By now, somebody in Oregon Congressional District Four must be thinking "you again?"  And it could be one of the two major-party candidates. 

Democratic incumbent Peter DeFazio is facing Republican challenger Art Robinson for the fourth straight election. 

It's hard to run against an incumbent for Congress; maybe harder in a district with Eugene and Corvallis on one end and Cave Junction and Brookings on the other. 


Building healthy communities is about more than people getting exercise.

It also involves mental health and economic health, just for starters.  These items and more are on the table for the "Next, Now" conference coming to Grants Pass next week (October 10-11). 

Community leaders in a number of fields will talk about building stronger, more resilient communities, by recognizing the prevalance of ACEs, Adverse Childhood Experiences. 

Southern Oregon Success is among the partners, and contributors include ACE Interface, which works at improving public health. 

What's Behind Oregon's Marionberry Mania?

Oct 5, 2016 via Wikimedia Commons

Blackberries grow so voraciously in the Pacific Northwest that it's not rare to stumble across rural barns or abandoned homes that have been completely consumed by the thorny vine. Let them grow too close to a window, and they'll break the glass. They're common — easy to forage and hard to get too excited about. At least compared to the marionberry, a type of blackberry that has become an Oregon obsession.

Pierce's Spokeswoman Resigns Over Candidate's Sexual Assault Remarks

Oct 4, 2016
Portland Tribune

Stacey Kafka, press secretary for Bud Pierce, has left the GOP gubernatorial nominee’s campaign because of comments the candidate made about violence against women at a debate Friday.

Prop 62 Would Abolish California’s Death Penalty

Oct 4, 2016
Edward Stojakovic/Flickr

Supporters and opponents of California’s capital punishment law agree on one thing: The death penalty system isn’t working. The November ballot offers voters two completely different solutions.

As part of our California Counts election collaboration, KQED’s Scott Shafer examines one of those options, Proposition 62, which would ban the death penalty. 

Ken Piorkowski/Wikimedia,

California went down this road before, and turned back.  The last presidential election, in 2012, featured a vote to repeal the death penalty in the state. 

Proposition 34 went down to defeat, though narrowly.  Now another death penalty repeal appears on the ballot, as Proposition 62. 

Whatever its number, it will get no support from San Bernardino County D.A. Mike Ramos.  He advocates keeping capital punishment in place, and supports a different measure, Prop 66, which would keep the death penalty and tweak the law. 

Meanwhile the Yes on 62 campaign is working to get its measure across the finish line. 

Scott Shafer/KQED

VENTSday returns to the air this week, with an issue that always generates strong feelings: the death penalty. 

Capital punishment is still on the books in both states, though California's vote on Props 62 and 66 will determine if executions will continue there. 

What is appropriate, in your mind?  Should the state have the power to kill people, as punishment for murder?  Should crimes other than murder be eligible for death sentences? 

VENTSday seeks YOUR thoughts, through our survey (below); by phone at 800-838-3760 live (or 541-552-6331 in advance); by email at


It sounds like a dream come true: a chance to preserve more than 350 acres of land along the Rogue River, in ways that will benefit people and other creatures. 

This dream does not come cheap... but it does come at a reduced price. 

The Southern Oregon Land Conservancy is working to raise $3.5 Million by the end of the year to make the "Heart of the Rogue" project a reality.

PolitiFact California looks at claims made by elected officials, candidates and groups and rates them as: True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False and Pants On Fire.

A ‘Yes’ vote on California’s Proposition 67 would ban thin plastic carryout bags at grocery and convenience stores statewide. The ban is supported by environmental groups that argue the bags choke wildlife and cause problems for recycling centers when they wrap around machinery.

Wikipedia Commons

The concern over the quality of education in Oregon has been rising in recent years, especially with measurements like the state's low high school graduation rate. 

What will it take to make Oregon schools better? 

That's the general thrust of the questions asked of people in the Oregon Rising education project. 

More than ten-thousand people took part in the project, giving a clear picture of desires and expectations for Oregon schools.  COSA, the Confederation of School Administrators, took part in Oregon Rising.

All the experts on aging say we should be engaged in interesting activities when our working days are done, to help prolong life. 

Which sounds swell, unless income is an obstacle to getting into activities. 

The non-profit EngAGE, "The Art of Active Aging,"  offers activities to low- and moderate-income seniors in Southern California, and just recently in Portland. 

Oregon regulators gave marijuana retailers a little breathing room Friday as new testing, labeling and packaging rules start.

Charles A. Hartman Fine Art

Imagine the honor of getting your picture on the wall of the governor's office. 

Daniel Paul Robinson has a story to tell there.  It's not a picture of HIM; Robinson is a painter, and several of his works grace the governor's office in Salem from now to the middle of November. 

The works are large oil paintings of Oregon landscapes, and the display is part of the Art in the Governor's Office program. 


The medical process of giving birth has really changed. 

Some people alive today were born in sterile (in every sense) hospital rooms while their mothers were asleep. 

The natural childbirth movement rejected that approach, and now even the hospitals provide the alternatives. 

Case in point: the midwifery services available through Asante Health System at Ashland Community Hospital. 

Kevin Steinberg, USN/Public Domain

For a country that's supposed to have separation of church and state, they sure get up in each other's business.

And that's not the only issue with religion in America.  Even different sects that pray to the same god can get into turf battles. 

Kenneth Woodward watched a lot of this happen in nearly 40 years as religion editor at Newsweek magazine.  He gives us an overview of the intermixture of religion, politics, and culture in that time and beyond, in his book Getting Religion.

One Year After UCC Shooting, Community Looks To Move Forward

Sep 30, 2016
Rachael McDonald/KLCC

One year ago Saturday, a gunman opened fire during a writing class in Snyder Hall at Umpqua Community College. He killed 9 people and then himself.

The events of that day forever changed the rural community of Roseburg and Douglas County.  The one-year mark will be a sober observance.


Some of the best moments of our lives can happen over a beer.  Why NOT preserve some memories? 

Documenting the past of beer and brewing is the role of the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives, dedicated to preserving artifacts and stories from the history of making beer, cider, and mead in Oregon. 

Mugs, mats, and more are included in the growing collection, under the watchful eye of Director Tiah Edmunson-Morton.

Consortium of Asian American Theater & Artists

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival worked for years to promote diversity, on and off the stage. 

The efforts take another step with OSF's hosting of the National Asian American Theatre Conference and Festival (ConFest), October 1-9. 

There's much to see and talk about, especially in a year with notably diverse works on stage from community theatre to Broadway. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

Most of us can't imagine what it would be like to be in a place where a mass shooting happens. 

We don't WANT to imagine the horror.  Students and staff at Umpqua Community College do not have that luxury; UCC was the scene of ten gun deaths almost exactly a year ago (October 1st). 

The Umpqua Story Project encourages people in Douglas County to share their memories of that day and its aftermath. 

Mark Yaconelli runs the Story Project; Susan Rochester is a professor of fine arts at UCC.  They join us to talk about the anniversary, the project, and the feature. 

Women's Foundation of Oregon

"All things being equal" may be a way to start a sentence, but it's usually not a reality in public policy. 

Decisions made by political leaders--who are mostly men--can have uneven effects on different segments of society, including on females. 

The "Count Her In" report by the Women's Foundation of Oregon claims to be the first comprehensive data collection on the status of women and girls in Oregon in 20 years.