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.


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. 


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). 


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. 


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

Eugene Iglesias/

Josh Gross loves music.  He writes it, plays it, and listens to it, a lot. 

Once a month Josh collects the names and tunes of bands playing upcoming gigs in the region. 

He delivers the goods in a segment we call "Rogue Sounds." 

Scot Loring

Love it or hate it, you have to admit there's a lot of biological diversity in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  And it's still being discovered. 

A recent journey into the monument's Soda Mountain Wilderness to look for rare plants turned up a rare mushroom instead.  It was a kind no one had ever reported seeing before. 

Friends of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument announced the finding. 


The latest survey results on homeless students in Oregon produced some relief, but not much.  While there are fewer students reporting being homeless than in previous years, it's still a high number: nearly 22,000. 

And worse for Southern Oregon, Medford is right up near the top, with more homeless students than the city of Portland.  Homelessness is just one of the issues targeted by the Rogue Action Center, and the prime concern of the Maslow Project


Laika the dog began her life as a stray on the streets of Moscow, but attained a level of immortality as she became the first living being to orbit the Earth, aboard Sputnik 2.

The Soviet scientists who sent Laika into space knew one thing for sure: Laika was certain to die.

Kurt Caswell's book, Laika's Window, captures this mysterious, sad and haunting tale from the early days of the Space Age. 


The old JPR studios were located next to a classroom that hosted many a math class.  Some of our former co-workers avoided the area when class was in session; math made them nervous. 

It's really a thing, says Jennifer Ruef at the University of Oregon.  She teaches Education Studies, and says "math trauma" from past learning experiences really happens. 


Would you take a full-time job with a place that did not offer some kind of retirement plan?  It won't be necessary in Oregon soon. 

Because the state continues to roll out the OregonSaves program, a plan to put some money away for retirement at a job that offers neither pension nor 401k-style plan. 

Businesses and individuals can take part, and the Oregon Retirement Savings Board oversees the program. 


It started with junk.  Items that were finished became a beginning for Brian Scudamore. 

He began a business collecting junk that just grew and grew.  It led to several more, and now he shares what he learned in the book WTF?! (Willing to Fail)


It's a constant struggle to figure out who will get water in the upper Klamath Basin when not much falls from the sky.  It is a matter of continuing tension between tribes, conservationists, and water users. 

The Klamath Water Users Association finds itself in the middle of many debates over water allocations.  And its executive director, Scott White, recently resigned from the post. 

Cal Fire

It is both unfortunate and a relief to see the speed with which government agencies move in to help the victims of major fires.  We saw it after the Carr Fire hit Redding, we're seeing it again with the Camp Fire, which devastated Paradise. 

Both FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Small Business Administration set up shop soon after the disaster declarations, offering help to both business operators and homeowners. 

Chelsea Irvine of SBA pays a return visit, along with FEMA rep Jovanna Garcia. 


What's the weirdest sound you ever heard coming from a car or truck?  Those are seldom welcome sounds, because they usually indicate something wrong, or about to go wrong, with the vehicle. 

Zach Edwards has heard plenty of them over the years in his work repairing cars; he now own Ashland Automotive.  And he visits once a month to talk about cars and their... um, issues.

Humorist, journalist and chronicler of the weird Matt Geiger is part David Sedaris, part Dave Berry and part John Waters.

His latest book of essays and stories, Astonishing Tales, will have you scratching your head, in between belly laughs.

That's what you might expect from a writer who has won both literary awards and a one-hand axe throwing competition. 


More people need higher education in today's workforce, and higher education is expensive.  Those two issues get little to no argument, but what now? 

Getting the different kinds of higher education working more closely together might help.  That's the thinking behind a new alliance of educational institutions in Oregon. 

Southern Oregon University, Rogue Community College, Oregon Institute of Technology, and Klamath Community College are exploring new ways to combine their talents, and potentially their students, to be of more service. 

Public Domain

Don't get confused by the use of the term "talent assessment" in relation to Oregon higher education; it's not about singing and dancing or anything like that.  Instead, it's a chance to assess the skills of Oregon's workforce, figure out what's lacking, and address the shortfall. 

The private firm ECONorthwest helped put the assessment together, and the state Workforce and Talent Development Board approved it in September. 

What's in the report and how might the state universities and community colleges respond to it? 

City of Salem

Dig in the ground in places where people live and hang out, and you're going to find evidence of people from the past.  That's why any excavation on public land usually requires an archaeologist to check out the area and see what's buried in the dirt. 

Our monthly Underground History segment on archaeology returns with news of a dig in Oregon's capital city.  The construction of a new police station in Salem brought out the archaeologists and students and volunteers as well. 

Kimberli Fitzgerald is the staff archaeologist for the city.