Geoffrey Riley

News Director | Jefferson Exchange Host

Geoffrey Riley began practicing journalism in the State of Jefferson more than three decades ago, as a reporter and anchor for a Medford TV station. It was about the same time that he began listening to Jefferson Public Radio, and thought he might one day work there. He was right.

Geoff came to JPR as a backup host on The Jefferson Exchange in late 2000, and he assumed the full-time host job at the beginning of 2010. The two hours of the Exchange allow him to join our listeners in exploring issues both large and small, local and global. In addition to hosting The Exchange, Geoff oversees JPR’s news department as its News Director.

Geoff is a New York native, with stints in broadcast news in Missouri, Alabama, and Wisconsin before his arrival in Oregon. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Michael (a.k.a. moik) McCullough, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58371763

The fears of a Japanese attack on the mainland United States actually came true during the second World War.  But no one knew it at the time. 

The discovery of a balloon bomb near Bly, Oregon in the spring of 1945 resulted in the deaths of six people. 

That case and others were kept under wraps by government censors at the time. 

Our Underground History segment with the archaeologists of the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology (SOULA) focuses on the balloon bombings this month. 

Oregon Voter's Pamphlet

The occupant of the Oregon State Senate District 3 seat will change this fall, for the second time in a little more than two years. 

Alan Bates died in office in the late summer of 2016; Alan DeBoer won the special election for a two-year term but opted not to run again.  A flock of candidates from both parties filed for the open seat. 

Today we visit with Democrats Julian Bell, Athena Goldberg, Jeff Golden, and Kevin Stine

Global Citizen Year

Erik Oline admits he knew next to nothing about Senegal when he graduated from Ashland High School a year ago. 

That changed quickly, as Erik moved to Senegal for his "gap year," signing up with Global Citizen Year

He recently returned from his eye-opening experience in Western Africa, where he learned much more than the name of the capital (Dakar). 

Kim Hansen, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7185913

The ocean is full of energy, but can we capture it for use in creating electricity?  Lots of people think we can, including the people at the Redwood Coast Energy Authority

RCEA recently announced efforts to pursue a floating wind farm, to capture wind energy offshore. 

This is a project the Pacific Ocean Energy Trust has been working toward for several years now. 

We get used to talking about the "wild and scenic Rogue River," but the concept is a relatively young one.  The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act dates only to 1968, so it celebrates a half-century birthday this year. 

Tim Palmer is certainly celebrating.  The Port Orford-based writer and photographer and lover of rivers put his talents into yet another book, Wild and Scenic Rivers: An American Legacy

The Rogue and the usual suspects from our part of the country are in there, along with some surprises from other corners of the land. 

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

Get the artists and the robotics students working together, and something interesting is bound to emerge.  It apparently has, in time for the Oregon Fringe Festival, starting today (April 24) at Southern Oregon University. 

David Bithell led students through the creation of the Cloud Organ, part musical instrument and part structure.  Oh, and robotics are involved. 

David Bithell joins us, along with Martha Thatcher, who wrote the play "Cyclone," and the play's director, Nolan Sanchez. 

Wikimedia Commons

Who would you blame for climate change?  And more to the point, if you could sue someone over it, who would that be? 

Oregon is the source of lawsuits filed on behalf of children, meant to provoke government action on climate change.  But that's just one legal approach. 

"Attribution science" looks to pinpoint responsibility for climate change.  And so it involves both scientists--like the Union of Concerned Scientists--and lawyers, like those at Client Earth. 

Fibonacci Blue - https://www.flickr.com/photos/fibonacciblue/30588590810

The 2016 election.  Police-community relations.  Views on climate change.  There are many more examples of issues where people find themselves at odds in society today. 

Where to go now?  Some answers are provided in the "Finding Our Way" conference this week in Ashland (April 26-28).  The goal: give people tools to discuss divisive issues and work with difficult people. 

The conference is the focus of this month's edition of The Keenest Observers. 

Wikimedia

There's evidence that people first used hemp fibers in the early days of human civilization.  The modern-day outlawing of hemp is not of its own doing: people figured out how to grow varieties of the plant that people smoke to get high (see: marijuana). 

Now the growing of industrial hemp is gaining in favor, aided by legalization of marijuana in several states.  Legislators at the state and federal level are working on laws that could help hemp farmers regardless of what happens with marijuana law. 

Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association  founder Courtney Moran is also an attorney, following the movements with great interest. 

Abortion Care Network

California's legislature took nearly the opposite approach of the states placing new restrictions on abortion facilities. 

Instead, legislators passed the California FACT act (the California Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency Act), which requires counseling centers where abortion is opposed to inform clients that abortions are available for free elsewhere. 

