This week we talk with Kenneth Williford, the deputy project scientist for the Mars 2020 Rover. He's an expert on where biology, geology, and chemistry collide to inform the search for evidence of ancient microbial life in rocks. We also chat with graphic design artist Rachel Ignotofsky about her new book, Women in Science. This illustrated guide profiles 50 women in STEM fields, from ancient times until the present, who have shaped our world. 

Landscape architects create outdoor spaces with intention and thought. While the effects are often unnoticed consciously, they are absorbed and experienced nonetheless — impacting us, our culture, and our understanding of place — historically and right now. Kelly Comras explores some of these ideas with us on Cultivating Place this week. 

A total of 150 structures are threatened by a wildfire that broke out Wednesday afternoon in Siskiyou County. The blaze is centered about two miles north of the city of Yreka off of State Highway 263. Cal Fire has lifted evacuation warnings for Yreka, though evacuations remain in place in the Hawkinsville area. Estimates of the fire’s size have been reduced to 350 acres. It is 5 percent contained. Highway 263 is closed through the fire area.

Up the Road: Mt. Shasta Caverns

22 hours ago
Kim Weir

Today we head up the road to one of the Shastas you may have missed, especially if you’re an are-we-making-good-time-yet traveler—ancient Lake Shasta Caverns, a National Natural Landmark located near the lake’s McCloud River arm. Visiting the cave formations is amazing in the summer, when it’s blazing hot outside. Such an indescribable pleasure, with sweat trickling down your neck, when the tour guide opens the cavern door and you feel that first blast of moist, cool, 58-degree underground air. Ahhh.

Melissa Bosworth / Capital Public Radio

More than 10,000 firefighters battled wildfires Monday from California's Central Coast to Sierra Nevada forests or mopped up remnants of destructive blazes beaten into submission up and down the state.

Cal Fire says about 1,900 structures were threatened by the 33,000-acre blaze Chimney Fire in coastal San Luis Obispo County, where more than 2,400 people were under evacuation orders.

Here's a round-up of the current conditions of California wildfires:

Kristen Lepore | KPCC

California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Will it be the fifth to legalize recreational pot this November? We traveled to Sacramento to host a live event about the pros and cons of Proposition 64, which would legalize adult use of cannabis.

Today we’re joined by San Francisco soul/rock band, Royal Jelly Jive. Since their formation in 2013, the band has been touring the greater West Coast non-stop. In 2014, they released their debut self-titled album, and earlier this summer they set off on yet another tour in promotion of their sophomore release, Stand Up.

U.S. Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez made a campaign swing through the North State Friday, touring Shasta Dam, before meeting up with supporters in Paradise.

NSPR’s Marc Albert caught up with her at an event in Chico.

Sanchez, the 10-term Orange County congresswoman, is challenging State Attorney General Kamala Harris to succeed the retiring Barbara Boxer.

Both remaining candidates are Democrats — a fluke of the state’s recently adopted top-two primary system. The two emerged from a field of 34 candidates, including a dozen Republicans.

The Shasta Serenade

Aug 20, 2016

This week the Shasta Serenade opens with Marcia Ball’s cover of Randy Newman’s classic “Louisiana 1927.” It seems every few years residents of the Mississippi Delta get their teeth kicked in by flooding, and this year they’ve experienced at least a 500-year event. Just thinking about the loss of life, not to mention the loss of one’s home and treasures  affects us deeply. Newman’s song captures that feeling of loss and defeat in the face of Mother Nature’s relentless force. We continue with our exploration of Americana with an eclectic selection of blue, rock, folk and popular music.


This week we talk with representatives from Concours de la Chapelle, a classic car show and art/music/entertainment event in Paradise to benefit Northern California Ballet. We also talk with members of the cast from "Romeo and Juliet" at Birdcage Theatre in Oroville, opening this weekend.


Annie B's Community Drive

NSPR is pleased to sponsor NVCF's 10th and final Annie B's drive

Fire Updates

Find updates on fires burning throughout the North State.

Lassen National Park Audio Tour

Taking a summer trip to Lassen Park? Delve into the park's 100-year history with this roadside audio tour, voiced by Dave Schlom and collaboratively produced by park staff, volunteers, and NSPR.

Community Calendar

Submit your organization's event to our new Community Calendar.

Latest NPR News

Federal data suggest illegally manufactured fentanyl, a drug that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, is behind an increase in overdose deaths.

If fashion is art, Sonia Rykiel is considered a master. Women's Wear Daily dubbed her the "queen of knitwear" — though she was the first to admit she didn't know how to knit — and her designs have been shown in museums. Rykiel, who had Parkinson's disease, died Thursday morning at her home in Paris. She was 86.

Here at Goats and Soda, we are always on the prowl for breaking goat news. And this week was a good week for goats.

Goats to the rescue

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Local Programs

Each week host Nancy Wiegman talks to local, regional and national writers about their latest projects.
Dave Schlom leads discussions about the issues science is helping us address with experts who shed light on climate change, space exploration, astronomy, technology and more
  Common Ground for Common Good is a public awareness collaboration between NSPR and the North Valley Community Foundation.
Hear the latest news about North State performances, gallery shows, and art events; as well as interviews with artists and figures from the local arts scene

Music Programs

The Downbeat features alternative and indie rock music, mixed with a blend of old-school rock that could totally pass for modern indie rock if it wanted to.
Barry Hazle mixes up an eclectic brew of Americana, blues, rockabilly, folk, bluegrass and timeless standards from his perch in Oak Run.
Songs From Studio C is North State Public Radio's in-studio music series showcasing regional and nationally recognized artists.
Afternoon Classics brings you the world's greatest classical music played by the world's greatest artists.

Up the Road

Each week Kim Weir will take you Up the Road, pointing out things to do and places to go.