News

Charity Nebbe / The view from "Talk of Iowa" host Charity Nebbe's front door at sunset.

What makes Iowa stand apart from the rest of the Midwest. Tom Morain of Graceland University in Lamoni and Mike Draper of Raygun, the Des Moines-based satirical t-shirt company, sit down with host Charity Nebbe to discuss Iowa unique.

Holiday Travel

Dec 11, 2013
Jonathan Frazier

Holiday travel can be daunting. Travel writer Jennifer Wilson suggests great Iowa holiday destinations, gives tips for snowy road trips and has a game plan for airport hiccups.

differentieel / Flickr

A months-long battle over health insurance for thousands of uninsured low-income Iowans has moved closer to resolution.  The federal government agreed to most of the plan Iowa adopted instead of  simply expanding Medicaid. But the feds say the poorest individuals should not have to pay premiums, as proposed under the Iowa plan.

Washington State Deptartment of Transportation

This program includes  hearing from one Iowa community that has incorporated new roundabouts aimed at easing traffic flow, and state lawmakers talk about what projects might be in store for the state, and how they might want to fund those projects. A House Republican and a Senate Democrat find agreement on one aspect of the issue: the gas tax.

Durrie Bouscaren / IPR

In the period between 2008 and 2012, Iowa experienced a record amount of flooding and variability in rainfall, leading to damage that cost the state billions. Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer asks how climate change is impacting extreme weather patterns, the economic impact, and, how we in Iowa can best prepare for the years to come.

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Sarah Boden / Iowa Public Radio

There is no place like home for the holidays, and that’s why pianist and composer Dan Knight is coming home.  Dan joins host Charity Nebbe for one of our favorite holiday traditions.  You tell us a story about your favorite holiday song and Dan Knight will play it. 

Durrie Bouscaren

Host Ben Kieffer covers a number of topics in a roundup of the week's news including a conversation with Iowa Public Radio's Cedar Rapids reporter Durrie Bouscaren on how Iowa military contractors have been affected by the s

Property of John Little.

While most of us were enjoying Thanksgiving leftovers, 61-year-old Iowa City resident John Little was completing his 13th Ironman Triathlon in Cozumel, an island off the Yucatan Peninsula.

An Ironman Triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, followed by a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and ends with a marathon, which is a 26.2-mile (42.2 km) run. There are no breaks between each leg of the race. Host Ben Kieffer sits down with Little to discuss his extreme hobby, which he took up at the age of 55.

Christmas cactus, Norfolk Island pine, amaryllis bulbs and of course, poinsettia... plants make popular gifts.  But caring for those plants and getting them to bloom can be challenging.  Host Emily Woodbury talks with horticulturists Richard Jauron and Cindy Haynes of Iowa State University Extension about how to get these seasonal plants blooming for the season.  They also offer some gift ideas for gardeners.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

If a second federal sequester happens in January, the US military is anticipating another $52 billion in defense spending cuts. In Iowa, the National Guard is finding ways to save money by reducing the amount of work that is performed by contractors. We get more from Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren, in the third and final installment of our series on military contracts.         

National Institutes of Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health estimates that 500 Iowans are infected with HIV, but don’t know it.  On this River to River, hear about efforts to get every Iowan tested for HIV, what prevention measures are being used today, treatment, and what it means to have HIV and AIDS today.  And we’ll hear about Iowa’s HIV transmission law and the case of a gay Iowan man living with HIV who was charged with criminal transmission of HIV.

Per Palmkvist Knudsen

All our lives we are taught to strive for things like success or wealth, but research shows that cultivating an attitude of gratitude daily can change your life.  James Autry and his wife, Former Iowa Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson have co-authored the new book “Choosing Gratitude 365 Days a Year.”  They sit down with host Charity Nebbe to discuss meditations on gratitude.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

Yesterday, as part of our 3-part series on defense contracting in Iowa, we introduced you to a Cedar Rapids manufacturer with just 12 employees. But it’s the industrial giants who tend to pull in the most contracts for the Department of Defense. When times get tough, many are finding profits overseas. In our second installment, Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren heads to Iowa’s largest defense contractor—Rockwell Collins.               

Al Jazeera English

The US and Japan have refused to recognize an air defense zone above tiny islands that China and Japan both claim. Today on River to River, we find out what is behind the dispute and what escalation would mean. Also, a look at how politics abroad are affecting politics at home, and whether our country's deeply divided political system could drive some areas of the U.S. to seek more independence. Host Ben Kieffer sits down with Iowa State University political scientists, Jim McCormick and Steffen Schmidt.

Photo by John Pemble

There’s a new beacon of light in downtown Des Moines coming from a new work of art in the Pappajohn Sculpture Park called “panoramic awareness pavilion” by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson.  It’s a circle of 23 multicolored 9-foot tall reflective glass panels with a bright light in the center.  The Des Moines Art Center has wanted an Eliasson original since the park opened in 2009. Art Center Jeff Fleming says when they asked Eliasson to create a custom work for this space, the artist immediately said yes.

