Hades 2K/flickr

Some Iowa consumers have gone without landline phone service for weeks at a time this summer, and the Iowa Office of Consumer Advocate is requesting proceedings against the CenturyLink phone company. 

Between August 24 and September 11th, the office received eight complaints of repair delays ranging from ten days to, in one case, more than a month.  

Consumer Advocate Mark Schuling has asked the Iowa Utilities board to consolidate the cases to speed things up.

Clay Masters/IPR

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says she opposes the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. During a campaign stop in Des Moines, the former Secretary of State had not taken a position until now because she thought the issue would be resolved.

Clinton says she did not want to interfere with the President’s ongoing decision-making regarding the controversial extension of the Canadian crude oil pipeline. But during the campaign stop at Moulton Elementary School, a college student asked where she stood on its construction.

Daniel Moon

During the Vietnam War, Iowa earned a reputation for being one of the most welcoming places in the world for refugees. But since September 11, 2001, the number of Iowa families hosting refugee families has dropped precipitously, by over 90 percent according to the Iowa Center for Immigrant Leadership and Immigration.

John Wilken, Director of the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services, says there are a number of reasons for that, including a change in the direction of services and a change in how much volunteer time Iowans are willing to commit to helping newcomers to the state. 

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Democratic State Sen. Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids kicked off his campaign for U.S. Senate at a city park in Callender Tuesday morning.

Hogg hopes to challenge Sen. Chuck Grassley. The Republican is seeking his seventh term in the Senate. 

It was a low key event. Hogg spoke to about a half dozen people and described himself as an “underdog.”

Pat Blank/IPR

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is in Iowa today (Tuesday) unveiling a plan to scale back federal regulations. The former Governor of Florida told a crowd of 100 at a Waterloo diner that it’s time to shift the power back to the states. He says his idea would kick start economic growth. 

Iowa Public Radio / John Pemble

State Sen. Rob Hogg is announcing his bid for the U.S. Senate, tomorrow in his grandmother's hometown of Callendar, located in Webster County. The Cedar Rapids Democrat will challenge Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, who has held his seat since 1981.

Hogg says he is not worried about running a financially competitive campaign against the incumbent, though he says the nation needs campaign finance reform.

What makes Iowa, Iowa?  How did we get to be ‘us?’ These are questions that Michael Luick-Thrams, of the TRACES Center for History and Culture based in Mason City, set out to answer. 

"I grew up in a very different Iowa. Iowa has changed," he says. "Moving forward, there will be more changes, and the questions is 'how thoughtful will it be?'" 

Joyce Russell/IPR

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has all but dropped out of the race for president, suspending his campaign as of today.  He made his brief announcement at a news conference in downtown Madison late this afternoon, and took no questions at the conclusion of his statement.  NPR reports that while Walker didn't mention GOP front runner Donald Trump by name, he did say that optimism in the GOP this year had "drifted into personal attacks."

IPR's Pat Blank

As the fall harvest hits full speed, state public safety officials are asking motorists to check their speed as they approach over-sized farm equipment on the road.

Iowa Highway Patrol Sergeant Nate Ludwig says traditional cars and trucks are no match for the agricultural machinery, which often weighs several tons.

“This time of year you need to watch for those large trucks, tractors and implements," he says.  "It can be anything from a small tractor to a large 20 row bean head combine,” he said.

Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum

The United State's new deal with Iran about its nuclear program is just the latest in a story that stretches back more than 50 years.

During this hour on River to River, NPR’s Steven Inskeep talks about the history of Iran’s nuclear program and its connection with the United States, which starts with a nuclear reactor that was built on the campus of Tehran University in 1957.

Harvest Public Media flie photo by Peggy Lowe

Have you noticed your grocery store's organic section starting to spill over? It's not your imagination. The organic sector is raking in the dough.

The country's certified organic farms sold $5.5 billion in organic products in 2014. That's a 72 percent increase since 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2014 survey of organic agriculture shows. The goods that brought in the most cash were organic milk, eggs, chicken, lettuce and apples, according to the survey.

Courtesy of DMMO

The Des Moines Metro Opera heralds in the return of Opera in October with performances from their 43rd Festival Season. The first broadcast features Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio on Saturday, October 3 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 4 at 4:00 p.m.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Eight Republican candidates for President were in Des Moines last night, vying for the votes of Christian conservatives at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual fall banquet. 

Some evangelicals say it’s hard to win the Iowa caucuses without their support but so far they have not coalesced behind a single candidate.  

Some have chosen sides.  Jeff Newell of Granger waved a sign for Texas Senator Ted Cruz as hundreds of activists filed in to the Knapp center at the fairgrounds.  

“I think Christians are getting a raw deal,” Newell says.   

Iowa DNR

The 98-acre State Forest Nursery in Ames has been losing money since 2007 because of decreasing demand for seedlings. That made it a likely target for closing when the Iowa Department of Natural Resources was looking to trim the budget. District Forester Mark Vitosh says however, the nursery is open and is filling orders for this fall and next spring.

Iowa State University

With Iowa trees readying themselves for fall and the changing colors of leaves, look no further than Ames, Iowa for a new healthy seedling.  Bill Graves, Associate Dean of the Graduate College and Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University, says he is excited about the Swamp White Oaks offered this year.  Graves loves to see people who enthusiastically purchase trees from ISU as well as discovering what becomes of those trees.

University of Iowa photo

On this news buzz edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer sits down with Christina Bohannan, president of the University of Iowa Faculty Senate and a member of the UI president search committee, to talk about the the simmering controversy over the selection of former IBM executive Bruce Herrald to be the new university president.

