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.

Josh Estey/AusAID

24 years ago, Oregon voters approved a ballot measure requiring all prison inmates to work full-time.  The ballot measure, which became part of the state constitution, spelled out that compensation for the work was not required. 

That arrangement and others like it are among the reasons that inmates across the country are on strike, and plan to stay on strike until September 9th. 

The actions inside prisons are being supported by demonstrations on the outside. 

Scott Sanchez/Wikimedia

One of the oft-expressed concerns about illegal immigration is that it leads to more crime. 

But study after study, by groups both left and right, shows that illegal immigrants actually commit crimes at rates lower than the general population. 

Benjamin Gonzalez O'Brien explores the numbers, the issues, and the efforts to address them in his book Handcuffs and Chain Link: Criminalizing the Undocumented in America

Public Domain,

A piece of history went missing in Coos Bay, and some people want it back.  At one time a billboard in Eastside (east of the Coos River) bore the names of local people who served in World War II. 

People remember it, but no one seems to know what happened to it.  Ed Keim leads the search, and he's enlisted Krystal Hopper from local veterans' groups to help find information and even recreate the billboard. 


Climate change has been mentioned many times over this summer's fire season.  It is among the reasons the season was so long, intense, and smoky. 

But outside forest boundaries, climate change will begin costing people more and more money; up to $15,000 a year, says a report from Natural Resource Economics in Eugene. 


The rampant use and abuse of opioid painkillers in our country has produced many responses.  Like the people who have worked hard to make sure that overdose antidotes like Naloxone are easily available. 

Humboldt County's leaders are directing their attention at the source: the county is suing opioid manufacturers in federal court.  It joins a growing list of public agencies seeking to sanction the drug companies that make Oxycontin and the other opioids. 

Underground History: Native Battle Sites

Aug 29, 2018
Southern Oregon University

Stories tall and short may be told of past events, but the ground generally does not lie.  And that's the appeal of archaeology: digging up the true story. 

Our partners at the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology share stories of the trade every month in Underground History. 

This month, we talk about unearthing artifacts at the sites of battles between Native Americans and whites.  SOULA's Mark Tveskov has done much of this in our region, and he'll present a paper on a conference coming up at the Mashantucket Pequot Research Center in Connecticut. 


If you pay much attention to the details of wildland firefighting, you see references to "structural protection crews."  These are the firefighters trained to protect buildings in and near the forest, a different skillset to building lines around wildfires. 

The skills are needed because of people living in homes near and among the trees.  As fires grow bigger and more destructive, more people question the practice of living in fire-prone country. 

Jeffrey Kline researches this and other issues at the Pacific Northwest Research Station in Corvallis. 


Convincing people to get from place to place just on muscle power can be a hard sell in America.  It gets somewhat easier over time, as communities build more lanes and amenities for people to get around on foot and by bicycle. 

The Siskiyou Velo, a bicycle club in Southern Oregon, works to convince more people to use bicycles as transportation, not just recreation. 

And part of the process involves making the case for designing communities to better accomodate bikes.  Some of the attention is focused on the City of Medford


In an age of rampant childhood obesity, more children are encouraged to walk or bike to school, rather than riding the bus.  Easier said than done in many rural areas, where bike lanes are narrow at best and sidewalks often non-existent. 

The Safe Routes to Schools program is designed to fix up areas where kids can get themselves to school without buses. 

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and other agencies are partners in SRTS. 

Liam Moriarty/ JPR News

The Karuk Tribe are getting back to traditional Native American fire management in a project with the U.S. Forest Service in Northern California.

The two groups will host a controlled burn near the Lower Klamath River as part of the Somes Bar project.

Anyone who practices a religion can appreciate the long traditions involved in worship.  Few can imagine trying to restore those traditions after a long absence. 

But that is what native communities face, as they work to continue traditions stopped by force, by killing, and by banishment to reservations. 

Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy, who teaches Native American studies at Humboldt State University, details the work of the Hoopa tribe in restoring a women's coming-of-age ceremony that had been stopped.  Her book is We Are Dancing For You.

TSGT Robert Wickley, Public Domain,

The infant mortality rate in the United States has been steadily declining over time.  One problem, though: the rate for African-Americans is roughly twice the rate for white Americans. 

That's many more black babies dying at or soon after birth relative to the population. 

Dr. Fleda Mask Jackson created one of many programs to target racism in the medical profession.  Dr. Jackson's program is called Save 100 Babies, and it's based in Atlanta.

Sometime in July, the U.S. Forest Service air tanker base in Medford pumped its millionth gallon of fire retardant into a plane. 

That was just a week after lightning started many fires around the region, and a figure usually not reached until the end of fire season.  Across the country, the use of the red slurry has doubled as fires and fire seasons have grown more intense. 

By Ferran Pestaña from Barcelona, España - Grillo de matorral 01, CC BY-SA 2.0,

North America is one of the few parts of the world where insects are not a regular part of the human diet. 

So there's certainly space in the market for a cricket-as-food provider.  And Craft Crickets in Eugene is only too happy to fill that space. 

The company says it's the first licensed cricket farm in Oregon. 

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Two goats will help keep a Medford golf course manicured thanks to a temproary permit.

The Medford City Council approved a permit that will allow the Bear Creek Golf Course to use the goats as unconventional lawnmowers for a year, despite the city's no-livestock ordinance.

The goats will help trim bushes on the green of the course.

Medford City Council Member Clay Bearnson spoke about the permit on the Jefferson Exchange. He said the course managers made the request.


Two statements about wildfire are both diametrically opposed and simultaneously true.  Here they are: nobody wants to talk about fires anymore/everybody wants to talk about fires. 

It's just this: we're tired of fire season, yet need to have discussions about how to keep future seasons from getting worse than this one. 

Richard Fairbanks knows a thing or two about fire, after a career in the U.S. Forest Service that included a big role in the Biscuit Fire recovery project. 


It's one thing to read a cookbook, quite another to actually make some of the recipes in one.  There are limits to our time and kitchen abilities. 

That's why we jumped at the chance to visit with the author of Now & Again.  It's a book about LEFTOVERS. 

Sure, leftovers dressed up for a new day on the job, but leftovers just the same. 

Haven't we all looked for ways to turn an old meal into something new?  Julia Turshen answers the question with an emphatic yes. 

April Ehrlich/JPR News

Two weeks after the Carr Fire roared into Redding and destroyed hundreds of homes, the Small Business Administration came to town and set up shop. 

SBA offers disaster assistance for both business owners and homeowners.  That bears repeating: you can use an SBA loan to rebuild your home, not just a business. 

Chelsea Irvine is a public information officer with SBA. 


The climate news just gets grimmer all the time.  Nature continues to add insult to injury

Example: the recent study that shows the increase in temperature becomes more pronounced during droughts... which also appear to be more frequent as the planet heats up. 

Felicia Chiang is a doctoral candidate in civil engineering at the University of California-Irvine. 

Jessie Eastland, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Racism is alive and well in America.  Which should not surprise us, given its long history in the country. 

Few places would admit to being "sundown towns" now, but many once bore that moniker; they were places where African-Americans were expected to be out of town by sundown, at the risk of limb or life. 

James Loewen began researching sundown towns, expecting to find maybe 50 across the country.  He found thousands, including Grants Pass and others in our region.