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.

Little Mountain/Wikimedia

The list of dams now removed from the Rogue River and its tributaries is getting longer: Gold Ray, Savage Rapids, Bear Creek, Wimer... and that's just a start. 

It didn't happen overnight, and it didn't happen without resistance. 

The major point: giving fish a chance to get upstream to spawn once again. 

The Rogue River Watershed Council plays a part in recent and planned dam removals. 

Medford Comic Con Facebook page

When you think about all the times our parents told us to stop reading comic books, it's amazing comics survived. 

But survive they did, and now they are central to American culture... at least in the movies and TV.  Have you SEEN how many movies and TV shows feature characters who first appeared in the comics? 

Mike Madrid is a comic lover and documenter, with several books on costumed heroines, including The Supergirls.  He comes to Ashland for the Lit Fest on Saturday at the SOU library, and joins us for a preview. 

And we add Laura Kimberly, the Medford library branch manager.  She is also the organizer of the Medford Comic Con, a convention for comics lovers. 

Everything from classical poetry to comic books will be discussed and celebrated at the Ashland Literary Arts Festival

It takes over the Hannon Library at Southern Oregon University on Saturday (October 28) from 10 to 4. 

Did we mention film?  The renamed festival, now in its 6th year, celebrates independent story and thought in all of its forms. 

There's never a dull moment in the media world these days, especially since anyone with a Facebook or Twitter account can get a message to the entire (wired) world.  How DOES someone break through the clutter and reach an audience? 

That is one of the questions always in the background as we discuss events in media with Andrew Gay and Chris Lucas of the Communications faculty at Southern Oregon University. 

It's a segment we call "Signals & Noise." 

Andre Dubus III worked a lot of jobs, from office cleaner to teacher to private investigator.  He seems most at home writing, and a large audience appreciates his work. 

Dubus's House of Sand and Fog was an Oprah Book Club selection and was made into a movie. 

And there's been plenty of writing since that work. 

Chautauqua Poets & Writers brings the author to town for a session in Ashland (Monday, October 23rd). 

Doctors Without Borders

We argue A LOT about health care and its cost in our country. 

But we also do not have some of the problems with health experienced in the rest of the world.  Like in Cambodia, where there is an outbreak of hepatitis C. 

Doctors Without Borders is providing vital care, with a team that includes Rogue Valley physician Teresa Chan

Gary Halvorson/Oregon State Archives

A "home rule" charter group in Douglas County proposes a shakeup in the county's structure. 

If voters approve the change, the three-person board of paid commissioners would be replaced by a five-person board of volunteer county commissioners elected from specific electoral districts. 

It would potentially save the county money (in salaries), and bring the commissioners closer (physically, anyway) to the voters. 

Former commissioner Doug Robertson is opposed to the plan. 

Kevin Delaney, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10677432

American children born the year the Rolling Stones first recorded music got their invitations to join AARP this year. 

Somehow, the band keeps going, after more than half a century.  But its composition has certainly changed over time, and in one case, tragically. 

Guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones died young in 1969, but he left a distinctive stamp on the early group. 

Paul Trynka wrote a book about him, Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones, and joined us in 2014. 

Public Domain/Wikimedia

Volcanoes not only erupt and spew objects into the air; they also move the ground.  Quite a bit, in some cases. 

So there's often some shaking with the baking.  Those are approximately the words of seismologist Stephen McNutt. 

He delivers the first of this year's geology lectures at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay, explaining how seismologists study volcanoes. 

Synergy Green Builders

One of the many options for reducing your utility bills is the installation of a ductless heat pump. 

It's like the old heat pump that heats and cools your home, but... ductless. 

A short-term program called Energize Rogue is set up to help people buy the ductless heat pumps at reduced cost, in Jackson, Josephine, and Douglas Counties. 

Spark Northwest is part of the effort, and Allied Comfort Pro handles installations. 

Nigel Chadwick, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13865581

Some of the themes and incidents in Rene Denfeld's life are reflected in her recent novel The Child Finder.

