Talk of Iowa

Weekdays at 10 a.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One and 9 p.m. on IPR News

Talk of Iowa brings a mix of regular guests and a range of experts to the microphone to discuss what’s happening in Iowa and what makes this a special place to live. Guests include wildlife expert Jim Pease and the Hort Gang on Fridays.

Talk of Iowa is hosted by Charity Nebbe @CharityNebbe.  It’s produced by Dennis Reese, Emily Woodbury @EmilyWoodbury, Lindsey Moon @lindseysmoon and Clare Roth @ClareAliceRoth.  Our Executive Producer is Katherine Perkins.  Our theme music is by The River Monks.

Lindsey Moon

Last summer Beth Howard hosted her last pitchfork pie stand in Eldon at the American Gothic House. This year, she's reviving the stand, but this time she's opening up shop on the other side of the world. 

Howard will be hosting around 1,200 people at U.S. Embassy in Thailand on the fourth of July this summer as one of her last stops on her “World Piece” tour. She’s leaving Tuesday to travel the world in search of the best pie recipes and will be teaching pie making classes along the way.

pawpaw67 / flickr

Parents want their kids to be safe, but some believe safety concerns have gone too far.

“This kind of environment of being suspicious of everybody around them and giving them no chance to be children or to play is just a horrible disservice to the children," says Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things: Crime, Drugs, Minorities, Teen Moms, Killer Kids, Mutant Microbes, Plane Crashes, Road Rage, & So Much More.

Halvard from Norway

When our horticulture experts are stumped by a caller, they turn to the experts at Iowa State University's Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic.  They identify plant diseases, weeds, mushrooms and insects.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Entomologist Laura Jesse and Plant Pathologist Lina Rodreguez-Salamanca about the sleuthing that happens in diagnosing a plant disease or insect infestation.

It’s been about three months since Daniel Finney wrote his first column in the Des Moines Register about his efforts to lose more than 300 pounds. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Daniel Finney about his weight loss journey.

"The little things are a tremendous life improvement," says Finney, referring to walking to the mailbox and household chores. "You go from dreading simple basic daily tasks to not really thinking about them, and you become really grateful of the fact that you are on this journey to recover."

Courtesy of Nick Dawe

A cappella singing has come a long way since its roots in cathedrals or a barber shop quartet, as exemplified by the new film Pitch Perfect 2. Lee Nelson directs choral activities at Wartburg College and says it’s a constantly evolving genre.

courtesy of Bill McKibben

Rapidly melting sea ice, crippling drought, violent storms--author and environmental activist Bill McKibben has been predicting these events for decades.  But now, he says, "We need to get serious about taking care of ourselves."  IPR's Charity Nebbe speaks with McKibben about what it will take to convince humanity to take action on climate change.  McKibben delivered the commencement address at Grinnell College on May 18.

littlemalba / Flickr

Sigal Barsade, professor of management in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, says the secret ingredient to a happy workplace is cheaper than free beer or ping pong tables--it's love.

"In the unit in which there was more affection, caring, compassion and tenderness among employees, we found there was greater employee engagement, better job satisfaction and teamwork, less employee withdrawal, less burnout, and less hard measures on absenteeism."

Lucas Mann lost his big brother to a heroin overdose when he was only 13 years old. He writes about his journey to get to know his late brother in his new memoir Lord Fear.

“Even before I thought of myself as a writer, I would sit down, and his addiction and his presence was always really there in the background. Even in my book Class A which is about baseball, his absence works his way into the book,” Mann explains.

John Tann / Flickr

If you head out for a hike, there's a decent chance you'll return with a hitchhiker. All three types of ticks in Iowa are active right now. 

Donald Lewis, an entomologist with Iowa State University extension, speaks with host Charity Nebbe about ticks. ISU Extension horticulturist Richard Jauron and DNR district forester Mark Vitosh also join the conversation.

Photo by Christopher Gannon

When Iowa history is taught the focus is usually on settlement and early statehood, but interesting things have happened since 1846.

A new summer course at Iowa State University is designed to fill in some of the gaps.

This summer, a first of its kind online history course focusing on civil rights in Iowa is being offered to ISU students, teachers, and the general public.

Courtesty of Jane Sutter Brandt

Jane Sutter Brandt remembers when her grandfather’s soda fountain in Burlington was still serving pineapple and cottage cheese for 15 cents and a tuna sandwich for a dime. She writes about the family’s business in her new memoir Sutter’s Sodas Satisfy: a Memoir of 90 Years of Sutter Drug Company.

Matthew Paulson / Flickr

Do the deer eat your hostas? Do raccoons share your sweet corn?

Humans and wild animals often clash because we need and want different things from the environment, but there are ways to successfully coexist with the creatures that wander the backyards and farms all across Iowa.

On this Wildlife Day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with wildlife biologist Jim Pease about some principles of gardening with wildlife in mind.

Llez / Wikimedia Commons

Sweet potatoes are often thought of as a southern plant, but with the right care, they can thrive in Iowa.

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Ajay Nair, Assistant Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University, about the ins and outs of growing sweet potatoes in your own backyard. Technique is key.

neoterrar / Flickr

Cedar Rapids hasn't always been known as a food mecca, but the chefs competing in next week's Battle of the Chefs say the city's been moving steadily towards more fresh, refined, and interesting taste profiles.

"Ten years ago, where would people eat? They'd go to Iowa City or they'd go over to Mount Vernon to the Lincoln Cafe, because we had very few places. But now we have people coming up from Iowa City and from   different parts of eastern Iowa to eat in Cedar Rapids," said Tony Bata, owner of Bata's Restaurant.

