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.

Rickard Ignell, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences/Wikimedia

Urban dwellers get understandably upset when their homes are invaded by rats or bedbugs or other unwelcome creatures. 

But hardly anybody stops to think that the animals are there BECAUSE the city is there.  And that is very likely the case... many creatures evolved differently because of urban environments. 

Marc Johnson at the University of Toronto just published a paper in Science detailing some of the evolutionary changes apparently forced by urban environments. 

Adi, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60335366

Suicide is on the rise in the United States, up in a steady trend since the beginning of the century. 

Rogue Valley resident Shoshana Alexander experienced it in her own life; her sister committed suicide.  Alexander put that experience and others into an original play, "Taking Our Life: Suicide, Ecocide and Daring to Live."

Alexander and other actors will perform the play this weekend (Nov. 17-19) in Ashland. 

Public Domain/Wikimedia

"Midlife crisis" comes with a stock photo in America, and usually one question: Corvette or Mustang?  Or some other red sports car? 

Kieran Setiya offers another choice: Aristotle or Schopenhauer?  Those are not sports cars, as you might have detected. 

Kieran Setiya is a professor of philosophy at MIT, and he offers up the wisdom of the ancients (and some more recent thinkers) in his book Midlife: A Philosophical Guide

Oregon Cultural Trust

Maybe you've seen the "Cultural Trust" Oregon license plates and never quite knew what they were about.  They're about a program around for 15 years now, helping boost cultural organizations and activities around the state. 

The Oregon Cultural Trust has handed out more than $18 Million grants over the years, supporting a wide variety of programs. 

Wikimedia

The story of "exclusion laws" is well-known in Oregon.  The state skirted the slave-vs-free question at its birth by just banning all black people from living within its borders. 

But what about people who lived here BEFORE it was a state?  There are examples, including the shipwrecked black sailor James D. Saules, who arrived before many white settlers. 

His story is told in the book Dangerous Subjects: James D. Saules and the Rise of Black Exclusion in Oregon

Wikimedia

Communities all over the country look for ways to get people off the streets. 

Homelessness persists, despite--or perhaps because of--an improving economy. 

One answer that works on a local level is to get homeless people out of town, literally. 

Good News Rescue Mission in Redding is one of several agencies that provide transportation to send homeless people from Redding back to places where they have a support network. 

More than 100 people have used the program since the mission began offering it three years ago. 

Trent Spurlock/Oregon Digital

Inspectors from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs are expected in Oregon again this week to pay visits to the VA facilities in Roseburg and Eugene. 

U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) asked for inspectors to follow up on complaints about the VA from current and former employees. 

Those complaints focus on what they see as poor-quality care, and retaliation on the people who speak up about it. 

Dr. Scott Russi was a surgeon at the Roseburg VA (Eugene clinic) who says he's been fired (VA will not confirm). 

Dr. Russi visits with an explanation of what he saw and responded to. 

SSgt Alesia Goosic/U.S. Navy/Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22686562

You may wait a while to get an appointment with doctor, and may wait a while to SEE the doctor, but how long in the room WITH the doctor? 

In most people's experience, it's not a very long visit. 

And that is precisely the issue Victoria Sweet, herself a physician, has with modern medicine: the speed. 

She says good medical care takes time, and she advocates for it in her book Slow Medicine: The Way to Healing.  How slow? 

Public Domain/Wikimedia

Any public building erected in recent years includes ramps and other devices to get people in wheelchairs inside with minimal effort. 

So we've adjusted our physical spaces, but how about our literature?  The depictions of people with disabilities are changing there as well, and University of Oregon Associate Professor Betsy Wheeler is observing and assisting the changes. 

Wheeler's work includes studies of disabilities in literature, but also postwar (WWII) literature and culture, including comic books. 

She is our guest in this month's edition of cUriOus: Research Meets Radio. 

www.martinezbeavers.org

Oregon is the "beaver state," but the designation does not help beavers much.  The title confers no protection, and beavers are still killed all the time. 

Some are killed by government workers, and that is the reason for a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Western Environmental Law Center

They say up to 400 beavers a year are killed as pests by federal Wildlife Services, an agency of the Department of Agriculture. 