Denfeld is a licensed investigator in Oregon, and she has devoted herself to helping death penalty inmates, sex trafficking victims, and children in need.  She adopted three children out of foster care. 

Denfeld's book is receiving critical acclaim while she tours in support of the book. 

M.O. Stevens/Wikimedia

When migratory fish populations keep dropping and dams get in the way of their spawning journeys, fish managers often resort to "trap and haul."  It is what it sounds like: trap the fish below the dam, take them by truck or barge or helicopter to the water above the dam. 

Now two-way trap-and-haul is recommended for sensitive salmon species in dam-happy California. 

And a report from UC-Davis recommends caution in that process. 

Robert Lusardi is the lead author of the report. 

Veresen, Inc.

Once more with feeling: the battle is renewed over the proposal for the Jordan Cove LNG (liquefied natural gas) export terminal at North Bend. 

If built, Jordan Cove would take gas from a long pipeline across Western Oregon, chill it to a liquid, and pump it into ships for sale overseas. 

Last year the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nixed the project.  Then Donald Trump moved into the White House and put new people in FERC.  So the applications have been re-submitted. 

Project opponents visited on October 11. 

"Innocent until proven guilty" is the law of the land.  But there's a reason to keep that statement in quotes. 

Society at large has a tendency to assume some degree of guilt whenever a person is arrested. 

Mark Godsey spent his career working to put guilty people behind bars, and seriously doubting that any innocent people ended up there.  Then he reluctantly ran the Kentucky Innocence Project.  It changed his life. 

Godsey writes about what he has learned in Blind Injustice: A Former Prosecutor Exposes the Psychology and Politics of Wrongful Convictions

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

Maybe you never knew where the stuff from your recycled bin ended up... until the recent news from China. 

China has taken a lot of stuff off the hands of other countries, including nearly half the plastic waste created by the rest of the world. 

Now the Beijing government says too much of the waste was dirty and/or hazardous, and it is closing the scrap window for many items. 

That creates issues for recyclers, like Rogue Disposal & Recycling, and regulators, like the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Ashland Automotive

Even if you can change a tire or swap out a car battery, there's a good chance your knowledge of the other stuff inside your car is limited.  That's why we take our cars to somebody else for repair. 

But how do you know for sure that the repair you got was the repair you needed?  Stories abound of technicians doing unnecessary work on vehicles. 

Zach Edwards employs repair technicians at Ashland Automotive.  And in a special edition of The Squeaky Wheel, he shares tips on what to watch for when arranging for work to be done on your car or truck. 

Dr. Mike Baxter/Wikimedia

Maybe you've taken one of those DNA tests that tells you where your ancestors lived.  They can contain a few surprises... for individuals, and for humans as a species. 

The science of genomics is ripping up some assumptions about the upright inhabitants of the Earth, and where they've lived and loved. 

Adam Rutherford explains in his book A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

Wikimedia

The reaction was sharp and negative when Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of one of its drugs... from $13.50 per pill to $750.00.  The company CEO was later sent to jail, but not for the drug prices. 

Regulators appear powerless to affect drug prices.  Or did, until California passed a state law to require drugmakers to provide more information and time when they raise prices. 

We discuss drug prices and how they are set with Mariana Socal of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

We also touch on the affordability of drug prices for cancer patients with hematologist-oncologist Dr. Vinay Prasad of Oregon Health and Sciences University.

Ashland New Plays Festival

"Let's go watch people read scripts out loud," may not be everyone's idea of a good time, but it packs in the crowds in Ashland. 

Especially for the Ashland New Plays Festival, which returns with four new plays this week (October 18-22). 

Audiences get to hear new works, and their authors get to hear the works out loud, with audience reactions. 

Beth Kander is this year's host playwright. 

Thegreenj, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2877208

Nobody likes to be called a big chicken, and there's a good chance the poultry industry won't appreciate the term, either. 

But journalist Maryn McKenna says the power and practices of the business lend themselves to the name.  She uses it for the title of her book, too: Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats

Note the focus on antibiotics, still used in chickens at a time when doctors are warning against the casual use of the drugs. 

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