News

The University of Iowa Athletics Department has settled a discrimination case with its former field hockey coach.

Tracey Griesbaum was fired in 2014 over complaints about her coaching that a university investigation failed to confirm. She sued the department on grounds of gender and sexual orientation discrimination and her case was scheduled to go to trial in June.

Earlier this month, a related trial involving a former UI athletics administrator ended with a jury awarding Jane Meyer $874-thousand in back wages plus $1.4 million in damages.

Flickr / Steve

A new study from Iowa State University finds that people who are the victims of workplace bullying often receive unhelpful advice about how to deal with the harassment.

ISU communication studies researcher Stacy Tye-Williams found the most frequent piece of advice victims receive from family and friends is to quit their jobs, which is financially impractical. People were also often counseled to ignore or to stand up to the bully. 

ThoseGuys119 / Flickr

On this news buzz edition of River to River, guest-host Ben Stanton talks with Iowa Public Radio reporter Sarah Boden about how transportation costs are creating an education funding disparity between rural and urban Iowa.

dubuque
SD Dirk / flickr

The Iowa Economic Development Authority has awarded about $2 million in incentives to retain 200 manufacturing jobs in Dubuque.

With city and county contributions, the Friday decision brings the total incentive package for furniture manufacturer Flexsteel Industries to more than $10 million.

The incentives will help Flexsteel demolish and clean up the site of its current plant in Dubuque, and build a new plant at a different site. The company announced last year it would close its plant in Dubuque and look for a new site.

TheeErin / Flickr

Comedian Kumail Nanjiani is a Los Angeles-based writer, actor, and comedian; and he’s conquering Hollywood as the writer and director of the new romantic comedy, The Big Sick, coming out this July.  

Before his film debuts, he's headed back to Iowa to speak at Grinnell College's commencement ceremony on Monday, May 22nd.

Urbandale and Des Moines police departments

The man charged in the ambush killings of two Des Moines-area police officers is withdrawing his not guilty pleas. Scott Greene now admits to killing Urbandale police officer Justin Martin and Des Moines sergeant Tony Beminio last November. Polk County Attorney John Sarcone says writings and drawings on Greene’s jail cell walls following his arrest tied him to the case.

“They are essentially admissions of his responsibility in this matter," he says. "He drew pictures of each officers face.”

Fairfax County / Flickr

We’ve been seeing a lot of stories about the incoming deluge of ticks this season. Iowa State University Extension Entomologist Donald Lewis says despite some of that reporting, “nobody should panic.”

“There is no census of ticks. There is no systematic survey. What we have are people’s memories of how good it was last year or how bad it was last year, or how good or bad it was 10 years ago,” says Lewis.

Courtesy of Texas Tenors

Pack up the car, turn up your favorite public radio station, and set your GPS for these Iowa arts destinations on this summer’s road trip. The June and July Iowa Arts Showcase features:

·         Barbara Lounsberry and Mary Taylor, Steering Committee Members, reveling in this year’s Cedar Falls Authors Festival

·         Composer Michael Ching and Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s Artistic Director Daniel Kleinknecht filling us in on the CROT’s upcoming production of Speed Dating Tonight!

pills and money
Images Money / flickr

Iowans will rally in seven cities this weekend to ask for "Medicare for All." 

The rallies will call on the federal government to offer Medicare—the healthcare plan for people over age 65—to all Americans. It's a response to ongoing problems with the affordability of health insurance and efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Ben Kieffer / Iowa Public Radio

In Iowa, the craft beer industry has been booming. New breweries have been opening everywhere from Clear Lake to Iowa City to Des Moines. J. Wilson is minister of beer at the Iowa Brewers Guild.  He says the growth is a return to what the beer industry looked like before prohibition.

Iowa’s Planned Parenthood affiliate is closing four clinics. It says this move is the result of a new state law that prevents organizations that provide abortions from receiving family planning money from Medicaid.

