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Russell/IPR

Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court Mark Cady made a rare appearance before a statehouse committee Tuesday, pleading for more money for Iowa’s court system.    

The Chief Justice presents the judicial branch needs each year in the annual Condition of the Judiciary address.     

Justice Cady told house and senate budget writers he’s never brought his case to lawmakers directly.

“I do so now to share with you my belief that the judicial branch is at a crossroads,” Cady said.

Lord Jim/flickr

A bill to ban cellphone use while driving unless it's hands-free got its first public airing at the statehouse today, garnering broad support and winning the unanimous approval of a three-member bipartisan panel in  the Iowa Senate.      

Public safety officials, the governor, and a wide range of citizens groups say cellphones are contributing to a rise in traffic fatalities on Iowa roadways. 

Linn County Sheriff’s Deputy Major John Godar, head of the Iowa State Sheriff’s Association, says the current law banning texting while driving isn’t working.    

Larry Koester

Russia has received a lot of attention in America recently, due to evidence of Russia meddling in the last U.S. presidential election, news of Donald Trump aides’ contact with Russian officials, and military moves including an intelligence ship spotted cruising just off the East Coast and a cruise missile test that may violate a 1987 arms treaty.

Congress.gov

Iowa’s only Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives says he still doesn’t know the details of what Republicans will propose as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act.  Dave Loebsack is on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will vote on a replacement before sending it to the full House.

“So far what I have heard is that what they have offered is wholly inadequate and it doesn’t deal with the problems that we tried to deal with in the Obamacare legislation,” he says.

wcfsymphony.org

Break out the glasses and butterbeer for this week’s Symphonies of Iowa! Experience John Williams’ magical music for the sensation that is Harry Potter alongside the symphonic classics that inspired him. The program also features the world premiere of composer and violist Paul Alan Price-Brenner’s electric The Conjuring Wand. That’s this Sunday at 4 p.m. and again on Monday at 7 p.m. for this magical Symphonies of Iowa broadcast!

WILLIAMS – Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban

Robb Nebbe

As children grow, each new stage brings new challenges. When a child stops being a child, that can also bring a new set of adventures for both parents and their kids. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks about the transition from adolescence into adulthood from the perspective of both sides of the equation. 

Kate Nesbit, whose mother Elaine, lives in Minnesota, says they became a lot closer as she got older. 

Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

Office space at the former AIB campus south of downtown Des Moines is being put to use as a hub for health-related nonprofits. It’s the first project to come since the University of Iowa took ownership of the 20-acre property last summer.

Joyce Russell/IPR

The newest member of the Iowa Board of Regents, who faces confirmation by the Iowa Senate, took an hour of vigorous questioning Monday from Democrats on the Senate Education Committee.  

Dr. Michael Richards has been serving on the board in an interim capacity, replacing retiring Regent Mary Andringa.     

Minority Democrats probed Richards’s views on conservative legislation under consideration in the GOP- controlled Senate, which would affect the universities.    

hooverlegacy.be

Before the United States entered World War I, Herbert Hoover, then a private citizen, organized  he Commission for Relief in Belgium to feed seven million in need.  This was the largest food relief effort up that time in history.  To discuss this massive humanitarian effort, Charity speaks with Matthew Schaefer, archivist at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Traffic deaths in Iowa have been on the rise. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of fatalities increased by more than 80 deaths. Why?

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks about distracted driving and legislation that’s been introduced at the statehouse that would allow a police officer to pull someone over for having a phone in their hand while behind the wheel.

U.S. Department of Arts and Culture

A group in Des Moines is staging what it calls a People’s State of the Union event Monday night at a local jazz club. The evening will consist of stories told by representatives from various minority groups.

The storytelling circle will be made up of someone who uses a wheelchair, a Latina, a Native American, an African-American, a Muslim high school student and a refugee from the Middle East. One of the organizers is Carmen Lampe Zeitler.

National Advanced Driving Simulator

The U.S. Department of Transportation has selected the Iowa City area to be one of its ten proving grounds for driverless cars. Testing is scheduled to begin by the end of the year.

The Iowa City Area Development Group submitted the application to be considered one of the sites for testing automated vehicles. Its director of strategic growth, Tom Banta, says the presence of the National Advanced Driving Simulator at the University of Iowa helped the application stand out.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Governor Branstad Monday downplayed a controversy over his signing last week of a controversial bill wiping out most collective bargaining rights for Iowa’s public workers.  

A lobbyist for a conservative group that backed the bill was on hand for the bill-signing which was off-limits to the public. 

Americans for Prosperity, which is funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, lobbied for the bill.  

The group’s Iowa Director Drew Klein had his picture taken with the Governor at the bill-signing table.   The photo ended up on Twitter.   

Clay Masters / IPR

The state’s largest public sector labor union has filed a lawsuit that says a new collective bargaining law is unconstitutional. The lawsuit seeks to halt immediate enforcement to the changes in the law that Gov. Terry Branstad signed Friday. After quickly moving through the legislature last week, the new law prohibits public sector unions from negotiating over issues like health insurance.

Courtesy of the family of Fred T. Korematsu / keithpr - Flikr

Sunday marks the 75th anniversary of the executive order by President Roosevelt that incarcerated 112,000 American residents of Japanese descent.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Mark Kende, the director of the Constitutional Law Center at Drake University, to discuss the implications of the 1941 order and a related SCOTUS ruling that may have impact in future court rulings on President Trump’s travel ban. 