Nicholas Jones

We’ve made it through Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, but the ads keep coming and will continue for the next three weeks. For many, this emphasis on the material aspects of the holiday season can become overwhelming and may even overshadow the joy and fun of this special time of year.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

As the Department of Defense scales back military spending abroad, domestic arms manufacturers are seeing drastic changes in their revenues. For the first installment of this three part series, Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren profiles one of Iowa’s smallest defense contractors—the creator of a critical component for M-1 tanks.

Christopher Penn

Two months after its disastrous launch, government officials say HealthCare.gov is now working 90 percent of the time and can handle the promised capacity of 50,000 users at any given time. Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer checks in with public policy experts, Pete Damiano and Dan Shane, as well as Wellmark's Blue Cross Blue Shield CFO David Brown. Then, Des Moines psychiatrist Dr. Joyce Vista-Wayne discusses the mental health provisions added to the Affordable Care Act.

Mitch Albom

Dec 3, 2013

What happens to us after we die?  That’s a question many of us ponder.  The characters in Mitch Albom’s novels often have unusual insight into the answer.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Albom about his most recent novel, The First Phone Call from Heaven.  

Ben Stanton / Iowa Public Radio

Dave Stoufer tells stories about listening to kid's gift wishes, having his beard pulled, and other funny and heartfelt moments over his 40 years as Santa's helper. Stoufer has also recently written his memoirs with Santa stories.  

Pheasants losing habitat to farmland

Dec 3, 2013
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

As farmers across the Midwest have simplified the landscape and plowed up grassland to grow more corn and soybeans, habitat for pheasants, quail and other grassland birds has become increasingly scarce and their numbers are falling.

In Nebraska, wild pheasant concentrations have fallen 86 percent since their peak in the 1960s. The pheasant harvest during hunting season in Iowa is off 63 percent from the highs reached in the 1970s. In areas that used to be overrun, you’ll struggle to find a pheasant now.

Library and Archives Canada

Humans developed in warm climates, but eventually our ancestors made their way into colder and more inhospitable regions.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with physiologist Kevin Kregel and anthropologist Robert Franciscus of the University of Iowa about how humans have acclimated to cold and challenging environments.

Derek Gavey

Richard Louv has written that “Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health.” Join host Charity Nebbe to hear from the man who coined the term “nature deficit disorder” about the importance of connecting with the natural world around us and the movement he helped to start.

Univ. of Iowa Arborist Andrew Dahl

Two enormous ash trees are record holders on the front line of the Emerald Ash Borer in eastern Iowa: the state's largest known white ash, in Fort Madison, and the biggest black ash in the nation, south of McGregor. Medical treatment may be on the way for the national champion black ash. Editor's Note: When rescuers returned to the tree in 2014, they found the prized specimen had fallen over, with no hope of saving it.

Second-Chance Diploma: Examining the GED

Nov 29, 2013
Aaron Escobar

Today's workers need more education and skills than ever before. But 39 million adults in the United States don't have even the most basic credential: a high school diploma. Many hope their ticket to a better job is passing a test called the GED. But critics say the test is too easy and hardly the equivalent of a high school education. This program documents how the GED – originally designed to help World War II veterans go to college – became the fallback option for millions of high school dropouts.

Hanukkah Lights 2013

Nov 29, 2013
Skyco / flickr

This special program aired in place of 'Talk of Iowa' November 29, 2013:

A perennial NPR favorite, Hanukkah Lights features Hanukkah stories and memoirs written by acclaimed authors expressly for the show, as read by NPR's Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz. 

Here is a link to the program:

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/11/27/mpr_news_presents

USFS Region 5

A little green bug could end up costing Iowa billions of dollars in the coming years, as the state comes to terms with an Asian beetle sweeping across the Midwest.

Sarah McCammon / Iowa Public Radio

Researchers at the University of Iowa have received a $125,000 federal grant to study the effects of frack sand mining on air quality.

The rise in hydraulic fracturing in the US and Canada has created demand for silica sand, used in the fracking process. There’s currently just one major frack sand mine in Iowa’s Clayton County. But parts of northeast Iowa are rich in these sand deposits.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

After first gaining popularity in New Orleans, the Turducken—that’s a chicken stuffed inside a duck inside a turkey-- has made its way onto some of the more adventurous Thanksgiving tables in Iowa. For two restaurant owners in Oxford, it’s a way to share the cuisine of a city they left years ago. Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports.    

Pat Blank/IPR

This Thanksgiving, hungry families all over the country will finish off their holiday meal with a little slice of the Midwest. That’s because the vast majority of all pumpkin that comes from a can and winds up in a pie got its start on a vine in Illinois.

Pumpkin patches are popular destinations for families seeking fall fun and you’ll find roadside farm stands all over the country. But pumpkins are big business in Illinois, where farmers feed canning factories hungry for a special kind of pumpkin that looks nothing like those you see on Halloween.

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