News

IPR file photo by Amy Mayer

On Thursday, the U.S. House passed a bill that would prevent states from passing and enacting laws that require mandatory labels on genetically modified food. Here’s what you should know about it:

The bill would change labels for GMO foods

The bill:

Running to the Fire

Jul 23, 2015
Waldorf College

Tim Bascom, author of the novel "Squatters' Rights" and the essay collection "The Comfort Trap" is out with a new memoir about his time growing up in the 1970's in Ethiopia, "Running to the Fire: An American Missionary Comes of Age in Revolutionary Ethiopia." (University of Iowa Press)

Bee Hotels Give Native Species a Place to Call Home

Jul 23, 2015
Photo by Abigail Wilson for Harvest Public Media

A patchwork of bamboo and paper tubes, with diameters no bigger than a nickel, are stacked artfully inside a 4-by-4 wooden frame near the edge of a public hiking trail in Lawrence, Kan.

Organized by size, each hollow tube is about 8 inches long, designed as nests for Kansas’ wild bees. This structure is called a bee hotel.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Former Hewlett Packard Executive Carly Fiorina brought her presidential campaign to the Tassel Ridge winery near Oskaloosa   last night.   

It’s part of a four day campaign swing through the state. 

About seventy people showed up to hear Fiorina distinguish herself from what she calls the professional politicians she’s running against.  

She gives a hard-hitting conservative stump speech.   She looks ahead to fighting the likely Democratic opponent.   

“If we want to win we have to throw every punch at Hillary Clinton,” Fiorina says.

Photo Courtesy of Sally Olsen

Making lace as a hobby isn't all that common, but there is a small yet dedicated group of women in Eastern Iowa who spend their time weaving bobbin lace.

Ruth Lyons is local chair for the International Organization of Lace Incorporated’s Annual Convention which will be hosted in Coralville July 27-August 2. She says making lace is one of the most difficult things she’s ever done.

IPR file photo by Amy Mayer

(Editor's note, 5:27pm)  Cathy Cochran, USDA spokeswoman, clarified that Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack misspoke when he used the term "outbreak".  In fact, Cochran said, the agency was preparing for 500 "detections" of bird flu in the fall.  That means the USDA is preparing for an outbreak that is essentially double in size of the one experienced by Midwestern states this spring.  The headline and lead of this story have been changed to reflect this.)

 

 

woodleywonderworks / Flickr

Gym class used to be as simple as learning the rules to a sport, practicing that sport, playing a scrimmage, and moving on. Now, the bar is set a bit higher. Charity Campbell is a physical education teacher at Norwalk Middle School. She says physical education has shifted to instilling habits that go beyond the classroom.

"As we're making that shift with our health crisis today, we're making sure our students are active the entire class. We're giving them a variety of activities to try and do, but not perfect the skills."

Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

USDA officials say they are planning for a worst-case scenario as there is a possibility of avian influenza returning this fall, when birds migrate south for the winter. 

Dr. Jack Shere with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says it’s worrying that avian flu seems to be slowly moving east. This mean the virus could turn up in states that haven’t yet been affected.

GoIowaState.com/flickr

The Iowa Board of Regents is continuing its court fight in the case of Bubu Palo, the former Iowa State University basketball player who was accused of sexual assault back in May of 2012.  

The Regents want a new ruling in the case, even though Palo has left the university and now plays in the National Basketball Association Development League. 

Palo was charged in Story County District Court with sexual abuse, but prosecutors later dropped the charge. 

Iowa State argued that Palo had violated university disciplinary code and should be kept off the team.     

Photo coutesy of PACER

A Remsen, Iowa man will spend six weekends in prison for violating the Clean Water Act. Michael J. Wolf pleaded guilty last year to one count of knowingly discharging a pollutant into the west branch of the Floyd River. 

Wolf was employed as the maintenance manager at Sioux-Preme Packing Co., a pork processor based in Sioux City. On October 23 and 24, for about 11 hours, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says Wolf intentionally discharged blood, fecal material, animal guts and cleaning chemicals from the company's Sioux Center plant into the Floyd.

Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

  The high-tech industry is not known for its diverse workforce. The field is made up of fewer than 25 percent women. At major tech companies in Silicon Valley, the numbers of blacks and Latinos hover between two-and-three percent. The Technology Association of Iowa is hoping to develop ways to attract more minorities to the I-T field. 

Tony Kioko is accustomed to walking into a session at a technology conference and seeing no one who looks like him.

“I’ve had several instances where I’m the only African-American in the room,” he says.

Lindsey Moon

On average across the United States, women make around 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. In Iowa, that means the average woman can expect to make around ten thousand dollars less than her male counterpart, according to research by the Iowa Office of Workforce Development. 

That gap is even more drastic for minority women. African American women can expect to make 61 cents for every dollar a man makes, and Latinas make 58 cents on every dollar. 

General Frank Grass/flickr

Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered a review of security at all Iowa National Guard facilities including recruiting stations after last week’s fatal shooting of Marine and Navy personnel in Chattanooga, Tenn. 

The Chattanooga shootings began at a recruiting station and ended at a military base, killing five people. In several states governors ordered the arming of guardsmen and women at recruiting stations and other facilities after the fatal attack.  

Adams Campaign Website

The first Democrat has jumped into the race for Iowa’s Third Congressional District to challenge Republican Rep. David Young. Desmund Adams, a Clive-based entrepreneur who lost a bid for the state Senate in 2012, announced his candidacy on Monday at Drake University. 

Drake political scientist Dennis Goldford says though Congressman Young is the incumbent, he could be vulnerable because he’s a freshman.

"Usually if somebody can survive that sophomore election...he can be in there as long as he wants almost, barring some scandal," Goldford says. 

