Katherine Perkins/IPR

2016 is the 125th anniversary of the birth of Iowa's best-known artist, Grant Wood. To mark the occasion, Go Cedar Rapids, the city's tourism and visitors bureau created "overalls all over." The group commissioned local artists to decorate 25 life-sized, 6-foot fiberglass statues depicting the farmer and daughter from the American Gothic painting. The statues were on display throughout the city this summer, and IPR's Katherine Perkins hunted down a few of them for this slide show.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Contaminated drinking water isn't just a problem for Flint, Michigan. Many towns and cities across the Midwest and Great Plains face pollution seeping into their water supplies. A big part of the problem: farming and ranching.

WIKICOMMONS / Gage Skidmore & U.S. Congress

The Vice Presidential nominees for both major parties -- Republican Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Democratic Virginia Senator Tim Kaine --  are in Iowa this afternoon. During the caucuses, Iowa gets plenty of attention, but high profile visits are less common during the general election. 

Donna Hoffman heads the Political Science Department at the University of Northern Iowa. She says because Iowa is a swing state, it’s still playing an important role in the presidential contest.

John Pemble/IPR

Just weeks away from the general election, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump returned to Iowa touting his plan to ease the financial burden of childcare for working families. Also this week, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton took a break from campaigning after being diagnosed with pneumonia. That's not controversial, but how and when her campaign disclosed her health status, certainly was.

Briar Cliff University

The six Catholic colleges in the state are banding together to address the challenges facing private higher education. The Iowa Catholic Collegiate Association will explore possible joint ventures and shared programs.

Davenport Public Library

History doesn't have to be pretty to be worth preserving.  As the Preserve Iowa Summit gets underway in Davenport, Charity Nebbe speaks with four unique guests about historic preservation in Iowa: Paula Mohr, Dustin Oliver, Rosemary Thornton and Duane Timm.

CRST International

The latest addition to the Cedar Rapids skyline is the 11-story CRST Center located near the Cedar River downtown.

The $37 million building will be the corporate headquarters for the transportation company CRST International. The trucking firm will occupy two of the floors, with Bankers Trust, Holmes Murphy and RSM International renting office space. Company chairman John Smith says since CRST announced plans to move its corporate campus downtown from southwest Cedar Rapids, others are considering similar moves.

International Labour Organization / Flickr

It may seem odd that a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate promotes anger. But that is exactly what 2014 winner Kailash Satyarthi believes is necessary for change to occur in the world. 

flickrfavorites / Flickr

Andrew Derocher traveled to Norway in 1996 to study what he thought would be a large, untouched population of polar bears. The country had flat-out banned the commercial hunting of bears as part of the Oslo Agreement 23 years earlier. Derocher, a professor at the University of Alberta and a polar bear biologist, assumed that was enough time for the bears' population and health to rebound. What he found surprised him.

InfoCash / Flickr

Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, Venmo -- the cutting-edge payment options of today are in our pockets, if not in our wallets. Before we had technological access to our bank accounts, there was a more rudimentary barrier to jump: getting money regardless of what bank or ATM was available. 

Michael Leland/IPR

People opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline have turned more than 33,000 petition signatures over to the U-S Department of Justice office in Des Moines. 

They want the department to review all permits that allow pipeline construction.

“We call upon President Obama to ensure the Army Corps of Engineers rejects the remaining permits in North Dakota and Iowa,” said Ross Grooters, member of the group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.  “Furthermore, the construction should be halted not just the 20 miles either side of Lake Oahe, but along the pipeline’s entire path.”

The phrase, “Iowa Cuisine,” may draw some derisive laughter or eye-rolling, but we do have a distinctive food culture in our state. In her new book A Culinary History of Iowa, author Darcy Dougherty Maulsby writes about everything from the infamous pork tenderloin that the state is known for to traditional foods brought by early settler to Iowa like kolaches and kringla pastries. During this Talk of Iowa segment, she talks with host Charity Nebbe. 


The City of Des Moines’s water utility is trying to sue 10 drainage districts in northwest Iowa in federal court, accusing the districts of polluting the Raccoon River. But first, Des Moines Water Works must convince the state Supreme Court that drainage districts can be held liable.

The drainage districts assert that for over a century, the Iowa Supreme Court has held that they can’t be sued for a civil wrong due to their limited authority. Attorney Michael Reck told the court during oral arguments Wednesday that it should stand by its previous rulings.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

This election has been unusual for a number of reasons, many which can be boiled down to one personality that's dominated the airwaves and headlines: Donald Trump. Josh Voorhees, senior writer for the liberal online magazine Slate, says part of it was the confluence of Trump's ascendancy and a new form of journalism.

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

St. Louis-based Monsanto, a world agribusiness leader, has agreed to be acquired by the German company Bayer. Bayer will pay $57 billion dollars, or $128 per share, in a deal that has been in the works since last spring.

Two other mergers are underway in the industry, with Dow set to combine with DuPont (already the owner of Iowa-based DuPont Pioneer) and ChemChina planning to buy the Swiss company Syngenta.


Airbnb, a marketplace for people to list and rent vacation homes and rooms to stay, was founded in 2008 in San Francisco. Today, there are more than a million listings in more than 30,000 cities around the country. As the service grows in popularity in the state, cities in Iowa including Clear Lake, West Des Moines, Fairfield and Coralville are looking to regulate its use.

"There is a great demand for this type of service. It was founded as a means to accommodate people during large business conventions," explains Art Durnev, a professor of finance at the University of Iowa. 

