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 Ben Stanton @StantonRadio. Our Executive Producer is Katherine Perkins. Our theme music is by The River Monks.

Emily Woodbury

Heading into her junior year at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Diamond Roundtree is an accomplished poet. She just recently published a collection of her poetry titled, Words from My Heart.

The collection includes a poem about how being bullied made her who she is today, another that explores her African American heritage, and many words designed to encourage, empower and inspire her readers.

Anjali Pinto

Anjali Pinto became a widow on New Year’s Eve of 2016 when her young, strong, 30-year-old husband, Jacob Johnson, died suddenly of an aortic dissection.

They had been planning to ride RAGBRAI together as a way to honor Jacob’s late grandmother, but instead, Pinto ended up riding across the state with Jacob’s family to honor both Jacob and his grandmother.

How to Keep Your Garden Rose-y This Summer

Jul 16, 2018
Kikuo Teranishi / Wikimedia Commons

Roses have found their way into our hearts and into our gardens. Whatever beautiful species of rose brings color to your garden, Aaron Steil, assistant director of Reiman Gardens, and Richard Jauron of ISU Extension discuss how to get the most out of your roses.

“This year is going to be a little rough for disease issues with roses,” said Steil. “It has been warm. It has been wet, which is the perfect situation for two major diseases that hit roses: black spot and powdery mildew.”

When to Trim Back Tree Branches

Jul 13, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

 

Two people lost their lives on July 3rd when a large Oak tree branch fell on them as they were watching fireworks in Rock Island, Illinois. While there’s likely no way to know if the accident was preventable, it’s a tragic reminder that we should all be aware of the health of the trees in our landscape. 

On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Jeff Iles, professor and chair of Iowa State University's Department of Horticulture, about trees.

 

NPS Photo

 

25 years ago, author Elizabeth Leiknes moved away from her family in Truesdale, Iowa, though she looks upon her home state with great fondness. Her latest book, The Lost Queen of Crocker County, is an ode to the Midwestern identity.

It’s a story inspired by Leiknes' drive home from work one day. While driving, she felt a thump under her car.

“Is it a kitten? Is it a dog? What had happened?” Leiknes remembers asking herself. She went back and found nothing, but it got her thinking.

Pixabay

Iowa State University psychologist Doug Gentile says that research shows parents do not use, appreciate, or agree on the age-based rating systems used for movies, television, and video games in the U.S.. 

"Only six percent of parents say that the movie ratings are always accurate, only five percent of parents say the television ratings are always accurate, and only six percent say the video game ratings are always accurate," says Gentile. "Even if they're using the ratings, often their children see things they didn't expect them to be able to see."

Scribner publishing

 

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate Tom Macher talks with host Charity Nebbe about his debut memoir Halfway. He reflects on his childhood, growing up in a commune and a boys home, and the path that led him towards alcoholism.

“I felt like [alcohol] was the thing that I had been missing my whole life,” Tom says. “It wasn’t that I was missing a relationship with my father, or whatever other hole we feel inside ourselves.”

Iowa Women's Archives

Iowa has the longest running state high school girl's basketball tournament in the country, but for most of that history girls did not play the game we know today. 

According to research by Karen Mason of the Iowa Women's Archives, girls in Iowa have been playing 6-on-6 basketball since the early 1900's. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Mason and University of Iowa American Studies lecturer Jennifer Sterling about the game and a new exhibit that is touring the state this summer. 

Politics and Prose

Humans are naturally social animals, but convention and routine have made many of our gatherings stale and meaningless, at least according to author Priya Parker. 

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Parker, founder of Thrive Labs, about her new book The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters. Parker shares tips for how to use your next gathering to cultivate community and bring people together in meaningful ways.

Rolf Dietrich Brecher / Wikimedia Commons

 

The recent wet weather has been too much for some gardens, and it has made some Iowa insects happy and healthy. Entomologist Donald Lewis and horticulturist Richard Jauron talked with Charity Nebbe about earwigs, springtails and other insects that are thriving in the damp conditions.

Lewis says that earwigs enjoy the place between the mulch and soil, where conditions are warm and humid.

 

Photo Courtesty of Matthew Christopher

During this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe catches up with designer Matthew Christopher. Before Christopher became a couture dresser for celebrities and brides across the world, he made prom gowns for his dates in his hometown of Wellman. He learned to sew in 4-H as a kid.

“I was enthralled with Brides magazine at the age of 10,” Christopher says.

 

Photo Courtesy of Andre Wright

Andre Wright, CEO of the fashion label Born Leaders United, saw a post by his friend Jason Sole on Facebook months ago. Sole wrote that as as a culture, we need to stop stereotyping people based on how they dress. In that post, he pointed specifically to the hooded sweatshirt.

Wright picked up the phone and called Sole, and the Humanize My Hoodie campaign was born. 

Jace Anderson/FEMA

 

No matter how intrigued you may be about the impact of a flood, it’s best to avoid exploring the waters until some time has passed.

“I see people wading in that water and I think, ‘would you go wading in sewage water?’ Because that’s exactly what it is,” says home improvement expert Bill McAnally. “Whatever is in your yard, it comes around the gutter and down the storm sewer... I see everything possible come floating into that river.”

 

LWYang, Creative Commons / Flickr

When a well known writer, actor, filmmaker or musician gets accused of inappriopriate or even criminal behavior, especially in cases of sexual misconduct, what happens to their body of work? Has the art created lost its value? Should we stop teaching texts or bodies of work because of an uncovered wrong? 

