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.

Penguin Books

The word itself has a creepy sound: EVICTED.  And the book by that name of Matthew Desmond shows just how wrenching a process eviction can be. 

He follows eight families in the Milwaukee area, dealing with two different landlords. 

The circumstances that lead to eviction are clearly laid out... in our part of history, people spend half of their income or more just to put a roof over their heads, and it's not always a pleasant roof. 

CDC/Public Domain

Don't look now, but your body is carrying some passengers.  By the millions. 

We're just beginning to understand the importance of the microbiome in humans--the bacteria in and on our bodies that make processes like digestion move along smoothly. 

The relationships between hosts and microbes are the bread and butter of The Microbial Ecology and Theory of Animals (META) Center for Systems Biology at the University of Oregon. 

Wikimedia

Many of them are illegal under current drug laws, but lots of people believe in the beneficial uses of psychedelic drugs.

And they'll get a chance to convene and compare notes at the Exploring Psychedelics Conference next week (April 7-8) at Southern Oregon University, the third edition of this event. 

Matt Vogel and Martin Ball organized the first event and have watched it grow. 

Basic Books

We're often cautioned not to think of doctors as something like gods.  But they do hold the power of life and death over us in extreme cases. 

And one member of the fraternity points out just how much can go wrong, in the book Snowball in a Blizzard

Dr. Steven Hatch says admitting the murkiness in both diagnosis and prognosis can go a long way to improving health decisions by doctor and patient. 

ODOT

The vast majority of traveling across much of our region is done by car. 

And that's due in part to limited public transportation. 

But efforts continue to separate our steering wheels from our hands, both in public transit and expanded options for people using alternative means like bicycles. 

Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) will challenge businesses to reduce car trips later this spring in the Rogue Commute Challenge.  Edem Gómez from the agency joins us. 

We also hear about Bike/Walk Roseburg from Dick Dolganas, and get a statewide overview from Jenna Stanke Marmon, who serves on the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

Wikimedia

Can every venture in the world be run as a non-profit?  Donnie Maclurcan thinks so. 

He envisions a world in which profit is NOT a motivating factor, and he trains people to get ready for that world. 

That's done through the Cascades Hub based in Ashland, which will soon offer a multi-week course in navigating the non-profit world. 

Penguin Books

"The mind is what the brain does," it's been said.  And oh boy, it does a LOT. 

And even though we cannot claim telepathy, we are certainly aware of other minds and what they are doing, without offering a penny for anyone's thoughts. 

Think of our thinking of other minds as belonging to The Mind Club

That's the name of the book by psychologists Daniel Wegner and Kurt Gray examining our attitudes towards each other, other thinking animals, and even some inanimate objects. 

Wikimedia

You can almost imagine the dawn of pesticides: "hey look, when I put this on, the bugs die." 

It was a great thing... until people noticed the unintended effects.  Substances that poison one living thing can poison others. 

Recent years have seen the rise of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), an approach to pest control that does not rule out pesticides, but does not place them at the center of control either. 

IPM is well known at Oregon State University's Integrated Plant Protection Center, where Paul Jepson is the director. 

Matt H. Wade/Wikimedia

Drive along the Southern Oregon and Northern California coast, and you'll see a sign proclaiming "Easter Lily Capital of the World." 

The flowers do grow well in the coastal climate, but some of the practices associated with lily cultivation concern nearby residents. 

Those include chemicals used to keep pests off the plants, chemicals not welcome in the nearby Smith River, California's only un-dammed river. 

Siskiyou Land Conservancy works to keep lily cultivation from harming the river or the land. 

Viking Press

The explosions in Brussels this week remind us that terrorism is a constant threat, and a constant topic of discussion. 

We take it up in a fictional context with Karan Mahajan, author of the novel The Association Of Small Bombs

The book focuses on Indian boys caught in a bombing, the reaction of a friend who survives the blast, and a Kashmiri man who builds bombs. 

Scott Sanchez/Wikimedia

We shudder to think that our country was once home to the practice of slavery, and that we fought a civil war over it. 

