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Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives

FEMA is the federal agency we hear about in disasters, but it has a role in preventing disasters, too. 

FEMA sets out rules for development in and near flood-prone areas.  And its identification of areas off-limits to development is drawing resistance in Oregon. 

The City of Coos Bay filed suit against FEMA. 

Oregon Encyclopedia

When Charles Applegate moved into his house in Yoncalla, he probably was not thinking much about the year 2017.  Because Applegate moved in in 1852, and that makes his house the oldest one in Oregon continuously owned by the same family. 

As you could probably tell by the many places named Applegate, the family has been an influential one in the state's history. 

That's why a team from the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon spent some time there recently, digging for artifacts. 

That's the topic of this month's edition of Underground History, co-hosted by our friends at the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology

inciweb.gov

The fire season just ending (we hope) was a subject for debate even while the fires were raging; in fact, BEFORE the destructive fires in the California wine country. 

Pretty much every fire season now resumes the debate over whether more work should be done to remove fuel from wild lands or whether they should be burned deliberately or BOTH. 

We take a look back at the season and its lessons with the help of several knowledgeable guests.  

Erik Christensen was National Fuels Program lead for the Interior Department before his retirement. 

John Bailey teaches at the School of Forestry at Oregon State University. 

And J. Keith Gilless is dean of the College of Natural Resources at the University of California-Berkeley. 

Dominick Dellasala/Geos Institute

The fires in the Northern California wine country are just the latest example of the dangers of houses set close in to areas with a lot of vegetation, like forests. 

It's a concern of any residential area at the edge of the forest, and that includes the entire city of Ashland. 

The city fire department long ago adopted the Firewise campaign to help people take steps to defend against the possibility of wildfire. 

Sonya Thompson, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10473271

The Chicago Cubs won the baseball World Series just a year ago, and delighted fans who'd waited all their lives for a championship.  Fast-forward a year, and fans are back to disappointment: the Cubs didn't make it to the Series. 

None of this should surprise Ashland's Mark Scarpaci, who has learned to ride the ups and downs of Cub fandom. 

Scarpaci is the author of two books, including the novel Wrigley Sanders, about a boy born in the bleachers at the Cubs' home park.  It's not a typical sports success story, that's for sure. 

Little Mountain/Wikimedia

The list of dams now removed from the Rogue River and its tributaries is getting longer: Gold Ray, Savage Rapids, Bear Creek, Wimer... and that's just a start. 

It didn't happen overnight, and it didn't happen without resistance. 

The major point: giving fish a chance to get upstream to spawn once again. 

The Rogue River Watershed Council plays a part in recent and planned dam removals. 

Medford Comic Con Facebook page

When you think about all the times our parents told us to stop reading comic books, it's amazing comics survived. 

But survive they did, and now they are central to American culture... at least in the movies and TV.  Have you SEEN how many movies and TV shows feature characters who first appeared in the comics? 

Mike Madrid is a comic lover and documenter, with several books on costumed heroines, including The Supergirls.  He comes to Ashland for the Lit Fest on Saturday at the SOU library, and joins us for a preview. 

And we add Laura Kimberly, the Medford library branch manager.  She is also the organizer of the Medford Comic Con, a convention for comics lovers. 

Everything from classical poetry to comic books will be discussed and celebrated at the Ashland Literary Arts Festival

It takes over the Hannon Library at Southern Oregon University on Saturday (October 28) from 10 to 4. 

Did we mention film?  The renamed festival, now in its 6th year, celebrates independent story and thought in all of its forms. 

There's never a dull moment in the media world these days, especially since anyone with a Facebook or Twitter account can get a message to the entire (wired) world.  How DOES someone break through the clutter and reach an audience? 

That is one of the questions always in the background as we discuss events in media with Andrew Gay and Chris Lucas of the Communications faculty at Southern Oregon University. 

It's a segment we call "Signals & Noise." 

Andre Dubus III worked a lot of jobs, from office cleaner to teacher to private investigator.  He seems most at home writing, and a large audience appreciates his work. 

Dubus's House of Sand and Fog was an Oprah Book Club selection and was made into a movie. 

And there's been plenty of writing since that work. 

