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Talk of Iowa
12:07 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

The Embarassing but True Tales of Mike Birbiglia

Comedian Mike Birbiglia
Brian Friedman Wikimedia

Comedian Mike Birbiglia hit the big time by sharing his most intimate and embarrassing experiences on stage.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with him about storytelling and the power of oversharing.  Birbiglia is traveling the country right now with his latest show, “Thank God For Jokes,”  and is appearing at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines on Saturday, May 17th.  He’s also become a regular panelist on NPR’s "Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me," and filmed a role in one of the most anticipated movies of the year.  A conversation about making people laugh, the conne

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Statehouse and Politics
6:27 am
Wed May 14, 2014

2014 Primary Elections: The First District

Candidates in the First District Primary. (Top left to right) Anesa Kajtazovic (D), Dave O'Brien (D), Gail Boliver (R), Swati Dandekar (D). (Bottom left to right) Pat Murphy (D), Steve Rathje (R), Monica Vernon (D), Rod Blum (R)
Credit Candidate facebook profile photos

More than a year ago, the 2014 mid-term election looked like a sleepy one in Iowa. But a U.S. Senate seat and two congressional districts are up for grabs without incumbents. With the primary election a little more than two weeks away, IPR's Clay Masters takes a look at the open races. Iowa's first congressional district is in northeast Iowa and includes the cities of Cedar Rapids and Waterloo. Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley is leaving his seat to run for Tom Harkin’s U.S. Senate seat.

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River to River
5:35 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Iowa Ranked Fourth Worst in U.S. Humane Society Puppy Mill Report

The U.S. Humane Society ranked Iowa as fourth worst in the nation for the number of USDA non-compliant large-scale breeders, commonly known as puppy mills
Mehul Gala

Iowa has the second largest number of large-scale commercial dog breeding facilities in the country. This hour, concerns about what are commonly known as puppy mills.

The U.S. Humane Society's 2014 report includes six problem puppy breeders in Iowa. Today, we talk about concerns over large-scale dog breeders with Mary LaHay, President of Iowa Friends of Companion Animals. She says that Iowa has "over 15,000 adult dogs in Iowa puppy mills, and we can do better than this."

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Media
11:59 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Is There Still a Place for Women's Magazines?

a cover of Ladies Home Journal from the early 1900's
Wikimedia Commons

After a 130 year run, Ladies Home Journal is drastically reducing its publication schedule and ending its subscription service, another in a long line of women’s magazines to try and reinvent itself or discontinue publication in the digital age.

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Health
6:40 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Brooke Birmingham comes to agreement with Shape to publish photos

Brooke Birmingham after losing more than 170 pounds
Photo courtesy of Brooke Birmingham http://brookenotonadiet.com/

It's been a week since Brooke Birmingham blogged about her refusal to let Shape Magazine’s website publish her story.

After losing more than 170 pounds over the course of the last few years, the magazine's website wanted to feature her extreme weight loss success story. When she was asked to submit before and after photos, she did just that. But for the magazine's editors, the after photo became a problem. It showed the excess skin that had been left after her weight was gone. 

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River to River
4:50 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Opinion Writing with the Resources of a Newsroom Behind It

Columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr.
leonardpittsjr.com

Nationally syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. says extremist Islam is afraid of little girls.  More specifically, he writes, they're afraid of the women they will become.  The 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner for commentary talks with Host Ben Kieffer about some of his recent writings, including his latest novel, Freeman and why opinion writing is still important.

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Health
3:18 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Des Moines Moms Raising Awareness About Stillbirth

Healthy Birth Day

Kate Safris was ecstatic when she found out she was pregnant with her first daughter in 2001. The idea that she would give birth to anything other than a healthy baby never entered her mind, until it happened. Her daughter, Emma, was born with severe heart defects and lived just eight days.

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Health
12:12 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Ghostbelly - "I Was the Mother of a Stillborn Baby"

Elizabeth Heineman and her baby were healthy for her entire 9 month pregnancy; it was when she went into labor that something went wrong.

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Archives
6:48 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Randy Brubaker and the Iowa Visual History Center

Stacks of the Des Moines Register and Evening Tribune are stored at an old dorm at Grand View University in Des Moines.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Randy Brubaker was a longtime journalist in Iowa. In 1983 he joined the Iowa City Press Citizen and came  to the Des Moines Register in 1988. He held many roles at the Register, most recently he was Senior News Director and oversaw the newspaper's investigative team. He died May 3 of apparent heart failure at 55, just four months after his wife died of a heart attack. In addition to two sons and legions of reporters who he mentored, his legacy includes the Iowa Visual History Center. It's an archive of newspapers and photo negatives that span from the 1940s to 1990s.

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Arts and Culture
6:12 am
Sun May 11, 2014

David Byrne Speaks During Grand Opening of Des Moines Social Club

David Byrne is the keynote speaker during Des Moines Social Club’s grand opening at a former fire house built in 1937. He is speaking from a music stage in a courtyard to around 500 people.
Credit Photo by Clay Masters

Musician David Byrne was a mainstay on MTV in the early 1980s as the lead singer for Talking Heads. The group disbanded in the 90s, but Byrne’s still an influential artist and he used that influence this weekend during the grand opening of Des Moines Social Club.  This nonprofit organization started seven years ago as a center for the arts.  For most of those years it existed in small rented spaces, but now it has its own building, a downtown fire station built in 1937, that’s been under renovation for about a year. 

