News

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Iowa’s laws on drug-endangered children would be updated to address the state’s opioid epidemic under legislation the House and Senate are considering.  

Authorities say more kids are being affected by their caregivers’ abuse of painkillers.  

Currently, Iowa’s child protection policies focus heavily on methamphetamine, its manufacture, distribution, and use.    

Pat Blank / Iowa Public Radio

Spring is just around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about gardening again.

On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Iowa Master Gardener coordinator Denny Shrock and Iowa State University horticulturist Richard Jauron about selecting seeds, starting seeds, and when it’s best to delay planting. They also troubleshoot problems commonly encountered when starting seeds and answer listener questions.

John Pemble / IPR

There is lingering bitterness from last week's long debate about changing Iowa's collective bargaining laws.  On Monday afternoon, Democratic senators use their points of personal privilege to voice their disappointment and to ask more questions about the authorship of the bill.

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

President Donald Trump’s first few weeks in office have been a whirlwind. The same can be said for the first few weeks of the Iowa Legislature’s 2017 session.

During this special edition of River to River, recorded before a live audience at the Mill in Iowa City, host Ben Kieffer talks with columnists Todd Dorman and Lynda Waddington of the Gazette, as well as political reporter James Lynch. 

Conversation topics include Russia's interference into the U.S. Election, the likelihood of an investigation, collective bargaining rights in Iowa and many others. 

Bryan Thompson for Harvest Public Media

At a stressful time for U.S. farmers, the government’s efforts at calming the agricultural waters took center stage Thursday, when the heads of the U.S. Senate’s Agriculture Committee left Washington for the Midwest to solicit opinions on priorities for the next Farm Bill.

U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts, R-KS, and Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, heard from Midwest farmers at their first field hearing on the 2018 Farm Bill at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.

John Pemble/IPR

News that scholarships will be rescinded for students at the University of Iowa because of state budget cuts sparked controversy  at the statehouse Thursday. 

Democrats are blaming Republicans for a bill that cut $8 million from the UI budget for this year.  

News came to UI families in a letter from President Bruce Herrald.

“This devastating cut has forced us to consider every expenditure,” Herrald said.    

Some 2500 students will  see their financial aid packages reduced  by an  average of more than $1700 for the school year that starts in the fall.  

Photo by John Pemble

Iowa's U.S. senators are back in the state this week, drawing large, sometimes raucous crowds at town hall meetings. Attendance at Sen. Charles Grassley's gathering in Hancock county was reportedly more than 100. Sen. Joni Ernst drew a similar crowd at her event in Macquoketa.

Some Iowa attendees held signs supporting the Affordable Care Act and chanted "Do your job," and "Work for us." But do such protests make a difference to elected officials?

Joyce Russell/IPR

African-Americans turned out for a hearing at the statehouse today on a wide-ranging gun rights bill they say will threaten their safety if it becomes law.   

The bill includes so-called stand-your-ground language, along with broad new rights for carrying weapons.  

Under stand-your-ground, a gunowner can fire if he believes himself to be in danger.  

Laurel Clinton from Des Moines says her three sons may look dangerous to some because they’re black.

Mobilus In Mobili / Flickr

Just weeks after leaving the White House, President Barack Obama ranks as the 12th best president overall, according to a new poll of historians conducted by C-SPAN. It's the first time Obama is eligible for the Presidential Historians Survey, which asked 91 historians to rank all 43 former presidents across 10 categories. 

The History Press

The history of Buxton, Iowa, is unique for its times.  Racial integration and harmony existed there at a time when racial tolerance was the exception and not the rule.  Buxton coal mine number 18 lasted only 20 years, 1900-1920, but its impact on Iowa and American remains through books, essays and historical accounts.  This hour, Ottumwa author Rachelle Chase tells us how she has contributed to the history of this fascinating former southern Iowa town, with her new book, "Lost Buxton" (The History Press, Images of America series).

Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

An overflow crowd crammed the Visitors' Center at Living History Farms in Urbandale for a lively town hall meeting with 3rd District Congressman David Young. The exchanges between the Republican and audience occasionally turned heated.

Lee Wright / Flickr

The State Historical Society of Iowa is unveiling a plan to preserve more than 12 million pages of newspapers printed around the state dating back to the 1830’s. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with state archivist Tony Jahn. 

Jahn says the pages will be archived on microfilm, and then they will be digitized with hopes that the pages will be easily "findable" for anyone wanting to do research.

H. Armstrong Roberts / Classic Stock/Corbis

In Episode Three of Lit City, we visit Prairie Lights bookstore and talk with Lauren Haldeman, a local poet who is creating a web app that tracks the footsteps of authors in the City of Literature. Then we'll hear from Erika Janik about her book  Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction. One of those fictional lady detectives, Nancy Drew, was created by Iowa native Millie Benson.

Amy Mayer/IPR

 

Farmers in the U.S. like to point out that their products feed people all over the world. And while this is a diverse country, the people working on farms and elsewhere in agriculture often don’t reflect the nation’s demographics. Changing that is becoming a priority, in hopes new people will bring fresh ideas to meet some of our food system’s greatest challenges.

 

Joyce Russell/IPR

Patients and their advocates made a return trip to the Iowa Capitol Wednesday, arguing once again for the legalization of medical marijuana in Iowa. 

A new bill is under consideration in the House to regulate the growing, manufacturing, and distribution  of cannabis oil.  

Earlier legislation is about to expire.   It allows epilepsy patients to travel out of state to acquire the drug, which has created numerous obstacles.  

Charity Nebbe

Pew Research finds that 68 percent of Americans say there is no conflict between their personal religious beliefs and science. For the 30 percent who do see a conflict, "the most common source of disagreement involves beliefs about evolution and the creation of the universe."

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media file photo

The Trump Administration is voicing its support for the ethanol industry, but without specifics it is hard to say what that means exactly for Midwest farmers.

In a letter to industry leaders gathered at the National Ethanol Conference, President Donald Trump said renewable fuels “are essential to America’s energy strategy.”

The president wrote that he aims to reduce the regulatory burden on the renewable fuels industry, but did not detail specific plans.

Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

A new technology sweeping the real estate market is hitting Des Moines. Virtual reality tours show finished living quarters while they’re still under construction.

Minnesota-based Roers Investments now offers potential downtown apartment dwellers a chance to see what they would be renting before the construction dust clears. Virtual reality devices can now lead prospective tenants of the company’s upscale Confluence on Third project on a tour of the completed building. Jeff Koch with Roers says the new marketing tool is revolutionizing the real estate industry.

Joyce Russell/IPR

A spokesman for the Koch Brothers-funded organization Americans for Prosperity says school choice is their next top issue to push through the Iowa legislature.    

The group last week saw completion of their number one priority, rewriting Iowa’s collective bargaining law. 

The bill reduces the bargaining rights for public workers in Iowa and affects their ability to raise money and stay organized.

Speaking at the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Americans for Prosperity’s Drew Klein received kudos for his work on the collective bargaining bill.  

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.

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