April Ehrlich

Morning Edition Host/Jefferson Exchange Producer

April Ehrlich began freelancing for Jefferson Public Radio in 2016. She officially joined the team as Morning Edition Host and a Jefferson Exchange producer in August 2017.

April previously worked as a reporter, covering local government, housing, and the environment in southern Oregon, eastern Oregon and western Idaho.

April served a two-year stint with AmeriCorps, where she worked with nonprofits helping low-income communities in rural Oregon. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English at Cal-State University, Fullerton, where she worked as an editor for the campus paper.

April spends her free time hiking through nearby forests with a rambunctious border collie, or reading fiction at home with her two favorite cats.
 

Global Citizen Year

Erik Oline admits he knew next to nothing about Senegal when he graduated from Ashland High School a year ago. 

That changed quickly, as Erik moved to Senegal for his "gap year," signing up with Global Citizen Year

He recently returned from his eye-opening experience in Western Africa, where he learned much more than the name of the capital (Dakar). 

Kim Hansen, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7185913

The ocean is full of energy, but can we capture it for use in creating electricity?  Lots of people think we can, including the people at the Redwood Coast Energy Authority

RCEA recently announced efforts to pursue a floating wind farm, to capture wind energy offshore. 

This is a project the Pacific Ocean Energy Trust has been working toward for several years now. 

We get used to talking about the "wild and scenic Rogue River," but the concept is a relatively young one.  The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act dates only to 1968, so it celebrates a half-century birthday this year. 

Tim Palmer is certainly celebrating.  The Port Orford-based writer and photographer and lover of rivers put his talents into yet another book, Wild and Scenic Rivers: An American Legacy

The Rogue and the usual suspects from our part of the country are in there, along with some surprises from other corners of the land. 

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

Get the artists and the robotics students working together, and something interesting is bound to emerge.  It apparently has, in time for the Oregon Fringe Festival, starting today (April 24) at Southern Oregon University. 

David Bithell led students through the creation of the Cloud Organ, part musical instrument and part structure.  Oh, and robotics are involved. 

David Bithell joins us, along with Martha Thatcher, who wrote the play "Cyclone," and the play's director, Nolan Sanchez. 

Wikimedia Commons

Who would you blame for climate change?  And more to the point, if you could sue someone over it, who would that be? 

Oregon is the source of lawsuits filed on behalf of children, meant to provoke government action on climate change.  But that's just one legal approach. 

"Attribution science" looks to pinpoint responsibility for climate change.  And so it involves both scientists--like the Union of Concerned Scientists--and lawyers, like those at Client Earth. 

Fibonacci Blue - https://www.flickr.com/photos/fibonacciblue/30588590810

The 2016 election.  Police-community relations.  Views on climate change.  There are many more examples of issues where people find themselves at odds in society today. 

Where to go now?  Some answers are provided in the "Finding Our Way" conference this week in Ashland (April 26-28).  The goal: give people tools to discuss divisive issues and work with difficult people. 

The conference is the focus of this month's edition of The Keenest Observers. 

Wikimedia

There's evidence that people first used hemp fibers in the early days of human civilization.  The modern-day outlawing of hemp is not of its own doing: people figured out how to grow varieties of the plant that people smoke to get high (see: marijuana). 

Now the growing of industrial hemp is gaining in favor, aided by legalization of marijuana in several states.  Legislators at the state and federal level are working on laws that could help hemp farmers regardless of what happens with marijuana law. 

Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association  founder Courtney Moran is also an attorney, following the movements with great interest. 

Abortion Care Network

California's legislature took nearly the opposite approach of the states placing new restrictions on abortion facilities. 

Instead, legislators passed the California FACT act (the California Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency Act), which requires counseling centers where abortion is opposed to inform clients that abortions are available for free elsewhere. 

As winter ended, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the act.  Chief question: is it free speech or forced speech?  In the view of NARAL Pro-Choice California, it's more like a truth-in-advertising law. 

State Director Amy Everitt worked to pass the California FACT act; she visits with perspective on the law and its court challenges. 

Oregon Blue Book

Oregon's Second Congressional District demonstrates the enthusiasm for politics abroad in the land this year. 

Where a total of four candidates filed to run for the seat in 2016, more than ten have entered their names in 2018. 

We visit with the seven Democrats hoping to face incumbent Greg Walden in November: Eric Burnette, Michael Byrne, Jim Crary, Raz Mason, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, Jennifer Neahring, and Tim White

NASA/Public Domain

It may not have the cachet of December 25th, but April 22nd is a well-known date: Earth Day

Concern about the environment led to the first observance in 1970, and the date (and the concern) have been remembered ever since. 

