The Jefferson Exchange

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JPR's live interactive program devoted to current events and news makers from around the region and beyond. Participate at:  800-838-3760.  Email:   Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.  Find the News & Information station list here.

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California suffered through years of drought, and implemented restrictions on water use.  Then the rains came--a year ago--and the restrictions came off. 

Now the state appears headed for another drought, and there is talk of making water restrictions permanent.  The state Water Resources Control Board hasn't gotten there yet, but plans are on the table. 

That has the attention of water users and people who work on their behalf.  Christopher Neary is a water rights attorney in Northern California; Jennifer Harder teaches law at University of the Pacific

Fans of track and field perk up at the mention of "FloJo."  The late Florence Griffith-Joyner's records in the 100 and 200 meter races still stand. 

But FlowJo, based in Ashland, is a different entity entirely.  We get to hear how different, in this month's edition of The Ground Floor, our business segment. 

FlowJo is in the flow cytometry business, helping biology researchers work with single cells with the use of lasers and computers.  Mike Stadnisky is the CEO of the company, now a subsidiary of a larger firm. 

Tomasz Sienicki/Wikimedia

We talk to the authors of many books on The Exchange. 

But never have we talked to the authors of The New Testament.  And yes, of course, that streak continues. 

But David Bentley Hart has just published a new translation of the newer half of the Bible.  The New Testament: A Translation goes back to the original language, and publishes it quite literally, with the mistakes and contradictions left intact. 

L.S. Mills research photos by Jaco and Lindsey Barnard

The snowpack numbers tell us that streams may flow a little more slowly in the coming dry season.  But there are other things to consider when there's less snow (besides fewer days of skiing), like the effects on animals. 

An animal that has evolved to blend in with snow will stick out like a snowy thumb on a bare landscape. 

Scientists at the University of Montana looked into this, to see how rapidly evolution might progress in the face of climate change.  Hares in brown and white are the study animals; Scott Mills is the scientist. 

Tiia Monto, CC BY-SA 3.0,

In Western Oregon, it's the story in place after place: too many people for too few houses. 

Low vacancy rates drive up both housing costs and homelessness. 

Josh Lehner in the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis knows the numbers well. 

Public domain

Maybe you're the kind of person who needs coffee and/or orange juice before the creative juices start flowing.  You can change, you know. 

Danny Gregory, who comes across like walking caffeine, shares his energy and enthusiasm about creativity in a book called Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are

He joined us in 2015, and we happily revisit our interview, filled with ideas for squeezing some time out of our schedules to express our creative sides. 

Himalayan Cataract Project

When you live up where the air is thin and the sun is closer, cataracts can be much more common. 

So the people who live in Nepal are prone to blindness from cataracts, a condition that can be corrected by relatively inexpensive surgery--still too expensive for most of the people in that poor country. 

So the Himalayan Cataract Project was born to bring the surgery to the people, and Dr. Matt Oliva from Medford's Medical Eye Center is part of the team. 


We knew Peter Sage was an institution, but that only scratched the surface.  The longtime friend and contributor to JPR can trace family on his farm along the Rogue River back to the 1880s. 

And several ancestors were highly influential in the valley; his aunt Mae Richardson got a school named after her, for one example. 

Stories of Southern Oregon, produced by Maureen Battistella, this month focuses on Peter Sage, his century farm near the Table Rocks, and the family that inhabited that farm over the years. 

SonoranDesertNPS, CC BY 2.0,

Winter just hasn't measured up in precipitation so far, raising drought concerns in both states. 

California, which grows so much of the country's food, continues to look for new strategies to hedge against drought.  Among them: groundwater recharge, putting surface water into underground aquifers when there's a storm or other surface-water surplus. 


The Affordable Care Act--Obamacare--put mental health care on par with physical health, as far as health insurance goes.  But insurance does not automatically mean a lot of providers are available. 

And a recent report shows a shortage of mental health (behavioral health, in their lexicon) workers in California. 

