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It's not unusual for union members to oppose foreign trade deals, enacted or proposed.  But plumbers and steamfitters? 

Sure enough, the United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 290, serving Oregon, Southern Washington, and Northern California, has a major bone to pick with the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). 

When you stop to think, you realize the jobs union members perform probably can't be sent offshore. 

Penguin Books

It was not so long ago that the only human females in the Arab world were children and married women.  But that is changing, despite continued pressure to conform from men. 

Arab women are increasing their education and independence, a trend noted in Katherine Zoepf's book Excellent Daughters

The author is well-versed in the subject matter, covering women in Arab countries for more than ten years. 

Remember how much fun it was being a teenager?  Yes, the question is facetious... because the teen years often contain the most tumultuous years of a person's life. 

That's what led to the creation of The Rose Circle Mentoring Network, which mentors people from ages 10 to 24 all over Jackson County. 


Where chain saws once roared, only the sounds of the McKenzie River can be heard.

And that's the way things are likely to stay for a very long time. 

The McKenzie River Trust just closed a deal to buy a chunk of land along the river, near the community of Blue River, from a timber company. 

Basic Books

There's no place like home, jillions of people once said. 

And there's nothing like a human, we should add. 

Because humans and homes are intricately interconnected, a connection explored by anthropologist John Allen in Home: How Habitat Made Us Human

We learn much about how our making of homes makes us different from other species--all of them.

Lulu Vision

The recent death of a homeless man in Medford in cold weather prompted concerns about where people go when the weather turns bitter. 

Several cities offer emergency shelters when temps dip sharply. 

Those include Ashland, which can house some homeless people on especially cold nights. 

The Ashland Community Resource Center coordinates that and other services.

Behind the refuge takeover in Harney County lies a persistent issue: is management of federal land onerous, or beneficial?

That's one topic in this week's VENTSday; call or email or take this survey on whether your community benefits from federal land management, or is hurt by it.

Topic two: What to do about the Klamath River now that the agreements have expired? 

Our weekly VENTSday segment puts the listeners front and center.

We throw a pair of topics on the table, and let callers and emailers vent--politely--on those topics. Topics range from the global to the hyper-local, and all responsible opinions are welcome.

The major Martin Luther King Day celebration in Ashland features a collective keynote speaker: "Universes," the innovative resident theater company at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. 

The group amazed audiences with the 60s-revolution retrospective "Party People" a few years ago, and stuck around to create more work that goes beyond simple entertainment. 

And they work in so many genres: theater, poetry, jazz, and hip-hop at the top of the list. 

California Department of Corrections

The number of people in jail and prison in America is staggering itself: more than two million people. 

Stop and think about the loved ones of the prisoners, and you realize millions more are waiting on the outside. 

And many prisons are changing the rules for family visits, putting more time and distance between inmates and their loved ones. 

Sylvia A. Harvey wrote about this recently in The Nation

Butte Creek Mill

Christmas morning provided a surprise to the owners of Eagle Point's historic Butte Creek Mill, but not the pleasant kind. 

The mill burned to the ground before dawn, leaving the community without its centerpiece of more than a century. 

Any doubts about the future were quickly erased, though, as owner (and Eagle Point Mayor) Bob Russell declared "We Will Rebuild." 

Penguin Books

The next time somebody criticizes your messy desk, just point out that it could be a sign of creativity.  It's worth a try. 

And there's some evidence to support the claim, explored in the book Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind

Authors Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire incorporate both brain science and great examples--from Thomas Edison to John Lennon--to illustrate the proclivities of the creative mind. 


Well, this has to be a first.  We can neither say the title nor show the cover of a book we're discussing on the air. 

Because the book is about BS, and you know what that stands for. 

Language expert and humorist Mark Peters takes a tour through the range of terms we often use (think "balderdash" and "bunk") in his book Bulls**t: A Lexicon


The presence of curb cuts and parking slots for the handicapped gives you some idea of our accommodations for people with disabilities. 

But it's hard for people without disabilities to get a real sense of what's still needed. 

Bill Hahey will tell us on a return visit; he is a musician and a member of DUDE, Disabled United in Direct Empowerment

He has some stories about issues navigating for blind people. 

University of Oregon

You can't sit in one place and watch evolution happen.  But you might be able to come back after a while and see the evidence of it. 

And in a remarkably short time, it turns out. 

Scientists at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Oregon discovered that the huge Alaska earthquake of 1964--the one that caused the Crescent City tsunami--forced sudden changes in a species of fish. 

ForeEdge Books

Dirt: it's beneath us.  Physically, yes, but it is also celebrated by more people than you might think. 

Stop to consider how much we depend on the dirt beneath us, for places to grow food, for building materials, and a host of other uses. 

The celebration continues in the hands of 36 writers in the anthology Dirt: A Love Story

The writers range from artists to scientists. 


No matter what else is going on in society, people get hooked on drugs and have trouble getting sober.

That's kept Addictions Recovery Center--ARC in most references--in business for four decades in the Rogue Valley. 

ARC is in the process of expanding its services and staff to handle the load. 


Mark Baker has worked at the Register-Guard in Eugene long enough to be called Senior Reporter and get his own column ("Living Here"). 

But he might be hard-pressed to come up with a year as eventful as 2015 was for him and his colleagues. 

The year included the shooting at Umpqua Community College an hour from Eugene, the resignation of the governor and the burning of Civic Stadium.  And that's just the top of the list. 


Much has been written about the interning of Japanese-Americans during World War II, but Pamela Rotner Sakamoto's story of that period is a tale of a world turned upside-down more than once. 

In Midnight in Broad Daylight, she tells us of a Japanese-American family whose members moved back to Japan years before the war. 

But one brother returned to the United States to live, and he ended up serving in the U.S. military, on the opposite side of the fight from his brothers. 

The details of their experiences fascinate and occasionally horrify.

Alliance for the Great Lakes

The products that make your teeth smooth and give your skin a healthy glow can have unintended impacts on the environment. 

Some soaps, toothpastes, and other cleaning products contain plastic "microbeads" as mild abrasives. 

But it's okay... they wash down the drain.  Oh, that's the problem... they get through treatment plants and end up in rivers, causing problems for wildlife. 

That's why federal legislation will ban plastic microbeads in 2018, a move applauded by scientist Chelsea Rochman at the University of California-Davis. 

River Design Group

Everyone once in a while a river will flood in our part of the world. 

But that's the exception; more often than not, our streams get warmer and smaller as the year wears on, with more demands on water than many streams can meet. 

WaterWatch of Oregon works to keep water IN streams for fish and river users.