And we're not quite done shuddering, because slavery has not yet disappeared from the planet. 

Millions of people around the world are trapped in working conditions they cannot change, and International Justice Mission is one of several organizations working to end such slavery. 

Rotary International also now fields an Action Group Against Child Slavery.

John R. McMillan/NOAA Fisheries

Precipitation returned to the region this year, but that does not mean everything returned to normal.

Some salmon species are turning up in the ocean in small numbers, small enough to concern the people at the Pacific Fisheries Management Council

The council is due to make a decision on commercial fishing seasons for the ocean in early April; the possibility looms that the season could be short or interrupted, or both. 

Chronicle Books

Don't you miss the teacher sending us out for recess?  All that running around on the playground gave us a chance to forget about math and spelling for a little while, and blow off some steam. 

And you know, it's not like anybody's STOPPING us from running outside for a little while each day. 

In fact, Ben Applebaum and Dan DiSorbo encourage us, in a book called Recess

It contains guides to playing the games of recess, for those of us who can't remember the rules (or the games themselves). 

Viking Press

For all its reputation as a place of white-knuckle driving, New York City is rather friendly to drivers and other occupants of the streets. 

Janette Sadik-Khan saw to that in her time as the city transportation commissioner.  Her work included creating bike lanes on streets, forcing other vehicles to share the road and making the streets more pedestrian-friendly in the process. 

But making the changes was not always easy, as Sadik-Khan explains in her book Streetfight

Bob Wick/BLM/Wikimedia

The Pacific Flyway is not for aircraft, but for birds. 

Migratory birds fly up and down the West Coast by the millions, with a number of important stops in our region. 

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty, connecting the United States with neighboring countries that harbor the birds. 

Celebrations of the anniversary include the naming of Pacific Flyway Ambassadors to travel the Flyway behind the birds, drawing attention to the migration. 

Eric Todd/barbarabradleyhagerty.com

So what DO we do with our lives when we're beyond the mid-point?  Hunker down and push on to retirement, or take a different approach? 

Barbara Bradley Hagerty chose the second door, a process she unfolds in her book Life Reimagined: The Science, Art and Opportunity of Midlife

The name might be familiar: Hagerty was an NPR correspondent, heard on our airwaves many times over the years. 

She put her reporter skills to work, asked lots of questions, and uncovered a wealth of information about how to enrich life as it enters its later chapters. 

Steevven1/Wikimedia

Foster care for children always begins with a crisis. 

Child welfare agencies do not have the luxury of planning in advance to remove children from biological parents and place them with foster parents. 

But several voices in Oregon say the state can do a better job making sure children in the system are properly cared for.  The voices include state Rep. Duane Stark of Grants Pass, himself a foster parent. 

Stark helped pass some bills relating to foster care in the recently completed legislative session. 

Hearts With A Mission

The teen years can be tough; few people would argue. 

Families can come unglued for a variety of reasons, and Hearts With a Mission provides shelter for teens who need it. 

HWAM provides its faith-based approach out of its center in Medford, but a new facility in Grants Pass is set to open soon. 

OSU Press

Newcomers to Oregon can scarcely believe the stories of a few decades ago, a time when Republicans dominated state politics and fought for landmark environmental protections.

All true, and the central focus of Floyd McKay's book Reporting The Oregon Story

McKay, a newspaper and TV reporter for decades, focuses on the period from 1964 to 1986, a time when Tom McCall and Bob Straub moved up the ranks to the governor's office, facing each other in several elections. 

Accomplishments of the time include beach protections, bottle deposits, and land-use regulations, among many others.

Ashland New Plays Festival

Ashland New Plays Festival is all about celebrating new works and new voices. 

And its quest for diversity led to this spring's first ever "Women's Invitational," featuring works and workshops from women playwrights. 

Three plays by women playwrights will be read during the event this week (March 22-27), and event chair Laura Jacqmin will co-lead a workshop on what it takes to make a coherent play. 

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