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John Pemble / IPR

On this show, representative Monica Kurth from Davenport took her oath of office on Monday.  She won a special election on January 31st.  Now the Iowa House is full and her first day was a long one.  The House debated a K-12 education spending bill, as well as a new rule banning the use of visual aids, during a debate without approval from the Speaker of the House.

Mike Mozart / Flickr

A minimum wage law passed through committee in the House of Representatives at the state legislature this week.

"The bill in the House would prevent local governments in Iowa from passing higher minimum wage laws than the state minimum wage. As you know, four counties have done that," says IPR Statehouse correspondent Joyce Russell.

The state minimum wage is currently at the federal level, $7.25 an hour.

Vera Kratochvil/Wikimedia Commons

More cut flowers are purchased on Valentine's Day than any other day of the year, in spite of the fact that it falls in the dead of winter. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Cindy Haynes and Richard Jauron of Iowa State University about the best flowers to buy for longevity. Most cut flowers don't last more than a week. 

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter says he will not seek reappointment when his term expires at the end of April.  Rastetter has been on the board that governs the state’s public universities since 2011.  He was elected president in 2013.  In an interview on Iowa Public TV’s Iowa Press two weeks ago, Rastetter called his time on the board a “unique and challenging experience.”

Flickr / Farragutful

The Iowa Supreme Court says a valid traffic stop can’t be prolonged without reasonable suspicion, once the original cause for that stop is resolved. As a result a man's aggravated misdemeanor conviction has been overturned. 

Podcast: Lit City, A Debut Episode About a Debut Novel

21 hours ago

Lit City is a new podcast from Iowa Public Radio hosted by Charity Nebbe and Anna Williams. Each episode features some of the best interviews we've done with fiction and nonfiction writers and, along the way, gives listeners a glimpse of Iowa's own City of Literature.

In the first episode we hear from Nathan Hill, Iowa native and debut author of The Nix, which was named a 2016 Notable Book by The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Ted Eytan / Flickr

After a lengthy confirmation hearing, protests, and two Republicans breaking with their party to vote no, President Donald Trump's education secretary pick, Betsy Devos, was confirmed by the Senate. Earlier this week, President Donald Trump tweeted, "It is a disgrace that my full cabinet is still not in place, the longest such delay in the history of our country." [This statement is demonstrably false and will continue to be unless the confirmation process of Trump's cabinet takes an additional seven weeks.

Come see what all the fuss is about this Friday, February 10, as Des Moines indie-rock group The Fuss performs on IPR Studio One's Java Blend.

At 2 p.m. at The Java House in downtown Iowa City, join Java Blend host Ben Kieffer as he chats with the group about their quick rise through the Des Moines DIY scene. 

Joyce Russell/IPR

A Republican plan to discontinue payroll deductions of union dues for state workers is encountering fierce opposition from public employees and their advocates in the legislature.   

The measure is part of a sweeping overhaul of the collective bargaining law which covers 130,000 public employees.

Joyce Russell/IPR

The top Republican in the Iowa House is downplaying concerns about a bill that advanced this week to throw out higher minimum wage laws currently in effect in four Iowa counties.  

The bill would mandate the same $7.25 minimum wage statewide, so higher wages approved in Polk, Linn, Johnson and Wapello counties would be repealed.  

House Speaker Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) says that doesn’t mean wages in those communities will automatically go down.

James P. Mann / flickr

After serving time in the corrections system, finding a job isn’t the easiest task. A new program in Johnson County is hoping more Iowans will return to the work force with the know-how to take on jobs in agriculture. Scott Koepke is education director for Grow Johnson County. 

Wikimedia Commons

Iowa State Basketball star Georges Niang was drafted to move to Indiana at the end of last season play for the Pacers. He's been active on their roster and their feeder team's roster, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. He's keeping a diary of his travels and time in the NBA, giving fans a sneak peak behind the curtain. 

John Pemble / IPR

Floodwaters destroyed the University of Iowa’s School of Music in 2008.  Last fall, it was replaced with a new building that includes six organs. A Klais organ from Germany is in the largest performance hall at the Voxman Building.

 

Joyce Russell/IPR

A bill to scale back the rights of public workers got its first airing at the statehouse today, one day after it was introduced to broad and noisy criticism.   Public workers told house and senate panels the bill guts Iowa’s collective bargaining law which they say has helped raise the standard of living for 130,000 state, county, city, and school employees.      

Extra troopers were on hand at the capitol for the hearings.     

Flickr / Brad Covington

Some local governments are opposing legislation in the Republican-controlled Iowa house that would stop cities and counties from setting an hourly wage that’s higher than the state minimumIf the legislation becomes law this would lower the hourly wages in Johnson, Linn, Polk and Wapello counties.   

Since 2008, Iowa’s minimum wage has been $7.25, which is also the federal minimum. Many argue in 2017 that’s not enough.

UNI Museum/Jess Cruz

In the long history of rock and roll music, Iowa is, unfortunately, best known as the state where Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper were killed in a plane crash. Of course, there’s much more to it than that. The UNI Museum’s exhibit Ballroom Bash: Iowa’s Rock n’ Roll Legacy shines a light on Iowa’s influence and importance in rock history. The exhibit has been on display at UNI’s Rod Library since August of 2016. It’s a collaboration between the UNI Museum and the Iowa Rock n’ Roll Music Association.

