Talk of Iowa

Weekdays at 10 a.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One and 9 p.m. on IPR News

Talk of Iowa brings a mix of regular guests and a range of experts to the microphone to discuss what’s happening in Iowa and what makes this a special place to live. Guests include wildlife expert Jim Pease and the Hort Gang on Fridays.

Talk of Iowa is hosted by Charity Nebbe @CharityNebbe.  It’s produced by Dennis Reese, Emily Woodbury @EmilyWoodbury, Lindsey Moon @lindseysmoon and Clare Roth @ClareAliceRoth.  Our Executive Producer is Katherine Perkins.  Our theme music is by The River Monks.

Jim Pease

Lions, zebras, and elephants are not native to the Iowa landscape, but a lot can be learned from these African creatures and from the challenges they face.  

On this wildlife day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe sits down with wildlife biologist Jim Pease, who has just returned from a trip to Africa. His guide, Jim Heck, of Explorer’s World Travel, also joins the conversation to talk about their journey and what they saw, including an up close and personal encounter with the Great Migration.

NASA

On Christmas Eve 1968, nine-year-old Clayton Anderson watched on television as Apollo 8 traveled to the far side of the moon. That night, his dreams of being an astronaut were born.

"I was enamored. I was just transfixed by what was happening," he says.

Anderson realized his dream. He's a veteran of two space flights and spent five months aboard the international space station in 2007. He's written about his life in space and on Earth in the new book, The Ordinary Spaceman: From Boyhood Dreams to Astronaut.

Wikimedia Commons

Planning outdoor landscaping is one of the more overwhelming outdoor projects. If you're wondering where to start, Lisa Orgler, a lecturer in the horticulture department at Iowa State University says to think about your open spaces first. 

Terry Ballard / Flickr

Gleaning the wisdom of those who have come before us is a practice as old as time, but in quoting the geniuses of the past, we often misattribute their wisdom. Pat O'Connor, author of Woe is I, says that a few people in particular get a disproportionate number of quips attributed to them.

"People who are known to be wits, and if they're famous, often an anonymous quote will be pinned on them," says O'Connor. "For example, Twain is often credited with saying, 'Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.' Well no, he didn't say that."

Paul Starnes

While it wasn't written about the Vietnam War, the song "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" by The Animals became an iconic song at the time, and now signifies the era.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Craig Werner and Doug Bradley, co-authors of the new book, We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam Warwhere they explore the role of music in connecting veterans both during combat and after they returned home. 

Catherine / Flickr

While spring cleaning can be a good time to declutter your home, it can also serve an essential function for your health. Spring is the ideal time to check everything from smoke detectors to fire extinguishers to air filters. Home improvement expert Bill McAnally suggests checking your filters to ensure they're clean, as particles can not only affect your pulmonary health but pose a fire hazard.

Kate Dugas / Flickr

It's almost time to start planting seedlings into the soil.

"This is an exciting time of year," says Ajay Nair, assistant professor of horticulture at Iowa State University. "One of the crops that comes to mind is potatoes. Sometime in the first week of April, or the second week of April, is the time to plant potatoes... Other crops that can go out are the cool season vegetables like broccoli and peas." 

Nat Lockwood / Flickr

In Iowa, around 42 percent of all teens hold jobs outside their home – that’s just about 74,000 Iowans, more than any other border state except for South Dakota. Most teens in Iowa work in retail. After that, they typically find employment in the food service industry. According to the Iowa Food and Beverage Association, 1/3 of Iowans find their first jobs in a restaurant. 

Sheryl Cline is a high school guidance counselor at Linn-Marr High School. She says this is the time of year when a lot of students start thinking about summer work.  

Kata Rokkar / Flickr

Marc Maron, comic and host of the popular podcast WTF, is coming to Iowa as part of the Mission Creek festival. He'll be performing at the Englert Theatre on Friday night. In this hour of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe spoke with him about vulnerability, the impact success has on creation, and the quality of his phone line.

Lee Wright / Flickr

State Sen. Matt McCoy from Des Moines, co-chair of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee, said last week that lawmakers don’t back Gov. Terry Branstad’s proposal to spend $65 million to demolish part of the 234,000 square foot state historical facility and renovate the rest. He’s proposed an alternative plan.

