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Many of the Republican presidential candidates have a hefty goal in Iowa ahead of its first-in-nation caucuses: make a campaign stop in all of the state's 99 counties. Along the way, presidential hopefuls are turning to the Iowa-based restaurant chain Pizza Ranch, whose ubiquity and inexpensive cuisine have made it a staple of the caucus campaign trail.

Smanatha Ing / Flickr

The Alzheimer's Association International Conference was held last month in Washington, D.C. And though there were some glimmers of hope for new treatments, results as a whole were mixed. Dr. Hyungsub Shim, Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, attended the conference. He says that, considering they've gone 13 years without a new medicine, even mixed results can be encouraging.

The controversy flaring over state funding for Iowa’s K-through-12 public schools is focusing on Governor Terry Branstad’s veto of legislation that would have given schools an extra, one-time, $55-million appropriation during this fiscal year.

Forest City school superintendent, Darwin Lehmann, is feeling the fiscal squeeze.  He says his district is spending more than the state is increasing the district’s state aid.

liz west / Flickr

Before automatic text messages and digital highway signs, there was a simpler way to spread the word about an abducted child -- the milk carton. And the first faces to show up on them? Iowans Johnny Gosch and Eugene Martin.

Michael Leland

If  you’re paddling one of Iowa’s rivers, out for a walk, or even driving down a highway the sight of a big white bird passing overhead has become common, but that wasn’t always the case.

On this wildlife day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe sits down with wildlife biologist Jim Pease to discuss Iowa’s big white birds. These birds, including pelicans, great egrets and trumpeter swans, almost disappeared from the state, but are once again common.

Lwp Kommunikáció / Flickr

Hollywood has played out the disaster of an asteroid hitting Earth in films like  Armageddon  and Deep Impact, but is a killer asteroid really in Earth’s future? 

"According to previous history, it will happen during the next 100 years," says Bong Wei, the founding director of the Asteroid Deflection Research Center. "It's time to see an impact by say, a 50 meter asteroid."

Chlot's Run / Flickr

Instead of a compact disc, people who preordered The Awful Purdies' album, "All Recipes Are Home," got a different, but no less meaningful physical manifestation of the album--a packet of seeds.

"The people who preordered the album planted the seeds in the spring and at the record release on June 27th, you could see the photos of the food they’d already grown. People were actually eating the food they'd grown from the album," Katie Roche, a member of The Awful Purdies, says.

Arno Wesselink / Iowa Public Radio

If you listen to Talk of Iowa and River to River regularly, you have probably heard Iowa State University psychologist Doug Gentile talk about the science behind video games and the aspect of violence media, video games, and kids; but Doug is also a member of the band, Tom and Doug.

On this Talk of Iowa segment, Charity Nebbe talks with Gentile and bandmate, Tom Florek, a computer programmer in New Jersey. The band’s goal is to take serious issues and talk about them through the lens of comedy.

Photo by Amy Mayer

Farmers have reached a milestone in the recovery from the massive avian flu outbreak last spring. Birds are back in the barns at the Moline family turkey farm in Manson.

Brad Moline says his farm had a few advantages when it came to disposing of turkey carcasses and ridding his barns of the flu virus. For one, he says, they became infected late in the outbreak, on May 19, 2015. By then, Moline says, some of the kinks in the reporting process had been worked out.

IPR's Pat Blank

We continue to bring you one on one interviews with the 2016 presidential candidates. IPR’s Pat Blank sat down with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal following his appearance at the Black Hawk County GOP Lincoln Dinner in Waterloo on Sunday, August 9th.

Here is their conversation

It is a crowded field of GOP candidates, how are you distinguishing yourself from the rest?

Flickr / slappytheseal

For the first time since 1904 poultry will not be shown at the Iowa State Fair, so bird competitors have altered the century-old traditions in preparation for  festivities that start Thursday.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced back in May that it's too risky to have so many birds in such close proximity in light of avian flu ravaging poultry facilities across Iowa and the nation earlier this year.

Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

 About 20 inner-city Des Moines middle school students spent the past week learning about flight at a special summer camp sponsored by Iowa State University. It was part of an effort to bring science and art together into one educational package. 

On a breezy morning outside the Grubb Y-M-C-A on Des Moines’s near north side, the project leader of the DAVinCI Flight Camp, Chris Whitmer, is giving some final instructions before takeoff.

“Before you throw, one last check, does it balance?" he asks the students. "You might want to wait until the wind goes a little bit down.”

Tannaz / Wikimedia Commons, Licensed under Creative Commons

Fresh herbs are one of the most versatile plants available to home gardeners. Iowa State University Extension Program specialist in Value-added Agriculture, Linda Naeve, says they're an easy way to add color and texture to the landscape without the risk of a plant getting too big. The exception to that rule is mint, which is very aggressive. Naeve says it should be planted in a container, and then added to the garden, to help keep it in check.

Paul De Los Reyes / Flickr

Local and national politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, have called for reforms aimed at reducing America’s prison and jail populations, particularly nonviolent offenders like drug users.

In a speech earlier this month to the NAACP, President Obama said the U.S. needs to fund more drug courts.

Jef Nickerson / Flickr, Licensed under Creative Commons

There are the remarks, as delivered, by former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee at the Iowa Democrats' Hall of Fame Dinner, July 17, 2015.

Ken Hammond/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing stricter regulations for pesticide applicators.

