News

Oregon Growers Checking For Heat Damage To Grapes, Berries

Aug 7, 2017
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Oregon berry and grape growers are watching for damage caused by unusually hot weather that settled into Western Oregon.

Azoreg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5184943

Babies need a lot of touch and attention when they're growing up. 

Come to think of it, so do their mothers.  Linda Otto, who never had kids of her own, realized the need for something like unofficial grandmothers to help babies and their mothers thrive. 

Thus was born "Grandmas2Go," a service bringing support to high risk babies and their mothers and families in the Rogue Valley. 

Wikimedia

You've heard of POTUS and SCOTUS, now meet WOTUS. 

That acronym means Waters Of The United States, and the Obama Administration made a rule identifying even small and frequently dry bodies of water as subject to federal jurisdiction. 

Several states and groups objected, and President Trump ordered the WOTUS rule rescinded. 

The Oregon Farm Bureau supports the move, Trout Unlimited opposes. 

A public comment period is open until August 28th.  Place your comments here.

California's Largest Water Supplier Says Federal Water Bill Goes Too Far

Aug 7, 2017
US Bureau of Reclamation

The measure, called the "Gaining Responsibility on Water Act" or GROW Act, has already passed the US House, largely along party lines. Supporters, including many Central Valley Republicans and farmers, say it would cut the red tape that prevents dams and water storage projects from being built.

Back-To-School Vaccines A Must For California Kids

Aug 7, 2017

California parents are scrambling to check off one important item on the back-to-school list: immunizations.

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

Temperatures backed off from record levels in Oregon and California Friday, but the days ahead might be no picnic.

National Weather Service forecasts show an increase in the chance of thunderstorms, well into next week.

"We are the elders of our minds," sings Sean Rowe on "Gas Station Rose," the track that ushers in his fourth album, New Lore, with plaintive plucks of guitar and steady drips of piano that fall in like rain. It's a sparse and beautiful moment, anchored by Rowe's unparalleled voice - so full of gravely soul, aged and edged by years on the road, as a father and husband, as a creative force always looking for the next rhyme. And, so integral to the man that he is, one that is constantly absorbing nature.

Medford School District

Families moving from place to place for seasonal work can put a strain on their childrens' schooling. 

And the Medford School District addresses the issue with its Migrant Summer School program.  It allows students whose education has been disrupted to catch up on school work, especially their language skills. 

This summer's session serves a record number of students, around 320. 

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

No need to tell you that the weather's been hot  -- too hot -- and it's creating all sorts of problems. 

Spending a few minutes in the high heat can be dangerous, and so can standing in the shade breathing, when there's wildfire smoke in the air

Bruce Hope, retired from Oregon DEQ, returns to the Exchange to talk about air quality and its effects on health, and Ryan Sandler from the National Weather Service explains how and why it's been so hot, and what we can expect in the coming weeks. 

Katie Alaimo / Roseburg News-Review

Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley is getting well known outside the state he represents. 

Merkley has been outspoken in his criticism and opposition to the Trump administration, including a true talking-marathon filibuster in opposition to the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. 

Senators are heading back to their home states for a delayed August recess, and a chance to meet with constituents. 

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

Smoke has been a more regular feature of the region's skies of late. 

Up until the beginning of August, the fire season did not feature the huge outbreaks of fires of recent years.  But it may just be a matter of time. 

Whatever happens,  crews and equipment from Oregon Department of Forestry and other agencies are ready for lightning or human-caused fires, or whatever comes their way. 

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

Smoke from wildfires in two countries only added to the misery of record-high heat in the region as the week drew to a close. 

Air quality readings from Eugene to the north showed air reaching unhealthy levels by Thursday afternoon. 

CalFire, via Google Maps

High temperatures, dry conditions and possible lightning storms are setting the stage for a potential spike in wildfire activity in parts of southern Oregon and northern California this week, according to the National Weather Service.

Steve Sutfin/Camelot Theatre

Wow, it's August already?  And it's time once again to take stock of arts events coming to the region's stages and galleries in the week ahead. 

The Exchange gets in sync with the many First Friday art walks around the region by offering up our own First Friday Arts Talk. 

Simple recipe: six phone lines, 25 minutes or so, and all the calls we can fit in that time. 

Call 800-838-3760 to take part and talk up an arts event in your town. 

Sunriver Music Festival

The longstanding Britt Festivals in Jacksonville gobble up much of the attention, but there are other ongoing music festivals in our part of the world. 

The Sunriver Music Festival is starting its 40th season next week. 

George Hanson is the man with the baton, the music director of the festival. 

thegilmore.org

Orchestral music gently (okay, not ALWAYS gently) drifts through downtown Jacksonville on summer weekend evenings. 

The Britt Orchestra is in the middle of its three-weekend run of masterworks old and new. 

Conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane brings his considerable keyboard skills to the stage in a concert Friday night (August 4th). 

Tiffany Bailey, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40584486

Oregon's tax system ensures that school budgets are relatively tight every year. 

Recessions make them worse. 

Several years ago, the Medford School District was forced to cut special education funding, essentially telling the department to do more with less.  It did. 

Outcomes have improved, by several measures. 

planetbooty.org

If you want to start a conversation that you know will last a while, ask Josh Gross about favorite bands. 

He loves music, and across a wide spectrum of genres and styles.  Josh makes music, and writes about music for the Rogue Valley Messenger

And once a month, he visits the studio with "Rogue Sounds," a compilation of musical samples and news of coming band dates. 

Covered California Premiums To Rise 12.5 Percent In 2018

Aug 2, 2017

Californians enrolled in Covered California will see premiums rise by an average of 12.5 percent next year, according to rates released Tuesday.

Eleven health care companies currently participate in the program. Despite uncertainty about federal action on health care, Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee says all 11 will continue in 2018.

But there is one, signficant caveat.

"Anthem Blue Cross of California will be returning in just three of Covered California's regions," Lee announced today in a teleconference with reporters. 

First Step In Implementing California Groundwater Law Successful

Aug 2, 2017
Kelly M. Grow / California Department of Water Resources

California was one of the last states in the West to pass a law to manage groundwater. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act into law in 2014.

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