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Two years ago Iowa Public Radio was in turmoil. There was a change in leadership and a hole in the budget, a difficult time for an organization that relies on the support of listeners.

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Myrna Johnson, Executive Director and Mary Kramer, Chair of Iowa Public Radio’s Board of Directors. According to both leaders at IPR, a lot has changed in the last two years.

Raptor Resource Project

The Decorah Eagles have lost the person who helped put them in the world's spotlight. The Raptor Resource Project's blog reports Bob Anderson passed away this morning.

Anderson's internet bird cam of the Decorah Eagles went live 2011. Almost overnight, the birds became one of the world's largest wildlife education programs. Former director of the MacBride Raptor Project in Solon Jodeane Cancilla says the eagles' bird cam was an important resource.

Wikimedia Commons

It’s been 25 years since the Americans with Disabilities act was signed into law. The bill’s chief sponsor, Fmr. Senator Tom Harkin, says that the legislation has done quite a lot in the last two and a half decades, including adding curb cuts to all sidewalks and spurring a flurry of technological innovation to accommodate workers with disabilities.

“Before the ADA, if you had a disability, that’s how you were defined, and you weren’t given an opportunity to show what else you were capable of doing,” Harkin says.

IPR file photo by Amy Mayer

The potential for further consolidation in the nation’s pork industry could have financial implications for both farmers and consumers. That’s why Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says the Justice Department needs to scrutinize the proposed JBS purchase of Cargill’s pork unit. Currently the two companies rank third and fourth among the nation’s largest pork producers.

Denise Krebs / Flickr

When Allan Johnson asked his dying father what he would like to have done with his ashes, his father told him that it made no difference at all.  That answer left Johnson with a lot of questions and was the starting point for a powerful journey.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Governor Branstad says it’s too early to predict a winner in the race for the Republican nomination for president.   But he says that it will probably not be real estate mogul Donald Trump in spite of his first place ranking in current national polls, and his second place standing among Iowa voters.

"It's way early and polls at this point in time tend to reflect name recognition," Branstad says. "And, obviously, he's a TV personality who has a lot of recognition, but there's a lot of really good candidates in this race.”

Amy Mayer / Iowa Public Radio

Avian influenza has devastated poultry production in Iowa and Minnesota this year. Things might get worse if the virus returns this fall when wild birds migrate south, so the U.S. poultry industry has gathered this week in Des Moines to discuss strategy. 

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says his agency is also working to identify potential disposal sites for bird carcasses affected by the virus. Some poultry producers have complained that removing euthanized birds takes too long, and many landfills have been resistant to take them.          

Photo by Poncie Rutsch/KUNC

 

Many of the more than 3 million migrant farmworkers that plant and pick the fruits and vegetables we eat in the U.S. live on the farms they work for. But the rules that govern farmworker housing may be changing, worrying both farmers and migrant worker advocates.

ReSurge International / Flickr

Chuck Wheeler felt sick going to work. Literally sick. 

"The last four, five years, I'd drive to work. And I'd start out okay, but the closer I'd get to work, I'd get a terrible stomachache, and by the time I pulled into my parking spot...I'm not going to say it was unbearable, but it was really irritating to have a stomachache every day when you're going into work. It seemed to never go away."

Dan DeLuca / Flickr

Iowa has the highest rate of worker fatalities and injuries in the Midwest.

Kathy Leinenkugel, of the Iowa Department of Public Health, says this is due to several factors, including the fact that Iowa has an aging workforce where many people are self-employed.

Flickr / dierk schaefer

Researchers at Iowa State University say they’ve found a link between insulin resistance and risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Insulin regulates blood sugar throughout the body. In brains of Alzheimer’s patients, blood sugar use tends to be lower in areas that generate memories, especially regarding times, dates, names and facts.

According to a new study by ISU’s Auriel Willette and Barbara Bendlin from the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute, insulin resistance may not only predispose someone to Alzheimer’s, but it also affects a cognitively normal person’s memory function.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Real estate mogul and Republican candidate for president Donald Trump says he expects the other candidates to come after him hard when they meet in a debate next month.    But Trump is downplaying expectations for his performance.  

Only the candidates polling in the top ten will be allowed to participate.   

“I'm by far number one to the chagrin of many people,” Trump said at a news conference in Oskaloosa Saturday.   “But I’m not a debater.  I produce jobs.  I never stood at a podium and debated a large number of people.”  

ezrafurman.com

Chicago musician and songwriter Ezra Furman began his career with the band Ezra Furman and the Harpoons.  They formed at Tufts University (near Boston) in 2006, and had a run that included three albums.  In 2012, Furman raised money through Kickstarter to record and self-release his first solo album.  He signed to a label and received great critical acclaim for his second album, particularly in the UK.  With album number three, Perpetual Motion People, Furman is really hitting his stride.

So  many people turned out to hear real estate mogul and Republican candidate for president Donald Trump in Oskaloosa yesterday, they had to put several hundred in an overflow room.  

 Trump drew a larger crowd than his Republican opponents have been attracting.

More than 60-percent of likely voters nationwide tell pollsters they would never vote for Trump.   The crowd in Oskaloosa didn’t’ get that memo. 

Trump’s Iowa campaign manager Chuck Laudner is a long-time backer of anti-establishment candidates. 

Sarah Boden / Iowa Public Radio

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton says none of the emails she sent or received using her private server while Secretary of State  were marked “classified” at the time. Clinton told a gathering at the 3rd Congressional District Democratic Central Committee in Winterset on Saturday that she has “no idea” what the emails contained.

On Thursday, Inspector General Charles McCullough said four emails contained classified information, though they were not marked as such. 

