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WIKICOMMONS / BrokenSphere

The recidivism rate for ex-offenders is significantly lower when they find employment after they leave prison. But getting hired can be difficult for people with criminal records.

This week, Iowa employers can attend free seminars to learn more about the benefits of hiring people with criminal records. The federally-sponsored program is titled “Iowa’s Untapped Workforce, a Roadmap for Second Chance Hiring.”

What is a master gardener? Someone who loves gardening, has a strong interest in helping others improve their gardens, and is willing to volunteer on projects.  Iowa State Uniersity offers training classes every fall semester starting Sept. 1. 

During this hour of of Talk of Iowa Charity Nebbe talks with Iowa State University Extension Master Gardener Coordinator Denny Shrock about what it means to become a master gardener and his work with ISU to help other gardeners get the best yields each year. 

City of West Des Moines

Officials in West Des Moines are touting what the news of a third data center from Microsoft means for development in the southwest corner of the city. 

The computer giant is announcing plans to build a one-point-seven million square foot data center in an area straddling Warren and Madison counties within West Des Moines city limits. It will be built in four phases, with the initial investment at $417 million. West Des Moines Mayor Steve Gaer says the project will pay for the infrastructure needed to open thousands of acres to commercial and residential development.

John Pemble / IPR

  The Democratic National Convention begins on Monday in Philadelphia and Iowa’s 44 Democratic delegates will be there. Hillary Clinton is expected to formally get the nomination of her party for president. Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Andy McGuire is confident the party will unite behind Clinton even though some Iowa delegates continue to back Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. She says Clinton and Sanders had a lot in common.

“We talk about the inclusion we have in our party,” McGuire says. “I think people will come around to being unified.”

ACLU of Iowa

A long-time employee at the Iowa Women’s Prison in Mitchellville has filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission alleging discrimination on the basis of gender identity. 

According to the complaint, 34-year old Department of Corrections transgender nurse Jesse Vroegh is being denied access to male restrooms and locker rooms, but  is allowed to use unisex facilities instead.       

Ida Mae Astute / ABC

The Republican National Convention was meant to unify Republicans and spotlight the best parts of Donald Trump’s unconventional candidacy. Instead, the focus has been on rumbling feuds within the party and unforced errors by the campaign.

On this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa and Hans Hassell of Cornell College about the convention being held in Cleveland, Ohio this week.

Liesl Eathington, Iowa State University

You probably can’t go out for sushi nearby, and it might take an hour to get to a discount store but for some the benefits of living in rural Iowa more than outweigh those inconveniences. At the same time more and more Iowans are drawn to city life. According to Dave Swenson, an economist at Iowa State University, the numbers prove that true.  

“Just this decade, 71 of Iowa’s 99 counties have posted 2015 populations smaller than they were in 2010. That’s a trend that’s continued for at least two decades now,” he says.

Michael Leland, Iowa Public Radio

Population and economic growth in metropolitan areas often pits local community interests against those of the larger region. Now, something different is happening in Central Iowa, and it’s resulting in a remarkable number of construction projects in the Des Moines area. The urban center and its suburbs are coming together for the good of all.

For decades, the suburbs of Des Moines have boomed while the city itself has retracted. Today, things seem to be evening out, according to real estate attorney Larry James.

Flickr

Floating down the river on an inner tube is a common way to escape the summer heat. However, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has some advice to make your trip a smooth ride.

The DNR’s Todd Robertson says even though you’re surrounded by water, you still need to consume plenty of fluids.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

 When an international jury picked the world's 10 best orchestras, three American groups made the cut - and now you can hear one of them, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, every Wednesday at 7 on IPR Classical. The orchestra took a gamble in 2009 when it hired the youngest music director in its history - Venezuela's Gustavo Dudamel, then just 28 - and that bet more than paid off. Together Dudamel and the orchestra have won major music awards and enjoyed a chemistry so "right" that the contract was extended to 2022.  

Fiberon / Flickr

Decks can be the perfect place to spend a nice summer night but they can also be tricky to maintain.

This hour on Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe talks with home improvement expert Bill McAnally about decks and answers listener questions about their decks. What is the best material to use for a deck? How do you maintain them, and when it is time to call in an expert?

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

U.S. Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack may be on Hillary Clinton's short-list for a vice presidential running mate. Several national media outlets have reported that while Vilsack has not confirmed he's being vetted, Clinton insiders say he's in the running.

Vilsack served as the Democratic governor of Iowa from 1999-2007. He's been in President Obama's cabinet since 2009.

When Claire Hoffman was five, she moved to Fairfield, Iowa with her mother and brother, so that her family could follow the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. When Maharishi asked his followers to move to Fairfield, it created quite the rift between his followers and the townspeople. 

"You know in researching this book, I went back and went through the archives of the Fairfield Ledger. And you see this sense of outcry that Fairfield had been invaded," explains Hoffman. 

Pokemon Go, a new game and cell phone app, was released earlier this month and has quickly become one of the most played games across the United States. If you're not playing it, someone you know is.

Drake University

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with four young professionals from Sub-Saharan Africa in Iowa this summer as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship program, the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. 

This summer, each of the fellows is developing business skills they will be able to take back home, and they are also forming connections with one another - an important aspect of the program, according to Dimy Doresca, director of the UI Institute for International Business.

