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Statehouse and Politics
6:53 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Stricter Training of Stun Guns Considered in Iowa Prisons

Credit John Pemble / IPR

A committee in the Iowa Senate heard from experts on using stun guns, so-called tasers, to subdue difficult inmates. Two prisoners have died in Iowa jails after being tased by officers. A number of other law enforcement agencies have faced lawsuits for their use of stun guns. Iowa Public Radio's Joyce Russell reports

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Colorado Creates Food Safety System for Marijuana Products

A marijuana plant glows purple under grow lights at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, Colo.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Colorado made history when it opened up licensed marijuana retail shops this year. Aside from just legalizing the purchase of smoke-able marijuana, it also means pot brownies have the potential to be big business. Food products infused with marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, are available in stores across the state.

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River to River
3:16 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

The Renewable Fuel Standard

E Energy in Adams, Neb., takes in corn from local farms to make 65 million gallons of ethanol each year.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

A decade ago ethanol was touted as an eco-friendly biofuel that would not only decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil, but also boost the Midwest's economy. Today however, ethanol’s future is a matter of debate.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed reducing the ethanol mandate for the nation’s fuel supply. Many Iowa and around Midwest believe a reduction to the RFS would be economically devastating. 

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Health
12:34 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Reaching Life Longevity with Healthy Habits

Blue Zones participant Lynn Stansbery with Dan Buettner and her grandson Cody at the Blue Zones Project kickoff event in Cedar Rapids
Blue Zones Project

Communities like Okinawa in Japan and Loma Linda in California are home to some of the longest-living people in the world. These communities are called “Blue Zones”, a phrase coined by National Geographic writer and explorer, Dan Buettner.

Almost two years ago, the Blue Zones Project became integrated in many Iowa communities, with the goal of fostering healthy behavior so residents live long and happy lives.

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Iowa Statehouse
10:00 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Should Iowa Increase its Minimum Wage?

News
8:41 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Saving the Last House on the Block

Greg Young stands with two pairs of 1930's shoes he found in a crawl space of the Brewer House
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

The 117-year old Brewer House is one of just a handful of historic homes remaining in Cedar Rapids. When it was purchased by a nearby hospital slated for expansion, the Brewer House seemed doomed. But Dawn Stephens and Greg Young had another plan in mind. Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports. 

Dawn Stephens clutches a blanket as she introduces me to the Brewer House. Even though we’re inside, the heat hasn’t worked for years. In the foyer are remnants of the home’s past—the wood flooring that was replaced in the thirties, linoleum from the seventies.

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From the Archives
10:41 am
Mon January 27, 2014

"Lebanese Blonde" by Joseph Geha

Joseph Geha

The novel Lebanese Blonde transports readers to Little Syria, a neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio that is populated by immigrants and first generation Arab Americans. In his first novel, short story writer Joseph Geha shows us our world as it is seen through the eyes of people who came here looking for new opportunities for a new life.

The original broadcast of this interview aired on February 4, 2013

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Statehouse and Politics
6:01 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Lawmakers Differ on Education Funding

Iowa’s Capitol during the first month of the 2014 legislative session.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

Leaders in the Democratic Iowa Senate say they plan to set state aid funding for the 2016 school year and provide more money to expand access to preschool. But Republicans who control the Iowa House see things a bit differently. IPR's Clay Masters checks in with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell about the week ahead in the state legislature.

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News Buzz
4:20 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

A Rush of Home Invasions and Shootings in Des Moines

Daniel Hoherd

So far this year, Des Moines has reported eight home invasions; the number coming very close to the eleven home invasions reported over the course of the entire previous year (2013).

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Slain Girl's Family Wants Law
2:34 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Shepard Family Lobbies for Kidnapping Bill

The Shepard family from Dayton Iowa and their friends and supporters came to the capitol  to lobby for tougher penalties for kidnappers.  15 year old  Kathlynn

  

   Shepard  died at the hands of a kidnapper last year, and lawmakers say a stronger law  might have prevented the tragedy. 

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Horticulture Day
2:24 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Homegrown Lifestyle: Reconnect with the Land

Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Health Campaign

Iowa State University Extension's Homegrown Lifestyle program targets those people who want to grow their own food and livestock for personal and family use.  Andy Larson, specialist in small-farm sustainability with ISU Extension, says that the course covers a large variety of topics including permaculture, soil health, and manure.

