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Iowa Regional Autism Assistance Program's logo
Iowa Regional Autism Assistance Program / University of Iowa Health Care

The Regional Autism Assistance Program (RAP) is one of ten programs to recently lose all of its state funding from the Iowa Department of Public Health. For RAP, the $384,552 cut is about 70 percent of its budget.

Advocates worry the budget cut could lead to the loss of the program’s family navigators. They’re stationed throughout the state and connect families to services when children are diagnosed with autism.

Appalachian dreamer / Flickr

When John Criss died in 2015 he bequeathed 5.7 million dollars to his hometown Sac City, but with a stipulation: all of the money must be spent on the beautification of the town.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe explores Criss' legacy and the future of Sac City with three of the trustees to his estate. She also talks with economist Neil Harl and estate planning lawyer Gordon Fischer about the dos and don’ts of planning an estate. 

AMY MAYER/IPR FILE PHOTO

Sen. Chuck Grassley says he hasn’t decided whether he’ll vote for or against a healthcare bill that would allow insurance companies to limit what they’d pay for certain services.

The Senate Obamacare repeal bill proposes allowing states to redefine which services insurance companies are required to cover. The concern is this could result in dollar limits for things like hospitalizations or prescription drugs.

Grassley says senators are still submitting amendments, so he’s not ready to take a position until he’s seen the final bill.

woman in hijab
Jerry Seon / Pexels

A self-defense class for Muslim women will debut in Iowa City on Tuesday. These women are often targeted as their religious covering identifies them as Muslim. 

The Iowa chapter for the Council on American-Islamic Relations is sponsoring the class. Executive director Miriam Amer says Muslim women wearing headscarves, or hijabs, have been targeted in the U.S. in recent months. 

pills in a bottle
nosheep / Pixabay

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows per-capita opioid prescriptions decreased in the U.S. from 2010 to 2015. But in one-third of Iowa's counties, prescriptions increased over the same time period.

The CDC encourages doctors to reduce opioid prescribing when treating pain because these medications are associated with abuse and overdose rates. The opioid-related hospitalizations and deaths in Iowa have been on the rise. 

Sarah Boden / Iowa Public Radio

Sen. Joni Ernst held a town hall meeting in Harlan before heading back to Washington from the July 4 recess. Most of the questions she fielded focused on the Senate Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said if the slim Republican majority can’t come together, a bipartisan solution might be next. Some of the town hall's attendees favored compromise.

But while speaking with reporters, Ernst didn’t seem receptive to that idea quite yet.

Heartland Financial

Dubuque-based Heartland Financial is adding to its bank holdings. It’s completing a deal to buy a Colorado chain of banks.

Heartland is acquiring Citywide Banks of Colorado in a deal valued at around $211 million. Citywide is headquartered in the Denver suburb of Aurora. Heartland CEO Lynn Fuller says the purchase will make his company more competitive in the rapidly growing Colorado market.

“We’ll be the third largest community bank in the Denver area," he says. "And we’ll be the 11th largest bank in Colorado.”

Joyce Russell/IPR

Iowa motorists are being warned of possible penalties under a new state law designed to protect utility crews working along Iowa roadways.  

The electric utilities of Iowa have launched a Move Over Slow Down campaign to promote the law, which requires drivers to either change lanes or reduce their speed when passing utility vehicles.

The original law was enacted in 2002 covering emergency vehicles with flashing lights. It was revised this year to include utility crews.

Officials say drivers are speeding by much too close to the workers. 

No Easy Solution for Japanese Beetles

Jul 7, 2017
Matthew Beziat / flickr

The Japanese beetle has reached its peak population in places across Iowa. While some areas of the state have not seen the beetle’s appearance at all, isolated spots have seen early spurts of incredibly high numbers. Professor and Iowa State University Extension Entomologist Donald Lewis says that typically it’s toward the end of June that Japanese beetles emerge over a 3-4 week period. This year though, it seems they have all appeared at once.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration / Wikimedia Commons

A NASA space probe carrying an instrument developed at the University of Iowa will pass close to Jupiter Monday. The Juno spacecraft will come within 56-hundred miles of the iconic Great Red Spot on the planet. Scientists believe the spot is a 10-thousand-mile-wide storm that has been brewing for 350 years. A research scientist at the University of Iowa, Bill Kurth, says there are basic facts about the red spot, however, scientists don’t understand.

