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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Michael R. Noggle, Public Domain,

Two words, not terribly descriptive alone, gain surprising strength when used in a two-word phrase: special forces. 

That phrase conjures up images of elite teams of military forces, trained for the most difficult and harrowing missions. 

Special operations forces grew out of World War II and stuck around.  Now they are profiled in a book, Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America’s Special Operations Forces.

Tomasz Sienicki, CC BY-SA 3.0, wikimedia

People continue to smoke and use tobacco in Oregon, despite programs in place to discourage smoking. 

The Oregon Nurses Association says there's a reason: the tobacco industry spending heavily to influence laws and policies in the state. 

ONA points to Oregon's low cigarette tax as one example.

Few of us are equipped to understand the challenges of mental illness. 

And that's why we hear the voices of people struggling with mental health in our monthly segment "Compass Radio." 

It is co-produced by Compass House in Medford, a center that functions on the clubhouse model of mental health care. 

Compass House residents talk about issues in their lives, including homelessness and unemployment, in recordings made at the house. 


Anneli Rufus believed the voice that told her she was worthless. 

And the voice was her own.  If it's possible to measure self-esteem in negative numbers, that's where she was. 

And she realized over time that neither she nor anyone else needs to feel that way. 

Her journey of realization and reconstruction is told in her book Unworthy: How To Stop Hating Yourself

California Fish and Wildlife

The world-famous wolf who has several names and answers to none of them has a new one: Grandpa.  OR-7, also known as Journey, is the famous wandering gray wolf who moved to our part of the world and found a mate and started a family. 

Now one of OR-7's offspring is the male head of the recently discovered Lassen pack, California's second known wolf pack (the Shasta pack is the other). 

This is just the latest step on wolves reestablishing a presence on their historic range, a range from which they'd been absent for most of a century. 

News from around the world in an instant.  Summer movies.  Social media. 

The Internet alone gives us an almost unlimited supply of media options. 

And it gives us plenty to talk about with Andrew Gay and Precious Yamaguchi of the Communication faculty at Southern Oregon University. 

They join us once a month to talk about media topics--news and not--in a segment we call "Signals & Noise." 

Wikimedia Commons

You don't have to write like a journalist to be successful in most careers.  But it helps, actually. 

Being able to communicate thoughts in writing--briefly and clearly--is a handy skill no matter what the job. 

Professional journalist Mary-Kate Mackey, who taught at the University of Oregon, packages up some ideas on how to deliver punchy prose in her book Write Better Right Now: The Reluctant Writer's Guide to Confident Communication and Self-Assured Style

That subtitle tells it all: even if you are reluctant to write, knowing how can only help. 

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Anyone with concerns about wildfires might be heartened to hear that there are fewer of them worldwide. 

NASA satellite images show a decline in fires over the last two decades. 

Which sounds like a good thing, until you remember that fires are necessary to thriving ecosystems, and fewer fires often means more human development. 


If you've been thinking about buying an electric or hybrid car, the Oregon Legislature just gave you a little nudge. 

The big transportation bill passed last week contains money for rebates for people who buy hybrids and straight electrics. 

That's a move celebrated by Forth, the electric car booster organization once called Drive Oregon. 

Mart Laanpere, CC BY-SA 2.0,

They are definitely related, but cooking and nutrition are different sciences. 

Now let's add another: Gastrophysics.  It brings human behavior to eating, and explains things like why we eat more food when there are more people around, and why ketchup is just not considered palatable if it's green. 

Charles Spence at the University of Oxford gives us a crash course in his book Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating

Evgeniy Isaev, CC BY 2.0,

What books have you chosen to read this summer?  Philosophy?  Classics of fiction?  Comic Books? 

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. 

Northtown Books in Arcata checks in with the latest installment of "Summer Reads". 


People drive cars and trucks in daytime and nighttime with no major problems. 

But when nighttime comes DURING the daytime... that's a whole different story. 

People are expected to flock to parts of Oregon to witness the solar eclipse coming on the morning of August 21st. 

Traffic snarls and more are possible, and both the transportation department--ODOT--and the Office of Emergency Management are making plans. 

Public Domain/Wikimedia

Solar eclipses (and lunar ones, for that matter) scared our ancestors hundreds and thousands of years ago.

Today we get quite enthusiastic about them; witness the buildup to what's being called the "All-American Eclipse," which will be total in Salem and other Oregon cities on August 21st. 

Count Andrew Fraknoi among the excited.  He teaches astronomy at Foothill College near San Francisco and is one of the leading experts on this eclipse. 

Christian LInder/Wikimedia

It's not brain death, but it's not quite like life as we know it, either: being in a vegetative or non-responsive state. 

British-Canadian neuroscientist Adrian Owen has made great efforts to communicate with people in these states. 

And to date, he's found roughly 20% who may still have minds intact, despite brain and/or body damage. 

Owen tells the story of his research in the book Into the Gray Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death

U.S. Army/Public Domain

Your child may know all the letters in the alphabet and reads aloud pretty well... but can't seem to tell you what the paragraph is about. 

This is where reading and comprehension come apart.  And it's what Gina Biancarosa studies in her research at the University of Oregon Center on Teaching and Learning

Dr. Biancarosa helps develop systems to assess reading comprehension in elementary school students. 

Ashland Automotive

Jump in the car, turn the key, and vroom.  It's that simple, most days.

Then there are the OTHER times, when there's no vroom, or a clank-clank to go with it.  Zach Edwards has heard many unusual sounds (and lack of them) in his years fixing cars. 

He's now the owner of Ashland Automotive and our regular guest for a segment called "The Squeaky Wheel." 

This month we talk about a shortage of technicians qualified to work on the cars today. 


"Birds do it, bees do it..." We are pretty clear on the reproductive process in nature, including OUR nature. 

Now, anyway... but for much of human history, we might as well have truly believed in storks delivering babies.  Everything from religion to lack of good microscopes got in the way. 

Science journalist Edward Dolnick follows the progress of science toward getting a handle on how babies are made, in his book The Seeds of Life

You can find arts events indoors in the month of July, but why? 

So many musical festivals and other events are held outdoors in this warmest of months, you can be plenty entertained without ever having a roof over your head. 

But we do recognize that some venues--like art galleries--are better in contained spaces. 

ALL arts events are welcome to join in the regional party we call First Friday Arts on The Exchange. 

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

Save Our Libraries Committee

The home page for the library system in Douglas County is a sad place indeed, listing no open hours for any of the libraries. 

The fact is, most of the libraries are open again, with shorter hours and volunteers doing the work.

The county withdrew funding due to tight budgets, and the libraries closed weeks ago.  Quick work got them open again, but a long-term solution is still being sought by members of a task force.

They are encouraged by the success of a vote to create a new library district in neighboring Josephine County.  Pat Fahey took part in that effort and is an advisor to the group in Douglas County.

Robert Leo Heilman is with the Friends of the Myrtle Creek Library.

WiLPrZ, CC BY-SA 2.0,

"Adopt" and "adapt" are such similar words, when you think about it. 

Susanne Antonetta certainly had to, when she and her husband adopted a baby son from Korea. 

The parents adopted and the baby adapted, and the situation gave the new parents some insight into their own raising. 

The story is told in Make Me a Mother, Susanne Antonetta's memoir.