University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine /

For medical students in Iowa and throughout the country, Friday was Match Day. That's an anxiety-filled reveal ceremony where the soon-to-be graduates open sealed envelopes to find our where they'll do their residency training. The post-graduate programs are vital to earning a license to practice, and help determine if young doctors will stay in the state.


IPR is always looking for new ways to bring great music to our listeners, and more and more, that means going beyond what we do on air. It's no surprise to anyone that social media is playing a growing role in reaching our listeners. With this in mind, we've invested in video equipment that will make it possible for us to regularly stream our in-studio performances. We've already done it on our Classical stream, and this week you'll have two chances to catch Studio One events on Facebook Live!

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Typically, Monday mornings at the Capitol aren't the most active day, but nothing was typical about last Monday morning.  Around 10 a.m. a post from a Democratic-leaning blog, Iowa Starting Line, contained pictures and a video of Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix in a Des Moines bar.  He is sitting close to a woman lobbyist and at one point it looks like they briefly kiss.  Hours later, Sen. Dix resigned from the senate.  Jack Whitver was elected as the new minority leader and Charles Schneider as the Senate president.

Jeff Eaton/Flickr

Gil Cranberg passed away on Sunday at the age of 93. His career as an editorial writer for the Des Moines Register spanned 33 years. He will be remembered as an ethical newsman whose work focused on civil rights, inequality, and criminal justice. 

Prairie City, Iowa

There are many things to consider when adding shade to your yard in the form of a tree, and it can be difficult to know where to start.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, guest host Jason Burns talks with Iowa State University horticulturists Jeff Iles and Richard Jauron about what to keep in mind when buying and planting a sapling.

sandy salmon
John Pemble / IPR

An Iowa House committee Thursday advanced what could become the strictest abortion law in the nation ahead of a legislative deadline.

It would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. That provision is attached to a bill that puts limits on the donation and use of fetal tissue.

Democratic lawmakers accused Republicans of being willing to risk women’s lives to make an ideological point.

Roey Ahram via flickr creative commons /

Southeast Iowa’s Des Moines County is seeing a significant increase in sexually transmitted diseases. The uptick comes after Planned Parenthood closed three of its clinics in the area last summer. But it’s not clear if that’s contributing to the increase.

Antonio Montoto/Pexels

Iowa’s nearly 30-year old energy efficiency program would continue, but would be scaled back significantly, under a compromise energy bill that advanced at the statehouse today.  

Since 1990, Iowans have paid into the program through a percentage of their monthly electricity or natural gas bills.   In turn, they have been eligible for millions of dollars in rebates, retrofits and other energy efficiency initiatives.

Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Department of State

It's been another whirlwind week in politics. President Trump fired his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Twitter, to be replaced with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. The president is also backing off of his promise to have a conversation about gun control; and the Stormy Daniels saga continues.

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Rachel Caufield, associate professor of political science at Drake University, and Steffen Schmidt, university professor of political science at Iowa State University.

Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa House Republicans are reviving a proposed ban on abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, by adding it as an amendment to another bill that would put limits on the donation and use of fetal tissue in Iowa.

At a subcommittee meeting convened Wednesday to consider the fetal tissue bill, conversation turned mostly to the amendment. It would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks gestation.

Kate Payne

Joining students across the country, hundreds of Iowa students walked out of classes Wednesday to honor the 17 people killed at a school in Parkland, Florida one month ago. While some students were on spring break, others staged demonstrations in Dubuque, Davenport, Fairfield, Council Bluffs, Grinnell and West Liberty.

Joyce Russell/IPR

A bill favored by power companies and sharply opposed by consumer advocates and environmentalists advanced today in the Republican-controlled Iowa House.  

Critics warn of higher utility bills while backers say the bill is needed to modernize Iowa energy policy.

The bill scales back energy efficiency programs and changes the rules utilities follow before they build new plants and raise rates.     

The White House

When polls rank America’s first ladies, the top spot often goes to Eleanor Roosevelt.

“She was the person who really embraced the role of the first lady and made it more public,” says political scientist Dianne Bystrom of Iowa State University. “She was the first first lady to give her own press conferences, she built the first lady staff […] and she was a spokesperson on African American and civil rights.”

Presidential historian Tim Walch adds, “She really was an exceptional individual – a real paradigm shift among our first ladies.”

Joyce Russell/IPR

Republicans in the Iowa Senate Wednesday chose Sen. Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny) as their new Majority Leader, the most powerful position in the Senate.  

Whitver succeeds Sen. Bill Dix, who resigned abruptly this week after compromising photos of him with a statehouse lobbyist appeared on the internet.   

The 28-member GOP caucus chose Whitver, an eight-year veteran of the Iowa Senate, by secret ballot in a closed door meeting two days after Dix resigned.

Joyce Russell/IPR

The Republican Chair of the Ethics Committee in the Iowa Senate says he is willing to look at new ethics rules after the departure of the top Senate Republican.  

But Sen. Jerry Behn (R-Boone) questioned whether lawmakers can dictate what kind of relationships legislators can have with lobbyists.

Majority Leader Bill Dix, who is married and the father of three children, resigned his leadership post and his Senate seat after photos surfaced of him appearing to kiss a lobbyist at a Des Moines bar.  