WIKICOMMONS / Concha García Hernández

New research from Iowa State University finds that men convicted of domestic violence are nearly 50 percent less likely to reoffend if they participate in an intervention that emphasizes emotional awareness.

Men convicted of domestic violence are often required to participate in a program that teaches their violence is the result of a desire to control women. It aims to stop violence by changing the way men think.

Iowa Department of Human Rights

A pioneering figure in Iowa politics has died.

Willie Stevenson Glanton. was the first black woman elected to the Iowa Legislature. It was in 1964, at a time when the American civil rights movement was gaining momentum. Glanton was raised in Hot Springs, Ark. During a 2011 interview with Iowa Public Radio, she recalled the influence her politically active parents had on her life.

danIIIr/flickr

The State Fire Marshal’s Office has issued fireworks licenses to 664 retail dealers in Iowa in the first year of a new law authorizing the sale and use of commercial-grade fireworks.

But officials say only about two-thirds of the required inspections were completed, due to a shortfall in time and resources.  

Department of Public Safety attorney Barbara Edmondson briefed state lawmakers on the Administrative Rules Review Committee on the new licensing program.  

Ann Sullivan-Larson

In 2011, after 73 years in business, the Electrolux factory in Webster City closed its doors. The closing was a major blow for the small town, but the people Webster City didn’t take the loss sitting down.

A new short documentary, "Made in Iowa," focuses on the growth of small businesses in Webster City following the factory closure.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with the man behind the documentary, the Webster City mayor, and a life long resident of Webster City.

Flickr / Mark Goebel

Sioux City may cut back the number of days people can set off fireworks within the city limits. Iowa legalized the use of fireworks this past legislative session, but some city leaders say people have taken it too far.

The current ordinance allows fireworks in Sioux City on private property from 1:00-10:00 p.m. from June 25 through July 3. On July 4, people can set off fireworks until 11 pm.

Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio / Iowa Public Radio

A Des Moines hip-hop artist is releasing a music video aimed at ending gun violence. The first public viewing came in front of the Governor, the Des Moines chief of police and community leaders.

Will Keeps had a hard upbringing on the south side of Chicago. In recent years, he has been promoting anti-violence through music. His latest effort is called “Droppin.”

“(from the video) Oh, oh, no more, oh, oh, no more.”

Keeps says he’s fed up with the uptick in gun violence across the country.

Wikimedia Commons

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has eliminated its Bureau of Forestry and a few other DNR jobs in response to a state budget cut.

Lawmakers approved a $1.2 million cut to the department earlier this year. 

DNR spokesman Alex Murphy says the forestry bureau is only losing its chief. He says the district foresters and other employees will remain at the department. 

"We've moved these employees under different areas and actually eliminated the bureau itself, although all the functions of the bureau exist, just in different bureaus or divisions," Murphy says.

Iowa Lt. Gov.'s office

Yesterday in Clear Lake, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that she will wait until September to decide whether or not to call a special session for the Iowa Legislature to discuss and act on the looming budget problems the state is facing. 

Courtesy of the Gable Family

Olympic gold medalist Dan Gable has been a household name in Iowa for decades. After bringing home three state wrestling championships in high school, he went on to the 1972 Munich Olympics, where he successfully wrestled without losing a single point. He famously coached the University of Iowa team to win 15 NCAA titles before retiring after the 1997 season. Since then he has continued to coach and has been actively working to keep Olympic and collegiate wrestling alive and thriving.

Davenport City Council

One of the candidates in a crowded field of Democrats pursuing a run for Governor is dropping out.

Davenport alderman Mike Matson is suspending his campaign.

He says fund-raising pressures are forcing him to withdraw.

Matson is a former Army Ranger and retired Army Sergeant Major who was in special operations command in Afghanistan and Qatar.