The Burlington, Keokuk and Sioux City clinics will close on June 30. The Quad Cities facility in Bettendorf will remain open until the building is sold, though only telemed abortion services will be provided. All other types of appointments will cease at the end of June.

Amy Mayer/IPR

A leading research center focused on local farmers and environmental conservation is hanging on by a thread, even as the movement to diversify agriculture, which it helped launch, continues to thrive.

Creighton University

The Rural Mainstreet Index compiled by Creighton University broke a string of 20 straight months of below neutral growth this month. The survey of bank CEOs in a 10-state region is at its highest point in nearly two years.

The index is the work of Creighton economist Ernie Goss. He says the overall numbers for states dependent on the agriculture and energy economies are still weak. But they did break the growth neutral mark of 50 with a 50.1 reading. Goss credits an uptick in the farm economy.

Flickr / wabisabi2015

Every school day at 7:30 am, fifth-grader Ava Perrett catches the first of two bright yellow buses that drive her to the Greene County Intermediate School in Grand Junction.

Due to a 2014 consolidation, the Greene County Community School District is the state’s eighth largest in geographic size. It spans 388 square miles. So it’s a good thing Ava says she usually doesn’t mind riding the bus.

“But sometimes it takes a while,” she says. “When we’re switching buses it gets really cold out when we’re waiting for the buses.”

Matthew Robey / Flickr

On this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe talks with Keith Lesmeister, author of We Could’ve Been Happy Here, a collection of short stories that all take place in Iowa. They are intimate, personal stories that give glimpses into what may be going on below the surface.

Lesmeister grew up in the Cedar Rapids area, and he now teaches at Northeast Iowa Community College and lives near Decorah.

River Lights Bookstore in Dubuque will be hosting Lesmeister for a reading on Friday, May 19th at 5:30 pm.

iprimages

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley has asked the FBI for copies of memos that may exist documenting conversations former director James Comey had with his superiors in the Trump administration.   

That follows reports suggesting the president may have tried to influence an FBI probe.

The New York Times reports that Comey created memos regarding his interactions with the president, documenting what he perceived as improper efforts to influence an ongoing investigation.    

Carl Wycoff / Flickr

Cayson Irlbeck is 10-years-old, and until a few months ago, he'd never seen the green of the grass or the red of a stop sign. That all changed one afternoon when his parents surprised him with a pair of Enchroma glasses, which allow some people who are red-green colorblind to see in full color. He says it's been life changing for him. 

"Stoplights. Stop signs. The grass," he says. "My dad will wake me up really early, and I'll see the purple and orange in the sunrise. The sunsets are awesome too." 

Mercy Medical Center

Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines is receiving the go-ahead to start a psychiatric residency program. The hospital hopes to fill the void of behavioral health providers in the state.

Mercy has been approved to begin a four-year residency program in psychiatry, and is recruiting the first class of four doctors to begin in 2018. Iowa ranks 47th among states in the number of practicing psychiatrists per capita. The medical director of behavioral health at Mercy, Dr. Sasha Khosravi, estimates there are more than 120,000 Iowans with serious mental illness.

todd prichard
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa Rep. Todd Prichard of Charles City announced Tuesday he is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.

Prichard is a veteran and a lawyer. He says he wants to help "forgotten Iowans" by offering free community college to all Iowans, expanding access to health care and raising wages.

Prichard says he can appeal to urban and rural voters because he grew up in Davenport and now lives in a small town.

matt denlinger
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Cedar Rapids police are using new DNA technology to try to solve the 1979 murder of Michelle Martinko.

The department sent 37-year-old DNA evidence to a company that uses DNA to predict the ancestry and appearance of the suspect.

At a Tuesday news conference, police presented three images resulting from the DNA analysis. They show a white male of northern and western European descent with blond hair, blue-green eyes and fair skin. The technology cannot predict age and weight, so different versions show what the suspect might look like at age 25 and age 50. 

