Jim Poynter

A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR (Barney Sherman): Hebrew was in ancient times a living language. Then, like Latin, it “died” – it ceased to be a native tongue for everyday speech, and was used only in liturgy, scholarship, and literature. But then it was brought back to life in the 20th century as a daily language. The revival of spoken Hebrew had no precedent and has been challenging to duplicate. Would a similar revival be just as unlikely, then, in music?

On Friday, October 16th at 2 pm in the Java House in downtown Iowa City, IPR Studio One's Ben Kieffer will host a performance of "Java Blend" with Dickie, the new duo formed by Dick Prall and Kristina Priceman. 

Ben will chat with the pair about the combination of their extraordinary talents, and Dickie will perform a 50-minute set for the Java House. This program is free and open to the public! 

Fewer students than usual attended classes at West High School in Iowa City today because of an alleged threat. West High principal Gregg Shoultz says they received a report Friday of a post on Snapchat that included a picture of a gun and text about the high school.  He says officials met with the student who allegedly made made the threat, but the student never confirmed it. Shoultz says although there is no threat, many students opted to stay home today.

Flickr / Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig,

"If you have to spend money to get money," says Polk County Attorney John Sarcone, "it's clearly a scam."

Yet many don't know this telltale sign, particularly Iowa seniors who are often the targets of fraud and embezzlement.

Jim Wagner likes to work on old cars; that’s how it all started.

Wagner is a veteran and co-founder of the Veteran’s Freedom Center in Dubuque, a non-profit organization devoted to helping veterans who have fallen through the cracks of more traditional outreach programs. Al Rowell, also a co-founder of the center, says last year they saw more than 6,000 vets circle through their doors. The oldest was 95-years-old, and the youngest was in his early 20s. 

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

A top Iowa Republican has harsh words for his party’s representatives in the U.S. House, where the GOP has so far been unable to agree on a new House Speaker to replace the outgoing John Boehner.

Opposition from a cadre of conservatives known as the Freedom Caucus helped lead Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to withdraw from the race for the top post.

Former Iowa Republican party chair Matt Strawn says it looks like Republicans don’t know how to govern.

Courtesy of DMMO

The final opera in the Des Moines Metro Opera’s 43rd Festival Season, Janáček’s Jenůfa, airs as part of Iowa Public Radio’s Opera in October broadcast series. IPR will broadcast Jenůfa on Saturday, October 17 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 18 at 4:00 p.m.

Flickr / Jimmy Smith

Communities wanting to develop housing for a growing workforce can apply to the Iowa Finance Authority for low-interest loans. The state agency announced a new program Friday that provides $5 million in low-interest loans to create multifamily dwellings for low-to-moderate income renters.

Fall Colored Perennials

Oct 9, 2015
Swallowtail Garden Seeds / Flickr

Watching the trees change color is one of the chief pleasures of fall, but few people consider what hardy perennials can add to scenery. An added benefit is that they are pretty easy to tuck in, where a tree may not fit.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Denny Shrock, Master Gardener Coordinator at Iowa State University, discusses some of his favorite suggestions and he provides an extensive list of beautiful October bloomers as well as perennials with outstanding fall foliage colors.

The battle over who will become the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is "probably the most important thing happening in politics today." That's according to Dave Andersen, assistant professor of political science at Iowa State University.

John Pemble / IPR

IPR's Clay Masters interviewed former Florida Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush at his West Des Moines headquarters Wednesday. The full transcript is below.

CM: Governor Bush, you’re doing your longest swing through Iowa this week. Why haven’t you been focusing more time here in Iowa?

Flickr / Coen Dijkman

If you've ever wanted your own horse, you can adoption one Saturday in Decorah for $125. About 40 animals will be available for adoption.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management says there are approximately 58,150 horses and burros roaming the western U.S. But to maintain a healthy wild population and a healthy habitat, the agency says those numbers need to drop by more than half. 

Pat Blank/IPR

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump filled an iconic Waterloo ballroom with more than 12 hundred supporters. The crowd at the Electric Park Ballroom repeatedly chanted "USA" and "Trump, Trump, Trump".  The GOP front runner got some of the loudest applause when he talked about repealing the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare".

Courtesy of the Des Moines Register

Iowa has shuttered more than 4300 school districts since 1950 as a result of demographic changes in rural Iowa. What that means for residents and students in rural Iowa is highlighted in a new documentary “Lost Schools.”


Mars has been receiving a lot of attention recently. In the new Ridley Scott movie, The Martian, a NASA botanist is stranded on Mars and has to rely on his own ingenuity to survive. In real life, scientists have discovered evidence of present day water on the red planet.

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer sits down with astrophysicists, Steve Kawaler of Iowa State University and Jasper Halekas of the University of Iowa, along with retired NASA astronaut, Clayton Anderson, to discuss the accuracy and impact of films like The Martian.

