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It's the big Broadway musicals that get much of the attention in the theatre world, and for good reason: they bring in the bucks.  "Hamilton" makes something like $3 Million in a week. 

But there are many musical theatre offerings that do not make headlines or money.  They just make a lot of people happy and engaged and active in their communities. 

This is the scene Stacy Wolf, from Princeton University, covers in her book Beyond Broadway: The Pleasure and Promise of Musical Theatre Across America

Kit from Pittsburgh, CC BY 2.0,

Student loan debt is not only a factor in society today, it has a hand in reshaping society.  High debt loads are cited as reasons why millennials in particular are staying with their parents longer, buying homes later. 

One in four Americans owes money spent on college, one in three millennials.  The nonprofit think tank Free the Facts is making presentations on student loans to college students across the country. 

William Smith

Food is such a big part of the holiday season, it would have been difficult to choose a recipe or two for this month's edition of Savor, our food segment.  So we threw in the towel... the bar towel. 

December features a slight deviation from food to drink, as we feature some seasonal cocktails.  Food stylist and Savor partner Will Smith returns with Blake Henry, recently promoted from bar manager to general manager at Ashland's Brickroom

USDA/Public Domain

Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it once-moving, some prefer plants.  Yes, the topic is food. 

This is one writer Marissa Landrigan has thought about a lot... she moved from food-loving household to full-blown vegan to something in the middle. 

It's a journey she describes in The Vegetarian's Guide to Eating Meat: A Young Woman’s Search for Ethical Food


Children who grow up with trauma often grow up with some difficulties coping with life as adults.  Statistics on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in California show that Shasta County children are exposed to most traumas at rates much higher than the state average. 

The Children's Legacy Center takes a particular focus on the sexual abuse of children, just like the Children's Advocacy Centers that provided the model.  CLC plans to move into its new home in Redding sometime in 2020, but is already at work on its mission of providing aid and comfort to at-risk and trafficked children. 


The generally-held theory about the British explorer Sir Francis Drake is that he put his leaky ship ashore for repairs in what is now Marin County, California in 1579.  A high school and several other landmarks are named after him. 

Melissa Darby at Portland State University says Marin's claim to Drake may be off the mark--by hundreds of miles.  Darby, our guest in this month's edition of Underground History, used her knowledge of Oregon indigenous people and the region to postulate that Drake may actually have landed near Depoe Bay on the Oregon coast.  She recently completed a book on the subject. 

Chelsea Rose from the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology (SOULA) returns for the discussion.

You have to give credit to Ctesibius of Alexandria.  He apparently was the first person to envision a musical instrument that used wind to create a number of sounds at the same time. 

We call it the organ today, and Aaron Tan plays it.  It can be hard to find the person playing the sounds coming out of all those pipes, but people come for the sound, not the image. 

Aaron Tan is scheduled to play an organ recital in Ashland on January 19th. 

Public Domain,

Only twice in the history of radio has the House of Representatives debated articles of impeachment for a president.  This is one of those times. 

The Jefferson Exchange stands aside to allow the News and Information Service to air the full House debate on the articles, beginning at 6 AM Wednesday and continuing... until it is over. 

gillfoto, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Federal forest land that is not wilderness may still be protected under the "roadless rule" put on the books in 2001. 

Now the federal government, at the request of the State of Alaska, is considering removing roadless rule protection for the Tongass National Forest, revered as a place of biological diversity.  A comment period on the proposal closes today, but we'll guess Jim Furnish already submitted his comments. 

Furnish is a former Forest Service hand, having run Oregon's Siuslaw National Forest and served as Deputy Chief of the entire Forest Service. 


The annual Winter Wings Festival in the Klamath Basin is still two months away.  But bird enthusiasts are already excited; the festival usually sells out before it opens. 

The 2020 festival features among its speakers and presenters Nathan Pieplow, who is all about the sounds birds make.  His book and blog focus on recording and identifying bird songs, even identifying what the birds might be communicating. 