Janet Coffman at the University of California-San Francisco led the reporting team; she joins us. 

Yoichi Okamoto, Public Domain,

For a "post-racial" society, we sure talk about race a lot.  And not for the first time. 

50 years ago, a commission appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to investigate the 1967 race riots issued a report that shocked just about everyone and produced little to no action. 

Historian Steven Gillon pulls off that scab in his book  Separate and Unequal: The Kerner Commission and the Unraveling of American Liberalism

USAID/Bryce Smedley

Education is not easy in the war-torn Central African Republic (CAR).  BBC News calls it "the country where teachers have disappeared." 

Southern Oregon University professor Bryce Smedley recently returned from a trip to CAR to assess educational needs and help train teachers. 

And the work doesn't end now that he's home... Smedley gets his education students at SOU involved with the teachers-in-training back in Africa. 


The Oregon Legislature is not quite as party-divided as Congress, but there's still not a great deal of cooperation between parties. 

So it's notable that legislators of both parties sponsored HB 4005, an effort to keep drug prices from rising too quickly.  The bill requires drug companies to report the costs of research, so at least pricing decisions will be transparent. 

Republican Senator Dennis Linthicum from Klamath County sponsored the bill in the Senate with Democrat Lee Beyer. 


Even the use of the very word "empathy" can produce some interesting gut-level reactions.  Some people feel the need to delve deeper; others just snicker. 

Empathy--the ability to sense what other people feel emotionally--is a handy skill, and helpful in many situations.  But it is often misunderstood as well. 

Cris Beam puts a journalists on fact and myth, theory and practice in the book I Feel You: The Surprising Power of Extreme Empathy

Beatrice Murch, CC 2.0 Generic license.

The United States is a graying country; the median age is near 40. 

In many African countries, the median age is under 20, so it might behoove the world to invest some time and money into understanding teens. 

That is an approach advocated by Nick Allen, University of Oregon professor and director of UO's Center for Digital Mental Health.  He and colleagues at the University of California-Berkeley recently made the case for expanded study of development and other issues for teenagers. 

eyeliam, CC BY 2.0,

In other parts of the developed world, midwives deliver a lot of babies... like in England, where half the births involve midwives. 

Here, not so much.  About ten percent of American births include midwives.  And recent research shows how making greater use of midwives can make for healthier babies and mothers. 

Oregon is one state that does better than many in integrating midwives into the birthing process.  Melissa Cheyney at Oregon State University was one of the authors of the study. 


The tech industry is so dominated by males that some people have taken to calling its workers "brogrammers."  But a closer look reveals women who made key contributions to both computers and the Internet. 

And Claire Evans, herself versed in computers (and singing in a band, but that's another story), writes of these pioneering women in the provocatively named Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet

The stories date back to 1842, surprisingly. 

Italo-Europeo, CC BY-SA 3.0,

It seems only appropriate that a town that reveres and is supported by Shakespeare should have an affinity for London.  The British capital and its arts scene are highlighted in a series of plays and operas projected at the Varsity Theatre in Ashland. 

Nothing too tricky about the name for the series, it is called "London Live in Ashland."

The preliminary schedule for the season features events into the month of June, on Sundays and Mondays.

Mental illness is a problem, period.  But the problems are compounded by not knowing what KIND of mental illness a person is dealing with. 

The wrong diagnosis can send a person down a long trail of difficulties, incorrect treatments, and wrong medications. 

We hear a firsthand account of NOT getting a correct diagnosis from a member of Compass House in Medford, in this month's edition of Compass Radio. 

Julius Schorzman, CC BY-SA 2.0,

What's in your mug?  Most of us can't seem to start the day without SOME kind of beverage containing caffeine. 

Journalist Murray Carpenter freely admits he's often under the influence.  So he turned his curiosity on his drug of choice and wrote Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us

Murray Carpenter visited the Exchange in 2015, and we return to the interview here.