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.

cybermuse.com

Bees just can't seem to stay out of the news lately, but for generally good reasons at the moment. 

The importance of bees and other pollinators to our food supply and planet is recognized frequently of late. 

Shoshanah Dubiner likes and respects bees, and makes artwork about them. 

Her bee-inspired artwork includes a piece to be unveiled at an Earth Day celebration on Friday at Southern Oregon University. 

Nicholas Blah/Flickr

For a brief time a few years ago, the greater Medford area enjoyed bus service well into weekday evenings, and on Saturday, too. 

Then the grant money to provide the extra service ran out, the Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) put a tax levy before voters, and they rejected it. 

RVTD tries again with Jackson County ballot measure 15-141 on the May 17th ballot, a property tax increase of 13 cents per thousand dollars assessed value.  There's a mix of benefits the levy would provide or protect. 

Basic Books

Major changes in American society are made by Congress (sometimes) and the president (rarely), but the Supreme Court has great power to reverse years of tradition and oppression, right?

Yes, but... the justices live in our country and observe what's going on around them. 

Which is why just plain folks can still have an enormous impact on policy, in the view of law professor David Cole. 

In his book Engines of Liberty, he argues that citizen activists have succeeded many times in turning their views into law--take gay marriage and gun rights as examples. 

Shaundd via Wikimedia Commons

What looked like a ho-hum reelection in the Oregon Senate turned suddenly interesting the day AFTER the filing deadline in March. 

Republican Senator Doug Whitsett in district 28 announced his retirement and withdrawal from the race. 

Scant minutes before the filing deadline, former Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum had filed to run in the Republican primary.  He remains the only candidate officially on the ballot. 

The action ruffled feathers across the district, which includes parts of Jackson and Klamath Counties. 

Write-in campaigns quickly mounted for former Jackson County Commissioner C.W. Smith, Michael Stettler of Christmas Valley, and Klamath County Museum Director Todd Kepple

Wikimedia

The same maneuver that appeared to clear the way to the Oregon legislature for a Republican in Senate District 28 also happened in House District 56. 

Gail Whitsett--whose husband represents the Senate district--announced her withdrawal from the race the day after the filing deadline. 

Fellow Republican Werner Reschke filed minutes before the deadline, sparking allegations of "insider trading." 

Two other candidates seek the seat, Jonah Hakanson as a general election non-affiliated candidate, and former Klamath County Commissioner Al Switzer as a Republican write-in. 

Penguin Random House

It was another battle in a long war: American Navy ships sunk the German submarine U-550 in 1944. 

For 68 years, the sub lay on the ocean bottom off Nantucket, allegedly in waters divers could reach, but its exact location unknown.  Until divers found it: the last undiscovered U-boat in divable waters. 

How divers finally located it and what they found at the wreck scene is the story Randall Peffer tells in Where Divers Dare

Wikimedia

You can start a pretty heated discussion just by using the term "pesticides" in a small gathering. 

People do not like the side effects of pesticides, but see the need for SOMETHING to keep weeds and insects from crowding out important crops. 

The Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, NCAP, does what its name implies: look for non-pesticide solutions to pests. 

NCAP is one of several organizations taking part in "Pesticides, People, Pollinators, and the Planet," Saturday April 16 at Southern Oregon University. 

Wikimedia

Bees have more friends in high places than they once had.  Large die-offs of bee populations have convinced people to take greater care of bees and other pollinators. 

Bee City USA formed a few years ago to identify bee-friendly communities across the country, and three neighboring Rogue Valley cities--Ashland, Talent, and Phoenix--are among the first 15 cities so designated. 

Southern Oregon University, now designated a "Bee Campus," hosts a conference on pollinators and the issues they face, this weekend. 

Blackstone Publishing

Thomas Doty's storytelling ability can make his characters seem larger than life. 

And now the longtime teller of tales from Southern Oregon has put some of the best into a book, Doty Meets Coyote

It turns out the wilyness of the coyote was well noted long before the Road Runner cartoons.  The human half of the title visits with the animal half, sharing stories both ancient and new. 

Wikimedia

The herbicide glyphosate is better known by its commercial name, Roundup. 

