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This broadcast of Iowa Public Radio's Symphonies of Iowa features Orchestra Iowa's National Romance concert. The performance features three iconic works from the late romantic era and early 20th century, each of which defines the style of music in their nation. 

Marufish / Flickr

In Des Moines Thursday Night, the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network hosted a panel about the future of energy policy and technology. One recurring theme was that Iowa is an agent for change when it comes to clean energy. Heather Zichal, a native Iowan, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and former top advisor on clean energy to President Obama, says that doesn’t come as a surprise.

Harvest Public Media file photo by Eric Durban

Worried about the price of wheat on the global market, Midwest farmers are planting less.

Nationwide, farmers seeded about 5 million fewer acres in wheat this planting season than they did two years ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Winter Wheat Seedings Report (PDF) issued Tuesday.

Varieties of winter wheat, which is mostly grown in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Montana, make up the lion's share of U.S. wheat production.

Lottery Winner Bought Ticket in Onawa, Iowa

Jan 15, 2016

Out of that $1.6 billion dollar Powerball jackpot drawn earlier this week, there were eight $2 million winning tickets nationwide, one of which was bought in Onawa, Iowa at a Casey's gas station.

"If you think about it, this jackpot was growing for more than two months until it was finally won on Wednesday in the drawing. The Iowa lottery sold about $34.2 million in Powerball tickets. In fiscal year 2015, the Iowa Lottery only sold $52.2 million in tickets," says Mary Neubauer, Vice President of External Relations for the Iowa Lottery. 

Photo Courtesy of Alyssa Leicht

If you dreamed about running away to join the circus, it’s not too late. In fact, you don’t even have to run away. There’s a growing community of circus performers right here in Iowa. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Felicia Coe and Laura Ernst, who are the co-founders of the Iowa Circus Academy in Des Moines. 

They are offer circus fitness classes for beginners, flexibility classes, and more advanced courses as well. 

FLICKR / WILLIAM PATRICK BUTLER

About 20 lawyers representing six healthcare companies and the state of Iowa crowded into a small Polk County courtroom Thursday.

All want Judge Robert Blink to issue or reject various stays, or orders, relating to the upcoming privatization of Iowa's $4.2 billion Medicaid system. All also argued a ruling in their favor prioritizes the healthcare of Iowa's 560,000 Medicaid recipients. 

Photo by John Pemble

There were signs from the statehouse today that Governor Branstad’s new water quality initiative may face a tough slog in the legislature, in both the Republican House and the Democratic Senate. 

The Governor wants to take part of a state sales tax intended for schools, and spend it instead on water quality.  

Republican House Speaker Linda Upmeyer says some House Republicans don’t support that.

“I don't think anyone favors having a pot of money without a plan,” Upmeyer says.  “We want to make sure we’re doing it smart.”

Linn County’s Board of Supervisors is exploring increasing the minimum wage.  The county is home to Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second largest city.   The minimum wage next door in Johnson County is already 95-cents higher than the state’s $7.25 an hour, and will go to ten dollars an hour two years from now.

Linn Supervisors Board chairman, Ben Rogers, says a possible increase in the county will be studied carefully and methodically.

Pete Souza, Official White House Photo / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

President Barack Obama gave his eighth and final State of the Union address on Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress. Instead of a traditional speech where the President lays out an agenda for the coming year, the President took more of a long term view.

Photo Courtesy of the Raptor Resource Center

Last year was a tough year for the famous Decorah eagles and the Raptor Resource Center. The eagles battled for their nest, and the center's director Bob Anderson passed away unexpectedly mid-summer. But things are starting to look up. That's according to John Howe, the center's new executive director. 

"After Bob's passing, we got a lot of support, and we really appreciate it," he says. "We're moving forward."

The center started building a new nest for the eagles very close to the first nest, and they lured them home with trout. 

Iowa Public Radio / John Pemble

Iowa’s Chief Justice Mark Cady is calling on the state to pay closer attention to who serves on juries as a way of reducing racial disparities in the criminal justice system. During his annual Condition of the Judiciary address on Wednesday, Cady told lawmakers one of the ways Iowa can work to combat inequality is to track and maintain data on the racial composition of juries.

"The internal data will help us determine if [the] jury selection process we use could be improved," says Cady.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush criticized Donald Trump in a speech before the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, which is hosting Republican candidates ahead of the February 1 caucuses.  

Bush addressed a full house over breakfast at the Machine Shed restaurant.

Clay Masters/IPR

Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump made a single stop in Iowa Tuesday, and used it to say America’s foreign policy has failed. He referred to the news that Iran was holding 10 U.S. Navy personnel after one of their boats had crossed into Iranian waters as an indication of where the U.S. is going as a nation. He also read a poem about a snake that was cold and brought in by a woman, only to bite her. He used it to defend to his policy to temporarily turn away Syrian refugees seeking entry into the U.S.

Today's output of classical albums is (pardon me while I scribble on the back of an envelope) something like triple what it was a generation ago.

John Pemble/IPR

Governor Branstad Tuesday delivered his Condition of the State Address to a joint session of the Iowa House and Senate.   He also unveiled his more than seven-billion dollar state budget for next year. 

