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.

W.W. Norton

Our brains are capable of amazing things, but they are just a little behind the times. 

Psychiatrist and author Peter Whybrow reminds us that the brain's construction is about survival in the wild, not about navigating a land of plenty in food and consumer goods. 

So we need a tune-up, he says, in The Well-Tuned Brain: Neuroscience & The Life Well Lived.

Douglas Forest Protective Association

Five days into fire season on the Oregon side, crews stayed busy hunting and fighting fires caused by lightning on Monday and Tuesday (June 8th-9th).

Oregon Department of Forestry reports roughly two dozen fires from lightning strikes in the southwestern part of the state. 

Mt. Shasta Ski Park

It's not enough to call the snowpack from last winter low in California. 

By the end of the measuring season, there was no snow to measure. 

At Mt. Shasta, the ski park didn’t open for long last winter and it won't open for summer activities, to keep costs down and save money. 

Depending on snow has turned into a risky business in the region. 

The high temperature in Medford hit 105 Monday, 26 degrees above what is considered "normal" for the date. 

So let's talk weather and climate in VENTSday... do you need any more convincing that things are different? 

Our other topic: letting states place their own regulations on campaign spending.  What do you think? 

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.

Megathon Charlie/Flickr

It's always a politically risky move to vote for stronger regulations on guns, and the Oregon Legislature went there this year. 

A month ago the governor signed a bill that requires background checks for all gun sales, even private person-to-person sales. 

Senator Floyd Prozanski of Eugene shepherded the bill through the capitol. 

And just a few weeks after it passed, Lane County Commissioners passed a resolution opposing the law, on grounds that it will cost counties more money to enforce. 

Geoffrey Riley/JPR

A series of lightning storms swept through the region starting early Tuesday, waking up Rogue Valley residents and keeping firefighters busy looking for new fires.

Loud thunder rumbled Ashland-area homes just after 4 AM, accompanied by brief but heavy rain.

Oregon Public Broadcasting will examine the heart of our region. OPB's "Think Out Loud" talk show comes to Ashland on Thursday, June 11 for a live show delving into the link between the city and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. JPR will broadcast the show live at Noon on the News & Information Service. Join the live audience at Noble Coffee in Ashland's Railroad District.

The drought in California will only get more acute as we leave the rainy season behind. 

And there are some situations that are akin to being aboard a ship approaching an iceberg with no steering. 

Like the presence of parasites in the Klamath River which thrive in warm water. 

The Yurok Tribe and other participants in Klamath water-quality efforts can do little to avert a major fish kill due to the parasites and other factors. 

Wikimedia

On a hot day, a place to swim on a lake or river looks very inviting. 

Those days are here, and so are the concerns about the safety of each swimming hole. 

Rocks aside, dangers can lurk in those inviting waters. 

Which is why Rogue Riverkeeper and similar programs across the country are helping swimmers out, by testing the water for Swim Guide.

New Society Publishers

Who grows your food?  The question has been asked a lot in recent years, with a renewed emphasis on small farms, organic farming, and eating food from local sources. 

The players are frequently white.  Natasha Bowens knew the story was more complicated and diverse... her own family tree contains both farm slaves and farm owners. 

So she set out on a multimedia project to portray farmers of color, and that led up to a new book The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming. 

National Weather Service, Medford

The heat is not the only issue with the weather. 

Thunderstorms are more likely on Tuesday (6/9), so the National Weather Service upgraded a Fire Weather Watch to a Red Flag Warning for the central part of our listening area Tuesday, 11 AM to 11 PM.

Some thunderstorms may bring abundant rainfall, but some could arrive with little precipitation, starting fires around the region.

Wikimedia

While legislatures in other states continue to work on bills restricting abortion, Oregon is getting out front on birth control. 

House and Senate have both passed a bill that would guarantee no out-of-pocket costs for women prescribed a year of birth control. 

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon played a major role in passage of the bill. 

Robert Neff/Fifth World Art

Jackson County and the federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are teaming up with an ambitious goal: housing all homeless vets by the end of the year.

Vets can have it rough: we hire them, train them, put guns in their hands, and send them off to war.  But once they're done in the military, veterans meet with mixed success finding places in society. 

A new program will pump money into efforts to get veterans into homes, with $6 Million coming to Jackson County through ACCESS, Inc

ACCESS is Jackson County's community action agency, the focus of several anti-poverty programs. 

Wikimedia

Our attitude toward veterans certainly has done an about-face in 40 years. 

Vets returning from the Vietnam war were met with disdain and outright hostility in many places. 

Now we often thank vets for their service to the country, a service most of us can scarcely understand. 

Southern Oregon veterans and their stories get time in the spotlight--and on camera--in a public TV series called "My Story of Service." 

California's attorney general may take the owners of a burst oil pipeline to court.

Drought plus fish is likely to result in dead fish. And conservation groups say California can do more to protect the fish.

Bill Leonhart

Brothers should keep in touch.  Bil and Jay Leonhart do, and they play music together, including a guitar/bass concert this weekend at Belle Fiore Winery near Ashland. 

Bil Leonhart will be featured guest on this month's First Friday. 

Music, theater, dance and more are celebrated on our First Friday Arts segment.  The Exchange syncs up with the art world on First Friday, by visiting with listeners about arts events in the coming month.

Wikimedia

If you don't feel well enough to come to work, you call in sick and stay home until you feel better.  That's the ideal situation. 

The reality is that many people come to work when they're sick, some because they do not get paid when they do not work. 

A coalition of groups continues to push for paid sick leave for all workers in Oregon through a bill in the Senate. 

Blue Rider Press

Politicians long ago perfected the art of speaking for long periods of time without actually saying ANYTHING of substance. 

But they're not alone... spinning a story to soften or hide true intent is common now in many endeavors.  For example, ever lose a job because your company "rightsized"? 

Many of today's weasel words--sorry, terminological inexactitude--are explored in the book Spinglish: The Definitive Dictionary of Deliberately Deceptive Language. 

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden continues to celebrate the passage of the USA Freedom Act, but says there's more to do.

The federal government's power to collect phone call data and hold it expired at the end of May. 

Congress had to scramble to pass a new program, but it does not restore the power to hold the data, phone companies will hold it instead. 

Wyden worked for a long time to stop the federal collection.  And he says the efforts to find the balance between security and privacy do not end there.

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