John Baxter

Jefferson Exchange Producer

John Baxter's history at JPR reaches back three decades.  John was the JPR program director who was the architect of the split from a single station into three separate program services.  We're thrilled that John has taken a hiatus from his retirement to join JPR as interim producer of the Jefferson Exchange.

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The Northern spotted owl seems to get it from all sides.  Habitat loss and the encroachment of the barred owl have contributed to a continued decline in spotted owl numbers. 

Now the illegal marijuana trade appears to be having an impact as well. 

Spotted owls that gobble up rodents poisoned at illegal grow sites test positive for rodenticide.  A study from the University of California-Davis tracks the occurrence in Humboldt, Mendocino, and Del Norte counties.

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The "fake news" avalanche of our time may have surprised a lot of people.  But not the people who understand networks and how they work. 

Niall Ferguson is both historian and journalist, and he thinks the people who build networks--particularly today's social media networks--could stand to understand history a little better. 

Ferguson gives the lesson himself in his latest book The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook.  He points out how networks have repeatedly posed challenges to established hierarchies throughout history. 

As one of the more-populated counties in the region, Jackson County also has a higher population of homeless people. 

A Homeless Task Force formed years ago, with the goal of getting street people off the streets.  They remain, and have been the target of new laws, like exclusion zones in Medford and Ashland. 

Our survey of homeless people and services, Out in the Cold, surveys Jackson County issues and offerings in this joint interview. 

Public Domain

The deserts of the West can be vast and forbidding.  And apparently, worth traveling for some black bears. 

A recent study shows bears returning to their old stomping grounds in Nevada, where they were wiped out decades ago. 

To get there, the bears are leaving Northern California and moving great distances to the east. 

Groups that advocate for establishing travel corridors for wildlife, including The Wildlife Conservation Society of North America, are excited about the findings. 

Chromaphonic Recordings

Tiny Yreka is hard enough to find on a map.  It's unlikely place for a regional comedy tour.  

But audiences get a chance to gather and laugh later this week when the "Joker and Jester Comedy Tour" plays some shows at the Music Hall in the Siskiyou County Seat. 

The performances will be filmed for use in a comedy special to be seen on Netflix, so Yreka could get some national recognition. 

NASA/Public Domain

Being able to communicate with each other by speaking made a big difference in our development as a species.  But when we turned our pictures into words and communicated through writing... that opened up a whole new dimension. 

Martin Puchner, editor of The Norton Anthology of World Literature, takes us on a writing appreciation tour in his new book The Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization

His survey covers stories from the earliest civilizations, through religious texts and classics, right up to Harry Potter. 

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Crater Lake may be Oregon's crown jewel, but the state's only national park needs some love.  Like many national parks, Crater Lake has not received enough money to keep up with maintenance. 

And a combination of harsh winters and heavy use keeps up the pressure on park facilities. 

A campaign to fix up the park is gathering around the National Park Service Legacy Act, introduced in both U.S. House and Senate.  It would take some mineral royalty money from digging and drilling on federal land and divert it to the parks.  

The plan has major boosters in Medford.  Bill Thorndike is president of the Crater Lake National Park Trust and Brad Hicks is the president of the Chamber of Medford/Jackson County. 

PNAS

Just four weeks after the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection released its draft environmental impact report on the Vegetation Treatment Program (VTP), the largest fire in the state's history broke out. 

The Thomas fire destroyed or damaged more than a thousand homes north of Los Angeles. 

The VTP is designed to treat the landscape in a variety of ways to prevent future fires from getting so huge.  The comment period on the environmental impact report just closed. 

UC-Berkeley

Maybe "Brodiaea matsonii" does not roll off the tongue easily (BROH-dee-uh mat-SOHN-ee-eye), but it's a significant flower. 

And it only grows in one place in the entire world: Redding. 

The city recently approved the building of subdivision that may take out some of the plant's habitat, and the California Native Plant Society would like more study before anything drastic happens. 

"IT'S THE CLIMATE," reads the sign in downtown Grants Pass.  But the climate includes winter, so trying to get through the days and nights without shelter is a true hardship. 

