Geoffrey Riley

News Director | Jefferson Exchange Host

Geoffrey Riley began practicing journalism in the State of Jefferson nearly 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.

Oobspace, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47737380

Younger people--say 25 and under--probably can't remember a time without recycle bins next to the trash cans. 

The rest of us have had to get used to figuring out what goes in which bin.  The Earth is worth it, right? 

Over the years changes have come to recycling and our approach to it.  Rogue Disposal and Recycling in Medford rolls with the changes, as do Jackson County Master Recyclers

And the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality gets a piece of this puzzle as well. 

ncuaqmd.org

It can be fun to watch the kids get on the school bus in the morning.  Unless you're stuck behind an older bus spewing smelly smoke. 

Rural districts in particular tend to have the oldest, most polluting school buses. 

California's Rural School Bus Pilot Project aims to get many of those older buses off the road, and the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District has been chosen to administer the project for the whole state. 

Gerald Schmitt/Wikimedia

Certain words in the English language come with an "ick factor" attached.  One of those is: cannibalism. 

It's just not something we like to think about, at least for our species: eating others of our own kind (except in zombie movies). 

But cannibalism is not unusual in nature, and may actually serve a purpose. 

Zoologist Bill Schutt explains in his book Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History.  He gives us the whole picture, from smaller organisms up to the Donner party. 

It's not like composers are all over the place, but we have a few we can call on from time to time.

One of them is Teddy Abrams, the music director for the Britt Classical Festival

The concert season is still more than six months away, but it was announced recently. 

Air Force/Public Domain

It was just three weeks ago that the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists advanced the "Doomsday Clock" to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight, the highest threat of nuclear war perceived since the heart of the Cold War.

The Ploughshares Fund, which works to eliminate nuclear weapons, shares the concern of the scientists. 

Fund president Joseph Cirincione speaks in Eugene this weekend (Feb. 26) about nuclear policy in the age of Trump. 

John Duffy/Wikimedia

The White House proposed federal legislation on health care, and people took to the streets. 

A different White House proposed changes to health care legislation, and other people took to the streets. 

The practice of public demonstration is not lost, though it may be less common than in the 1960s.  L.A. Kauffman tracks the history of protest from the mid-20th century forward in his book Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism

It goes beyond history, into the current upsurge of activity on the streets. 

Fox Pictures

Movies about space flight always seem to be strong contenders for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. 

But a movie about math whizzes who made space flight possible?  That is the storyline of Hidden Figures, up for several Oscars on Sunday, February 26th. 

It is based on the true story of African American women whose calculation skills helped people fly into space, detailed in a book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly. 

She visited with us after the book was finished and as the movie neared completion. 

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. 

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. 

Pages