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Photo Courtesy of Peter Aguero

Peter Aguero, Moth GrandSLAM champion and instructor for the Moth Community Program, started telling stories for The Moth in 2007 after finding a community at an open mic story slam in New York City. 

"I put my name is the hat, and I got picked. I told a terrible story," he says. "It didn't have any structure, and it didn't make sense. After that, the producer said 'that wasn't great, but you should come back.'" 

He went back because of the community. 

Flickr / Jeff Gitchel

Iowa’s Secretary of State Paul Pate says the Iowa Supreme Court should not be determining who can and cannot vote. 

Iowa's constitution says people convicted of infamous crimes are forever prohibited from voting, though some with felony convictions have successfully petitioned to have their rights restored. The state's high court is currently considering if "infamous crimes" means all felonies.

John Pemble

Here’s what to know going into the week at the Iowa legislature.

Anita / Flickr

With April, spring has tentatively arrived, grass everywhere is starting to turn green, and Iowan eyes are cast to the lawn. One question facing homeowners is whether or not to rake the leftover leaves on the lawn.

"You can get some damage from it. On the other hand, in most situations those leaves will break down and they won't do a thing, Iowa State University horticulture professor and turf grass expert Nick Christians.

Christians says the leaf breakdown can even be beneficial.

Courtesy of DMMO

This week’s Arias in April broadcast features another production from the Des Moines Metro Opera’s 43rd Festival Season, Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West. It will air on Saturday, April 9 at 8:00 p.m and Sunday, April 10 at 11:00 p.m.

Blue Avenue April 3

Apr 3, 2016

WILLIAM CLARKE-BLOWIN' THE FAMILY JEWELS (EXCERPT)

ANDY POXON-I WANT TO KNOW

THE JIMMYS-WHAT CHUR DOIN'

THE KNICKERBOCKER ALL STARS-HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE

JANIVA MAGNESS-LOVE WINS AGAIN

HARPER-WHAT'S GOIN' DOWN

BONNIE RAITT-ALL ALONE WITH SOMETHING TO SAY

BOB CORRITORE-T-TOWN RAMBLE (EXCERPT)

TIM WILLIAMS-ANYWHERE C/O THE BLUES

BRYCE JANEY-DOWN HOME BLUES

LUTHER DICKINSON-HOW I WISH MY TRAIN WOULD COME

JAMES HUNTER 6-LIGHT OF MY LIFE

NIKKI JAMES-LOVE YOU LONG

MAGIC SAM-YOU BELONG TO ME

Photo by Kyle Munson

One of the Iowa's most generous philanthropists has died at the age of 79.  Richard Jacobson grew up in Belmond. He died today at his home in Florida.

Jacobson used the wealth he built as owner of a Des Moines-based shipping company to support many causes in the areas of health care, education and the Iowa State Fair.  His large gifts include $15 million to the University of Northern Iowa’s College of Education and $100 million to the Mayo Clinic, the largest gift Mayo has ever received from a single donor.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Iowa Public Radio Senior Producer Dean Borg is being honored by Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication.  It has named him this year’s recipient of the James W. Schwartz Award, which honors distinguished service to journalism and mass communication.  Borg has been with IPR since 2000, and also hosts and moderates Iowa Public Television's “Iowa Press” program, now in its 45th year.

Dean Borg/IPR

As Iowa legislators search the state’s budget for money to fund water quality projects, an Iowa environmentalist believes it may be on grocery store shelves.

Ralph Rosenberg, Executive Director of the Iowa Environmental Council, estimates a five-cent tax on plastic bottles containing water and other beverages could bring the needed money to the state.

“We’ve heard it may raise as much as $20 to 25 million a year,” Rosenberg told reporters Friday, following taping of an Iowa Press program on water quality at Iowa Public Television.

Amy Mayer

In 2015, an outbreak of avian flu led to the depopulation of 50 million birds across Iowa and the Midwest. During the height of the outbreak last summer, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration halted egg inspections to try to curb the spread of the virus.

Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig says that the state halted inspections after the FDA announced they would do the same.

Louis / Flickr

In the spring of 1916 war raged in Europe and tensions rose in the United States. In response, some far-sighted Iowans decided it was time to bring the Red Cross to Iowa.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a discussion on the history of the American Red Cross, the work of its volunteers, and the mission of the Red Cross in Iowa today. Volunteer Nancy Kintner remembers an experience she had in Cedar Rapids during the 2008 flood recovery.

Remi Itani / International Organization for Migration / Flickr

More than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015, fleeing war, poverty, and ecological disaster. The influx has sparked a crisis, as European counties struggle to cope with the human flood. It's also creating division in the European Union over how best to deal with resettling people. 

Senator Chuck Grassley is caught in the middle of the controversy over whether or not to hold hearings on D.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Jim McCormick, political science professor at Iowa State University says that the move to block hearings on the nomination is “odd.”

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

At midnight this morning, Iowa's Medicaid system transitioned into the hands of three for-profit corporations. Gov. Terry Branstad says the move will contain costs, but critics say privatization leaves many patients without services. 

At the McDonough home in Cedar Rapids, shower day for seven-year-old Carson can be tricky.  That's because he breathes through a tracheal tube.

