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Tax Cut for Environment
7:23 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Tax Hike for Environment Advances

Democrats in the Iowa Senate  got the ball rolling on a bill that’s a dream come true for  environmentalists  and natural resource advocates.   The bill raises the state  sales tax for a natural resources trust fund that voters approved by constitutional amendment two years ago.  Backers added a tax cut​  to the bill to soften the blow.    

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News
5:36 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

IPR Requests Additional Funding from Board of Regents

Iowa Public Radio will be asking the Board of Regents next week to return its funding level for fiscal year 2015 to the amount it received in 2013: $944,800. 

That would be  $236,200 more than it was scheduled to receive under a strategic plan approved by the Regents three years ago, which gradually reduces Regents funding over a 6-year period.

A key part of the IPR plan is to become independent from university funding by 2017, replacing it with large donor contributions.

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Politics
3:57 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

The Political Gap: Campaigning and Serving as a Woman

Hillary Rodham Clinton delivering her victory speech at the Manhattan Center Studios, following the New York 2008 primary
Angela Radulescu https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode

Women currently make up 18.5 percent of the U.S. Congress. Yet Iowa is one of only two states that has never elected a woman to Congress nor had a female governor.

This hour, a look at the gender gap in politics – Why do women run for office less than their male counterparts? When they are in office, how do they govern?

Some highlights from today's guests:

Three reasons for the gender gap in political ambition: from Jennifer Lawless, Director of the Women & Politics Institute and Professor of Government at American University

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Culture
2:48 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

"Grand Slam" Language Session: Baseball Terminology with Patricia O'Connor

Scott McLeod

Beanball, bender, bleeder, brushback, bull pen… baseball has a language all its own. Today on Talk of Iowa, English language expert Patricia O’Conner "plays ball." Host Charity Nebbe talks to O'Connor about baseball lingo and, of course, she answers your language questions.

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News
1:57 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Dubuque and Federal Agency Settle Over Race Discrimination Findings

Joyce Russell Iowa Public Radio

The City of Dubuque has reached an informal agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, over allegations the city discriminated against African Americans applying for housing assistance. The city has denied the HUD’s claims.

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DAS Secret Payments
7:02 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Administrators Grilled Over Secret Payments

The Iowa legislature’s oversight committee questioned top administrators at the Iowa Department of Administrative Services over payments made to laid-off state workers for keeping their settlements with the state confidential.   But lawmakers still don't know where the authorization for the so-called hush money came from.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Unlocking Prairie Secrets from a Sod House

Researchers prepare to take down a section of a sod house in Gates, Neb., in order to study the bricks made of dirt.
Credit Jackie Sojico/for Harvest Public Media

 

Ecologists in Nebraska are trying to find out what the Great Plains looked like when homesteaders settled there in the 19th century. To do that, they’re working with a team of archaeologists and historians dissecting a sod house, a house built out of bricks cut from dirt.

Larry Estes has had a sod house in his backyard in Gates, Neb., for as long as he can remember. He never really thought anything about it until a year ago when a repairman asked him about it.

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2014 Legislative Session
3:21 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Lawmakers Hold Out Hope for Texting Bill and Gas Tax

U.S. Department of Labor

The Chairs of the Iowa Senate and House Transportation Committees say they're still hopeful two key proposals can win approval in the final days of the legislative session.  A bill approved by the Iowa Senate would've made texting while driving a primary offense.  In other words, an officer could stop and ticket a driver for texting while driving, without the driver committing another moving violation.  That bill failed to win approval before a funnel deadline in the House, but Senator Tod Bowman, a Maquoketa Democrat, says the bill will likely come up again in future sessions and Represent

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Religion
11:20 am
Mon April 14, 2014

From the Quad Cities to Vatican City: Monsignor Richard Soseman

Monsignor Richard Soseman at Vatican City, Rome
Msgr. Richard Soseman / facebook https://www.facebook.com/RRSoseman

Monsignor Richard Soseman grew up in the Quad Cities and served in a parish in rural Illinois, but for the last 6 years he’s lived and worked in Vatican City. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Monsignor Soseman about his life and work and his book, Reflections from Rome- Practical Thoughts on Faith and Family.

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News
9:30 am
Mon April 14, 2014

The Week Ahead at the Statehouse

A view of the Statehouse.
John Pemble IPR

Calls for further hearings regarding secret settlements, funding for Iowa's three Regent universities and an uncertain future for anti-bullying legislation.

Statehouse correspondent Joyce Russell speaks with IPR’s Morning Edition Host Clay Masters. 

