News

Dean Borg/IPR

Texas Senator Ted Cruz isn’t backing away from advocating eliminating the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) for mandating a specified amount of ethanol that must be incorporated into the nation’s motor fuels.

Cruz defends his views even though Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says Iowans should rebuff the  Texas Senator’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination because of Iowa’s stake in producing corn-based ethanol.

Monica Reyes, founder, Dream Iowa

A Latino advocacy group is working hard to get voters out to their precinct caucuses on February 1st.  

They have ambitious goals for how many Latinos will participate.  An immigration expert says their targets are realistic.  

Close to a hundred Latinos gathered on a recent Sunday at Grandview University in Des Moines.   Part of the agenda was to learn how the Iowa caucuses work.    

Christian Ucles walks them through a typical Democratic caucus, where supporters of a certain candidate gather together in a group in a corner of the room.     

Flickr / Jennifer Morrow

With six weeks to go before Iowa’s Medicaid program is tentatively scheduled to become privately managed, Medicaid Director Mikki Stier says she's "very confident" Iowa will be ready. The federal government delayed the state's plans to privatize Medicaid on New Year's Day, despite Gov. Terry Branstad and Iowa's Department of Human Services insisting the state was ready to make the switch.  

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Nineteen states have adopted policies that leave questions about criminal history off a first round job application. Legislation to “ban the box” is now being considered in Iowa, with civil rights groups for the move, and some business leaders speaking out against it. During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Justin R. McCarthy, a welder with a felony conviction on his record, about finding work after being released from federal prison.

Courtesy of Robert John Ford, creator and producer of Caucus! The Musical

Zachary Michael Jack, a farmer and teacher, is a seventh-generation Iowan who still lives in rural Jones County. He has followed Iowa’s caucuses his entire life.

In fact, he’s followed them closely enough to write a novel based on the quadrennial political gatherings, Corn Poll: A Novel of the Iowa Caucuses. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Jack about his inspiration for the book.

Joyce Russell/IPR

A 12-year old girl was the star witness at the capitol today (Monday) for a bill to ease access to handguns for children.  

A Republican-dominated panel approved the bill to allow children under 14 to handle pistols and revolvers under the supervision of a parent, just as they can for rifles.  

Meredith Gibson is a competitive shooter from Johnston.   She and her father say the bill will promote gun safety for kids.

Caucus is a Strange Word: A Comic

Jan 25, 2016
Russell/IPR

Governor Branstad today defended his call for Republicans to vote against Texas Senator Ted Cruz in next week’s caucuses.  

Branstad objects that Cruz opposes ethanol mandates.  

Branstad typically does not endorse candidates in Republican races, and he says he’s sticking to that this year.

“I’m not backing any candidate,” Branstad says.  “I'm advocating on behalf of my state and renewable energy which is critically important to our state.”

Branstad has long urged all candidates to come to Iowa early and often.   But he says there are limits.

Pat Blank/IPR

The Iowa Caucuses are a week away, and candidates for the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations are out in force, rallying their supporters and trying to make sure they caucus next Monday. Democratic front runners Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders held a combined 13 campaign events this weekend, mostly in eastern Iowa. 

Iowa State Daily

A federal judge today ruled in favor of an Iowa State University group which advocates for the legalization of marijuana.   

The ISU chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws or NORML went to court when the university threw out its t-shirt design.    

Wikimedia Commons

As demand for fresh, local food intensifies, growers are getting more serious about providing produce outside the growing season. Home gardeners can grow greens at home during the winter months too. Chris Currey is an assistant professor of horticulture at Iowa State University, and he says hydroponic gardening is becoming more popular. 

Flickr / Jennifer Morrow

Iowa’s plans for the privatization of its Medicaid program will continue, at least for now. Two companies say Iowa was wrong to deny them contracts to manage Medicaid and wanted temporary stays, but Polk County District Court Judge Robert Blink was not persuaded.

Liz Martin

In just over a week, the nation’s eyes turn to Iowa for the first-in-the-nation test of presidential candidates.

On this special edition of River to River, called "Pints and Politics," columnists Todd Dorman and Lynda Waddington of The Gazette, as well as Gazette political reporter James Lynch, join host Ben Kieffer and co-host Jennifer Hemmingsen to talk about what this very surprising campaign season means for Iowa and for the nation.

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says though many of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders's ideas sound good in theory, "In theory isn't enough.  A president has to deal in reality."

While speaking to a crowd of roughly 600 people at Simpson College in Indianola on Thursday, Clinton said she wants to build on President Obama’s work with the Affordable Care Act to get more Americans healthcare coverage. In contrast, Clinton says Sanders' approach would create gridlock since he wants, "...to start over from scratch with a whole new system." 

TEDx MidAtlantic / Flickr

Before Iowans make up their minds before caucus night, Jose Antonio Vargas wants them to consider a few more perspectives. The founder of Define American, a non-profit organization dedicated to pushing forward the conversation around immigration, he decided to bring that discussion to Iowans through film.

