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

Genre: 
Composer ID: 
518277dae1c88c51b3133b4d|518277d6e1c88c51b3133b4c

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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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River to River
2:44 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Efforts to Curb Human Trafficking in the Midwest

Imagens Evangélicas

Up to two million women and children worldwide are victimized by traffickers each year.

It’s often thought to be a problem outside our border, but the majority of sex trafficking victims in this country are U.S. citizens. And, some of these victims are right here in the Midwest.

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Politics Day
4:19 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

SCOTUS Ruling on Affirmative Action Confusing

U.S. Supreme Court Justices
U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling yesterday that upholds Michigan's right to bar racial preference in college admissions.  Or, at least we think so.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Associate Professor of Political Science Tim Hagle from University of Iowa, and Joan and Abbott Lipsky Professor of Political Science Bruce Nesmith of Coe College about the ruling and what it means.  The opinions are confusing at best.  They also discuss the conflict in Ukraine, and the grassroots mobilization around a 2016 presidential run for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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Education
2:29 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

"Big" Ideas at an Innovative Iowa School

Student McKenna Cole stands with poplar trees used in her experiment to treat wastewater.
Shawn Cornally Iowa BIG

Most high school classwork goes unseen after it’s graded, but a group of teachers in Cedar Rapids is trying to change that. Today on River to River - host Ben Kieffer takes a look at Iowa BIG. This group is a project-based school that gets students out of the classroom, working on projects with a lasting impact on the community... projects including investigations on so-called cancer-causing products, gender bias, robotic prosthetics, and wastewater treatment.

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2014 Legislative Session
2:58 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Bill on Greyhound Racing Being Drafted at Statehouse

Greyhound racing
Alex Lapuerta Creative Commons

A bill is being drafted at the Iowa Statehouse to separate greyhound racing from the two casinos that no longer want to support it.  Host Clay Masters spoke with Senator Jeff Danielson of Cedar Falls, who says the agreement provides both a "soft landing" and a "second chance" for the greyhound industry.  That means breeders who want to quit breeding dogs for racing can receive a payout, and the Iowa Greyhound Association will get a chance to manage a track for themselves.  Currently casino revenues in Dubuque and Council Bluffs have been supplementing the purses paid at the tracks.  Daniels

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News Buzz
3:01 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

After 40 Years, Rasberry Williams and his Daughter Reconnect

Happy Friday! It's a "news buzz" edition of River to River, bringing you several Iowa news stories of the week.

Charletta Sudduth was eight years old when her father was incarcerated for shooting and killing a man outside a Waterloo pool hall, a crime he has maintained was in self-defense. Now her father, Rasberry Williams, will be released on parole to an assisted living facility, after serving nearly 40 years of a life sentence. We hear from her:

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River to River
2:12 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Red Cross Recongizes Iowa Heroes

Red Cross flag.

Heroes of the Heartland are recognized for acts of heroism  or community service by the American Red Cross of Greater Iowa.  This year’s recipients include fourth-grader Josh Little who saved a classmate from choking, and Baxter Police Officer Joe Bartello, who rescued a semi-truck driver by swimming through the vehicle’s broken windshield after it crashed and submerged in flood water.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with these impressive individuals.

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Politics Day
3:59 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Ukraine Crisis Deepens

A Ukrainian protest, February 2014
blu-news.org Flickr Creative Commons

As the Ukrainian crisis deepens, Host Ben Kieffer talks with Wayne Moyer of Grinnell College and Donna Hoffman of University of Northern Iowa about U.S. response.  Other topics include, the Pulitzer Prize awarded to the Washington Post and the Guardian for their coverage of the NSA, a new climate change study, and Stephen Colbert's new Late Night gig.

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Politics
3:57 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

The Political Gap: Campaigning and Serving as a Woman

Hillary Rodham Clinton delivering her victory speech at the Manhattan Center Studios, following the New York 2008 primary
Angela Radulescu https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode

Women currently make up 18.5 percent of the U.S. Congress. Yet Iowa is one of only two states that has never elected a woman to Congress nor had a female governor.

This hour, a look at the gender gap in politics – Why do women run for office less than their male counterparts? When they are in office, how do they govern?

