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.

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Talk about your high-pressure jobs: 911 dispatchers have to stay calm while people are often coming unglued on the phone with them.

It might not be the easiest job in the world to fill. 

In fact, Oregon's Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, which trains emergency dispatchers, reports a shortage of them in rural areas. 

Randy Johnson for City of Rogue River

School is out for the summer, but students are still learning things. 

High school students in the city of Rogue River will spend part of their vacation keeping up with the skills they gained in the "Learning to Protect Our Environment" program. 

During the school year, the program pairs the high school students with elementary school kids to teach environmental stewardship skills.  A similar program is offered in the summer, with an emphasis on the effects of climate change on the environment.

Love and icebergs.  Those are among the elements in Midge Raymond's debut novel My Last Continent

We could not resist a chance to talk writing craft with an author based in Ashland, especially when her book takes us to Antarctica and the effects of climate change upon that frosty land. 

We promise not to blow the ending on the love story, but we definitely need to hear more about the icebergs. 

Friesen Press

The Earth's population grows by about 200,000 people every day.  That's roughly the population of Eugene PLUS the population of Ashland PLUS Grants Pass thrown in as well.  How long can we keep this up?

That's the central question of environmental journalist Paul Hanley's book 11, a reference to the 11 Billion people who may occupy the planet by the end of the 21st century. 

He's got some ideas about how to slow and reverse the growth. 

Julie Cortez/OSF

Abraham Lincoln made his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but the Civil War and slavery dragged on for two more years.  It was not until June 19, 1865, that former slaves in Texas finally got word of their freedom. 

The date is now remembered as "Juneteenth."  The Oregon Shakepeare Festival observes Juneteenth every year, and this year the celebration is Monday, June 27th (an off-day for festival performers). 

W.W. Norton Books

Diarrhea as a threat to national security is nothing new, (dysentary's been part of American military history since before Valley Forge), but the approaches have certainly evolved.

Where we are now in easing the ravages of war -- be it intestinal distress, panic, exhaustion, heat, ​flies and/or ​noise --- are all covered in a new book by journalist Mary Roach.

She goes under the armor, below the belt and to a few more unmentionable places in Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans At War.


Multiple sclerosis, MS, has no cure... and over time, MS patients generally see a decline in neurological and other functions as the disease advances. 

There are treatments, to be sure, but recent research suggests that diet can play a big part in maintaining health through MS. 

Vijayshree Yadav, an assistant professor of neurology at Oregon Health & Science University, studies diet and lifestyle effects on MS, and finds that diets with whole foods and lower saturated fats can slow the advance of MS. 


Peace, Love and Cotton Candy.... Three days in July make for one compelling reason to visit Veneta, Oregon.

Every year the Oregon Country Fair transforms this small community outside of Eugene from its usual population of about 4,500 into a hive of nearly 45,000 festival-goers.

The vibes are notoriously groovy, and despite its popularity, the fair strives to be family and environmentally friendly.

Penguin Random House

Teenagers are famous for being interested in many things--generally not the things their parents are doing. 

So James Campbell had some misgivings about inviting his teenaged daughter Aidan to join him on a trip into Alaska's wild interior.  She said yes, twice. 

The third trip amounted to a coming-of-age journey for Aidan in some of the most remote places in the country.  It is the story told in Jim's book Braving It.

Deviant Art/Wikimedia

At this point it seems naive to ask if money influences politics.

So, let's begin with HOW much money it takes to make a difference, and thwart efforts to curtail catastrophic climate change.

Our guests have followed the money, and struck oil. Daniel Lewkow is the Political Director of Common Cause Oregon; David Hyde heads up Move To Amend.

The Senate voted on additional gun restrictions this week (June 20).  Four votes, four rejections. 

Now you get to think like a senator: would additional gun laws help stop mass shootings?  What would you restrict? 

Our alternate topic this week is infill: how you feel about more density in housing, like apartments, next to your single-family home. 

