News

Pablo Martinez Monsivais

It's entirely possible that this year will end without Garland Merrick heading for the Supreme Court, and without Bernie Sanders heading for the White House. 

Neither prospect excites Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley.  Merkley, in his second term, is one of many senators trying to push the Republican leadership to hold hearings and a vote on the Supreme Court vacancy. 

And he's the ONLY senator to publicly endorse Sanders' campaign for president. 

For this week's VENTSday, we invite you to either stand in line or defend your neighborhood.  Or both.

First, airport lines: how would you fix the TSA to keep people from missing flights in security lines?

And while we're on security, let's talk neighborhood watches and other citizens efforts: is law enforcement in short supply where you live, and how do you and your neighbors compensate?

Listeners take center 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. 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.

Infrogmation of New Orleans/Wikimedia

Novels are still a rarity on The Exchange, but we could not turn down Ellen Urbani

Her latest work of fiction, Landfall, is based on events in the real world, including Hurricane Katrina. 

Urbani's work as a therapist adds a dimension of trauma and recovery to the work. 

Bruce Menge & team

From living being to spackle.  A crude description, perhaps, but it gives you an idea of the horrors of the wasting disease that afflicted sea stars in the Pacific a year ago.

Starfish that appeared otherwise healthy turned to mush over a matter of days.  But this year--so far--is very different, with scientists finding young sea stars to be unusually prolific.  A good sign, or too early to tell? 

Dr. Bruce Menge of Oregon State University is watching the sea star nurseries with great interest. 

Circles In The Sand

Several religious traditions use the labyrinth to focus the mind and represent the spiritual journey. 

Denny Dyke took the labyrinth a step further--and a step further toward the ocean--when he drew his first labyrinth on a beach.  That was several years ago, and he continues the practice to this day. 

This summer's labyrinth will be on the beach at Bandon, Oregon. 

Wikimedia

Adults in today's world can take the blame for human-caused climate change, but it's the kids who will have to live with the changes. 

So it makes sense to encourage young people to learn about, talk about, and work on corrective action on climate change. 

That's the general idea behind the Next Generation Climate Justice Action Camp, this summer in Jackson County. 

NIH/Public Domain

The Affordable Care Act--"Obamacare"--got health insurance for millions more people, but it is far from perfect. 

And that opinion is common even outside the Republicans in Congress who keep voting to kill the program. 

Richard Master got tired of constantly paying higher health insurance premiums for employees of the company he runs, so he went to look for an answer.  What he found ended up a documentary film called "Fix It: Healthcare At The Tipping Point."  Its essence: single-payer health insurance is the way ahead, "Medicare for all." 

Talent Joins List Of "Maker Cities"

May 25, 2016
Rico Shen/Wikimedia

Chicago.  Vancouver.  Memphis.  Talent.  How did one of the Rogue Valley's smaller cities end up on that list?  Because of the enthusiasm of city leaders for fostering entrepreneurship and small manufacturing. 

Talent's maker city effort just sent representatives to an upcoming summit of Etsy Maker Cities in Brooklyn. 

Brammo via Instagram

The company with the quiet motorcycles is going big time. 

Brammo, now based in Talent, gained fame as a maker of electric motorcycles. 

That part of the business has since been sold to Polaris, but Brammo kept working on battery and other power modules, and just landed $58 Million in contracts, with a big increase in staff coming. 

Georgios Giannopoulos/Wikimedia

Accepting refugees from war-torn countries has already been an issue in this election year, and probably will be again. 

That does not deter the efforts of people who think the United States is a good place--if not the best place--to take people who can no longer live in their home countries. 

Catholic Community Services of Lane County and the Refugee Resettlement Program are working to bring in two families of refugees from Syria. 

Closing The Gap In Voter Turnout For California's Disabled

May 23, 2016

In the Sierra foothills above Fresno, the community of Prather is hosting a forum for county council candidates. It’s in the cafeteria of the local elementary school, where a banner on the wall reads a bit like a political slogan — Every Day, In Every Way, We Get Better.

As people wander in, Jim Cox talks to one of the candidates about what it’s like to be disabled in a rural mountainous region.

Wikimedia

Oregon made the top ten!  Before the celebration starts, let's explain why this is NOT a good thing: analysis of gambling issues shows Oregon among the top ten most gambling-addicted states.

That's quite a feat for a state with no huge casinos, but it's a combination of casinos, lottery games, and a lack of services for problem gamblers. 

Boweneer/Wikimedia

Jeremy Polk is a veterinarian.  Simple phrase, but one that would have astounded many people ten years ago. 

That's when Polk, from a turbulent upbringing and the foster care system, took part in a veterinary medicine training program offered through the Lane County Department of Youth Services.  He stuck with it, finally getting his certification as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. 

It all started ten years ago at the Eugene Animal Hospital, but the program that encouraged his interest no longer exists. 

Rich Pedroncelli/AP File

California’s November ballot will be jammed with statewide propositions, but there’s just one measure in the June primary. Prop 50, which stems from scandals that hit the state Senate, would allow the state Legislature to suspend lawmakers without pay.

ODOT

Roads and bridges wear out over time, and have to be replaced. 

But entire transportation systems--roads, rails, air--require attention to keep up with demands of travelers and shippers. 

In Oregon, the Governor's Transportation Vision Panel paid that attention, in a comprehensive look at the state's transport needs.  Among the findings: Southern Oregon needs more transit, and more seismic retrofits to guard against earthquake damage. 

Wikimedia

No single city will stop or reverse climate change, but all efforts help, right?  The City of Ashland answers the question in the affirmative with a year-long process to create a Climate and Energy Action Plan.

The city--with a lot of help from residents, it is hoped--will take stock of how it currently contributes greenhouse gases to the environment, and seek ways to reduce and mitigate. 

The first open house is set for Tuesday (May 24), with a few more to follow. 

First Refuge Occupier In Bundy Indictment Pleads Guilty

May 19, 2016
Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

Corey Lequieu, 46, pleaded guilty to a federal charge Thursday for his role in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation.

Federal prosecutors had accused Lequieu of being one of the leaders of the occupation.

“Evidence at trial will show that he was a planner and organizer of the armed takeover,” U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel wrote in support of a pretrial motion to keep Lequieu detained.

Amanda Peacher/OPB

Harney County citizens voted decisively in this week’s primary for candidates who opposed the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Harney County had more candidates on the ballot than in any primary election in recent history. In discussions about federal lands, some candidates echoed the rhetoric of Ammon Bundy and other occupation leaders.

Austin Jenkins/Northwest News Network

Marijuana cultivation is estimated to use one percent of America’s electricity output. That’s enough juice to power 1.7 million average homes.

And as more states make the drug legal in some form, that power consumption is expected to soar. Northwest energy officials project cannabis grows will suck up three percent of the region’s power by 2035. 

Now, efforts are underway to get growers to reduce their energy use.

Mt Shasta Avalanche Center

We talk a fair amount about "The Big One," the anticipated Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake that could hit 9.0 or higher in magnitude.  But it's not the only movement of the Earth we need to be aware of: we have volcanoes nearby as well. 

Mount St. Helens blew its top more than 35 years ago, but other peaks in the Cascades could come to life as well. 

That is the focus of Seth Moran, who directs the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, WA. 

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