River to River

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

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. Clay Masters 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 Kieffer: bkieffer@iowapublicradio.org
Charity Nebbe: cnebbe@iowapublicradio.org Twitter: @CharityNebbe
Dennis Reese: dreese@iowapublicradio.org
Emily Woodbury: ewoodbury@iowapublicradio.org Twitter: @EmilyWoodbury
Katherine Perkins: kperkins@iowapublicradio.org
Lindsey Moon: lmoon@iowapublicradio.org Twitter: @lindseysmoon

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Composer ID: 
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2014 Legislative Session
2:04 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Governor Branstad to Sign Bills on Cannabis Oil and HIV Transmission, but REAP Funding in Question

Governor Terry Branstad
John Pemble IPR

A bill legalizing the possession and medical use of cannabis oil for epilepsy patients passed the Iowa House and Senate.  But will the Governor sign it?  In this News Buzz edition of the show, Host Ben Kieffer talks with Governor Terry Branstad about the loose ends from the 2014 legislative session and which bills will or will not gain his signature.

 

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News Buzz
5:22 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Virtual Reality for Chickens

Courtesy of Austin Stewart

Would you eat the eggs of a hen lost in virtual reality?

On this River to River segment - a proposal by Austin Stewart of Iowa State University to give real, captive chickens a true virtual experience of roaming a free range.

“All the chickens in this world would have microphones so they can squawk at one another and socialize," says Stewart.

Spoiler alert: While Stewart admits that this is not a real business proposal, he is trying to provoke discussion on our lives as people living in "boxes" as well as communication on our livestock practices.

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Education
5:12 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

The Cost of College

On average, Iowa students owe $29,000 in college loan debt when they graduate with a bachelor's degree
BankSimple

When they receive their bachelor’s degree, a majority of Iowa graduates are in debt. On average, these students owe $29,000 in college loan debt when they graduate with a bachelor's degree.

The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, IowaWatch.org, has been examining students who live in the now while in college, and then face the prospects of paying huge amounts off in debt.

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Politics Day
3:06 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Primaries a Bellweather for Iowa's U.S. Senate Race?

USA.gov

On Tuesday, six states held nominating contests and the Republican establishment scored big wins. Are the results a bellwether for Iowa’s primaries in less than two weeks?  Political analysts Dennis Goldford of Drake University and Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa give us their thoughts on the primaries for open congressional seats here in Iowa.  Host Ben Kieffer asks how the issues of minimum wage and the Affordable Care Act are being talked about by Iowa's GOP candidates for U.S. Senate.
 

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Education
5:09 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Examining the Bar

Wikimedia Commons

The Iowa Bar Association has recommended to the Iowa State Supreme Court that Iowa’s law schools should institute a “diploma privilege” for graduates of Iowa's law schools, meaning that graduates wouldn’t have to take the bar exam to practice law in the state.

Is allowing lawyers who haven’t passed a bar exam to practice a good idea? President of the Iowa State Bar Association Guy Cook says it’s an overdue change, “Iowa’s bar exam doesn’t test knowledge of Iowa law. This proposal wouldn’t work everywhere, but in Iowa, it could.”

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River to River
2:25 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

The Beauty and Future of Iowa's Parks

Lake MacBride Park in Solon, IA
Emily Woodbury

Iowa is the second most privately owned state in the U.S., so land preserved on its public parks is particularly special. Today on River to River –  the future of Iowa’s parks.

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News Buzz
1:12 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Iowan says he owes his life to Medal of Honor Recepient

Kain Schilling with his friend and Medal of Honor recepient Kyle White
Courtesy of Kain Schilling

 Former Army Spec. Kain Schilling says he owes his life to his friend and comrade former Army Sergeant Kyle White, “I could never repay him. We’re good friends... He knows I’m extremely thankful and that my family is eternally grateful.”

Schilling lives in Palo, Iowa and attended a White House ceremony earlier this week where his friend and was awarded the United States Military’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor. He talks with host Ben Kieffer about an ambush in Afghanistan in 2007 by Taliban forces when White saved his life and the lives of several others in their unit.

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News Buzz
12:49 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Ames 5th Grader to Represent Iowa in National Geographic Bee

Top 10 finalists from last year's National Geographic Bee
Rebecca Hale

Shirlin Kingston, a 5th grader from Ames, will represent Iowa at the 26th annual National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C. She leaves Sunday for the East coast and  says the fact that she is homeschooled and gets to spend more time on what interests her has helped her succeed in the competition so far.

If she wins the national bee, she’ll win a trip to the Galapagos Islands, which is exactly the place she’s says she's always wanted to go. “It’s right next to the equator, but they have penguins there” she tells host Ben Kieffer during this River to River interview. 

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River to River
10:48 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Africa, Behind the Headlines

First Lady Michelle Obama
Twitter.com

The kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls has captured world attention.  But the Nigerian government has been unsuccessfully trying to put down an insurgency by Boko Haram for years.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Pita Agbese, Professor of Political Science at University of Northern Iowa about the social media campaign that included a photo tweeted by First Lady Michelle Obama and how that has forced the Nigerian government to act.  He also speaks with Moses Bomett, Founder and President of Hope for Africa, a non-profit that raises money to support schools in Kenya.  And he talk with Jim

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News Buzz
5:30 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Whiskey Flavored Pigs?

