The Jefferson Exchange

News & Information: Mon-Fri • 8am-10am | 8pm-10pm

JPR's live interactive program devoted to current events and newsmakers from around the region and beyond. It airs on JPR's News & Information service. Choose that service from the stream above or find your station here.

Participate in the live program by calling 800-838-3760 or emailing JX@jeffnet.org

US Bureau of Reclamation

The recent drought years have often left drivers on Interstate Five wondering what happened to Shasta Lake.  The bridges that cross arms of the lake are often high above the water line, and it can be hard to even see water and boats. 

But a plan to raise the height of Shasta Dam by 18 feet is still on the table, in fact got recent funding for design and engineering work.  The move is applauded by Westlands Water District and other water agencies. 

But the dam-raising plan is condemned by Friends of the River and other groups. 

StockSnap/Pixabay

Paul Offit knows medicine.  And so he speaks from a position of some authority when he talks about issues with the human body and its care and maintenance. 

Dr. Offit notices that scientists are not really good at imparting simple, bumper-sticker information, so other people--politicians, actors, lobbyists, you name it--fill the breach. 

And that's what Dr. Offit addresses in his book Bad Advice, Or Why Celebrities, Politicians, and Activists Aren't Your Best Source of Health Information.  It gives pointers on how to assess the quality of advice being given. 

niekverlaan/Pixabay

Just about anybody who ever worked in a newsroom can share a story about a public official NOT looking happy to see a reporter. 

News organizations report on the business of government, not always a comfortable situation for people in government. 

And a recent study shows that cities where newspapers shut down saw an increase in local government costs, at least partly because of reduced scrutiny of city deals. 

JenRegnier/Pixabay

How would your dog do on the SATs?  The question is a joke, but not the concept of testing dogs for problem-solving abilities. 

Oregon State University's Human-Animal Interaction Lab put both pet dogs and trained search & rescue dogs to work solving puzzles (yes, they involve treats). 

And the dogs displayed some differences in behavior based on whether humans were encouraging them, or not. 

Lauren Brubaker, a doctoral student at the lab, led the research. 

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

To call Octavio Solis a prolific playwright is a big understatement.  He's written enough plays to fill a shelf, enough plays to give someone a cramp picking up all the scripts. 

And the work continues; next year the Oregon Shakespeare Festival will host the world premiere of "Mother Road." 

Solis has had several of his plays staged at OSF already, and has participated in the "Play On" project, rewriting Shakespeare's works into modern English. 

La Citta Vita, https://www.flickr.com/photos/la-citta-vita/6044042151/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28131542

Conservation easements and land donations are pretty common here... people who own land volunteer to give it up, or some uses of it, for the good of the environment. 

There's another approach, payments for environmental services (PES), which are controversial.  Do we have to pay people to do the right thing? 

Recent research involving Oregon State University indicates PES does provide some benefits to land and people and the communities they share.  The research focused on Mexico. 

Oregon Lays Out Cash To Build More Homes

Jun 22, 2018
Public Domain

Oregon needs more homes... lots of them.  By one measurement, Medford alone could use more than 4,000 new rental units to make housing more affordable for more people. 

The state of Oregon is acting.  The department of Housing and Community Services just awarded nearly $53 Million to build hundreds of housing units in other parts of the state. 

Margaret Salazar runs OHCS. 

Humans spent many years building big mechanized facilities to keep sewage and other waste from getting into our waterways. 

In Arcata, the city and community supporters worked long and hard to get nature involved in the treatment process. 

The result is the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, a jewel in the city's environmental crown.  It is featured in a new book called The Marsh Builders by Sharon Levy. 

She visits the studio to talk about the marsh creation. 

NIH/Public Domain

Using the hospital as the doctor's office is not uncommon in America.  When you're low on cash and don't have insurance, visiting the emergency room is a viable option. 

And may be less of an option now that more people are insured. 

Research out of the University of California-San Francisco notes the use of emergency rooms dropping in California since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). 

Wikimedia

It's a natural fit, for churches to help the homeless population. 

The founders and leaders of most major religions speak with compassion about caring for people down on their luck. 

Ashland churches are making moves to increase the quantity and quality of the community's offerings for homeless people. 

