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.

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Chris Bratt is all about the trees.  He has plenty of experience using wood products from his days as a carpenter and contractor. 

And he's perfectly happy to leave the trees alone to grow, in his role as an environmental activist and forest protector. 

Chris Bratt's story is the latest to be archived in the Stories of Southern Oregon collection at the Southern Oregon Digital Archives at Southern Oregon University's Hannon Library. 

Chris visits the studio to talk about his rich and varied life in the Applegate Valley. 

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2018 is a milestone, and not a happy one, in remembering the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.  It was 50 years ago that an assassin's bullet killed the civil rights leader in Memphis. 

But Monday January 15th is not for mourning, it is for celebrating the birthday and life of Dr. King. 

Ashland hosts one of the larger celebrations, often playing to overflow crowds. 

Cassie Fetty is the director and curator of the event, one of several planned for the region. 

Austin Jenkins/Northwest News Network

Josephine County Commissioners upset a lot of marijuana farmers when they passed a new ordinance in December. 

It bans commercial cannabis farming on rural residential lots five acres or smaller and creates other new regulations. 

In the eyes of the farmers who use such lands, the county "stole their business."  Attorney Ross Day represents cannabis growers. 

Wikimedia/Public Domain

The work of Chinese superstar artist and dissident Ai Weiwei is currently part of the collection at the University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The display features the 12 figures of the Chinese Zodiac, cast in bronze. 

They can be enjoyed on several levels: as art, as animal heads, and as a statement about looting and repatriation.  The Zodiac heads are recreations of figures that once stood in Beijing and were looted by British and French troops in the 19th century. 

If you've only been paying attention to marijuana laws for a couple of decades, it can look like pot is on a bit of a high of its own. 

State after state, including California and Oregon, has legalized marijuana for medical or personal use or both.  This moment looked like a sure thing a couple of generations ago. 

But then a backlash began against marijuana and other drugs. 

Emily Dufton tracks the trajectory in Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America

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There's general agreement that opioid abuse has reached epidemic levels in our country. 

People from coast to coast started taking prescription drugs designed to counter pain, and now they can't stop. 

A teacher at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland says primary care physicians should be the key players in curbing opioid addictions, but they lack the support they need.  She outlines the issue in a recent essay in the journal Health Affairs

Being homeless in the winter is a reality facing hundreds, possibly thousands, of people in the region.  Public and private agencies are set up to assist people, but there are still more people who need help. 

Our series of interviews on local homelessness, "Out in the Cold," continues with a look at the situation and responses in Humboldt County. 

Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives, or AHHA, and Eureka Rescue Mission provide help to homeless people. 

subberculture, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38492191

Do you see shapes in the clouds, or a face formed by the bathtub valves and spout?  Our brains just see patterns, it helps us navigate the world. 

But the KINDS of patterns we detect are shaped by culture, and those perceptions help shape our history.  That's the road on which Jeremy Lent takes us in his book The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning

The author calls his approach "cognitive history," and takes in points of history like the European view of the conquest of nature... which led to Europe conquering much of the world. 

Tony Hisgett, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27697090

When you think about it, radio is a good place to discuss issues with our cars and trucks. 

Because half the battle in getting a mechanic to understand the problem with a car is describing the noise it makes. 

Zach Edwards has heard a few noises, both original and recreated, in his years fixing cars and owning Ashland Automotive.  He joins us for a monthly chat about car problems, and we welcome your input. 

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Richard Haass thinks a lot about the state of international relations in his role as president of the Council on Foreign Relations. 

He wrote A World in Disarray before Donald Trump took office, and added some thoughts on the last year in a new paperback version of the book. 

In short, the structures that guided the world out of World War II and away from World War III are now out of date, in Haass's estimation. 

Public Domain

More than a few politicians have won elections by stoking the fears of the American people.  In the analysis of historian Elaine Tyler May, it has become increasingly easy to do. 