Clay Masters/IPR file photo

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is vowing to move aggressively in controlling gun violence.  And, in a campaign stop in Davenport today, she took a swipe at a comment Republican Jeb Bush made last week after the shootings at a community college in Oregon.

“We can’t tolerate that,” she said, “this doesn’t just happen, this isn’t stuff that happens.  We let it happen and we have to act against those people who should not have guns in the first place.”

Daniel Hartwig / Flickr

In Iowa, state-specific history is taught in fourth grade. For most Iowans, that's the last they'll learn about their state's past. Tom Morain, Director of Government Relations at Graceland University and former head of State Historical Society of Iowa, is working to change that. He's developed a curriculum, an online course he's dubbed Iowa 101, that anyone, anywhere in or out of state, can access and participate in.

IPR file photo by Amy Mayer

Many farmers are going to lose money on this year's huge harvest because prices are lower than they have been.

Farm bill subsidy programs, which kick in when the average national price of a commodity drops below a certain price, will almost certainly be triggered this year for corn and soybeans. But it is not yet clear the extent to which those programs will help.

"It's going to help, but it's still not going to get the help above the cost of production," says Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley. 

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer catches up with legendary Iowa City songwriter Dave Moore. 

Listen in below to hear what Moore's been up to lately. 

Photo by Frank Morris for Harvest Public Media

China's rapid industrialization and economic expansion over the past few decades has been a boon for U.S. farmers — especially soybean farmers. But China's economy is slowing down, leaving American farmers exposed to the downside of being tied to the world's second largest economy.

With tall stands of corn and green soybean fields stretching for miles, the river bottom land around Langdon, Mo., seems a long, long way from Beijing. In an economic sense, though, it's practically right next door. 

Louis / Flickr

When Alyssa Varner’s college apartment was torn apart by a tornado in 2006, it got her thinking about the weather.

“I started thinking about tornadoes as villains,” she says. “I was living with 9 other people in a house, and we were all scrambling because of the tornado. It didn’t hit the house next to us, and I got to thinking about how selective severe weather can be.”

IPR file photo by Amy Mayer

After years of work, U.S. negotiators on Monday announced agreement on a trade deal with 11 Pacific Rim nations that is expected to expand export opportunities for U.S. farmers.

The 11 countries included in the deal, called the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP, already import some 42 percent of U.S. agricultural exports at a value of $63 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Robert S. Donovan / Flickr

  Over the last few months, Beth Howard has traveled more than 30,000 miles and has visited 9 countries and has made 211 pies as a part of her “World Piece” tour. She set out to learn about pie around the world and spread the joy that pie making adds to her life. What she found was both good and bad.

“I went to a refugee camp in Syria with my host to give away some pie, and it was really hard. The family I visited had been living in a tent in the camp for two years,” she says.

KNSB 91.1 FM & K233AA 94.5 FM Audio Troubles

Oct 5, 2015

91.1 FM KNSB and repeater station 94.5 FM are both experiencing intermittent audio issues. Listeners may experience audio drop-outs lasting anywhere from 1 - 5 seconds on an inconsistent basis.

Our Engineers are working with several outside phone and data companies to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

In the meantime, we recommend listening via WSUI 910 AM for news, or online to our News or Studio One streams.

Thank you for your patience.

Rick Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

Within two years, the historic Veterans Administration campus in Knoxville will be vacant for the first time since President Hoover created the VA 75 years ago. Iowa Public Radio’s Rick Fredericksen reports.

Courtesy of DMMO

This week’s Opera in October 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, October 10 at 7:00 p.m and Sunday, October 11 at 4:00 p.m.

Michael Leland/IPR

Iowa farmers are taking advantage of near-perfect harvesting weather, transforming standing corn and soybeans fields into stubble.                     In central Iowa’s Story County, Dennis Smith is feeling very good about progress harvesting his two-thousand acres of corn.  He says harvest is approaching the halfway mark. Smith’s farm northeast of Ames received heavy summer rains and it’s showing up in the bushels per acre he’s harvesting. “Areas where it was waterlogged, down to sixty to a hundred [bushels per acre]," he said.  "The good areas up to 240.

Flickr / Phil Roeder

Des Moines’s downtown skyline looks a little bit different now. The old riverfront YMCA came to a fiery end when it was imploded early Sunday morning. 

Sunny / Flickr

CPAP machines, used to assist those struggling with problems like sleep apnea, may not be as effective across the board as once thought. In fact, the machines can be dangerous or even fatal for patients who experience heart failure or those who suffer from muscular dystrophy.

Wikipedia / Wapcaplet

The University of Iowa’s Heart and Vascular Center will become the first facility in the state to provide a recently-FDA-approved procedure that decreases the risk of stroke in patients with a type of irregular heartbeat.