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.

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

You don't have to sell people in the state of Jefferson on the region's charms.  And tourism certainly helps pay the bills around here. 

But are we getting a rep as a place that's on fire or smoky or both?  It's been a rough fire season, with a number of events canceled by smoke concerns. 

Travel Oregon and Discover Siskiyou are in the business of convincing people they want to come here.  We check in with them to see if that job has become more difficult. 

Centers for Disease Control

Only two students in Ashland schools were confirmed to have pertussis (whooping cough) when Jackson County Health officials declared an outbreak. 

But as they have pointed out in the past, pertussis is not something to take lightly.  It's one of those diseases that had become rare until parents concerned about vaccines stopped having children vaccinated against it. 

Now under-vaccinated students are required to stay out of school for three full weeks. 

Well, this was predictable... after all the experiments with people in real time or "functional" MRI scanners (fMRI), somebody got a dog in there.  And a few other animals as well. 

Snicker if you must, but we now know more about what goes on in the brains of animals. 

And it's pretty fascinating stuff, giving us clues to the mind functions of individual animals. 

Gregory Berns lays out the findings in the book  What It's Like to Be a Dog: And Other Adventures in Animal Neuroscience

Eric Mindling, ericmindling.com

Eric Mindling is not a just-scratch-the-surface kind of guy.  When he takes photographs, they convey a deep sense of the people portrayed. 

And when he takes tour groups to Mexico, he skips the tourist spots in favor of an authentic flavor of Oaxaca. 

Mindling keeps an apartment in Ashland, but he's lived in Mexico since 1992, so he's quite knowledgeable about the culture, traditions, and challenges of life off the beaten path. 

lunacyfest.com

The biggest circus in the country may have shut down, but there's plenty of circus left to enjoy. 

In fact, the Rogue Valley is home to a circus academy, Le Cirque Center. 

The center and Ashland's Flying Actor Studio are putting on the first-ever Lunacy Festival, this weekend and next in Ashland.  Circus acts, physical comedy, and music are among the attractions. 

Chad Miller, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10609590

Franklin Foer DOES have a Facebook page, but he hasn't updated it in nearly a year.  Which should come as no surprise once you hear his issues with Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Google. 

Foer, the former editor of the New Republic, bashes all four as "Big Tech," and accuses them of damaging our culture and economy, in his book World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech

Whether or not you agree that Big Tech forces conformity and turns our privacy into a commodity, the book will make you think hard about some modern digital conveniences that we quickly took for granted. 

Larry Lamb, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50842347

At its most basic level, fishing is trying to grab an animal out of water with a hook. 

But for the people who do it regularly, it's so much more.  Peace, quiet, accomplishment, fulfillment... it can be all that and more. 

For the organization Healing Waters, it's a way for disabled veterans to feel whole again.  A chapter set up at the VA facility in White City takes vets out for fishing and fly-tying. 

University of Washington Field Methods in Indigenous Archaeology

When we talk about "unearthing history," it's quite literal for archaeologists. 

And while the professionals supervise the work, there's room for amateurs to dig in the ground for clues to the lives of the people who preceded us. 

In this month's installment of "Underground History," our partners at the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology introduce us to the Oregon Archaeological Society

OAS provides volunteers for digs around the state, and provides those volunteers with training. 

nationalservice.gov

Oregon consistently shows up high on the list of states where people go hungry from time to time. 

And a new food insecurity report shows it remains above the national average.  But there is a glimmer of something positive in the news: some of the numbers show a decline in food insecurity. 

Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon work to curb food insecurity, as does the food program at Access, Inc. in Jackson County. 

Wikimedia Commons

If it seems like just a few more birds are flying around of late, your powers of observation are acute. 

Plenty of birds are on the move this time of year, heading south for winter breeding and feeding grounds before frost settles in here. 

Klamath Bird Observatory will honor the semi-annual migration with a set of events on Saturday, September 23rd. 

They include a visit from Noah Strycker, world-class birder and record holder.  Noah, from Oregon, saw more than 6,000 bird species in a single year. 

www.inciweb.nwcg.gov

The heavy fire season of this summer is just the latest in what appears to be a growing trend. 

Even fires that are not terribly large or intense can have drastic consequences, large loss of life and property. 

Michael Kodas examines the trend in his book Megafire: The Race to Extinguish a Deadly Epidemic of Flame

"Earth Seasoned" Facebook page

We can all stand to learn a few things from nature.  For a young woman named Tori, nature was her primary teacher for most of a year. 

Tori has been diagnosed with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, and short-term memory problems. 

She and four other young women spent a year in the Oregon Cascades, living very close to the land. 

The story is told in the documentary film "Earth Seasoned," one of the films in this year's Jefferson State FlixxFest in the Scott Valley. 

Mary Anne Andrei

Running a farm is like running a factory, except you're not quite sure how much you'll produce until the season is over. 

That's just one of many challenges in agriculture, and there are many more, especially for smaller family farmers.  Agri-giant businesses have economies of scale that the small farms lack. 

But plenty of people are still dedicated to growing crops and a livelihood with them, just on a smaller scale. 

Ted Genoways follows a farm family in Nebraska in his took This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm

Public Domain

More than half the population, yet still not equal in pay and other measures.  Women still have some gender biases to overcome. 

Those and many other issues are addressed at the Women With Wings conferences held across the country, including in Ashland next month (October 19-22). 

Di Strachan and Nancy Swift of Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI) are among the speakers. 

Oregon Blue Book

Do you even know what your grandparents did for a living?  Bill Nicholson does, because he does it too. 

He is the third generation of his family to farm Nicholson Ranch in Fort Klamath.  And the ranch has just been recognized by the Oregon Farm Bureau's Century Farm & Ranch program, honoring places where people have worked the land for 100 years. 

There's even a Sesquicentennial Award for operations continuing for 150 years. 

Al Jazeera English-http://www.flickr.com/photos/aljazeeraenglish/8049728422/in/set-72157631653957819, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29515145

All eyes are on North Korea at the moment, thanks to its ongoing weapons tests. 

But Richard McGregor urges us to look elsewhere for the real story in Asia: the lingering and growing distrust and dislike between Japan and China. 

McGregor is a journalist who has covered Asia extensively, and he writes about the rising tensions in the region in Asia's Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific Century

Ancient enmities and modern missteps, including in Washington, are examined in the book. 

Wikimedia

The Mount Shasta organization known as W.A.T.E.R. chose a name that stands for "We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review." 

And its members got their wish: an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the plan for Crystal Geyser's water bottling plant in Mount Shasta. 

The EIR is now out, sure to gladden some hearts and impact others adversely. 

Rick Bowmer/AP

40 filmed features and shorts are crammed into just three days at the Klamath Independent Film Festival, coming to Klamath Falls next weekend (Sept. 15-17). 

And they are all by or about people in Oregon and Northern California. 

The KIFF offerings include the Oregon premiere of "No Man's Land," a documentary about the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in early 2016. 

Nicholas Blah/Flickr

What are you doing next week?  More important, how will you get to where you're doing it?  This is an important question for the last two weeks of September, the period of the Oregon Drive Less Challenge.

People all over the state are urged to walk, or bike, or take public transportation instead of driving. 

And there are incentives... prizes that can be earned through effective reductions in driving. 

Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) and the City of Eugene are on board. 

News from around the world in an instant.  New movies for fall.  Social media. 

The Internet alone gives us an almost unlimited supply of media options. 

And it gives us plenty to talk about with Andrew Gay and Precious Yamaguchi of the Communication faculty at Southern Oregon University. 

They join us once a month to talk about media topics--news and not--in a segment we call "Signals & Noise." 

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