Dr. Dan Murphy

Dr. Dan Murphy has spent the past seventeen years working in East Timor, a Southeast Asian nation which gained independence from Indonesia. He grew up in Alton, Iowa and received his medical degree from the University of Iowa but realized his help was needed outside the U.S.

In the last 20 years, he's traveled to Mozambique, Laos, and Nicaragua but found East Timor most in need.

  “East Timor was kicked around worse than any other country I can think of… and it’s a place that cried out for attention.”

Joyce Russell/IPR

The husband of a Burlington woman who was shot and killed by a Burlington police officer appeared before a state board today, arguing for the release of a video recording and other information in the case.  

In January, Officer Jesse Hill answered a domestic disturbance call and shot and killed 34-year old Autumn Steele after the family’s dog attacked him. 

Steele’s family and the Burlington Hawk Eye newspaper petitioned the Iowa Public Information board hoping to be able to hear 911 recordings and view body cam video.  

Catholic News Service Photos / Flickr

Pope Francis has raised eyebrows, cheers, and criticism for what some call his 'radical' teachings--on same-sex couples, climate change, and immigration. As he visits the United States next week, Catholics are hopeful he'll continue to address social injustice while building bridges to the world's larger, non-Catholic population. 

Father Bud Grant, a priest in Davenport and professor at St. Ambrose University, points to the Pope's recent encyclical on climate change as evidence of this trend.

Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

Iowa’s Secretary of State Paul Pate used a naturalization ceremony for new citizens to promote the state’s upcoming online voter registration. 

Beginning January 1,2016, Iowans with valid drivers’ licenses or other legitimate forms of state ID will be able to log on to their computers and register to vote.

Pate says he encouraged the newly naturalized citizens to take advantage of this simple way to get involved in the electoral process.

John Pemble/IPR file

On Mother’s Day 2012, 17-year-old Isaiah Sweet of Manchester put on earmuffs, loaded ten bullets into an assault rifle, and shot his grandparents in the head. He was later sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Thursday, the Iowa Supreme Court was asked if that’s ever an appropriate sentence for a juvenile in Iowa.

Harvest Public Media file photo by Kristofor Husted

The Obama administration is challenging America to reduce food waste by half in 15 years.

In an announcement Wednesday, officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency said they would team up with food retailers, charity groups and local governments to meet that goal. 

(Read the NPR story here.)

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Creative Commons

In a small state like Iowa with so many presidential candidates on the ground, the homegrown political talent to support those campaigns is stretched thin.

Joe Shannahan knows firsthand how tough the market for experienced political operatives is in the Hawkeye State these days.

"This year, it's difficult to find staff, because there are so many campaigns," says Shannahan, a partner with LS2Group in Des Moines, a public relations firm that often hires former campaign workers from both parties.

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Though the tone in Washington maybe polarizing, college students in Des Moines from different sides of the aisle can still break bread...or share a pizza. 

About 65 students attended a pizza watch party of the CNN Republican Debate at Drake's Harvey Ingham Hall. The event was cohosted by the Drake College Republicans and Drake University Democrats.

"Our main focus is just to show that we can work together," says senior Bri Steirer, president of Drake Democrats. "I just love politics, so I obviously was going to watch...But we figured we'd make it a joint event. Why not?"

Marco Borggreve

Join us on Wednesdays at 7PM to hear concerts from the latest Salzburg Festival. Mozart's hometown focuses, naturally, on the music of its great native son, though in coming weeks we'll also hear other great Austrians, but for the opener, it's all Mozart - and what a program! It begins with the ballet from one of his great operas, Idomeneo; then comes what some people regard as his greatest piano concerto, No. 17 in G major (it's almost an opera for instruments).

More than two dozen mayors from Mississippi River cities and towns gathered in Dubuque this week to talk about clean water and climate change. They are finding a unified voice to address issues important to communities from Bemidji, Minn., to the Gulf of Mexico.

Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol is co-chair of the three-and-a-half year old effort called the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative.

The project includes a strong push to reduce nutrient levels in the massive waterway.

Buol says Dubuque already has a 10-to-15 million-dollar plan to do just that.

Metal Chris / Flickr, Licensed under Creative Commons

Many decry the coarsening of our political discourse. History demonstrates that politics has always been a "contact sport." But over the years Iowa's social capital has allowed Iowans to disagree without being disagreeable.

Mstyslav Chernov

The crisis at the Serbia-Hungary border continues, as the Hungarian government closes the border, leaving hundreds of refugees and migrants stranded.

On this politics day edition of River to River, political experts Jim McCormick and Wayne Moyer talk with Ben Kieffer about the migrant crisis.

Ann Froschauer / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

If you’ve noticed more bats lately, you’re not alone.

“It’s the breeding season, so there’s a lot going on,” explains wildlife biologist Jim Pease.  “They are also getting ready to migrate. Bats have to build up a large fat reserve, so they are out doing lots of flying around and eating this time of year.”

Pease says bats are also more visible this time of year because of the change in air temperature between the indoors and outdoors.

“There’s lots of air flow this time of year and bats follow that air flow,” he says.

Food Companies Show Concern about Farm Runoff

Sep 16, 2015
Photo by Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

In order to grow massive amounts of corn and soybeans, two crops at the center of the U.S. food system, farmers in the Midwest typically apply hundreds of pounds of fertilizer on every acre they farm. This practice allows food companies to produce, and consumers to consume, a lot of relatively cheap food.

But that fertilizer can leach through soil and wash off land, polluting our drinking water, destroying our fishing rivers, and turning a Connecticut-sized chunk of the Gulf of Mexico into an oxygen-depleted hypoxic zone, suffocating aquatic life.