Chautauqua Poets & Writers brings the author to town for a session in Ashland (Monday, October 23rd). 

Doctors Without Borders

We argue A LOT about health care and its cost in our country. 

But we also do not have some of the problems with health experienced in the rest of the world.  Like in Cambodia, where there is an outbreak of hepatitis C. 

Doctors Without Borders is providing vital care, with a team that includes Rogue Valley physician Teresa Chan

Gary Halvorson/Oregon State Archives

A "home rule" charter group in Douglas County proposes a shakeup in the county's structure. 

If voters approve the change, the three-person board of paid commissioners would be replaced by a five-person board of volunteer county commissioners elected from specific electoral districts. 

It would potentially save the county money (in salaries), and bring the commissioners closer (physically, anyway) to the voters. 

Former commissioner Doug Robertson is opposed to the plan. 

Kevin Delaney, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10677432

American children born the year the Rolling Stones first recorded music got their invitations to join AARP this year. 

Somehow, the band keeps going, after more than half a century.  But its composition has certainly changed over time, and in one case, tragically. 

Guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones died young in 1969, but he left a distinctive stamp on the early group. 

Paul Trynka wrote a book about him, Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones, and joined us in 2014. 

Public Domain/Wikimedia

Volcanoes not only erupt and spew objects into the air; they also move the ground.  Quite a bit, in some cases. 

So there's often some shaking with the baking.  Those are approximately the words of seismologist Stephen McNutt. 

He delivers the first of this year's geology lectures at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay, explaining how seismologists study volcanoes. 

Synergy Green Builders

One of the many options for reducing your utility bills is the installation of a ductless heat pump. 

It's like the old heat pump that heats and cools your home, but... ductless. 

A short-term program called Energize Rogue is set up to help people buy the ductless heat pumps at reduced cost, in Jackson, Josephine, and Douglas Counties. 

Spark Northwest is part of the effort, and Allied Comfort Pro handles installations. 

Nigel Chadwick, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13865581

Some of the themes and incidents in Rene Denfeld's life are reflected in her recent novel The Child Finder.

Denfeld is a licensed investigator in Oregon, and she has devoted herself to helping death penalty inmates, sex trafficking victims, and children in need.  She adopted three children out of foster care. 

Denfeld's book is receiving critical acclaim while she tours in support of the book. 

M.O. Stevens/Wikimedia

When migratory fish populations keep dropping and dams get in the way of their spawning journeys, fish managers often resort to "trap and haul."  It is what it sounds like: trap the fish below the dam, take them by truck or barge or helicopter to the water above the dam. 

Now two-way trap-and-haul is recommended for sensitive salmon species in dam-happy California. 

And a report from UC-Davis recommends caution in that process. 

Robert Lusardi is the lead author of the report. 

Veresen, Inc.

Once more with feeling: the battle is renewed over the proposal for the Jordan Cove LNG (liquefied natural gas) export terminal at North Bend. 

If built, Jordan Cove would take gas from a long pipeline across Western Oregon, chill it to a liquid, and pump it into ships for sale overseas. 

Last year the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nixed the project.  Then Donald Trump moved into the White House and put new people in FERC.  So the applications have been re-submitted. 

Project opponents visited on October 11. 

"Innocent until proven guilty" is the law of the land.  But there's a reason to keep that statement in quotes. 

Society at large has a tendency to assume some degree of guilt whenever a person is arrested. 

Mark Godsey spent his career working to put guilty people behind bars, and seriously doubting that any innocent people ended up there.  Then he reluctantly ran the Kentucky Innocence Project.  It changed his life. 

Godsey writes about what he has learned in Blind Injustice: A Former Prosecutor Exposes the Psychology and Politics of Wrongful Convictions

Oobspace, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47737380

Maybe you never knew where the stuff from your recycled bin ended up... until the recent news from China. 

China has taken a lot of stuff off the hands of other countries, including nearly half the plastic waste created by the rest of the world. 

Now the Beijing government says too much of the waste was dirty and/or hazardous, and it is closing the scrap window for many items. 

That creates issues for recyclers, like Rogue Disposal & Recycling, and regulators, like the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

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