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 co-producer of the Jefferson Exchange.

socompasshouse.org

Mike (we'll only use his last name) spent a long time dealing with bipolar disorder before doctors truly understood his condition. 

If you break a leg or come down with a disease that confines you to bed, people generally know what to do.  But that's physical illness.  Mental illness presents a different set of challenges in diagnosis and treatment. 

All of the members of Southern Oregon Compass House in Medford learned this firsthand.  Once a month, we visit with clubhouse members and staffers to explore issues in mental illness, issues we're often hearing about for the first time. 

Vicki Nunn, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12075956

Rates of some sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) dropped sharply during the years when concerns about HIV and AIDS peaked.  People used condoms and other prevention methods. 

Then science discovered how to better treat HIV — it is no longer a death sentence — and concerns abated. 

So it should surprise no one that rates of some STDs hit an all-time high in California last year.  That's a major concern for the state Department of Public Health

Christina Belasco/OPB

Blooms of harmful algae in waterways have been more of an inconvenience in our region so far.  Generally, the blooms only stop people from swimming and fishing in their favorite spots. 

But across the country, the problem is growing. Salem had to renew its water advisory on Wednesday after toxic algae showed up in the city's water supply. Its previous advisory ended just four days earlier.

The Environmental Working Group calls the spread of harmful algal blooms an epidemic.  Oregon has had a program to track blooms and inform the public for years now. 

Siskiyou Music Project

Wes Montgomery is a big deal to jazz musicians.  Pat Matheny once said he learned to play guitar by listening to "Smokin' at the Half Note," by Wes Montgomery with the Wynton Kelly Trio, recorded in the mid-60s. 

The sounds are recreated in an offering from the Siskiyou Music Project, featuring pianist Thor Polson and the Ed Dunsavage Trio, with Ed on guitar. 

Thor and Ed agreed to get up early to share some of the sounds of the session in our studio. 

oregonwalktheland.org

It's easy to take the wide-open views of our region for granted.  So it's a rude awakening when they disappear under new subdivisions or other construction. 

Rural places with outstanding values have lots of friends, including in the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts

COLT members welcome the public to come out and see some of the places protected on Get Outdoors Oregon Day, Saturday, June 9. 

David Eskenazi Collection

Jackie Robinson is celebrated every year for a major first: the first African-American player in major league baseball. 

But other black players were breaking into pro baseball around the same time, just not in the majors.  Artie Wilson, one of the best shortstops in pro baseball, played minor league ball in Oakland (California) starting in 1948. 

He is the subject of Singles and Smiles: How Artie Wilson Broke Baseball’s Color Barrier.  Gaylon Wilson is the author and our guest. 

Craig Miller/KQED

Marveling at the nearby homes with solar panels will soon become a thing of the past in California. 

Because the state will begin requiring solar panels on all new homes constructed in 2020 and beyond. 

That puts California out in front of states in requiring clean energy distribution across the landscape. 

The California Solar & Storage Association is understandably happy about the change. 

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

With a population just under 40 million, California has more people than Canada.  And Iraq and Poland, too. 

So it should surprise no one to find that feelings rise from time to time in favor of splitting California up.  Or off. 

The Yes California campaign seeks to turn California into an independent country; the resurgent State of Jefferson movement just wants to break off the Northern part--preferably with parts of Southern Oregon--into a new state. 

Do they have enough common ground to work together? 

Alabama Public Radio

Heroin overdose deaths in Jackson County jumped early this year.  Ten deaths by the end of April equals the total of the previous two years combined. 

The spike raises the possibility that fentanyl, a strong synthetic opioid, has gotten into the local drug trade. 

Jackson County Health and Human Services tracks the numbers and looks for reasons; Asante Health System runs substance abuse prevention and treatment programs; Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction works to reduce problems with substance abuse on the North Coast. 

Wikimedia

One of the more notable ballot measures in California's November election could be a real chicken fight.  Because it is all about the treatment of farm animals, chickens included. 

Signatures are in, but a proposition number has yet to be assigned to the "Cage-Free California" referendum. 

It would go beyond the guidelines of 2008's Proposition Two, by specifying that egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and veal calves must be raised outside of cages. 

