River to River on IPR News and Studio One

Weekdays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

River to River is Iowa Public Radio's talk program that focuses on the news, issues and events in our state. This national award-winning program goes beyond the headlines, frames community problems, and fosters conversation. Wednesdays, Ben Kieffer is joined by political analysts from around the state to dissect the week in politics. Joyce Russell hosts Mondays during the legislative session looking at statehouse issues.

During the show, contact us at 1-866-780-9100, IPRTalk on Twitter, our Facebook page, or via email rivertoriver@iowapublicradio.org. Our theme music is by The River Monks.

Want to share an idea for a future show? Contact one of our producers:
Ben Stanton: bstanton@iowapublicradio.org
Dennis Reese: dreese@iowapublicradio.org
Emily Woodbury: ewoodbury@iowapublicradio.org
Katherine Perkins: kperkins@iowapublicradio.org
Sarah Boden: sboden@iowapublicradio.org

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River to River
2:39 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

The Aftermath of an EF5 Tornado

Joplin, Missouri, a year after the 2011 tornado
Liam Kieffer

The deadly tornado earlier this week in Oklahoma recalls other recent tornado disasters in the Midwest. Today on River To River, host Ben Kieffer talks with survivors of the devastating tornado in Joplin, Missouri in 2011…and the twister that struck the Parkersburg/New Hartford area here in Iowa 5 years ago. Some experts join the conversation as well, to shed more light on the effect of the EF5 tornado that tore through Oklahoma.

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River to River
4:31 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Politics Day

U.S. senators of both parties are directing outrage at top IRS officials over not being informed earlier about the tax agency’s work to target conservatives, and they’re demanding answers. Today on River to River, it’s politics day. Host Ben Kieffer sits down with our analysts, Tim Hagle, of the University of Iowa, and Chris Larimer, of the University of Northern Iowa, to find out what questions are being asked, why it matters, and how much of what we’re seeing is simply political grandstanding.

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River to River
1:56 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

The Crime of Stalking

According to the Stalking Resource Center 6.6 million people are stalked in the U.S. every year.
Flickr / daniellehelm

Though stalking became a crime in the state of Iowa in 1994, it’s a difficult charge since in many ways stalking is an “invisible" crime.  Upon examining this crime River to River asks, "What should a person do if they're being stalked?" And also, "What drivers stalkers to obsessively harass their victims?"

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River to River
1:40 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Facial Recognition Technology and Police Lineups

Mennecke says that digital signage systems can deteremine a person's age, gender and face.
Brian Mennecke, associate professor of information systems at Iowa State

Facial recognition technology is increasing becoming a part of life, but how is this technology being used and how much is too much?  Brian Mennecke will explain the ways digital advertisements can "read" your face and discuss other commercial uses for facial recognition technology.  Later Gary Wells joins the program to discuss his recently developed proc

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River to River
1:53 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Wind Energy in Iowa

brewbooks / flickr

Mid-American Energy is planning to invest $1.9 billion in Iowa to add up to about one gigawatt of wind generation, which could power 300-thousand homes. That means more than 600 new wind turbines are expected to be built in Iowa by 2016.  Host Ben Kieffer gets details on the project, and he gets a broader look at wind energy in Iowa with both large- and small-scale turbines. We also talk with an ISU professor a grad student working on designing a different wind turbine tower—one made out of concrete.

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River to River
1:59 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Gun Mythology In The West

Michael Martelli / flickr

In 1982, when Bruce Holbert was a young man, he accidentally shot and killed a friend. Today on River to River, University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate, Bruce Holbert will recount that accidental shooting and how he coped afterward. Holbert’s new novel Lonesome Animals is a western detective story in the vein of True Grit, and he connects it to America's fascination with the gun myth.

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River to River
3:04 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Scandals Distracting from Second Term Priorities

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at a news conference Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Credit Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is under fire for a wide-ranging subpoena of phone records at the Associated Press, as part of investigating a national security leak. That, along with continuing investigations of the IRS and the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, has sucked all the air out of Washington for several days. Host Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts Wayne Moyer from Grinnell College and Donna Hoffman from University of Northern Iowa about the scandals and how they're impacting President Obama's second-term agenda.

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River to River
3:23 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Travels and Poetry in the Middle East

Eliza_Tasbihi / flickr

Host Ben Kieffer talks with Christopher Merrill, Director of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program.  Merrill has just returned from a month-long trip on behalf of the program that took him to Baghdad and the Kurdish region of Iraq, Abu Dhabi, and Turkey.  He is about to leave for Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan as part of a cultural diplomacy mission for the State Department.

In this show, Kieffer also gets a weather update from the Des Moines National Weather Service about temperature swings and the lack of an Iowa tornadoes for nearly a year.

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River to River
3:09 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Inside The Gold Dome

John Pemble / IPR

Lawmakers at the Statehouse have received their final payments, pages and interns have left for summer, but the legislative session continues into May. It’s legislative day today on River to River.

