John Baxter

Jefferson Exchange Producer

John Baxter's history at JPR reaches back three decades.  John was the JPR program director who was the architect of the split from a single station into three separate program services.  We're thrilled that John has taken a hiatus from his retirement to join JPR as co-producer of the Jefferson Exchange.

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. 

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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. 

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. 

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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
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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. 

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. 

Scienceman71/Wikimedia

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. 

ICE/Public Domain

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. 

Amanda Peacher/OPB

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. 

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. 

ruffeyrancheria.org

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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