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JPR's live interactive program devoted to current events and newsmakers from around the region and beyond. It airs on JPR's News & Information service. Choose that service from the stream above or find your station here.

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Memorial Day is the first holiday that gives the Exchange staff a breather; we stock today's show with items from past shows.  

At 8: Eugene's Peter Fenton wrote about his training in conning people at summer carnivals.  His book is called Eyeing The Flash

At 9: the rich flora of the region and how the original residents used it is collected in Patricia Whereat Phillips' book Ethnobotany of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians

Ashland Police

It's not a term used every day, but police have been referred to as "peace officers."  Their duties include keeping the peace, something often forgotten in the recent years of violent confrontations between police and members of the public. 

It will not be forgotten in Ashland, if the city police and the Culture of Peace Commission have their way.  ACPC and APD recently agreed to include the phrase "peace officer" on all police vehicles. 

Jefferson State Choral Coalition/Facebook

"How do I get to Carnegie Hall?"  "Practice, practice, practice."  An old joke, maybe, but also a reality for the leaders of the Jefferson State Choral Coalition, based in the Rogue Valley. 

JSCC premieres a new work called "Turn The World Around" in Medford on the first of June, then the piece moves to New York for a performance a week later.  At Carnegie Hall.  The work is composed by JSCC Musical Director Kirby Shaw, with lyrics by Markita Shaw. 


The Alaska earthquake of 1964 woke a lot of people up, literally and figuratively.  The tsunami it created devastated downtown Crescent City and damaged other communities, and alerted us to the possibility of quakes closer to home. 

Now we understand the dangers of the Cascadia Subduction Zone.  Bonnie Henderson ties together personal histories and scientific advances in her book The Next Tsunami


There were some complaints about the formation of the Oregon Wildfire Council, ordered by Governor Kate Brown. 

The complaints generally held that Oregon's recent wildfires demanded more robust action than some kind of committee.  But Ashland State Representative Pam Marsh is glad to be on the council, looking for appropriate actions to curtail the danger of wildfire and smoke. 

Southern Oregon University

The longstanding connection between Southern Oregon University and its sister school in Guanajuato, Mexico includes many cultural interchanges. 

And those include percussion groups from SOU and Guanajuato University playing together.  The first of two concerts comes this week in Ashland (May 24), the second six days later in Guanajuato, with the theme “From North: Rugged Landscapes…to South: Celebración de la hermandad.” 


When the baby boomers left for college, it was affordable for many people.  When the millennial generation left for college, paying for it often involved taking on debt that would take years to pay back. 

Wall Street Journal columnist Joseph Sternberg examined a number of policies on money matters, and found them tilted in favor of the boomers.  He lays out the case in The Theft of a Decade: How the Baby Boomers Stole the Millennials' Economic Future

Bannock County, ID Sheriff's Office.

Even small doses of the poison cyanide can have harmful effects on humans and other creatures.  But for years Oregon law allowed the use of cyanide traps, essentially small cyanide bombs that would kill coyotes--and other animals that blundered into the traps. 

The state legislature just outlawed the devices, known as M-44s, at the urging of the group Predator Defense

Robert Neff/Fifth World Art

Oregon got a significant place on one of those lists that rank all the states.  Unfortunately, the place was last: WalletHub ranked Oregon 50th of the 50 states in "Best & Worst States for Military Retirees."

If you want nearby comparisons, California ranked 21st and Washington got 28th.  So what makes Oregon a bad place for veterans to retire? 

National Archives

Bubonic plague in California?  It happened, more than a century ago. 

The first case showed up in San Francisco's Chinatown in 1900 and was quickly confirmed.  But not by authorities, who denied the existence of the disease for a full two years. 

Then it fell on health workers to address the outbreak and keep it from spreading.  David Randall tells the story in the book Black Death at the Golden Gate: The Race to Save America from the Bubonic Plague

People have lived in what is now California for something like 19,000 years.  But read a history textbook from a California school, and you're likely to find most histories begin with the arrival of Europeans a few hundred years ago. 