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Classical
6:00 am
Sun May 11, 2014

From Beethoven to Prairie Home, Bella does it all

Violinist and Des Moines Symphony guest soloist Bella Hristova.
Credit Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Avery Fisher Career Grant Winner, violinist Bella Hristova, soloed with the Des Moines Symphony in April of this year. She performed Beethoven’s magnificent Violin Concerto in D, Op. 61.

Bella is the guest artist on this week’s edition of Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa series featuring the Des Moines Symphony’s Giunta Conducts Beethoven: Eroica concert.

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News Buzz
2:39 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

More Safe Rooms Needed in Iowa Schools?

Since a devastating tornado struck Moore, Okla., last year, killing seven students and demolishing two elementary schools, parents and school administrators have been asking questions about school safety in Iowa. Mark Schouten, director of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management says that the agency endorses the construction of safe rooms to protect students from severe weather.

He talks with host Ben Kieffer about what constitutes a safe room, how many schools currently have them and how much it would cost for all schools in Iowa to install them. 

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News Buzz
2:23 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

"I Was Making Sure They Didn't Draft Another Kicker"

Nate Kaeding kicking for the San Diego Chargers in 2008
Wikimedia Commons

The first NFL draft was held in 1936, back when teams didn’t have scouting departments and names of players teams could recruit were written on a blackboard. Today, the process is much more complex. The 2014 NFL draft started yesterday, and until Saturday, teams will be camped out with statisticians, professional scouts and coaches trying to pick the best players to ensure their team has a chance at a good season next fall.

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News Buzz
2:09 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Kiana Phelps Shatters Iowa High School Girls' Discus Record

Kiana Phelps throws the discus at the 2013 Iowa's High School State Track and Field Championship
Jim Lee/The Sioux City Journal http://siouxcityjournal.com/gallery/sports/high-school/track-and-field/photos-state-track-friday-may/collection_f104c949-cc96-5513-80cf-916396b7d39d.html#0

Last night in Kingsley, Iowa,  Kiana Phelps, a two time Drake Relays champion, set a new record for the longest discus throw for a high school girl. She also went on record as having the 9th longest toss nationally. Her throw, which will be recorded as 179 feet and seven inches, breaks the previous record of 166 feet and 10 inches, which was set by Iowa City West's Taylor Freeman in 2008.

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River to River
1:41 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Legislators, State Employees Bypass Metal Detectors at Statehouse

Watch the video: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/iowa-politics/2014/05/07/brad-zaun-carries-gun-iowa-statehouse/8832319/

State Senator Brad Zaun (R) of Urbandale told the Des Moines Register Editorial Board earlier this week that he has carried a 9 millimeter hand gun into the state capitol when the legislature has been in session. "I think that there are too many doors that can be easily accessed without going through security. There are crazy people out there." 

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Horticulture Day
11:23 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Passion for Purple Plants

Paul Hudson

Purple foliage, purple flowers and purple fruits and veggies… Horticulturist Cindy Haynes has a passion for purple.

Today on Talk of Iowa, it’s Horticulture Day. Host Charity Nebbe talks with Cindy about purple plants for your landscape and garden. Horticulturist Richard Jauron and Cindy also answer listener questions about all plant and garden needs.

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News
5:18 am
Fri May 9, 2014

6 Years After the Flood, Last Buyout Homes Go To Auction in Mason City

Sandy Paulsen stands in front of her former home, in Mason City's historic East Park neighborhood.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

On a Saturday morning in Mason City, city officials give a group tour of eight homes once flooded in 2008, in the hopes that someone will come to buy one. and move it out of the floodplain.

It can cost thousands of dollars to pay a contractor to move a two-story, historic house, and turnout is minimal. But a handful of former residents show up to walk through their homes one last time.

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Agriculture
2:14 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

An Annual $1 Billion Loss From Soil Erosion & What an Iowa Farmer is Doing About It

A storm cell rolls in while Johnson County farmer Jim Sladek is planting corn
Ben Kieffer

The spring planting season is upon us and farmers are racing to get crops in the ground.

So yesterday morning, host Ben Kieffer hopped aboard a tractor with Jim Sladek, of JCS Family Farms in Johnson County, to get his perspective on the start of a new season and the challenges he faces, including soil erosion. Jim also demonstrated the amazing amount of technology that can be used in farming today.

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Talk of Iowa
12:22 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

"Pie is Not About Perfection"

A strawberry pie baked by Beth Howard
Katherine Perkins IPR

Pie.  Everyone loves to eat it, but when it comes to making it a lot of us would rather leave that to the professionals.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
8:12 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Farmers Take Missouri River Flood Worries to Court

Scott Olson of Tekamah, Neb., walks along the edge of his field that was flooded in 2011. Most of the field can be farmed, but parts may never be reclaimed after the river replaced fertile topsoil with fine, sandy silt.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

The Missouri River burst out of its banks in epic fashion three years ago. The flood covered thousands of acres of land and dredged up old debates about how the river should be run. Now, flooded landowners are suing the Army Corps of Engineers, saying the agency isn’t protecting their land.

