Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

Northwest Iowa is one of the safest places for Republicans in the country.

It's represented in the U.S. Congress by hardliner Steve King, who has a long history of controversial positions and comments.

But David Johnson also represents part of northwest Iowa. And while King might look to the White House and see a kindred spirit, Johnson calls Donald Trump's rhetoric "misogynistic," "race-baiting," and "bigoted."

Iowa General Assembly

On a vote of 30 to 20, the Iowa Senate passed a bill to allow longer bus rides for schoolchildren in large rural districts struggling with transportation costs.  

Under the bill, both elementary and secondary students could ride up to 75 minutes one way. 

Longer bus rides would be allowed if public hearings are held and parents are notified 30 days before a route is changed.

Currently, younger children’s rides are limited to 60 minutes.

Food Bank of Iowa

One in eight Iowans struggle with hunger. One in six of those Iowans are children, according to the nonprofit organization Feeding Hunger. The Trump Administration has proposed replacing SNAP benefits with blue apron style food boxes, and calls for cutting food assistance for Iowans drastically in his proposed budget. 

Heidi Ehalt

For the last decade Sean Sherman, also known as the Sioux Chef, has been on a mission to educate Midwesterners about indigenous food and the recipes of his ancestors. Sherman is Ogalala Lakota, and his new cookbook is called The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen. During this Talk of Iowa interview, he talks with host Charity Nebbe.  

Darwin Day to Focus on Youth Action toward Climate Change

Feb 20, 2018
Iowa City Darwin Day

February 12 was the 209th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, the father of the theory of evolution. To celebrate his contributions to science and humanity, Darwin Day will be recognized in Iowa City February 23-24 with a series of conversations about topics in science, education, and climate change.

Amy Mayer / IPR file photo

Congress is close to righting an inadvertent wrong, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). At issue is a provision in the tax reform bill passed late last year that favors cooperatively-owned businesses, including many grain elevators.

Christopher Gannon

A new fashion exhibit at Iowa State University explores an area of fashion often stereotyped or misunderstood.

In this Talk of Iowa segment, Charity Nebbe talks to the woman behind “Queer Fashion and Style: Stories from the Heartland," Kelly Reddy-Best, assistant professor in Apparel, Merchandising & Design at Iowa State University.

Jacqueline Halbloom

Tune in Wednesday, February 28th at noon and 10 p.m. for a special Performance Iowa featuring UNI and Cedar Valley musicians performing in our studio to honor Black History Month! Black History Month is an annual observance in remembrance of important people and events in the history of people of color. It was first proposed by the leaders of the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969, and first celebrated at Kent State one year later, in February 1970.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Advocates for schools, social services, and the courts turned out at the capitol today for a public hearing on mid-year budget cuts.   

Tax receipts have not met projections so lawmakers are negotiating how much to cut the Regents universities, human services, and most other areas of state government.  

A Senate bill would cut university funds for this academic year by $14 million.    That’s after this year’s budget was already reduced by $30 million.    

Iowa State University student Kody Olson is worried the cuts will result in higher tuition.
Cory Doctorow

The Iowa Senate will take up a bill requiring all school districts to work with local law enforcement and emergency personnel to develop safety plans for an active shooter situation. The bill advanced out of committee the day after a deadly school shooting in Florida last week.

Manson Northwest Webster Community School District Superintendent Justin Daggett says his district has a protocol ready.

"It is something that we are trained and prepared for and we pray to God that we never have to do it," Daggett says.

John Pemble

Many symphony orchestras are branching out in an effort to attract new music fans. Even if someone has never been to a orchestra concert before, they might want to go to Harry Potter Night at the Des Moines Symphony or enjoy an evening of “A Night of Symphonic Rock” as interpreted by Orchestra Iowa.

“I think it’s wonderful,” says Des Moines Symphony music director Joseph Giunta. “I think it’s a great way to expand audiences, and I think it’s a great way to stay in touch with your community.”

The Host Country

We're kicking off our third season of Studio One Underground on March 8th! We'll be joined by  the Des Moines band The Host Country, founded by singer-songwriters Ty Wistrand and Diana Weishaar. Over the years, The Host Country has expanded to a five-piece band and become well-known for their honest, heartfelt lyrics, strong melodies and powerful vocals.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Taxes are getting a lot of attention at the statehouse and there were a few controversial bills that fell by the wayside last week and some that are moving forward. IPR's Joyce Russell reports on the week at the capitol. 

Emily Woodbury

A long-time Iowa advocate and fighter for the rights of the disabled, Tom Walz, passed away this week. Walz was the director of the University of Iowa School of Social Work.

He was also friend of the late Bill Sackter, and he established Wild Bill’s coffee shop on the UI campus.  Sackter then became the proprietor of Wild Bill’s, allowing him to finally be independent, after having spent 44 years confined to the Fairibault MN State School for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic.