"The conversation is way too simplified. We don't have enough context and we don't have enough facts. The goal of this festival at its core is to really humanize the issue and to present a vast array of stories. There isn't one immigrant story."

anonymous4.com

When critics chose their favorite classical disks of 2015, they mentioned hundreds of albums at least once, several more than once, and a select few way more than that.  To get the details, my annual "mega-meta-list" tallied 67 best-of-year lists, which included over 160 writers from around the world.

Filip Lachowski

A recent poll by NBC News/Survey Monkey/Esquire finds that "49 percent of Americans say they're angry more often than they used to be over current events and the news."

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe sits down with a panel of guests to explore the question - is the U.S. becoming an angrier society?

Emily Wentzell, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Iowa, says that people report feelings of anger when they feel threatened, and right now, many people feel their way of life is endangered.

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa broadcast features the wcfsymphony’s “Water Music” concert. The concert includes the world premiere of Jerome Margolis’ Rivers Run Free as well as Handel’s iconic Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks.

Iowa Public Radio / Amy Mayer

Iowa’s Agriculture Secretary says his department needs more money to prevent future outbreaks of avian influenza and other livestock diseases. A request for an additional $500,000 in funding was not in the governor’s budget that was released last week, so Sec. Bill Northey reiterated his request to the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday. 

The funding would go towards training and equipment. Also, the department says it wants to hire a veterinarian and program coordinator to monitor animal diseases in the state. 

Clay Masters

Twelve days before the Iowa caucuses, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says a Ted Cruz victory in the Iowa caucuses would be a big mistake and very damaging to Iowa.

“I think it would be a big mistake for Iowa to support him,” says Branstad. “I know he’s hitting the polls, but the only one that counts is the one they take on caucus night.”

UCI UC Irvine/flickr

A Democratic-backed bill in the Iowa Senate designed to improve access to contraceptives, especially in rural Iowa, passed a first hurdle at the statehouse Wednesday.     

Under the bill, women on Medicaid, the government health care program for low-income Iowans, would receive a full year of birth control pills, instead of the current limit of three months.   

Robins Democrat Liz Mathis says for rural women, getting to a pharmacy that often can be an impediment. 

copyright Marco Borggreve (jaapvanzweden.com)

If you could use an extra Wade Goodwyn fix - or just want to hear an American orchestra that is thrilling critics worldwide - join us Wednesday nights at 7 for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in concert. The orchestra's extraordinary music director, Dutchman Jaap van Zweden, kicks off the series tonight with Mahler's First Symphony (including the extra "Flowers" movement), preceded by Ravel's sparkling, soulful Piano Concerto played the noted French-Sephardic pianist Helene Grimaud. And NPR's Dallas correspondent, Wade Goodwyn, hosts the weekly broadcasts. Tune in!

Pbroks13 / Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to remodeling your kitchen, there are lots of questions to ask about your lifestyle first. Home improvement expert Bill McAnally suggests consulting with a kitchen designer if you can, or at least doing your research.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Republican presidential candidates Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Donald Trump voiced their support for ethanol at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit in Altoona on Tuesday.

The candidates took aim the EPA for lowering the mandated amount of ethanol in the nation's fuel supply below targets set by congress in 2007. Iowa is the nation's leading producer of the renewable fuel, which in the U.S. is primarily made with corn. 

Joyce Russell/IPR

A bill to make it easier for convicted criminals to re-enter the workforce after they’ve served their time was under discussion at the statehouse. 

So-called “Ban the Box” legislation is a top priority of the NAACP.  

Some job applications include a box to check if the applicant has a criminal history.   Advocates say for some that automatically impedes re-entry into normal society.  

Betty Andrews with the NAACP says blacks are affected most because of their disproportionate numbers in the criminal justice system.

Sally Reick

Candidates running for president have been in and out of Iowa for the last several months outlining their positions on the environment, taxes, gun control and health care. Have you heard any of them talk about their position on food? On this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Richardo Salvador and Mark Bittman about their push to create a conversation about food policy, and how the government subsidizes food production.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was the surprise winner of the 2012 Iowa Republican caucuses after a recount showed a 42 vote swing in his favor. Two weeks earlier, Mitt Romney had been declared the winner by just 8 votes.

Santorum’s back on the campaign trail in 2016 but not faring nearly as well as he did four years ago.  IPR’s Pat Blank recently spoke with him prior to a town hall meeting in Waterloo.

Pat Blank: Joining me today is former Pennsylvania Senator and 2016 Presidential candidate Rick Santorum, Welcome.

Dianne Dillon Ridgley

Two events put Henry Hampton on the path to creating an award-winning documentary series about the Civil Rights movement. That's according to his friend, human rights and environmental activist Dianne Dillon Ridgley.

Sarah Boden/IPR file photo

The winner of the 2012 Iowa Republican caucuses, Rick Santorum is making a final push through the state this week.

The former Pennsylvania Senator was a surprise winner four years ago after initial results showed Mitt Romney winning by just 8 votes.  Two weeks later, after a recount, Santorum was declared the winner. Many believed the snafu would be the end of the Iowa caucuses.   Santorum says he still believes in the procedure that puts Iowa at the top of the political process.

Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

Some students at Mount Vernon High School have spent a couple of weeks this month stepping out of their comfort zones. They’ve traveled to nearby Cedar Rapids to meet people they would otherwise not encounter in the hallways of their almost entirely white school.

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