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Bad Fire Weather
11:29 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Firefighters Looking For Smokes

Lightning strikes near Ashland Tuesday evening. Note the very few raindrops under a partly sunny sky.
Credit Geoffrey Riley/JPR

Nature continues to provide a one-two punch to the region: hot, dry weather AND thunderstorms.

Oregon Department of Forestry reports seven new fires across the Medford district from Tuesday's storms.  None are big, but more may develop.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning covering the Rogue Valley, South Cascades, Siskiyous, the Klamath Basin and Siskiyou County.  It remains in effect until 11 PM Wednesday (July 30).

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Jefferson Exchange | July 30, 2014 | 8:00
10:10 am
Wed July 30, 2014

CalTrans Brings Fish Scientists To The Smith

River and road are close neighbors in the Smith River canyon.
Credit Graham Hughes/Wild California

Natalynne DeLapp details the settlement with CalTrans.

Environmental groups complained about plans to widen California highway 197 and U.S. 199 along the Smith River, because the work could hurt fish. 

A judge agreed, and postponed the beginning of the work. 

Now CalTrans will consult with the federal fisheries agency, to assess the possible effects of the highway projects on salmon. 

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The Missing of Summer Lawns
4:31 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Water Wasters Beware: California Approves Fines as Drought Deepens

Credit Victoria Reed/JPR

The last year has been the driest in history for California, which is enduring its third year of drought. 

When Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency in January, he asked Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 20 percent. Instead, the state’s total water consumption actually increased by one percent.

State water officials have decided to get a tougher with water wasters and the water agencies that supply them. They’ve issued an emergency order that takes effect this week.

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Jefferson Exchange | July 29, 2014 | 8:00
10:10 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Water Rights For Bodies Of Water

Credit PGHolbrook/Wikimedia

James Wheaton explains what might happen to groundwater in California because of his group's lawsuit.

Does a river or a lake have a water right? 

This question gets asked more often lately, as the drought makes lakes and rivers run low or dry, while nearby water users still get their water. 

A California court just ruled that the pumping of water out of the ground must be regulated to protect nearby rivers.   An environmental group filed the suit.

It's the first use of the "public trust doctrine" in this manner in the state. 

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Jefferson Exchange | July 29, 2014 | 8:30
10:10 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Stepping Up The Crime Fight In Redding

Credit Scott Sanchez/Wikimedia

Ed Rullman describes the work of his anti-crime group.

Regardless of the actual crime numbers, there is a perception of a crime problem in downtown Redding. 

Business owners have banded together as Redding Merchants Crime Watch, and the council and mayor are floating proposals to beef up law enforcement. 

Right smack in the middle is Police Chief Rob Paoletti, who plans a town hall meeting Wednesday at 6 PM (at Sequoia Middle School) to release crime stats and take input. 

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75% Contained Monday Evening
5:16 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Klamath County Fire Approaches Containment

Credit South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership

Firefighters appear to have the upper hand on the Ferguson fire, burning on private land in Klamath County. 

By Monday afternoon, the fire was listed as 75% contained on 200 acres.

The fire was first reported on Friday, and quickly burned down three structures and threatened several more, forcing evacuation orders.

Those orders had been dialed back to less urgent advisories by early Monday.  The fire zone is 30 miles east of Klamath Falls, five miles north of Beatty.

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Jefferson Exchange | July 28, 2014 | 8:30
10:10 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Eugene's Big Sick Leave Vote

Credit Tuality Healthcare/Jeff Schilling

Claire Syrett and Laurie Trieger detail Eugene's proposed sick leave ordinance.

Few people think workers should NOT get paid sick leave. 

The major questions revolve around who should provide it, and if government should order it. 

The Eugene City Council may vote tonight (July 28) on whether to require paid sick leave at companies doing business in city limits. 

The Lane County Commissioners voted first, though, and their ordinances may stop any sick leave ordinance cold. 

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Jefferson Exchange | July 25, 2014 | 9:00
10:10 am
Fri July 25, 2014

A Grizzly Bear Near You... Maybe

Credit National Park Service/Public Domain

Noah Greenwald makes the case for more grizzly habitat.

The grizzly bear roams just a small fraction of its historic range here in the Lower 48 states. 

But talk of expanding that fraction could draw some sharp reactions.  Already has, in fact. 

The Center for Biological Diversity recently proposed expanding the grizzly's range to areas including parts of California (the Sierra) and Oregon (somewhere in the Klamath-Siskiyou region). 

And people who like the idea of a healthy grizzly population were forced to confront their feelings about having that population nearby. 

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Borrowing From Peter ...
9:53 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Northwest Wildfires Boost Call For Funding Reform

Credit National Interagency Fire Center

Fires continue to rage through tinder-dry wildlands in Oregon, Washington and California. Nearly a million acres have burned so far, destroying more than 200 homes.

With the nation’s eyes turned toward the Northwest, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and the Obama Administration have taken the opportunity to renew their efforts to change how the federal government pays to fight -- and prevent – wildfires.

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Jefferson Exchange | July 24, 2014 | 8:00
10:10 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Small Biz "Friendliness" Lacks In Oregon

Credit Wikimedia

Jon Leiber explains the survey on small biz friendliness.

Nobody likes getting a bad grade.  Especially when it's a whole state. 

But Oregon just got below-average marks for its friendliness to small businesses from Thumbtack.com and a partner. 

The state got a C+ for overall friendliness and a D for the friendliness of its regulations.  California got a D and an F in the same categories.

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