Charity Nebbe

Talk of Iowa Host

Charity Nebbe grew up in rural Iowa just outside of Cedar Falls.  She began her career in public radio at WOI Radio in Ames, Iowa when she was a student at Iowa State University and has been working in public radio ever since.  Early in her career she created Chinwag Theater a nationally syndicated public radio show that she produced and co-hosted with well known author Daniel Pinkwater.  She spent ten years at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor and in 2010 returned to Iowa. 

Charity is now the host of Iowa Public Radio’s Talk of Iowa, heard weekday mornings at 10.  She is also the host of Iowa Ingredient on Iowa Public Television and the author of the children's book “Our Walk in the Woods,” published in 2008. 

Charity's favorite public radio program is On The Media.

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Charity Nebbe

On today’s Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe and producer Emily Woodbury visit the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative in Des Moines, formerly known as the Great Ape Trust. The facility is home to a family of five bonobos including the world famous Kanzi. The bonobos can communicate with humans through the use of a vocabulary made up of lexigrams, symbols that stand for words. 

Growing Asparagus is Worth the Wait

Apr 14, 2017
Rob Ireton / flickr

A patch of asparagus can be a great addition to your vegetable garden as they can live up to 30 years. But without immediate visible results, the process can seem discouraging to some. Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University and Extension Commercial Vegetable Specialist, Ajay Nair, says that waiting the 3-4 years prior to a full harvest is worth the wait.

He offers instructions for planting your young asparagus plant, generally referred to as a crown.

D Sharon Pruitt / Flickr

According to professor of psychology, Marianne Lafrance, our hair plays a bigger role in our lives than we might think. She says there is a psychological impact of having a bad hair day. 

In her research, Lafrance found that a majority of people are inclined to have lower self-esteem on bad hair days.

Chiot's Run / Flickr

Many changes have taken place in agriculture over the last 100 years. While most of the emphasis in commercial agriculture has been on maximizing yield, with truly remarkable results, this shift in focus also led to an incredible loss of bio-diversity and significant cultural losses in some communities around the world.

Michael M. Huang/Studio Reserved

In Iowa there are hundreds of old schools, post offices, and churches that sit vacant. Some of them have been given new life as apartments, or as makers spaces and hubs for creativity. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Michael Wagler of Main Street Iowa. We also check in with several Iowans who have been working to reimagine these old buildings. 

Springtime Care for Your Lawn

Apr 7, 2017
Bruce Aldridge / flickr

As April showers kickoff spring weather across the state, flowers are beginning to bloom and grasses are starting to grow. Iowa State University Extension turfgrass specialist, Adam Thoms, shares some advice for how to establish and maintain healthy lawns.

Thoms advises that the next week is a good time to begin the pre-emergence weed control process.

 

Wikimedia Commons

Dan Lerner teaches the largest and most popular non-required course at New York University: "The Science of Happiness."  We were lucky to get to talk to him for an hour about his ideas.  He told us: "Surprisingly, there are a lot of scientific studies that have been done on the idea of happiness--in fact since the late 90s there has been a wave of research into what we call positive psychology, or what is simply termed happiness, well-being or thriving."

Lit City Episode Nine: Chasing Spirits

Apr 6, 2017
Michelle Hoover

"Spirits in many different forms" are what you can find in legendary Iowa City writers' bar Dave's Foxhead Pub -- a.k.a. "The Foxhead" -- according to Lauren Haldeman, local poet and developer of the City of Literature web app.

Spirits also happen to be what Michelle Hoover is chasing after in her novel Bottomland, which was inspired by a mysterious family photograph she discovered in adulthood.  

Iowa City native Bridget Kearney, most known for her work as bassist for the band Lake Street Dive, is out with her debut solo album “Won’t Let You Down.” During this Talk of Iowa interview, she talks with host Charity Nebbe about her approach to songwriting, and the new music videos she created for this album. 

"Whenever I had time off from Lake Street Dive, I was really excited to be in the studio," she says. "It was a great way to keep engaging that side of my brain and to stay excited about music and songs." 

Collier's New Encyclopedia, v. 10, 1921

On April 6th, 1917 the United States declared war on Germany and the U.S. joined World War I.  More than 114,000 Iowans served in the armed forces during WWI, and 3,576 Iowans lost their lives.

During this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a conversation looking back on this pivotal moment in world history and the role that Iowa played at home and abroad.

On March 14th, 1889 Susan La Flesche became the first Native American to receive her medical degree. Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Joe Starita has written about the life and legacy of Dr. La Flesche in his new book  A Warrior of the People.

Beneficial Insects for Your Garden

Mar 31, 2017
Silk Knoll / flickr

While pollinators are lauded as the most beneficial insect to have in your garden, there are other insects that you also want around. Iowa State University Extension Entomologist Donald Lewis explains the various roles insects play in our landscape.

Lewis explains that the insects which we might perceive as a danger or a nuisance, such as wasps or bald-faced hornets, actually provide a needed service.

 

Ken Brown

Ken Brown, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies at the University of Iowa Tippie School of Business, says he took the plunge and booked a trip to the remote continent of Antarctica, because his 81-year father Bob said such a journey was on his "bucket list."  It was a magical trip, Brown told us, but he still worries about the the continent's future.

On April 28, 2015, six couples from Kentucky walked into the U.S. Supreme Court with plaintiffs and attorneys from four other states to argue their right to marriage equality. Iowa-based documentary maker Alex Schuman was with those couples, and on that date, he was filming every moment.

“It almost started as an accident,” he says. “I was a TV reporter in Louisville, Kentucky, and I wasn’t aware this case was happening at all.”