Prevent Cruelty California, which backs the measure, is a coalition of several animal rights groups. 

thgmueller/Pixabay

The "vroom vroom" comes from the engine, but a car or truck goes nowhere without a functioning transmission. 

Whether you shift the gears yourself or a vacuum does the work for you in an automatic, the transmission is a critical part of the car. 

Just look at the name: it "transmits" power from the engine to the wheels.  So what goes on in there, and what can (and does) go wrong? 

Ashland Automotive owner Zach Edwards joins us for another edition of The Squeaky Wheel. 

WikiImages/Pixabay

There's a hard line between the United States and Mexico, and plenty of people who want to make it harder. 

But while the efforts to build a wall on the border continue, ties between the countries keep getting stronger.  That's the general argument of the book Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together, by Andrew Selee. 

He saw first-hand how Mexico, despite well-publicized problems, has grown more prosperous and more like the United States.  He sees the border as a seam, not a barrier. 

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June is here, and so is our First Friday Arts segment! 

This may be one of the most momentous arts months of the year, with many outdoor events--like the opening of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Elizabethan Theatre--happening. 

Add to that the summer solstice, and there's just a lot to sing and dance about.  We give an outlet to singers and dancers and other artists, inviting phone calls from around the region to plug arts events, at 800-838-3760. 

This month's list takes us right through the Fourth of July. 

Joe Parks, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26554249

It doesn't take much of change in temperature to turn winter snow into winter rain.  Just ask a ski resort operator. 

Changing climate could make it hard for winter sports enthusiasts to get out and play.  We've already had a number of winters with little snowpack; Mount Ashland Ski Area never opened at all just a few winters ago. 

The group Protect Our Winters brings together winter sports fans and providers to work for climate action. 

Siskiyou Mountain Club

You don't have to walk far in our region to find a trail to hike.  But a well-maintained trail is another matter. 

Trails on federal land in particular are generally behind on maintenance. 

That's where groups like the Siskiyou Mountain Club come in, clearing and sprucing up trails in the backcountry.  The club recently got a big grant from the sporting goods store REI to develop a long backpacking route in the region. 

BLM/Public Domain

Few people had heard of fairy shrimp when they showed up in Jackson County 20 years ago.  Before that, the little critters were thought to be no closer than Mount Shasta. 

But they live in vernal pools, seasonal pools of water, in the Agate Desert around White City.  And they are listed as threatened, requiring some effort to protect them. 

This month's edition of Underground History, with our partners at the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology, considers the shrimp... archaeologists have done some work exploring the areas where they live. 

Firef7y, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26619625

The very name speaks volumes, in just three syllables: Chernobyl.  It is the site of the worst nuclear power disaster ever, a 1986 explosion and massive radiation leak that killed dozens of people quickly and sickened thousands more for years to come. 

Serhii Plokhy, a Ukrainian historian, finds the greatest fault in the Soviet system that was ultimately responsible for the disaster. 

The system itself passed into history less than a decade later, but authoritarian governments exist elsewhere and are interested in nuclear power. 

Plokhy warns of the potential for future problems in his book Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe

thejoshgross.org

Josh Gross is a musician, but we dare not ask who his influences are.  We might be listening all day. 

Safe to say that Josh loves music in many forms, and he gets to demonstrate it by making his own AND by covering the music of others in his writing. 

We plug Josh into the Exchange once a month in a segment we call Rogue Sounds. 

silviarita/Pixabay

A sexual assault incident in Ashland a few months ago spurred social worker Alaya Ketani into action.  She formed a new organization, KAWS, for Keeping Ashland Women Safe

The organization is brand-new, having held its first public meeting in the middle of May. 

But it has already built connections in the community, including with Ashland Police

Tomasz Sienicki, CC BY-SA 3.0, wikimedia

Researchers proved the dangers of secondhand smoke years ago.  Breathing the smoke from other people smoking cigarettes can harm your health, just as smoking can. 

And now there's evidence that third-hand smoke can cause problems too... being around the places and surfaces where people smoked also bears some risks. 

A recent article by chemistry professor Peter DeCarlo at Drexel University lays out the issues. 

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