Many ceremonies and activities will mark Earth Day in the region, and we will throw open the phone lines to allow people to boost their events, much like our First Friday Arts segment. 

So listeners can call 800-838-3760 to share news of Earth Day happenings across the region. 

Oregon Blue Book

Oregon's May 15th primary is coming up fast.  Voter registration closes on Tuesday, April 24th, and ballots go out the end of the same week. 

We begin our interviews with candidates in key primary races with the Republicans challenging Greg Walden for the nomination for Congress, District 2, in Oregon. 

Paul Romero, Jr. and Randy Pollock have both filed to run against Walden, and both have agreed to join us for a joint interview. 

On The Fringe: Ashland Prepares For OFF

Apr 18, 2018
Oregon Fringe Festival

The very first Fringe Festival, in Edinburgh, Scotland, was born of frustration: many performers were denied participation in the Edinburgh International Festival.  So they performed anyway, on the fringes of the big festival. 

Now fringe festivals have popped up all over the world, giving expression to art forms and artists willing to push the boundaries of their genres. 

Southern Oregon University hosts another edition of the Oregon Fringe Festival (acronym gold: OFF) April 24-29 on the campus in Ashland.  The 2018 festival offers theatre, music, visual arts, and more. 

If you don't like the scenery in any part of our region, you don't have to travel far for a change. 

Desert, ocean, mountains, forest... we've got all types of landscapes.  And all kinds of things living upon them. 

The flora of the Trinity Alps takes center stage in a new book by Ken DeCamp called, appropriately, Wildflowers of the Trinity Alps

Just how different ARE the flowers up in the high country? 

JPR

Elias Alexander traveled a long way to end up playing a gig in his home town.  Elias is from Ashland and a musician... he went to college in New England and began his musical career in the Boston area. 

Elias fronts two bands, the afro-celtic "Soulsha" and the "Bywater Band." 

He returns to Ashland for a concert of his new song cycle "Born Outside: Songs of Struggle and Hope." 

The warnings about heart disease went onto cigarette packages decades ago.  Smoking can lead to heart disease; it's a clear link. 

And the last several summers have offered a few cigarettes' worth of smoke from wildfires to most people living in our region.  With predictable results: a spike in heart- and stroke-related visits to hospital emergency rooms. 

Researchers at the federal EPA and the University of California-San Francisco pulled in the data for a recent study. 

Wikimedia

Trying to keep wolves away from livestock is a constant challenge.  And news reports tend to focus on permits issued to shoot wolves. 

But there are many more approaches considered for keeping wolves away from cattle and sheep... including breeding big dogs.  Some breeds--we're talking big, wolf-sized dogs--have protected herds for centuries. 

So the National Wildlife Research Center in the Department of Agriculture spent several years studying the effectiveness of several large dog breeds in keeping wolves at bay. 

Wikimedia

Having plants and animals go extinct around us is not just sad, it creates issues for the remaining creatures on the planet. 

Chemistry professor Paul Torrence studies the ways in which we derive the materials for many effective medicines from nature.  And when the plants go extinct, the materials disappear. 

Torrence reports on the trend in his book Molecules of Nature: Biodiversity, the Sixth Mass Extinction, and the Future of Medicine.  He visits Southern Oregon University for a lecture on Thursday (April 19th). 

Steven C. Price, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36035284

The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs is by no means loved by Native American tribes.  An old joke says BIA stands for "Boss Indians Around." 

But a growing volume of evidence indicates that sexual harassment happens often within BIA and BIE, the Bureau of Indian Education. 

High Country News has been investigating both the trend and individual incidents. 

Clean Break Partnership

Taking a shower is a normal and uncomplicated event for most people.  It can be a rare event indeed for people living on the streets. 

Last year homeless people in Redding got a chance to take showers in a shower trailer set up by Clean Break Partnership and the Shasta Humanity Project.  But it was only a pilot program that did not return this year. 

And the city council in Redding just nixed a change in zoning that would have made operation of the shower trailer easier in more places. 

Wikimedia/Public Domain

Human contributions to global warming get a thorough examination in William T. Vollman's two-book series "Carbon Ideologies." 

Volume 1, out now, is called No Immediate Danger, and its primary focus is nuclear energy.  Which adds almost nothing in the way of greenhouse gases, but has its own considerable set of concerns. 

The author traveled far and wide and even put himself in some danger to research the books. 

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