News

Flickr / Roger W

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is holding a rural LGBT summit Thursday at Drake University.

Ashlee Davis is the director of the event, which is the 15th the USDA has held in the rural and southern U.S.. Davis says some there’s a widely-held myth that LGBT people don’t live in rural American, but data from the most recent U.S. Census shows that's not the case.

Amy Mayer/IPR

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it is expanding its support of new farmers and ranchers.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with more than a dozen young, beginning and military veteran farmers at Iowa State University in Ames. He listened to their start-up stories and announced another $18 million in grants to help new farmers get going. Vilsack says he has tried to connect government policy with on-the-ground needs for farmers.

Scott Murphy

IPR's Performance Iowa is excited to bring you a special program from the front lawn of Brucemore Mansion in Cedar Rapids. Orchestra Iowa's 95th season opener concert Brucemorechestra! With Mike Mass and Friends will be broadcast live on Saturday, September 17, at 7:00 PM.

John Pemble / IPR

A new work of art about the bond between horses and humans is at the Iowa State Fair in the century-old horse barn. Most of the 400 stalls are occupied by horses waiting for competitions, some with their human companions camping next to them, providing company and care.  At stall 406 is something different: a white fiberglass horse head hanging on a wooden mount illuminated by several work lights.

 

Louis / Flickr

From canvas tents to Class C motorhomes, how we camp is changing as technology improves and the outdoor industry adapts military technology for use by the average consumer. 

Recreational camping became a hobby in the United States after the Civil War when wealthy business owners would hire guides to take them up into the Adirondack Mountains. That’s according to Martin Hogue, who teaches landscape architecture in the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at the State University of New York in Syracuse and is author of the forthcoming book Thirtyfour Campgrounds.

Sarah Boden/IPR

About 30 protesters gathered outside the Iowa Utilities Board offices on Tuesday morning. They want the IUB to install a Public Liaison Officer, who would address all complaints made about Dakota Access Pipeline construction and enforce the IUB rules.

A formal motion with this request was filed with the IUB jointly by the Science and Environmental Health Network and the Sierra Club’s Iowa chapter, alleging the current complaint process is in effective.

Pat Blank/IPR

The consistently high rate of suicide in the military has Republican U.S. Senator Joni Ernst on a mission to better address mental health care through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Ernst, Senator Chuck Grassley and Congressman Dave Loebsack have asked for an Inspector General’s investigation into the death last month of U.S. Marine Corps veteran Brandon Ketchum of Davenport.  Ernst says Ketchum had reportedly been struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, but was turned away when he asked to be admitted to a psychiatric ward.

Rob Dillard

A 30-member advisory council looking into chronic absenteeism in Iowa schools held its first meeting Tuesday. The problem of students missing class is especially prevalent in the early grades.

Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10 percent or more of school days. A report issued in April by the Child and Family Policy Center indicates nine percent of Iowa’s kindergartners fit this pattern. A special assistant for education in the governor’s office, Linda Fandel, says this leaves them far behind when it comes to reading.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Iowa's senior US senator says the proposed mergers of major agricultural seed and chemical companies should get coordinated review from multiple federal agencies.

Chuck Grassley chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and often presses government agencies to make sure proposed mergers will not stymie competition. Right now, he says the Department of Justice is looking at the proposed Dow-DuPont merger. The Federal Trade Commission is reviewing ChemChina's bid to take over Syngenta.

GMD

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa encore features the wcfsymphony’s “Copland and Clarinet” concert. The concert includes pieces by Zhou Long and Aaron Copland, and features two Klezmer sets with virtuoso clarinetist, David Krakauer.

Rob Dillard/IPR

It has become a hot word in the board rooms of health professionals and urban planners. Walkability – a measure of how friendly an area is to walkers. For an increasing number of cities and towns, making it easier to move around on foot has become a way to attract residents. 

A small group is conducting a walking audit of downtown Des Moines. It's heading toward Second Avenue, and then it will turn north with the idea of crossing the interstate.

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Iowa’s corn and soybean crops are moving into final maturity with most of the acreage listed in good-to-excellent condition. Today’s report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has both crops listed as 83 percent good to excellent.

In North Iowa’s Winnebago County, farmer Riley Lewis is anticipating a big harvest.

Sarah Boden/IPR

Rep. Dave Loebsack of Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District says he wants to make sure Social Security remains intact for future generations. 

While stumping Monday at Des Moines Register’s soapbox, Loebsack, Iowa's only Democrat in Congress, told a crowd of about 70 people that after his father died, Social Security survivor benefits made it possible for him to attend college.

"There are some who are saying we've got to privatize it. 'We've got to turn that trust fund over to Wall Street, and to those investors.' Well folks, I don't think that's a good idea," Loebsack. 

SARAH BODEN/IPR

Democrat Jim Mowrer of Des Moines went on the offensive at the Des Moines Register’s State Fair soapbox Monday. The Iraq War Veteran is challenging Rep. David Young in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District.

Mowrer cited a recent failed amendment that would have prohibited federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees. Young was one of several GOP lawmakers to switch their votes, defeating the measure.

 

Zebby Wahls

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Zach and Zebby Wahls of Iowa City about a hugely successful deck of playing cards they designed inspired by the 2016 presidential campaign.  

