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River to River
3:24 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

The End of Session and Soil Conditions

Though it's difficult to say when the 2014 legislative term will end, lawmakers' per diem will run out on May 22.
John Pemble Iowa Public Radio

Host Ben Kieffer sits down with Iowa Public Radio statehouse correspondent Joyce Russell about developments surrounding the confidential settlements within Governor Branstad's administration and the end of the legislative session.

Also, planting season is right around the corner. Iowa State University agronomist and ISU Extension climatologist Elwynn Taylor discusses soil conditions throughout Iowa.

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River to River
2:36 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

No More VEISHEA?

Proceeds from VEISHEA's iconic cherry pies go to HRIM program scholarships.
Bob Elbert Iowa Public Radio

On Wednesday, the rest of the 2014 VEISHEA celebration was suspended due to a riot on Tuesday that left one student with severe head injuries and extensive property damage.  Rioters in the Campustown area of Ames turned over cars, tore down light poles, and pelted police with rocks and beer cans.

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Horticulture Day
11:16 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Spring Lawn Care

Guneet Narula

The grass is finally starting to get green… or maybe your lawn isn’t following suit.

Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Ryan Adams, Iowa State University Extension turf grass specialist, about springtime lawn care. He and horticulturist Richard Jauron answer questions about your lawn, garden and landscape.

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Food Security
9:18 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Food Aid Turned Down by Legislature

Volunteers unpack donated food at the Johnson County Crisis Center in Iowa City.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

In a procedural vote, the Iowa House turned down a million dollar appropriation to match private donations to Iowa’s food banks.   The legislature passed a similar measure last year, but Governor Branstad vetoed it.   One House Democrat spoke with unusual authority.   Representative Ako Abdul-Samaad  of Des Moines runs a soup kitchen as part of the Creative Visions social service agency he heads.  Here are some of his remarks.

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Tuition Freeze
9:09 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Tuition Freeze Deal Threatened

In the Iowa House, the wheels fell off an agreement to freeze tuition for another year at Iowa’s Regents Universities, but only if all three schools get  a 4% increase in state funds.   Republicans have agreed to mandate the  freeze,  but not all the schools will get their promised raise.   

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Health Care
4:52 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Delivering Better and More Affordable Care to Emergency Room "Super-Users"

Dr. Joshua Pruitt at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids
Durrie Bouscaren

Some Iowans visit hospital emergency rooms more than 15 times a year. They’re known as “frequent-flyers” or super-users of the ER. Today on River to River, how our system handles them.

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Statehouse and Politics
4:50 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Medical Marijuana Bill Gains Momentum in Statehouse

 

  A bill allowing Iowans to use medical marijuana in the form of cannabis oil is still alive at the statehouse. The Iowa Senate will move a medical marijuana bill before the end of the session.  

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Parenting
11:36 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity

Andrew Solomon with his family
On Being https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode

What do dwarfs, prodigies, and deaf people have in common?

"In a curious way, differences that seem so isolating are actually what unites us and the thing we have most in common."

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
10:00 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Bill to Bar GMO Labeling Unveiled

Anti-GMO protestors at a 2013 Denver, Colo., rally.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media file photo

 

State efforts to label genetically-modified food would be outlawed under a bill unveiled by a Kansas congressman Wednesday – a plan immediately criticized as a “legislative Hail Mary” that won’t pass.

The bill by Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Wichita, would also bar the Food and Drug Administration from labeling efforts, a move highly popular with consumers, and allow so-called “natural” foods to contain bio-engineered ingredients.  

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News
5:21 am
Thu April 10, 2014

How a Cedar Rapids Emergency Room Saved Millions, and What it Means for the Whole State

Theresa Brown, who is enrolled in the coordinated care program at St. Luke's, sits in her home in Cedar Rapids.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

Emergency Rooms are often the catch-all of the medical world, where patients can receive care at any hour, regardless of their ability to pay.

But physicians and hospital administrators say it’s an expensive and disjointed way for people to receive care, particularly when patients visit the ER multiple times a year.

A pilot program to manage care for ER ‘super users’ in Cedar Rapids is now in its third year—and administrators say it saves St. Luke’s Hospital about a million dollars annually.

Coordinating Care for Multiple Diagnoses

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Politics Day
4:26 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Putin's Motives in Ukraine Hard to Decode

U.S. President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a bilateral meeting in 2012
Pete Souza Official White House photo

As protests continue in Eastern Ukraine, Secretary of State John Kerry says it's clear the chaos is being orchestrated by Russia.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Wayne Moyer, Rosenfield Professor of Political Science at Grinnell College and Jim McCormick, Professor and Chair of Political Science at Iowa State University about Russian President Valdimir Putin's motivations.  They also discuss the politics of equal pay, and the recent firing of Department of Administrative Services Director Mike Carroll.