Last month, Polk County Conservation Director Rich Leopold dropped his bid.

That leaves at least seven Democrats either running or exploring campaigns for Governor.

Theresa Greenfield for Congress

Another Des Moines-area Democrat is entering the race to unseat Third District Congressman David Young.

Businesswoman Theresa Greenfield says in a release issued Wednesday she will join the contest.

She is president of the family-owned real estate firm Colby Interests.

Greenfield joins businesswoman Cynthia Axne and activist Heather Ryan in the Democratic field.

Political operative Pete D’Alessandro is considering a run.

Greenfield grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota near the Iowa border. 

Des Moines Police Department

A woman shot by Des Moines police in the early morning hours of July 5 has died from her injuries.

She is identified as Tiffany Potter, 29, of Des Moines.

A statement from Des Moines police sergeant Paul Parizek says Potter was armed with a handgun as she ran from officers at around 2 a.m., and fired at least one round as she fled.

Three Des Moines patrol officers were present at the scene on the city’s east side, and one officer fired his handgun.

Buried dance treasures come to the surface for this year’s Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival, entitled “Shall We Dance?” The festival’s artistic director, Hunter Capoccioni, writes, “In my mind, the ways in which music and dance overlap parallel the relationship of writing and language…Our theme this summer nods to dance and how it has shaped musical meaning through the ages.”

Flickr / William Patrick Butler

Sen. Chuck Grassley says he probably won’t support an amendment by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to the Senate’s Obamacare repeal bill.  Cruz proposes allowing insurance companies to sell two types of healthcare policies, one that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act and one that is not.

Grassley says he’s concerned how Cruz's amendment might affect people with pre-existing conditions. 

Flickr / Raymond Clack

A cut in state funding may cause a nonprofit to end its program of training lay people on how to screen children's vision.

The Iowa Department of Public Health is eliminating $96,000 in annual funding to Prevent Blindness Iowa. In a letter to the organization, IDPH's Bureau Chief of Family Health Marcus Johnson-Miller writes this move is the result of a budget shortfall and is "in no way an indication of poor performance or lack of contract compliance."

Grand View University

Grand View University in Des Moines is setting aside some grant money to establish an emergency fund for students. Administrators say the cash could be the difference between staying in school and leaving.

The school on the city’s east side is receiving $210,000 from Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation to establish the fund. Grand View provost Carl Moses says the money is meant for students who are faced with unexpected expenses when they are already struggling to make ends meet.

Meghan Gerke / Iowa Cubs

Thousands of people are being sworn in as U.S. citizens across the country during this holiday weekend.  One of the ceremonies happens Monday in Des Moines during the Iowa Cubs baseball game.  It’s coordinated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Spokesperson Tim Counts says combining immigration and Independence Day is a perfect union to honor new Americans.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 is arguably the grandest, most recognizable symphony of all time. It was, and still is, unprecedented in its scale and presentation of musical themes. Throughout the symphony, he expressed ideas in the styles of nations who had been in conflict with one another. The work was also surprising in its transitions from key to key, the order of its movements, and its extreme contrasts between light and dark. The first three movements gradually build into a joyful finale sung by a massive choir and four vocal soloists.

facebook.com/fleetfoxes

Formed in Seattle in 2006, Fleet Foxes are all about finely-crafted folk rock, although these days a more accurate label might be "baroque pop."  Principal songwriter, guitarist and lead vocalist Robin Pecknold met guitarist Skyler Skjelset in high school.  Pecknold and Skjelset, along with Casey Curran (keyboards and mandolin) are the remaining founding members of Fleet Foxes.  Josh Tillman (better known these days as Father John Misty) is the most famous Fleet Foxes alumnus.

Creighton University

The Mid-American Business Conditions Index is at its highest point in six years. Supply managers in a nine-state region are optimistic looking ahead to the next six months.

The survey conducted by Creighton University is above the growth neutral mark of 50 for the seventh straight month. At 62.3, it is higher than it’s been since February of 2011. Creighton economist Ernie Goss says he could find very little bad in the report.

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