Emily Cureton

Producer | Jefferson Exchange

Born and raised in Texas, Emily Cureton found her way to the West Coast as a print journalist. She joined JPR’s newsroom in 2015.

Emily graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, followed by stints in New York City, Marfa, Tex., and Crescent City, Calif. She's always looking to hear from community members about newsworthy topics.

chery, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1282155

It looks really pretty on exterior walls--think universities and Wrigley Field--but English ivy is a pest. 

It is not a plant indigenous to our region, and ivy causes problems for native plants, including trees in the forest. 

It's a greater problem in the moister forests of the North Coast, where the No Ivy League has worked to eradicate it for several years. 

ICE/Public Domain

It's no surprise that the White House is cracking down on illegal immigration; President Trump promised to do so, and many Americans expect a crackdown. 

But Latino communities report a ripple effect: people who do want immigrants out have taken to demonstrating their feelings. 

Ben Garcia at Revista Caminos, a Spanish-language magazine, is working on a piece about the people who feel emboldened to haze immigrants and minorities. 

No matter the state of the economy or the political party in power, the arms industry continues to hum along. 

New and expensive weapons systems are built all the time, both for domestic use and for sale in foreign countries.  If there is a true debate going on, the arms makers are winning it. 

Paul Holden pulls together arguments from many writers against the arms industry in the book Indefensible: Seven Myths that Sustain the Global Arms Trade.

Oregon Blue Book

Oregon still requires the state legislature to draw new legislative and Congressional districts after every federal census. 

Which means the people in power get to pick the people they represent, up to a point.  It's a point too far for new Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson. 

He set up a nonpartisan Fair Redistricting Task Force to explore ways to change the process of drawing new lines. 

Three guests join us: Alan Zundel, who head the Pacific Green Party in Oregon, Rep. Julie Parrish, and former Secretary of State Phil Keisling. 

socompasshouse.org

Members of the Compass House tell us how recovery from mental illness isn't a myth.

Compass Radio is co-produced by Bryce Harding and the members of Compass House in Medford.

Compass House is a place for adults with mental illness to find support, in the clubhouse model of mental health care. 

brittfest.org

It's still a little cold for classical music concerts outdoors. 

But the Britt Festivals in Jacksonville are not waiting for the summer concert season.  Britt sprinkles musical residency programs throughout the year, and right now the Oregon Wind Quintet is in residency. 

Somehow we cram all five members into the studio for a chat and some music. 

Mark Oniffrey, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55153415

The opioid painkiller epidemic took a strange twist when doctors clamped down on the prescription drugs.  Users began turning to heroin as a replacement for opioids, and the heroin overdose death rate shot up. 

In response, many communities have begun equipping first responders with the drug naloxone--also called Narcan--to revive overdose patients long enough to get medical help. 

Julia Pinsky's son died of a heroin overdose; she started "Max's Mission" to help distribute naloxone. 

Sara Smith is a nurse and organizer for a naxolone support group under Oregon Pain Guidance

Brett Johnson is deputy police chief in Medford. 

Yann Dujardin, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28536452

If you sat down to begin writing your memoirs, which stories would you choose to tell the overall story of your life? 

It's an important question, and one Peter Gibb thinks about, deeply.  He wrote his own memoir, King of Doubt, and counsels other people on memoir writing, in a process called Memoir and Mindfulness (M&M--sorry, not the chocolate candy). 

Peter finds the process to a healing one, giving new perspective on life. 

Oregon State Archives

The federal constitution is on display at the National Archives in Washington for all to see. 

Oregon's first constitution, though younger by 70 years, is not healthy enough for public display.  Paper doesn't age well. 

The state just embarked on a crowdfunding campaign to raise $100,000 to restore and display the 1857 constitution. 

Planned Parenthood

It's been pointed out many times that abortion makes up a small percentage of the services offered by Planned Parenthood. 

Despite that--and a law barring federal funding of abortion--Planned Parenthood remains a target of conservatives in Congress.  They would like to eliminate all federal funding for the agency. 

That would have an impact in many places.  But an uneven impact, because Planned Parenthood's services differ from place to place.  Planned Parenthood Southwestern Oregon is the affiliate north of the state line. 

