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News
5:30 am
Mon April 7, 2014

From Ash to ISU Keepsakes

A prototype of the ISU keepsake box.
Credit Scott Dahl / ISU Alumni Association

Iowa State University has found a silver lining in the infestation of beetles that are attacking ash trees. It’s a creative recycling story, reported by Iowa Public Radio’s Rick Fredericksen. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Federal Rule Could Dry Up Brewer-Rancher Relationship

A new federal food safety rule would classify breweries as animal food manufacturers because many breweries sell or donate leftover grains to ranchers.
Ben Harris-Roxas/Flickr

Few people connect craft breweries with cattle feed. But passing along the spent grains from the brewing process, like barley and wheat, to livestock ranchers is a common practice. Although now, that relationship could be in jeopardy.

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News
5:05 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Des Moines Fire Fighters Reflect on Younkers Building Fire

During a press conference, members of the Des Moines Fire Department share their experiences of responding to last weekend’s Younkers Building fire.
Credit Photo by Amanda Horvath

Almost a week after the Younkers building in downtown Des Moines went up in flames, emergency crews from the scene are revealing their experiences. During a press conference with members of the Des Moines Fire Department, Lieutenant Randy Jones says his team was the first to arrive at the seven-story burning building.  He says as they worked their way to the top floor, they could only get to the fourth level.

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News Buzz
4:08 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

'As Night Falls,' it's Time for David Skorton

An African bull elephant at the National Museum of Natural History. That's part of the Smithsonian which will be led by former Iowan David Skorton
Smithsonian Institution

David Skorton used to open his Iowa Public Radio jazz show like this, "As night falls over the river city and all of eastern Iowa, it's time for jazz."

Skorton is the former president of the University of Iowa, and has served as president of Cornell University, and he will become the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute next year.  You might remember his radio jazz show “As Night Falls” which he co-hosted with the late Frank Conroy.  Hear about Skorton's  expectations of his upcoming job:

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News Buzz
3:06 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

This Helmet Has a Brain

Shawn Cornally holds a student-designed helmet with concussion detection hardware. (host Ben Kieffer in background)
Ben Stanton/Iowa Public Radio

The brain on this helmet is designed with the idea of protecting your brain from a concussion. Built into it is what amounts to a small computer.  It was designed and programmed by an Iowa student.  

Different LEDs light up depending on how hard the helmet is getting jostled. This project is one of many that students might get involved in through The Big Ideas Group, which is an optional education program through the Cedar Rapids School District.

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Talk of Iowa
2:19 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

The Death of Iowa's Honeybees

Honeybee on flower.
Cory Barnes

This past winter was particularly harsh on Iowa's honeybees.  Experts estimate that 65-70 percent of Iowa's honeybee colonies didn't survive.  Iowa State University Extension entomologist Donald Lewis talks with host Charity Nebbe about the plight of honeybees as well as pesticides that may pose a further risk to the state's pollinators.

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Business and Economy
5:00 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Restaurants Closing due to Low Profits

In Cedar Rapids Ken and Kathy Skvor closed their restaurant Cork'n Fork late last year. They say the economy took it’s toll on their 16 year old business.
Photo by Dean Borg

Customers expecting a dining bargain are making it difficult for restaurants to stay in business.  Jessica Dunker, President and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association   composed of some six-thousand restaurants, says it’s increasingly common for customers to choose free water when ordering an entrée, depriving the business of beverage profits.  Dunker also says restaurants hoping to boost sales by offering deals such as Living Social or Groupon promotions are creating “Groupon addicts”.

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Varnum Anniversary
2:54 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Iowa Leads Nation in Trend toward Same-Sex Marriage

Trish (left) and Kate (right) Varnum live in Cedar Rapids. Kate was the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court Case that paved the way for same-sex marriage in Iowa
Clay Masters IPR

In 2009, the Varnum decision made Iowa the third state to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Fast forward five years later, and 17 states now sanction same-sex marriage, several others allow civil unions, and a U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled a federal same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.

Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer takes a look at how public and political attitudes on same-sex marriage have shifted, as well as acknowledging the groups that have remained steadfast in their position.

The guests on today's program include:

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Talk of Iowa
2:03 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Reflections on Varnum

Doug Alexander and Ron Snitker on their wedding day at the Historic Park Inn Hotel which was designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Mod Photography

Five years ago the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in Varnum v. Brien that same-sex marriage was legal in Iowa.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with people who have been affected by the decision including Ryan Roemerman of the Iowa Pride Network, retired Presbyterian minister Rev. Greg Smith, and events planner Beau Fodor.  Also, Heather Yoeman and Dean Genth discuss being able to marry their same-sex spouses.

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State Worker Complaints
9:25 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Fired Workers Tell Their Stories

Democrats in the Iowa Senate  heard from four former state employees who lost their jobs in what the Branstad  administration terms  a reorganization of state government.   Democrats object to what they call mass layoffs of so-called merit employees who were hired for their expertise, not their political connections.     One worker  told of receiving money for keeping her settlement private,  a practice which  Governor Branstad has now banned.   

