John Baxter

Jefferson Exchange Producer

John Baxter decided to add to his legendary history at JPR by returning as interim producer of the Jefferson Exchange.  But John's attachment goes back more than three decades.  He worked for many years as the program director at JPR, engineering the split from one station into three separate program services, among many other tasks.  We're glad to have John take a hiatus from retirement and join us back in the basement.

Hemhem20X6, Public Domain,

Dead trees happen.  But a LOT of dead trees happening all at once is a cause for concern, and it led to the creation of a Sudden Oak Death Syndrome Task Force in Oregon. 

Public officials at several levels of government took part, producing a report on impacts of SODS on oaks and other trees. 

The report is finished, and a set of recommendations is part of it. 


There IS life after fossil fuels.  Peter Kalmus can attest to that. 

He's aware that he lives in a society still powered by them, but he made great strides to reduce his own carbon impact. 

It was about walking the talk: Kalmus is an atmospheric scientist at NASA. 

He tells the story of changing his life to prove the world can change, in the book Being the Change

Ken Lund, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The eclipse is now three weeks away (August 21st), and the excitement is mounting. 

In parts of Oregon and in many other states, the eclipse will be total.  And you could totally damage your eyes by trying to sneak a look at it without protective eyewear or a viewing device. 

Dr. John Hyatt at the Retina & Vitreous Center of Southern Oregon knows a thing or two about how the eyes work, and what (like looking at the sun) can make them work poorly.

Recent history has not been very kind to one of the primary keepers of history in Jackson County. 

The Southern Oregon Historical Society lost its primary funding source through a change in property-tax law; it is currently all-volunteer.  But still working to preserve the region's history, and working to raise money for the effort. 

SOHS presents a fundraiser on Saturday, August 5th, the Hanley Farm Music Festival

Wyoming State Historical Society

The path of the August 21st solar eclipse goes right over the American land mass, from Oregon on the Pacific to South Carolina on the Atlantic. 

So the tag "American Eclipse" has been attached to the event. 

And it's not the first time... in July 1878, another solar eclipse passed over the country, also called American Eclipse.  Which is also the name of a book on that event by David Baron. 

He tracks three people of scientific bent, including Thomas Edison, into the path of the celestial event, with a mix of results. 

Light Dancing Productions

Barri Chase has made many short films and music videos.

She brings years of experience from the fashion, beauty and fine art photography industries, to carefully create and shape each scene.

Her film "Hand of the Earth" won 5 festival awards including: best director, best in category, best editor, best sound design and best visual effects.

Barri’s music video "Weather, Whether" is an example of her directing style and aesthetic talents.

"The Watchman's Canoe" was filmed in the Coos Bay area, where the director spent her childhood. 


Michael Pollan's quote could not be simpler: "Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly Plants." 

And many people have taken that advice.  Myra Goodman is here to help them; she is the co-founder of Earthbound Farm in California, and the co-author, with daughter Marea, of Straight from the Earth: Irresistible Vegan Recipes for Everyone

It contains recipes meant to appeal to all, not just vegetarians. 

Irangilaneh, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Buses, bikes, and other non-car forms of transportation got some funding in the transportation package passed by the Oregon legislature in early July. 

There's even money for transportation that does not necessarily involve wheels of any kind: Safe Routes to School

The program to make the streets around schools safer for walking and biking children got dedicated funding for the first time. 

But while nobody's sniffing at $10 Million dollars a year (and more in a few years), there are limits to how the money can be spent. 

Wikimedia Commons

Before you click on that cute GIF of the fuzzy kitten, you might want to hear a few words from Mike Ahmadi. 

He is well acquainted with the baits and lures used by hackers to get people to surrender critical information over the web, sometimes real money. 

Southern Oregon University was recently victimized in a scam that resulted in nearly $2 Million dollars being wired to a fraudster by mistake. 

Mike Ahmadi sees such activity all the time in his job helping big companies protect their computers and all the information they hold. 

Department of Defense/Public Domain

We live in an age of unprecedented, irreversible decline—or so we’re often told.