John Pemble/IPR

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was back in Iowa today, sticking close to his prepared remarks and continuing to go after his rival Hillary Clinton over comments she made about his supporters over the weekend.

At a rally in the Des Moines suburb of Clive, Trump blasted Clinton for putting half of his supporters in a “basket of deplorables”.

“While my opponent slanders you as deplorable and irredeemable, I call you hardworking American patriots and want a better future for all of our people,” he said.


The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and the Iowa Corn Growers Association are offering to pay the legal costs in a lawsuit that names three northwest Iowa counties.  Des Moines Water Works alleges that farm runoff from drainage districts in Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac Counties has caused exceedingly high nitrate levels in the city's water supply. 

Craig Hill is president of the Farm Bureau. He says the counties have been unfairly singled out in the Water Works lawsuit.

When Critters Do "The Shuffle"?

Sep 13, 2016
Gilles Gonthier / Wikimedia Commons

The chill in the air and the traces of color on the trees are sure signs of fall, and so are the large number of raccoons and possums you see along the roadsides. Wild animals all over Iowa are doing the "fall shuffle," and among these animals are the more than three hundred species of birds that can be seen flying across the state.

“A lot of the northern species are down in our area, or have already moved through," says Iowa State University Wildlife Biologist Jim Pease.

They all have similar reasons for heading south towards sunnier skies.

Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media


In an effort to turn away from chemical pesticides, which have the potential to damage the environment, some farmers are looking in a new direction in the age-old, quiet struggle on farm fields of farmers versus pests. They're warding off intruding insects and noxious weeds with bugs and chickens.

Ryan Stier performed a solo Extravision set for Studio One Tracks on Sept. 11, opening for Margaret Glaspy at Octopus on College Hill in Cedar Falls.  The Des Moines-based songwriter, vocalist and guitarist played songs from Extravison's two recent EPs.  Stier's songs have been accurately described as "psychfolk."  

You can listen to Extravision's set right here!

VanHouten Photography

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa encore broadcast features the Des Moines Symphony’s “Gerard Schwarz conducts Brahms” concert. Tune in on Monday, September 19 at 7 p.m. for this Symphonies of Iowa encore broadcast! The program includes music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Johannes Brahms.

John Finn / Flickr

Recent research funded by a grant from National Institute of Mental Health at the University of Houston reveals children who experience inadequate or disrupted sleep are more likely to develop depression and anxiety disorders later in life. To pinpoint these cognitive, behavioral and physiological patterns of emotional risk, the researchers are temporarily restricting sleep in 50 pre-adolescent children between the ages of 7 and 11.

Mr. Atoz/Wikimedia Commons

When Mike McGinn was 11 months old, his parents had him taken to be tested for a peanut allergy. They didn't expect what happened next.

"I was clinically dead for over a minute," he says. "I had the food challenge done, which is giving your child a suspected allergen and seeing what happens. They put a Ritz sandwich cracker in my mouth, and I had an anaphylactic reaction immediately." 

McGinn isn't alone in having a severe peanut allergy. Food sensitivities among children are on the rise. The most common are wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, seafood, soy and eggs. 

Flickr / Leonieke Aalders

The Iowa State Bar Association is recommending that voters retain all 63 Iowa judges and the three state supreme court justices who are facing judicial retention elections this November. The ISBA is basing this recommendation on the 2016 Judicial Performance Review survey. 

Dean Borg/IPR

Linn County’s minimum wage increases to $8.25 an hour on January 1, and a dollar-an-hour more on each of the following two New Year’s Days. But municipalities may not follow, including Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second-largest city.

On a 4-1 vote, Linn’s Board of Supervisors approved the third reading of the ordinance incrementally raising the wage floor to three dollars above current Iowa law by 2019.

Brooklyn-based Sharon Jones and her longtime backing group The Dap-Kings (along with other artists on their Brooklyn label, Daptone Records) have a lot to do with the soul revival of recent years.  Miss Sharon Jones! is a new documentary film, telling the story of the singer's 2013 battle with cancer, and her triumphant return to the stage around the time of the 2014 release of the Grammy-nominated album Give The People What They Want.  The soundtrack album of the film is our Featured Release this week.


The Iowa Attorney General Office argued Friday at the state Supreme Court that justices should overturn a ruling from six years ago. 

In Iowa, when someone is arrested, law enforcement have 45 days to press charges. Back in December 2010, the court ruled six-to-one in State v. Wing, that when a person reasonably believes they are under arrest, law enforcement must still adhere to the 45-day deadline. That's even if an individual isn't actually under arrest. 

Matt Johnson / Flickr

This week, Trump lifted his ban on about a dozen media organizations he had barred from his news conferences and campaign events. One of the first of the media organizations to be banned was the Des Moines Register, whose reporters were blacklisted from his events after the paper ran an editorial urging him to drop out.  Lynn Hicks, Opinion Editor at the Des Moines Register, says Trump’s decision was unexpected because the opinion section and newsroom are completely separate entities with a "firewall" between them.

Ludovic Lubeigt / Flickr

Shenaz Patel is from Mauritius, an island country off the coast of the African mainland. Many Americans probably couldn’t place the country on a map; some might not even know its name.

“People often ask me, ‘Where is Mauritius?’ and I feel like I should be walking with a map in my pocket to point out to them,” Patel laughs.

The island played a role in the War for Independence as a harbor for French ships to dock at before coming to America, and it plays an essential role in U.S. foreign policy now.