From the middle of the 20th century and onward, May tracks a rising obsession with security--one she says has actually made us LESS safe.  May lays out the case in her book  Fortress America: How We Embraced Fear and Abandoned Democracy

Look at prison populations, gun laws, and gated communities; the book references all these and more. 

two-on-tap.com

First Friday Art Walk is an event in several communities in the region. 

We honor them and jump on the bandwagon with our monthly First Friday Arts segment. 

It's deceptively simple... we open the phone lines at 800-838-3760 and invite people to call with news of arts events going on in the coming weeks.  Nothing but listener content here. 

Grab a seat by the radio and hear about arts offerings for January. 

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Jackson and Josephine Counties are regarded as two of the most productive counties in Oregon for growing marijuana. 

But the productivity could change in Josephine County this year, now that a new ordinance is in place.  It bans commercial cannabis farming on rural residential lots five acres or smaller and creates other new regulations. 

They are not yet in effect (that happens March 5), but it will be Julie Schmelzer's job to implement them, as Community and Economic Development Director for the county.  She provides details of the current situation and where things might go from here. 

Chris Darling/Wikimedia

Being a parent can induce moments of panic.  It can get far more complicated with an adopted child... especially one from another country and another culture. 

That was Claude Knobler's experience, when he and his wife brought an Ethiopian child into their home.  Nati was five years old when he got new parents and a whole new life. 

Claude Knobler tells the story in his book More Love, Less Panic: 7 Lessons I Learned About Life, Love, and Parenting After We Adopted Our Son from Ethiopia

Stewardship Council

There's an old line directed to gullible people: "if you believe that, I have some swamp land I'd like to sell you."  Is it better if the swamp is just given away? 

The McArthur Swamp in Shasta County is under new ownership as of a few months ago, when Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) finished conveying the nearly 7,700 acres of land to several entities in several ways. 

It's part of larger effort by the utility to protect some of its land. 

It has become nearly impossible to avoid noticing homeless people in just about any community of any size in our region. 

High rents, low vacancy rates, low wages... they are among a long list of contributing factors to homelessness in all corners of the "state of Jefferson." 

We explore the situation in many of the counties we serve, with a series of interviews under the banner "Out in the Cold."  We begin with Mendocino County, very rural but also very close to the San Francisco metropolitan area. 

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Congress passed it, the president signed it, everybody argued about it. 

How WILL the new federal tax bill affect you?  It certainly depends on how much money you make. 

There are other wrinkles in there, too, especially for states like Oregon with high local and state taxes. 

The Oregon Center for Public Policy has been watching the development of the tax legislation and parsing the wording.  Daniel Hauser is a policy analyst for OCPP and our guest. 

hillstomp.com

The Christmas carols may be behind us, but the music never stops. 

Certainly not for Josh Gross, the music editor at the Rogue Valley Messenger

Once a month, the day BEFORE First Friday, Josh visits with news of bands coming to play at venues in the region, with a particular emphasis on the Rogue Valley. 

We call it "Rogue Sounds."

The annual point-in-time homeless count just concluded all over the country (January 31).  Most of the agencies dealing with homeless people in our region expect the numbers to be similar to last year's, maybe a little bigger. 

Our month-long series of interviews on homelessness and services in the region, Out in the Cold, concludes with a broad overview. 

Dan Bryant from Square One Villages (formerly Opportunity Village Eugene), talks about successes in getting people into stable housing. 

Robert Marbut has been hired by several communities in the region to examine services for homeless people... and he often finds people using services who may not need them. 

Additional perspective comes from Mohamed "Hassan" Awad, a doctoral student at the University of Oregon, and Constance Wilkerson, the Continuum of Care director for Jackson County.

soairacademy.com

"Up in the air, junior birdmen..."  Older listeners might recognize the song, but we'll apply it to today's crop of young people interested in learning about aviation. 

Southern Oregon Air Academy responds to that interest by teaching students as young as elementary school about flying. 

SOAA just got a big chunk of money from the State of Oregon to expand its programs, based at the Grants Pass airport. 

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