Jonathan Tepperman’s The Fix: How Countries Use Crises to Solve the World’s Worst Problems presents a very different picture.

It identifies ten pervasive and seemingly impossible challenges—including immigration reform, economic stagnation, political gridlock, corruption, and Islamist extremism—and shows that, contrary to the general consensus, each has a solution, and not merely a hypothetical one.

By taking a close look at overlooked success stories—from countries as diverse as Canada, Botswana, and Indonesia—Tepperman discovers practical advice for problem-solvers of all stripes, making a data-driven case for optimism in a time of crushing pessimism. 

Evgeniy Isaev, CC BY 2.0,

Can you pull yourself away from the news long enough to get immersed in a good book?

The long, warm days lend themselves to reading, and we'll spend the summer getting advice on WHAT to read from some of our local bookstores. 

Oregon Books in Grants Pass checks in with the latest installment of "Summer Reads". 

Bureau of Land Management / Flickr

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is only one of more than two dozen under review by the Trump Administration. 

While the power of either the president or Congress to amend a monument designation is a question, Brent Rose is not waiting for the answer. 

He set out to visit all 22 land-based monuments under review, and got to most of them. 

Rose posted short videos showing the highlights from each of the sites visited, imploring people to keep monument protections in place.

People in good health were once described as being "in the pink." 

Good health takes on a different hue under the Blue Zones Project in Oregon. 

In blue zones, all kinds of individuals and entities come together to work for better health for all. 

The goal is to reduce obesity, smoking, and chronic disease. 

Government Alliance on Race and Equity

Racism continues to bedevil our country. 

Even people who have the best of intentions can be completely surprised when they are shown the effects of their words and deeds from the point of view of a person of color. 

Racism won't vanish without further effort; the Racial Equity Coalition in the Rogue Valley encourages people to learn how to host frank discussions about race through its Race Tool Kit Project, and we explore its features in another edition of "The Keenest Observers."  Robert Goodwin returns to host, with guests Alma Rosa Alvarez and Majorie Trueblood-Gamble. 

Lomakatsi Restoration Project

What young person would NOT want to spend summer in the woods?  Did we mention there's a little work involved? 

Lomakatsi Restoration Project specializes in forest restoration projects like the one ongoing in the Ashland Watershed. 

But the project also runs summer programs for young people, training them to do the work of caring for outdoor areas that need some attention. 

The offerings include programs for tribal youth. 

Oregon Department of Transportation

Maybe you're totally sold on solar power, but you can't afford to install panels on your house. 

There IS an option for you, and that is community solar installations. 

Oregon law allows groups of people to buy shares in a solar installation on public or shared property. 

It's a way to get the benefits of solar for the planet, without the burden of shouldering all the upfront costs alone. 

Rennett Stowefrom USA via Wikimedia Commons

Thousands of pregnant women pass through our nation’s jails every year.

What happens to them as they carry their pregnancies in a space of punishment? In this time when the public safety net is frayed, incarceration has become a central and racialized strategy for managing the poor.

In the book Jailcare Carolyn Sufrin uses ethnographic fieldwork and clinical work as an ob-gyn in a women’s jail to explore how jail has, paradoxically, become a place where women can find care. 

Josh Morrell/

It took some vision to put an orchestra on a grassy hillside in Jacksonville. 

And the vision took: 54 years later, the Britt Orchestra still entertains large crowds over three weekends in the summer. 

The players have changed, but the mission remains the same. 

And mission control takes over Friday, as the orchestra season begins.  Teddy Abrams leads the flock in his fourth full season as music director and conductor. 

Mary Landberg

Reading all the books about handling death and grief may not prepare people for tending to a person in their final days. 

Ashland authors Katie Ortlip and Jahnna Beecham leave nothing out of their book Living With Dying: A Complete Guide for Caregivers

It runs the gamut, from emotional and legal matters to specifics on use of bedpans and what to do with ashes after death.

This is our attempt at doing a Show About Nothing. Sam Kean's new book is about -- air. 

In Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe, and across time to tell the story of the air we breathe, which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it. 

The author joined us for memorable chats about his previous books The Disappearing Spoon and The Violinist's Thumb