Flickr / IowaPipe

The Iowa City Police Department is updating its arrest policy to emphasize communication after a cell phone video surfaced online. The footage, filmed last month, shows the arrest of a 15-year-old black male by white police officer, Travis Graves, at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center.

John Pemble / IPR

These are the remarks, as delivered, by Donald Trump in his first visit to Iowa after declaring his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president, June 16, 2015.

Phil Roeder / Flickr

It’s county fair season, which means the quest for blue ribbons is on. During this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with horticulturists Richard Jauron and Cindy Haynes about the vegetable, fruit and flower competitions that bring so many people to the fair.

"You don't know who is exhibiting," says Haynes. "It could be someone who raises vegetables for sale or it could be a 10-year-old."

She says that when she's faced with a table of tomatoes, she looks for those that are ripe, blemish free and firm enough to hold up for a few days. 

Maria Filippone, Glori's mother.

Roosevelt High School student Glori Dei Filippone of Des Moines is being honored with the ACLU of Iowa’s annual Mannheimer Youth Advocacy Award. 

This past January the Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas-based Christian group with anti-LGBTQ views, planned to picket East High School in Des Moines. The then-16-year-old Filippone and her friend Cole Rehbein organized a lunch-time “Love Rally” where they chanted messages of support for LGBTQ equality. Roughly 700 students from across Des Moines attended the rally.

Courtesy of Lauren Hanna

When Solon resident Lauren Hanna first saw her dog Clifford taking care of a blind rooster named Hedwig, she didn't believe it; but the two became fast friends.

"Hedwig will get lost out in the yard," Hanna says. "After a night when an animal attacked Hedwig and pulled some of his tail feathers out, Clifford took him under his wing."

"To see it be this ongoing relationship is amazing."

IPR file photo by Amy Mayer

On Thursday, the U.S. House passed a bill that would prevent states from passing and enacting laws that require mandatory labels on genetically modified food. Here’s what you should know about it:

The bill would change labels for GMO foods

The bill:

Running to the Fire

Jul 23, 2015
Waldorf College

Tim Bascom, author of the novel "Squatters' Rights" and the essay collection "The Comfort Trap" is out with a new memoir about his time growing up in the 1970's in Ethiopia, "Running to the Fire: An American Missionary Comes of Age in Revolutionary Ethiopia." (University of Iowa Press)

Bee Hotels Give Native Species a Place to Call Home

Jul 23, 2015
Photo by Abigail Wilson for Harvest Public Media

A patchwork of bamboo and paper tubes, with diameters no bigger than a nickel, are stacked artfully inside a 4-by-4 wooden frame near the edge of a public hiking trail in Lawrence, Kan.

Organized by size, each hollow tube is about 8 inches long, designed as nests for Kansas’ wild bees. This structure is called a bee hotel.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Former Hewlett Packard Executive Carly Fiorina brought her presidential campaign to the Tassel Ridge winery near Oskaloosa   last night.   

It’s part of a four day campaign swing through the state. 

About seventy people showed up to hear Fiorina distinguish herself from what she calls the professional politicians she’s running against.  

She gives a hard-hitting conservative stump speech.   She looks ahead to fighting the likely Democratic opponent.   

“If we want to win we have to throw every punch at Hillary Clinton,” Fiorina says.

Photo Courtesy of Sally Olsen

Making lace as a hobby isn't all that common, but there is a small yet dedicated group of women in Eastern Iowa who spend their time weaving bobbin lace.

Ruth Lyons is local chair for the International Organization of Lace Incorporated’s Annual Convention which will be hosted in Coralville July 27-August 2. She says making lace is one of the most difficult things she’s ever done.

IPR file photo by Amy Mayer

(Editor's note, 5:27pm)  Cathy Cochran, USDA spokeswoman, clarified that Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack misspoke when he used the term "outbreak".  In fact, Cochran said, the agency was preparing for 500 "detections" of bird flu in the fall.  That means the USDA is preparing for an outbreak that is essentially double in size of the one experienced by Midwestern states this spring.  The headline and lead of this story have been changed to reflect this.)

 

 

woodleywonderworks / Flickr

Gym class used to be as simple as learning the rules to a sport, practicing that sport, playing a scrimmage, and moving on. Now, the bar is set a bit higher. Charity Campbell is a physical education teacher at Norwalk Middle School. She says physical education has shifted to instilling habits that go beyond the classroom.

"As we're making that shift with our health crisis today, we're making sure our students are active the entire class. We're giving them a variety of activities to try and do, but not perfect the skills."

Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

USDA officials say they are planning for a worst-case scenario as there is a possibility of avian influenza returning this fall, when birds migrate south for the winter. 

Dr. Jack Shere with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says it’s worrying that avian flu seems to be slowly moving east. This mean the virus could turn up in states that haven’t yet been affected.

GoIowaState.com/flickr

The Iowa Board of Regents is continuing its court fight in the case of Bubu Palo, the former Iowa State University basketball player who was accused of sexual assault back in May of 2012.  

The Regents want a new ruling in the case, even though Palo has left the university and now plays in the National Basketball Association Development League. 

Palo was charged in Story County District Court with sexual abuse, but prosecutors later dropped the charge. 

Iowa State argued that Palo had violated university disciplinary code and should be kept off the team.     

Photo coutesy of PACER

A Remsen, Iowa man will spend six weekends in prison for violating the Clean Water Act. Michael J. Wolf pleaded guilty last year to one count of knowingly discharging a pollutant into the west branch of the Floyd River. 

Wolf was employed as the maintenance manager at Sioux-Preme Packing Co., a pork processor based in Sioux City. On October 23 and 24, for about 11 hours, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says Wolf intentionally discharged blood, fecal material, animal guts and cleaning chemicals from the company's Sioux Center plant into the Floyd.

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