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Crater Lake may be Oregon's crown jewel, but the state's only national park needs some love.  Like many national parks, Crater Lake has not received enough money to keep up with maintenance. 

And a combination of harsh winters and heavy use keeps up the pressure on park facilities. 

A campaign to fix up the park has major boosters in Medford. 

Bill Thorndike is president of the Crater Lake National Park Trust and Brad Hicks is the president of the Chamber of Medford/Jackson County. 

PNAS

Just four weeks after the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection released its draft environmental impact report on the Vegetation Treatment Program (VTP), the largest fire in the state's history broke out. 

The Thomas fire destroyed or damaged more than a thousand homes north of Los Angeles. 

The VTP is designed to treat the landscape in a variety of ways to prevent future fires from getting so huge.  The comment period on the environmental impact report just closed. 

NPR

The images are seared into the American consciousness: fire hoses in Birmingham, nightsticks in Selma.  The South was the center of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. 

But it was not the only place in the country where people worked to end segregation; cities far to the north also maintained "separate but equal" facilities that were seldom equal. 

Jason Sokol wrote about it in All Eyes are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston to Brooklyn

UC-Berkeley

Maybe "Brodiaea matsonii" does not roll off the tongue easily (BROH-dee-uh mat-SOHN-ee-eye), but it's a significant flower. 

And it only grows in one place in the entire world: Redding. 

The city recently approved the building of subdivision that may take out some of the plant's habitat, and the California Native Plant Society would like more study before anything drastic happens. 

"IT'S THE CLIMATE," reads the sign in downtown Grants Pass.  But the climate includes winter, so trying to get through the days and nights without shelter is a true hardship. 

We continue "Out in the Cold" with a look at services available in Josephine County. 

UCAN (United Community Action Network) is the agency that works toward homelessness and housing solutions in Josephine and Douglas Counties.  One major program available in Douglas County is not on the list in Josephine: housing provided by the agency.  And Josephine County's ultra-tight housing market is a major issue.

Wikimedia Commons

It gives some people great comfort to think that they will see their long-gone loved ones again, in another place. 

Michael Shermer is not inclined to think there IS such a place.  He is a professional skeptic, even teaches a course called "Skepticism 101." 

And he takes up the human need to believe in an afterlife, and the quest for longer life--if not immortality--in a new book, Heavens on Earth.   

Could we live 200 years or more?  Could our bodies be frozen until science can fix what ails us?  Could our consciousness live in a robot body? 

BLM/Public Domain

The organization is called Rainforest Trust, and that neatly encapsulates its work: get land set aside in the part of the world that is often referred to as the "lungs of the planet."

The trust has been on the job for 30 years now, working to protect sensitive environments and their occupants. 

We get a year-in-review glance from Dr. Paul Salaman, the CEO of Rainforest Trust. 

Wikimedia

In most of Oregon's counties, less than half of the children born into low-income families will reach the middle class or beyond as adults. 

That is one of the starker findings of the Oregon Community Foundation's "Tracking Oregon's Progress," or TOP, report for 2017.  The latest TOP also finds that child poverty is on the rise in the state, which could doom even more people to less-than-middle-class status for life. 

Caitlyn Ruffenach of OCF was the lead author of the report. 

Harris.news/Wikimedia

It was Henry Luce, the publisher of Time magazine, who declared an "American Century" in early 1941. 

Historian Alfred W. McCoy is not at all convinced we'll get the full 100 years. 

McCoy has long observed the methods America has used to maintain its position as a superpower.  He sees China using its own methods to put the United States in the back seat, sooner rather than later. 

McCoy's latest book is In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power

Rich Reuse/John Kern

After a major wildfire, we can at least console ourselves with the knowledge that forests grow back.  Or do they? 

New research out of Colorado State University examined forest fire zones in several Western states... and found that on the warmer Earth of today, forest regeneration happens more slowly, or not at all. 

