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.

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.

Health of Iowa Schools

Mar 22, 2010

Iowa school districts are in the middle of tough contract negotiations with teachers. Funding from the state has declined and some districts are turning to property taxes or cash reserve accounts to make up the difference. Meanwhile the Iowa Association of School Boards embroiled in scandal. Host Jeneane Beck looks at the fiscal health of our schools with school administrators and the head of the Iowa Association of School Boards.

Backyard Chickens

Mar 19, 2010

In an archived program from last November, we discuss the movement in several Iowa communities to allow town residents to keep backyard chickens. Among the guests- the President of McMurray Hatchery in Webster City, the largest rare-breed poultry hatchery in the world. And a representative of CLUCK-Citizens for the Legalization of Urban Chickens in Cedar Rapids.

The 2010 Census

Mar 18, 2010

The once-a-decade population count is underway and census forms are arriving in millions of mailboxes across the country. Host Alex Heuer looks at the challenges and benefits to participation and examines demographic trends and how the census could affect Iowa's congressional representation.

Moms Off Meth

Mar 17, 2010

In a show that first aired in October of last year, we hear from members of the unique substance abuse help group Moms Off Meth. The first Moms Off Meth group started in Ottumwa over ten years ago after numerous mothers had their children taken away do to their addictions. Now ten years later, several Moms Off Meth groups are assisting mothers across the state.

Biodiesel in Iowa

Mar 16, 2010

Backers say Iowa is losing its position as a top biodiesel state. In January, a plant in Keokuk was put on the auction block. The U.S. Senate has voted to revive a biodiesel tax credit through 2010, but the Iowa legislature has rejected efforts to require diesel be blended with biodiesel. Host Jonathan Ahl talks with backers and opponents of government efforts to boost biodiesel sales.

Job Creation in Iowa

Mar 15, 2010

With more than 100,000 Iowans out of work and just two weeks left in the legislative session, minority Republicans are ramping up criticism of Democrats for failing to introduce a job creation bill. But as the majority party scrambles to find consensus on the measure, a state labor analyst says the employment picture is improving. Host Jeneane Beck discusses the job outlook with state lawmakers.

Tea Party

Mar 12, 2010

In a program broadcast live from the Java House in downtown Iowa City, we look at the emergence of the Tea Party as a grass roots political organization. We'll talk with Iowa Tea Party organizers and get their take on the influence they have in the political process and the conservative movement.

What obstacles do new farmers face? The challenge of access to land, the availability of finance and credit, creating new markets and implementing the 2008 Farm Bill are a just a few of the topics we'll explore with Neil Hamilton and Matt Russell from Drake Law School's Agriculture Law Center. Drake recently hosted a forum in Washington D.C. examining challenges for farmers. Later we examine the use of cover crops and their benefit to land sustainability.

Gambling in Iowa

Mar 10, 2010

A new state report shows revenues from Iowa's gambling casino industry dropped considerably in 2009. The report comes as Governor Culver urges the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to approve new casino license requests. We'll talk with community leaders seeking gambling operations and examine the economic development aspect of casinos in Iowa.