having conversations with Muslim women in the countryside. 

In the book Beyond the Call: Three Women on the Front Lines in Afghanistan, we hear the stories of women performing delicate and dangerous duty far from home. 

BLM

The U.S. Forest Service rounded up hundreds of wild horses in the Modoc National Forest back in October.  Too many horses and too few resources for them, says the agency.  It plans to sell the horses, with older (10 and up) animals going for as little as a dollar apiece.  It's the lack of apparent restrictions that worries groups like American Wild Horse Campaign.  The group and others believe the horses could be slaughtered.  So they recently went to court to stop the sale. 

alfcermed/Pixabay

Conventional wisdom for years was that baby formula, not mother's milk, was best for kids. But that approach, promoted by the companies who manufactured baby formula, has now been thoroughly discredited. Women are now striving to breastfeed their babies, but it's not always possible. In her book Others' Milk, Kristin Wilson offers anecdotes about the challenges women face to give children the very best nutrition, often in the face of dogmatic opposition.

The charms of our region mean people who might otherwise live in bigger cities settle in the hills and valleys around us. 

Including a number of published authors with names and works instantly recognizable to the public. 

These are celebrated at the Read Local, Buy Local Author Fair, coming to the Ashland Library on Sunday (December 9). 

Dustytoes/Pixabay

If you're concerned about upward mobility for your kids in today's society, you might want to move.  Evidence suggests upward mobility is greater for children who grow up farther away from metro areas. 

This goes against the generally accepted belief that people who live near cities have the greater mobility.  But Bruce Weber, professor emeritus of applied economics at Oregon State, has figures to back up the rural-mobility case. 

skeeze/Pixabay

The wildfires in our region produce smoke and concerns about the smoke, mostly about breathing it.  But we've explored the issue of "smoke taint" on wine grapes as well. 

And there are additional concerns about what the wildfire smoke might deposit on other fruits and vegetables growing on farms and in gardens.  Will the lettuce or the tomatoes make you sick? 

Probably not, says a preliminary review produced by citizen science out of the University of California Cooperative Extension in Sonoma County. 

Signals & Noise And The Year In Media

Dec 5, 2018

What a year in media.  We went back and checked, to prepare for an extra-length edition of our Signals & Noise segment. 

Just in the first couple of months, we had a tell-all book about the White House, "s**thole countries" coming out of the mouths of newscasters, and lots of other notable moments. 

And that's just in Washington; there's a whole wide world of media happenings to take in.  And we'll do just that in our monthly gathering with Precious Yamaguchi and Andrew Gay of the Communication faculty at Southern Oregon University

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