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Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

 About 20 inner-city Des Moines middle school students spent the past week learning about flight at a special summer camp sponsored by Iowa State University. It was part of an effort to bring science and art together into one educational package. 

On a breezy morning outside the Grubb Y-M-C-A on Des Moines’s near north side, the project leader of the DAVinCI Flight Camp, Chris Whitmer, is giving some final instructions before takeoff.

“Before you throw, one last check, does it balance?" he asks the students. "You might want to wait until the wind goes a little bit down.”

Tannaz / Wikimedia Commons, Licensed under Creative Commons

Fresh herbs are one of the most versatile plants available to home gardeners. Iowa State University Extension Program specialist in Value-added Agriculture, Linda Naeve, says they're an easy way to add color and texture to the landscape without the risk of a plant getting too big. The exception to that rule is mint, which is very aggressive. Naeve says it should be planted in a container, and then added to the garden, to help keep it in check.

Paul De Los Reyes / Flickr

Local and national politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, have called for reforms aimed at reducing America’s prison and jail populations, particularly nonviolent offenders like drug users.

In a speech earlier this month to the NAACP, President Obama said the U.S. needs to fund more drug courts.

Jef Nickerson / Flickr, Licensed under Creative Commons

There are the remarks, as delivered, by former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee at the Iowa Democrats' Hall of Fame Dinner, July 17, 2015.

Ken Hammond/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing stricter regulations for pesticide applicators.

Under the guidelines, workers who spray some of the most hazardous pesticides would need to be at least 18 years old, renew their certifications every three years and take specialized training for certain chemicals.

This hour, we'll look at why at least a couple of million people have paid $99 (and often lots more) to have their DNA tested to find out about their ancestry and in some cases, their family's health traits.   Leading web sites AncestryDNA.com and 23andme.com have had more than a million people each pay the fee to receive long and detailed reports on their ancestry going back usually five generations.

Clay Masters / IPR

  

Brenda Hummel's 7-year-old daughter Andrea was born with severe epilepsy. Like many children with significant diseases or disabilities, she has health insurance through Medicaid. Hummel navigated Iowa's Medicaid resources for years to find just the right doctors and care for her daughter. But now Iowa's governor, Republican Terry Branstad, is moving full speed ahead with a plan to put private companies in charge of managing Medicaid's services, and that has Hummel worried.

City of Woolstock

  A new distinction for an Iowan best known as Superman; a town sign now proclaims Woolstock as the birthplace of actor George Reeves. The story from Rick Fredericksen. 

A renovated town sign now displays a photo of George Reeves and honors him as a humanitarian, veteran and actor.  In the 1950s, he was the original TV Superman but appeared in more than 40 movies. Reeves historian Veronica Guyader says he was always concerned about being stereotyped.

Photo by Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Show day at the Pierce County Fair in Nebraska starts early and goes fast.

I arrived around 9 in the morning, but Emily Lambrecht had already spent an hour and a half in the wash stalls, scrubbing and shampooing her calves so they would sparkle in the show barn.

This was showtime. The 17-year-old 4-H and FFA exhibitor spent months working up to this one day.

Iowa State University President Steven Leath is receiving a five-percent pay increase, boosting his annual salary to $525, 000.

At its meeting in Ames, the State Board of Regents also extended Leath’s Iowa State appointment to 2020. 

During that five-years, Leath also will receive an extra $125,000 in deferred compensation,.

The Regents also approved boosting University of Northern Iowa President William Ruud’s pay by two-and-one-half-percent. He’ll now be paid $348,000 annually, with an extra $75,000  in deferred compensation through 2017.

Flickr / Gage Skidmore

Three staffers from Ron Paul’s 2012 Presidential campaign have been indicted in connection with payments given to former state Senator Kent Sorenson. Sorenson resigned as Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman in late December 2011 and took up with the Paul campaign a week before the 2012 Caucuses.

Iowa Public Radio / John Pemble

Iowa Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen says will step down from his leadership position in January, and serve his last year in the state assembly as a rank-and-file member. The Hiawatha Republican says he will not seek a seventh term .

Paulsen says he believes it’s "just the right time" for him personally to resign from the speakership. And also he says it’s important to set up the next speaker for success.

Don Graham / Flickr, Licensed Under Creative Commons

President Obama unveiled his Clean Power Plan this week. The plan sets the first-ever EPA standards on power plant emissions and requires a 32% reduction in those emissions over the next 15 years. It also seeks to boost renewable energy sources.

2016 Republican presidential hopefuls reacted negatively to the plan. Florida Senator Marco Rubio called it "catastrophic," while former Florida Governor Jeb Bush described it as "irresponsible and over-reaching." New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called it an example of "overregulation" that would "kill American businesses and jobs."

Barcelona IVF / Flickr

In Vitro Fertilization has allowed millions of people to become parents, but the question of what to do with unused frozen embryos can be a difficult one.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks  with a mom who decided to donate her frozen embryos to another couple, and the mom who will receive them.

"I took some time to think about what decision I could live with for the rest of my life," says embryo donor Lydia Fine of Iowa City.

IPTV photo

Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says he will not run for reelection in 2016.  The Hiawatha Republican says he will step down as Speaker at the start of the 2016 legislative session, and serve out the remainder of his two-year term. Paulsen has served in the Iowa House for 13 years. He served as Minority Leader from 2008 to 2010 and has been Speaker of the House since 2011.  He said in a statement that this is, “…the right time for me to step aside as leader and allow someone else to lead the caucus,”  Gov.