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News
4:05 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

VEISHEA Celebration at Iowa State Canceled

Iowa State University President Steven Leath has canceled the rest of the VEISHEA celebration for this year.
Amy Mayer/IPR

Raucous behavior in the Campustown neighborhood just off the Iowa State University campus in Ames early Wednesday left one student hospitalized. And it led to the cancelation of an annual spring tradition.

Ames police estimate about 1000 people congregated in the streets, where sign posts were toppled and cars were flipped. ISU President Steven Leath expressed disappointment and sadness at an afternoon press conference, which many students also attended. Leath said it’s early in the week of the annual VEISHEA celebration and he had to take decisive action to protect safety.

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Talk of Iowa
1:51 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Decoding Dyslexia

Up to 20 percent of the population has some gradiation of dyslexia.
Steve Harris

Thanks to new legislation, a definition of dyslexia will now be included in the Iowa Code.  The neurological condition, which often runs in families, causes individuals difficultly with learning to read, write and spell.

The law is the result of strong advocacy from a number of groups, including the parent-lead, grassroots organization Decoding Dyslexia. DD aims to bring attention to educational intervention for dyslexic students.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Vertical Farming: Towering Vision, Uncertain Future

Large banks of fluorescent lamps provide the spectrum of light that keeps the floating beds of plants alive year-round in The Plant Chicago, a vertical farming facility.
Peter Gray/Harvest Public Meeting

Farmers are making inroads supplying local food to hungry city foodies, but many producers are trying to grow more food inurban centers. City real estate is at a premium, so some producers are finding more space by using what’s called “vertical farming,” and going up rather than spreading out.

Growers across the country are heading indoors, using greenhouses and hydroponics – growing plants in a water and nutrient solution instead of soil and using lamps to replace sunlight. Vertical farming takes that to a new level.

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News
5:32 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Administrative Services Director Carroll Fired Amid Hush Money Revelations

John Pemble Iowa Public Radio

The embattled head of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services was fired today by Governor Branstad, after new evidence surfaced about confidential payments to  laid-off state workers.  

The former employees reached  settlements with the state through mediation. Director Mike Carroll told a legislative committee and the governor that his agency did not approve extra payments to workers who agreed to keep their settlements confidential.  

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River to River
3:29 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Understanding the Crimean Crisis

Satellite image of Crimea.
NASA

Russia has warned that any use of force in Ukraine's eastern region could lead to civil war. This comes as Kiev seeks to regain control after pro-Moscow uprisings in three cities.  This hour, host Ben Kieffer listens to two perspectives on the crisis.

Roman Skaskiw is a Ukrainian-American software developer and graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop living in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.  He sees most of the pro-Putin sentiment as fake and orchestrated

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
3:27 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Ethanol Advocates Fight for Renewable Fuel Standard

DuPont is sourcing corn stover from a wide radius around its Nevada cellulosic ethanol plant, expected to come on-line this year.
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Ethanol advocates made the case for preserving the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on Tuesday in front of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Without the RFS, advocates say, the ethanol industry will be quashed – and corn farmers and rural communities will pay the price. But many agricultural economists argue that lowering the ethanol mandate won’t be a huge blow to the rural economy.

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Wildlife Day
3:21 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Noises of Spring

Gray tree frog, common to Iowa
Jason Mrachina

Beautiful spring weather may make you feel like singing. It definitely inspires many frogs, toads and birds to make some joyful noise. Today on Talk of Iowa Wildlife Biologist Jim Pease talks about some of the noises you should be listening for in the next few weeks and what they mean.

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Statehouse and Politics
6:35 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Branstad on Settlements, Medical Marijuana

Iowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad in the statehouse law library.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

Despite predictions for a speedy session in which nothing of substance was accomplished, the 2014 legislative session has had plenty of controversy.  Governor Terry Branstad was a guest on IPR’s River to River on Monday.

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Talk of Iowa
4:17 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

God and the Environment

Statue of St. Francis at Linfield School of Nursing in Portland, Oregon
Geek2Nurse / flickr derivitive work: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode

Increasingly, efforts in environmental preservation are coming from churches.  Join host Charity Nebbe for a talk with Sister Mary Beth Ingham, professor emerita at Loyola Marymount University.  They cover what the Franciscan tradition is in viewing nature and our role in keeping it healthy.  Also, hear about what some churches in Iowa are doing to keep green.