Brandy Berthelson via flickr creative commons /

People in need of reproductive healthcare will soon have a new option in Burlington. A family planning clinic is opening almost a year after Planned Parenthood closed three of its Southeast Iowa facilities. 

John Pemble

Iowans say mental health services are among their top concerns when it comes to state-supported issues, and lawmakers’ comments on mental health make the issue appear bipartisan.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer and IPR reporter Joyce Russell talk with lawmakers about how they are working to address concerns regarding mental health care in Iowa, as well as fielding calls from Iowans who have tried to get themselves or their loved ones care.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

UPDATE: 4:00 p.m.

The top Republican in the Iowa Senate, Bill Dix, has resigned his positions as Majority Leader and state Senator, hours after compromising photos of him appeared on the political website Iowa Starting Line.  

The photos showed Dix having drinks with and apparently kissing a female lobbyist at a Des Moines bar one evening earlier this month.  

Some were calling for Dix’s resignation last year after a court approved a $1.75 million sexual harassment settlement against Senate Republicans.  

John Pemble / IPR

State lawmakers are preparing for state agency budget cuts. On Friday, Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Revenue Estimating Conference has revised its estimate of tax receipts this year.

Latest revenue projects have a little bit of good news. The Revenue Estimating Conference meets periodically to estimate how much money in taxes will be collected. This time, members revised their estimate up compared to their estimate in December. “They have a little more money to spend this year,” Russell reports.

Clay Masters/IPR file photo

In 2006, voters elected Bill Northey to be Secretary of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Now, after 11 years, Northey has resigned from that job to accept an Under Secretary position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The legacy Northey leaves behind includes adoption of a statewide, voluntary effort to reduce nutrient runoff from farm fields into streams and rivers. He also oversaw two significant livestock disease outbreaks and leaves behind improved emergency preparedness plans.

courtesy of FilmScene

As Hollywood continues to react to allegations of sexual harassment embodied in the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, an Iowa theater is celebrating movies made by women. “Women’s March” at FilmScene in Iowa City is a series of movies and special events limited only by one criteria: the directors are women.

Classics, documentaries, new releases and shorts made by University of Iowa students and alumnae all are on the schedule this month.

When pianist/ composer Nathan Carterette plays the Goldberg Variations in our Cedar Falls studio on Tuesday, March 13th, you can listen on-air, or stream the video at our Facebook page. Carterette has performed the Goldbergs live on radio before (using Mr. Rogers' old piano at Pittsburgh's WQED), but this is the first time you can watch if you choose.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

As President Trump imposes larger tariffs for metal, he reaffirms his opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Many agricultural products from Iowa go to Canada and Mexico.  As Trump repeatedly says he's willing to start a "trade war", Gov. Reynolds is worried about a backlash.

The governor says the president's actions will have unintended consequences for Iowa farmers and manufacturers.  However, she does support making some changes to NAFTA.

IPR/Chris Fenton

The Host Country are a band that's definitely evolved over the years. Originally a folk-inspired duo, they added a rhythm section for their first full-length album, and expanded to a five-piece band with two electric guitars in the past year. The Host Country brought their bigger, more rockin' sound to Studio One Underground in March, and now you can hear their performance right here.

Vaping360 via flickr creative commons /

Iowa has received 21 applications for five licenses to distribute medical marijuana. Potential sites for the dispensaries span the state from Sioux City to Davenport. 

John Pemble / IPR file

There has been lots of movement at the Iowa Statehouse this week. An omnibus energy bill that discussed earlier this week on River to River passed in the Senate and is now heading to the house. There's also a bill that would make it so the Iowa Supreme Court would require a super majority to vote a law unconstitutional that remains a live wire.

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Iowa Public Radio's Joyce Russell and the Des Moines Register's Bill Petroski about what you need to know this week about what the legislature is doing. 

Sharon Dowdy

It’s too early to get to work in the garden, but it is time to think about your trees and shrubs.

On this horticulture day episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe sits down with Aaron Steil, assistant director of Reiman Gardens, who has some pruning advice.

“For a lot of the shade trees out there, you can be pruning right now,” Steil says. “The general rule of thumb is to never remove more than a third.”

Steil and Richard Jauron, ISU Extension horticulture specialist, talk about shade trees, shrubs, and answer listener questions.

Seabamirum via flickr creative commons /

Iowa schools with disproportionately high transportation costs are getting a funding boost from the state. But the one-time increase won’t get them very far.

State Farm / Flickr

Super cold temperatures, unseasonably warm ones, and a lot of back and forth, can lead to costly repair trouble for houses.

“Iowans tends to have pretty leaky ceilings and leaky attics, as far as letting warm air from inside the house sneak up in the attic space,” says home improvement expert Bill McAnally.

“No matter how much insulation you have in the attic, warm moist air will travel up and in many cases, condense or form frost on the bottom of your roof.”

John Pemble/IPR

Iowans who are getting health insurance through the individual marketplace under the Affordable Care Act would have a new option under a bill that passed  by a large margin  in  the Iowa Senate last night.   

Under the bill, the Iowa Farm Bureau would offer what are being called barebones health plans not subject to the rules of the ACA,  including covering pre-existing conditions and other  mandates.

That would be allowed because the plans are not insurance policies.