Anton Raath / Flickr

In recent weeks, sales of the novel 1984 by George Orwell, first published in 1949, have soared. It climbed to the top of the amazon.com best seller list, and bookstores report that copies are flying off the shelves.

Since so many people are reading or re-reading it right now, on this "book club" edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a conversation about what makes this classic relevant in 2017. 

She starts the hour talking with Andrew Simmons, an English teacher who transforms his classroom into the world of 1984 and Big Brother every October.

Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

In the days immediately following the election of Donald Trump in November, Muslims in Cedar Rapids said they needed to do something to spread the word about their faith. Since the president assumed office, they say this need has become imperative. 

Around 20 people gathered in a lecture hall on the campus of Coe College in Cedar Rapids last Saturday afternoon to learn a little something about the Prophet Muhammad.

The Des Moines School Board has become the first in the state to adopt so-called sanctuary resolutions for immigrant and refugee students.  The seven member board voted unanimously tonight to enact two resolutions. One would give staff guidance if immigration officials inquire about a student.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Hundreds of union employees turned out at the statehouse in solidarity with public sector workers whose collective bargaining rights are on the line under the new Republican majority. 

Bills were introduced today in the House and Senate to significantly alter the state’s 40-year-old collective bargaining law, setting up what will be a bitter battle with minority Democrats. 

Public workers such as firefighters and teachers filled the statehouse rotunda.   

WIKICOMMONS / Iznewton

Legislation that bans the transfer or receipt of fetal tissues has passed out of subcommittee in the Iowa state Senate. Federal law already makes it illegal to sell fetal tissues for profit, but supporters of the bill say they don’t want aborted fetuses used in research.  

Under a bill unveiled last week by Secretary of State Paul Pate, Iowa voters would be required to present identification at the voting booth. Pate says his proposal is aimed at ensuring the integrity of Iowa's elections. Democratic legislators and civil libertarians, however, have promised a fight over the issue. They raise concerns that new rules could suppress voter turnout. During this half hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Pate about his proposal. 

IPR/Tony Dehner

Mark your calendars. The third annual Hinterland music festival is happening August 4th-5th in St. Charles. The lineup has been announced, and it's terrific.

"We wanted to pick something a little bit different than what we did last year -  kind of bring out a different crowd, but also kind of accommodate the crowd we had curated here from the beginning," says Sam Summers, organizer for the festival. 

Stephanie Brunia

Stephanie Brunia is a photographer who lives in Oxford, Iowa. One of her favorite subjects is her father, Steve. Her work is on display right now in Café Baratta in the State Historical Building. It’s a unique exhibition titled Thursday’s Childinspired by a moment when Stephanie noticed her dad's age in a way she hadn't before.

Melanie Levi / Flickr

Stories of extraordinary weight loss make gripping television, but the kind of fast and furious weight loss viewers love to see doesn’t tend to last.

“The body was equipped to defend against weight loss, and that makes maintenance of weight loss during dieting an exercise extremely difficult," says Dr. Allyn Mark of the University of Iowa. "This is true not only with the contestants in the biggest loser…but it’s also true of individuals who diet to lose modest amounts of weight.”

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

How low can it go?

That’s what many in farm country asked about the farm economy Tuesday, after the Agriculture Department forecast another plunge this year in profits for farmers.

Net farm income will fall 8.7 percent from last year’s levels, according to the year’s first forecast produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS). If realized, that would mark the fourth-straight year of profit declines, after 2013 saw record-highs.

AMY MAYER/IPR FILE

Sen. Chuck Grassley says he’s not concerned about a tweet by President Donald Trump that called a federal judge in Seattle a “so-called judge.” The president was responding to a ruling by Judge James Robart that temporarily blocks the president’s executive order on immigration, a ruling Trump called “ridiculous” in that same tweet.

 

Some say Trump’s comment is an attack on the separation of powers. But Grassley, who heads the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, says he doesn’t worry about what the president says.

Marco Borggreve

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa broadcast on February 12th at 4 p.m. and February 13th at 7 p.m. features the Des Moines Symphony’s “A German Rhapsody” concert. The orchestra performs works by German composers including Wagner, Brahms, Mozart, and Strauss.

Amy Mayer/IPR

On a clear, cold winter evening, the sun begins to set at Lost Lake Farm near Jewell, Iowa, and Kevin Dietzel calls his 15 dairy cows to come home.

"Come on!" he hollers in a singsong voice, "Come on!"

Brown Swiss cows and black Normandy cows trot across the frozen field and, in groups of four, are ushered into the small milking parlor.

John Pemble/IPR

An overflow crowd of advocates for K-12 schools came to the statehouse today, trying to stop a bill they say would severely underfund schools next year.  

Advocates say the crowd would have been larger if the hearing had been scheduled in the evening when most public hearings at the capitol take place.     

Minority Democrats cried foul when Republicans scheduled the hearing for 11 a.m.. 

Tammy Wawro with the Iowa State Education Association spoke angrily for those who could not attend.  

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