We continue "Out in the Cold" with a look at services available in Josephine County. 

UCAN (United Community Action Network) is the agency that works toward homelessness and housing solutions in Josephine and Douglas Counties.  One major program available in Douglas County is not on the list in Josephine: housing provided by the agency.  And Josephine County's ultra-tight housing market is a major issue.

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It gives some people great comfort to think that they will see their long-gone loved ones again, in another place. 

Michael Shermer is not inclined to think there IS such a place.  He is a professional skeptic, even teaches a course called "Skepticism 101." 

And he takes up the human need to believe in an afterlife, and the quest for longer life--if not immortality--in a new book, Heavens on Earth.   

Could we live 200 years or more?  Could our bodies be frozen until science can fix what ails us?  Could our consciousness live in a robot body? 

Underground History is one of The Jefferson Exchange's most popular segments.

But why just listen on the radio? We're bringing Underground History above ground with a new event called Underground History Live!

Join Jefferson Exchange host Geoffrey Riley and Chelsea Rose from SOU's Archaeology Lab at Common Block Brewing in Medford for our inaugural Underground History Live. It happens Monday, January 29 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm.

BLM/Public Domain

The organization is called Rainforest Trust, and that neatly encapsulates its work: get land set aside in the part of the world that is often referred to as the "lungs of the planet."

The trust has been on the job for 30 years now, working to protect sensitive environments and their occupants. 

We get a year-in-review glance from Dr. Paul Salaman, the CEO of Rainforest Trust. 

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In most of Oregon's counties, less than half of the children born into low-income families will reach the middle class or beyond as adults. 

That is one of the starker findings of the Oregon Community Foundation's "Tracking Oregon's Progress," or TOP, report for 2017.  The latest TOP also finds that child poverty is on the rise in the state, which could doom even more people to less-than-middle-class status for life. 

Caitlyn Ruffenach of OCF was the lead author of the report. 

Harris.news/Wikimedia

It was Henry Luce, the publisher of Time magazine, who declared an "American Century" in early 1941. 

Historian Alfred W. McCoy is not at all convinced we'll get the full 100 years. 

McCoy has long observed the methods America has used to maintain its position as a superpower.  He sees China using its own methods to put the United States in the back seat, sooner rather than later. 

McCoy's latest book is In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power

Rich Reuse/John Kern

After a major wildfire, we can at least console ourselves with the knowledge that forests grow back.  Or do they? 

New research out of Colorado State University examined forest fire zones in several Western states... and found that on the warmer Earth of today, forest regeneration happens more slowly, or not at all. 

Camille Stevens-Rumann is an assistant professor at CSU. 

Out In The Cold: The Small Cities Of Siskiyou

Jan 15, 2018

Siskiyou County is one of the less-populated counties in California (roughly 45,000 people). 

But it is still a place where people struggle to find housing and sometimes just do without.  Last year a consultant versed in homelessness took a look at conditions in several small cities: Etna, Mt. Shasta, Tulelake, Weed and Yreka. 

We continue our series of interviews on homelessness, "Out in the Cold," with a discussion of how homelessness manifests in these smaller towns. 

A special edition of our "Curious" segment is geared to the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday. 

University of Oregon associate professor Curtis Austin has researched the civil rights and black power movements extensively. 

He tracks the rise of the movements and the responses to them... from the public, the government, and police, among others. 

Dr. Austin visits with some insights into the history of the struggle for equality in America. 

bellhardware.com

The official name is still "Bell Hardware," but it's not the kind of business where you go buy a screwdriver. 

This third-generation business is now focused primarily on doors and frames and other components of getting people into commercial buildings... or keeping them out. 

John Bell is the grandson of the company founder, and Bell Hardware, still based in Klamath Falls, has outlets from Portland to Redding. 

Andreas Praefcke/Wikimedia

Can you imagine spending a day in the White House, with all the important people and egos and pressing business? 

Yet it is from the White House, in a sense, that we get advice on Treating People Well in a new book by Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard. 

They were social secretaries: Berman worked in the Bush White House, Bernard with the Obamas. 

And they learned a thing or two about maintaining civility in high-pressure situations. 

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