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Film Shasta

Who needs Hollywood when you've got Redding and environs? 

Film Shasta is set up to encourage filmmakers to shoot their projects in Shasta County.  And it appears to be working... 2017 was a record year for film work in the county, with an estimated $650,000 or more in economic impact on the region. 

Sabrina Jurisich is the Shasta County Film Commissioner. 


Brad Meltzer is a busy guy.  He continues to crank out mystery novels, often with historical and/or political themes, and he hosts "Lost History" on History network. 

And his work is not just for grownups; Meltzer is also the author of a series of books for kids, Ordinary People Change the World

Harriet Tubman, Gandhi, and Jackie Robinson are among the people profiled in the series for young readers. 


Ten million people live in Los Angeles County, the biggest in California.  Humboldt County has somewhat fewer, at a bit more than 134,000. 

So Humboldt and 34 other counties band together to bring their concerns to the attention of state legislators, as the Rural County Representatives of California, RCRC. 

And Humboldt County has the potential for a bit more attention, now that County Supervisor Rex Bohn chairs RCRC. 

Google Street View

Eight new housing units for veterans are in the works for Klamath Falls, thanks to a grant from the Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services. 

$2 Million will buy and renovate a building on East Main Street, give veterans places to live, and NOT require a money match from the Klamath Housing Authority or Klamath & Lake Community Action Services

Housing for vets is an ongoing issue in Klamath Falls and many towns in the region. 

Bruce Haynes is used to studying people and urban communities in particular; he's a sociologist at the University of California-Davis.  But his latest book, with Syma Solovitch, turns the lens around, to focus on three generations of his own family, in Harlem. 

The book is called Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family, and it traces the rising and falling fates of the family and its community. 

This is the latest edition of The Keenest Observers.  Host Rob Goodwin returns to interview Bruce Haynes. 


It can be a little jarring to visit the Oregon Dunes a while after your last trip... things move around. And they're supposed to, in a healthy dune ecosystem.

The winds blow the sand around into new shapes and positions.

Unless someone planted vegetation to “stabilize” the dunes, and that has happened.

The invasive plant species gorse is now a major concern, and the focus of the Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative.

Molly J. Smith/Statesman Journal

People are dying in Northern California at alarming rates. 

Drug and alcohol abuse are among the causes of death that are killing white people at rates above the national average. 

The Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University and the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Pittsburgh assembled a report that shows high rates of increased mortality across most of the counties of the Northstate. 


More than a few baby boomers can probably remember statements in their youth like "you can't tell the boys from the girls anymore." 

And a young person today might well answer: so what?  Gender HAS been a factor in determining many rights and responsibilities through human history, and seldom for good. 

Gender roles and even identities are more fluid now; sociologist Barbara Risman examines the situation in Where the Millennials Will Take Us: A New Generation Wrestles with the Gender Structure

Not all the great ideas in the world come from adults.  Just ask any child. 

In essence, that's what The Future of Good project does... asking children to talk about their ideas for helping their communities. 

This year's national finalists include Nicole Cleland from Klamath Falls, who helps students combine the STEM skills with agriculture. 

And Jessica Salgado from Sutherlin helps students with disabilities take part in sports. 

SOU Farm Facebook page

It's not a big farm, but it's a significant farm.  Southern Oregon University cultivates a little more than five acres of land in the city of Ashland, in a plot called--not surprisingly--The Farm at SOU

It is a laboratory not just for agricultural techniques, but also for sustainability practices, so the land can be used over and over without harm. 

Ray Leal/Evil Hours Kickstarter page

The United States has been at war non-stop since the fall of 2001, almost a lifetime.  And by some counts, up to 30 percent of the people fighting for the United States come home with post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. 

David J. Morris is one of them.  He explores his own experiences and the effects of PTSD on many people in his book PTSD: The Evil Hours

Nigel Chadwick, CC BY-SA 2.0,

It takes a lot of ingredients for a forest to grow on a mountain.  Snow in the winter is one of them. 

So what happens when snowstorms get few and far between, as in this winter?  That's a question we will likely see the answer to in the years ahead. 

And it's a subject Dr. Anne Nolin has already been considering in her work at Oregon State University's College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.  She talks about "Snow-forest Interactions in a Changing World" in the next geology lecture at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay (on March 3rd). 

Oregon State Archives

Oregon remains one of the whitest states in the union, a legacy of the state's exclusion of all people of color upon entering the Union. 

But African-Americans have made significant contributions to the state throughout its history.  And those contributions are recognized in the first-ever Black History Month observance at the Oregon State Archives. 

"Black in Oregon, 1840-1870" is now on display, and it is the subject of this month's edition of Underground History. 


Just the title of Patrick J. Deneen's book might raise a few hackles on America's left wing: Why Liberalism Failed

Deneen, a political science teacher at Notre Dame, examines the tenets of liberalism and points out how they work against their professed goals. 

Example: encouraging members of society to work for a common good WHILE also elevating the rights of the individual.  CAN liberalism be made to add up?  And does it have a future? 


The federal Environmental Protection Agency was preparing to order the pesticide chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) off the market a couple of years ago.  Then Donald Trump became president, and the EPA changed its approach. 

Now a recent report indicates chlorpyrifos and two other commonly-used pesticides present a clear threat to sensitive fish species in the Northwest and California--salmon and steelhead and the like. 

It took court action by the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides and allied groups just to get the report released. 

Jared Wong, CC BY 2.0,

Few people ever talk about WANTING to move into a senior care facility. 

Most of us would prefer to stay in our own homes, albeit with some amenities that help us deal with the issues of old age. 

Age Friendly Innovators of Jacksonville works with seniors to help them "age in place."  Among the issues: what are the additional needs of seniors who live in rural areas, beyond the walking distance of needed services? 

Australian Paralympic Committee, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The winter Olympics in South Korea proved once and for all that American sports fans are not the only ones who take off their shirts in cold weather. 

Why DO people tempt frostbite and other maladies to cheer on their teams?  Because they may be Superfans, a type of person examined in a book by that name by George Dohrmann. 

His sources range from sports psychologists to the man who gathered a huge cheering section for the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer. 

Liana Salanta/Wikimedia

Oregon continues to produce more wine over time, but its production of beer ingredients may be even more impressive. 

Hops are a major agricultural product in Oregon, the number three state behind Washington and Idaho.  And the hop harvest over the past five years has zoomed, up 77 percent. 

People who know hops say this is probably the peak; there are enough hops to meet the demand, and then some. 

Jaki Brophy speaks for hop growers at USA Hops in Yakima, Washington. 

Erich Ferdinand, CC BY 2.0,

You know how people always say you should not run from a dog that appears threatening?  That's because the dog is more likely to run after you if you create a chase situation. 

And it's apparently just as true of wolves as it is of dogs. 

Mark Coats is a rancher in the Tulelake area, just as concerned as any rancher about the rise of wolves in the region.  He offers advice through the web at Rancher Predator Awareness, including ways to train cattle not to run when confronted by predators. 

The world may appear to be a scary place at the moment, but Ian Goldin and Chris Kutarna see opportunity. 

They point to another period of history that featured both great discoveries and advancements AND wrenching social and political change: the Renaissance, which pulled the Western world out of the medieval period. 

Could this time of great knowledge and risk parallel that one? 

Goldin and Kutarna make the case in their book Age of Discovery: Navigating the Storms of Our Second Renaissance