Charity Nebbe

Talk of Iowa Host

Charity Nebbe grew up in rural Iowa just outside of Cedar Falls.  She began her career in public radio at WOI Radio in Ames, Iowa when she was a student at Iowa State University and has been working in public radio ever since.  Early in her career she created Chinwag Theater a nationally syndicated public radio show that she produced and co-hosted with well known author Daniel Pinkwater.  She spent ten years at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor and in 2010 returned to Iowa. 

Charity is now the host of Iowa Public Radio’s Talk of Iowa, heard weekday mornings at 10.  She is also the host of Iowa Ingredient, soon to debut on Iowa Public Television and the author of the children's book “Our Walk in the Woods,” published in 2008. 

Charity's favorite public radio program is On The Media.

Ways To Connect

teachernz, licensed under Creative Commons / Flickr

If you see lumps or weird shapes on the leaves of your oak tree, don't panic, says Laura Jesse, director of the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic at Iowa State University. She says it's likely a gall, which is harmless to the plant.

"They're the most interesting shapes," says Jesse, who calls them "beautiful." Jesse also says if you break them open you can usually find a wasp larvae that began feeding on the tree and prompted it to grow a gall around the insect.

martinak15 / Flickr

What if a handful of your memories are fake? It’s likely that at least a few of them are.

“Much of our memory is reconstructive. It’s not like we’re pulling a book off a bookshelf. We’re creating it as we go,” explains Dr. Steven Anderson, Director of the Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Laboratory in the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa. 

He says that while you can get better at remembering things with conscious effort, sometimes what we “remember” is what other people have told us about something that happened.  

Emily Woodbury

The Yes Men have been pulling pranks and engaging in guerilla activism for 20 years. They’ve targeted the World Trade Organization, George W. Bush, big industry, and in their most recent film, they’re battling climate change.

"This latest film is addressed to the people who can actually make change, which is all of us," says Bichlbaum.

Courtest of Doug May

Having a sibling is one thing, but sharing the womb with your sibling is something else entirely. 

For Don and Doug May, that bond has always made them feel unique.

"Our mom used to take us around to twin contests. It was clear to us pretty early on that we had a special relationship," Doug says. "We got a little bit of the 'Well, you're cuter than your brother,' and whatnot but we dealt with it. Being a twin is special. Everybody wants to feel special."

Alex / Flickr

It’s called the “makeup tax” – referring to the time, money, and energy spent by those who wear makeup.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a discussion on makeup culture in the U.S. and why the cosmetic industry in the country is worth more than $62 billion.

Joining the show: Gigi Durham, professor and collegiate scholar at the University of Iowa, Rachel Weingarten, beauty historian and author of Hello Gorgeous!: Beauty Products in America '40s-'60s, and Caty Leonetti, a makeup artist from Des Moines.

photo submitted

Noonan syndrome is a genetic condition.  The characteristic facial features include low set ears, widely spaced-eyes, bright blue or blue-green eyes, a low hairline at the back of the head, and multiple congenital problems like heart defects and an unusually shaped chest.

A person with Noonan syndrome is often short, has a broad or webbed neck, low set nipples, and bleeding problems.  Developmental delay or intellectual disability are also common.

Roberto Neumiller

How many people can the Earth sustain? According to author and journalist Alan Weisman, "the planet just seems to be bursting at its seams."

Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe interviews Weisman, who tackles that question in his new book, Countdown: Our Last, Best hope for a Future on Earth? She talks with him about what he learned by traveling the globe and studying different cultures and his vision of the future.

 This program originally aired February 24, 2014.

Rachel Gardner / Flickr

Planting native plants in yards, gardens, fields, and roadsides is more popular than ever before, but maintaining a prairie plot is different from tending a more traditional lawn or landscape.

On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks about prairie maintenance with Brad Riphagan, a field coordinator with Trees Forever. He and Iowa State University Extension horticulturist Richard Jauron also answer listener questions.

PaulAdamsPhotography / flickr

The history of Iowa isn't flashy, but the state is home to many fascinating stories and hidden treasures.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe sits down with Jessica Rundlett of the Iowa State Historical Society to learn about some of Iowa's most interesting hidden gems. Rundlett helped create the new Iowa Culture Mobile App, that can act as your guide on a road trip or reveal some of the historical treasures around at any given time.

Larry Cotlar of Des Moines has been a fixture in Iowa sports broadcasting for many decades.  And with that kind of history, including sports reporting on WHO, Cotlar has a wealth of stories to share. And make no mistake, he's a good story-teller.   In fact, one can expect new stories as Cotlar continues his career in sports as the play-by-play voice of the Drake Bulldogs.

Michael Leland

If  you’re paddling one of Iowa’s rivers, out for a walk, or even driving down a highway the sight of a big white bird passing overhead has become common, but that wasn’t always the case.

On this wildlife day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe sits down with wildlife biologist Jim Pease to discuss Iowa’s big white birds. These birds, including pelicans, great egrets and trumpeter swans, almost disappeared from the state, but are once again common.

Chlot's Run / Flickr

Instead of a compact disc, people who preordered The Awful Purdies' album, "All Recipes Are Home," got a different, but no less meaningful physical manifestation of the album--a packet of seeds.

"The people who preordered the album planted the seeds in the spring and at the record release on June 27th, you could see the photos of the food they’d already grown. People were actually eating the food they'd grown from the album," Katie Roche, a member of The Awful Purdies, says.

