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.

Farm Bill

May 3, 2010

The House Agriculture Committee held its first hearing on the Farm Bill in Des Moines April 30th. We'll talk with Bruce Babcock, Director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development and others who testified in Des Moins, about the changes needed and likely in the 2012 Farm Bill.

Host Ben Kieffer discusses possible Wall Street reforms, changes on the horizon in immigration laws and the President's recent trip to the midwest with Iowa's two congressmen.

Campus Sexual Assault

Apr 29, 2010

We examine the issue of sexual assault on Iowa's college campuses. We talk with representatives from victim advocacy, criminal investigation and the campus disciplinary process to see what policies the Regents Universities have for handling such incidents, and what they're doing to prevent them.

A conversation with the American Presidential Historian Richard Norton Smith. The former Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum Director is in Iowa this week to discuss why American history should remain part of our daily lives. Later in the hour a University of Iowa researcher discusses efforts to improve Iowa’s dismal record of teen driving safety.

Wellmark Smoking Ban

Apr 27, 2010

Smokers need not apply. That’s the message Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has for potential employees in a new policy. But is it a company’s place to dictate employees’ behavior away from work? We'll examine smoking and other health related behavior and ask is it good health policy or overreach?

School Food Nutrition

Apr 26, 2010

We look at nutrition in Iowa schools. Last week, retired military leaders released a report critical of food in schools. They conclude 27-percent of young adults are ineligible to serve because they are overweight. We'll talk about the report and what schools in Iowa re doing to improve nutrition.

After 32 years on the job, state Ombudsman Bill Angrick is retiring. We'll talk with Angrick about his position dealing with complaints about state government and hear what he thinks are the most serious issues facing lawmakers today. Then a conversation with author David Lipsky. His new book is a biography of David Foster Wallace, who gained fame and acclaim for his novel 'Infinite Jest'. Lipsky is coming to the Des Moines Public Library as part of their author series.

Earth Day

Apr 22, 2010

We look at how Iowa colleges are staying on the cutting edge of the green revolution- Luther College Sustainability Director Dan Bellrichard discusses energy saving programs at the Decorah school. Later in the hour, a conversation with author Heather Rogers. Her new book 'Green Gone Wrong' explores the concepts of ecopolitics and fear mongering that she argues have infected environmentalism.

As part of National Crime Victims Rights Week, we listen back to a conversation from April of last year and the firsthand accounts of what it’s like to have someone in your family murdered. The shock, the grief, the media coverage, and facing the accused in court. Among the guests- Julie Paulson, the aunt of Katie Hill and Molly Edmundson. The two young women were murdered in Cedar Rapids in 2006. And Tami Stephens, her sister Shelly a single mother of three - was killed in Hiawatha in 2003.

A conversation with Loras college student Jake Krapfl, whose new book 'Shadows of War' is a fictional account of war's effects on soldiers and families. In 2007, Krapfl contemplated suicide as he struggled with the transition to life on the homefront after two combat tours with the U.S. Army in Iraq.

A look at the changes taking place in on-line media. Among the guests, University of Iowa Journalism Professor Stephen Berry who discusses a new collaboration of some of the state and nation's media and education leaders to form a new, non-profit, non-partisan news outlet that will serve the state of Iowa.

On the Job Hunt

Apr 16, 2010

Are you looking for a job or ready to make a career change? Or a college graduate looking to dive into the job market? We discuss Iowa's employment landscape with Kerry Koonce of Iowa Workforce Development and career counselor Katharine Brooks.

Former Iowa gubernatorial candidate Christian Fong unveils what he calls "The Iowa Dream Project". The effort aims to promote conservative solutions to tackle the challenges in education, economic development and community renewal. Then a conversation with University of Iowa Astronomy Professor Steven Spangler who discusses the meteor that streaked across the sky in parts of Iowa Wednesday night.

A discussion of the latest state news stories with several Iowa journalists - the motion for a new trial in the Mark Becker case, the shakeup in Cedar Rapids city government, the Price Lab School scandal in Cedar Falls. And, how the race for governor is shaping up. Then a conversation with Des Moines Register photographer Mary Chind. Chind was just awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her dramatic photo of a construction worker rescuing a woman from the Des Moines River.

An avalanche of queries are comig in, aimed at government officials, physicians and nonprofit groups as Americans struggle to understand the complexities of the new health care reform law. We'll look at some of the changes in store for hospitals, patients and small business. Among Ben Kieffer's guests- Grinnell Regional Medical Center President and CEO Todd Linden, University of Iowa Public Policy Director Peter Damiano and Iowa Small Business Administration Director Joseph Folsom.

