News

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."

Clay Masters / IPR

Democratic presidential candidates are responding to President Obama’s op-ed in the New York Times. The president wrote he will not support any candidate – even in his own party – who does not support common-sense gun reform.

apeofjungle / Flickr

Earlier this week President Obama announced a plan of executive actions meant to reduce gun violence in America. Among them are attempts to close the so-called "gun show loophole," increase FBI staff running background checks, put larger restrictions on those that buy firearms through corporations or trusts, and remove barriers to integrating mental health records into background check databases. In this News Buzz interview, Ross Loder, Bureau Chief responsible for the weapons permits section at the Iowa Department of Public Safety, joins Ben Kieffer to discuss Iowa gun law.

Des Moines Symphony

IPR’s Symphonies of Iowa is back for the New Year! The season kicks off with the Des Moines Symphony presenting their season debut concert under Joseph Giunta with the dazzling Natasha Paremski at the keyboard. Paremski gives us a breathtaking performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1.

RifeIdeas / Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump released his first television ad this week in Iowa and New Hampshire. In it, he promises to stop what he calls radical Islamic terrorism by creating a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. Imam Taha Tahwil, director of the Mother Mosque in Cedar Rapids, has a less extreme, and more conversational, proposition: Trump should visit the mosque.

Stan Shebs

During the long, gray days of winter, some gardeners take comfort by looking through seed catalogs, and others find solace in the beauty of indoor houseplants. Cindy Haynes, an associate professor of horticulture at Iowa State University, says there are several indoor plants that are easy to care for during the winter months.

Mother Mosque website

The head of a Cedar Rapids mosque is inviting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to meet with members of the Muslim community.  Imam Taha Tawil of the Mother Mosque says his members would like to hear about Trump’s plans if he’s elected, and have a chance to talk to him about Muslims’ role in the U-S over the last 100-plus years. 

Flickr / Paul Weaver

Requests for permits-to-carry for firearms are flooding county sheriff’s offices across Iowa. Some places are seeing increases of 300 to 400 percent. 

These law enforcement officials say the deluge is largely due to the fact the legislature extended Iowa’s permit-to-carry from a one to a five-year expiration back in January 2011. Now this first group is up for renewal and by law, once an application is submitted a permit must be issued within 30 days.

IPR file photo by Amy Mayer

Advocates for listing the monarch butterfly as threatened under the Endangered Species Act are tired of waiting for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make up its mind.

"We filed a notice of intent to sue so that they have to give us a date to make that decision on whether or not they're going to protect the monarch," says Tierra Curry, senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity which, along with other groups, petitioned the federal agency in 2014 citing an 80-percent decline in the monarch population over the past 20 years.

hillaryclinton.com file photo

Former President Bill Clinton stopped by the New Bo City Market in Cedar Rapids during the noon lunch hour today.  It’s where Hillary Clinton, who is campaigning to be the next president, held a rally on Monday.

After handshaking and picturing taking, the former President went on to the nearby Czech and Slovak Museum to promote her candidacy.  He arrived about an hour later than scheduled but that didn’t seem to bother the estimated 500 people waiting.  Clinton spent most of the 50-minutes appearance listing Hillary’s achievements.

Kuviin / Wikimedia Commons

Regular exercise is the single most effective way to reduce the risk of many serious health conditions, but many of us still struggle with making it a part of our lives. Would you be more likely to exercise if your doctor prescribed it?

Dr. Britt Marcussen says that if you’re trying to start a new habit, stick with it.

“We are all creatures of habit. It takes a long time if you’re not an exerciser to become an exerciser and have it be second nature to you. If takes several months of working a program before it becomes a habit,” he says.

John Pemble

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad unveiled a major initiative this week – a plan to increase funding for water quality. 

The governor teamed up with former Democratic governor and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to support a proposal that would extend the one-cent sales tax currently spent on school infrastructure. While the plan would extend the sales tax, most of the inflationary growth would be diverted to finance water quality projects. Critics say that money should go only to education infrastructure.

Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre

The Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre is invading Iowa Public Radio! Join us at noon on Tuesday, January 12th for several sneak peek selections from the CROT’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata. The CROT’s principal cast features Danielle Talamantes as Violetta, Jason Slayden as Alfredo, and Stephen Gaertner as Germont. Other members include Eric Ferring as Gastone, Erin Bryan as Annina, and Loralee Songer as Flora. The principals and the ensemble will treat us to a few musical gems from their upcoming Paramount Theatre performances of Verdi’s La Traviata.

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says he plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and replace it with what he calls, “health empowerment accounts.” 

During a town hall meeting in Panora on Wednesday, the retired neurosurgeon described health empowerment accounts as health-savings accounts, "but with no bureaucrats.” Everyone with a Social Security number would get an account, and families would be able to shift money among themselves to pay for medical care.

Stanford University’s marching band generated quite a load of controversy at the Rose Bowl last week when they played the FarmersOnly.com jingle, and brought a giant cow onto the field  then proceeded to tip it. But the band is known for trolling its opponents and has upset scores of fans at three out of the last four Rose Bowls.

During this hour on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with University of Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band Director Kevin Kastens about Iowa’s performance at the Rose Bowl and about marching band styles and culture across the country.

Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre

The Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre is invading Iowa Public Radio! Join us at noon on Tuesday, January 12th for several sneak peek selections from the CROT’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata. The CROT’s principal cast features Danielle Talamantes as Violetta, Jason Slayden as Alfredo, and Stephen Gaertner as Germont. Other members include Eric Ferring as Gastone, Erin Bryan as Annina, and Loralee Songer as Flora. The principals and the ensemble will treat us to a few musical gems from their upcoming Paramount Theatre performances of Verdi’s La Traviata.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Texas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is on a six-day, 28-county tour of the state, hoping to solidify his lead in the polls a month ahead of the February 1st caucuses. 

Hundreds of voters are turning out at venues in small towns.       

At a Christian bookstore in Boone, volunteer Benjamin Dorin hands out signup sheets for the Ted Cruz campaign.

"We’re just trying to get phone numbers and e-mail addresses," Dorrin said, before asking some people in the crowd to make room to allow everyone in from the cold.  

Photo by John Pemble

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says changes to the complex federal tax code could be coming this year. Grassley is a member and former chair of the Senate finance committee. He's long-advocated for a tax system with fewer rates.

"If we were going to have a simple reform, we would have one tax rate, with an exemption for low and middle income people," he says. One figure for that cut-off, which he says is often used, is $36,000, after which workers would be subject to a flat tax.

Dean Borg/IPR

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio spoke at an early morning rally at a Cedar Rapids hotel today, telling those in attendance that President Barack Obama views the U-S Constitution as an annoyance.

Rubio was referring to President Obama’s executive action on Tuesday, tightening firearm sales restrictions. After the rally, Rubio elaborated for reporters.

Flickr / IowaPolitics.com

Iowa's Senate Majority Leader says there will be legislation that provides oversight of the transition of Iowa’s Medicaid program into management by private companies. 

"The rollout of this managed care has been messy and we're going to standup for the patients and for providers out there that need to understand the rules of the game," says Democrat Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs, who has been a vocal critic of Medicaid privatization. "We don't think there are enough protections right now in that process, so we're going to keep working on that."

Iowa Public Radio / Clay Masters

Iowa's governor wants to kill two birds with one stone.

Gov. Terry Branstad says by extending a sales tax increase enacted in 2008* to 2049, schools will get an additional $10 million annually for things like technology and infrastructure projects. He projects that the state will also raise nearly $4.7 billion in this period to address soil and water conservation issues related to agriculture.

Tom McLaughlin / Flickr

From televangelists to raptor specialists, we said goodbye to several notable Iowans who significantly contributed to politics, art, education, sports, law, and other fields during 2015. This hour on River to River, we pay tribute to a few of those Iowans. Host Ben Kieffer talks with a variety of guests in memory. 

Joshua and Lori Kagavi

Iowa State University’s Jack Trice Stadium and Drake University’s Johnny Bright Field are memorials to two African American football players whose college careers ended tragically and prematurely due to violence on the field. 

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe revisits the stories of these players and the lesser known story of Ozzie Simmons, who played for the University of Iowa in the 1930s.

Pat Blank/IPR

The Meskwaki Tribe near Tama has been awarded a one-point-six million dollar grant from the U.S Department of Human Services.

The money will be used over the course of five years to expand the tribe’s forty acre produce farm known as Red Earth Gardens.

Economic Development Director Larry Lasley says part of the project’s mission is to revitalize the Meskwaki customs of seasonal growing and gathering.

He says the purpose is, “to continue those traditions and help promote and teach younger family members to carry on that heritage."

Frankieleon / Flickr

While Lucy and Ricky Ricardo were filmed sleeping in separate twin beds back in the 1950s, not sharing a mattress is seen as a sign of a troubled marriage.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with sleep doctor, Dr. Eric Dyken of the University of Iowa Sleep Disorders Center, fielding several questions about the benefits and drawbacks to sharing a room with a sleeping partner.

Jim Viner

IPR's Studio One team is returning to the Basement Venue of the Des Moines Social Club on Thursday, January 7th, for our first live broadcast of 2016. This time, host Mark Simmet and the Studio One team welcome Jim Viner!

Lake Superior State University in Michigan has been issuing its "Banished Words List" since 1975.  The wordsmiths there now have over 800 entries on their list of overused, tired and shopworn words and phrases. 

Flickr / Phil Roeder

Registering to vote in Iowa just got a whole lot easier, provided you have a driver’s license or state-issued ID. A new portal allows the Iowa Department of Transportation to share a voter’s information with Iowa’s Secretary of State.

Secretary of State Paul Pate says the portal is a more accurate and efficient way to maintain voter information, and will make Iowa voting a quicker process. 

Photo by John Pemble

State education officials say they’ll spend the next 18 months figuring out what a new federal education law requires.  

President Obama signed the law replacing the controversial No Child Left Behind statute.  

The new law is dubbed the Every Student Succeeds Act.

It gives more power back to the states for accountability, teacher evaluations, and how to push poorly performing schools to improve. 

Speaking to the state board of Education, Department of Education Director Ryan Wise says there’s a lot in the bill to digest.

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