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.

New Iowa Laws

Jun 29, 2010

Host Dean Borg talks with a researcher about Iowa's new texting ban, a victim advocate and law enforcement trainer about the firearms possession ban for those convicted of domestic assault, a state senator about floodplain mapping, and a preschool teacher and director about the expansion of preschool grants. All are new laws going into effect July 1st in Iowa.

Fireworks in Iowa

Jun 28, 2010

With the Fourth of July quickly approaching, we discuss fireworks in our state. We speak with a firework display operator from J & M Displays, Iowa's own professional firework display company. What goes on behind the scenes before, during and after a display? Then a conversation about the dangers of playing with pyrotechnics without professional training.

Host Ben Kieffer talks with Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy about the Cyclones' Big 12 scare, and state funding for the Regents institutions. Then, University of Northern Iowa President Benjamin Allen talks about competition for Iowa college students.

Gangs in Iowa

Jun 24, 2010

Earlier this month in Iowa City a group of kids, some as young as twelve years old, were arrested during a gang initiation ritual. We'll talk about gang activity in Iowa and what's being done to stop it. Guests include the founder and CEO of Creative Visions in Des Moines. Part of the group's mission is to work with at-risk youth and families affected by gangs. Also, a conversation with a man who just finished serving time in prison for gang-related activities.

Disability Essays

Jun 23, 2010

We speak with authors and editors of essays included in "From My Perspective: Essays About Disability." The book includes essays by seventeen authors who have a disability or provide support as a parent or other caregiver. We'll also hear about how the book is being used in a Warburg College social work class.

K2 and legal drugs

Jun 22, 2010

State drug control officials are warning residents about a new "fake" marijuana being called K2 or Spice after the death of an Indianola teen. They're also suggesting that the substance be banned during the next legislative session. How much do we know about it, and how does it compare with "legal" drugs like salvia, nictoine and alcohol? We'll talk with Gary Kendell, Director for the Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy and Jonathan Kahl, Cognitive Neuroscientist at Iowa State University.

Prescription Drug Abuse

Jun 21, 2010

In an archive program from last September, host Ben Kieffer examines the rise of prescription drug abuse with the Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy Director Gary Kendall. A number of national studies indicate that the intentional abuse of prescription drugs, such as pain relievers, tranquilizers and sedatives is a growing concern.

Des Moines has been selected as one of only 18 sites for an unprecedented national discussion on the national debt. A diverse group of local citizens will come together June 26th at Drake University, linked online with the eighteen other sites across the country. Host Ben Kieffer talks with organizers of the discussion. Later in the hour, State Senator Joe Bolkom of Iowa City discusses his recent bike trip across Slovenia to learn about the country's efforts to reduce its consumption of energy.

We discuss the toxicology of children's toys with toxicologist Steven Gilbert and a toy store owner from Des Moines in light of the Consumer Product Safety Commission's recent cadmium related recalls.

The World Triathlon

Jun 16, 2010

He is famous for becoming the first Iowan to climb Mount Everest. Now, Des Moines resident Charlie Wittmack is embarking on his greatest challenge ever- a 12,000 mile intercontinental triathlon that reaches the frigid waters of the English Channel to the snow-covered summit of Mount Everest. Host Ben Kieffer talks with Charlie about the adventure and how his family agreed to take part in the journey.

We talk about The Passage, a new book authored by a University of Iowa Writer's Workshop graduate. Then, an interview with Lisa Koll, a nine-time All American Iowa State distance runner who has been named the nation's top collegiate female athlete in track and field.

With the World Cup underway host ben Kieffer talks with coaches and players of Iowa's premier development league soccer team, the Des Moines Menace. What kind of foothold does soccer have in Iowa's sports landscape? Have you caught World Cup fever?

Engineers bring a critical perspective to the economic models and mathematical predictions that are used to influence public policy. People making policy and economic decisions tend to take models on their face, but engineers bring a great skepticism about what the models say. We'll find out more from Iowa State University Mechanical Engineer Ross Morrow. Later in the hour- The wild scramble is on in major college athletics as Universities are leaving their respective conferences for greener pastures, or Super Conferences.

In light of Memorial weekend boating accidents, a discussion of boating safety laws with Susan Stocker, Boating Safety Educator with the Iowa DNR. Then, an Iowa lawmaker talks about his renewed push for stricter laws to combat drinking and boating.