Photo by Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Idaho's so-called "ag-gag" law, which outlawed undercover investigations of farming operations, is no more. A judge in the federal District Court for Idaho decided Monday that it was unconstitutional, citing First Amendment protections for free speech.

But what about the handful of other states with similar laws on the books?

Rick Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

An Iowa man grew up playing in one of the coolest hide-outs around: an old-fashioned, vacant grain elevator. Today, he is restoring it as a tribute to early American agriculture. Phase one has been completed and Iowa Public Radio's Rick Fredericksen was there for the dramatic finish. 

TruckPR / Flickr

The Iowa Board of Regents is calling for a three percent tuition increase in the spring for Iowa’s public universities. Such an increase would break the tuition freeze on resident tuition from the past 2.5 years.

On this River to River segment, Ben Kieffer sits down with Iowa State University President Steven Leath to talk about college affordability and other concerns in higher education.

Orbspiders / Flickr

Garrison Keillor is leaving A Prairie Home Companion, the hit public radio show he created. 

"You can't go on like this. You don't want to make a fool of yourself in front of other people paying money to see it. Even if it may be what some of them would like to see," Keillor says. "So I thought this was a good time."

First though, he's visiting Iowa one last time. His "America the Beautiful" tour stops by Cedar Rapids Aug. 20.

United States Senate - http://www.webb.senate.gov/newsroom/official_photo.cfm. / Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jim_Webb_official_110th_Congress_photo.

These are the remarks, as delivered, by former US Secretary of the Navy, and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb at the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame Dinner, July 17, 2015.

John Pemble / IPR

This is the Q and A between Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at the Ag Summit March 7, 2015 in Des Moines.

Daughter#3 / Flickr

Millions of people around the world are outraged over the death of Cecil the Lion, killed by a trophy hunting dentist from Minnesota. This is not an isolated case.

"Hunters by and large don't want to feel that their experience is fake, but at the same time if they're paying $50,000 or more there is a lot of pressure on the outfitters to deliver the goods," says author Meg Brown. "I think [the Minnesota hunter] might have relied on his guides and his guides were under a lot of pressure, so they acted illegally to make sure he got the trophy he paid for."

Photo by John Pemble

Iowa’s senior senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, remains hopeful after two disappointing recent events. The spring outbreak of avian influenza devastated Iowa’s poultry industry and then this past week talks on the 12-national trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Grassley has strongly supported, broke down.

Photo by Matt Brooks for NET News

Farmers count on chemical herbicides to keep their fields weed-free. But an international panel of scientists who studied two of the most heavily used farm chemicals to determine whether they could cause cancer, said exposure to weed-killing chemicals could come at a cost. In the last few months, scientists brought together by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, considered glyphosate and 2,4-D.

Iowa Public Radio / Clay Masters

CLAY MASTERS: Last October we brought you the story of $3 million worth of illegal construction productions at one of the nation’s most sacred Native American burial grounds. And it happened under the watch of the National Park Service.

Now this we’re talking about is Effigy Mounds. It’s up in northeast Iowa. And new evidence shows that the National Park Service has covered up a report on the Effigy Mounds scandal.

Ryan Foley is with me. He’s a reporter with the Associated Press here in Iowa. Hello Ryan.

RYAN FOLEY: Hello Clay.

Iowa Public Radio / John Pemble

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton is airing her first campaign TV ads Tuesday. They are playing in Iowa, and fellow early-voting state New Hampshire.

The commercials highlight Clinton’s mother’s difficult childhood and the candidate’s pre-Washington career. While campaigning Clinton often speaks of her late mother and baby granddaughter. 

Mohamed Somji / Flickr

In parts of Afghanistan, some families without sons pick a daughter to dress and live as a boy - a practice known as bacha posh.

In the first half of this encore edition of River to River, investigative reporter Jenny Nordberg talks with Ben Kieffer about what is behind bacha posh, a practice she details in her book, The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan.

Photo by Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

The Chipotle Cultivate Festival had it all: an indie pop band on stage, long lines at the beer booths, folks hanging out on a hot summer day.

Sort of like a Grateful Dead concert, only with free burritos.

But the Chipotle Cultivate events, with four held across the country this summer, aim to do a little more than just the classic summertime music festival. Billed as offering “food, ideas and music,” the festivals offer a chance to “learn a free burrito” after going through four exhibits.

Russell/IPR

South Carolina Senator and candidate for the Republican nomination for President Lindsey Graham addressed a crowd of about a hundred people in West Des Moines today.  

Graham is travelling the country arguing for a "no" vote in Congress for the Obama Administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran.  

Flanked by a banner proclaiming “No Nukes for Iran,”   Graham says the agreement will promote terrorism in the Middle East. 

He presents himself as the strongest security hawk in the race.  And he vows to fight radical Islam with more U.S. ground troops overseas.

Kent Newman

Raha Moharrak had been a world-renowned athlete for years, but still had one gap in knowledge. 

"I was a little bit arrogant," says Moharrak. "I said, 'Oh I climbed fourteen mountains including Everest, I can learn a bike.' I was wrong. I needed help."

But she learned to ride and this month joined RAGBRAI at the urging of Mara Gubuan, an Urbandale native who originally set out to ride RAGBRAI with her high school friends for their fiftieth birthday. Gubuan works with Shirzanan Global, an organization that empowers Muslim women through sport. 

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