Under the guidelines, workers who spray some of the most hazardous pesticides would need to be at least 18 years old, renew their certifications every three years and take specialized training for certain chemicals.

This hour, we'll look at why at least a couple of million people have paid $99 (and often lots more) to have their DNA tested to find out about their ancestry and in some cases, their family's health traits.   Leading web sites AncestryDNA.com and 23andme.com have had more than a million people each pay the fee to receive long and detailed reports on their ancestry going back usually five generations.

Clay Masters / IPR

  

Brenda Hummel's 7-year-old daughter Andrea was born with severe epilepsy. Like many children with significant diseases or disabilities, she has health insurance through Medicaid. Hummel navigated Iowa's Medicaid resources for years to find just the right doctors and care for her daughter. But now Iowa's governor, Republican Terry Branstad, is moving full speed ahead with a plan to put private companies in charge of managing Medicaid's services, and that has Hummel worried.

City of Woolstock

  A new distinction for an Iowan best known as Superman; a town sign now proclaims Woolstock as the birthplace of actor George Reeves. The story from Rick Fredericksen. 

A renovated town sign now displays a photo of George Reeves and honors him as a humanitarian, veteran and actor.  In the 1950s, he was the original TV Superman but appeared in more than 40 movies. Reeves historian Veronica Guyader says he was always concerned about being stereotyped.

Photo by Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Show day at the Pierce County Fair in Nebraska starts early and goes fast.

I arrived around 9 in the morning, but Emily Lambrecht had already spent an hour and a half in the wash stalls, scrubbing and shampooing her calves so they would sparkle in the show barn.

This was showtime. The 17-year-old 4-H and FFA exhibitor spent months working up to this one day.

Iowa State University President Steven Leath is receiving a five-percent pay increase, boosting his annual salary to $525, 000.

At its meeting in Ames, the State Board of Regents also extended Leath’s Iowa State appointment to 2020. 

During that five-years, Leath also will receive an extra $125,000 in deferred compensation,.

The Regents also approved boosting University of Northern Iowa President William Ruud’s pay by two-and-one-half-percent. He’ll now be paid $348,000 annually, with an extra $75,000  in deferred compensation through 2017.

Flickr / Gage Skidmore

Three staffers from Ron Paul’s 2012 Presidential campaign have been indicted in connection with payments given to former state Senator Kent Sorenson. Sorenson resigned as Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman in late December 2011 and took up with the Paul campaign a week before the 2012 Caucuses.

Iowa Public Radio / John Pemble

Iowa Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen says will step down from his leadership position in January, and serve his last year in the state assembly as a rank-and-file member. The Hiawatha Republican says he will not seek a seventh term .

Paulsen says he believes it’s "just the right time" for him personally to resign from the speakership. And also he says it’s important to set up the next speaker for success.

Don Graham / Flickr, Licensed Under Creative Commons

President Obama unveiled his Clean Power Plan this week. The plan sets the first-ever EPA standards on power plant emissions and requires a 32% reduction in those emissions over the next 15 years. It also seeks to boost renewable energy sources.

2016 Republican presidential hopefuls reacted negatively to the plan. Florida Senator Marco Rubio called it "catastrophic," while former Florida Governor Jeb Bush described it as "irresponsible and over-reaching." New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called it an example of "overregulation" that would "kill American businesses and jobs."

Barcelona IVF / Flickr

In Vitro Fertilization has allowed millions of people to become parents, but the question of what to do with unused frozen embryos can be a difficult one.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks  with a mom who decided to donate her frozen embryos to another couple, and the mom who will receive them.

"I took some time to think about what decision I could live with for the rest of my life," says embryo donor Lydia Fine of Iowa City.

IPTV photo

Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says he will not run for reelection in 2016.  The Hiawatha Republican says he will step down as Speaker at the start of the 2016 legislative session, and serve out the remainder of his two-year term. Paulsen has served in the Iowa House for 13 years. He served as Minority Leader from 2008 to 2010 and has been Speaker of the House since 2011.  He said in a statement that this is, “…the right time for me to step aside as leader and allow someone else to lead the caucus,”  Gov.

Photo by Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Idaho's so-called "ag-gag" law, which outlawed undercover investigations of farming operations, is no more. A judge in the federal District Court for Idaho decided Monday that it was unconstitutional, citing First Amendment protections for free speech.

But what about the handful of other states with similar laws on the books?

Rick Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

An Iowa man grew up playing in one of the coolest hide-outs around: an old-fashioned, vacant grain elevator. Today, he is restoring it as a tribute to early American agriculture. Phase one has been completed and Iowa Public Radio's Rick Fredericksen was there for the dramatic finish. 

TruckPR / Flickr

The Iowa Board of Regents is calling for a three percent tuition increase in the spring for Iowa’s public universities. Such an increase would break the tuition freeze on resident tuition from the past 2.5 years.

On this River to River segment, Ben Kieffer sits down with Iowa State University President Steven Leath to talk about college affordability and other concerns in higher education.

Orbspiders / Flickr

Garrison Keillor is leaving A Prairie Home Companion, the hit public radio show he created. 

"You can't go on like this. You don't want to make a fool of yourself in front of other people paying money to see it. Even if it may be what some of them would like to see," Keillor says. "So I thought this was a good time."

First though, he's visiting Iowa one last time. His "America the Beautiful" tour stops by Cedar Rapids Aug. 20.

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