We learn about a new project from the Iowa State Archeology Department that will use airbourne lasers to survey hundreds of native American burial mounds in Iowa. Also, an interview with Professor of Natural Philosophy Marcelo Gleiser about his new book "A Tear at the Edge of Creation" which examines a radical new vision for life in the universe.

With President Obama signing the historic nuclear arms reduction pact, we examine U.S.-Russia relations. Among Ben Kieffer's guests- NPR reporter and Russia correspondent David Greene and University of Iowa Political Science Professor William Reisinger.

Tuition and fees continue to rise while tough economic times are making it more difficult for families to pay for a college education. We’ll talk with State Senator Herman Quirmbach about funding for public education and Grinnell College President Russell Osgood about private education and ideas for improving affordability.

Two wind energy conferences in Iowa this week will focus on issues crucial to the continued development of the industry. The American Wind Energy Association says capacity added last year, 9,900 megawatts, was the largest on record, and was 18 percent above the capacity added in 2008. We'll talk about research and development, workforce issues and transmission of Iowa-generated wind energy to areas of the country with the highest demand.

Host Ben Kieffer talks with Matt DeLisi, Associate Professor of Sociology and director of the criminal justice program at Iowa State University. De Lisi's new book is "Criminological Theory: A Life Course Approach". Delisi says career criminals aren’t necessarily born that way, but it’s a sequence of events and layering of risk factors over a lifetime that mold someone into a lifelong repeat offender. Later in the hour, a look at how global climate change affects violence.

Why does the FCC think America needs its newly- announced 'National Broadband’ plan and why are Iowa cities scrambling to be Google’s choice for superfast broadband? We examine broadband expansion with former FCC Commissioner Nicholas Johnson. Then a conversation with television advertising editor Josh Bodnar. The Emmy Award-winner will discuss his craft of high-tech editing with a lecture Monday at the University of Northern Iowa.

One year after the Iowa Supreme Court ruling allowing same sex marriage in Iowa, where do we stand? Host Ben Kieffer talks with Kate and Trish Varnum, two of the plaintiffs in the historic case to see how the ruling has impacted their lives. And, pollster and Political Science Professor David Redlawsk analyzes public opinion in Iowa and New Jersey on the issue of marriage equity.

Coffee Culture

Apr 1, 2010

It seems everywhere you go these days, you can find - coffee. Host Ben Kieffer examines coffee culture with the author of "Uncommon Grounds," a computer programmer striving to visit every Starbucks in the world, and two Iowans who've integrated coffee into library visits and church services.

With the Dalai Lama visiting the University of Northern Iowa this spring, we examine the fascination with the study of Buddhism with University of Northern Iowa Associate Professor Suzanne Freedman. Freedman looks at the basic concepts of foregiveness in relationships and society. Also on the program is Stephen Asma, author of "Why I Am a Buddhist: Non-Nonsense Buddhism with Red Meat and Whiskey" and David Gruber, writer and director of the PBS documentary 'The Buddha'.

Host Ben Kieffer talks with former skinhead gang leader Frank Meeink about his descent into America's Nazi underground and his ultimate triumph over hatred and addiction. Meeink, now living in Des Moines, is the author of "Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead".

Host Jeneane Beck talks Iowa Department of Human Services Director Charlie Krogmeier. Plus a conversation with reporters about legislation passed during the 2010 session.

Seven Wheelchairs

Mar 26, 2010

In an interview from October of 2008, host Ben Kieffer talks with Gary Pressley. In 1959, Pressely received a booster shot to prevent polio. But instead of enhancing his immunity, it prodcued major paralysis. Pressley discusses his memoir "Seven Wheelchairs- A Life Beyond Polio".

A conversation from last November with Maquoketa native Rose Frantzen. Frantzen set up a storefront on main street last summer and painted portraits of all the residents willing to participate. The project was one of three featured in the Smithsonian's portrait gallery as part of an exhibition examining "community." Later in the hour we listen back to an interview with Dayton Duncan. The Indianola native co-produced "The National Parks" series with Ken Burns for PBS.

Cyber Bullying

Mar 24, 2010

Ben Kieffer talks with Tina Meier, the mother of a cyber bullying victim that ended in the teenager's suicide. Meier will deliver the keynote address at the Des Moines Area Community College Electronic Crime Seminar fcusing on cyber bullying. Later in the hour, Iowa State University Asscoaite Professor Warren Blumenfeld discusses his research studying cyberbullying.

National Public Radio’s Ombudsman Alicia Shepard joins host Ben Kieffer in a program that aired last November. Part of Shepard’s job is to respond to queries, comments and criticisms regarding NPR programming. Also, Iowa Public Radio News Director Jonathan Ahl will join us to address journalistic issues faced at the state level.