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.

Heather Franklin / via Facebook

This summer marks three years since the Boles Fire tore through the north end of Weed, destroying 145 homes and several other buildings, including the library.

The city is recovering, though slowly. 

Homes are being built to replace the ones lost in the fire, but there's a long road ahead in the rebuilding process. 

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One of the major issues with balancing the state budget in Oregon is the amount of money needed to make sure retired public workers get the pensions they were promised. 

PERS, the Public Employee Retiree System, needs more money to match what retirees expect with what has been saved for them. 

Tim Nesbitt knows PERS from both labor and management sides.  He worked for a couple of Oregon governors and once led the AFL-CIO in the state. 

Riccardo Rossi, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15140983

Salmon runs into the region's rivers fluctuate quite a bit from year to year. 

But the forecast for the chinook salmon run returning to the Klamath River this year is just plain awful.  If the forecast proves true, it will be the smallest chinook run in recorded history. 

Which presents the Pacific Fishery Management Council with few options, none of them attractive for people who want to catch the fish. 

Hemhem20X6, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3466950

Sudden Oak Death is becoming a big enough concern that even Congress is paying attention. 

Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley recently joined with a state legislator, Rep. David Brock Smith, to create a task force on the tree disease. 

So far, it is contained to Curry County on Oregon's South Coast, but it has killed large numbers of oak trees in coastal California as well, and defoliated conifers, too. 

Howard R. Hollem/Library of Congress/Wikimedia

There's a lot of longing for "good old days" in America, the time when many people could graduate from high school and step into a well-paid manufacturing job--and send their kids to college. 

The economic boom that followed World War II was long and impressive... and quite possibly, an anomaly. 

Marc Levinson explains in his book An Extraordinary Time: The End of the Postwar Boom and the Return of the Ordinary Economy.  It shows the factors and forces that made so many people so much money from the end of the war up to the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973.

Scott Catron, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=849216

There are still plenty of people in Oregon who remember when state law made the ocean beaches public property. 

And there's a big anniversary coming up: the 50th birthday of the law. 

Brent Walth is on the journalism faculty at UO. He is the author of Fire at Eden's Gate: Tom McCall and the Oregon Story.

Wikimedia

You CAN own the beach in California, unlike in Oregon. 

But an array of groups and government agencies exist to make sure that members of the public get maximum beach access, and minimum abuse to the coastline. 

The California State Coastal Conservancy is a part of that array.    The conservancy is unusual for its lack of regulatory powers. 

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Do you look around before you speak your mind?  Are you concerned by what other people will think about what YOU think?  You're not alone in a country as politically divided as ours is. 

Oregon's own Sharon Schuman pushes for something she calls "dialogic freedom" -- freedom to say what you think, within certain guidelines. 

She goes back in history for examples, in her book Freedom and Dialogue in a Polarized World.  It's a helpful reminder that today's polarization is not new. 

Wikimedia

Well, that didn't take long: if a new report is accurate, more than 12,000 people work in the cannabis business in Oregon. 

And this is just a couple of years after pot became legal for personal use in the state. 

The Oregon House of Representatives asked for the report to get a handle on the economic impact of cannabis in Oregon. 

Wikimedia

You're familiar with the role of a midwife: assist mothers-to-be with bringing their children into the world. 

But the ancient role of midwife has been given a twist: now you can be a DEATH midwife, helping people OUT of the world. 

Kate Riley is certified as a death midwife, dedicated to making dying people and their loved ones comfortable with the process of dying.  She is the author of a book about her mother's death, Launching Vee's Chariot: An End-of-Life Tale

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Shakespeare scholars and fans are already debating whether "Edward III" is a Shakespeare play.  Did he write all of it?  Part of it?  None? 

The point is moot at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which commissioned a modern-language version of the play as part of its "Play On!" series. 

Octavio Solis got the task of rewriting the play, to be presented Monday (March 27th) by the Ashland New Plays Festival

Photo: Ben DeJarnette

Just because people want to live in the country does not mean you know anything about caring for the land. 

Which is why the Oregon State University Extension Service offers programs in land stewardship.  Those include an annual offering called Tree School Rogue, coming to Rogue Community College in April. 

Max Bennett is one of the instructors, helping forest landowners know more about the care and feeding of the forest. 

Save Our Libraries Committee

Douglas County is one of the more broke counties in Western Oregon. 

It is one of many counties that used to get most of its income from federal timber sales.  But the sales crashed in the age of the spotted owl, and the money crashed as well. 

Voters rejected a tax levy to fund a library district, so the county plans to shut its libraries April 1st. 

There is a determined pro-library faction working to get the libraries open again, led by Save Our Libraries. 

YouTube

The name Klebold should ring a bell, but not a happy one. 

Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were the two Columbine High School students who shot and killed 13 people at the school in 1999; they wounded 24 others before killing themselves. 

The crime itself is incomprehensible to most of us, perhaps more so for Sue Klebold, Dylan's mother.  She wrote a book about her journey before and after Columbine, A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy

The book is now out in paperback, with all profits going to research and charities working on mental illness. 

Oregonlegislature.gov

Odd-numbered years are the ones that require more work of Oregon legislators

Those are the years in which the two-year state budget is prepared and passed, and it has to balance.  This year, balancing will either mean cuts to programs of roughly $1.6 Billion or new revenue, or a combination. 

And that's just the money part of the state's business. 

Chris Lehman covers the session for JPR and other organizations. 

ESO, http://www.eso.org/public/images/ann13075a

We grew up thinking about people living on other planets, thanks to the likes of Superman and Star Wars. 

But planets outside of our solar system (and outside science fiction) were really just a theory until the 1990s.  That's when telescopes and other detectors improved enough to find the first true "exoplanets." 

Now we know of thousands of them, and an overview is provided in Exoplanets: Diamond Worlds, Super Earths, Pulsar Planets, and the New Search for Life beyond Our Solar System

Desiree Kane, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51417472

The Lakota people of the Standing Rock Reservation put up spirited fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), but President Trump's executive order cleared the way for the pipeline's completion, and oil may be flowing through it now.

The Lakota People's Law Project worked on DAPL protest issues, including on behalf of the 800 or so people arrested.

Project attorneys work on behalf of the tribe and its interests, and the team includes Daniel Sheehan, a veteran of high-profile cases, including representing the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case. 

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Cass Ingram is a believer in marijuana as a healing agent. 

But there's room in his heart and in his osteopathic practice for other herbs, as well. 

Dr. Ingram wrote a book called "The Cannabis Cure," but recognizes its legal limitations.  So he also suggests the use of various herbs as remedies for various afflictions, things from hops to cinnamon. 

Wing-Chi Poon, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4503578

Sunshine Week leads us straight into spring, but it's really not about the sun shining in the sky. 

Sunshine Week celebrates openness in government--the metaphorical sun shining into the workings of the people's business. 

Every year, the celebrations are tempered by news of public records withheld or meetings held out of view of the media. 

Open Oregon and other groups monitor the state of government transparency in the state. 

Jacob Frank, National Park Service

Blast from the Past: enjoying the night sky is one of the features of living in the State of Jefferson. 

The lack of gigantic cities and the corresponding presence of open and wild spaces makes for places to see the sky in all of its glory. 

But in much of the world, lights from the ground tend to obscure our view of the lights from the sky.  Paul Bogard wrote about this in his book The End Of Night

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