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.

Three Exchange guests from the last couple of years turned up on the list of Pulitzer Prize winners recently announced. 

They include Heather Ann Thompson, who won the Pulitzer for history for her book  Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy

It's a powerful story of one of the country's best-known, and as it turns out, least understood prison uprisings. 

Tuxyso, CC BY-SA 3.0,

It's easy to stand near California's giant sequoia trees with your jaw hanging open. 

It's less easy to understand how they could possibly get enough nutrition to grow so big.  One recent study shows that dust blowing from far away adds to the nutrition. 

The dust blows all the way from China's Gobi Desert, says Emma Aronson at the University of California-Riverside. 

All you need is a phone that reaches the Internet.  And with that in your hand, your media options are limitless.  In this media age, it can be hard to separate the signals from the noise. 

Which is why we take time each month for a media perusal, called "Signals & Noise," with members of the communications faculty at Southern Oregon University. 

This month we visit with Andrew Gay and Christopher Lucas about Pulitzer Prize winners, crowdfunding for documentary films, and other issues on the media horizon. 

Siskiyou Music Project

Multiple guitars visit the studio when the Britt Guitar Trio returns for tunes and talk. 

The trio consists of Page Hamilton, Grant Ruiz, and Ed Dunsavage, who play guitar in several styles.  They will be central to the Britt Guitar Weekend in June at the Britt Festival grounds in Jacksonville. 

And they'll raise money for scholarships to that mini-camp with a concert in the Rogue Valley this weekend (Friday, April 14). 


It was just in the last couple of years we had a chat with a California snowpack observer, who reminded us that it's not just the Siskiyous and the Sierra and the San Gabriels that provide water to California... it's also the Rockies. 

Many states lay claim to the waters of the Colorado River. 

And that is just one of many issues facing the stream.  When it IS a stream.  Most of the time, it just dies in the desert. 

New Yorker staff writer David Owen follows the stream and the people who depend upon it, in his book Where the Water Goes

Carl Fredrickson, CC BY 2.0,

Travel is supposed to help us grow as people. 

And we often do, finding things inside of us that we did not know about. 

That was Susan Conrad's experience as she paddled a sea kayak along the 1800-mile Inside Passage. 

She describes the trip in her book Inside: One Woman’s Journey Through the Inside Passage

Alex from Ithaca, NY, CC BY 2.0,

If you are concerned about environmental degradation and your government is not, can you sue it?  Count on a firm YES from Mary Christina Wood. 

She is a professor at the University of Oregon's law school, and director of its Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center

Issues like climate change, where governments in our country have been slow to respond, have gotten particular attention at the center. 

Nevit Dilmen, CC BY-SA 3.0,

One of the major lessons we've learned about the world around us is the lesson of inter-connectivity. 

The parts of nature depend upon one another--and that includes humans--and severing connections can throw nature out of balance. 

How important are trees to connecting the parts of nature?  Very, say several people. 

They include David George Haskell, who follows the fate of single trees in several parts of the world in The Songs of Trees


The area around Clovis, New Mexico yielded many archaeological treasures over the years. 

That's why the earliest human inhabitants of North America are generally referred to as The Clovis People.  But digs in Southeastern Oregon continue to turn up finds that pre-date Clovis sites. 

The University of Oregon has devoted faculty and students to digs in the region, including at the Rimrock Draw site. 


Stories about drug addiction tend to have some common themes. 

One of them is that people often think that they will NOT get addicted.  And they're usually wrong. 

Kyle Simpson was a happy college student, by his own description.  But he got addicted to drugs and had to fight his way back to the life he'd known. 

He made a documentary about his experience, called simply "Junk."  It screens on Tuesday (April 11) at Southern Oregon University. 

Chad Miller, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Parenting is always a tricky business, even in the best of circumstances. 

Parents frequently second-guess themselves about when to intervene and when to hold back. 

There may be less second-guessing in the Netherlands, where the children are rated on several scales as the happiest in the world. 

Is there a common cultural approach?  Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchison both married Dutch men and picked up some ideas raising their kids Dutch.  Their book is The Happiest Kids in the World: How Dutch Parents Help Their Kids* by Doing Less  *and Themselves.

Eugene Ballet

April is here, and now come the warmer days of enjoying evenings outside, outdoor concerts and more. 

Well, we can HOPE, anyway.  Offerings in the arts tend to expand in the warmer months. 

We track the arts scene in our First Friday Arts segment, a free-for-all featuring phone calls from around the region boosting arts events for the coming weeks. 

Ujjwal Kumar,

There's a level of curiosity about dangerous things, especially for kids. 

Like "what would happen if you went outside a spaceship without a suit?" 

Those are the very kinds of questions Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty answer in their book And Then You're Dead.

It's not as macabre as it may sound, and there's no danger in reading the book itself.  We think. 

Taz, CC BY 2.0,

Stephanie Sacks stops just short of profanity in expressing concern for what people eat. 

She's even got chef's uniforms embroidered with her book title: What the Fork are you Eating?

Sacks is constantly amazed by the things people put in their bodies, and always ready with a list of good foods and beverages. 

Harry Rose, CC BY 2.0,

Like it or not, the plants that surround us are often NOT the plants that would be here without people and their constant tinkering with the environment. 

Non-native species abound, and efforts to eradicate invasive species are ongoing.  But not always with the use of pesticides. 

Mount Shasta residents and friends gather this weekend (April 8) for a second annual community weed pull, designed to get the invasives out and replace them with native plants

The pink robes of the Buddhist nuns in Myanmar (Burma) grab the eyes instantly. 

The stories of the nuns grab many hearts as well. 

And those stories are told in "A Thousand Mothers," a documentary film shown this week at the Ashland Independent Film Festival. 

Shahbaz Nahian, CC BY-SA 4.0,

How'd you sleep last night?  Did you get eight hours, or at least try?  Try and fail to get enough sleep is a constant refrain in the world today. 

And maybe because we've tried to turn sleeping into something like shift work: pick a part of the day and SLEEP, boom.  The body often does not cooperate. 

In the book Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World, author Benjamin Reiss gives a lesson in what sleep was like before coffee and alarm clocks. 

WIBG via Facebook

Josh Gross has an addiction, and it's one we're only too happy to share. 

He loves music, and across a wide spectrum of genres and styles. 

Josh makes music, and writes about music for the Rogue Valley Messenger.  And once a month, he visits the studio with "Rogue Sounds," a compilation of musical samples and news of coming band dates. 


The last thing any police officer wants to encounter is a suspect with a gun. 

So Eureka Police recently made some efforts to make it less likely that they'll encounter people with stolen guns. 

A "security expo" encouraged people to buy safes and other gun safety equipment, and a gun buy-back gave people premiums for giving up guns, no questions asked about ownership. 

A fiction piece in a recent edition of The New Yorker described a town that sounds very much like Ashland. 

And it should: author Victor Lodato lives in Ashland for part of the year.   He is both author and playwright, with an award to show for a previous novel. 

His latest novel, Edgar and Lucy, is drawing praise from critics.