The California Indian History Curriculum Coalition aims to backfill the story of the first people on the land.  They went by many names and spoke many languages before enforced assimilation. 

Dr. Khal Schneider of the Graton Rancheria and Gregg Castro of the Ohlone are two of the people working to bring more indigenous educators into classrooms. 

Oregon State University

The Humboldt marten is a species in decline.  It's a subspecies of the Pacific marten, similar to cats and foxes and yet not. 

While most martens live in forests, there is an isolated population of Humboldt martens living in the Oregon dunes, and scientists are not sure why. 

Since the animals can be notoriously hard to locate, Oregon State University scientists have been studying their scat.  That's right, poop can provide some answers. 


It's not enough to win short-term political victories these days... the abortion debate alone is enough to prove that change-makers want their changes to last. 

It's a constant theme in American history; factions of society want their viewpoint solidified and the other side's discounted. 

Paul Starr, professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton, explores the concept in his book Entrenchment: Wealth, Power, and the Constitution of Democratic Societies

American Forest Foundation

You hear plenty about wildfires on public land, but that's got a lot to do with how MUCH Western land is owned by public agencies, primarily federal ones. 

Yet fires are not picky; they burn private lands as well.  Cal Fire is putting millions of dollars into grants to help reduce wildfire risks on private lands, including smaller parcels not involved in timber production. 

One of the grants funds the My Sierra Woods program, which includes Shasta, Tehama, and Butte Counties. 


Don't let the name fool you.  Wilderness Poets is not actually about poetry; the Ashland-based company is in the food business. 

Its nut butters and other products are made from the harvests of organic farms in the region, and the company has been at it for more than a decade. 

Wilderness Poets is our focus in this month's edition of The Ground Floor, our business/entrepreneur segment. 


The name is only four letters long, but the issues with it can take volumes to explain.  PERS, Oregon's Public Employee Retirement System, has billions of dollars on hand to pay to retired public workers. 

The trouble is that there's a gap between what it will need to pay workers in the future, and the projections for its income.  The gap is more than $26 Billion, and closing the gap requires ever-larger payments into the system by state and local governments. 

Former Oregon AFL-CIO president Tim Nesbitt and his former boss, Governor Ted Kulongoski, have proposed a pair of ballot measures to bring PERS into line.  Their organization is PERS Solutions for Public Services

Runner1616, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Mental illness is better understood than it once was.  But people who have lived through mental illness and people who work with them say there is still a long road ahead. 

The regional chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI-Southern Oregon, works to bring stories of mental illness to a general audience with a Movies For Mental Health Film Fest, this weekend (May 18-19) in Ashland and Grants Pass. 

William Smith

We admit to thinking about dessert while we start a meal.  So it's always right up our alley when discussions of food turn to sweeter offerings. 

Those include honey, featured this weekend (May 18th) at the Oregon Honey & Mead Festival in Ashland.  Will Smith, our partner for a monthly food segment we call Savor, returns to take up the subject.  Festival boss Sharon Schmidt also visits.

And we bring in another guest, Marla Bull Bear, who runs a honey-making project with young people at the Lakota Youth Development Project


Oh, the smells from the kitchen.  They can fire up the heart and brain, in addition to the stomach. 

Paul Graham celebrated food in life and in his writing... and then the celiac axe fell, and forced him to cut gluten out of his life entirely.  He described the process of coming to grips with his new reality, in the book In Memory of Bread

Paul eventually realized he was the same person, just fed differently. 

Miroslav Bendik, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Food comes to us from a lot of places on the planet.  But we assume most of those places are actually in the business of agriculture, not, say, the sidewalks of Oakland, California. 

But Oakland is exactly one of the places where researchers found edible greens growing wild.  And even though some of the surroundings--residential and industrial--were a bit bleak, the plants didn't seem to care. 

Even plants grown in soil with potential contaminants could be washed and safely eaten.