Liam Moriarty

Reporter for Jefferson Public Radio

After nearly 20 years in a legal gray zone, medical marijuana in California is being brought under regulation. But clandestine pot cultivation continues. Illegal grows on public land are especially notorious for causing a range of environmental problems. Now, there's new research that zeroes in on the toll these trespass grows take on threatened wildlife.

The cost of fighting wildfires has skyrocketed over the last 30 years. At the same time, close to two million acres of wildland have been developed each year.

One of the major drivers of that expense is protecting lives and property in fire-prone areas where people didn’t used to live.

Conventional wisdom says forests in the West are overstocked and need to be thinned to prevent “catastrophic” wildfires. But some researchers say focusing on reducing fuels downplays a greater and growing driver of wildfire: climate change.

A century of putting out wildfires has left many forests in the West much thicker than in the past. That buildup of fire fuel is widely seen as a disaster waiting to happen. 

And an innovative project in Ashland, Oregon is an example of an increasingly popular approach to dealing with that fire risk.

Roseburg, Oregon, site of the recent mass shooting at Umpqua Community College, is a rural, conservative timber town in which firearms are a traditional part of the culture and gun rights are cherished.

In the wake of the shooting, calls for new gun laws were vigorously rejected by public officials and many residents. But some long-time members of the community feel there should be more emphasis on gun safety. 

Oregon Governor Kate Brown greeted students returning to Umpqua Community College in Roseburg Monday morning. It was the first day of classes since the October 1st campus shooting that left 10 people dead. 

Hundreds of Roseburg residents lined the road to the college, waving American flags and signs offering encouragement and support.

Wikimedia Commons

Honey bees around the world are facing serious challenges. In recent years, annual hive losses have risen to 50 percent or more. Now, a California non-profit is working to help farmers and other landowners create habitat for bees and other pollinators.

Lindsay Eyink

UPDATED Thursday 11:47am

Voters in Jackson and Josephine Counties last year approved county-wide bans on the cultivation of genetically-modified crops. Backers of those measures fear a bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives today would roll back those bans – as well as scores of other GMO-related measures across the country.

Liam Moriarty / JPR

This week, Jefferson Public Radio’s Liam Moriarty is introducing us to several people with a front-row view of Southern Oregon’s epidemic of heroin and opioid addiction. In this final part of the series, we meet 27-year-old Diana Cooper. She’s a mother of four from Medford -- and a recovering heroin addict.

Liam Moriarty / JPR

This week, Jefferson Public Radio’s Liam Moriarty is introducing us to several people with a front-row view of Southern Oregon’s epidemic of heroin and opioid addiction. Today, we meet Dr. Jim Shames, an addiction specialist and the medical director for Jackson County Health and Human Services. He says doctors like him played a key role in creating that epidemic. Now, he’s leading innovative efforts to turn it around.

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