River to River

Weekdays at 12 p.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One and 10 p.m. on IPR News

River to River is Iowa Public Radio's talk program focusing on the news, issues and events in our state. This national award-winning program goes beyond the headlines, frames community problems, and fosters conversation. On Mondays during the legislative session, join in conversations with lawmakers and those impacted by action at the Statehouse.  Wednesdays, political analysts from around the state help you dissect the week in politics.  Fridays we buzz through the week’s big news stories.

River to River is hosted by Ben Kieffer.  It’s produced by Emily Woodbury @EmilyWoodburyLindsey Moon @lindseysmoon and Ben Stanton @StantonRadio. Our Executive Producer is Katherine Perkins. Our theme music is by The River Monks.

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Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate says he is “disappointed” with comments made by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly earlier this week. Kelly says states that are not asking the federal government for help with protecting their elections from hackers are “nuts.”

Secretary Pate says that in recent years, the Department of Homeland Security has not given state election officials enough information.

University of Northern Iowa

University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook is relatively new to the job, and he joins River to River host Ben Kieffer to talk about higher education and priorities at UNI.  He says his school will continue to have a high percentage of Iowa residents attending.  Nook says about 85%-90% of UNI’s students are from Iowa, though he's open to admitting more out-of-state students.  

Gage Skidmore

The Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is running into roadblocks, so what are the implications for the rest of the GOP agenda?  

On this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by University of Northern Iowa political science professor Donna Hoffman, as well as University of Iowa associate professor of politics, Tim Hagle.

Although there has been a lot blame passed around for the bill's failure, Hoffman says, "It's a whole congruence of  issues that came together to defeat this."

Wikimedia Commons

During their spring session, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that social media is a constitutional right. It also decided cases regarding same-sex parents and birth certificates, a case involving a potentially offensively named band and the protected status of offensive speech, and a case involving President Trump's travel ban. 

manhhai

After the US withdrew from the Vietnam War, its Indochinese allies were left facing torture, death, and imprisonment from the ruling communist regime. The Tai Dam, an ethnic group from northern Vietnam, petitioned the U.S. for sanctuary.

In 1975, Iowa Governor Robert Ray created an agency to relocate the group. During this hour of River to River host Ben Kieffer talks with Matthew Walsh, a professor of history at Des Moines Area Community College about his new book The Good Governor: Robert Ray and the Indochinese Refugees of Iowa.

Anthony Hopkins / Flickr

The deaths of three dogs left in a car on a hot day in Ottumwa last weekend is still under investigation by local police. They were in town for an American Kennel Club show and were reportedly left in the car by a handler hired by their owner.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Scott Wilson, an animal welfare expert with the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, who says it’s fairly common for people to lock their dogs in overheated cars.

Today, Senate Republican leaders unveiled a fresh proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

In the first half of today's River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with University of Iowa public health researcher Brian Kaskie about his current work in Washington to aid the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, chaired by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. His work for the committee draws on his expertise in Medicare, Medicaid and caring for the elderly.

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Amid the new controversy about email, this time involving Donald Trump Jr. and Russian officials, the White House has gone on the defensive.

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Dennis Goldford, professor of political science at Drake University and Wayne Moyer, professor of political science at Grinnell College.

Goldford says that it’s going to be interesting to continue to watch this investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election unfold given President Trump’s treatment of family versus his staff.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration / Wikimedia Commons

A NASA space probe carrying an instrument developed at the University of Iowa will pass close to Jupiter Monday. The Juno spacecraft will come within 56-hundred miles of the iconic Great Red Spot on the planet. Scientists believe the spot is a 10-thousand-mile-wide storm that has been brewing for 350 years. A research scientist at the University of Iowa, Bill Kurth, says there are basic facts about the red spot, however, scientists don’t understand.

Iowa Lt. Gov.'s office

Yesterday in Clear Lake, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that she will wait until September to decide whether or not to call a special session for the Iowa Legislature to discuss and act on the looming budget problems the state is facing. 

Emily Woodbury

Firecrackers, bottle rockets and roman candles – class one and class two fireworks - are now legally for sale in Iowa for the first time in decades.

In this River to River segment, host Ben Kieffer talks with the state senator who spearheaded the new law, as well as Iowans in charge of implementing the new guidelines, including Janelle Rettig, chair of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.

Emily Woodbury

Just as the founding fathers gathered in taverns to enjoy lively political conversation over a local brew, so do columnists and reporters from The Gazette and Iowa Public Radio.

On this edition of "Pints and Politics," recorded before a live audience at the Amana Millstream Brewing Company, co-hosts Ben Kieffer of River to River and Gazette investigative reporter, Erin Jordan, talk politics with columnists Lynda Waddington and Todd Dorman, as well as political reporter James Lynch of The Gazette. 

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

Around the 4th of July in Iowa, more than 4,000 Iowans are employed as pyrotechnicians setting up, wiring, and tearing down fireworks displays.

J and M Displays, a company based in Yarmouth, sells many of the professional fireworks that are lit across the state. Monte Whitlock leads a professional pyrotechnics crew for J and M Displays and sells fireworks. He urges people to keep in mind the folks who are lighting the displays on the 4th.

Gage Skidmore

The U.S. Senate Republicans efforts to replace big sections of the Affordable Care Act and enact steep Medicaid spending cuts collapsed yesterday.