Photo by Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

Mexico may be ready to hit America – and especially Iowa – where it hurts. Namely, in corn exports. Mexico is one of the top buyers of American corn, and Iowa is one of the top corn-producing states. In response to President Trump’s threats against Mexico, a Mexican senator said this week that he would introduce a bill that directs Mexico to buy its corn from Brazil and Argentina instead of the United States.

John Pemble / IPR

A Republican bill changing collective bargaining passed through the House and Senate on Thursday after a long and contentious debate.  Governor Terry Branstad signed it into law on Friday.

Celeste Bembry

Performance Iowa presents UNI musicians and artists performing from IPR’s Studio One in honor of Black History Month! Black History Month is an annual observance in remembrance of important people and events in the history of people of color. It was first proposed by the leaders of the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969, and first celebrated at Kent State one year later, in February 1970. In 1976 as part of the United States Bicentennial, Black History Month was officially recognized by the U.S. government.

You’ll hear:

Brian Seifferlein/Harvest Public Media file photo

It’s a classic conundrum that comes up every time you’re cleaning out the fridge: the package label says the food is past its prime, but it’s not moldy or smelly.

Do you give it a chance or toss it in the trash?

For a great number of consumers it’s the latter, but now some of the largest food retail trade groups are hoping to settle the score and clear up the confusion in hopes of keeping more food in bellies, rather than sending heaps of food to landfills.

Sarah Boden/IPR

Hundreds of Iowans participated in Des Moines’s “Day Without Immigrants” march, an event that was one of many taking place around the country yesterday. 

The march is designed to highlight the importance of immigrant labor to the US economy. Dozens of Latino-owned businesses closed and people took off work to make the point that immigrants provide an important source of labor, often by taking on low-pay, backbreaking jobs many US citizens don’t want.

John Pemble / IPR

  Both of the Republican-majority chambers of the Iowa legislature have passed a sweeping bill that dramatically hits public sector union collective bargaining rights. In Wisconsin, a similar bill passed six years ago. It has significantly scaled back the power of the state's public sector unions in not only negotiating contracts but also fundraising for democratic candidates. IPR's Clay Masters talks with Wisconsin Public Radio's Shawn Johnson about how things have changed there since Act 10 was passed in 2011. 

Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

Until recently, sheriff’s departments in 26 Iowa counties pursued policies described as “sanctuary” protections for undocumented immigrants. That number appears to be going down.

At the start of a public forum in the gymnasium of Hampton-Dumont High School, some ground rules are laid out by the event's organizer, Sister Carmen Hernandez.

“I would ask that any comments, or political comments and opinions might be saved for another time," she tells the crowd. "That probably won’t happen, but just so we know.”

Photo Courtesy of Nate Sletten

Nate Sletten leads the band program at Earlham High School, and he has twice been nominated for a Grammy for Music Educator of the Year. This year, he was a semi-finalist, chosen in a group of 25 music educators from across the country. He did not win, but he’s done some amazing work building the band program in Earlham, in part by continuing to play in bands himself and letting students sit in with him. 

He says he chooses to stay in a rural district because of the relationships he has the opportunity to build there. 

Courtesy of the Offenburgers

Many Iowans remember Chuck Offenburger from the years he spent writing for the Des Moines Register as the "Iowa Boy" columnist. He’s still writing - you can find his work on offenburger.com - and his wife, Carla Offenburger is writing too. These days she’s been writing about her latest experience, being diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma for the third time.

Joyce Russell/IPR

After three days of bitter partisan debate, the Iowa House and Senate today gave final approval to legislation critics say will decimate Iowa’s collective bargaining law that covers 180-thousand public employees in Iowa. 

A handful of Republican voters defied their leadership and voted with Democrats against the bill. 

The vote in the House was 53 to 47.   The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 29 to 21.

Democrats argued through the night and up to the afternoon, making a last pitch on behalf of public workers.  

Trinity University Press

Different varieties of the Dogwood tree are found all over the world.  It's said the beautiful ornamental trees got their name because when the wind blows and the branches knock together, it sounds like a dog barking.   The large fragrant blooms are said to bring luck.  Christopher Merrill, a prolific writer and long-time head of the University of Iowa International Writing Program, first fell in love with the Dogwood when he worked in a nursery and garden center in Seattle.

Courtesy of Megan Gogerty

During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with Megan Gogerty about her new one woman play Lady Macbeth and Her Pal Megan.

Gogerty says that Hilary Clinton’s run for President inspired her to think about ambitious women and tropes in storytelling that allows women to be powerful. That led her to think about Lady Macbeth.

Lit City Episode Two: Doubt and Persistence

Feb 16, 2017

In Episode Two of Lit City, we talk with University of Iowa English Professor Loren Glass about the original site of the experiment known as the Iowa Writer's Workshop. Charity also interviews Ethan Canin, author of  A Doubter's Almanac and F. Wendell Miller Professor of English and Creative Writing at the Workshop. And speaking of doubters, we hear Charity's reaction to Anna's picks for the Lit City theme song.

IPR/Tony Dehner

Wayne Coyne, best known as the leader of the long-running band The Flaming Lips, is having a busy year so far, and it's only February! The latest album from The Flaming Lips, Oczy Mlody, was released in January, with a tour beginning in March (including a stop in Des Moines in April). And now he has a traveling art exhibit entitled Works By Wayne Coyne Featuring King's Mouth, which will be on display at the Waterloo Center For The Arts now through April 23rd.

John Pemble/IPR

It was another long day of debate Wednesday in the Iowa House and Senate, where Democrats are trying to stop a bill they say will decimate Iowa’s collective bargaining law that benefits 180,000 public employees. 

Democrats have stretched the debate across two days, though passage is almost guaranteed. 

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