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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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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The experiments with hallucinogenic drugs years ago were meant to find out if they had therapeutic uses... could LSD and its relatives help people? 

The answers were never made definitive, because the federal government put the psychedelics on the most restrictive list of drugs in the country. 

Now a group here, the Oregon Psilocybin Society, is exploring getting psilocybin ("magic mushrooms") legalized for use. 

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Heather Lende has a fairly cheerful outlook on life.  And working with death has helped her develop that. 

As a local newspaper writer of many years, Lende wrote many obituaries. 

The key to her approach is the title of her book: Find the Good

People whose lives recently ended provided many life lessons, which our guest shares in the book.

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The federal crackdown on illegal immigration is focused on the Mexican border.  But agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement--ICE--are active in many parts of the country. 

ICE agents have appeared and detained people on the North Coast. 

True North Organizing assembled a rapid response network in the Arcata area to track and publicize any ICE activity in the region. 

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The members of the Bundy family who made so much news in Oregon have left the state.  But they are far from forgotten. 

After not-guilty verdicts from the Malheur Wildlife Refuge takeover in Oregon and a mistrial in Nevada, the members of the family are free of government custody. 

Oregon Public Broadcasting and a partner, Longreads, teamed up for a podcast series documenting the antagonistic relationship between the Bundys and government.  There are seven episodes of "Bundyville" extant. 

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"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."  So China and the United States were friendly in the early days of World War II, even before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. 

A covert military operation brought American planes and pilots to Southeast Asia to support the Chinese in their fight with Japan: The Flying Tigers. 

The story of the group's creation and activities is told in Samuel Kleiner's book Flying Tigers: The Untold Story of the American Pilots Who Waged a Secret War Against Japan

It's a highly unusual story, this group of volunteers fighting under a foreign flag. 

Allie Caulfield from Germany/Wikimedia

How do you make an old-growth forest?  Start with a younger forest, for one thing. 

The Redwoods Rising Project aims to create old-growth redwood forest where lands have already been logged. 

It joins the forces of the Save the Redwoods League, California State Parks, and the National Park Service to help turn what is now mixed forest into true redwood forest. 

Emily Burns is science director for SRL, Jay Chamberlin works for the state park system. 

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Siskiyou County's representative in Congress, Doug LaMalfa, introduced a bill to restore federal status to a group of Native Americans in the county. 

And some of the most outspoken people opposing the move are representatives from other tribes. 

The Ruffey Rancheria would gain the benefits of restoration if the bill passes, but the Karuk Tribe and others question whether the people seeking restoration are even related to members of the original rancheria. 

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Biochar is gaining ground as a way to sequester carbon in the ground. 

Is it as simple as burying charcoal in the ground?  Not quite... charcoal and biochar are a little different, and we invited several guests to help us understand the differences and the process. 

Johannes Lehmann at Cornell University is well-versed in biochar; he joins us by phone. 

And we welcome Kelpie Wilson of Wilson Biochar into the studio, along with a rep from Oregon Biochar Solutions in White City. 

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Hydraulic fracturing to get oil and gas out of the ground--"fracking"--troubles a lot of people.  Including a majority of the city council in Lafayette, Colorado

The council adopted a Climate Bill of Rights and Protections last year, and is making other moves to keep fracking activities from starting within city limits. 

City Councilor Merrily Mazza is one of the fracking opponents, and she's taking her message on the road, to Medford last night (May 22), and to North Bend and Eugene Wednesday and Thursday. 

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The "conventional wisdom" on firearm deaths is that the rates are higher in urban areas.  In California, the conventional wisdom is wrong. 

The Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California-Davis studied firearm deaths--homicide and suicide--from 2000 to 2015. 

The overall rate of firearm homicide dropped 30% over that time... almost all of it in urban areas.  Rural areas have seen no such decline. 

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Down the valley with the sound of a whisper.  That might be overstating the plan for electric buses running between Redding and Sacramento. 

But the plan was attractive enough to bring in a grant of $8.6 million for battery buses to shuttle back and forth, with electric feeder lines for local communities as far north as Siskiyou County. 

The Shasta Regional Transportation Authority is in the driver's seat of the project. 

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Maybe it happened to your son: a friendly, chatty kid turned into a sullen, silent adolescent.  What IS it with boys? 

They require some special treatment, says psychologist Dr. Adam Cox. 

He interviews young people for hundreds of hours each year, and he's got ideas for approaching young males in his book Cracking the Boy Code: How to Understand and Talk with Boys

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We eat differently in the summertime.  Lots of great seasonal flavors are there to be consumed, but there are cautions to take. 

Just because there's plenty of ice cream and hot dogs and wine (together?) doesn't mean you have to partake. 

Felicia Stoler, nutritionist and author (and congressional candidate, but not here) has a few ideas on avoiding summer foods that can turn on you. 

ODOT

The beauty of the Rogue River is best enjoyed from a boat.  Highways and hiking paths just don't get to all of the stunning views of the river and its canyons and rapids. 

Many people enjoy the river from rafts, others prefer motorized accommodations.  That's where Hellgate Jetboat Excursions comes in. 

The boats have been skimming the river for 59 years now.  Current general manager Travis Hamlyn succeeded his father Robert, and knows the story of the company's rise well. 

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One of our country's leading car-hire companies does not own the cars it hires.  Likewise, some of the major players in the overnight lodging business do not own lodging. 

Owning assets or money is less important in today's economy than owning information.  That's what makes Uber and AirBNB so successful. 

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger considers this new landscape in his book with Thomas Ramge, Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data

What lies ahead, prosperity, calamity, or something in between? 

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There's a constant debate about proper levels of spending at all levels of government. 

But how much do you actually know about government spending, and how easily can you lay your hands on information?  The public watchdog group OSPIRG gave Oregon a grade of B- in the transparency of its data on spending. 

Could be worse, the scale runs from A to F.  But what does Oregon need to do to improve its grade? 

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