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When to Trim Back Tree Branches

Jul 13, 2018
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Two people lost their lives on July 3rd when a large Oak tree branch fell on them as they were watching fireworks in Rock Island, Illinois. While there’s likely no way to know if the accident was preventable, it’s a tragic reminder that we should all be aware of the health of the trees in our landscape. 

On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Jeff Iles, professor and chair of Iowa State University's Department of Horticulture, about trees.

 

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

Last weekend, an Iowa teenager from Waverly died from injuries sustained during a fireworks accident. He is believed to be the first person killed by consumer explosives in the state since the Iowa Legislature legalized them last year.

In this news buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks to Dr. Chris Buresh, Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Iowa, about this incident and the increase in firework-related injuries this year.

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More than a year after receiving orders from an administrative judge, the Iowa Department of Education agreed to make some changes to special education requirements that could open up special education programs to more students.

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Over the next few months, the Supreme Court battle between conservative and liberal interest groups over nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh is expected to cost tens of millions of dollars and leave a lasting impact on the nation's political landscape.

On this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Steffen Schmidt, Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University, and Wayne Moyer, Rosenfield Professor of Political Science at Grinnell College, for their analysis of this contentious fight for the Supreme Court.

Amy Mayer / IPR

When communities watch young people grow up, go off and never return, remaining residents and politicians often bemoan there’s been a “brain drain” — especially when such population loss means schools and businesses close.

But plenty of residents are full of love and pride for those communities, and some are working to identify their towns’ best attributes so they can attract new residents and achieve “brain gain.” This effort is happening across New England and in the Mountain West, and is also evident in two Iowa towns.

Bellevue

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Dignitaries and ordinary Iowans came to the statehouse Thursday to honor Gov. Robert Ray, who died this week at the age of 89.    

He lay in state in the statehouse rotunda until 8:30 p.m., the first official to do so for the past 64 years.     

In a solemn ceremony, Ray’s granddaughters, members of Iowa’s Asian community and Gov. Kim Reynolds each placed a wreath near the flag-draped coffin before the crowd was allowed to file past.

Emily Woodbury

Gallup polling shows that public trust in media outlets has dropped in recent years.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks about possible reasons for the shift in public trust with NPR ombudsman and public editor Elizabeth Jensen. In her role, Jensen serves as a liaison between NPR’s newsroom and its listeners.

Iowa Public Radio news director Michael Leland and executive director Myrna Johnson also join the conversation.

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25 years ago, author Elizabeth Leiknes moved away from her family in Truesdale, Iowa, though she looks upon her home state with great fondness. Her latest book, The Lost Queen of Crocker County, is an ode to the Midwestern identity.

It’s a story inspired by Leiknes' drive home from work one day. While driving, she felt a thump under her car.

“Is it a kitten? Is it a dog? What had happened?” Leiknes remembers asking herself. She went back and found nothing, but it got her thinking.

Public Art Foundation of Greater Des Moines

A new piece of public art in downtown Des Moines honors a little known chapter in the city’s civil rights history.

The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids recently opened an extraordinary exhibit that will run through September 17th. This show entitled “Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence” showcases a form of bead art developed by a community of women living and working together in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Join IPR’s Jacqueline Halbloom as she interviews Stefanie Kohn, Curator of The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library about this new exhibit.

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John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Several days after the new fiscal year started July 1, Iowa has yet to finalize contracts with the companies that run its privatized Medicaid program.

This also happened last year. Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven told lawmakers in January negotiations would be completed in time for their budget process.

But lawmakers approved budgets more than two months ago without knowing how much the Medicaid program would cost.

Kate Payne / IPR

Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday defended the Trump administration's trade policies as good for Iowa's economy. In a visit to Cedar Rapids, Pence said the Trump White House will "always stand with American farmers".

IPR/Pat Blank

Although much of the talk in the state’s agriculture sector centers on trade tariffs between the U.S and China, stalled negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA are also causing concern.

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig says dairy farmers are continuing to struggle. 

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Iowa State University psychologist Doug Gentile says that research shows parents do not use, appreciate, or agree on the age-based rating systems used for movies, television, and video games in the U.S.. 

"Only six percent of parents say that the movie ratings are always accurate, only five percent of parents say the television ratings are always accurate, and only six percent say the video game ratings are always accurate," says Gentile. "Even if they're using the ratings, often their children see things they didn't expect them to be able to see."

Scribner publishing

 

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate Tom Macher talks with host Charity Nebbe about his debut memoir Halfway. He reflects on his childhood, growing up in a commune and a boys home, and the path that led him towards alcoholism.

“I felt like [alcohol] was the thing that I had been missing my whole life,” Tom says. “It wasn’t that I was missing a relationship with my father, or whatever other hole we feel inside ourselves.”

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As Iowans observe the death this week of former Gov. Robert Ray, some friends and associates are recalling the struggles behind his work bringing southeast Asian refugees to Iowa back in the 1970’s.  

Thousands of refugees were brought to the state starting in 1975, and again later in the decade.   Many were fleeing political repression.