By any name, it has many critics, including the organization Moms Across America

MAA recently tested ten California wines for evidence of glyphosate, and found it in all ten--even in a wine from an organic vineyard.   The wines came from Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties.

Wikimedia

Industries and economic trends come and go, but everybody's got to eat.  So agriculture is always a major industry in a rural area like ours. 

And that industry is different from what it was just a generation ago.  Where the Rogue Valley was once the center of the pear industry, many orchards have been converted to vineyards, now producing grapes for wine. 

A number of projects track the region's agricultural heritage, including Oregon's Century Farm program and the Wine of Southern Oregon collection at Southern Oregon University's Library. 

caballitonegro.com

The Britt Festivals in Jacksonville just made a big splash with the announcement of this season's concerts.  But there's more to Britt than the summer concerts on the hill; there's also an ongoing education program that brings musical performers to schools. 

The duo Caballito Negro just completed a short residency through the program. 

The Southern Oregon swing completes with a public concert Thursday at Ashland's Schneider Museum of Art.

William Morrow Books

The recent announcement from Sea World that it will phase out the "performances" of orcas before crowds represents another step in a series. 

Industry is responding to pressure to manage animals more humanely, even if they will end up killed and eaten at the end. 

Call it The Humane Economy, that's what Wayne Pacelle calls the trend, and his book.  The name should ring a bell; Pacelle is the President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. 

Eurico Zimbres/wikimedia

It was just another rainy spring day in 2014 when a landslide killed 43 people and destroyed dozens of homes near Oso, Washington. 

The event unleashed unimagined tragedy on a rural community, though the conditions that lead to such catastrophic landslides are commonplace throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Scott Burns is our guest, a landslide expert from Portland State University. 

Wikimedia/JPR News

You've heard the line: only two things in life are sure--death and taxes.  So those are the topics on this week's VENTSday.

Let's get your thoughts on death with dignity in this week's survey, and your observations as the income tax filing deadline arrives (April 18). 

Listeners take stage on our weekly VENTSday segment, a chance to vent on a couple of topics in the news--by phone, by email, or through our online survey.

We provide the topics, you provide the opinions. Your thoughts are front and center on VENTSday.

No expertise necessary; just opinions and the ability to express them in a radio-friendly way. We post our weekly survey on one or both of the topics in advance.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

It might be the most famous lawsuit of all time: Roe vs Wade. 

You only have to say "Roe," and people instantly understand you mean the case that made abortion legal, with limitations,  in the United States, in 1973.  Which probably explains why the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's new play on the suit and its implications is called simply "Roe."

The play is the latest to premier in OSF's ongoing "American Revolutions" cycle of history plays. 

ODOT "Moving Ahead"

Do you get the impression that a LOT of people are texting on their cell phones will driving?  Your impression is correct, according to a study of distracted driving commissioned by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and run by Southern Oregon University.

Three-quarters of the people surveyed admitted to driving distracted while alone in their vehicles, with cell phones being the chief distraction. 

And the SAME survey respondents, 84 percent of them, said they feel uncomfortable riding in a car when the driver is distracted. 

The road ahead for ODOT is to engage partners to change behind-the-wheel behavior. 

PeaceJam Foundation

Winning a Nobel Peace Prize certainly has its advantages. 

Winners do good things for humanity to win the recognition.  But what now?  The organization called PeaceJam Foundation is one answer. 

PeaceJam brings Nobel Peace laureates and young people together, to help develop the peaceful leaders of tomorrow. 

Amelia Templeton/EarthFix

Time ran out for the Klamath Basin Agreements, but not on the desire to remove four hydroelectric dams from the river. 

The governors Brown of Oregon and California recently gathered with the federal Interior Secretary to formalize a deal to take a new approach to dam removal. 

If all goes as planned, demolition will start in four years, resulting in the Klamath flowing free in California for the first time in a century. 

Bob Wick/BLM/Wikimedia

Spring is in the air, and with it the many migratory bird species winging their way through the region.

The Pacific Flyway is something like a bird freeway for semi-annual migrations. 

This year marks a century since birds sparked a conservation movement in the United States.

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