MjZ Photography / Flickr

Rey Junco, an associate professor in the school of education at Iowa State University, believes the long-held wisdom is true--if you want to do well in class, you have to spend time with the material. But with shifty students who might inflate how much time they're spending reading, he's had to get more creative with how he collects data.

"We often identify students who are struggling by their grades--by their poor grades or their poor attendance or something that we can measure. But often by the time we've measured it, it's too late."

Iowa Press/IPTV

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says he supports having Iowa and New Hampshire leading the way in the presidential nominating process. Carson, who would be the party’s titular head if elected president, was reacting to Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus this week saying it might be time to consider other options.

Carson says he’d need a real good reason to support that.

Covering the Caucuses

11 hours ago
Clay Masters / IPR

 The Iowa caucuses are only four months away now and with them be ready to hear more from NPR political reporters. NPR's Don Gonyea and Tamara Keith stopped by Iowa Public Radio to discuss covering the Iowa caucuses with IPR's Clay Masters.

"You tend to get a cross-section of parties. You get people haven’t made up their mind up yet and they’re happy to talk to you," Gonyea says. "That’s a treasure trove for a reporter."

Gonyea also notes you get close access to  most of the candidates.

Pat Blank/IPR

Republican Presidential candidate Marco Rubio is on a two-day swing through eastern Iowa. Thursday night in Cedar Falls he told a crowd of more than 300 that the federal government is failing in its obligation to keep Americans safe.

The junior Senator from Florida says there’s plenty of blame for what he calls the loss of prestige by the U.S. He says the recent air strikes by Russian planes in Syria are proof that the situation is out of control.

John Pemple/IPR file photo

Iowa U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley is among those sponsoring legislation aimed at recalibrating prison sentences for certain drug offenders.  Grassley appeared at a Washington news conference today with Senators from both parties.  He called the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 a significant change in how the courts treat lower-level drug crimes.

Emily Woodbury

This program originally aired on November 17, 2014.

This year, U.S. farmers are bringing in what is expected to be a record breaking harvest. On this edition of River to River - the modern day harvest.

Julie Stevens

A student landscape architecture project at Iowa State University is being recognized by a national organization for working to make the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women a more humane and therapeutic environment.

The American Society of Landscape Architecture has given the ISU project a Community Service Award of Excellence for creating outdoor classrooms using native Iowa limestone and prairie plants, and a decompression deck for staff at the women’s prison in Mitchellville.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer catches up with prominent Iowa blues artists Joe and Vicki Price on the RAGBRAI trail on a hot day in July. 

Tune in to hear tunes from the Prices' newest release, "Night Owls." 

Gage Skidmore/flickr

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says legislation to crack down on illegal immigrants is meeting with opposition in the Republican-dominated Judiciary Committee that Grassley chairs in the U.S. Senate.   

As proposed by Grassley, the bill would levy a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for felons who are deported and then return to the country. 

 Grassley says mandatory minimums have become controversial.

Iowa Historical Society

From Howard Dean’s famous scream to campaign buttons, bumper stickers, and other memorabilia, a new exhibit at the Iowa History Museum takes a a look back at four decades of the Iowa caucuses.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Major Iowa GOP donor Bruce Rastetter today stood alongside Chris Christie and announced he’s endorsing the New Jersey Governor for the Republican nomination for president.     

Rastetter and other influential Iowans are backing the man they tried to convince to run in the last presidential election. 

Flanked by other political heavy hitters, Rastetter announced the endorsements any candidate would envy. 

The group wasn’t happy with the Republican field four years ago, so they boarded Rastetter’s plane and flew to Christie’s home turf.

Flickr / Loren Kerns

Iowa’s deputy state epidemiologist says people should start thinking about getting vaccinated against the flu. 

Dr. Ann Garvey says this is the best way to avoid getting sick and prevent transmission, even in years when the vaccine is less effective. Last year the virus changed after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed the 2014-2015 vaccine, which made it less effective.

Seney Natural History Association

As agriculture and new construction in Iowa continue to expand and occupy Iowa's wildlife habitat, humans are in contact with predators like coyotes more and more. Like a caller said today during the our broadcast, one of the ways to handle that problem is to kill the predators that threaten domestic pets and backyard chickens. 

But author John Shivik says there’s another way. “Moving forward, we need to balance lethal versus non-lethal methods of dealing with predators. We can biologically deal with the issue instead of killing them to make ourselves feel better.”  

Joyce Russell/IPR

About 150 people turned out in Alden in Hardin County yesterday to hear New Jersey Governor and Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, who’s on a two-day campaign swing through the state.  

Christie leveled hard-hitting criticism at the Obama administration, particularly in foreign policy.  

Christie says the president focused on climate change more than the trouble spots around the world.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Black Iowans feel profiled by police, and reviews have found that Iowa’s profiling policies fall short of national standards.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with those calling for change in the way justice is implemented in Iowa, a state that holds the number one ranking in the nation for incarcerating African Americans on a per capita basis.

“The problem at this point is over incarceration; it’s not skyrocketing crime rates," says Vikrant Reddy, senior fellow at the Charles Koch Institute. "Those are actually declining."

A first-of-its-kind report out released today found most community college students leave school with debts of less than ten-thousand dollars.  But it also finds those who borrow the least are the most likely to default.

The executive dean of student services at Des Moines Area Community College, Laurie Wolf, contributed to the report. She says there may be a simple reason why students default on loan debts as small as 500-dollars.