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Politics Day
3:37 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Action Urged on Nigeria, Ukraine and Climate Change

Parents of some of the Chibok kidnapping victims
Voice of America

International outrage has been sparked by the kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian girls.  Boko Haram, an Al Qaeda affiliated group, has taken credit for the kidnappings.  The U.S. this week pledged military and law enforcement personnel to aid in the search for the girls.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Jim McCormick, Professsor of Political Science at Iowa State University about likely U.S. involvement in Nigeria.  They also discuss the unraveling situation in Ukraine with William Reisinger, Professor of Political Science at University of Iowa.

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Talk of Iowa
1:26 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Name That! With Aphasia, It's Not That Easy

A screen shot from the app
Photo courtesy of Angela Burda and Stephen Hughes

Aphasia is a language disorder that affects one’s ability to remember words. It’s usually caused by brain damage but has also been linked to other disorders like cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. For most who have it, it makes it hard to have conversations and be social.

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Talk of Iowa
12:54 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Creating Unity Through Music

Charity Nebbe with Peter Yarrow at Michigan Radio's studios in 2009.

Peter Yarrow rose to fame in the 1960’s as one third of the folk trio, “Peter, Paul and Mary.” The group was known for their political activism as much as they were known for their music. Yarrow says it wasn't the music that motivated him. “It wasn’t just about the music, it was about its ability to unite people in common cause.”

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Environment
5:00 am
Wed May 7, 2014

River Curriculum Helps Decorah Earn Statewide Honor

A trout hatchery and recreation trails make the Upper Iowa River appealing to residents and visitors.
Amy Mayer/IPR

Each year, the statewide nonprofit organization Iowa Rivers Revival honors a community for its commitment to the river that runs through it. This year the group named Decorah as its River Town of the Year. 

On a cool spring day, fish splash at the trout hatchery in Decorah as a few hearty men in waders angle nearby. Alongside the Upper Iowa River is a multi-use, four season trail. The recreation options are among the reasons Iowa Rivers Revival selected Decorah and the Oneota Valley for this year's award. 

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River to River
1:45 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Innovative Iowa: From Travelers to a Teacher Turned Tech-Entrepreneur

On The Road Bus Adventures
Courtesy of Brian and Lesley Triplett

Our area is home to a host of unique and innovative entrepreneurs.

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Classical
1:38 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

One of Frank Lloyd Wright's, and Iowa's, Best-Kept Secrets

Cedar Rock house
Credit Iowa Department of Natural Resources

In 1950 famed architect Franck Lloyd Wright completed constructing one of his most comprehensive Usonian-styled homes called Cedar Rock. The house, perched high above the Wapsipinicon River is located in the Cedar Rock State Park outside of Quasqueton. Agnes and Lowell Walter, former owners of the Iowa Road Building Company, commissioned Wright to build a “modest home to be designed and built on a limestone bluff” on the Wapsi River. Lowell wanted to show that a beautiful house could be constructed in his home town without having to go to Florida or California.

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Talk of Iowa
12:36 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Endangered Butterflies, There's an App for That

Photo courtesy of Reiman Gardens

Of the 119 butterfly species that live in the state of Iowa, more than a quarter are endangered or threatened. For entomologists like Nathan Brockman and Donald Lewis of Iowa State University, that's troubling. Instead of lamenting declining populations, Brockman says he's invested in trying to rebuild populations in the state, in part through citizen science. He and students at ISU have created the "Unified Butterfly Recorder," a way for Iowans to track butterflies and share their data with others. 

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News
5:30 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Miscanthus: Crop of the Future?

A stalk of miscanthus resembles a thin bamboo fishing pole.
Rick Fredericksen Iowa Public Radio

It could be Iowa’s next energy crop: a relative of sugar cane, that looks like bamboo. It’s about to become much more abundant in a state dominated by corn and soybeans. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
6:03 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Planting with the *Clouds*

Farmers are working around the clock to take advantage of dry weather to plant their corn
Credit IPR's Pat Blank

  This week's crop report from the USDA shows  Iowa farmers spent very little time in the field planting corn last week. Only 23 percent of the expected corn acreage is in the ground. That's nine days ahead of last year but 10 days later than the five year average. The cool wet spring is improving soil moisture reserves with only two percent of the state's topsoil now considered short of moisture.

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2014 Legislative Session
4:20 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Session Ends, Campaigning Begins

The Iowa Capitol
John Pemble IPR

The Iowa Legislature adjourned last week and even though it’s an election year, lawmakers managed to get a few big items accomplished, including a $7-billion budget and a bill that decriminalizes some forms of medical marijuana in the state. At the same time, priority bills from the governor to crack down on schoolyard bullying and expand broadband to rural parts of the state failed.

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