Jefferson Monthly

Features and columns published in the Jefferson Monthly.

April 7–11 marks the 15th anniversary of the Ashland Independent Film Festival. The festival has grown from 73 films in four days at the beautiful art deco Varsity Theatre to more than 90 films and dozens of special events in five days across Ashland. AIFF16 will expand across town and across genres with films, live performances, and art installations at the Varsity, the Historic Ashland Armory, Ashland Street Cinema, the Ashland Springs Hotel, and new venues, ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum and the Schneider Museum of Art. 

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Some people—like my five-year-old—adore the holidays. Since we celebrate both Hanukah and Christmas in our house, Leone gets a winter two-for-one.

Presents! Treats! Snow forts! What’s not to love?

When I began reporting on domestic violence in Northern California, Crescent City was my home, and the heart of a crisis in the state’s most northwesterly corner.

The calls came in every day through a police scanner on my desk. 

“Children crying in the street on 9th and D. Domestic disturbance reported.” 

A few hours later one day: “She was pulled out by her hair and thrown down” on Starfish Way. 

Later on, the sheriff’s office dispatcher was connected to another address, where “Somebody called, but nobody spoke.” 

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Dear Santa,  I know it’s been awhile since I last wrote. Probably like 40 years or so. Sorry man, I’ve been real busy with growing up and life and stuff. Anyway, this past year has been a pretty good year in which I’ve been more nice than I’ve been naughty. To be completely honest with you, I had every intention of being a bit more naughty this past year but I was too busy doing nice things for other people to follow through on those intentions. It feels a bit strange confessing all of this to someone I’m pretty certain doesn’t exist.

Best Of 2015

Dec 1, 2015

Every year, JPR hosts dig through literally thousands of new recordings in order to find the rare gems to share with you. Across our various musical genres, JPR added about 700 new albums to our library this year, out of the nearly 6,000 (!) recordings that came through our doors. We hope some of what we uncovered resonated with you the way they stuck with us. Without further ado, here are our staff and volunteer host picks for “Best of the Year.” -Eric Teel, JPR Music Director, Program Director, Open Air Host

The Ten-Mile Cake

Dec 1, 2015

A few years ago, when I was still living in my little mountain house without electricity, I found a picture of Christmas present cakes in Bon Appétit — individual, four-layered cakes with strawberry ice cream and lemon curd between layers, all wrapped with chocolate ganache and tied with white-icing ribbons. 

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This past summer I wrote about NPR’s plan to restructure its newsroom shifting resources from beat reporters covering single issues to interdisciplinary teams. The goal of this approach is to provide more holistic coverage of complex issues from diverse vantage points. Also central to this effort is a new commitment by NPR to integrate the work of local station and regional reporters into its coverage.

Stories And Grace

Nov 1, 2015
StoryCorps

On the morning after the horrific mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg I listened to Morning Edition intently to learn more about the tragic events of the previous day.  That morning NPR aired a StoryCorps segment that reminded me of the power of personal stories to put in context even the darkest reaches of the human experience.

The concerns of disabled veterans and their families take center stage when JPR News and Southern Oregon Public Television team up for Local Focus: Debt of Honor. It’s the first joint project between JPR and Public TV in many a year, and could pave the way for future efforts.

Stratford Festival

Exchange the Siskiyou Mountains for Midwestern farmland, and the histories of Stratford, Ontario, and Ashland, Oregon, share some remarkable similarities. In the middle of the last century, both were rural towns struggling to thrive after losing their importance as railroad hubs. 

Michael Joyce | JPR

 

Imagine a snowglobe.  Inside is the sturdy, baroque Mozarteum alongside the delicate, tree-lined Mirabell Gardens. This is Salzburg, Austria, 1958. But it could just as well be 1858. Now give the globe a shake.  

Anyone who has spent a sufficient amount of time on the Internet, especially in the realms of social media, has had something mean and hurtful said directly to them or about them. I’ve been called things that can’t be put into print here.

Sometimes I shot back in anger. Other times I simply left the conversation while chanting “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” The choice was mine. I had the power to walk away from the keyboard. No one was forcing me to interact with the people who were saying things that I felt were offensive and inappropriate.

He’s a guitar player’s guitar player and a jam band icon. He’s worked with John Scofield and Toots Maytal. Early in his career he toured with David Allen Coe and the Dicky Betts Band. He is a staple in post-Garcia Grateful Dead line-ups.   

“Do you know if this is lacto-fermented?” a woman asks me, sniffing the sauerkraut at the salad bar of the Ashland Food Co-op. “It smells like it.”

It’s eight a.m. and Betsy Hicks and her husband, John Hicks, M.D., a pediatrician in private practice in Los Gatos, California, are stopping in Ashland on their way to Portland to visit family.

Imagine the milk is running low—or, if you live in a home similar to mine, one of your kids drank the last of it and put the empty container back in the refrigerator as a decoy—but rather than reaching for that near-empty (or completely empty) container the next morning, your refrigerator already updated a grocery list on your phone the day before and your phone instructed you to stop at the grocery store on the way home and purchase more milk. Or, even better, your phone alerted a grocery delivery service like AmazonFresh and the milk was automatically delivered to your doorstep.

U.S. War Dogs Association

Next month we celebrate Veteran’s Day. We honor those men and women who have served the United States and remember their sacrifice and service. So much has been written about famous veterans like Jimmy Stewart, Kurt Vonnegut, Presidents Kennedy and GHW Bush but few realize that many thousands of “man’s best friend” are also war heroes.

When I first saw the image, it was like a sucker punch to the gut. It knocked the wind out of me.

I could almost hear my heart break, and I sat at my desk in front of my computer and wept.

I’m sure you know the image I’m talking about. It was all over the Internet the first week of September, that picture of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, a refugee from the hell that’s broken loose in his home of Kobani, Syria, drowned on a Turkish beach.

In 2014, it became the Southern Oregon Music Festival. Before that it was the Medford Jazz Festival. When it began in 1989 it was called the Medford Jazz Jubilee. They had eight bands perform that year, and the community exploded in a celebration that has continued for 27 years. Like the Redwood Coast Jazz Festivals in Eureka, CA, the Southern Oregon Music Festival has evolved from the traditional, Dixieland jazz that was the foundation of the first fests, to include all forms of jazz, swing, blues, zydeco, R&B, rockabilly and funk.

Jenny Graham | Oregon Shakespeare Festival

The final two plays of this OSF season explore gritty corners of contemporary American life.  In The Happiest Song Plays Last (Thomas Theatre) Quiara Alegria Hudes mines her own biography to counterpose the separate journeys of Yaz and her cousin Elliot out of and back to their Puerto Rican neighborhood in north Philadelphia. In Sweat (Bowmer Theatre) Lynn Nottage mirrors the depressed city of Reading, Pennsylvania, where she spent several years interviewing its struggling people.  

Making Radiowaves

Oct 1, 2015

This past summer has been an active time here at JPR as we’ve been addressing both long and short term issues that impact our service to the region.  I thought I’d take a moment to update you on some of those recent developments.

Jackson County News And Information Service Gets FM Frequency

After about a year of concentrated effort to acquire and construct an FM translator for our News and Information Service in Jackson County, we were finally successful and able to begin service on 102.3FM in mid-September.  

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