Jefferson Monthly

Features and columns published in the Jefferson Monthly.

Daniel Marquard

For climate activists, this feels like the last moment. This summer, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report, covering Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, using by far the most sobering language to date. Among the impending risks that it identifies with “high confidence” are:

Gaining Momentum

Feb 1, 2015

As I sit down to write this month’s column, we’ve just welcomed a new year.  It’s a time for all of us here at JPR to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year and set goals for 2015.  2014 was a good year here at JPR.  We grew listener support and underwriting significantly for the first year since the Great Recession.  This allowed us to strengthen our weekend programming, implement 24-hour service on all our stations, expand and improve our local news coverage, welcome a new environmental reporter to our newsroom and replace obsolete equipment at several critical transmission sites

Susan Langston

Well, what I really want for Valentine’s Day is a trip to the Bahamas.

Jamaica, Hawaii, Costa Rica—those places would be fine too. But since the price of air travel seems to be going up—especially around the holidays—as gas prices are going down, local romance is a lot more affordable.

Oregon Cabaret Theatre

Valerie Rachelle met Jim Giancarlo eight years ago at the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts.  As Artistic Director of the Oregon Cabaret Theatre, Giancarlo was auditioning students; Rachelle was directing and choreographing for PCPA’s Theatrefest.  He invited her to guest direct for OCT, but Rachelle had to decline—she would turn eight months pregnant during rehearsals for the show in question.  Circumstances for her OCT debut finally clicked late in 2012 with The Winter Wonderettes.

“Britney Spears Instagrams Selfie With New Boyfriend”

That was the headline that caught my eye recently while scrolling through my Twitter feed. No, I’m not a fan of Britney Spears. I don’t follow her on Twitter (but I do follow The Huffington Post, which posted the story). I dislike her music. I find her stage apparel distasteful. I hate that we live in a world in which she has become wealthy and famous for being a solipsistic attention whore.

Paul Giancarlo

October marked one year since I returned to the Rogue Valley from Europe to take up my new assignment at Jefferson Public Radio: to add local and regional news features to JPR’s broadcast of NPR's Morning Edition. 

Looking back over this past year, I think we’ve been successful at bringing JPR listeners interesting news and compelling stories about issues and events from around the region.

A recent post on NPR’s All Tech Considered caught my eye. It was called Silicon Valley’s Power Over The Free Press: Why It Matters written by Elise Hu. The piece focused on how the Silicon Valley’s large tech companies, specifically Facebook and Twitter, are now controlling the distribution of the news and information people receive and pay attention to. And, as you might imagine, this is not a great thing.

The Future Of Education In Oregon

Dec 30, 2014

Ask the chief education officer for the Oregon Education Investment Board what challenges Oregon’s K-12 education system faces today, and Nancy Golden has many unsettling statistics and professional observations to share. Originally from New York, articulate, and fast-talking, Golden points out that nearly one in four children in Oregon is living in poverty, the graduation rate in Oregon’s high schools is only 68.5 percent (which is the second to last in the nation, and substantially lower than the national average of 78.2 percent, according to the U.S.

Beating Back The Winter Blues

Dec 4, 2014

Rebekah Dodson was 12 years old when she started noticing how much her mood was affected by the seasons. The daughter of a military officer, Rebekah lived on the Mildenhall Air Force Base in Littleport, England. On the cusp of puberty then, she realized that the darker it got outside the more irritable, grumpy, and tired she felt. Rebekah told her parents, and her pastor, that she was plagued by anxiety and dark thoughts.

According to the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research and analysis think-tank that claims to have “invented the Postwar World,” the year 2015 is going to be awesome. This is the year I’ll be able to clone myself and get bionic biceps. With advanced brain scanning, I’ll copy everything I know (shouldn’t take long) and imprint it onto my clone’s brain. Through gene therapy, I’ll slow down my aging process and speed up my clone’s, stopping him at a younger version of myself so that he can do any physical labor that I don’t have time to take care of with my bionic biceps.

The Pecan Puff Mystery

Dec 1, 2014

Pecan puffs were my father’s favorite Christmas cookie. We kids all liked them, but Daddy loved them. So much so that our grandmother couldn’t keep him supplied during Christmas season.

In the middle of December, the stack of Granny’s cookbooks appeared on the kitchen counter, scraps of paper with additional recipes scrawled in her round script stuck between their pages. Then she’d decide on the year’s varieties, up to a dozen, and compile her list of necessary ingredients.

Oh look, only twelve minutes left of the Christmas shopping season. If you are like me, still staring at your hands when you should be out buying a gift for someone on your list (my list is called a “hit list” —that gives you an idea of how I view the whole gift giving process), you tell yourself you have plenty of time to find other things to do instead of shop. Our kids are older, so the pressure to have a million presents under the tree, each holding the possibility of a pony, is somewhat lessened. Oh they still want presents but what those might be, I don’t really want to know.

On our weekly Wednesday VENTSday segment, I make a point of telling Jefferson Exchange listeners that they are welcome to call and weigh in on the topics of the day, but to vent “politely.” Once in a while, somebody misses that modifier and lets loose with some cutting remarks, occasionally directed at the opinions or tone expressed by another caller. I’m happy to say that’s a rarity.

Best Of 2014

Dec 1, 2014


Eric Teel 

Director FM Program Services / Music Director / Host, Open Air

Tom Magliozzi who, along with his brother Ray, hosted NPR’s Car Talk for the last 37 years, died November 3, 2014 from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease.  He was 77 years old.

In announcing this sad news for the national public radio community, NPR celebrated the life of one of its most popular radio personalities in a special tribute Car Talk program and in produced segments on Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Eric Teel/JPR

On Monday morning, September 15, 2014, Siskiyou County was buffeted by battering winds. In Fort Jones, west of Yreka, I felt like Dorothy in Kansas as I tried to scatter feed to the chickens. I thought wind like this will start something, and hoped we would get to the end of the day with no new fires. Fire season was still raging with many county fires still going, even after the previous week’s much needed rain. Later I got a call from a friend who had heard that Weed was on fire.

The Ultimate Question

Nov 1, 2014

In Douglas Adam’s novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, researchers from a “pan-dimensional, hyper-intelligent race of beings”, construct a super computer called Deep Thought. The greatest computer of all time and space, Deep Thought is designed to calculate the answers to the universe’s deepest philosophical questions that even the race of highly intelligent beings are unable to answer such as: Why are we here? How did we get here? From where? What is the meaning of life?

Jenny Graham

Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way brings to the stage Lyndon Johnson’s first year as President. Though the office is thrust upon him by Kennedy’s assassination, LBJ channels his political genius and immense energy into passing Kennedy’s languishing Civil Rights Act, then wins reelection by a landslide. High on these successes, the Johnson we meet at the start of The Great Society is reminiscing about his boyhood fascination with rodeo bull-riding.

From The Archives

Nov 1, 2014

With Halloween over and done with and Thanksgiving right around the corner, this time of year always makes me want to hunker down in my apartment and bake good food while listening to good radio. This hibernation also gets me thinking of some of my favorite shows on the Jefferson Exchange this past year. So, as the weather gets dark and stormy and you’re looking for some cozy listening, here are some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Organic: A Journalist’s Quest to Discover the Truth behind Food Labeling


Nov 1, 2014

I have a new nearby option for Vietnamese food. I can walk to a corner parking lot and order my pho from Tam’s Place. But it’s not a place, at least not for anyone but Tam. It’s a food truck.