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Science and Technology
8:43 am
Sun April 13, 2014

Total Lunar Eclipse

Phases of a total lunar eclipse.
Credit AP

Iowans can join others across North America to view an astronomical phenomenon very early Tuesday morning.  Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Iowa Steven Spangler says a total lunar eclipse will begin at one am and last for about an hour and half…

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River to River
3:47 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Richard Dawkins

Apes or hominoids are all descendants of a common ancestor.
en.wikipedia.org

Acclaimed evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins returns to Iowa this Saturday.  Dawkins will speak at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines at a ticketed event put on by SecularityUSA, which advocates for secularism in American government.

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River to River
3:24 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

The End of Session and Soil Conditions

Though it's difficult to say when the 2014 legislative term will end, lawmakers' per diem will run out on May 22.
John Pemble Iowa Public Radio

Host Ben Kieffer sits down with Iowa Public Radio statehouse correspondent Joyce Russell about developments surrounding the confidential settlements within Governor Branstad's administration and the end of the legislative session.

Also, planting season is right around the corner. Iowa State University agronomist and ISU Extension climatologist Elwynn Taylor discusses soil conditions throughout Iowa.

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River to River
2:36 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

No More VEISHEA?

Proceeds from VEISHEA's iconic cherry pies go to HRIM program scholarships.
Bob Elbert Iowa Public Radio

On Wednesday, the rest of the 2014 VEISHEA celebration was suspended due to a riot on Tuesday that left one student with severe head injuries and extensive property damage.  Rioters in the Campustown area of Ames turned over cars, tore down light poles, and pelted police with rocks and beer cans.

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Horticulture Day
11:16 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Spring Lawn Care

Guneet Narula

The grass is finally starting to get green… or maybe your lawn isn’t following suit.

Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Ryan Adams, Iowa State University Extension turf grass specialist, about springtime lawn care. He and horticulturist Richard Jauron answer questions about your lawn, garden and landscape.

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Food Security
9:18 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Food Aid Turned Down by Legislature

Volunteers unpack donated food at the Johnson County Crisis Center in Iowa City.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

In a procedural vote, the Iowa House turned down a million dollar appropriation to match private donations to Iowa’s food banks.   The legislature passed a similar measure last year, but Governor Branstad vetoed it.   One House Democrat spoke with unusual authority.   Representative Ako Abdul-Samaad  of Des Moines runs a soup kitchen as part of the Creative Visions social service agency he heads.  Here are some of his remarks.

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Tuition Freeze
9:09 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Tuition Freeze Deal Threatened

In the Iowa House, the wheels fell off an agreement to freeze tuition for another year at Iowa’s Regents Universities, but only if all three schools get  a 4% increase in state funds.   Republicans have agreed to mandate the  freeze,  but not all the schools will get their promised raise.   

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Health Care
4:52 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Delivering Better and More Affordable Care to Emergency Room "Super-Users"

Dr. Joshua Pruitt at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids
Durrie Bouscaren

Some Iowans visit hospital emergency rooms more than 15 times a year. They’re known as “frequent-flyers” or super-users of the ER. Today on River to River, how our system handles them.

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Statehouse and Politics
4:50 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Medical Marijuana Bill Gains Momentum in Statehouse

 

  A bill allowing Iowans to use medical marijuana in the form of cannabis oil is still alive at the statehouse. The Iowa Senate will move a medical marijuana bill before the end of the session.  

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Parenting
11:36 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity

Andrew Solomon with his family
On Being https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode

What do dwarfs, prodigies, and deaf people have in common?

"In a curious way, differences that seem so isolating are actually what unites us and the thing we have most in common."

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
10:00 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Bill to Bar GMO Labeling Unveiled

Anti-GMO protestors at a 2013 Denver, Colo., rally.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media file photo

 

State efforts to label genetically-modified food would be outlawed under a bill unveiled by a Kansas congressman Wednesday – a plan immediately criticized as a “legislative Hail Mary” that won’t pass.

The bill by Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Wichita, would also bar the Food and Drug Administration from labeling efforts, a move highly popular with consumers, and allow so-called “natural” foods to contain bio-engineered ingredients.  

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News
5:21 am
Thu April 10, 2014

How a Cedar Rapids Emergency Room Saved Millions, and What it Means for the Whole State

Theresa Brown, who is enrolled in the coordinated care program at St. Luke's, sits in her home in Cedar Rapids.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

Emergency Rooms are often the catch-all of the medical world, where patients can receive care at any hour, regardless of their ability to pay.