Host Clay Masters discusses two bills still up for discussion: a state online sales tax bill and a bill requiring DNA testing for certain convictions. Masters also takes a look at the day-to-day in the capitol, by talking with statehouse employees that work alongside Iowa’s representatives.

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River to River
1:18 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Best and Worst Jobs of 2013

Bio-Medical Engineer is listed as #2 best job of 2013.
dbelskysuny / flickr

For 25 years, CareerCast.com has ranked the best and worst jobs.   Their rating is based on physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook. Host Ben Kieffer talks with a few people that are on the best and worst lists.  Find out what people in those jobs think about their ranking.  It includes a Biomedical Engineer, an Oil Rig Worker, an Audiologist, and a Newspaper Reporter.   

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River to River
4:00 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Baseball: Past, Present, Future

TR Knight, Toby Huss, and in profile, Harrison Ford
© 2013 Legendary Pictures Productions LLC

Marshalltown-native Toby Huss, plays the part of baseball scout Clyde Sukeforth in the new movie “42” – a film about baseball legend Jackie Robinson, the Major Leagues’ first black player in the modern era. Host Ben Kieffer talks with actor Toby Huss about his role, working with Harrison Ford in the film, and racism in the 1940’s.

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River to River
3:15 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

U. S. Senator Rand Paul and other Politics

U.S. Senator Rand Paul

Recent polls indicate freshman Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is a favorite among GOP hopefuls for the White House in 2016.  Paul is coming to Iowa later this week to speak at the Republican Party of Iowa's "Lincoln Dinner."  Host Ben Kieffer gets his views on immigration reform, drones, and bridging the warring factions within the GOP.  Then, he gets analysis from Bruce Gronbeck, Emeritus Professor of Communication Studies at University of Iowa.

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River to River
2:06 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Postville, Five Years Later

Flickr / zamburak

On May 12, 2008 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement descended on Agriprocessors, a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, IA.  The raid resulted in the deportation of over 300 individuals—the largest immigration raid in Iowa’s history.  River to River looks back on the raid to examine how its affected the community of Postville and the families who were torn apart five years ago.  Also, what can be learned from Postville that can inform understanding on comprehensive immigration reform?

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River to River
2:17 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Livestock Inspections and Teen Driving

Iowa Statehouse 5-6-13
Credit John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio
  • River to River 5-6-13

Under an agreement with the EPA, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will have to inspect 1,600 livestock facilities each year, for the next five years.  Debate at the Iowa Statehouse is centering around how many inspectors are needed to do the job.  Then, Iowa was one of the first states to approve a graduated driver's license system for teens. Since then, the state has dropped to 49th in rankings of teen driving safety.  A new Iowa law puts more restrictions on the youngest and most inexperienced drivers.

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River to River
2:40 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

The Future of Medicaid in Iowa

Governor Branstad's Healthcare policy aide Michael Bousselot, Senator Pam Jochum (D-Dubuque) and IPR Statehouse Correspondent Clay Masters on "River to River" from IPR's Des Moines studios.
John Pemble IPR

All this week, IPR’s Clay Masters has been talking with Iowans who receive Medicaid services to get their input on the debate between Governor Branstad and the Democratic-controlled state Senate over expanding Medicaid.

River to River wraps up the series with host Ben Kieffer sitting down with Clay and several Medicaid recipients, as well as the Governor’s healthcare policy advisor Michael Bousselot and Democratic state senator Pam Jochum.

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River to River
2:02 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Herbert Hoover and a Civil War Exhibit

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
Ben Stanton / Iowa Public Radio

Host Ben Kieffer takes a tour of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum with its Director Tom Schwartz.  He talks about the role of presidential museums and libraries in light of the recent opening of the George W. Bush Library in Dallas.  Schwartz also discusses President Hoover himself and the museum’s exhibit that commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  It’s called Iowans and the Civil War: The Western Theater.  The exhibit includes a Civil War field hospital, and signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment. 

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River to River
3:51 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Statehouse Sticking Points and Other Politics

Spring at the Iowa Statehouse
Credit John Pemble / IPR

Friday is the last day lawmakers are scheduled to be at the Iowa Statehouse, but adjournment seems unlikely.  Host Ben Kieffer talks about the issues and the sticking points dragging out the 2013 session with Chris Larimer, University of Northern Iowa and Tim Hagle, University of Iowa.  They also discuss the President's renewed push to close the detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay and the likely Republican candidates for U.S. Senator Tom Harkin's seat.

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River to River
2:23 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Vinyl's Comeback & The Rise Of Music Streaming

Joe Lencioni / flickr

Today on River to River, we explore the continuing changes in the music industry...including the fact that more and more users are listening from large online libraries of music – like Rhapsody, Spotify, or Pandora – rather than purchasing individual songs or albums. We also discuss why vinyl records are making a comeback.

