The former city clerk of Casey, Iowa was sentenced on Friday to five years in prison for mail fraud and the arson of a community building.

John Pemble / IPR file photo

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is expecting early voting totals to be about the same as in past presidential elections, about 43-percent of Iowans voting before Election Day.

But Pate says he’s especially interested in the turn-out and voting preferences of millennial voters. 

American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa

The man who as a 30-year-old lawyer in 1969 won the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Tinker vs. Des Moines Schools has died.

Dan Johnston was just a year out of law school when he took on the free speech case of two public school students who were suspended for wearing black arm bands to protest the Vietnam War.

The Supreme Court agreed with his argument school officials had violated the rights of John and Mary Beth Tinker in a 7-2 decision.

Wikimedia Commons

This time of year, it’s hard to avoid pumpkin spice. It’s being used for candles, lattes, and even beef jerky. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Aaron Steil, assistant director for Reiman Gardens about what makes up the iconic blend.

Horticulture expert Richard Jauron also joins the conversation to answer listener questions.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media


After dueling reviews of research studies, scientific panels from the U.S. government and the World Health Organization are having a hard time agreeing whether glyphosate, the most common weed killer in the United States, can cause cancer. Known by the brand name RoundUp, glyphosate is sprayed on farm fields and lawns all across the country.

Flickr / Katy Warner

A Muscatine woman argued at the Iowa Supreme Court that since the employment of immigrants is regulated by the federal government, she’s protected from state identity theft charges. How the high court rules has significant implications for Iowa's undocumented immigrant community. 

In 1997, 11-year-old Martha Martinez came to the US as an undocumented immigrant. In 2014 she was charged with using a fake identity to gain employment.

Dean Borg, Iowa Public Radio

The frequency of severe flooding events in Iowa is increasing. Data from Iowa State University shows that 100-year flood plain maps really map 25-year flood plains, and in cities like Cedar Rapids, large rainfall events have increased by 56 percent.  

Kamyar Enshayan, director of the University of Northern Iowa Center for Energy and Environmental Education, says that’s in part due to land use.

Phil Roeder / Flickr

Research shows that living in a walkable community is good for your health, good for your kids, and good for the local economy, but it can be a struggle for cities to develop infrastructure towards better walkability.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a discussion on what it means for a community to be walkable, the impact it can have, the barriers to walkability, as well as the pros and cons of skywalk systems.

Guests on today’s program include:

Dean Borg/IPR

The Iowa Board of Regents has authorized an extensive audit of  the use of ISU-owned aircraft.  The board opened its meeting in Cedar Falls today by receiving a preliminary audit report of the three state universities’ travel policies. 

Iowa Afterschool Alliance

A West Des Moines-based organization that advocates for out-of-school learning opportunities for children is out with a report that points to the unmet need in Iowa. The group plans to deliver the report to legislators to make sure they’re aware.

The 40-page report from the Iowa Afterschool Alliance indicates 86 percent of schoolchildren in the state have no access to before-school, after-school or summer-learning programs. This translates to 136,000 students.

alamosbasement / flickr

The 2005 video showing Donald Trump bragging about groping and making unwanted sexual advances, and the growing number of women accusing Trump of sexual assault, have renewed a national discussion about preventing sexual assault. While addressing sexual assault has become a prominent discussion on college campuses, action on high school campuses has been slower.

American Institute of Architects

A key indicator of future construction activity nationwide is down for a second straight month. The situation in Iowa and the Midwest is a bit more stable. Architects and builders say they are delaying plans until after the election.

Photo by Clay Masters

In the weeks leading up to the elections, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has been spouting claims that the U.S. election system is rigged.

Drake University’s Dennis Goldford, professor and chair of the political science department and Flansburg Fellow for the Harkin Institute, says Trump's rhetoric is not only wrong, but it’s also “dangerously inflammatory.”  

University of Iowa Press

Between the 1930s and the 1960s, northern universities became a destination for black students from the south looking for the kinds of opportunities they didn't have access to back home.  The process of integrating Iowa's public universities was long and slow.  Black athletes and artists were among the first students to cross the academic color line in Iowa City.   This hour, we'll hear about a new book that tells the stories of many of the black students who were among the first to study at the University of Iowa.

julochka / Flickr

Doris Montag is a museum curator without a museum. She creates exhibits that are shown at public libraries and museums all over Eastern Iowa. There was the exhibit on egg cartons at the Coralville Public Library this summer and the exhibit on the history of barbers at the Johnson County Historical Society Museum, and one on Black Santas incoming to the African American Museum of Iowa. She finds her inspiration in the stories told by every day objects.

Trump: John Pemble/IPR file photo, Clinton: Clay Masters/IPR file photo

While the third and final presidential debate set for Wednesday evening will surely be marked by the candidates' disagreements, a forum debating their positions on food and farm issues Wednesday morning was notable for showcasing where the nominees agree.

Photo by Henryk Kotowski / Wikimedia

Iowa Public Radio’s staff has no idea whether Bob Dylan will show up to collect his Nobel Prize in Literature. (We realize he's been to Stockholm before - the photo is from a gig there in 1996 - and that he's accepted major awards, like this one in 2012, but this time?