“It was not without controversy for sure,” said former Chief of Staff David Oman.  “There were many people who couldn’t figure out why we would have to do this, why should we do this.”

university of iowa
Vladimir Kulikov / Wikimedia Commons

The University of Iowa announced Tuesday it will cut a total of 33 positions, close down seven centers on campus and roll back funding for five more centers. UI officials said the decisions were forced by years of budget cuts from the Iowa Legislature, a process they described as a "generational disinvestment in public higher education."

Kurt Bauschardt

Recent calls for civility in political and public discourse in the wake of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders being kicked out of a Washington D.C. restaurant have people questioning what civil conversations look like and whether we are indeed living in a post-civil society.

In this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks about the breakdown of civility with former Congressmen from Iowa, Jim Lightfoot and Dave Nagle, as well as former Iowa Senate President Mary Kramer, and Iowa Public Radio correspondent Dean Borg.

Daniel Moon

Representatives of Iowa’s Asian community will play a special role on Thursday in observances honoring former Iowa Gov. Robert Ray, who passed away this week at the age of 89.       

A motorcade will transport Ray’s body through Des Moines and to the Capitol where he will lie in state in the rotunda.  

Members of the Asian community will lay one of the wreaths on the coffin and lead the procession of Iowans paying their respects.

Ray oversaw the resettlement of thousands of southeast Asian refugees in Iowa in the 70’s.

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Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says it’s time for the Senate Judiciary Committee to get to work after President Trump announced a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court Monday night.

Grassley chairs the committee. He says it will likely take at least 65 to 70 days before Judge Brett Kavanaugh gets a confirmation hearing.

Iowa Public Radio

A former justice is warning a lack of diversity on Iowa’s Supreme Court could undermine its legitimacy. With an upcoming vacancy on the bench, state officials could have a chance to consider the issue. The judicial nominating commission began interviewing applicants Monday.

Iowa Women's Archives

Iowa has the longest running state high school girl's basketball tournament in the country, but for most of that history girls did not play the game we know today. 

According to research by Karen Mason of the Iowa Women's Archives, girls in Iowa have been playing 6-on-6 basketball since the early 1900's. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Mason and University of Iowa American Studies lecturer Jennifer Sterling about the game and a new exhibit that is touring the state this summer. 

Torrential rain caused widespread chaos across the Des Moines area last Saturday. Des Moines got hit the hardest, but there was also severe flood damage in Ankeny, Saylorville, Urbandale, Maxwell, Johnston, and Windsor Heights when nearly 9 inches of rain fell over a three-hour period.

The Des Moines Register reports that more than 1500 hundred properties were affected, and authorities expect that number to increase with time. 

Pat Blank/IPR

A Midwest summertime tradition is in full swing -- corn detasseling.  Seed corn companies hire thousands of mostly teenagers for about 20 days to remove by hand the very top of the corn plant to produce hybrid varieties. DuPont Pioneer is one of Iowa’s largest companies. Production Manager Colby Entriken oversees facilities in Dysart, Toledo and Reinbeck in northeast Iowa. He said the company has added more safety experts in 2018. 

"We also bring in a field nurse as a resource,” Entriken said. “Each of the three sites also has an EMT on staff.” 

LAURAUSISKIN.COM

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa features Orchestra Iowa’s “Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique” concert. The orchestra performs works by Sibelius, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky.

Eclavelle Designs

On Monday, July 16th at noon, IPR’s Performance Iowa will bring you a taste of this year’s Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival, live from IPR’s Studios!

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Iowans concerned about their job security can buy some peace of mind with a new type of insurance. Iowa is the second state to offer layoff insurance to workers, after Wisconsin.

The plans, which pay out a lump-sum if a person is laid off or becomes unable to work, are expanding now to additional states.

Mark Greene, director of SafetyNet, the company that created this type of insurance, says too many people don’t have enough savings to deal with a sudden disruption in their income.

John Pemble/IPR file

The Iowa governor who opened the state’s arms and heart to boatloads of Southeast Asian refugees in the years following the Vietnam War has died at the age of 89.

Bob Ray was a 40-year-old attorney and chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa when he was first elected governor in 1968.

During a time of social and political turmoil, he brought a measured approach to the job.

He held the office for 14 years.

The compassionate stance he took during the last half of the 1970s left a lasting mark on his home state.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Petitioners challenging Iowa’s voter ID law were in Polk County District court Friday, urging a district judge to temporarily halt enforcement of parts of the law. 

Ames resident Taylor Blair and the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa are suing Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate over the law.

The requirements in the law to show identification at the polls don’t go into effect until next year.  But on Friday, lawyers for the plaintiffs argued for a temporary injunction to stop the parts of the law that are already in effect dealing with absentee ballots.   

Politics and Prose

Humans are naturally social animals, but convention and routine have made many of our gatherings stale and meaningless, at least according to author Priya Parker. 

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Parker, founder of Thrive Labs, about her new book The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters. Parker shares tips for how to use your next gathering to cultivate community and bring people together in meaningful ways.

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