But physicians and hospital administrators say it’s an expensive and disjointed way for people to receive care, particularly when patients visit the ER multiple times a year.

A pilot program to manage care for ER ‘super users’ in Cedar Rapids is now in its third year—and administrators say it saves St. Luke’s Hospital about a million dollars annually.

Coordinating Care for Multiple Diagnoses

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Politics Day
4:26 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Putin's Motives in Ukraine Hard to Decode

U.S. President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a bilateral meeting in 2012
Pete Souza Official White House photo

As protests continue in Eastern Ukraine, Secretary of State John Kerry says it's clear the chaos is being orchestrated by Russia.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Wayne Moyer, Rosenfield Professor of Political Science at Grinnell College and Jim McCormick, Professor and Chair of Political Science at Iowa State University about Russian President Valdimir Putin's motivations.  They also discuss the politics of equal pay, and the recent firing of Department of Administrative Services Director Mike Carroll.

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News
4:05 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

VEISHEA Celebration at Iowa State Canceled

Iowa State University President Steven Leath has canceled the rest of the VEISHEA celebration for this year.
Amy Mayer/IPR

Raucous behavior in the Campustown neighborhood just off the Iowa State University campus in Ames early Wednesday left one student hospitalized. And it led to the cancelation of an annual spring tradition.

Ames police estimate about 1000 people congregated in the streets, where sign posts were toppled and cars were flipped. ISU President Steven Leath expressed disappointment and sadness at an afternoon press conference, which many students also attended. Leath said it’s early in the week of the annual VEISHEA celebration and he had to take decisive action to protect safety.

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Talk of Iowa
1:51 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Decoding Dyslexia

Up to 20 percent of the population has some gradiation of dyslexia.
Steve Harris

Thanks to new legislation, a definition of dyslexia will now be included in the Iowa Code.  The neurological condition, which often runs in families, causes individuals difficultly with learning to read, write and spell.

The law is the result of strong advocacy from a number of groups, including the parent-lead, grassroots organization Decoding Dyslexia. DD aims to bring attention to educational intervention for dyslexic students.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Vertical Farming: Towering Vision, Uncertain Future

Large banks of fluorescent lamps provide the spectrum of light that keeps the floating beds of plants alive year-round in The Plant Chicago, a vertical farming facility.
Peter Gray/Harvest Public Meeting

Farmers are making inroads supplying local food to hungry city foodies, but many producers are trying to grow more food inurban centers. City real estate is at a premium, so some producers are finding more space by using what’s called “vertical farming,” and going up rather than spreading out.

Growers across the country are heading indoors, using greenhouses and hydroponics – growing plants in a water and nutrient solution instead of soil and using lamps to replace sunlight. Vertical farming takes that to a new level.

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News
5:32 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Administrative Services Director Carroll Fired Amid Hush Money Revelations

John Pemble Iowa Public Radio

The embattled head of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services was fired today by Governor Branstad, after new evidence surfaced about confidential payments to  laid-off state workers.  

The former employees reached  settlements with the state through mediation. Director Mike Carroll told a legislative committee and the governor that his agency did not approve extra payments to workers who agreed to keep their settlements confidential.  

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River to River
3:29 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Understanding the Crimean Crisis

Satellite image of Crimea.
NASA

Russia has warned that any use of force in Ukraine's eastern region could lead to civil war. This comes as Kiev seeks to regain control after pro-Moscow uprisings in three cities.  This hour, host Ben Kieffer listens to two perspectives on the crisis.

Roman Skaskiw is a Ukrainian-American software developer and graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop living in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.  He sees most of the pro-Putin sentiment as fake and orchestrated

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
3:27 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Ethanol Advocates Fight for Renewable Fuel Standard

DuPont is sourcing corn stover from a wide radius around its Nevada cellulosic ethanol plant, expected to come on-line this year.
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Ethanol advocates made the case for preserving the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on Tuesday in front of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Without the RFS, advocates say, the ethanol industry will be quashed – and corn farmers and rural communities will pay the price. But many agricultural economists argue that lowering the ethanol mandate won’t be a huge blow to the rural economy.

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Wildlife Day
3:21 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Noises of Spring

Gray tree frog, common to Iowa
Jason Mrachina

Beautiful spring weather may make you feel like singing. It definitely inspires many frogs, toads and birds to make some joyful noise. Today on Talk of Iowa Wildlife Biologist Jim Pease talks about some of the noises you should be listening for in the next few weeks and what they mean.

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