Larson says, "Manure is really a resource; it’s not just one of those things you have to try to get rid of."

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Classical Music
5:18 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Iowa Symphonies Evolve to Survive

Orchestra Iowa

When Barney Sherman started planning his career in classical music, his supervisor told him, “Don’t even think about it, classical music is dying…the stations are closing, everyone’s looking for another career, it’s over.” But, 23 years later, Sherman is a Senior Music Producer at Iowa Public Radio, and Iowa’s classical industry is thriving.

Not that Iowa’s symphonies have not gone through some evolution.

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River to River
3:34 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

The 'Core' of Iowa Education

Thomas Favre-Bulle

In the first half of this program, host Ben Kieffer talks with two members of the new Iowa Department of Education commission charged with strengthening the core curriculum.  Guests are D.T. Magee, the Executive Director of the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners, and Tom Downs, Executive Director of the Iowa Association of School Boards.

In the second half, hear about new attention given to sexual assault, doubling of propane prices, and what is behind the latest cold weather.

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Statehouse and Politics
5:53 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Lawmakers Hear from Former Juvenile Home Residents, Employees

Credit John Pemble / IPR

Democrats in the Iowa Senate plan to introduce a bill to reopen the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo.   Governor Branstad ordered the home closed after an  investigation revealed that some girls were being held in long-term isolation.   On Wednesday, a Senate committee heard testimony from former residents and staff, as well as Toledo boosters.  Iowa Public Radio’s Joyce Russell reports:  

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Politics Day
4:16 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

2014 Iowa Caucuses and Renewable Fuel Standard

A caucus at Washington Elementary in Davenport, Iowa 2008
Ann Althouse flickr

Iowans gathered for caucuses Tuesday night, not to determine who will win nominations for President, but to determine who will control the parties.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with University of Iowa Associate Professor of Political Science Tim Hagle, and Drake University Professor of Politics, Dennis Goldford about how the midterm caucus results may impact the higher profile Presidential caucuses in two years.  They also discuss Iowa's political leverage to reverse an EPA decision reducing the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

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Iowa History
3:30 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Centerville: A Mid American Saga

photolibrarian / flickr

Once a prominent stop on the Underground Railroad and later the seat of the Ku Klux Klan in Iowa, Centerville is a small town with a rich history. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with historian Enfys McMurry, author of Centerville: A Mid American Saga. They explore the ups and downs of this remarkable town.

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News
5:48 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Kombucha startup in Fairfield to expand with $250,000 grant

Meghan, Debi, and Jack Dowd stand in front of fresh batches of fermenting kombucha.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

A family-run microbrewery in Fairfield is on the brink of expanding their operation ten times over. As Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports, Shaktea Kombucha has built their brand around a fermented, flavored tea. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Niche Crops Leap into Bigger Markets

Andrew Pittz and his family operate a commercial aronia berry farm in Missouri Valley, which supplies berries and value-added products to retailers nationwide.
Amy Mayer/IPR

In the Midwest, crop agriculture often gets divided between the major commodities of corn, soybeans and wheat and everything else. Switching to an un-tested crop is risky for farmers, but sometimes agronomics and market forces meet in a sweet spot and they can reap the benefits of innovation.

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Social Issues
5:29 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Nell Irvin Painter on "The History of White People"

Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with two guests. First, he sits down with stef shuster, a Ph.D. candidate who specializes in medical sociology and gender. As part of the University of Iowa’s annual MLK Celebration of Human Rights, stef is giving a talk on “Building Positive Care Relationships Between Health Care Workers and Transgender Patients.”

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Talk of Iowa
12:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Shelton Stromquist: Civil Rights

mikek7890 / flickr

In the summer of 1964, the Civil Rights Movement included many people with various backgrounds working together for a cause. University of Iowa Emeritus Professor of History Shelton Stromquist was one who put his life on the line to help the movement in Mississippi.  He joins host Charity Nebbe to talk about his experiences.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
7:08 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Up Against Blend Wall, Ethanol's at a Crossroads

E Energy in Adams, Neb., takes in corn from local farms to make 65 million gallons of ethanol each year. The company also makes distillers grains for livestock feed; corn oil, which can be made into biodiesel; and CO2 for soft drinks.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

A steady stream of semi-trailers rolls across the scales at the E Energy ethanol plant near the town of Adams in southeast Nebraska. The smokestack behind the scale house sends up a tall plume of white steam. The sweet smell of fermenting corn is in the air.