Flickr / Jimmy Emerson, DVM

The Iowa College Student Aid Commission says more than $700,000 in grants will be awarded to 16 healthcare professionals who work in rural Iowa. The grants will be matched by the communities where the recipients are employed.

Danielle Weber is a physical therapist who lives and works in Jefferson, the seat of Greene County. With more than $80,000 in debt she says the grant is like winning the lottery.

She explains that while her tuition at Des Moines University was “not cheap,” salaries in rural communities tend to skew lower.

Pete Zarria

Even before the Declaration of Independence was signed, the founders of the United States established the post office as the circulatory system of America’s body politic.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with New York Times best-selling author Winifred Gallagher, author of How the Post Office Created America.

Figge Art Museum

As summer continues to heat up, tune in for more arts events from around the state on Iowa Public Radio’s Iowa Arts Showcase. The August showcase features:

·         Music Director & Conductor of the Des Moines Symphony Joseph Giunta diving into the orchestra’s 2016-2017 Season

·         President and Music Director of the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society, Josh Duffee, outlining details on the 2016 Bix Jazz Festival

·         Charles Swanson, Executive Director of Hancher, revealing plans for the auditorium’s grand re-opening

Steve Riskind

This encore broadcast of Iowa Public Radio's Symphonies of Iowa features Orchestra Iowa's “National Romance” concert. The performance features three iconic works from the late romantic era and early 20th century, each of which defines the style of music in their nation.

John Pemble / IPR

Portraits are often a visual experience with a photograph or painting, but Alex Braidwood created a portrait of Des Moines exclusively with sound. His project was commissioned by the Des Moines Art Center as part of its annual “Iowa Artists” spotlight.

Pat Blank/IPR

Wright County Supervisors have taken the first step toward a proposed a $240 million pork processing plant by rezoning land near Highway 17. Today’s vote came after both discussion and protest.

Storm clouds loomed on the horizon as about 50 members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement gathered on the lawn of the court house prior to the vote.  That mood continued for some all morning. CCI member and county resident Kathy Schnell says she’s bothered by the speed at which the plan by North Carolina-based Prestage Farms is moving

Dean Borg/IPR

Regents President Bruce Rastetter says the board wants the universities to develop two-year budgets, hoping the Iowa legislators will reciprocate with more appropriation predictability. “And that’s what we’ve asked the universities to think about in terms of their needs so we can be more forward looking for parents and their students on what tuition may look like over the course of two and three years out rather than just year by year,” he said. Rastetter also said Iowa State President Steven Leath and Iowa’s Bruce Herrald asked that their salaries not be increased, so the Regents postponed

Flickr / photolibrarian

Gov. Terry Branstad has issued a disaster proclamation for Benton, Humboldt and Wright counties.

The three counties requested the aid after recent severe weather, saying the demands of the disaster response exceeded local resources.

Dean Borg / IPR

Powerful winds swept through Eastern Iowa in Sunday morning’s predawn darkness, collapsing a house on four people in Walford and ripping the roof from a Vinton apartment building.

Linn County sheriff’s deputies, responding to emergency calls, found Brett Gioimo, 27, trapped inside a pile of rubble that had been his home. He was transported to a hospital.

Ashlee Shill, 28, and two children aged three and four years old were also in the house when it collapsed, but were not injured.

Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump has picked Indiana Governor Mike Pence as a running mate. Will a Midwesterner help Trump win Iowa votes? Maybe. 

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer discusses Pence with Drake University's Dennis Goldford. Goldford is professor and chair of the political Science Department, and the Flansburg Fellow at the Harkin Institute. 

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

A new billboard with the message “Meat Kills, Go Vegan” will appear on Highway 17 in Wright County. The roadside message, which also lists health risks correlated with meat consumption, comes from an animal rights organization that aims to prevent the construction of a pork processing plant.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, wants to stop Prestage Farms from constructing a proposed plant, which the company says will create 900 fulltime jobs. The meat processor is considering Wright County, after a failed attempt to build a facility in Mason City. 

JFK Presidential Library and Museum / Wikimedia Commons

While she was pregnant with her first child, Libby Buchmeier had been banking her vacation in anticipation of taking time off after the birth. When Buchmeier's daughter arrived 10 weeks early, she had to use the four weeks of paid maternity leave offered by her employer and much of that accumulated vacation time while her baby girl was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Flickr / Jason Mrachina

U.S. Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack will be at the National Governors Association's summer meeting in Des Moines Saturday to discuss the value of local foods to rural economies.

Vilsack says in order to repopulate rural communities, smaller farming operations need consumers that don't put a premium on size and speed. One strategy to carve out markets for these smaller producers is through food hubs.

In the height of the growing season, it's important to keep a careful eye on your beloved crops.

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Assistant Director of Remain Gardens, Aaron Steil and ISU Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron to answer listener questions about pruning, mulch alternatives and organic pest solutions. Here's their to-do list for taking care of perennials and other plants.

John Pemble / IPR

 The Republican National Convention starts in Cleveland on Monday and 30 delegates will represent Iowa. Jeff Kaufmann is the chairman of the Iowa Republican Party. He says Iowa delegates are bound to the presumptive presidential nominee even though a small group of delegates still want to back Iowa caucus winner Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

“Bottom line is we’ve got some folks that still want Cruz to be the nominee. That’s not going to happen," Kaufmann says. "The overwhelming majority of the Iowa delegation understands that Trump is our nominee.”

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