His initiatives are getting a cautious response from lawmakers. 

Amy Mayer/IPR

At an event in Ames Tuesday, Hillary Clinton picked up the endorsement of the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence. The rally at Iowa State University kicked off with a somber tone as leaders of the Brady Campaign recounted stories of loved ones lost to gun violence. Clinton says their support is motivating her to keep gun-sales reform at the center of the campaign.

John Pemble/IPR

Gov. Terry Branstad told lawmakers, “It’s time for a fresh look at our criminal justice system," during his annual Condition of the State Address.

Branstad proposes sealing the criminal records of juveniles, working to make juries more racially diverse, and making sure a defendant’s race does not play a role in how they are charged, tried, or sentenced.

IPR/Tony Dehner

Iowa Public Radio’s Studio One presented a sneak peek on Tuesday January 12th of the upcoming Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s weekend performances of Verdi’s La Traviata.

Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton continued to spar last night in Des Moines. With the Iowa caucuses less than three weeks away, Clinton has been attacking Sanders for votes he made that she says shield gun makers and sellers. At the Iowa Brown and Black Forum last night, moderator Jorge Ramos pressed Sanders about it.

Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre

Tune in on Sunday, January 17th at 2 p.m. for a live broadcast of the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre performing Verdi’s La Traviata from the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids! Orchestra Iowa will accompany the talented cast, including Danielle Talamantes as Violetta, Jason Slayden as Alfredo, and Stephen Gaertner as Germont. The performance is conducted by Daniel Kleinknecht and directed by James Marvel. Join us for a live broadcast of the CROT’s production of Verdi’s masterpiece, La Traviata!

Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre

Tune in on Sunday, January 17th at 2 p.m. for a live broadcast of the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre performing Verdi’s La Traviata from the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids! Orchestra Iowa will accompany the talented cast, including Danielle Talamantes as Violetta, Jason Slayden as Alfredo, and Stephen Gaertner as Germont. The performance is conducted by Daniel Kleinknecht and directed by James Marvel. Join us for a live broadcast of the CROT’s production of Verdi’s masterpiece, La Traviata!

Courtesy of John Little

Between the ages of 55 and 62, John Little completed 15 Ironman triathlons. For the last three years, he could only power-walk the leg of the race where he was supposed to run due to the pain in his knees.

“I finally went in and had my knees x-rayed. My surgeon told me, ‘I don’t understand how you’re walking right now.’”

Still rendered by Josh Larson

In 2010, Colorado video game developer Ryan Green's one year old son was diagnosed with cancer. To cope with what eventually became a four year struggle with the disease, he channeled his creative energy into an interactive project about what it’s like for his family to be in this situation.  This was around the time he met Des Moines game developer Josh Larson. Larson says they quickly realized they had a shared vision of what video games could be.

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Trustees from the U.S. Conference of Mayors were in Des Moines Monday afternoon, ahead of the Brown and Black Presidential Forum at Drake University. The annual forum is geared towards African-American and Latino voters, and the mayors were discussing salient issues in urban and minority communities. 

The Iowa legislature made history Monday by swearing in its first woman as Speaker of the Iowa House.   There was bipartisan praise for Republican Linda Upmeyer.   But the bipartisanship was lacking in opening-day speeches by Republican and Democratic leaders in  the Senate.  

“I am honored to nominate Linda Upmeyer of Cerro Gordo County to be the first female speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives,” said Mount Ayr Republican Cecil Dolocheck, putting Upmeyer’s name before the Iowa House.   She officially replaces former House Speaker Kraig Paulsen.  

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

The Iowa legislature is back in session today. Leaders are in sharp division over the state budget, and questions about education funding are fueling disagreements. The Senate wants a four percent increase, and the House wants a two percent increase. 

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Senate President Pam Jocum (D) from Dubuque and Speaker Pro Tem Matt Windschitl  (R) from Missouri Valley about lawmakers' priorities for the 2016 session. 

The subject matter of comic books goes far beyond the Marvel and DC superheroes we all know.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a discussion about how black women are represented in comics and graphics novels, as well as their influence on the industry, with Deborah Whaley, the author of Black Women in Sequence: Re-inking Comics, Graphic Novels and Anime.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Gov. Terry Branstad says the budget he’ll present tomorrow along with the annual Condition of the State Address is “very tight," but he adds lawmakers shouldn’t be caught off-guard by want he’s proposing this legislative session. 

"There's no surprise," says Branstad. "I think I've done a pretty good job of visiting with legislators about the tough decisions we have to make." 

Clay Masters / IPR

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is seeking the Republican presidential nomination. Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters caught up with him on the phone on January 8, 2016 while Rubio was campaigning in New Hampshire.

Photo by Amy Mayer

The time is ripe for the sharing economy in farm country.

Much like other Web-based companies such as Airbnb or Uber, a site dedicated to leasing and using farm equipment is making available expensive machinery during the times producers need it most. And the idea is taking root as crop and livestock prices trend lower and costs climb higher.

"You get innovative when things get tighter," said Chad Hart, an agriculture economist at Iowa State University. "We're looking for ways to enhance income right now especially in a low margin environment."

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