On this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Drake University political analysts Dennis Goldford and Rachel Caufield about what happens next.

Rappaport Center / Flickr

Are fake news, alternative facts, and lies disguised as truths overwhelming our notions of reality?

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Brooke Gladstone, co-host and managing editor of the public radio program On The Media and author of the new book, The Trouble with Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time.

In it, Gladstone talks about the threats to democracy caused by people’s “filtered reality," especially in a constantly changing media landscape.

Joyce Russell/IPR

This program originally aired on November 8, 2016.

The Iowa African-American Hall of Fame recognizes the outstanding achievements of African-Americans who have enhanced the quality of life for all Iowans. Since its inception in 2002, 65 Iowans have been inducted into the IAAHF. This year, they inducted four.

Kesho Scott

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media file photo

A few days before Iowa’s new medical marijuana law takes effect, a Minnesota cannabis producer says his business is not yet profitable two years into that state’s program. The two states have similar medical cannabis laws, but Iowa’s is more restrictive.

Iowa’s new law will allow for two medical cannabis manufacturers and five dispensaries in the state.

Dr. Andrew Bachman, the CEO of Leafline Labs, says Minnesota’s law creates a more sustainable business climate, in part because Iowa’s law limits the THC content of medical cannabis.

Recrea HQ

An Iowa woman has been sentenced to sixteen months in federal prison for assisting with an email scam.  The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Iowa says that 67-year-old Victoria Lovan pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud.

Gage Skidmore

President Donald Trump comes to Iowa today for the first time since his inauguration. He will be visiting Kirkwood Community College followed by a campaign-style rally tonight in Cedar Rapids.

In this politics day on River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts Jim McCormick, professor of political science at Iowa State University, and Bruce Nesmith, Joan and Abbot Lipsky professor of political science at Coe College. 

Photo by Tim Schoon / University of Iowa

The first injuries and house fires caused by fireworks, recently made legal in Iowa, are on the books.

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with researchers, injury prevention specialists, and medical professionals about avoiding injury and death when dealing with fireworks and other summer time hazards.

The show starts with a conversation with University of Iowa hand surgeon, Dr. Andrei Odobescu, about the many cases of hands and fingers severed by fireworks mishaps that he’s treated.

Proposed budget cuts by the Trump administration have scientists at the Ames Laboratory on the campus of Iowa State University concerned. The smallest of the national laboratories receives 90 percent of its funding from the Department of Energy. The director of the Ames Lab, Adam Schwartz, says President Trump’s proposed budget would harm scientific research.

"If the President's budget is passed, there would be dramatic reductions in staff, not only at the Ames Laboratory, but all of the national laboratories," he says.

International Jugglers' Association

The 70th International Juggler’s Association Festival is set to take place at Cedar Rapids’ Paramount Theater on July 10-16th. The festival will include technical training workshops, a juggling history museum, a youth showcase performance, and a free ‘learning zone’ for aspiring jugglers.

The festival will open with a Welcome Show on Tuesday and close out with a show by the Cascade of Stars on Saturday, which is comprised of professional juggling and circus acts from around the world.

cwwycoff1/Flickr

A study in the Journal of Rural Health shows suicide rates among farmers remain high long after the farm crisis of the 1980s. The research is co-written by an assistant professor at Des Moines University, Wendy Riddenberg. She says agriculture workers today have few places to turn for counseling when times are tough.

“After the 80s, there were some mental health services that were created and provided specifically for farmers and agricultural workers. A lot of those are no longer in existence," she says. 

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Startups are eyeing the market for space tourism, and NASA is discovering habitable planets. On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with the co-authors of Vacation Guide to the Solar System, a book that imagines an interplanetary vacation.

In the book, co-authors Olivia Koski and Jana Grcevich take real data from NASA and other sources to create a whimsical and accurate picture of what it would really be like to travel our solar system.

Early today, a gunman open fired at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. Donna Hoffman, an associate professor of political science at the University of Northern Iowa says while tragic, the event is not unique. 

"It’s important to remember in times like this that America often has violent events like this," she says.

Wikipedia

Scientists have recently determined that humans were present in all parts of Africa as early as 300-thousand years ago.  

Is this segment of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Bob Franciscus, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Iowa.

Courtesy of Blank Park Zoo

So far this year, Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines has welcomed 12 new babies, including 2 camels, 1 black rhino, 2 wallabies, 1 giraffe, 2 addax, a desert antelope, and 3 elands. Their newest addition to that family of babies is a newborn Japanese macaque, also known as a snow monkey.

During this River to River conversation, zookeeper Val Hautekeete talks with host Ben Kieffer. 

ALAN LIGHT / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

A year ago, 49 people were killed at an Orlando nightclub in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Sanofi Pasteur / Patrick Boulen

Chikungunya is a debilitating inflammatory virus carried by mosquitoes. The University of Iowa is one of three sites in the U.S. that is enrolling participants for a clinical trial of an experimental vaccine for chikungunya. The illness has been found in the U.S.

Emily Woodbury

Oak trees in Iowa are experiencing “oak tatters,” and it might be caused by farm chemicals in the atmosphere.

DNR district forester Mark Vitosh says this is a problem that’s been on his radar for two decades, but weather patterns have made this a bad year for oak trees. About a thousand people have called the DNR because they thought insects or diseases were to blame.

Vitosh says he’s observed these damaged oak leaves.

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