Working with Windows

May 6, 2015
Nieuw

Windy, wet days are ahead. Have your windows been leaking? Home improvement expert Bill McAnally says if you want to replace them, be mindful of how much new windows will cost.  

"Every window leaks, some of them leak very little and are very good windows. But weather stripping can only do so much," he expains. McAnally says sometimes it's more cost effective to put good storm windows on an existing window, rather than totally replacing old windows. 

screen shot from the Kickstarter video

In order to try to produce more local milk, Kalona Supernatural is getting creative. They've just got a few days left in a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to build a fence to expand the pasture available for milking cattle to graze. 

Moyan Brenn / Flickr

Iowans have a growing appetite for locally grown and produced foods – everything from meat and dairy to fruit and vegetables. In order to try to fill that demand, food hubs are forming throughout the state.

Jan Libbey is an administrator for Healthy Harvest of North Iowa. She says food hubs are a way for small producers to meet big demand. “One producer may not be able to produce enough locally grown tomatoes for a restaurant, but if two or three producers joined forces, they would be able to.”

That’s the idea behind a food hub; farmers work together.

Jennifer Percy/Courtesy of Grand Central Publishing

In novelist Benjamin Percy’s latest vision of the future, a super flu and nuclear fallout have turned the United States into a nightmarish wasteland. The apocalypse begins in Ames, Iowa.

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Percy about his latest novel, The Dead Lands.  It takes place about 150 years after life as we know it has ended. Small outposts of humanity, disconnected from one another, struggle to survive in a harsh world.

Alana Tamminga Photography

Students at Decorah High School have lost friends in recent years, some to accidents, some to suicide. Senior Rebecca Haars saw that her fellow students were hurting and vulnerable, so she decided to do something to help. She brought the Raw. Honest. Loved. project to Decorah.

On this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe talks with Haars and Alana Tamminga, the woman behind this powerful project.

David Prasad / Flickr

Prairie rehabilitation has become an important part of restoring native plants and wildlife in many communities. One noticeable change in recent years is that many prairies are being grown on a smaller scale, in urban environments and backyards across Iowa.

Jason Hickey / Flickr

We all have those moments in life that we look back on with 20/20 hindsight and wish we could do differently. Author Cate Dicharry aims to make light of these life mistakes and times of regret with a tinge of humor in her new book “The Fine Art of F***ing Up.”

On this segment of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Dicharry about the inspiration for her new novel.

City of Concord NC / Flickr

The Arc of Southeast Iowa is in the process of building an inclusive playground in Iowa City. And though federal guidelines instituted in 2014 require newly built playgrounds to be ADA accessible, "accessible" and inclusive can be two very different things. Jorja Ludeking is one of the leaders on the project at the Arc. She says ensuring playgrounds are welcoming and accomodating to people of all abilities is essential.

Colleen Chisman

As wild animals have adapted to our growing cities and towns, more and more people are encountering wildlife in their own backyards. What do you do if the wild animals you find are injured, orphaned, or displaced?

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

Mary Roach’s first book proposal was the product of a dare on New Year’s Eve. She says she never envisioned herself as the author of several New York Times best-selling books.

“I’d been writing for magazines for 10-15 years. Writing a book seemed daunting, but I worked in an office with a lot of writers. We would make predictions for what we would all do in the coming year. Someone said I would get a book contract, and then it was October, and I figured I needed to get started.”

Julie Lesnik

Iowa State University primatologist Jill Pruetz studies the spear-wielding Savannah chimpanzees ofSenegal. Most recently, after documenting more than 300 tool-assisted hunts, the team found that while adult male chimps are the main hunters, it's the female chimps that hunt with tools more than males.

“It’s just another example of diversity in chimp behavior that we keep finding the longer we study wild chimps,” Pruetz says. “It is more the exception than the rule that you’ll find some sort of different behavior, even though we’ve studied chimps extensively.”

Raquelveludo / Wikimedia Commons

Shocking data reveals more than half of Iowa's trees fall under just two different genera: maple and ash. 

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources Forestry Bureau recently inventoried trees in 273 communities across the state. The results showed that maple and ash trees make up 54 percent of trees in Iowa’s public parks and streets. DNR Urban Forrester Matt Brewer says that the state needs to value diversity and learn from past diseases that hit the tree population.

South Dakota Historical Society Press

Laura Ingalls Wilder completed the original draft of her autobiography, Pioneer Girl, in the spring of 1930. It was never published, but it led to one of the most beloved series of books of all time.

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography is finally in print. Editor Pamela Smith Hill has painstakingly researched that original draft, sharing light on the events that Wilder wrote about, and painting a picture about a remarkable family that lived through momentous times.

Steven Semken / Ice Cube Press

Iowa City still has the mark of Howard Moffitt all over. His hobbit-like houses sit intermingled with more traditional houses in many Iowa City neighborhoods to this day.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Dr. Richard DeGowin, author of “House of Moffitt, The First 20 Years – a Memoir”.

One characteristic of the Moffitt houses is that Moffitt built them on the premise that they were to be rented out and bought by low-income tenants.

Ken_from_MD / Flickr

Walk into a garden center this time of year, and you’ll be greeted with row upon row of colorful flowers and other bedding plants. But all that variety can seem a bit overwhelming at times.

On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, horticulturists Richard Jauron and Chris Curry of Iowa State University put your worries to bed when it comes to approaching your big trip to the garden center.

It all starts out with having a game plan before even stepping foot in the garden center, so you know what to look for.

Photo Courtesy of Noreen Gosch

Noreen Gosch has been searching for justice for her missing son Johnny for more than 30 years. A new documentary about her battle to find her son makes its theatrical premier in Iowa next week.

Michael Galinsky, one of three filmmakers who worked on the film Who Took Johnny, says it was both a heartbreaking and compelling project.

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