YUVAL PELEG

The Bible is the most read book of all time. For billions of people around the world, it provides answers, and it also leaves many questions.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with archaeologist and biblical scholar Robert Cargill, who has worked long, hard, and traveled far to find an answer to the question of - Where did the Bible come from?

He's written about what he has found in his new book, The Cities that Built the Bible.

Shinya Suzuki / Flickr

Mary Swander, Iowa's Poet Laureate, moved out to the country when she fell ill in 1983. She wanted to be close to where organic, whole foods were grown. Thirty years later, she's gained more than a connection to agriculture--she's gained a connection with a group of people not seen by most of society: the Amish. 

"They are based on the Benedictine monks, so they live like a cloistered community but they have families. They’re supposed to be disconnected from the outside world," she says. "So, now I’m a neighbor, and that’s a very privileged position."

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Corvus moneduloides / Wikimedia Commons

There's nothing quite like the taste of a ripe, red raspberry, but cultivating a berry patch can be thorny and a little confusing. If you want berries in the fall, now's the time to prune them. 

Lee Wright / Flickr

In January, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs announced a plan to renovate and modernize the state historical building of Iowa. That comes after the department scaled back hours and made staffing changes at the historical building in Iowa City. The new plan has some Iowa historians very worried.

Carl Wycoff

Water quality is certainly an important topic in Iowa, but can it also be sexy and funny?

Jennifer Wilson thinks so, and she set out to prove it in her first novel, Water. The book takes on water quality and politics in Iowa, and it takes place against the familiar backdrop of Des Moines and Northeast Iowa.

On this Talk of Iowa interview, Charity Nebbe talks with Wilson about the book and its unconventional path to publication with t-shirt company RAYGUN. RAYGUN owner Mike Draper also joins the conversation to talk about the collaboration.

Del Ramey / Flickr

Lots of animals nest, and spring is the height of nesting season.

"It is a natural behavior that crosses all continents around the world, and something that really, everybody does in some way, including humans," says wildlife biologist Jim Pease. 

Brave Lux Photography

The women behind the new podcast “Quilt Your Heart Out” describe the show as Car Talk for quilters. On this hour of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks quilting and podcasting with Marianne and Mary Fons, best known as the hosts of the PBS television show "Love of Quilting."  

Early Spring Blooms

Mar 18, 2016
DM / Flickr

There are few things as lovely as a spring time hike in the woods when wildflowers are in bloom and you can recreate that experience in a small way in your own yard.

On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe sits down with Aaron Steil, assistant director of Reiman Gardens, and Richard Jauron, Iowa State University Extension horticulturist, to talk about perennials that bloom in early spring.

See-ming Lee / Wikimedia Commons

According to research by the Gallup organization, North Dakotans are happier than Iowans. Or rather, they have a higher state of well-being.

Emily Woodbury

Kate Duffus is pregnant for the fourth time, but the little girl she is carrying will not be her little girl.

Wikimedia Commons

Between typing and texting we are a lot less likely to put pen to paper. What's lost when we don't? 

Wikimedia Commons

In January of 2011 when Ginnie Peters retired from the Perry Public Library, she was looking forward to spending more time with her husband, Matt, but she never really got the chance.

He died of suicide in May of that year.  “One day he told me he had torment in his head, and then the next day he was gone," she says. 

The two farmed 1500 acres between Perry and Panora, Iowa for most of their lives. Today, Peters blames the stress of planning for the future of her husband’s century farm for what happened. 

Waldo Jaquith / Flickr

Iowa’s Master Gardeners will be stocking community food banks this summer.

Iowa State University Master Gardner coordinator Denny Schrock says it’s expanding existing programs already producing nearly 15-tons of fresh produce.augmenting healthy diets for more than a third of a million Iowans said to be food insecure. And Shrock says the desired foods are surprising.

"They want more zucchini. So, we’ve green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers,  carrots, potatoes, melons, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes are going to be part of the home demonstration gardens.”   

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