Arno Wesselink / Iowa Public Radio

If you listen to Talk of Iowa and River to River regularly, you have probably heard Iowa State University psychologist Doug Gentile talk about the science behind video games and the aspect of violence media, video games, and kids; but Doug is also a member of the band, Tom and Doug.

On this Talk of Iowa segment, Charity Nebbe talks with Gentile and bandmate, Tom Florek, a computer programmer in New Jersey. The band’s goal is to take serious issues and talk about them through the lens of comedy.

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.

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.

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.

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."

Jaknouse / English Language Wikipedia/Creative Commons

As the work begins to replant Iowa's ash trees due to destruction by the Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB, the Chair of the Horticulture Department at Iowa State University Jeff Iles says we need to think about maintaining trees over the long term. Iles says as municipalities begin the task of replacing trees, they need to budget for ongoing maintenance. 

And EAB isn't the only good reason to replant.  It may also be needed as tree populations age.  Iles says individuals and volunteers can make a big difference in this effort, as most city budgets are tight.

There was a time when you could tell where you were in the country just by looking at the architecture of the homes. Recently, however, there’s been a trend toward building subdivisions that look pretty much the same no matter where you are.

Kevin Nordmeyer, Principal at BNIM Architects in Des Moines, says that shift is partially due to modern technology that allows climate control inside new buildings and homes. 

Two years ago Iowa Public Radio was in turmoil. There was a change in leadership and a hole in the budget, a difficult time for an organization that relies on the support of listeners.

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Myrna Johnson, Executive Director and Mary Kramer, Chair of Iowa Public Radio’s Board of Directors. According to both leaders at IPR, a lot has changed in the last two years.

Denise Krebs / Flickr

When Allan Johnson asked his dying father what he would like to have done with his ashes, his father told him that it made no difference at all.  That answer left Johnson with a lot of questions and was the starting point for a powerful journey.

ReSurge International / Flickr

Chuck Wheeler felt sick going to work. Literally sick. 

"The last four, five years, I'd drive to work. And I'd start out okay, but the closer I'd get to work, I'd get a terrible stomachache, and by the time I pulled into my parking spot...I'm not going to say it was unbearable, but it was really irritating to have a stomachache every day when you're going into work. It seemed to never go away."

Phil Roeder / Flickr

It’s county fair season, which means the quest for blue ribbons is on. During this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with horticulturists Richard Jauron and Cindy Haynes about the vegetable, fruit and flower competitions that bring so many people to the fair.

"You don't know who is exhibiting," says Haynes. "It could be someone who raises vegetables for sale or it could be a 10-year-old."

She says that when she's faced with a table of tomatoes, she looks for those that are ripe, blemish free and firm enough to hold up for a few days. 

Courtesy of Lauren Hanna

When Solon resident Lauren Hanna first saw her dog Clifford taking care of a blind rooster named Hedwig, she didn't believe it; but the two became fast friends.

"Hedwig will get lost out in the yard," Hanna says. "After a night when an animal attacked Hedwig and pulled some of his tail feathers out, Clifford took him under his wing."

"To see it be this ongoing relationship is amazing."

Running to the Fire

Jul 23, 2015
Waldorf College

Tim Bascom, author of the novel "Squatters' Rights" and the essay collection "The Comfort Trap" is out with a new memoir about his time growing up in the 1970's in Ethiopia, "Running to the Fire: An American Missionary Comes of Age in Revolutionary Ethiopia." (University of Iowa Press)

Photo Courtesy of Sally Olsen

Making lace as a hobby isn't all that common, but there is a small yet dedicated group of women in Eastern Iowa who spend their time weaving bobbin lace.

Ruth Lyons is local chair for the International Organization of Lace Incorporated’s Annual Convention which will be hosted in Coralville July 27-August 2. She says making lace is one of the most difficult things she’s ever done.

woodleywonderworks / Flickr

Gym class used to be as simple as learning the rules to a sport, practicing that sport, playing a scrimmage, and moving on. Now, the bar is set a bit higher. Charity Campbell is a physical education teacher at Norwalk Middle School. She says physical education has shifted to instilling habits that go beyond the classroom.

"As we're making that shift with our health crisis today, we're making sure our students are active the entire class. We're giving them a variety of activities to try and do, but not perfect the skills."

TechShop / Flickr, Licensed under Creative Commons

Iowa's unemployment rate of 3.8% reflects nearly full employment across the state. But there are many industries that need workers, and that demand is reflected in the Iowa Hot Jobs report. Deputy Director of Iowa Workforce Development and the State Labor Market Information Administrator, Ed Wallace says jobs in the biosciences, health care, education, and agriculture continue to grow. The challenge lies in making sure those looking for work know which jobs are in most demand.

GollyGforce / Flickr

Even when the growing season is ideal, there are problems and diseases that crop up in yards and gardens. As Iowa has experienced this year, extra moisture can really set things off.

On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe sits down with horticulturists to find out how to deal with this summer’s common plant maladies, including a problem many Midwesterners have seen - some trees are already changing colors.

Consider the history of the washing machine, in which Iowa played an integral part.  You may think that the Maytag, developed in Newton, was a product of the work of company founder F.L. Maytag.  But retired educator and amateur historian Tom Hoover says Mr. Maytag was really more of a shrewd businessman who could spot genius engineers and innovators when he saw them.

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