E Energy buys 65 million bushels of corn each day from area farmers and turns it into 65 million gallons of ethanol each year.

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Statehouse and Politics
6:43 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Iowa Caucuses Still Important in Off-Year

Credit Iowa Caucus

  Today Iowa Republicans and Democrats will hold caucuses across the state. It’s not a presidential year but there’s still plenty of drama with the Iowa caucuses this year. IPR's Clay Masters talks with Des Moines Register Political Columnist Kathie Obradovich about the caucuses and it's importance in a year with no presidential election.

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Talk of Iowa
2:51 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Middle Childhood

Japanese school children near play “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”
Angie Harms

Listen back to Talk of Iowa's conversation on middle childhood. Middle childhood is the time between toddler-hood and the teen years. It’s a point in development when kids transition into a concrete way of thinking that's more categorical and less emotionally volatile.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with an anthropologist, pediatrician and counselor about what's going on inside those growing bodies and minds.

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River to River
2:27 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

The Passage of the 13th Amendment

Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States, in1863.
Alexander Gardner Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

In this encore edition of River to River, listen back to host Ben Kieffer's conversation with Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum director Tom Schwartz.  Schwartz explains the story behind the passage of the 13th Amendment which outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude.

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Statehouse and Politics
6:00 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Sorting Out the Governor's 2014 State Budget

The Iowa legislature remains adjourned during the federal holiday Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

Lawmakers kicked off the 2014 legislative session last week and Governor Terry Branstad laid out his priorities: create job opportunities to incentive military veterans to move and work in Iowa, bring high speed internet access to the entire state and introduce legislation that would prevent school bullying. These issues can likely get bipartisan support in an election year. Clay Masters talks to statehouse correspondent Joyce Russell about the one thing both parties agree has to get done this legislative session: the budget.

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News Buzz
2:22 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Shaping Our Galaxy: What the Milky Way Really Looks Like

Spiral galaxy M81, which is similar in shape to our Milky Way
Hubble Heritage

Today we bring you four stories. First, the Iowa legislative session kicks off this week. IPR's Joyce Russell brings us inside the statehouse to give us an idea of what will and won't be worked on this year.

An otherwise healthy young boy died from the influenza virus. Patricia Quinlisk talks to host Ben Kieffer about why this flu season is different than previous years and how to limit spread of the virus.

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Statehouse and Politics
5:54 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Iowa Politicians Save Venom for 2014 Elections

The Iowa State Capitol on the opening day of the 2014 Iowa legislative session.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

The first of the 2014 legislative session comes to a close today, perhaps overshadowed by Governor Terry Branstad announcing he’s running for reelection. Many state lawmakers have their eye on looming national and state elections. Associated Press Statehouse and Political Reporter Catherine Lucey talks with IPR’s Clay Masters about how Iowa politics are shaping up at outset of 2014.  

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From the Archives
5:17 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Fern Kupfer: Leaving Long Island

Fern Kupfer’s latest book is a memoir that transports readers to Long Island in the 1950s. Charity Nebbe talks with the Ames author as she reflects on past experiences in her life, including the period she discovered she was BRCA positive, a genetic marker for cancer.

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Health
6:40 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Iowa Smoking Rate Declines, but E-Cigarettes Worry Health Officials

Gonzalo Merat

In the 50 years since the U.S. government released its first report on the hazards of cigarettes, smoking rates have dropped by half. Yet, about a fifth of Iowans smoke today.

And while the smoking rate of young adults continues to decrease, about 2,600 Iowa minors become new daily smokers each year.

“Most people who use tobacco products start at a very early age,” said Dr. Karl Thomas, Executive Vice Chair for Clinical Programs at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

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Talk of Iowa
2:09 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Vocal Cord Development

Tenor Eric Ferring as Anthony in the Seagle Music Colony's 2012 production of "Sweeney Todd."
James Carnahan

Shows like America's Got Talent and YouTube videos have introduced us to many phenomenal young singers belting ballads like adult Broadway stars.  However, is it healthy for young performers to sing with such intensity?  How does hitting the high and low notes affect vocal cord development?

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