Rev. Dan Fowler from the First Presbyterian Church visits, along with Ken Gudger, president of Options for Helping Residents of Ashland

mromerorta/Pixabay

Too many people already spend nights in their cars because they don't have any other place to sleep.  But some other vehicles, with a little work, can be comfy places to spend some time. 

Ashland-based Forever Homes, Vehicles for Change plans to convert retired school buses to new uses as temporary homes for homeless people. 

FH,VFC leaders envision both short- and longer-term modifications for the big yellow buses. 

sabinevanerp/Pixabay

Yikes, the recipe you got online calls for grams of flour, not cups.  How...?  Don't panic.  There are easy conversion charts, and you're already doing math in the kitchen anyway. 

True, as pointed out by mathematician Eugenia Cheng, whose goal is to rid the world of math phobia. 

She worked on us a few years ago with a lighthearted look at math/kitchen crossovers, How to Bake Pi

jarmoluk/Pixabay

Many of the activities that once kept people busy in rural areas just require fewer people now.  So it's hard to keep people down on the farm (or forest). 

One solution for improving rural productivity is to make sure that broadband Internet service is available. 

This is a pet cause of Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, who is pushing for Congress to fund broadband expansion in rural areas. 

We hear about the needs and the uses of additional money from Zachary Cikanek at Connect Americans Now, and Christopher Tamarin, a broadband specialist in the Oregon Business Development Department.

Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks

The recent discovery of an unusual looking wolf (or is it bear?) shot in Montana has a connection to Oregon. 

Because the federal Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Lab performed the work to identify the creature, which is indeed a wolf. 

Ken Goddard has been the director of the lab since its inception.  And he can tell us plenty about the tools at the lab's disposal... it's the only fully-equipped lab of its kind in the world, serving 182 countries. 

Fibonacci Blue - https://www.flickr.com/photos/fibonacciblue/30588590810

The resistance is not just about people taking to the streets and signing up to run for office.  Opposition to President Trump is obviously expressed in literature, too. 

The work of 42 writers, poets, and graphic artists is bundled together in the book Who Will Speak For America?  The works range from the beginning of the presidential term to the far future of the country, very much under debate at the moment. 

Nathaniel Popkin edited the book with Stephanie Feldman. 

skylakes.org

Rural Oregonians who need specialized health treatments can't always get to Portland.  So Portland, in a sense, is coming to them. 

An ongoing relationship between Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls will create the Sky Lakes Collaborative Health Center. 

Construction started recently, with completion planned for next year. 

Walter Siegmund/Wikimedia

Juniper must be good for something besides flavoring gin. 

The woody plant grows easily in Oregon's high desert; a little too easily.  Juniper has been encroaching on high desert ecosystems, and land managers want to cut it back a bit. 

So there's an effort to find uses for juniper that go beyond using berries for gin and the rest for firewood. 

Rancher Duncan Livingston has been taking part in juniper management experiments

Affordable housing is still out of the grasp of many low-wage workers.  The National Low Income Housing Coalition just put out its annual report, which shows that workers earning minimum wage and working full time can afford housing in just a few counties in the entire country. 

We explore the numbers, the issues, and the solutions raised with Diane Yentel, the CEO of NLIHC. 

We get local input from the Rogue Action Center in the person of Michelle Glass. 

ACCESS, Inc, also contributes, in the person of James Raison. 

Wikimedia

It's been a long odyssey for the Jordan Cove LNG (liquefied natural gas) project proposed for the Oregon Coast near North Bend. 

The plan, resurrected after an earlier federal denial, requires a pipeline crossing the region from North Bend to the Klamath Falls area. 

State agencies make up a piece of the regulatory puzzle, and a comment period is now open on whether the state should issue a water quality permit.

The Army Corps of Engineers is also accepting comments.

Rogue Climate is one of several groups opposing the permit and the project. 

scottwebb/Pixabay

"Feel years younger now!"  We hear claims like that frequently, especially with 10,000 Americans reaching retirement age every day. 

Can you believe any of them?  Maybe, says microbiologist Carolina Livi. 

She has been working for a biotech company and teaching at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, exploring some of the products offered to slow the aging process.  Her work focuses on fasting and the drug rapamycin. 

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