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.

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The opponents of the Jordan Cove liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminal and pipeline are willing to go a long way to press their case.  232 miles, in fact. 

Pipeline opponents plan to "Hike The Pipe" later this summer, walking the entire length of the proposed pipeline route from the Klamath Basin to Coos Bay. 

They are collecting permissions from landowners and donations from supporters for the walk, scheduled for August 22nd through September 26th. 

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Don Crossfield retired from teaching full-time three years ago. 

And people still can't stop thanking him for his work, and rewarding it. 

The former Roseburg High School math teacher (he still subs) recently picked up an award from the Oregon Council of Teachers of Mathematics for his years of making his subject matter crystal-clear to students. 

Penguin Books

"I think, therefore I am."  Rene Descartes said it succinctly, but nearly 400 years later, we still struggle to fully comprehend the idea of SELF. 

If we change physically, does that mean we change ourselves? 

Before you attempt to answer, listen as we talk to Anil Ananthaswamy about his brand-new book The Man Who Wasn't There: Investigations Into the Strange New Science of Self

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Everybody supports kids learning to read.  But factions begin to form over how and where. 

The people who run Josephine Community Libraries hope many people support kids learning to read, and nurturing a love of reading, in public libraries. 

JCLI has a tough task: running a county library system with no county operating support. 

So it is now working to crowdfund children's libraries in the county. 

How far are you willing to go to get ready for an earthquake?  And how much should we prepare and spend as a society?  That's one topic on this week's VENTSday. 

The other: what our states should be doing to stop rural areas from declining in population and vibrancy.

Our weekly VENTSday segment puts the listeners front and center. We throw a pair of topics on the table, and let callers and emailers vent--politely--on those topics.

Topics range from the global to the hyper-local, and all responsible opinions are welcome. We bring the topics, you bring the opinions.

Gotham Books

People who want to do good for other people and the world often get accused of being "bleeding hearts," or worse. 

William MacAskill has heard it all before.  And he agrees that efforts toward altruism are often derailed by lack of solid information and measurements. 

And he proposes ways around those potholes, in his book Doing Good Better.

Geoffrey Riley/JPR

A lot of us saw smoke plumes rise in the air from nearby wildfires. 

And then we didn't see much at all, as the smoke settled into the valleys and obscured the view.  Worse, it created potential health challenges through worsening air quality

Parts of the Rogue Valley spent the weekend with air listed in the "hazardous" range. 

Retired environmental toxicologist Bruce Hope once worked for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and still volunteers on its Air Toxics Advisory Committee.

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The letters G, M, and O aren't even words, but they've certainly become fighting words.

Witness the U.S. House of Representatives' recent passage of HR 1599. 

Officially, it's the "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015," a move to prevent states from passing their own genetically modified (GMO) food labeling laws. 

Which is why anti-GMO groups call it "the DARK Act"--for "Deny Americans the Right to Know"--and some other names we won't print. 

One of the most-debated provisions concerns local bans on GMO crops, as in Jackson County. 

Would the bill prohibit those or not?  We hear both opinions in this hour... Gail Greenman from the Oregon Farm Bureau says there's no such provision. 

She'll be followed by George Kimbrell at the Center for Food Safety, who says there is. 

The source of global warming is up there, but not visible: the greenhouse gases that are warming up the planet.

The solution is up there, too: energy from the sun.  So says Robert Arthur Stayton in his book Power Shift: From Fossil Energy To Dynamic Solar Power

He shoves aside the concerns about expense and economic dislocation, and paints an optimistic picture of a future in which we get 100% of our power needs met by the sun. 

It hit me recently: I’ve lived in Southern Oregon and worked in the news business for 30 years this summer. THIRTY YEARS. And I suppose it feels like a bigger milestone than, say 25 years, because... well, because I’m a baby boomer, and anything over 30 was once considered old. So here’s a chance to glance back at three whole decades in the “State of Jefferson”: much has changed, and much has not.

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Nobody's in a position to wave a magic wand and make global warming stop.

One of the frustrating things about dealing with the issue is its vastness. 

But many people have pointed out the need for action within our communities, and that's what CivicSpark is about. 

It is an AmericaCorps program charged by California's governor with helping local communities address climate change. 

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The recent triple-digit temperatures across the region arrived with plenty of warnings and advice for how to protect ourselves from heat-related health issues.

These are issues known well to the people at the Human Cardiovascular Control Lab at the University of Oregon. 

They've spent plenty of time looking into the effects of heat on the body, and what those effects will do if left unchecked. 

Penguin Books

The California drought garners lots of headlines, but it's not the only place in the country concerned about water supplies.

Kansas and the states around it sit atop the Ogallala Aquifer, a critically important water source. 

And Julene Bair's ancestral family farm drew water from the aquifer, by the hundreds of millions of gallons every year. 

Her story of returning to the land and coming to grips with her life and its impact is told in her book The Ogallala Road. 

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  Oregon is getting way ahead of the country, in a dubious category.

The state's death rate for Hepatitis C is getting close to twice the national average. 

And the rate of new infections also runs well ahead of the national average. 

The inflammation of the liver is far more common than HIV/AIDS, and health officials are scrambling to respond. 

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  There's more than one approach to ending drug addiction.

Lane County's Methadone Treatment Program uses a bio-psycho-social model. 

The program goes beyond the present-tense of the craving of drugs and delves into past experiences and how they contribute to addiction. 

At a time when addictions are common, the clinic has a waiting list for its services. 

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  The admission of more females to the military has resulted in more opportunities for women, but that's a sword that cuts two ways.

They now hold positions of greater responsibility, but they also get to fight in dangerous places. 

AND there are issues with their treatment by fellow (male) members of the military. 

We spend the hour delving into the issues. 

Drukpa Mila Center

Karma Namgyel Rinpoche practices a version of Tibetan Buddhism he learned in his native country, Bhutan. 

But he moves around between bases of operations of the Drukpa Mila Center in Oregon, and Colorado, as well as Bhutan. 

Here's our chance to learn about the Drukpa Kagyu branch of his faith, and some of its main tenets. 

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

The American Revolution, our war of independence, was a singular thing.

But American Revolutions, plural, is a cycle of several plays commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, including the Tony-Winning "All The Way." 

The cycle continues with this week's opening of "Sweat," about the decline of industrial America and the way it plays out in individual lives. 

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage is the creator of the play. 

Penguin Press

Dan-El Padilla Peralta's family arrived in New York legally from the Dominican Republic.

But their visas lapsed, and they stayed.  Dan-El excelled in school, winning a private school scholarship and zooming to the top of his class. 

It was just before his salutatorian speech at Princeton that Dan-El revealed to the world that he was "undocumented," a story he tells in his book, Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League.

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It turns out living in paradise has its drawbacks.

Residents of Christmas Island in the Pacific are prone to a "surfer's disease," caused by exposure to abundant dust, wind, and sunlight. 

Two doctors from Medford's Medical Eye Center noticed the situation on a fishing trip years ago. 

Now they return on a regular basis to treat eye patients with techniques otherwise unknown to the area. 

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