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: JX@jeffnet.org.   Check us out on Facebook.

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Patchy Sanders, we hardly knew ye.  The Ashland-based folk band is scattering in search of new projects, which is a nice way of saying the band is breaking up. 

But a few final gigs loom, and before those, the Patchy assemblage visited our studio to chat with JPR's Eric Teel, and play some of the band's original music. 

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Plenty of people walk around thinking that corporations and people with lots of money call all the shots economically and politically. 

Some, like believers in "community rights," work to counteract the power of corporations and their owners. 

Community Rights Lane County is one such group, urging people within Lane County to exercise their rights to determine local policies. 

OSU Press

If the Cascade Mountains are Oregon's backbone, the Willamette River is something like its main artery. 

Most of Oregon's population lives within a few miles of the big river, which rises in Lane County and flows north to Portland and the Columbia. 

The Mid-Valley, roughly halfway between Eugene and Portland, is the focus of a book of essays called Wild in the Willamette

Notable regional authors contributed works hailing the natural wonders of the river and its environs.

beautyafterbreastcancer.com/

We've gotten past the point where we think of breast removal surgery after cancer as a disfigurement.  Or have we? 

Ashland nurse Katelyn Carey wants to make sure we have, with her recently published book Beauty After Breast Cancer.

The coffee-table book features glossy photographs of bare-chested women (and one man) displaying the surgical options for breast cancer patients, so people know what their bodies will look like. 

acelticchristmas.com

Is it possible the recent wave of Celtic entertainment began with Tomaseen Foley and "A Celtic Christmas"?  It's possible... he's certainly been at this for a while. 

Foley grew up in Ireland in the 1950s, when life was still primitive in some ways. 

He gathered up his stories and some musicians, singers, and dancers, and staged his first Christmas show nearly two decades ago. 

Red Hen Press

The current emphasis on the STEM subjects in school--Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math--leaves a few educators cold.  Because there's more to creating a well-rounded individual than what's in books. 

Paul Cummins certainly thought so in his 32 years at the ground-breaking Crossroads School in California. 

The school challenged the notion that a quality private education is only for rich, white, and privileged kids.  His memoir, Confessions of a Headmaster, recounts his years as an educator, and considers where education is moving today.

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Anybody with some money to invest can certainly find places to put that money.  So why not invest in local businesses? 

That's the question answered by the Hatch Oregon Network, which works to pair local investors with local businesses that need capital. 

Think of it as spending money on Main Street before Wall Street. 

It's the season for voices raised in song.  And in argument, too... the Republican presidential candidates debate again on Tuesday night (Dec. 15), and we're asking you what you've gotten out of any of the presidential debates so far.

That's one topic in this week's VENTSday. 

We'll go all pop-culture in the other topic: new "Star Wars" movie: yay or yawn?  Worth waiting in line, or wait for it to hit cable?

VENTSday is our weekly opinion forum... there's no guest, just calls and emails from listeners on the two topics of the day. 

Amazon

In The Shadow of God is fiction by an author who lives in our region, but it's fiction based on his life. 

Samuel Nala met his wife, Justina, in her native Venezuela, and they've marveled at the changes in the country in the last few years. 

Hugo Chavez had consolidated a lot of power, but he died of cancer two years ago, leaving Nicolas Maduro in charge. 

Now Maduro is challenged by an opposition party controlling Venezuela's legislature, so the changes continue. 

Susan Langston

Dungeness crab season can mean good eating for buyers and good money for sellers. 

But for the moment, crabbers on both sides of the state line can only wait. 

The crabs are showing high levels of domoic acid, the result of a huge toxic algae bloom in the ocean this year. 

Oregon's Dungeness crab season usually starts around December 1st, but no crab can be taken while toxin levels remain high.

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If you want to convince people that your product is "green," slapping a green label on it probably won't do it. 

A blue label might, though. 

University of Oregon marketing professor Aparna Sundar found that the connotations of certain colors affect how people perceive the products they buy: even the most environmental-friendly product could still turn off consumers with a red label. 

Audio Pending...

Two of the larger issues of our time, environmental degradation and mass incarceration, come together in one movement with The Prison Ecology Project

Its founders noticed that prisons and jails are often not environmentally friendly--not just to their residents, but to people who live nearby. 

So the project focuses its attention on finding remedies for populations inside and outside prison walls. 

Workman Publishing

Given the grim conditions in most correctional institutions, we could not imagine a cookbook emerging from such a place.  We were wrong. 

Prison Ramen: Recipes and Stories from Behind Bars gives us an unexpected glimpse of life on the inside, where some people are trying to live normal lives--including preparing meals--despite the circumstances. 

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Mass shootings this year raised once again the question of mental health care in our country.  Maybe all the people who need it do not get it, but innovations are being applied. 

Medford's Compass House uses the "clubhouse" model of rehabilitation, allowing multiple mental patients to take charge of their lives. 

Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center has been moving into the "sanctuary" system, which takes note of trauma in a patient's past. 

Both programs are recent beneficiaries of grants to continue and expand their work. 

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Take it from any parent who ever shopped for Christmas toys: some of them just look so cute and fun, you grab them and head straight for the register. 

But it behooves us to be smart consumers in the toy aisles as well as in the rest of the store. 

OSPIRG, Oregon's public interest research group, just put out its list of toys that pose potential hazards--toxic, choking, or ingested--and found nearly two dozen of them. 

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More than a motorcycle, less than a car.  That's the quickest way to describe the creations of Eugene-based Arcimoto

The company is now taking reservations for its "Generation 8" vehicle, expected to begin arriving in about a year. 

And since it's entirely electric, it will never visit a gas pump. 

Siskiyou Mountain Club

The lower section of the Rogue River is wild and beautiful and protected.  But for all those reasons, it is also popular for people looking for outdoor recreation, so they have some company in the outback. 

The Siskiyou Mountain Club took note of the situation, and put some time and sweat into reopening the Wild Rogue Trail, which runs through the Wild Rogue Wilderness. 

The trail offers spectacular views in areas frequented by few other travelers. 

Tarcher/Penguin

People who make charitable contributions can feel a little disconnected... not truly feeling that they are making a difference through their donations. 

Jennifer Iacovelli noticed this in her work as a fundraiser for nonprofits, and she noticed the sincere gratitude of the receivers of the donations. 

She puts the parts together in her book Simple Giving, which ranges from the high-end philanthropic gift to the everyday nicety that makes the day a little more pleasant. 

KIamath Riverkeeper

Only three weeks remain before motorized suction dredge mining comes to a halt on Oregon streams. 

Oregon, like California, enacted a moratorium banning the vacuuming of stream bottoms for gold. 

In theory, the bans are temporary, five years in Oregon's case, but California's went into effect six years ago. 

The halting of suction dredging is understandably unpopular with groups like the Western Mining Alliance and the Galice Mining District, some of whose members make (or made) a living from suction dredge mining. 

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Environmental groups found a friendly ear in the Oregon Legislature a couple of years ago, convincing legislators to pass a five-year ban on suction dredge mining.

The ban takes effect on January 2, 2016, and is supposed to last for five years. 

Miners are angry about the move, and took the ban to court in an attempt to block it. 

Environmental groups, including Cascadia Wildlands and the Center for Biological Diversity, joined the suit on the pro-moratorium side. 

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