These are some of the questions being asked in the wake of #MeToo. Alfred Martin, professor of communication studies at University of Iowa says we’re asking these questions because we want to feel like something is being done in response.

exezippdf/Flickr

Suffering is part of the human condition, but hardship isn’t distributed equally. For centuries humans have tried to make sense of suffering, personal suffering, and the pain of others.

In his latest book, Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering, philosophy professor Scott Samuelson brings together the ideas of some of the world’s greatest philosophers, as well as his own thoughts and lessons he has learned from his students at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City.

Claudia McGehee Illustration

Discussions about endangered species in Iowa often focus on the bigger, showier species that make headlines, like the bald eagle; but there are many species at risk that fly under the radar.

For instance, the Topeka Shiner, a small minnow that lives in Midwestern streams.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with ecologists and biologists who are looking out for Iowa’s smallest, most threatened species, including the Topeka Shiner, the Rusty Patched Bumblebee, the Wood Turtle, and many more.

Eric McCollum

Scott Cawelti has been writing a column in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area for more than 40 years. But, in a recent column he announced his decision to put down the editorial pen.

Cawelti started his editorializing with an admiration of longtime Des Moines Register columnist Donald Kaul, and delivered three pieces to what was then the Cedar Falls Record. "And by golly, people liked them. I mean, sort of, enough to keep me going a while," says Cawelti.

McFarland's Mill

On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks to Richard Jauron, Iowa State University Extension Horticulture Specialist, and Linda Naeve, Iowa State University Extension Specialist in Value Added Agriculture, about how you can use mulch in your garden this summer. 

"Mulch has a lot of good characteristics to it and good advantages in a garden," Naeve says. "Most of us think, oh I want to mulch to keep the weeds down... but it also helps conserve soil moisture."

Emily Woodbury / IPR

It's a very simple idea. A boy, a dog and a short story.

Migrate this simple idea to Twitter, and it becomes a phenomenon. As of this writing, @IvePetThatDog has more than 90-thousand followers. Gideon Kidd is the star of "I've Pet That Dog." He's a normal nine-year-old boy from Cedar Falls, who is anything but typical.

Constancia Huff Roling

An extended voyage down the Mississippi River in a kayak hasn't always been high on Barb Geiger's list of things she wanted to do. But one Sunday morning in 2013, after weeks of preparation, Barb and her husband set off in a self-built kayak for an epic five month journey of paddling and service work. 

Concrete hearts, angels, and puppies… the sculptures of Isabel Bloom have been beloved since the 1950s. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Donna Young about the life of the remarkable Iowa artist behind the whimsical sculptures. 

Young says Bloom's work was unique for her time, not only because she was a woman who owned her own business, but because of the medium she worked with. 

"At the time, cement was used for construction, not art," says Young. 

FIRMM

Right now, chances are pretty good that you're surrounded by plastic. A plastic keyboard, plastic water bottle, the plastic fixtures in your car, perhaps even a plastic case on your phone. There's no denying that plastics are an integral part of our society, but they're also a huge factor in a major environmental disaster that's becoming increasingly apparent in our oceans and waterways. 

Yancas / Flickr

Along with the rich greens and beautiful blossoms of early summer come bugs— gnats, mosquitoes, ticks, and many others. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe chats with Iowa State University entomologist Donald Lewis about biting insects. 

Emily Woodbury

Hippotherapy, or therapeutic horseback riding, uses the movement of horses to help individuals improve their neuromotor function, including coordination, balance, and strength.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe visits Miracles in Motion, where children and adults with special needs come for hippotherapy and therapeutic riding lessons. 

Mark Vitosh

In recent years, many Iowans have noticed something strange happening to the leaves on their oak trees. The leaf tissue becomes brown or purple and shrivels up, making the leaves look ripped or torn. This condition is known as “oak tatters.” 

Oak tatters has been observed since the 1980s and documented since 1995, but the cause remains a mystery.

Florida Grand Opera

Growing up outside of Kalona, Jessica Faselt didn't come from a particularly musical family. She sang in choir when she was a child, but didn’t realize the power of her voice until a concert in high school where she sang "O Holy Night" and brought the crowd to tears. 

After this experience, Faselt went on to study vocal performance at the University of Iowa. It was there that she discovered her passion for opera.

"To me, opera brings together so many art forms," Faselt says. "It's the human voice talking about the human experience through song and music."

Kate Payne

47 years ago, Iowa State Representative Marti Anderson gave birth to a baby girl. She gave her up for adoption and wondered about her ever since. Thanks to a home DNA test, she has now been reunited with her daughter.

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe visits the Herbert Hooover Presidential Museum and gets a tour of a new exhibit,"Tallgrass to Knee High: A Century of Iowa Farming," on display through October 2018. Melanie Weir, assistant curator at the museum, is her guide. 

Nick Brincks

How do you get kids to pay attention to lessons about important but not necessarily attention-grabbing topics like water quality and soil erosion?

Heavy metal rock anthems about cover crops and raps about watersheds are not often linked to science education, but for Jacqueline Comito, program director for Iowa Learning Farms, it's a perfect fit.

"Sense of humor is, I think, one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal," says Comito, who is also a musician.

Renee Harper

Ripe strawberries right out of the garden are one of the joys of summer. It's important to know how to select strawberry varieties, harvest the fruit, and even—after a few good harvests—renovate an old strawberry patch.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, Denny Schrock, State Master Gardener Coordinator, has some suggestions for growing the sweetest fruit.

"If you’re doing the June bearing variety, you want to plant those 18 to 24 inches apart," Schrock says. "If you have good Iowa loam, you should have a good crop of strawberries." 

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