From tomorrow on, the previously state-run Medicaid system will be managed by private companies called "managed care organizations," or MCOs. In the lead-up to the switch, many of those who benefit from Medicaid have struggled with getting information about coverage, payment, and benefits.

Anders Adermark/flickr

A Republican-sponsored water quality bill passed by a wide margin in a House committee today in spite of reservations from Democrats.  

The bill takes existing tax revenue, and commits it to cities trying to get pollutants out of their drinking water.  

Iowans who live in cities pay a tax on metered water.  The bill would direct the tax to a special fund for water treatment upgrades.   

But Democrats say farm chemicals and other contaminants will still be in Iowa waterways.  

File Photo, House Democratic Caucus

With the privatization of Iowa’s health care program for the poor and disabled set to go into effect tomorrow, state lawmakers Wednesday grilled company representatives and Medicaid managers about the change.    

There was emotional debate in the House about a young cancer patient’s treatment being delayed.        

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday on whether it violates the state’s constitution to permanently ban people with felony convictions from voting. 

The constitution states anyone who commits an “infamous crime,” forever loses the right to vote, though the text offers little context as to what makes a crime "infamous."

Photo by Amy Mayer

The country's top attorney on national security issues told Iowans Wednesday that all Internet-connected computers are potentially vulnerable to outside attacks.

John Carlin, assistant U.S. attorney general for national security, visited central Iowa to share with business leaders what the government sees as threats, and how companies can protect themselves.

Courtesy of Jacki Dougherty Knight

During the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, a lot of different coaches can be seen interacting with their teams, and there are almost as many different coaching styles as there are mascots.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a discussion on the impact of coaches from peewee leagues to college athletics. She talks with University of Northern Iowa men’s basketball coach Ben Jacobson, who leads his team with a calm steady hand and a positive outlook, as well as John O’Sullivan, founder of the Changing the Game project.

Suzanne Hogan for Harvest Public Media

Aubrey Fletcher knew she wanted to work on a dairy farm ever since she was a little girl.

"I do remember my mom asking, `Are you sure that's what you want to do?'" Fletcher recalls.

Fletcher knew the work was tough, she grew up milking cows every day. After college she and her husband wanted to return to his family farm, but it wasn't making financial sense.

"The farm couldn't necessarily provide both of us with salaries," says Fletcher. "So we thought, `Why not take our premium milk and take that a little further?'"

Iowa photographer Danny Wilcox Frazier and Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt of the Pines are working together on a new project that merge art, music and a concern for a blighted rural landscape. Wilcox Frazier says the collaboration began when the three connected on their Iowa roots.

“If you grow up as an artist or a musician, you see this rich cultural heritage in Iowa and you begin to wonder as your travel around how things became the way they are. For us, this is a longing for home,” he says.

dagnyg / Flickr

Johnston father of three, Nathan Gibson, would like to take his daughters to fire handguns at a shooting range, but under state law they can't handle pistols until the age of fourteen.

On this legislative day edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Gibson and one of Gibson's daughters about their effort to eliminate the handgun use age limit. 

Univ. of Iowa Press

Ecologist Cornelia F. Mutel of rural Iowa City has written a string of insightful books about the Iowa environment, beginning with "Fragile Giants: a Natural History of the Loess Hills" back in 1989.   At that time, grandchildren were in her distant future.  Now that she's a grandmother, she wants to do everything she can to make sure there will be a healthy earth for her grandkids' lives.

Despite criticism he’s keeping details of his schedule private to avoid protestors, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley says he hasn’t changed protocol in 36 years.

Iowa’s senior Republican senator heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has been highly criticized for refusing to hold a confirmation hearing for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

The senate is currently on recess, so Grassley is back in Iowa meeting with constituents. The senator has not made his full schedule public, which Democrats say is an attempt to elude unhappy constituents. 

Orchestra Iowa

This week's Symphonies of Iowa broadcast features Orchestra Iowa's "OI Chamber: French Kiss" concert. It features music by French composers François Couperin, Camille Saint-Saëns, and César Franck.

Charles Bassett wants you to buy hamburgers made from his Missouri cows. That's why the Missouri rancher wants to pay an extra dollar into an industry-created fund every time he sells one of his cattle.

W. Ward Reynoldson, the former Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, has died. He was 95 years old.

Reynoldson sat on the state’s high court for 16 years, from 1971 to 1987. For nine of these years, Reynoldson served as chief justice. 

"The Iowa court family is saddened by the passing of former Chief Justice Ward Reynoldson," says current Chief Justice Mark Cady in an emailed statement. "He always projected the highest standards in everything he did."

Photo Courtesy of Taylor Beeck

The way you see yourself can be very different from the way others see you. Who is right? 

Just about a week ago, a server in Des Moines was stiffed out of a tip because she isn’t “normal looking.” During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Taelor Beeck, who says she expected not to receive a tip from the table who wrote her a note about her appearance on their check, but never would have thought the table would criticize her for her appearance.

Courtesy of DMMO

The Des Moines Metro Opera heralds in the return of Arias in April with performances from their 43rd Festival Season. The first broadcast features Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio on Saturday, April 2 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 3 at 11:00 p.m.

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