VENTSday removes the guests and puts listener comments front and center on The Exchange. Once a week, it's all about you... we plop a pair of topics on the table, post a survey on our Facebook page, and open the phone lines and email box for live comments.

The topics can range from presidential politics to how you spend your days off.

Where there's smoke, there's fire.  Where there's fire, there's Stephen Pyne

He may be the foremost authority on wildfire on the continent, with more than a dozen books to his credit.  They include a work called Between Two Fires, detailing the tug-of-war between all-out fire suppression and the deliberate use of fire to help maintain a forest. 

And he visits an area that is no stranger to wildfires--ours--with an Ashland appearance tonight (June 22).

When historian Studs Terkel wanted to know how people really felt about their jobs, he traveled with a tape recorder and asked them.


Rana Khoury recently took a similar tack, except she wanted to know how people felt about the lack of good jobs, about losing their homes and about struggling to escape poverty in the wake of the Great Recession.

A Northwestern Ph.D. candidate, Khoury looked to her home state of Ohio for insights we might apply more broadly.


Violence against LGBTQ people has a long history in America, culminating in last week's mass murder of 49 people at a gay dance cub in Orlando.

The carnage comes right when things seemed to be looking up, when gay rights have never been more openly discussed and demanded through policy change.

Journalist Kerry Eleveld chronicled these policy shifts in her recent book Don't Tell Me To Wait: How the Fight for Gay Rights Changed America and Transformed Obama's Presidency.

Harvard historian Jim Downs delves into the trying decades before recent watershed moments in his book: Stand By Me: The Forgotten History Of Gay Liberation.

Hachette Book Group

In a world where pens are still mightier than swords, (or guns), Kimberley Strassel is no stranger to battle.

The Oregon-born political commentator writes Potomac Watch, a regular column in the the Wall Street Journal.

Her latest material appears in book-form: Intimidation Game: How The Left Is Silencing Free Speech.

The author makes the case for politicized, colluding bureaucracy, zooming in on the IRS's treatment of conservative non-profits.


Whether self-interest is enlightened or not, it's not good for the planet.

That's the general thrust of Bob Doppelt's work.  We met Bob a few years ago to talk about his book From Me To We

He continues his work on climate change and sustainability through The Resource Innovation Group (TRIG) in the Willamette Valley, teaching at both Willamette University and the University of Oregon. 

How to make the me-to-we shift and how to implement changes get an airing at a meeting of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN). 

Access Adventure

The National Park system celebrates its first century this year, with ceremonies across the system.

It's a chance to observe the spectacular places we've protected; places that all too often were inaccessible to people with disabilities. 

The great John Muir was an advocate for conservation, but wheelchairs were not foremost on his mind.  His grandson, Michael Muir, is the founder and executive director of Access Adventure, bringing people with disabilities and horses together for outdoor recreation. 


Even when school is out for the summer, debates about education continue. 

And teachers and their work are always right in the middle of those debates. 

Oregon's largest teacher's union, the Oregon Education Association, sends members to Washington, DC early next month for big meetings of the National Education Association, the parent group.  OEA President Hanna Vaandering is preparing to travel to the gathering. 

Harvard University Press

Whether Hillary Clinton wins the White House or not, she is NOT the first woman to try, not by a long shot.

The first woman to seek the presidency did so before women even had the right to vote in America; does the name Victoria Woodhull ring a bell?  Woodhull and the later seekers are profiled in Ellen Fitzpatrick's book The Highest Glass Ceiling

Fitzpatrick dazzled us a few years back with Letters to Jackie

Anmol Waychal/wikimedia

It's a moment that sticks with us on The Exchange... we asked Ken Goddard from the National Forensics Laboratory in Ashland if elephants were going to make it.  His answer: "it's not looking good, is it?" 

By one count, the world loses 96 elephants a day, mostly to poachers who only want the ivory tusks. 

Researcher Caitlin O'Connell is determined to help elephants survive; she is featured in a new National Geographic WILD special on elephants and their plight.