News

Oregon State University Press

Drive down a coastal highway in our region, and you're sure to see a sign advertising myrtlewood for sale. 

But the tree has value beyond its wood: Native Americans in the region ate parts of it.  That's one of many stories to emerge from the book Ethnobotany of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians

Patricia Whereat Phillips, herself Miluk Coos, is the book's author. 

Miguel V./Wikimedia

Trees make hot days a little cooler.  Well duh, you might say, everyone knows that shade from trees is good. 

But a newly-published study from Oregon State University shows that the quality of the cooling depends on the kind of forest. 

Specifically, old-growth forests with tight canopies and dense undergrowth appear to offer more cooling than single-species tree plantations, a distinction that could matter more as the Earth warms. 

Luke Ruediger

You COULD walk from Ashland to Jacksonville now, but either on the shoulder of a busy road, or by bushwhacking through the wild (or both). 

But an alternative is in the works: the Jack-Ash Trail is planned for the ridgetops between the two communities.  Work could start later this year. 

The trail has the backing of Luke Ruediger, devotee of all things related to the Siskiyou Crest, and a blogger about his efforts and interests. 

PGHolbrook/Wikimedia Commons

The Smith River, California's only un-dammed river, is a jewel in the redwoods. 

It is also not exclusive to California; some of the Smith's headwaters lie in Oregon.  Which is why retired BLM resource specialist Gordon Lyford is asking the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to protect the headwaters of the river. 

The designation sought by Lyford and supported by the Smith River Alliance is "outstanding resource waters."  By law, DEQ is supposed to respond to the petition this week (May 22 deadline). 

Wikimedia

If you want to start a fight in the West, announce plans to open a water bottling plant. 

Crystal Geyser's plan to start operations in Mount Shasta touched off a storm of protest.  And it appears to have created an ongoing political force in the  Siskiyou Forward Movement

The group is drawing up plans for a Siskiyou County ballot measure that would make it harder for future water bottlers to sell groundwater outside the county.  The group also opposes a measure on the June 7 ballot that would raise more money for a bigger jail. 

Brown campaign

Kate Brown became Oregon's governor by accident. 

John Kitzhaber's resignation in February 2015 plucked her from the Secretary of State's office and put her on the hot seat.  AND required an election for a two-year term for governor, which she is running for now. 

And Brown has plenty of company, with multiple Democrats and Republicans and even a pair of Independent Party of Oregon candidates seeking the job in the primary. 

Katy Warner via Wikimedia Commons

Tylenol is one of the most widely used painkillers across the United States. Its main ingredient, acetaminophen, is present in more than 600 over-the-counter and prescription medications. But several recent studies are bringing up new concerns about this familiar drug.

C4 Facebook page

A Medford school--St. Mary's--recently sent not one, but TWO teams of students to a world championship in robotics. 

A word of explanation first: clever students come up with clever team names. 

So Trial N Terror and C4 (for Computional Center for Competitive Circuitry) packed up bags and robots and headed for St. Louis to compete. 

U.S. Marines/Public Domain

Maybe you were one of those people who struggled through higher math in school, wondering how it would ever help you in life. 

Keith Devlin will be happy to tell you.  Devlin is the co-founder and Executive Director of Stanford University's Human Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute (just call it H-STAR). 

He also appears on NPR as "The Math Guy," exploring the usefulness of math in the world. 

He visits Southern Oregon University for a couple of lectures this week. 

Some Oregonians Face Big Health Insurance Hikes

May 12, 2016
National Institute of Health

Oregonians who buy their own health insurance face a second straight year of hefty premium hikes that could boost coverage costs by nearly a third.

Insurers want to boost premiums by 15 percent to 32 percent next year, according to a summary of rate requests submitted recently to the Department of Consumer and Business Services.

Will More Registered Oregon Voters Translate Into High Turnout?

May 12, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

The Oregon Secretary of State’s office says more than 50,000 new voters have been added to the rolls thanks to the state’s new motor voter law.

Navy Relaxes Tattoo Policy To Recruit More Millennials

May 11, 2016
AMERICAN HOMEFRONT/SOPHIE MCKIBBEN

Effective this month, tattoo enthusiasts who serve in the U.S. Navy can ink a lot more of their body.

The Navy's latest policy change is an effort to remain attractive to millennials who may be excluded from serving due to the size of their body artwork.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife

A couple of phone calls this week--well before fire season--confirmed that when people see smoke in the hills, they worry. 

But the smoke they saw (on May 10th) was from a controlled burn in the Ashland watershed, part of AFR, the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project. 

There is a science to getting forests to burn ONLY where you want them to burn, and agencies share information on that science through Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges

Pentimento Press

Thanks to the rains brought by El Niño, California gets a bit of a break from drought politics this year.  But memories of last year are still fresh: sharp reductions in water use by homeowners and public entities, while agriculture uses most of the state's water. 

In Water, More or Less, journalist Rita Schmidt Sudman and artist Stephanie Taylor track changes in California water policy and make suggestions for future moves. 

Amanda Peacher/OPB

The occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge ended more than three months ago, but the rhetoric of the occupiers is showing up in a number of candidate campaigns this primary season.

Many of those candidates are part of the self-described “patriot” movement, which includes groups like Oregon III% and the Oath Keepers, all part of the Pacific Patriots Network. Many of the more than a dozen patriot candidates share some of the ideology and values of the leaders of the occupation of the Malheur refuge and filed to run for office after the occupation began.

guernicamag.org

Our discussion about the Roe vs Wade abortion case (8 AM Wednesday) sparks the subject matter of this week's VENTSday segment. 

Join in the discussion with 1) your experience with unintended pregnancy; 2) how society should provide for children who ARE born--food? Preschool?  College?    

Listeners take stage on our weekly VENTSday segment, a chance to vent on a couple of topics in the news--by phone, by email, or through our online survey. We provide the topics, you provide the opinions.

Your thoughts are front and center on VENTSday. No expertise necessary; just opinions and the ability to express them in a radio-friendly way. We post our weekly survey on one or both of the topics in advance.

Alex Cox via Hannon Library

Whether it's on paper, on a big screen, or on a mobile device, we're often just looking for stories. 

Our parents read them to us as kids, and the habit sticks around.  Tod Davies is all about the story.  She's written some big ones, like the screenplay for the movie "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," and is the editorial director at Exterminating Angel Press.

Hannon Library at Southern Oregon University brings Davies in for a chat on "The Importance of Story," Thursday (May 12) at 4 PM. 

USDA/Public Domain

It's not quite like the mythical phoenix rising from the ashes, but we do create life from death. 

In our compost piles, that is.  Truly, we can enrich our gardens and yards through the decay of once-living matter. 

Rodney Bloom from the OSU Extension Service offers a program called "Decay for the Masses," with a session coming up Sunday in Eugene. 

Wikimedia

We love to eat, that much is clear. 

One clear indicator: we love to talk about food.  And another chance to do just that is offered by the Oregon Humanities Conversation Project event called "We Are What We Eat: Connecting Food and Citizenship."

The chat will be offered for free at the Illinois Valley Branch of Josephine Community Libraries Friday (May 13th) at 5 PM. 

Allen Alley Campaign

You'd need a small bus to carry all the people running for Oregon Governor in the May 17th primary. 

John Kitzhaber's departure a month into his term put Kate Brown in office and triggered an unusual election for a two-year term in this election cycle. 

Former state Republican chair Allen Alley is one of a handful of GOP members running. 

His chief opponent, Bud Pierce, joined us previously. 

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