Activism and Fulbright

Jun 8, 2010

We talk with Marisa Handler, UI Writer's Workshop graduate and author of "Loyal to the Sky," an award-winning memoir that documents her coverage of activist communities worldwide. Then, we discuss the Fulbright Scholarship program with a coordinator and a former scholar.

In his new book "Unhinged", Dr. Daniel Carlat says psychiatry has changed from a profession in which we try to understand people and talk to them, into a profession that diagnoses disease and medicates. Host Ben Kieffer explores the topic with Dr. Carlat and University of Iowa Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Robert Philibert.

Animal Abuse

Jun 4, 2010

We'll hear the amazing story of a Sioux City cat that was rescued after having a nail driven through its head, and discuss the implications of that horrific case of animal abuse. Guests include Executive Director of the Animals and Society Institute and the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.

Host Dean Borg talks with GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Rod Roberts. Later in the hour, a conversation with State Climatologist Harry Hillaker and Iowa State University Extension Climatologist Elwynn Taylor. The weather experts discuss the lack of tornado activity in Iowa this spring and the tools used to study tornadoes.

Host Dean Borg talks with two of the three Republicans who hope to win the GOP’s 2010 nomination for governor.

Business start-ups reached their highest level in 14 years in 2009. How is Iowa staying ahead of the curve in economic development opportunities? Host Ben Kieffer talks with Curt Nelson of the Entrepreneural Development Center in Cedar Rapids.

We follow IPR's Katherine Perkins through her "graduation" from chemotherapy. Then, we hear about the hundreds of clinical trials for cancer patients taking place across Iowa.

21-Only Ordinance

May 27, 2010

Beginning June 1, bar owners in Iowa City will prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from entering their establishment. The issue goes before voters in the General Election this fall. In a program broadcast live from the Java House in Iowa City, host Ben Kieffer examines the culture of drinking with University of Iowa Vice President of Student Services Tom Rocklin and UI student Raj Patel who led the effort to have the issue placed on the November ballot.

In an archived program from May 2009, host Ben Kieffer talks with Marilyn Yalom, author of 'The American Resting Place' and Michael Lensing of Lensing Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Iowa City. The guests examine some of the most bizarre burial practices and how different cultures explore death.

Iowa Supreme Court

May 25, 2010

While a lot of attention is currently focused on the U-S Supreme Court and the nomination hearings of Elana Kagan,we’ll look at the Iowa Supreme Court. Iowa’s merit system for appointing Justices is an exception across the U-S. We’ll talk with former Iowa Supreme Court Justice Robert Allbee and two professors who have studied the Iowa Supreme Court and its decisions.

A conversation with former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich who previews his upcoming trip to visit Polk County Republicans and discusses what Iowa GOP candidates must do to win in November's General Elections. Later in the hour U.S. Senator Charles Grassley provides an update on oil spill in the Gulf.

Reporters Roundtable

May 21, 2010

Des Moines Register Columnist Kathie Obradovich and Cedar Rapids Gazette Political Reporter James Lynch join Ben Kieffer to discuss the recent visit by the Dalai Lama, the last gubernatorial debate before the primary and Vice-President Joe Biden's trip to Iowa to endorse Governor Culver.

Cashless Society

May 20, 2010

Debit card usage has climbed fourfold since 1999 and the Payments Council predicts that banknotes and coins will be used for fewer than half of all transactions in the next five years. We examine the prospects of a cashless society with a University of Iowa Finance Professor and the leader of a Des Moines business offering a web-based technology for transferring money.

Iowa Refugees

May 19, 2010

Since 1975 more than 30-thousand refugees have come to Iowa to find a home. It began with Governor Robert Ray as Vietnamese families fled war and persecution. Now 35 years later, two of Iowa's three refugee resettlement agencies are suspending their programs. What does it mean for the state and the refugees currently living in Iowa? Host Jeneane Beck talks with Governor Robert Ray and the Bureau Chief of the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services.

In the past few years the number of Chinese students seeking an American education has seen a considerable increase. Even American prep schools have been busy recruiting China's best and brighest. We examine the great U.S.-China student exchange with Chinese students in Iowa and Iowa students seeking an education overseas. Plus, an interview with NPR Shanghai correspondent Louisa Lim.

Human Origins

May 17, 2010

A conversation with Lee Berger, the American paleoanthropologist who last month discovered the bones of a new hominid species. Australopithecus sediba lived almost two-million years ago during a mysterious period spanning the emergence of the human family. Then, two Iowa paleoanthropologists discuss the questions raised and answered by this discovery.