Camille Stevens-Rumann is an assistant professor at CSU. 

Out In The Cold: The Small Cities Of Siskiyou

Jan 15, 2018

Siskiyou County is one of the less-populated counties in California (roughly 45,000 people). 

But it is still a place where people struggle to find housing and sometimes just do without.  Last year a consultant versed in homelessness took a look at conditions in several small cities: Etna, Mt. Shasta, Tulelake, Weed and Yreka. 

We continue our series of interviews on homelessness, "Out in the Cold," with a discussion of how homelessness manifests in these smaller towns. 

Penguin Random House

It's true that we do not put a lot of fiction authors on the air; it's just hard to introduce characters and plots on the radio.  It's also true that our region is home to several published authors of fiction. 

James Anderson of Ashland just saw his second novel published, Lullaby Road.  It is another story of Ben Jones, the trucker introduced in Anderson's The Never-Open Desert Diner, which won critical praise. 

Ben and his truck find further adventures on lonely Route 117 in the Utah desert. 

A special edition of our "Curious" segment is geared to the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday. 

University of Oregon associate professor Curtis Austin has researched the civil rights and black power movements extensively. 

He tracks the rise of the movements and the responses to them... from the public, the government, and police, among others. 

Dr. Austin visits with some insights into the history of the struggle for equality in America. 

bellhardware.com

The official name is still "Bell Hardware," but it's not the kind of business where you go buy a screwdriver. 

This third-generation business is now focused primarily on doors and frames and other components of getting people into commercial buildings... or keeping them out. 

John Bell is the grandson of the company founder, and Bell Hardware, still based in Klamath Falls, has outlets from Portland to Redding. 

Andreas Praefcke/Wikimedia

Can you imagine spending a day in the White House, with all the important people and egos and pressing business? 

Yet it is from the White House, in a sense, that we get advice on Treating People Well in a new book by Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard. 

They were social secretaries: Berman worked in the Bush White House, Bernard with the Obamas. 

And they learned a thing or two about maintaining civility in high-pressure situations. 

socompasshouse.org

Mental illness is not good for anyone.  It can endanger the life of the ill person, often by their own decision.  Suicide is a constant challenge for mental health professionals and the people they serve. 

At Compass House in Medford, several club members have stories to tell about considering or attempting suicide. 

We meet one of them, Mary C., in this month's edition of Compass Radio. 

M.O. Stevens/Wikimedia

Restoring some of the famed fish runs of the West will take some time. 

And it often appears that recovery happens a stream at a time. 

Trout Unlimited in Oregon recently touted a pair of projects designed to improve conditions for fish, in streams in Deschutes and Klamath County. 

ESO/B. Tafreshi (twanight.org), CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21595070

The decades-long slide in church attendance prompts some people to think that we're not as moral as we once were. 

Michael Shermer, professional skeptic, begs to differ.  He says we're living in the most moral period in human history... and it's guided by science and reason, not religion. 

Shermer makes the case in his book The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom

There's plenty to think about when you're homeless.  Where you'll find shelter and food, how you'll stay healthy... and many more basic concerns about life itself. 

And then there's the fact that many people avoid, distrust, fear, and even hate homeless people. 

Our series of interviews on homelessness, "Out in the Cold," explores issues and offered solutions for homeless people in the region. 

Our attention turns to Shasta County, with Larry Olmstead from United Way of Northern California and Jonathan Anderson of the Good News Rescue Mission

Szánthó Zoltán, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49501159

Trump and The Book.  Those four words make an impactful statement at the moment, as the White House deals with the revelations in Michael Wolfe's book "Fire and Fury."  

That's one of several major stories simmering on the media stove at the moment. 

Others: Oprah at the Golden Globes, net neutrality gets a vote in Congress, and more. 

There's always something new to digest and discuss in Signals & Noise, our monthly conclave with members of the Communication faculty at Southern Oregon University. 

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