Some highlights from today's guests:

Three reasons for the gender gap in political ambition: from Jennifer Lawless, Director of the Women & Politics Institute and Professor of Government at American University

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2014 Legislative Session
3:21 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Lawmakers Hold Out Hope for Texting Bill and Gas Tax

U.S. Department of Labor

The Chairs of the Iowa Senate and House Transportation Committees say they're still hopeful two key proposals can win approval in the final days of the legislative session.  A bill approved by the Iowa Senate would've made texting while driving a primary offense.  In other words, an officer could stop and ticket a driver for texting while driving, without the driver committing another moving violation.  That bill failed to win approval before a funnel deadline in the House, but Senator Tod Bowman, a Maquoketa Democrat, says the bill will likely come up again in future sessions and Represent

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River to River
3:47 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Richard Dawkins

Apes or hominoids are all descendants of a common ancestor.
en.wikipedia.org

Acclaimed evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins returns to Iowa this Saturday.  Dawkins will speak at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines at a ticketed event put on by SecularityUSA, which advocates for secularism in American government.

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Health Care
4:52 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Delivering Better and More Affordable Care to Emergency Room "Super-Users"

Dr. Joshua Pruitt at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids
Durrie Bouscaren

Some Iowans visit hospital emergency rooms more than 15 times a year. They’re known as “frequent-flyers” or super-users of the ER. Today on River to River, how our system handles them.

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Politics Day
4:26 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Putin's Motives in Ukraine Hard to Decode

U.S. President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a bilateral meeting in 2012
Pete Souza Official White House photo

As protests continue in Eastern Ukraine, Secretary of State John Kerry says it's clear the chaos is being orchestrated by Russia.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Wayne Moyer, Rosenfield Professor of Political Science at Grinnell College and Jim McCormick, Professor and Chair of Political Science at Iowa State University about Russian President Valdimir Putin's motivations.  They also discuss the politics of equal pay, and the recent firing of Department of Administrative Services Director Mike Carroll.

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River to River
3:29 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Understanding the Crimean Crisis

Satellite image of Crimea.
NASA

Russia has warned that any use of force in Ukraine's eastern region could lead to civil war. This comes as Kiev seeks to regain control after pro-Moscow uprisings in three cities.  This hour, host Ben Kieffer listens to two perspectives on the crisis.

Roman Skaskiw is a Ukrainian-American software developer and graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop living in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.  He sees most of the pro-Putin sentiment as fake and orchestrated

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2014 Legislative Session
3:53 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Iowa Children Stuck on Mental Health Waiting List

The Iowa Capitol
Photo by John Pemble

Children with serious mental health issues are waiting as long as two years to receive services in their communities.  Host Clay Masters talks with Tammy from Iowa City whose son has been diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome and Oppositional Defiance Disorder.  She says services like respite care are essential for families exhausted from caring for a suicidal or angry child.  But such services aren't covered by insurance.  A children's mental health waiver is designed to cover the gap between what insurance covers and what services are needed, but the wa

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Legislative Day
3:30 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Branstad on Medical Cannabis, Juvenile Home, and Secret Settlements

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad in the Captiol's Law Library.
Photo by John Pemble

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad would support a bill with limited medical uses for cannabis if it looks similar to legislation passed in Utah.  Host Clay Masters talks with Branstad about medical marijuana, the juvenile home, secret settlements, and more on this Legislative Day edition of River to River from the Law Library at the Iowa state capitol building.

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News Buzz
4:08 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

'As Night Falls,' it's Time for David Skorton

An African bull elephant at the National Museum of Natural History. That's part of the Smithsonian which will be led by former Iowan David Skorton
Smithsonian Institution

David Skorton used to open his Iowa Public Radio jazz show like this, "As night falls over the river city and all of eastern Iowa, it's time for jazz."

Skorton is the former president of the University of Iowa, and has served as president of Cornell University, and he will become the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute next year.  You might remember his radio jazz show “As Night Falls” which he co-hosted with the late Frank Conroy.  Hear about Skorton's  expectations of his upcoming job:

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News Buzz
3:06 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

This Helmet Has a Brain

Shawn Cornally holds a student-designed helmet with concussion detection hardware. (host Ben Kieffer in background)
Ben Stanton/Iowa Public Radio

The brain on this helmet is designed with the idea of protecting your brain from a concussion. Built into it is what amounts to a small computer.  It was designed and programmed by an Iowa student.  

Different LEDs light up depending on how hard the helmet is getting jostled. This project is one of many that students might get involved in through The Big Ideas Group, which is an optional education program through the Cedar Rapids School District.

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Varnum Anniversary
2:54 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Iowa Leads Nation in Trend toward Same-Sex Marriage

Trish (left) and Kate (right) Varnum live in Cedar Rapids. Kate was the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court Case that paved the way for same-sex marriage in Iowa
Clay Masters IPR

In 2009, the Varnum decision made Iowa the third state to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Fast forward five years later, and 17 states now sanction same-sex marriage, several others allow civil unions, and a U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled a federal same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.

Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer takes a look at how public and political attitudes on same-sex marriage have shifted, as well as acknowledging the groups that have remained steadfast in their position.

The guests on today's program include:

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