Victor Bezrukov, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10465998

You've probably heard it said that the central factor in whether a person is pleasant to other people (or not) is empathy. 

But psychology professor Abigail Marsh has been digging even deeper, and has concluded it's a shorter word: fear. 

The response to the fear we recognize in OTHERS is central to empathy, or its lack.  Dr. Marsh expands on what she's learned in The Fear Factor: How One Emotion Connects Altruists, Psychopaths, & Everyone In-Between

sou.edu

It's not like we can interview characters from TV's long-running cartoon "The Simpsons." 

But... there IS a play based on Simpsons characters coming to a stage in Ashland soon. 

"Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play" is a production of the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University, and it brings to life--even in song!--the creepy nuclear power plant boss from the TV show. 

northstatesymphony.org

Ravel.  Berlioz.  Pinkston.  Pinkston?  Yes, he is among the composers whose works will be performed by the North State Symphony in concerts this weekend (Nov. 11 in Chico, Nov. 12 in Redding). 

Dan Pinkston chairs the music department of Simpson University in Redding, and is the composer of a concerto for violin and symphony premiering at the concerts. 

It is the latest in a series of Pinkston works performed to acclaim around the world. 

Excel23/Wikimedia Commons

Americans love Wal-Mart.  Enough to spend most of their retail dollars there, anyway.  But Wal-Mart has many detractors, including people who blame the big store for killing off the mom-and-pop stores in many downtowns. 

Even Wal-Mart can't make a go of truly small towns, and that's where the dollar stores are taking hold, with nearly 2,000 expected to be built in the United States this year. 

Retail business observer Garrick Brown keeps an eye on trends in the retail world. 

Your local radio station, this one included, doesn't necessarily have to be local anymore. 

The FCC required local stations to keep studios in the cities to which they were licensed.  But that rule will be allowed to drop, so the friendly voice in Klamath Falls may actually be in Chicago. 

That's just one topic in the media of late.  There are always PLENTY of others, as explored by our partners on the communication faculty at Southern Oregon University

Our montly perusal of media topics is called "Signals & Noise." 

BLM

Maybe you were visiting a big city and thought you'd go to a park.  But when you got there, you discovered the "park" was really an open area covered by concrete, with little in the way of natural amenities. 

Benjamin Vogt is an outspoken critic of the "nature deficit" he sees in urban areas. 

And he urges people to grow native plants around them, a point he pounds home in A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future

National Institute of Health

Will health care ever be out of the news?  Perhaps someday.  But today is not that day. 

With talk of "repeal and replace" still fresh in Washington and new calls for single-payer national health insurance (from Bernie Sanders et al), the topic is still quite lively. 

The Rogue Valley chapter of the League of Women Voters keeps the discussion going with a free public discussion of universal coverage, Thursday (November 9) in Medford. 

Wikimedia

You can be forgiven for not keeping up with the legalization of marijuana in Oregon and California.  The two states adopted legal pot at different times and through different pathways. 

Another shoe drops in California on January 1, 2018, when licensing for recreational cannabis sales is due to open. 

Oregon still has some procedures to work out as well, and then LOCAL jurisdictions are still figuring out what restrictions they want. 

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is in charge of non-medical marijuana; Danica Hibpshman of OLCC visits. 

She is joined by Brooke Staggs, who writes of cannabis in The Cannifornian

Kate Longley, davidhallberg.com

The beauty of ballet comes at a cost.  It is not easy for the best dancers to portray that level of beauty, without often punishing physical conditions. 

David Hallberg endured that and childhood bullying and a career-threatening injury for his art. 

He is the first American ever to dance for the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet in Russia. 

And he tells the story of his rise in A Body of Work: Dancing to the Edge and Back

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Dennis Richardson broke a losing streak for the Republican party when he got elected Secretary of State in the 2016 election. 

And he's kept himself in the news with actions on elections, audits, and other duties of his office. 

Plus, he's raised a few eyebrows with his opinion on gay people, and his trade mission to China. 

Richardson hails from Southern Oregon, but spends less time in the region since his election. 

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