On the eve of the Lunar New Year, River to River host Ben Kieffer talks with United States Ambassador to China Terry Branstad about a range of topics, including sanctions on North Korea, fentanyl regulation, and trade.

"Iowa as an agriculture producing state has had significant success marketing our agriculture products in all of Asia, but in China in particular," Branstad says.

The former governor of Iowa also discusses South China Sea territorial disputes, cyber security, censorship, and human rights.

Andrew Fogg

Orchids are beautiful, fragile, and extremely popular. As appealing as they are, the idea of growing orchids can be a bit intimidating. Proper watering is key. Aaron Steil, assistant director of Reiman Gardens, recommends against ice cube irrigation.

"If ice is always on the plant or if there's a lot of ice on the plant a lot of the time, that medium is never allowed to dry out completely," Steil says. It is important for orchids to get as dry as possible, without becoming bone dry, before watering again.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

This is the final week for most bills to pass a committee and become eligible for debate in a chamber. It's known as "funnel week." Exceptions are for bills in appropriations, ways and means, government oversight, and administrative rules, which is why most budget bills are approved at the end of a session.

On this show, we focus on two bills. One that passed and one that didn't pass through the senate judiciary committee.  Both are among the most controversial bills that come before lawmakers, dealing with abortion and capital punishment.

Amy Mayer / IPR file photo

As agriculture intensified in the 20th century, summers in the Midwest became wetter and cooler.

Mike Weber

Photographer Mike Weber has been photographing Iowa musicians at live shows for the last eight years. During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks to Weber about his photography, the Iowa music scene, and his upcoming exhibit at Raygun in Cedar Rapids March 1-8.

Weber is passionate about providing an accurate representation of Iowa’s music culture through his photography. He wants to see more photographers coming out to local shows.

Amy Mayer / IPR

No matter how far fruits or vegetables travel, whether they’re grown organically or conventionally, they’re packed with vitamins, minerals and other necessary nutrients. The men and women in the fields try to grow foods with an eye to boosting the health factor, but researchers say it’s hard to measure the precise impact.

Joyce Russell/IPR

A bill to protect doctors who do not provide patients with diagnostic information that could prompt some to seek an abortion has advanced in the Iowa House.

House Republicans are focusing on the so-called wrongful birth bill as a pro-life initiative this year. 

“It’s something the caucus would like to address,” said House Speaker Linda Upmeyer.  

Under the bill, a woman would not be able to sue a doctor for withholding information about fetal abnormalities.  

The Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was founded in 1997 in Arnold’s Park, Iowa. Just over 10 years old, the hall has named a number of prominent Iowa musicians, music lovers and promoters to be a part of its legacy. Every year, there is a vote to induct people who have made a significant contribution to music in Iowa.

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa features the Des Moines Symphony’s “Masterworks 2: Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake” concert. The orchestra performs works by Wagner, Richard Strauss, and Tchaikovsky.

In September of last year, we released a historical story for the Symphonies of Iowa broadcast of Orchestra Iowa’s “American Mystics” concert. The version that we published was adapted from the Nathan Broder biography of Samuel Barber; the same source used by many major symphonies for their program notes for Barber’s Violin Concerto. However, it has come to light that the Broder version of events may not be accurate. Last year, we published the following:

alice clapman
Michael Zamora / The Des Moines Register

The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit over a state-mandated, three-day waiting period for women seeking abortions.

Cannon Air Force Base

Consolidated rural school districts that require long bus rides for students would get help with transportation costs under a bill that cleared the Republican-dominated House Education Committee at the statehouse Wednesday.

Transportation costs per student vary from $100 in urban districts to $900 or more in districts that cover large geographic areas.

Under the bill, the state would spend $11.2 million next year to buy down per-pupil busing costs so no district pays more than $432 per student.

Stepan Mazurov

This Valentine’s Day, while many humans woo potential mates with chocolate, flowers or other tokens, there are a number of other species that are also in the mood for love. Eagles are nesting, barn owls are calling, cardinals are singing, and love is in the air.

On this hour of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe sits down with wildlife biologist Jim Pease to talk about mating calls and other wooing habits of the animal kingdom. 

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

With a budget proposal, debate over a path forward on immigration reform in the Senate, a senior White House staffer being accused of domestic violence, and continued allegations about President Trump's so-called non-relationship with Stormy Daniels—there's much to discuss this week in political news.

91.1 KNSK Fort Dodge will be off air between 9:30am and 12:30pm 2/14/18 while the elevator for the tower is inspected.

Joyce Russell/IPR

A bill to divert public school funds to private schools received an emotional hearing at the statehouse Tuesday. 

Under the so-called school choice bill, the state would take most of the money that would normally cover one student’s education in a public school and give it to a family to cover private school tuition instead, up to $5,000.  

Advocates for private schools, including religious schools, lined up in favor of the bill.