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
6:00 am
Thu April 3, 2014

After the Wedding: Five Years After Varnum

Rob Gilmer and Rene Orduna stand in their restaurant Dixie Quicks from Omaha, Neb. to Council Bluffs, Iowa, so they could get married and expand their restaurant.
Clay Masters IPR

 It’s been 5 years since the Iowa Supreme Court decision of Varnum versus Brien that paved the way for same sex marriage in the state and Iowa’s public opinion is changing.

In 1996, Rob Gilmer and his husband Rene Orduna opened the restaurant Dixie Quick's in Omaha. They were running out of space in their Nebraska restaurant and after the Iowa Supreme Court decision they decided to move the restaurant to Council Bluffs.

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Politics Day
4:18 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Opening the Floodgates for Money in Politics

401(K)2012 / flickr

Four years after the Citizens United ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has made a landmark decision that frees the nation's wealthiest donors to have greater influence in federal elections. Today on politics day, analysis of the court's decision.

Host Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts Stephen Schmidt and Timothy Hagle.

Also, a last-minute enrollment surge enabled the White House to meet its original sign-up target for the Affordable Care Act, a surprising victory for the Obama administration. How does this change the political landscape?

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News
3:42 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

The Eagle has Landed (hatched)

Mother eagle sits on her three eggs following a ten inch snowfall
Credit Courtesy photo

Something happened Wednesday morning that many people thought would not. One of three eggs in an eagle's nest near the Decorah Fish Hatchery is no longer an egg, but an eaglet. The egg hatched in spite of brutal weather conditions including ten inches of snow and 20 degree below zero temperatures. No one is happier about the day's events than Bob Anderson who installed a web cam in the nest 6 years ago as part of the Raptor Resource Project. He talks with Iowa Public Radio's Pat Blank.  See the nest at http://www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles.

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Talk of Iowa
3:16 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Breastfeeding U.S.A.

Raphael Goetter derivitive work; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Thirty-five years ago, Iowa City Firefighter Linda Eaton continued to breastfeed her child at work against orders from her supervisor, and a breastfeeding discussion was launched locally and gained national attention. Today, breastfeeding is treated a little differently, but it is also very different than other cultures.  Hear the remarkable story of Linda Eaton, and also about what businesses are required to provide for nursing customers and employees, the challenges of refugee and immigrant women who breastfeed, and what barriers might prevent Americans from breastfeeding.

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Statehouse and Politics
7:35 am
Wed April 2, 2014

New Iowa GOP Chairman on Uniting Party

Danny Carroll is the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, in Iowa Public Radio's Des Moines studio. He was elected to the position on March 29, 2014.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

The Iowa Republican party has a new chairman. Former chair A.J. Spiker announced his resignation last month, he left to join Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s political action committee. Over the weekend the Iowa GOP Board elected former state legislator and lobbyist for social conservative organization The Family Leader, Danny Carroll. He shares his thoughts on several issues with IPR's Clay Masters.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Rootworms May Fall Victim to Greater Crop Rotation

These adult beetles in a lab at ISU helped researchers confirm the western corn rootworm can adapt to Bt corn.
Amy Mayer/IPR

After a long battle with corn rootworm, Midwest farmers thought they’d found relief in genetically modified seeds with engineered-in toxins to beat back the best. But recent research confirms what farmers have been noticing for several years: the western corn rootworm has been evolving to outwit the technology.

When Aaron Gassmann, a bug researcher at Iowa State University, started answering calls to come look at some cornfields, he went out and quickly had a hunch. Now, his research proves his fear.

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Bullying Bill
5:26 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Price Tag for Bullying Bill Debated

A bill on Governor Branstad’s to-do list is sparking controversy  at the statehouse.  The bill addresses the problem of bullying in the schools,  especially as it occurs on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.       But how much money to spend on the  problem remains a stumbling block.   Also,  a coalition of  conservative House Republicans has its  own ideas.    

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Author Interview
2:47 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

The Prankster's Role in Social and Political Change

The Cardiff Giant on display
Keturah Stickann

False death reports, spaghetti growing on trees, and more than one discovery of evidence that proves that a mythical creature is real… we’ve all learned to be a little skeptical on April 1st.

Today on April Fool's day - the art of the prank.

Host Charity Nebbe explores our rich history of hoaxes and practical jokes with Kembrew McLeod, author of Pranksters and University of Iowa Associate Professor of Communication Studies. She also sits down with Leo Landis, from the State Historical Museum of Iowa, to discuss Iowa's role in the hoax of the Cardiff Giant.