WNPR - Connecticut Public Radio / Flickr

The Republican Senator Bob Corker says the Trump administration is “in a downward spiral”

On this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by political scientists Rachel Caufield of Drake University and Dave Andersen of Iowa State University. They give their analysis of a White House reportedly in chaos, discuss the reaction from Congressional Republicans and Democrats, and take calls from Trump supporters who see what’s going in the White House differently. They also talk about who will lead the FBI and why it matters.

Susan Young/Flickr

When a tree dies or is damaged, our first instinct is to cut it down, but there are many reasons to reconsider. There are birds, mammals and many other species of wildlife who make their homes in fallen trees and holes in the ground. 

GEICO

The auto insurance company GEICO is planning to move its Midwest regional office from Coralville to a new building going up in North Liberty. This is another piece of development news for one of Iowa’s fastest growing towns.

GEICO has been in Coralville since 1997. By April of next year, the auto insurer will be in a 50,000-square-foot office building just east of I-380 in North Liberty. That town’s mayor, Terry Donahue, says GEICO was looking to expand.

IPR/Tony Dehner

Des Moines-based Prairie Soul singer, songwriter and guitarist Adam Bruce played two sets of his compelling original songs on May 4, at the Basement venue of the Des Moines Social Club.  Adam Bruce was accompanied by his wife April Lynn, and the duo demonstrated some beautiful vocal harmonies.  The show was broadcast live as part of the Studio One Underground series.  

You can listen to both sets right here! 

BKL / Flickr

"Constitutional crisis" is a phrase heard a great deal in the news lately. On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with presidential historian Tim Walch about what constitutes a constitutional crisis.

Walch also discusses several instances when the U.S. government threatened to break down - during the Civil War in the 1860s, the Great Depression in the 1930s and during the Watergate crisis in the 1970s.

Former FBI Director James Comey's offical FBI portrait.
Federal Bureau of Investigation

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley says he hasn’t decided if he’ll invite former FBI Director James Comey to testify before the senate Judiciary Committee, which Grassley heads.

News reports say the former FBI director is interested in testifying before Congress, where questions about his sudden and controversial firing will likely be asked.

Aladár Székely

Composer Zoltán Kodály was one of the world’s first ethnomusicologists. In 1905, he trekked across Hungary to secluded villages to collect folk songs sung by the villagers who lived there. He recorded them on an Edison phonograph, and as a result, preserved an entire culture. He then became fast friends with fellow composer Béla Bartók and shared his methods of song collection with him. The two set out on more musical road trips together, and were lifelong champions of each other’s music.

AgriLife Today

Iowa beef products could be reaching Chinese consumers by mid-July under a U.S.-Chinese trade agreement announced last week.

China imposed an embargo on U.S. beef after a case of Mad Cow disease in 2003.  

At his weekly news conference, Branstad called lifting the embargo a “really big deal.”

“This is something we wanted for years and years,” Branstad said.   “So I intend to bring Iowa premium beef to China and I intend to serve it in the ambassador’s residence and in the embassy.”      

Drake University

Drake University in Des Moines is entering into an arrangement it hopes will increase diversity at the private school. Drake is signing an agreement with three historically black colleges and universities.

Graduates of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, Lincoln University outside Philadelphia, and Kentucky State University in Frankfort, will be guaranteed scholarships upon admission to Drake’s Law School and doctor of pharmacy program. Drake’s provost, Sue Mattison, says the university is intent on drawing more minority students to campus.

facebook.com/futureislandsmusic

Even after three years, it seems that the Baltimore-based band Future Islands can't be written about without mentioning their breakthrough live appearance on the David Letterman show in early 2014.  Their performance of "Seasons (Waiting on You)" on that show is closing in on 2,000,000 YouTube views.   Frontman Sam Herring's vocal intensity and energetic dance moves simply can't be denied.  Iowans could see this for themselves during Future Islands' exciting set at the Hinterland Festival in 2015.  The synthy dance party continues on the fifth Future Islands album, The Far Field.  

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