Alex Lockhart/Public Domain

The recent reports on snowpack in the region are encouraging. 

In Southern Oregon, snowpack is way above what is considered normal for January. 

But that's one month, and a lot can happen on the way to spring and summer. 


Rebecca Wood likes to read faces, but it's not about divining the emotions that lurk behind them. 

She's a whole lot more interested in whole foods and other nutritious goodies for the body. 

And Wood says she can tell by reading faces just what nutrients people lack. 

It's the center of her book Read Your Face.  Wood lives in the Ashland area; she visits the studio to talk about her work, with a special reading of the three leading candidates for president. 

Nate Grigg/Wikimedia

Eugene's nickname is "Track Town USA" for its track and field renown.  But it's being twisted into "Hack Town" for "Hack For a Cause," starting tomorrow (Feb. 12) and running for 48 hours. 

Teams get the two days to come up with workable ideas for improving livability in downtown Eugene; some technological, some physical, some social. 

Teams are urged to think far, far outside the box in creating their ideas. 

BLM/Public Domain

Environmental groups have been calling for changes to the Oregon Forest Practices Act for years. 

A film at this week's Siskiyou Film Fest in Grants Pass (Feb. 12) shows why. 

"Behind the Emerald Curtain," produced by the group Pacific Rivers, examines the forestry practices on private land that are regulated by the OFPA. 

Clearcuts figure prominently, and pesticides as well.


Not everybody in California can ever brag about bringing home a GEELA.  Fewer still can say they won it twice, but Prather Ranch's owners can. 

GEELA is the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, California's highest environmental honor. 

Prather Ranch won for the second time recently, for its stewardship of a half-million acres of land in the North State. 


Oregon's legislature may raise the minimum wage, and in pieces... the bigger the city, the bigger the raise.  Is that fair?  Tell us in this week's VENTSday (take an advance poll here). 

Our other topic: wilderness, and whether we've got enough of it. 

You've got opinions on events in the news, and our VENTSday segment is designed to let the world hear them.

We plop a pair of topics on the table--frequently unrelated--and let YOU deliver your passionate (and polite) views on them.

Counterpoint Press

By the sixth paragraph of Great Tide Rising, author Kathleen Dean Moore uses the word "catastrophe" to describe climate change.  It would not be the first time for her, and won't be the last. 

Moore, a Willamette Valley resident, does not hold back her condemnation of the people who, in her words, "would wreck and pillage the planet." 


Many areas have more people living in them than homes to hold them all. 

Homelessness is a big issue in many towns.  It's less of an issue in parts of Utah than it used to be, the result of an effort to house people quickly ("housing first"). 

Lloyd Pendeleton is past director of the state of Utah's efforts; he speaks at a forum on homelessness in Redding on Thursday (Feb. 11).

Art and environmental activism combine when Ryan Pierce picks up his paintbrushes and sculpture tools. 

Pierce is the co-founder of Signal Fire, a collection of artists dedicated to the natural world who lead other artists into nature. 

The theme for the 2016 activities of Signal Fire is "Unwalking the West," a symbolic undoing of the impacts of westward expansion. 

Public Domain/Wikimedia

The scientists of the American Fisheries Society spent four years working on a position paper on how mining and fossil-fuel extraction affect fisheries.

The result of the work should surprise no one: it concludes that mining and drilling can affect water quality and aquatic ecosystems, and generally adversely. 

It's some of the finer detail in just HOW extractive industry affects fish that can be startling.

Don't call Noah Strycker a "bird nerd."  Oh wait, he calls himself that. 

And he is now a bird nerd without parallel, having spent last year seeing more than six-thousand bird species around the planet. 

And as birds of a feather flock together, Noah and fellow birders gather in the Klamath Basin this week for the annual Winter Wings festival. 

Crater Lake webcam

Crater Lake enjoyed a banner 2015, and 2016 is off to a flying start, at least in some respects. 

The 664,000 visitors last year represents a 25-year high.  But what's good for visits is not necessarily good for the environment: low snow made it easier to get to the park, Oregon's only national park. 

So far, this year is the opposite: snow so deep the road to the rim has been closed for several stretches. 

Mike Doukas/US Geological Survey

There's no place on the planet quite like Crater Lake, and some of the people who love it want to give it more protection. 

So Oregon Wild proposes a large (500,000+ acres) expansion of wilderness areas in federal forest land outside the national park boundary. 

These would be added onto existing wilderness areas, providing some connections between what are now wilderness islands. 

Environmental groups are enthusiastic, and some other entities are NOT. 

An Oregon Wild rep joins us with the case for the wilderness expansion, followed by Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams


After a hiatus forced by January 1st (a holiday) falling on a Friday, First Friday Arts returns to The Exchange!

The first Friday of any month has become a day to celebrate the arts around our region. 

Several communities hold First Friday art walks, and some hold similar observances on other weekend days. 

The Exchange syncs up with the art world on First Friday, by visiting with listeners about arts events in the coming month. 

Camelot Theatre

Our First Friday Arts coverage continues with a deeper look at one of the arts events taking stage soon.

Camelot Theatre in Talent presents Lisa Beth Allen's play "Solomon's Blade" through February. 

With a title like that, you might expect a story of a threat to cut a baby in half.  It's not that, not quite. 

But it is about a very difficult decision involving a baby, an Israeli family, and a potential Arab-Israeli parent. 

Medicinal Missions

More than 100 people commit suicide in the United States every day. 

Of those, an average of 22 are military veterans.  And when you consider what a small percentage of the population veterans make up, the number is staggering. 

Which is why a pair of veterans created the film "Project 22;" to look for ways to divert vets from suicide. 

Our occasional "Local Focus" partnership with Southern Oregon Public TV resumes with a pair of programs on the movie and its makers. 

U.S. Army/Public Domain

In our time, kids have gotten used to the idea of sharing classrooms with kids with disabilities; children in wheelchairs are not segregated from the student population like they once were. 

But there's still room for all students to understand what life is like with a disability of some kind. 

That's why the Medford School District is running an "Ability Awareness Campaign" through the end of February. 

Fourth graders will get to experience short periods without sight or without speech, or with some other disability.

Normally, if you do a job, you expect to be properly paid for it. But many workers aren’t given the compensation they’re legally due. One study estimated more than a quarter of low-wage workers were paid less than the legal minimum wage. Another found nearly 90 percent of fast food employees weren’t paid what they were entitled to.

Now, workers’ advocates and Democratic lawmakers in Oregon are pushing to crack down on what they call wage theft.

Oregon Action

College got more expensive, and real wages stayed flat over the last few decades.  Even people who flunked economics know that means students pay more for higher education, and borrow more to pay tuition. 

Oregon Action and The Alliance for a Just Society surveyed students at Southern Oregon University and Rogue Community College for the report "Sentenced to Debt: The Hidden Costs of Unaffordable Education." 

The issue of how to make college affordable tops our shout-out list on this VENTSday.  If college-level education is seen as necessary to so many jobs, how do we make it affordable to more people? 

Answer our survey to get the ball rolling, and join us on VENTSday to hear the responses or put your two cents in there. 

Our OTHER topic this week: Why Iowa and New Hampshire?  Are there better states to start the process of winnowing presidential candidates?