President and CEO Lisa Gardner and External Affairs Director Sky Loos visit. 

Oregon Right to Life

Oregon Right to Life seeks to protect human life from conception to death, and a natural death at that. 

ORTL often finds itself mentioned in the same paragraphs as Planned Parenthood, because it takes issue with abortion and other practices of that organization. 

ORTL formed even before the Supreme Court legalized abortion with the Roe vs Wade decision in 1973. 

Southern Oregon chapter rep Bryan Platt visits the Exchange. 

We know a few things about the birth of the universe.  Do we know enough to recreate the process? 

The question alone provokes thought.  But scientists have been pondering it for a while now, convinced that they could create small universes in laboratories. 

A Big Bang in a Little Room by Zeeya Merali considers both physical and ethical obstacles to lab-created "baby universes." 

Wikimedia Commons

Jackson County is that rarest of Oregon counties, the only one that has banned the growing of genetically modified (GMO) crops. 

It took a vote by the people and action by the legislature to make it happen. 

Now anti-GMO farmers and their supporters want the legislature to allow more GMO-free zones. 

House bill 2469 is the mechanism; anti-GMO campaigner Elise Higley is firmly behind it. 

Deviant Art/Wikimedia

Oregon legislators are a bit stumped by the budget realities facing them. 

State income is up, but preserving state services at current levels over the next two-year budget period will take nearly two billion dollars more than the state expects to take in. 

One major culprit: increased payments to retired worker pensions through the PERS system. 

Budget writers are taking the show on the road, asking for input in meetings across Oregon.  Ashland gets one on Friday, February 24th; Eugene gets a meeting the next day. 

Christian Ferrer, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49733344

So you take Christmas off, but do you go to church? 

Most people who take the day off do not, but the practice persists: a Christian holiday without Christian ceremony. 

There are other examples of ways in which civil society and Christianity are intertwined, and Paul Kivel writes of them in his book Living in the Shadow of the Cross: Understanding and Resisting the Power and Privilege of Christian Hegemony

jacksonvilleoregon.com

It is only appropriate that Southern Oregon's largest observance of Chinese New Year takes place in Jacksonville. 

The historic city was home to a significant Chinese population, back in the days when Jacksonville was a mining center and the county seat. 

Our in-house archaeologists from the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology have explored that period in history through digs in Jacksonville. 

And Mark Tveskov and Chelsea Rose return with another installment of "Underground History," with guest David Lei.  He is a featured speaker in Chinese New Year ceremonies this weekend (February 18). 

Randi Hausken, Bærum, Norway - CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29876616

The literacy rate is considered high in America, but plenty of people struggle to read at an appropriate level. 

Cognitive scientist Mark Seidenberg says that's because we don't do enough to connect what science has learned to the way language is taught in the classroom. 

Seidenberg lays out his case in the book Language at the Speed of Sight: How We Read, Why So Many Can't, And What Can Be Done About It.

cherylpetty.com

Travelers heading north on Interstate Five from Redding often notice a sharp intake of breath when Mount Shasta first comes into full view near Dunsmuir. 

The big mountain and the surrounding country are simply breathtaking.  Think of how much more you could see from a higher elevation. 

Cheryl Petty is already on it, touting the idea of an aerial tramway connecting Dunsmuir to the top of Mount Bradley to the west. 

The proposed Horsetail Falls Aerial Tram has a long way to go to become a reality. 

James Gathany/CDC

It's not just that people have a fear of needles; some of them also have concerns about what comes OUT of the needles. 

Vaccines have become increasingly controversial in recent years. 

A group called Oregonians for Medical Freedom supports legislation in Oregon's state capital to provide greater freedom for parents to make medical decisions for their children. 

One of the bills currently circulating is SB579, which is titled "Relating to informed consent for vaccinations." 

Wikimedia

Much like Zika virus, rubella--German measles--makes people feel lousy for a while, then generally goes away on its own. 

But rubella in a pregnant woman can be as damaging to the fetus as Zika.  Scientists worked for decades to find a vaccine for rubella, finally succeeding in the late 60s. 

This is the story told in Meredith Wadman's book The Vaccine Race.

Pages