Geoffrey Riley

News Director | Jefferson Exchange Host

Geoffrey Riley began practicing journalism in the State of Jefferson more than three decades ago, as a reporter and anchor for a Medford TV station. It was about the same time that he began listening to Jefferson Public Radio, and thought he might one day work there. He was right.

Geoff came to JPR as a backup host on The Jefferson Exchange in late 2000, and he assumed the full-time host job at the beginning of 2010. The two hours of the Exchange allow him to join our listeners in exploring issues both large and small, local and global. In addition to hosting The Exchange, Geoff oversees JPR’s news department as its News Director.

Geoff is a New York native, with stints in broadcast news in Missouri, Alabama, and Wisconsin before his arrival in Oregon. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

With a population just under 40 million, California has more people than Canada.  And Iraq and Poland, too. 

So it should surprise no one to find that feelings rise from time to time in favor of splitting California up.  Or off. 

The Yes California campaign seeks to turn California into an independent country; the resurgent State of Jefferson movement just wants to break off the Northern part--preferably with parts of Southern Oregon--into a new state. 

Do they have enough common ground to work together? 

Alabama Public Radio

Heroin overdose deaths in Jackson County jumped early this year.  Ten deaths by the end of April equals the total of the previous two years combined. 

The spike raises the possibility that fentanyl, a strong synthetic opioid, has gotten into the local drug trade. 

Jackson County Health and Human Services tracks the numbers and looks for reasons; Asante Health System runs substance abuse prevention and treatment programs; Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction works to reduce problems with substance abuse on the North Coast. 

Wikimedia

One of the more notable ballot measures in California's November election could be a real chicken fight.  Because it is all about the treatment of farm animals, chickens included. 

Signatures are in, but a proposition number has yet to be assigned to the "Cage-Free California" referendum. 

It would go beyond the guidelines of 2008's Proposition Two, by specifying that egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and veal calves must be raised outside of cages. 

Prevent Cruelty California, which backs the measure, is a coalition of several animal rights groups. 

thgmueller/Pixabay

The "vroom vroom" comes from the engine, but a car or truck goes nowhere without a functioning transmission. 

Whether you shift the gears yourself or a vacuum does the work for you in an automatic, the transmission is a critical part of the car. 

Just look at the name: it "transmits" power from the engine to the wheels.  So what goes on in there, and what can (and does) go wrong? 

Ashland Automotive owner Zach Edwards joins us for another edition of The Squeaky Wheel. 

WikiImages/Pixabay

There's a hard line between the United States and Mexico, and plenty of people who want to make it harder. 

But while the efforts to build a wall on the border continue, ties between the countries keep getting stronger.  That's the general argument of the book Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together, by Andrew Selee. 

He saw first-hand how Mexico, despite well-publicized problems, has grown more prosperous and more like the United States.  He sees the border as a seam, not a barrier. 

Sonido Alegre Facebook page

June is here, and so is our First Friday Arts segment! 

This may be one of the most momentous arts months of the year, with many outdoor events--like the opening of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Elizabethan Theatre--happening. 

Add to that the summer solstice, and there's just a lot to sing and dance about.  We give an outlet to singers and dancers and other artists, inviting phone calls from around the region to plug arts events, at 800-838-3760. 

This month's list takes us right through the Fourth of July. 

Joe Parks, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26554249

It doesn't take much of change in temperature to turn winter snow into winter rain.  Just ask a ski resort operator. 

Changing climate could make it hard for winter sports enthusiasts to get out and play.  We've already had a number of winters with little snowpack; Mount Ashland Ski Area never opened at all just a few winters ago. 

The group Protect Our Winters brings together winter sports fans and providers to work for climate action. 

juergen_s/Pixabay

It is much easier to find gluten-free foods on store shelves now.  That's a big relief to sufferers of celiac disease and the many people who go gluten-free by choice. 

Still, a little advice goes a long way.  April Peveteaux is happy to offer it; she is gluten-free by necessity, and has built a business based upon her original venture, the blog "Gluten is My Bitch." 

It grew into three books, including The Gluten-Free Cheat Sheet

Siskiyou Mountain Club

You don't have to walk far in our region to find a trail to hike.  But a well-maintained trail is another matter. 

Trails on federal land in particular are generally behind on maintenance. 

That's where groups like the Siskiyou Mountain Club come in, clearing and sprucing up trails in the backcountry.  The club recently got a big grant from the sporting goods store REI to develop a long backpacking route in the region. 