Public Domain,

Europeans had traded with parts of Africa for centuries, rarely getting beyond the coastal regions.  That changed in the 1870s, when the search for riches and empire led European countries to stake claims to the so-called "dark continent." 

It is not a pretty story, but one told in great detail by Robert Harm in the book Land of Tears: The Exploration and Exploitation of Equatorial Africa

The author, who teaches history and Africa studies at Yale, follows the trail of Africa's incorporation into the modern world, a process not often beneficial to Africans. 


It was one thing when the numbers showed that the United States was not keeping up with other advanced countries in life expectancy.  It's another thing to observe that we're actually backsliding, losing time off our collective life expectancy.

Air conditioning is great to have on those hot summer days, but it can sure drive up your energy bill.  We live in a place where temperatures tend to drop sharply at night, so why not take advantage of the cooling trend? 

That is precisely the idea behind AirScape Fans, based in Southern Oregon.  The company makes whole-house fans that expel the hot air of the day and take in the cooler air of the night. 

AirScape is the focus of this month's The Ground Floor, our business/entrepreneur segment. 

Derek Harper, CC BY-SA 2.0,

It can take your breath away, looking at a painting by a renaissance master.  Would the inhalation be a little less sharp if you knew the painting was a forgery?  A good forgery? 

Historian Lydia Pyne forces us to consider such questions in her book Genuine Fakes: How Phony Things Teach Us About Real Stuff.  She provides examples from laboratory-made diamonds to jelly beans with bacon flavor. 

Do we appreciate the synthetic as much as the authentic? 

North American Wildland Fuel Database

Fighting a wildfire can be tough in the best of circumstances.  It helps fire managers to know what is burning, and on what kind of terrain. 

University of Washington and Michigan Tech researchers recently unveiled a tool that can help fire managers.  It's a database with corresponding maps that show fuel loads of living and dead vegetation, the very fuel that will feed a fire. 

Note the map of our region: purple is a high load of fuels. 

World of Wine Festival

Few people would identify any field as "man's work" today, but imbalances in genders persist.  The situation has been noticed in the ever-expanding field of wine production. 

For the second straight year, women winemakers and their supporters will gather in January in Oregon (McMinnville) for "Assemblage," a "Women + Wine" symposium. 

Rachel Adams, who has worked at several wineries, is the founder and executive director of Assemblage. 

D@LY3D, CC BY 2.0,

Wouldn't it be great if we had magical powers to help other humans grow their brains?  It's not magic, and some of us DO have that power: mothers. 

Psychoanalyst Erica Komisar shows just how profound is the effect of a mother being present with a baby in the book Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters

More is more, says the author, who joined us for this interview in 2017. 

Bureau of Land Management/Flickr

Federal law versus federal law in court means one law is going to lose.  In a recent case, the Antiquities Act lost in a case over the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

President Barack Obama expanded the monument under the act, which contained a high percentage of O & C lands designated for logging--and county income--under the O & C Act.  A federal judge in Washington, DC ruled that the O & C Act wins. 

Dave Willis and Kristen Boyles, monument supporters, are not so sure. 

"Frozen II" is on fire, presidential impeachment is on TV, and the blitz of Christmas movies and TV shows is underway.  We'll find a few things to talk about in this month's edition of Signals & Noise. 

Our monthly scanning of the media landscape features two members of the Communication faculty at Southern Oregon University, usually Andrew Gay and Precious Yamaguchi. 


It's not unusual for any person to feel tugged in different directions: "do I do this, or that?"  Along the way, people can feel like they've given in to forces other than their best judgment, can feel like they've "sold out." 

Lily Zheng and Inge Hansen found a surprisingly large number of people who felt like they had not been faithful to their true selves.  They tell the stories and provide perspective in their book The Ethical Sellout: Maintaining Your Integrity in the Age of Compromise.