The Jefferson Exchange

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

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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Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

Smoke has been a more regular feature of the region's skies of late. 

Up until the beginning of August, the fire season did not feature the huge outbreaks of fires of recent years.  But it may just be a matter of time. 

Whatever happens,  crews and equipment from Oregon Department of Forestry and other agencies are ready for lightning or human-caused fires, or whatever comes their way. 

Steve Sutfin/Camelot Theatre

Wow, it's August already?  And it's time once again to take stock of arts events coming to the region's stages and galleries in the week ahead. 

The Exchange gets in sync with the many First Friday art walks around the region by offering up our own First Friday Arts Talk. 

Simple recipe: six phone lines, 25 minutes or so, and all the calls we can fit in that time. 

Call 800-838-3760 to take part and talk up an arts event in your town. 

Sunriver Music Festival

The longstanding Britt Festivals in Jacksonville gobble up much of the attention, but there are other ongoing music festivals in our part of the world. 

The Sunriver Music Festival is starting its 40th season next week. 

George Hanson is the man with the baton, the music director of the festival. 

House of Representatives

Duncan Lee is not a household name, but he probably should be. 

In an age when Americans feared Soviet spies in their midst, he was one.  A spy, that is... and he spied for a very long time, somehow avoiding prison for his deeds. 

Duncan Lee's story is told by Mark A. Bradley in the book A Very Principled Boy

Orchestral music gently (okay, not ALWAYS gently) drifts through downtown Jacksonville on summer weekend evenings. 

The Britt Orchestra is in the middle of its three-weekend run of masterworks old and new. 

Conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane brings his considerable keyboard skills to the stage in a concert Friday night (August 4th). 

Tiffany Bailey, CC BY 2.0,

Oregon's tax system ensures that school budgets are relatively tight every year. 

Recessions make them worse. 

Several years ago, the Medford School District was forced to cut special education funding, essentially telling the department to do more with less.  It did. 

Outcomes have improved, by several measures. 


Maybe people don't SAY rude things like "are you on your period?" much anymore. 

But they probably still THINK them. 

Psychologist Robyn Stein DeLuca researches attitudes about women and hormones and provides insight in her book The Hormone Myth: How Junk Science, Gender Politics and Lies about PMS Keep Women Down

If you want to start a conversation that you know will last a while, ask Josh Gross about favorite bands. 

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 news that North Korea may have missiles capable of reaching our West Coast is both unwelcome and ironic. 

Ironic because the anniversaries of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki occur in the next week. 

As always, the anniversaries will be observed by people who do not want to see the bombings repeated, including the Friends Committee on National Legislation and Rogue Valley peace groups. 

Kate Gould of FCNL and Southern Oregon University professor Michael Niemann both speak at upcoming events. 

PGHolbrook/Wikimedia Commons

The gorgeous Smith River is thought of as a California stream, but some of its waters rise on the Oregon side of the state line. 

And it is that side that just gave a boost to efforts to protect the Smith. 

Oregon's Environmental Quality Commission just applied "outstanding resource waters" designation to the North Fork of the river. 

The Smith River Alliance pushed for the label. 


How can you know a person from afar, something beyond the standard biographies?  For Laura Shapiro, the answer was on the dining table, literally. 

She tracks six notable women--some famous, like Eleanor Roosevelt, some less so, like British caterer Rosa Lewis--in the book What She Ate

From their food choices and habits (be glad you never had a meal at the FDR White House), we learn more about each of the women. 

Evgeniy Isaev, CC BY 2.0,

Can you pull yourself away from the news long enough to get immersed in a good book? 

The long, warm days lend themselves to reading, and we'll spend the summer getting advice on WHAT to read from some of our local bookstores. 

Fiction or non, fantasy or not, what's your pleasure?  Our weekly feature "Summer Reads" probes the tastes and recommendations of Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah. 


"Transparency" is the term often used to describe a government in which the workings are visible and open to the public. 

Which is how things are supposed to be in America.  But even places that profess to believe in transparency can throw up obstacles. 

Oregon passed a major public records law decades ago, then passed many exemptions to that law. 

Now the 2017 legislature has produced four new laws that should affirm the primacy of openness in government. 

It impressed the state's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists

Hemhem20X6, Public Domain,

Dead trees happen.  But a LOT of dead trees happening all at once is a cause for concern, and it led to the creation of a Sudden Oak Death Syndrome Task Force in Oregon. 

Public officials at several levels of government took part, producing a report on impacts of SODS on oaks and other trees. 

The report is finished, and a set of recommendations is part of it. 


There IS life after fossil fuels.  Peter Kalmus can attest to that. 

He's aware that he lives in a society still powered by them, but he made great strides to reduce his own carbon impact. 

It was about walking the talk: Kalmus is an atmospheric scientist at NASA. 

He tells the story of changing his life to prove the world can change, in the book Being the Change

Ken Lund, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The eclipse is now three weeks away (August 21st), and the excitement is mounting. 

In parts of Oregon and in many other states, the eclipse will be total.  And you could totally damage your eyes by trying to sneak a look at it without protective eyewear or a viewing device. 

Dr. John Hyatt at the Retina & Vitreous Center of Southern Oregon knows a thing or two about how the eyes work, and what (like looking at the sun) can make them work poorly.

Recent history has not been very kind to one of the primary keepers of history in Jackson County. 

The Southern Oregon Historical Society lost its primary funding source through a change in property-tax law; it is currently all-volunteer.  But still working to preserve the region's history, and working to raise money for the effort. 

SOHS presents a fundraiser on Saturday, August 5th, the Hanley Farm Music Festival

Wyoming State Historical Society

The path of the August 21st solar eclipse goes right over the American land mass, from Oregon on the Pacific to South Carolina on the Atlantic. 

So the tag "American Eclipse" has been attached to the event. 

And it's not the first time... in July 1878, another solar eclipse passed over the country, also called American Eclipse.  Which is also the name of a book on that event by David Baron. 

He tracks three people of scientific bent, including Thomas Edison, into the path of the celestial event, with a mix of results. 

Birds Go Begging For Water In Klamath Refuges

Jul 27, 2017
Jes Burns/EarthFix

The wildlife refuges of the Klamath Basin are great places to see (and hear) birds in great numbers. 

But the numbers would be even greater with an additional ingredient: water. 

Status as a wildlife refuge not only does not guarantee an allocation of water, the refuges are used as farmland in some areas. 

Jes Burns from our EarthFix unit investigated the situation for a series of reports (here's part one). 

Light Dancing Productions

Barri Chase has made many short films and music videos.

She brings years of experience from the fashion, beauty and fine art photography industries, to carefully create and shape each scene.

Her film "Hand of the Earth" won 5 festival awards including: best director, best in category, best editor, best sound design and best visual effects.

Barri’s music video "Weather, Whether" is an example of her directing style and aesthetic talents.

"The Watchman's Canoe" was filmed in the Coos Bay area, where the director spent her childhood.