TechShop / Flickr, Licensed under Creative Commons

Iowa's unemployment rate of 3.8% reflects nearly full employment across the state. But there are many industries that need workers, and that demand is reflected in the Iowa Hot Jobs report. Deputy Director of Iowa Workforce Development and the State Labor Market Information Administrator, Ed Wallace says jobs in the biosciences, health care, education, and agriculture continue to grow. The challenge lies in making sure those looking for work know which jobs are in most demand.

Candidates Utter Nary A Peep About Avian Flu

Jul 20, 2015
Amy Mayer/IPR

The presidential candidates crisscrossing Iowa ahead of next year's caucuses have been promising to fight for the issues that matter to Iowans. But, as IPR's Clay Masters recently wrote in Politico, none of the candidates is talking about the biggest crisis to hit the state in years -- avian flu.

"Conrad Tao, November 2011" by Mingfang Ting, from Wikipedia

Imagine a competition in which pianists don't compete - they don't even know they're being considered! That's the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, held in Kalamazoo, Michigan every two years. Between festivals, the  judges keep their ears tuned for the most exceptional talents emerging in the piano world. The judges confer, and then select the year's artists - who are notified before the Festival itself begins.

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

If you would have told Naomi Gallmeyer when she was a little girl that she’d grow up to be a plumber, she says she probably wouldn’t have believed you, but that’s exactly what happened. 

Clay Masters / IPR

Plenty of presidential candidates campaigned in the state this weekend. They were in town for two major party events. There was the Family Leadership Summit in Ames on Saturday which attracts evangelical Republicans. And the state Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame Dinner was in Cedar Rapids on Friday.

Clay Masters / IPR

Ten Republican Presidential candidates vied for the evangelical vote Saturday in Ames at a forum sponsored by the leading Christian conservative group the Family Leader.

Nearly three thousand people showed up, including 250 pastors.    So far, no one has the important religious right vote sewn up.

There was a lot of agreement on display, against abortion and same-sex marriage, for religious liberty, and for a strong alliance with Israel. 

Penguin Random House

Dr. David Casarett was a skeptic when he set out to write Stoned. But in his quest to determine what medical evidence exists for medical marijuana, the palliative care physician found more questions than answers. Host Ben Kieffer talks with him about the book and the research needed to answer those questions.

Casarett and listeners tell stories of how cannabidiol oil has helped children with seizure disorders.  He explains what science knows about the compounds found in cannabis, and the most effective means of extracting and administering those compounds. 

Celebrating ADA

Jul 17, 2015
Americans with Disabilities

Twenty-five years ago, through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), our nation committed itself to eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is proud to play a critical role in enforcing the ADA, working towards a future in which all the doors are open to equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, integration and economic self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities. In honor of the 25th anniversary of the ADA, the U.S.

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

On this edition of River to River - a listen back to some of the talk show team's favorite News Buzz conversations. Host Ben Kieffer jumps into the pool to find out how the butterfly stroke was invented in Iowa, and he talks with an anthropologist to answer the question of why humans have chins.

GollyGforce / Flickr

Even when the growing season is ideal, there are problems and diseases that crop up in yards and gardens. As Iowa has experienced this year, extra moisture can really set things off.

On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe sits down with horticulturists to find out how to deal with this summer’s common plant maladies, including a problem many Midwesterners have seen - some trees are already changing colors.

Large Drop in Farm Income Predicted This Year

Jul 17, 2015
IPR file photo by Amy Mayer

Corn and soybean farmers in the Midwest are likely to earn far less money this year than they did last year, with some economists predicting that incomes could be less than one tenth of what they were in 2014.

Joyce Russell/IPR

The Iowa Public Information Board which is charged with enforcing Iowa’s open records law yesterday voted to continue looking into a fatal police shooting in Burlington earlier this year.    The Board must decide whether the public has the right to see a police report on the shooting and other materials  including 911 calls and a dash cam video.  

In January, Officer Jesse Hill responded to a fight between 34-year-old Autumn Steele and her husband.   Steele’s dog bit the officer, and Hill fired his gun twice, killing Ms. Steele.  

gomacotrolley.com

We continue our job series with a comeback story; the revival of an industry lost long ago, and how one Iowa company is making it work all over again. The story from Iowa Public Radio’s Rick Fredericksen.

It was the original form of mass transit in cities and towns across America. In 1944, the musical Meet Me in St. Louis celebrated the trolley car era when commuters climbed aboard electric street cars.

Photo by Amy Mayer

Technology has transformed farming, one of the Midwest’s biggest industries, and while fewer people are now needed to actually work the farm field, new types of jobs keep many office workers tied to agriculture.

Beyond operating a tractor and a combine, today’s farmers need to manage all kinds of information. From information technology to web development, the skills that have changed our economy have transformed the agriculture industry as well.

Sarah Boden / Iowa Public Radio

Iowa ranks first in the U.S. for having the highest percentage of wind energy used on its electrical grid, but a new industry report by the American Wind Energy Association and the Wind Energy Foundation says there is room to grow. Based on data from the U.S. Department of Energy, the report finds that 28 percent of Iowa electricity in 2014 was generated by wind, and that number could grow to 40 percent by 2020. 

Nice Ice

Jul 16, 2015
IPR's Pat Blank

Cedar Rapids is in the national spotlight for the next four days as the city hosts the USA Curling Arena National Championships.  Curling is a game played on ice in which large, round, colored stones are slid across the surface toward a mark known as a button.  Think shuffle board, but with a lot more action as team members sweep the path of the stone to control its speed and direction.   The surface is always an important factor, but this level of competition demands an ice expert.  Enter Kevin Madsen of New London, Minnesota who’s part of an elite crew.

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