On Being / Flickr

As the bells ring for mid-day mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Iowa City, we talk outside with Lauren Haldeman about the time legendary Southern author Flannery O'Connor spent in Lit City.  

O'Connor may have felt like a fish out of water in the Midwest, but that's not the case for Dean Bakopoulos, Assistant Professor of English at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, and author of the novel Summerlong.  Tune in to hear him talk about Kum 'n' Go, his writing habits, and the challenges of setting your work where you live.

Jorg Schreler / Flickr

It seems like it should be simple. When someone believes something that isn't true, just give them the facts. Show them the evidence, and they'll change their mind. Facts, however, are surprisingly easy to disregard when they threaten a person's closely held beliefs. 

"Certain beliefs are harder to change than others," says Zlatan Krizan, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University.

Lynn Smith is an audio visual archivist for the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, and a few years ago, she made a discovery.

“I was looking at films that were supposed to be in black and white and on the side, I saw ‘kodacolor.’ So, I started doing some research,” says Smith. "Kodacolor film appears to be in black and white until it's run through a special projector." 

The color film she uncovered contains the earliest known color images of the White House and was shot by former First Lady Lou Henry Hoover.

Michael Leland

Large migratory birds, including turkey vultures, sandhill cranes, great blue herons, and bald eagles, are on the move in Iowa this spring. One eagle in particular is trying to hatch out of its shell in a nest just north of Decorah.

[See live feeds of eagles - both the "Decorah Eagles" and the "Decorah North Nest"]

Marcelo Noah / flickr

During this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Fmr. U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins about his latest work and his writing style. He admits that despite common perceptions about poetry, his poems don’t contain much rhyming.

 

“I write with my ear. I want to make poems sound good and there are lots of ways to do that without having a formal rhyme. Charles Wright defined poetry as, ‘language that means more and sounds better,' and I really think those are the two ingredients. Poetry just sounds better than non-poetry.”

Establishing and Restoring Windbreaks

Mar 24, 2017
National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff / flickr

 

The state of Iowa is no stranger to its share of strong, gusty winds. A row of trees and shrubs can make a noticeable difference in erosion control or in reducing home heating costs. Iowa State University Extension Forrester, Jesse Randall, shares ways to plan for and establish healthy windbreaks.

His tips on how to configure a successful windbreak:

University of Iowa Press

Who would think that doing a key word search of a massive newspaper database would turn up a previously unknown short novel by the much beloved 19th century author Walt Whitman?   University of Houston graduate student Zachary Turpin was the detective who uncovered his second Whitman find in an 1852 issue of an obscure New York City newspaper. 

David Bruce / Flickr

 

Spring in Iowa brings all kinds of weather - warm sunshine, high winds, severe thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes. Severe weather can do a number on roofs, siding and windows.

So, let’s say a hail storm hits your house. How do you know when it’s time to call the insurance company?

Home improvement expert Bill McAnally says that the first thing you want to do is see what size the hail was. If it was 3/4 of an inch or an inch, esp an inch or above, you probably have some damage. 

Joshua and Lori Kagavi

In this episode of Lit City, we take an irreverent stroll down Iowa City's famed Literary Walk before focusing in on some athletes and artists whose stories haven't yet been commemorated in bronze.

First we hear the tragic stories of some of Iowa's first African-American college football players from Jaime Schultz, Associate Professor of Kinesiology at Penn State and author of Moments of Impact: Injury, Racialized Memory, and Reconciliation in College Football. 

Michael Bornstein (bottom right) with other children, showing their number tattoos / Courtesy of Pańtswowe Muzeum Auschwitz-Birkenau

Michael Bornstein was just four years old when his family was forced from their home in Poland and taken by train to Auschwitz. He survived seven months at the death camp before he was liberated.

After the war, Bornstein and his mother moved to the United States. In 1966 he graduated from the University of Iowa with his PhD.

Most record labels find artists who already have an audience and then use their talent and following to make money. What if the business model worked a little different, and the label had the time to invest in helping an artist to develop their art and grow as a professional businessperson at the same time? That’s the same question Tobi Parks with Station 1 Records, which operates as a non-profit in Des Moines, had. During this hour, she talks with host Charity Nebbe about the label.

Claudia McGehee / University of Minnesota Press

After children's book author Jacqueline Briggs Martin read an article in the paper about a man who had restored a creek back into a thriving habitat, something about the story struck her.

"It was amazing that the whole ecosystem has restored itself," she says. "How did the frogs, birds, and bugs know to come back? I found it remarkable that the ecosystem could build itself up."

Quinn Johnston/Courtesy of the Cerney Brothers

Live music enthusiasts of Iowa, rejoice. Your options are expanding. There's a new start up in Des Moines that intends to match people who want to host house concerts with musicians. It's called HomeDitty. 

During this segment, host Charity Nebbe talks with Katie Byers, founder and CEO of a matchmaking service of sorts called HomeDitty, meant to connect artists with people who want to host concerts. 

Marketa / Flickr

Why do you read?  

In Episode Six of Lit City we hear answers to this question from some of the City of Literature's most devoted readers... and writers.  We also learn about the mass popularity of the counterculture spirit from Mike Klassen, associate professor of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa and author of the book Hippie Inc.

Emily Woodbury

When you put together your perfect playlist, how much of the music comes from your youth?

A new study says that most people stop seeking out new music around age 33, and some people believe that our most important cultural tastes are set in our teen years.

YUVAL PELEG

The Bible is the most read book of all time. For billions of people around the world, it provides answers, and it also leaves many questions.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with archaeologist and biblical scholar Robert Cargill, who has worked long, hard, and traveled far to find an answer to the question of - Where did the Bible come from?

He's written about what he has found in his new book, The Cities that Built the Bible.

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