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The role of police is supposed to be straightforward: catch bad guys and protect the people.

But it's seldom that simple, and gets extremely complicated when police have to deal with mentally ill citizens.

Which happens with regularity, and such a confrontation led to shooting death of Brian Babb by Eugene Police in late March.

Babb was a veteran with PTSD, and social worker Becky Higgins was on the phone with him right before his death.

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Oregon's love of natural areas, the push for economic development, and a governor who resigned under pressure... these are just some of the elements that converge in the state's proposed land swap in the Bandon area. 

A deal approved last year would turn 280 acres of the Bandon State Natural Area over to a private developer for a golf course. 

Rob Manning/OPB

Oregon has the lowest high school graduation rate of any state, less than 69 percent in 20-13. The state's long-term plan to improve graduation rates starts really early - with preschoolers. 

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While it's true marijuana will be legal for recreational use in Oregon in just days (July 1st), that does not mean a "smoke 'em if you got 'em" free-for-all. 

First of all, the law phases in, so there will not be retail sales until probably fall of 2016.  Second, pot cannot be smoked in a public place. 

A recently launched "Educate Before You Recreate" campaign aims to communicate the law's nuances to the public. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Repeated high-profile incidents of people being sickened by pesticides sprayed from aircraft in Oregon have increased calls for new regulations. But push-back from agricultural and timber industry groups has led to a bill that supporters of stronger rules say won’t solve the problem.

Cold Specks, Barr Brothers, and Whitehorse (all recent JPR Live Session Guests) have made the long list for the 2015 Polaris Music Prize in Canada.

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Harmful algae blooms are so common in the Pacific Ocean, they get their own acronym (HAB). 

But the current bloom in the Pacific is decidedly uncommon: it spans much of the West Coast, and has forced shutdowns in shellfish fisheries. 

The federal Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle observes and responds to algae blooms, and this one brings some of the highest levels of natural toxins ever observed, from California's Central Coast to Washington and even Alaska. 

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Oregon already boasts one of the higher minimum wages in the country, at $9.25 an hour. 

But activists in the state are joining up with national campaigns to push it up to $15/hour. 

City votes in Seattle and Los Angeles will raise wages there... there are several steps before a similar vote in Oregon, but petition signatures are already being collected. 

Courtesy UC Agriculture & Natural Resources

Reports on Sudden Oak Death don’t seem to be nearly as common as they were a few years ago. The invasive plant disease, which has devastated oak stands along the West Coast, continues to spread in northwestern California and southwestern Oregon. But funding, public engagement, and solutions have been hard to come by.

Chris Lehman/Northwest News Network

When you buy gas for your car, you're paying a flat, per-gallon tax. But Oregon is starting a new program July 1 that would change things.

The Marijuana Show

It seems like anybody with even the barest claim to fame gets a reality TV show these days.

So marijuana is long overdue, but there IS such a show.

"The Marijuana Show," seen online and on digital channels, bears some resemblance to "Shark Tank," in that entrepreneurs pitch their ideas for marijuana-based businesses. 

"Ganjapreneurs" from season 2 will be recruited from auditions in California and Oregon, among other states. 

Austintexas.gov

We'll be surprised if Jeff Speck drives to the Hult Center in Eugene Wednesday night.

Speck is an urban planner who is a big proponent of walkable cities. 

And he'll be talking about how to make Eugene more walkable in his session at the Hult. 

Ben Adler/CPR

Californians built more backyard swimming pools last year than in any year since the peak of the housing boom. And this year, the state is on pace to shatter last year’s mark.

inciweb.nwcg.gov

  (UPDATED 10:08 a.m., Wednesday, June 17)

Fire fighters continue to gain ground are on the two main active wild fires in southern Oregon and northern California.

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The ongoing drought in California is turning attention in a number of directions, including to the water bottling industry. 

Several companies have come under fire for continuing to bottle water in a state hard-hit by drought. 

And in one case, the plant in question is not even open yet: the Crystal Geyser Water Company plant in Mount Shasta. 

Rob Manning/OPB

Northwest  forest policy is once again heating up.  Last week, federal officials presented their latest assessment of the Northwest Forest Plan, which covers more than 2 million acres of federal land in Washington, Oregon and California.  Jes Burns from our EarthFix team gets together with JPR’s Liam Moriarty to break it all down.

BLM/Public Domain

A federal appeals court Friday threw out a lower court ruling that required the Bureau of Land Management to increase timber sales in Southern Oregon.

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

The flurry of lightning-caused fires from earlier this week continues to keep firefighters employed.  Meanwhile, parts of the region are shifting the official fire danger level to HIGH.

Geoffrey Riley/JPR

Daniel Breaux (yep, pronounced "bro") deserves a big smile on his face when he walks in the graduation ceremony at Southern Oregon University on Saturday (June 13th). 

He actually graduated two terms early, despite using a lot of his time helping SOU win a national championship on the football field. 

And he's entering a field of work that is very much the focus of attention these days: he'll be a police officer in Berkeley, California. 

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If a young person challenges you to a game of chess, find out where they're from.  And if it's Coquille and you're not very good, RUN! 

The Coquille Chess Club took five players to the national championships in April, a huge feat for a team from a small town. 

Brothers Aaron and Joshua Grabinsky took home some serious hardware. 

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