ISU Department of Housing

Students at Iowa’s three public universities begin moving into residence halls this week and in some cases, there’s more demand for housing than there are rooms.  Iowa State University says it had to turn away many returning students who wanted on-campus housing to make sure it had enough room for freshmen students, who move in on Tuesday. When the housing application period opened up last spring, a limited number of spots for returning students filled quickly and the remaining students were wait-listed.

Joyce Russell/IPR
Joyce Russell/IPR

Former Des Moines Register editor and NBC news executive Michael Gartner is weighing in on the Donald Trump campaign’s practice of denying press credentials for prominent news organizations.

Gartner calls it “loopy”, but he’s downplaying the effect of the policy.

“Any reporter who's worth her salt can get into anything,” Gartner said.

However, a Washington Post reporter was recently barred from a rally for vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence even as a regular citizen.    

Michael Leland/IPR

U.S. Senate candidates took over the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair Sunday, with the Democratic candidate accusing Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley of ducking the fair’s forum, and an independent candidate criticizing the country’s “aristocracy of money.”

Former Iowa Agriculture Secretary and Lt Governor Patty Judge told a crowd gathered for the soapbox speech if she’s elected, she’ll try to get a seat on the Senate Agriculture Committee and help write the next Farm Bill.

Sarah Boden/IPR

Voters of Iowa's 3rd Congressional District heard from two candidates Friday at the Des Moines Register's soapbox  at the Iowa State Fair. 

Freshman Rep. David Young took the stage first, and boasted to a crowd of roughly 45 people that he has not cashed a pay check since April, because Congress has failed to pass a budget. The Republican incumbent says his salary will be in escrow until this happens, or until January 3, 2017, which is the last day of the 114th Congress. 

Clay Masters / IPR

There’s been a lot of talk in Iowa about water quality. From failed attempts by the legislature and the governor to come up with new funding, to the state’s largest water utility suing three rural boards of supervisors in northwest Iowa. That area of the state is part of a region called the “prairie pothole”. It stretches from Canada, down through the Dakotas, northern Montana and western Minnesota as well.

In North Dakota, much of this habitat is still intact and conservationists are concerned about the health implications of a landscape looking more like Iowa.

Rebecca Sales/Flickr

That phone book delivered to your doorstep every year may soon become a thing of the past under new rules the Iowa Utilities Board is considering.  

Industry representatives say the new rules would bring the state’s telecommunications industry into the modern era.

Under the rules, telecommunications companies would no longer be required to provide the books, although industry representatives say they would be provided upon request.

Michael Sadler with CenturyLink says the paper books are getting used less all the time.

Muscatine's Secret to Perfect Melons

Aug 12, 2016

 

What's the difference between cantaloupe and muskmelon? How many types of melon are there? And how in the world do they grow seedless watermelon?

 

With Melon season finally upon us and harvest time in full swing, the Hort Gang helps answers those questions, and find out just what makes those melons so irresistibly juicy.

 

Dr. Christopher Peters introduced himself to an audience at the Iowa State Fair Thursday as the Republican candidate for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. Peters told those gathered at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox he wants to make sure people have less government in people’s lives.

“Our founders were deeply distrustful of centralized powerful government,” he said. “They sought to diffuse power between the three branches of the national government, as well as between the national government and the separate state governments.”

Sarah Boden

The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines is preparing for the birth of its first baby rhinoceros. Five-and-a-half-year-old black rhino Ayana is expected to give birth in late fall.

On this news buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Dr. June Olds, the senior veterinarian overseeing the birth of the rare baby rhino, as well as Lou Keeley, the large mammal area supervisor at Blank Park Zoo.

Keeley says this pregnancy is a big deal, simply because there are not many black rhinos left in the world.

John Pemble / IPR

The 2016 Iowa State Fair got underway this morning with an opening ceremony at the newly-renovated Oman Family Youth Inn building.  It’s one of many fair facilities that’s been upgraded in recent years with funding from the Blue Ribbon Foundation.  Fair manager Gary Slater says since the foundation was formed 23 years ago, it has raised $125 million.

"We have completed many renovation projects, many new construction projects, that obviously would not have been possible without this public-private partnership that we have," says Slater.

John Pemble/IPR

Republican Congressman Steve King says he does not have any qualms with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall on the Mexican border. He says he’d go even further. King made his comments before a crowd at the Des Moines Register soapbox on the opening day of the Iowa State Fair.

Deb Herbold

Starting today artist Rose Frantzen will be live painting 20 Iowans, two each day of the Iowa State Fair in the Varied Industries Building as part of Iowa State University’s “Your Beautiful Adventure” project.

Clay Masters/IPR

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was back in Des Moines Wednesday for her first appearance since her close win over Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses. 

After touring a local t-shirt store and stopping at a bakery, Clinton spoke to about 1500 people packed in the gym at Lincoln High School. She says in her first 100 days as president she’ll make the biggest investment in good paying jobs since World War Two. She also spoke highly of Iowa wind energy.

Michael Vadon (Trump) and Gage Skidmore (Clinton)

Donald Trump and his campaign are responding to accusations that the candidate encouraged "Second Amendment people" to commit violence against Hillary Clinton during a rally Tuesday. The Trump campaign says the notion that Trump was suggesting violence is "ridiculous" and that he was referring to voting instead. 

The History Press

Murders were uncommon in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in the 1940s, and especially a murder at the very high-end Roosevelt Hotel, sometimes called the Ritz-Carlton of Eastern Iowa.   On Dec. 15, 1948, a hotel chambermaid found aircraft engineer Byron Hattman dead in room 729.  

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