Templeton Rye's Heritage Pork Project pigs
El Photography and Design

If you drink whiskey, and if you eat pork, you’ve probably come to understand them as a pretty good pairing. Scott Bush, President and Founder of Templeton Rye Whiskey in Templeton, Iowa, says he's always enjoyed the combination. Recently, he's taken it one step further.

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News Buzz
2:55 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Mobile Museum to Tour State

The University of Iowa's new mobile museum
Lindsey Moon/Iowa Public Radio

Have you ever wished the Museum of Natural History would visit you? Well, it’s on its way.

This spring The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History has launched a new initiative - the University of Iowa Mobile Museum - in collaboration with the UI’s Old Capitol Museum and the Office of the State Archaeologist. The 38-foot, custom built RV will being its tour of the state next week.

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Politics Day
5:33 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Frontrunners in Iowa's Republican Nomination for U.S. Senate

Newfrontiers

State Senator Joni Ernst started out relatively unknown in a crowded field for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Is she now the front runner?

We look at the candidacy of Joni Ernst this week, as she gains the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the NRA. Also on the program, a tea party primary win in Nebraska, the likelihood of immigration reform before November’s election, and looking abroad, the latest crisis in Ukraine and Nigeria.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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News Buzz
4:43 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

A Look at this Year's Legislative Session

John Pemble Iowa Public Radio

Happy Friday! Here's your news buzz wrap-up for the week...

Joyce Russell, IPR’s Statehouse Correspondent, recaps the 2014 Iowa legislative session:

Paul Sleeper, Fisheries Biologist for Iowa DNR, explains that fishy smell near your lakes and ponds:

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News Buzz
4:32 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Hey Cancer

To see the video, visit: http://www.scottsiepker.com/new-video-hey-cancer/
Scott Siepker

"Iowa Nice Guy" Scott Siepker joins Ben Kieffer on River to River to talk about his latest video "Hey Cancer," which he created as a humorous tribute to his late father, Terry “Zip” Siepker, who lost his second battle with leukemia last year.

"If you have somebody in your life that you love...please get out there and do it- tell the people you love that you love them!" - Scott Siepker

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Weather
2:30 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Severe Spring Weather: What's Ahead

Severe storm season begins in Iowa
Cedar Rapids artist, Louis / flickr

This week, Iowa has been pummeled by strong winds, rain, hail, and even a tornado – with Sunday’s storm taking the lives of two Iowans.

Today on River to River, severe weather in the Midwest. Two Iowa climatologists, Bill Gallus (ISU) and Alan Czarnetski (UNI), join the program to talk about this year’s spring season.

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River to River
2:08 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

All Things Cosmic, With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson in Austin, TX, with Steve Kawaler (ISU) and Jacklyn R. Green (JPL)

Asteroids, galaxies, aliens, and space travel...we cover it all on this edition of River to River. Renowned astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, joins us to weigh in on all things cosmic.

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Politics Day
2:36 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Iowa Midterm Races Heating Up

USA.gov

Iowa's June primary election is heating up.  Republican senatorial candidates have been debating, buying ads, and collecting big name endorsements.  But, only one will be campaigning to take incumbent Democrat Tom Harkin's seat.  Host Dean Borg talks with Kathie Obradovich, Political Columnist for the Des Moines Register and Tim Hagle, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Iowa about Iowa's primary races for Congress and U.S.

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Health Care
4:21 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

The Influence of Insurance on Your Hospital Bill

Common hospital billing and insurance terms
Emily Woodbury, via Wordle

A trip to the emergency room is expensive, even for more routine procedures. Take for example, Ron Smith, an Indianola resident whose $24,240 bill for a rabies vaccination was negotiated down by $17,627 by his insurance company.

Today, the third installment in our examination of hospital costs. We find out how insurance negotiations play into how much you pay for that ER visit, how Iowa’s insurance landscape may change through the Affordable Care Act, and how the number of visits to the ER may be affected by Obamacare.

Today's guests include:

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2014 Legislative Session
3:06 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Neighboring States Wrestle with Many of the Same Issues

Iowa's golden dome
John Pemble Iowa Public Radio

While there are many differences between Iowa and our neighboring states, there are also many similarities.  For example, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker recently signed a bill to allow the use of a cannabis extract for the treatment of seizures, while Minnesota's state legislature is still working on a similar proposal.  In recent weeks, an effort to decriminalize the possession of cannabis oil has gained ground in the Iowa statehouse.  In this week's legislative show, Host Clay Masters talks with statehouse reporters in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri to compare notes, and see

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Talk of Iowa
1:31 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

News Buzz: Cyber Security and the GOP Senate Candidate Debate

Martin Terber

This week, Iowa State University discovered a security breach affecting computer servers that contained Social Security numbers of thousands of students.  Host Ben Kieffer speaks with Provost Jonathan Wickert about how ISU is protecting their data against hackers.

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