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River to River
2:12 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Technology and Health

The National Institutes of Health recommends that kids should be limited to two hours a day to screen time.
Peter Merholz

Today, kids average six hours of screen time a day.  According to a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics, children whose parents limit screen time get more sleep, do better in school, have fewer behavior problems and lower their risk of obesity.  Doug Gentile, associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University, discusses the reverse results on the studies. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Farm Life and FFA Have Changed, But the Iconic Jacket Remains the Same

The blue corduroy jackets sported by high schoolers in FFA have been a part of the group's brand since its founding in 1928.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

The blue corduroy jacket worn by high school students in FFA, formerly the Future Farmers of America, is an icon of rural life. To the average city dweller the jacket is a vestige of dwindling, isolated farm culture, as fewer and fewer young people grow up on farms. The numbers tell a different story however. In spite of that demographic shift, a record number of kids are donning blue jackets this year.

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News
6:36 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

After Younkers fire, questions remain

Damage viewed from the Skywalk in Downtown Des Moines.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

With street closures blocking off traffic in the heart of downtown Des Moines, workers from offices near the former Younkers building took to the skywalks to view the damage. Lori Jones says her earliest memory of the building was shopping for school supplies in the 60's.

"Younkers has been a fixture that whole time," Jones said. "It brings tears to my eyes."

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
4:00 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

USDA predicts more soybean acres this year

The USDA predicts farmers may plant more soybean acres this year, thanks in part to lower corn prices.
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

The U. S. Department of Agriculture is predicting fewer acres will be planted in corn this year, compared to last year, while soybean acreage will be up.

In its Prospective Plantings report, the federal agency uses survey data collected from farmers to estimate how much of each grain will be planted. While the corn estimate of 91.7 million acres would mark the lowest acreage since 2010, it would still rank as the fifth largest planting of that grain in the United States since 1944.

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Legislative Day
2:48 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Shifting Views on Medical Cannabis in the Iowa Legislature

Sally Gaer is mother of a 24 year old diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome who says medical marijuana would help her daughter. She is standing in the Iowa Capitol Law Library, 3/31/2014
John Pemble

Views on medical marijuana appear to be shifting in the Iowa Senate and among the GOP.

Today on River to River - what this may mean for cannabis in Iowa moving forward.

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Literature
11:34 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Surviving Middle School: A Memoir of Seventh Grade

RDECOM / flickr

For most of us middle school is the most awkward time of life. Kevin Brockmeier has plunged back into this difficult years with his new memoir, A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe revisits middle school with Brockmeier.

Later in the program, Director of the Iowa Youth Writing Project, Dora Malech, talks about the importance of getting kids writing, along with some tips and best practices.

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Statehouse and Politics
8:53 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Confidential Settlements Still Front and Center at Iowa Statehouse

Credit John Pemble / IPR

The issue of the Branstad administration's confidential settlements with laid-off state workers still seems to be front and center at the capitol. As much as $400,000  was given out to fired workers. That doesn't show up on any budgets or balance sheets. The governor for his part has outlawed such settlements. IPR's Clay Masters checks in with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell to discuss where things stand with the settlements and other issues up for discussion in the legislature this week. 

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News
1:20 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Awards Honor Iowa Public Radio News

Iowa Public Radio’s 2013 Eric Sevareid Awards

This weekend during the Midwest Journalism Conference, Iowa Public Radio placed in six categories for Northwest Broadcast News Association's Eric Sevareid awards. We are awaiting the results of awards from additional organizations and will post the results when we know.  Here are Iowa Public Radio's Eric Sevareid award winning stories and programs. 

 

  

Editor Note: Earlier we listed the wrong story by Durrie Bouscaren. 

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News
5:30 am
Sun March 30, 2014

Day of Insects

The emerald ash borer exhibit at the Day of Insects event.
Rickk Fredericksen Iowa Public Radio

It sounds like the title of a horror movie, but the people who attended the “Day of Insects” have an appreciation for the six-legged creatures that we share our lives with. One specimen in particular, caught the attention of Iowa Public Radio’s Rick Fredericksen.

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Statehouse and Politics
5:36 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Senator McCaskill is ISU’s Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics

Senator Claire McCaskill during a press conference in November 2013 talking about her bill designed to curb sexual assaults in the military.
Senator McCaskill's Flickr Page

There are 20 women now serving in the U.S. Senate including Senator Claire McCaskill from Missouri. She is this semester’s Iowa State University Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics where Friday she delivered a lecture on the Ames campus.

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River to River
3:46 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Board of Regents Efficiency Study

The Old Capitol on the University of Iowa, May 19, 2006.
Matt Yohe

The first of three public hearings was held today at the University of Iowa in advance of a comprehensive efficiency review by the Iowa Board of Regents.  The review is expected to generate $15-25 million in savings.

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River to River
3:25 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Iowa City's Oculus Rift

Host Ben Kieffer rides a roller coaster on the Oculus Rift, March 28, 2014.
Kirk Cheyney

Fab Labs, started in 2007 by MIT, aim to democratize access to tools and technology. In May, The S.T.E.A.M. Room Fab Lab, will open on the eastside of Iowa City.  S.T.E.A.M Room Director of Operations Kirk Cheyeny says visitors will have access, "To any tool you need to build anything that you want."

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