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River to River
2:13 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Legislative Day: Iowa's Gas Tax

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Crumbling roads and bridges are fueling renewed debate over raising the gas tax in Iowa.  That’s despite polling that shows a majority of Iowans do not support an increase.  Hear the pros and cons and why some who would pay the most are the ones pushing for the increase.

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River to River
1:16 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Tech Companies Choosing Iowa

A rendering of the first building of Facebook's new Altoona data center.
Facebook

This week, the social networking site Facebook announced plans to build a $1.5 billion data center in Altoona, IA.  On the same day, Google announced a $400 million expansion to its data facility in Council Bluffs. Iowa has a growing tech industry.  What makes Iowa an attractive place for companies like Google and Facebook?  Also, hear about our homegrown technology companies like INVOLTA.

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River to River
4:31 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

App Development In Iowa

Taptu / flickr

When smartphones were introduced, not many people knew how to navigate a mobile app…but several years later, we go through each day using multiple apps, often several at once. Today on River to River, Ben Kieffer checks in with app developers across the state, to find out how Iowans are using applications on their devices, and what apps we can expect in the near future.

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River to River
1:34 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Impacts of Terrorism

Copley Square after the Boston Marathon bombings, April 15, 2013.
Flickr / Vjeran Pavic

Three out of four Americans see occasional terrorism as a part of life in the future. That percentage is up in the wake of last week’s bombings at the Boston Marathon.  "River to River" examines changing public attitudes toward terrorism and how the Boston bombing is affecting debate over immigration.

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River to River
2:24 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Concern Over State Trooper Numbers & Officer Safety

Iowa State Patrol Diorama
Phil's 1stPix / flickr

Since the year 2000, the amount of state troopers on Iowa’s roads has dropped more than 20 percent, delaying accident response time and forcing officers to make hard decisions based on where they are needed most. Today on River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with state troopers about their experience on the force and sits down with local police to discuss the dangers that exist for law enforcement personnel.

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River to River
2:13 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Social Media and Education Reform in the Legislature

Iowa State Capitol
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Social media is influencing debate in Iowa's capital.

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River to River
1:37 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

The Status of Casinos in Iowa

The old Diamond Jo Riverboat Casino in Dubuque, IA. The Diamond Jo moved to a land-based facility in 2008.
Flickr / J. Stephen Conn

In 2007 the state of Iowa allowed casinos to move from riverboats to land.  Since that time several communities around the state have sought a piece of the casino action.  But how many casinos are too many for Iowa?

"River to River" looks at current casino proposals in Warren and Linn Counties.  We'll also examine why communities like Davenport and Sioux City are in the process of moving their casinos from riverboats to land.

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River to River
2:40 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Flood Levels Across Iowa

Flash floods in the Apple Valley subdivision in Solon, Iowa around 2 p.m. April 17. Neighbors stacked sand bags around basement windows and along garage doors.
Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

Today on River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with reporters across the state to discuss what has been happening locally.  The pipe bomb detonation in Cedar Falls, tension at the Statehouse...and an exploration of a recent Des Moines Register investigation on Iowa’s EMT services.

We also find out how the storms across Iowa will affect flood levels, by meeting with a Quad Cities National Weather Service representative and the Director of the Iowa Flood Center.

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River to River
1:28 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

A President's Reaction To Disaster

Martha Coakley / flickr

When bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, President Obama was quick to speak out, but he was extremely cautious about what he said.  Today on Politics Day, why how a president reacts matters and how the bombing might affect political priorities. Also, the latest on immigration and gun legislation.

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River to River
2:00 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Johnson County Hog Farming and CAFOs

Flickr / ekornblut

How do you stop plans for a new housing subdivision near your property? Well, how about starting a hog operation right next to it? That's exactly what some residents north of Iowa City are doing.  Today on "River to River" we'll hear from both sides of the feud.

We'll also visit a hog confinement to find out where your bacon comes from.  We'll also hear pro and con voices concerning concentrated animal feeding operations, known as CAFOs.

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River to River
2:42 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Sex Offender Parole Sentencing

John Pemble / IPR

The Iowa sex offender registry includes people within a wide range of offenses, and some lobbyists here at the capitol are asking the question: Should all sex offenders be put under lifetime parole sentences?

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River to River
12:11 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Everyday Heroes

Coordinator of the Adult Literacy Center at Drake University Anne Murr, center, with Fred Dake, left, and volunteer tutor Jerry Walker, right.
John Wood, Drake School of Educaiton

What's your definition of a hero? Someone who puts themselves in harm's way?  Someone who acts selflessly?  Today on "River to River" we speak with four Iowans who have done something extraordinary and are being honored by the American Red Cross of Greater Iowa as "Heroes of the Heartland."

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