BLM/Public Domain

Few people had heard of fairy shrimp when they showed up in Jackson County 20 years ago.  Before that, the little critters were thought to be no closer than Mount Shasta. 

But they live in vernal pools, seasonal pools of water, in the Agate Desert around White City.  And they are listed as threatened, requiring some effort to protect them. 

This month's edition of Underground History, with our partners at the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology, considers the shrimp... archaeologists have done some work exploring the areas where they live. 

Firef7y, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26619625

The very name speaks volumes, in just three syllables: Chernobyl.  It is the site of the worst nuclear power disaster ever, a 1986 explosion and massive radiation leak that killed dozens of people quickly and sickened thousands more for years to come. 

Serhii Plokhy, a Ukrainian historian, finds the greatest fault in the Soviet system that was ultimately responsible for the disaster. 

The system itself passed into history less than a decade later, but authoritarian governments exist elsewhere and are interested in nuclear power. 

Plokhy warns of the potential for future problems in his book Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe

thejoshgross.org

Josh Gross is a musician, but we dare not ask who his influences are.  We might be listening all day. 

Safe to say that Josh loves music in many forms, and he gets to demonstrate it by making his own AND by covering the music of others in his writing. 

We plug Josh into the Exchange once a month in a segment we call Rogue Sounds. 

silviarita/Pixabay

A sexual assault incident in Ashland a few months ago spurred social worker Alaya Ketani into action.  She formed a new organization, KAWS, for Keeping Ashland Women Safe

The organization is brand-new, having held its first public meeting in the middle of May. 

But it has already built connections in the community, including with Ashland Police

Tomasz Sienicki, CC BY-SA 3.0, wikimedia

Researchers proved the dangers of secondhand smoke years ago.  Breathing the smoke from other people smoking cigarettes can harm your health, just as smoking can. 

And now there's evidence that third-hand smoke can cause problems too... being around the places and surfaces where people smoked also bears some risks. 

A recent article by chemistry professor Peter DeCarlo at Drexel University lays out the issues. 

honor, military, salute, respect
skeeze/Pixabay

How do you feel when people talk about honor?  Inspired, oppressed, somewhere in between? 

Whether you think of honor as fresh and contemporary or something quaint, there's a lot to unpack in the term.  And philosopher Tamler Sommers does the unpacking in his book Why Honor Matters

The short answer: because without it, citizens of liberal democracies can get selfish and shameless, says the author. 

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

"Highly modified by human influence."  That's the U.S. Forest Service's brief description of the condition of the Upper Briggs Creek watershed west of Grants Pass. 

So it's time for a bit of restoration work, that will, it is hoped, enhance the forest while still allowing for many human activities as well as comforts for non-human creatures. 

A comment period on the project closes later this week (May 31). 

argument, disagreement, feud
Tumisu/Pixabay

The running joke about the Trump years is that families avoid discussing politics when they gather for Thanksgiving. 

Now imagine the scene at Josh Damigo's family gatherings: his brother started a white supremacist group and helped organized the Charlottesville rallies in the summer of 2017. 

Josh Damigo told the story to Gabriel Thompson for a piece in Pacific Standard magazine. 

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=456112

Many of the people who played "Indians" in Hollywood westerns were of Italian descent.  Orson Welles made a filmed version of "Othello" that featured Welles in blackface. 

Cultural appropriation still happens.  And it can be confusing to both the perpetrators and the people whose culture is appropriated. 

Surabhi Mahajan, from an immigrant family of color, hosts an Oregon Humanities Conversation Project on cultural appropriation, with sessions across the state. 

Harris.news/Wikimedia

Memorial Day gives the Exchange staff a chance to get out of the office... along with all of the people we would potentially interview.  So we offer up a pair of gems from past programs:

At 8: therapist Kim Schneiderman suggests stepping back from our daily lives and considering how they'd read as a story.  Her book is Step Out of Your Story

At 9: Alex Sheshunoff was feeling very stressed by his life in the big city, so he got far away from it.  He tells the story in his book A Beginner's Guide to Paradise.

Michael Jastremski/Wikimedia

The North Pacific High has nothing to do with cannabis.  But it has plenty to do with lots of living creatures, movable and not. 

The weather system shows up from time to time, alternately stressing and helping creatures in different parts of the west.  The North Pacific High is getting more variable with climate change, though. 

And scientists, including Bryan Black at the Marine Science Institute of the University of Texas, believe the variability could create a synchronicity, a real boom-and-bust cycle for some species.  Emphasis on bust. 

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