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton face off in the final presidential debate Wednesday night at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, is annotating the debate live.

Why ISIS's Power is Diminishing

Oct 18, 2016
mashleymorgan / Flickr

As the attack on the ISIS-controlled city of Mosul begins this week, many eyes will be upon the Iraqi city watching how the terrorist organization will act.

“Well it’s going to be a very intensive and deep battle,” says Malcolm Nance, a counterterrorism and intelligence adviser for the U.S. government’s special operations, homeland security and intelligence agencies. “It’s just a question of whether ISIS is going to put up a fight, or are they going to do a defensive battle and try to fall back to their central caliphate.”

Michael Leland/IPR

Farmers in northeast Iowa are destroying several thousand acres of corn and soybeans in fields flooded by torrential September rains. Most of the corn and soybeans in those fields will be destroyed this fall to prevent the seeds from sprouting next spring.

Brian Lang, a Decorah-based Iowa State University Extension Agronomist, estimates ten-thousand crop acres were under water a month ago.

Clay Masters, Iowa Public Radio

A group consisting of mayors and prominent business leaders is calling for an increase in the state sales tax. The extra money would go into a fund to support water quality and recreation projects. 

The Iowa Water and Land Legacy Coalition is asking the Legislature to up the state sales tax by three-eighths of a cent.

The extra cash would go into the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.

Iowa voters overwhelmingly approved creation of the fund in 2010.

But the mayor of Storm Lake Jon Kruse says no state money has ever gone into it.

Frank Kovalchek / Wikimedia Commons

Just about a decade ago, Roger Miller, along with some fellow steel guitar players, started to worry about the future of the instrument. There weren't a lot of young players. So they did something about it and founded the Jump Start Academy, which pairs seasoned steel petal guitar musicians with young people who want to learn.

"We'll give you a steel guitar to play on and pair you with a mentor for a year," explains Miller. "We've got teachers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa, so this is growing across the Midwest." 

Folk duo Famous October is half Iowan, half Swiss, and all talent.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," hear host Ben Kieffer chat with the couple on how they first met, how they became musical partners, and hear tunes off their newly released record, "One Day Baby.

Check out the free downloadable podcast below.

Historian Tom Morain started working at Living History Farms in 1981. That was the beginning of a career dedicated to researching, teaching and sharing Iowa history.

"Iowa history is one of the few subjects that you're walking around surrounded by primary resources... People who know Iowa history because they've lived it," says Morain. "If [teachers] have materials on what happened locally, how local towns responded to that, our experience has been they love it and students love it."

Frans Jansen

Wednesday at 7PM is your chance to hear a concert featuring a great new South African soprano and a young woman who is the talk of the conducting profession. Lithuanian conductor Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla just took the reins of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; at 29, she is its first woman Music Director (a post previously held by Sir Simon Rattle and Andris Nelsons). Mirga.

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa encore broadcast presents the wcfsymphony’s “Firebird” concert on Monday evening, October 24 at 7 p.m. It features new music composed by Avner Dorman and Igor Stravinsky’s iconic Firebird suite.

Join us as the wcfsymphony presents a new composition by Avner Dorman showcasing the exhilarating percussion duo Maraca2. The duo is comprised of percussionists Jason Huxtable and Tim Palmer. Due to an injury, UW-Madison doctoral student Garrett Mendelow substituted for Tim during this performance.

Sarah Boden/IPR / Iowa Public Radio

Gov. Terry Branstad said on Monday morning that he has “great confidence” Iowa’s Secretary of State, county auditors and poll watchers will make sure the upcoming election is “honest and clean.”  But when asked about GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeting that Republican leaders deny that there’s “large scale voter fraud,” the governor pivoted to discussing what he perceives as a media bias against his party’s nominee.

Heather Paul / Flickr

Adding up the costs of bird seed, travel, and birding tools, birders spend more than 20 billion dollars a year just to look at them, but birds also get in the way. Humans tend to consider some birds good and some birds bad. For example, the blue jay was long considered a morally corrupt bird due to its behavior of raiding other birds' nests, but in recent years, the bird has been recognized for its intellect.

Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

Can you imagine moving to a new town and going to a new school where you can’t understand what anyone is saying? Thousands of students in Iowa have that experience every year. In fact, the number of English language learners in the state has increased by 452 percent in the last 20 years. 

Lia Plakans, who is an associate professor of education at the University of Iowa, says that many of those ELL students are coming to districts that are in more rural parts of the state. 

If you haven't tuned in to our 24-hour Studio One music stream ... today is the day!

Iowa Public Radio Studio One is listener supported radio playing a carefully curated mix of new progressive music alongside nostalgic iconic tunes. Expect to hear great music by artists like Wilco, Mumford and Sons, Paul Simon, The Head and The Heart, as well as many Iowa musicians.

Today on Gas Monday at Noon and 6:00 p.m., you'll hear TWINS, Annaliberra, House of Large Sizes, Courtney Krause, The Host Country, and Wooden Nickel Lottery and more.