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2014 Legislative Session
3:53 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Iowa Children Stuck on Mental Health Waiting List

The Iowa Capitol
Photo by John Pemble

Children with serious mental health issues are waiting as long as two years to receive services in their communities.  Host Clay Masters talks with Tammy from Iowa City whose son has been diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome and Oppositional Defiance Disorder.  She says services like respite care are essential for families exhausted from caring for a suicidal or angry child.  But such services aren't covered by insurance.  A children's mental health waiver is designed to cover the gap between what insurance covers and what services are needed, but the wa

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News
3:35 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Branstad 'Working With Legislators' Towards Medical Marijuana Bill This Session

Governor Terry Branstad at the Statehouse.
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad Photo by John Pemble

Governor Terry Branstad said Monday he would consider signing a bill with limited allowances for medical cannabis to be prescribed in Iowa. During an appearance on Iowa Public Radio’s River to River, Branstad said he did not want to create more problems or unintended consequences by signing marijuana legislation.

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Legislative Day
3:30 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Branstad on Medical Cannabis, Juvenile Home, and Secret Settlements

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad in the Captiol's Law Library.
Photo by John Pemble

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad would support a bill with limited medical uses for cannabis if it looks similar to legislation passed in Utah.  Host Clay Masters talks with Branstad about medical marijuana, the juvenile home, secret settlements, and more on this Legislative Day edition of River to River from the Law Library at the Iowa state capitol building.

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Statehouse and Politics
8:12 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Debate over Confidential Settlements to State Workers Continues

Iowa's Capitol
Credit Photo by John Pemble

  

Almost every day last week we were getting updates on these so-called confidential settlements made by  the Branstad administration. More than 400,000 dollars has been paid out to laid off staffers.   IPR's Clay Masters gets the latest on it and other ongoing legislative issues from statehouse correspondent Joyce Russell.

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News
5:30 am
Mon April 7, 2014

From Ash to ISU Keepsakes

A prototype of the ISU keepsake box.
Credit Scott Dahl / ISU Alumni Association

Iowa State University has found a silver lining in the infestation of beetles that are attacking ash trees. It’s a creative recycling story, reported by Iowa Public Radio’s Rick Fredericksen. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Federal Rule Could Dry Up Brewer-Rancher Relationship

A new federal food safety rule would classify breweries as animal food manufacturers because many breweries sell or donate leftover grains to ranchers.
Ben Harris-Roxas/Flickr

Few people connect craft breweries with cattle feed. But passing along the spent grains from the brewing process, like barley and wheat, to livestock ranchers is a common practice. Although now, that relationship could be in jeopardy.

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News
5:05 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Des Moines Fire Fighters Reflect on Younkers Building Fire

During a press conference, members of the Des Moines Fire Department share their experiences of responding to last weekend’s Younkers Building fire.
Credit Photo by Amanda Horvath

Almost a week after the Younkers building in downtown Des Moines went up in flames, emergency crews from the scene are revealing their experiences. During a press conference with members of the Des Moines Fire Department, Lieutenant Randy Jones says his team was the first to arrive at the seven-story burning building.  He says as they worked their way to the top floor, they could only get to the fourth level.

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News Buzz
4:08 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

'As Night Falls,' it's Time for David Skorton

An African bull elephant at the National Museum of Natural History. That's part of the Smithsonian which will be led by former Iowan David Skorton
Smithsonian Institution

David Skorton used to open his Iowa Public Radio jazz show like this, "As night falls over the river city and all of eastern Iowa, it's time for jazz."

Skorton is the former president of the University of Iowa, and has served as president of Cornell University, and he will become the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute next year.  You might remember his radio jazz show “As Night Falls” which he co-hosted with the late Frank Conroy.  Hear about Skorton's  expectations of his upcoming job:

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News Buzz
3:06 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

This Helmet Has a Brain

Shawn Cornally holds a student-designed helmet with concussion detection hardware. (host Ben Kieffer in background)
Ben Stanton/Iowa Public Radio

The brain on this helmet is designed with the idea of protecting your brain from a concussion. Built into it is what amounts to a small computer.  It was designed and programmed by an Iowa student.  

Different LEDs light up depending on how hard the helmet is getting jostled. This project is one of many that students might get involved in through The Big Ideas Group, which is an optional education program through the Cedar Rapids School District.

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Talk of Iowa
2:19 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

The Death of Iowa's Honeybees

Honeybee on flower.
Cory Barnes

This past winter was particularly harsh on Iowa's honeybees.  Experts estimate that 65-70 percent of Iowa's honeybee colonies didn't survive.  Iowa State University Extension entomologist Donald Lewis talks with host Charity Nebbe about the plight of honeybees as well as pesticides that may pose a further risk to the state's pollinators.

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