As winter ended, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the act.  Chief question: is it free speech or forced speech?  In the view of NARAL Pro-Choice California, it's more like a truth-in-advertising law. 

State Director Amy Everitt worked to pass the California FACT act; she visits with perspective on the law and its court challenges. 

Oregon Blue Book

Oregon's Second Congressional District demonstrates the enthusiasm for politics abroad in the land this year. 

Where a total of four candidates filed to run for the seat in 2016, more than ten have entered their names in 2018. 

We visit with the seven Democrats hoping to face incumbent Greg Walden in November: Eric Burnette, Michael Byrne, Jim Crary, Raz Mason, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, Jennifer Neahring, and Tim White

NASA/Public Domain

It may not have the cachet of December 25th, but April 22nd is a well-known date: Earth Day

Concern about the environment led to the first observance in 1970, and the date (and the concern) have been remembered ever since. 

Many ceremonies and activities will mark Earth Day in the region, and we will throw open the phone lines to allow people to boost their events, much like our First Friday Arts segment. 

So listeners can call 800-838-3760 to share news of Earth Day happenings across the region. 

Oregon Blue Book

Oregon's May 15th primary is coming up fast.  Voter registration closes on Tuesday, April 24th, and ballots go out the end of the same week. 

We begin our interviews with candidates in key primary races with the Republicans challenging Greg Walden for the nomination for Congress, District 2, in Oregon. 

Paul Romero, Jr. and Randy Pollock have both filed to run against Walden, and both have agreed to join us for a joint interview. 

Trostle/Pixabay

Maybe you're not a big fan of eating just plain seeds.  But if you had a cup of coffee and a bagel this morning, there's a good example of the ubiquity of seeds. 

The coffee came from roasted seeds, and bagels are often enhanced with poppy or sesame seeds. 

And whatever flour the bagel is made of came from a plant that came from seeds. 

Thor Hanson has many more examples in his book The Triumph of Seeds

On The Fringe: Ashland Prepares For OFF

Apr 18, 2018
Oregon Fringe Festival

The very first Fringe Festival, in Edinburgh, Scotland, was born of frustration: many performers were denied participation in the Edinburgh International Festival.  So they performed anyway, on the fringes of the big festival. 

Now fringe festivals have popped up all over the world, giving expression to art forms and artists willing to push the boundaries of their genres. 

Southern Oregon University hosts another edition of the Oregon Fringe Festival (acronym gold: OFF) April 24-29 on the campus in Ashland.  The 2018 festival offers theatre, music, visual arts, and more. 

If you don't like the scenery in any part of our region, you don't have to travel far for a change. 

Desert, ocean, mountains, forest... we've got all types of landscapes.  And all kinds of things living upon them. 

The flora of the Trinity Alps takes center stage in a new book by Ken DeCamp called, appropriately, Wildflowers of the Trinity Alps

Just how different ARE the flowers up in the high country? 

JPR

Elias Alexander traveled a long way to end up playing a gig in his home town.  Elias is from Ashland and a musician... he went to college in New England and began his musical career in the Boston area. 

Elias fronts two bands, the afro-celtic "Soulsha" and the "Bywater Band." 

He returns to Ashland for a concert of his new song cycle "Born Outside: Songs of Struggle and Hope." 

The warnings about heart disease went onto cigarette packages decades ago.  Smoking can lead to heart disease; it's a clear link. 

And the last several summers have offered a few cigarettes' worth of smoke from wildfires to most people living in our region.  With predictable results: a spike in heart- and stroke-related visits to hospital emergency rooms. 

Researchers at the federal EPA and the University of California-San Francisco pulled in the data for a recent study. 

Wikimedia

Trying to keep wolves away from livestock is a constant challenge.  And news reports tend to focus on permits issued to shoot wolves. 

But there are many more approaches considered for keeping wolves away from cattle and sheep... including breeding big dogs.  Some breeds--we're talking big, wolf-sized dogs--have protected herds for centuries. 

So the National Wildlife Research Center in the Department of Agriculture spent several years studying the effectiveness of several large dog breeds in keeping wolves at bay. 

Wikimedia

Having plants and animals go extinct around us is not just sad, it creates issues for the remaining creatures on the planet. 

Chemistry professor Paul Torrence studies the ways in which we derive the materials for many effective medicines from nature.  And when the plants go extinct, the materials disappear. 

Torrence reports on the trend in his book Molecules of Nature: Biodiversity, the Sixth Mass Extinction, and the Future of Medicine.  He visits Southern Oregon University for a lecture on Thursday (April 19th). 

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