Pianist Bruce Brubaker, born and raised in Des Moines, is  one of today's most admired pianists - and a renowned collaborator with such major composers as John Cage, Philip Glass, and Meredith Monk. Bruce is in Iowa this week to work with some other major Iowan musicians in a SummerMusic concert centered on Terry Riley.

Courtesy of the Clinton Lumber Kings

Joyce Wilkerson has been going to as many Clinton Lumber Kings games as she can since the early 1990’s. She keeps coming back because she loves the stadium, the fans and the team. “There’s no time in baseball; I love that.”


About 300 people turned out in Newton Saturday night to hear Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who is on a two-day weekend campaign swing through the state.   Sanders drew cheers with his populist message, including criticizing income inequality.  

Elizabeth Gaffney, a high school teacher from Baxter, has already heard Bernie Sanders, once in Ames, and again on the soapbox at the State Fair.  

She is new to Democratic politics.         

 “I used to be a Republican,” Gaffney says.  “Bernie’s made me a convert.”


With autumn in the air comes many exciting Iowa arts events. This month’s Iowa Arts Showcase features:

1. A peek at the Iowa Composers Forum’s fall concerts featuring New Music for Voice & Piano with mezzo-soprano Ann Cravero and pianist Jessica Anderson

2. A look into The Dubuque Symphony Orchestra’s 2015-16 season with Music Director and Conductor Dr. William Intriligator

courtesy of Brad Anderson

Above + Beyond Cancer, a Des Moines-based non-profit, was planning on taking a group of caregivers and cancer survivors to Nepal. Then, the earthquake hit. Dr. Richard Deming, founder of the group, says that changed everything.

Vera Kratochvil/Wikimedia Commons

It may not feel like it yet, but it is officially fall. This hour on Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Aaron Steil, assistant director of Reiman Gardnes in Ames, and Iowa State University Extension horticulture expert Richard Jauron about spring blooming bulbs. It’s best to get them in the ground before the first frost, sometime in early fall. 

Jauron says that when you’re talking about tulips and daffodils, it works best to plant between 15 and 20 bulbs in a clump.

Ripley Entertainment

Ripley’s Believe it or Not, the organization that collects and exhibits oddities from all over the world, has a new book Eye Popping Oddities that highlights a few Iowans.

Edward Meyer, Vice President of Exhibits and Archives, has been traveling the world collecting unusual stories and artifacts for more than three decades. 

"If you look at page 230 in the  new book, we have a photo of a guy who collected his fingernail clippings for over 10 years and sent me a paper weight made of them," he laughs. "It's probably buried under paper." 

Flickr / dawgfanjeff

People near Iowa City planning to watch tonight’s super-lunar eclipse, are invited to the roof of Van Allen Hall at the University of Iowa. A group of UI astronomers is holding a public viewing of the phenomena which occurs once perhaps only two or three decades.

Brian Timmermeister / Flickr


When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker dropped out of the Republican Presidential Primary Monday, that left one Midwesterner left in the GOP field--Ohio Governor John Kasich. Kasich has visited the state far less than some of his Republican counterparts, just twice in this election cycle. That will change when he stops by Sioux City, Council Bluffs, and Davenport in the next week. Kasich isn't worried about that lack of time he's spent in the state.

University of Iowa photo

A group representing faculty in the University of Iowa’s Liberal Arts College is censuring the UI’s incoming president, Bruce Harreld.

Language and Cultures Professor Russ Ganim chaired the Faculty Assembly, a group representing the broader Liberal Arts faculty. He says censuring President-select Harreld isn’t meant to humiliate.

“The purpose was not to embarrass anyone,” he said.  “The purpose was to reaffirm our core values. First and foremost of those values being intellectual honesty. And academic integrity.

Matt Brooks/NET News file photo

China will buy 13-point-eight metric tons of U.S soybeans this year, worth about $5.3 million.  Twenty-four contracts making that official were signed today in downtown Des Moines. 

This year’s Iowa soybean harvest is expected to be strong, and Laura Foell welcomes this news.  She and her husband farm 900 acres near the Sac county town of Schaller. She’s also the chairwoman of the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

Joyce Russell/IPR

An Ames minister will receive the 2013 Robert D. Ray Iowa SHARES Humanitarian Award for his 30-year  career fighting hunger in Iowa and around the world.   

In a ceremony next month, officials with the World Food Prize will honor Rev. Russ Melby who organized Church World Service Hunger Walks in Iowa communities to benefit Iowa food banks, as well as hunger relief abroad.    

Rev. Melby came to Iowa in 1984 and hoped to organize food walks in all 99 counties within five years.

Sculpt Siouxland

Someone has stolen a bronze statue from downtown Sioux City. The city’s Art Center discovered "Goddess of the Grapes" was gone on Tuesday from it's 4th Street location, after doing an inventory of all the public art sculptures it maintains.

The roughly 20-inch statue depicts a young woman holding grapes, standing on her toes and reaching towards the sky. "Goddess of the Grapes" is owned by the nonprofit Sculpt Siouxland and maintained by the Sioux City Art Center.

Alfredo Borba / Wikimedia Commons

The Pope landed in the States for the first time, in his papacy and in his lifetime, this week. When he opened his remarks at the White House with a reference to his immigrant childhood, things quickly took a turn for the political, as he went on to mention Obama's environmental policies.

Hans Hassell, a political science professor at Cornell College, says despite the Pope's praise for an Obama-led clean air policy, Pope Francis's views can't be described neatly as Republican or Democrat.