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.

Alan Light/Wikimedia Commons

A new coalition of organizations in Iowa is working to keep young people who identify as LGBTQ out of the welfare and juvenile justice systems by finding them supportive places to live. The group calls itself AFFIRM, and it’s looking to include gender-neutral language in all paperwork required of potential foster and adoptive parents.

One of AFFIRM’s founders, Penny McGee, says such changes may not be as easy as they appear, possibly requiring legislative approval and some costs.

Courtest of Doug May

Having a sibling is one thing, but sharing the womb with your sibling is something else entirely. 

For Don and Doug May, that bond has always made them feel unique.

"Our mom used to take us around to twin contests. It was clear to us pretty early on that we had a special relationship," Doug says. "We got a little bit of the 'Well, you're cuter than your brother,' and whatnot but we dealt with it. Being a twin is special. Everybody wants to feel special."

Ddryden87

Every once in a great while, a caller on Horticulture Day will ask a question that the Hort Gang just can't answer. When our experts are stumped, we turn to the Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with members of the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic and takes calls from listeners, 

The Timelessness of Feed Sacks

Jun 1, 2017
Terry Eiler

Feed sacks have played an important role in American history. Other than holding flour, seeds, and animal feed corn, feed sacks were often fashioned into clothing by women from before the Great Depression, all the way up to the 1960s. The use of feed sacks as clothing had a direct impact on the way that companies marketed their products.

"One of the first things that happened was that they did figure out a way to make wash-out inks," says Linzee Kull McCray, Iowa City writer and author of "Feed Sacks; the Colorful History of a Frugal Fabric."

Breanna Walton

Returning from three combat tours in Iraq, native Iowan Alex Sutton forges a new identity as a farmer, hatching chicks and raising goats on 43 acres in North Carolina. While he finds at least partial relief through farming, he cannot shake the lingering traumas of war. His life after war and subsequent struggles with PTSD are documented by director/cinematographer Alix Blair in her documentary Farmer/Veteran: A Combat Veteran's Fragile Struggle to Overcome Trauma and Transition to Life as a Farmer.

Baycrest

If you're visiting another country and disaster strikes, U.S. Consulates are there to help you. They can also help answer questions like: How should you contact your relatives if you end up in the hospital abroad? How can you keep your passport safe? What should you do if it gets stolen?

Phee/Wikimedia Commons

Until six years ago, Kelly Garrett says she’d never experienced real panic.

“In December of 2011, I was working at a local bank, and we were held up at gunpoint toward the end of the day. At the time, we got through everything, but that night, I got what I called my first real panic attack. It blind sided me, and it was completely incapacitating,” Garrett says.

Garrett is part of the 18% of Americans currently living with an anxiety disorder. Although they are highly treatable, only about one-third of those who have issues with anxiety are being treated for it.

szjeno09190

With summer just around the corner, strawberry season is upon us. The impending warm weather raises many questions for Iowans about how to care for their own strawberries. Whether you're searching for the perfect berry at the market, or trying to figure out how to properly manage the runners on your strawberry plants at home, our horticulture experts are here with what you need to know to keep your summer filled to the brim with fresh strawberries.

Author Loretta Ellsworth has written a number of books for young adults. This is her first novel aimed at an adult reader.  The reader is taken back and forth in time as the main character recalls her life and cherished memories.  The historic Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake is part of the setting weaved together with a 1940's World War II backdrop.  Ellsworth grew up in Mason City and her own parents met at the Surf Ballroom.

MrTinDC

It was not very long ago that eagles, osprey, peregrine falcons and other raptors were a rare sight in Iowa. One of the people who worked hard to bring these species back from the brink is Pat Schlarbaum. In this Talk of Iowa with Charity Nebbe, hear from Schlarbaum as he retires from a thirty-three year career with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  Also joining the conversation is Bruce Ehresman who has worked with Schlarbaum on many of his projects.

McGhiever / Wikimedia Commons

Here in Iowa, we know all too well about what happens when a major local employer leaves a community. That is what happened in Crosby, Minnesota in the early ‘80’s. In 1982, the mining industry left the area, took most of the jobs, and some felt, the future with it.

Aaron Hautala is president of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew. He has been a driving force behind an effort to rebrand the area and the community.

“When the mines were closing, mountain bikes hadn’t been invented yet. The industry was still that fresh,” says Hautala.

TheeErin / Flickr

Comedian Kumail Nanjiani is a Los Angeles-based writer, actor, and comedian; and he’s conquering Hollywood as the writer and director of the new romantic comedy, The Big Sick, coming out this July.  

Before his film debuts, he's headed back to Iowa to speak at Grinnell College's commencement ceremony on Monday, May 22nd.

Fairfax County / Flickr

We’ve been seeing a lot of stories about the incoming deluge of ticks this season. Iowa State University Extension Entomologist Donald Lewis says despite some of that reporting, “nobody should panic.”

“There is no census of ticks. There is no systematic survey. What we have are people’s memories of how good it was last year or how bad it was last year, or how good or bad it was 10 years ago,” says Lewis.

Matthew Robey / Flickr

On this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe talks with Keith Lesmeister, author of We Could’ve Been Happy Here, a collection of short stories that all take place in Iowa. They are intimate, personal stories that give glimpses into what may be going on below the surface.

Lesmeister grew up in the Cedar Rapids area, and he now teaches at Northeast Iowa Community College and lives near Decorah.

River Lights Bookstore in Dubuque will be hosting Lesmeister for a reading on Friday, May 19th at 5:30 pm.

Carl Wycoff / Flickr

Cayson Irlbeck is 10-years-old, and until a few months ago, he'd never seen the green of the grass or the red of a stop sign. That all changed one afternoon when his parents surprised him with a pair of Enchroma glasses, which allow some people who are red-green colorblind to see in full color. He says it's been life changing for him. 

"Stoplights. Stop signs. The grass," he says. "My dad will wake me up really early, and I'll see the purple and orange in the sunrise. The sunsets are awesome too." 

Susan Young/Flickr

When a tree dies or is damaged, our first instinct is to cut it down, but there are many reasons to reconsider. There are birds, mammals and many other species of wildlife who make their homes in fallen trees and holes in the ground. 

Wikimedia Commons

Iowa has been through a lot of change in the last 40 years. The farm crisis set off a chain reaction that continues to impact rural Iowa today. While some rural areas are doing well, others are still struggling and trying to cope with ever dwindling populations. 

Public Gardens are "Hidden Gems"

May 12, 2017
Jason Mrachina / flickr

The Friday before Mother’s Day has been named National Public Gardens Day, which creates a wonderful opportunity to visit and celebrate the many public gardens in Iowa. Public parks like the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, Reiman Gardens in Ames, and the Bickelhaupt Arboretum in Clinton are just some of many across the state. Assistant Director of Reiman Gardens, Aaron Steil, says that what sets these organizations apart from private counterparts is their dedication to educating the public about beautification and conservation of plant ecosystems.  

Pat Blank/IPR

There are lots of resources about co-parenting after a divorce, splitting your finances…. maintaining a civil relationship with your ex… but what about you? During this hour of Talk of Iowa – a conversation about your life after a divorce. Host Charity Nebbe talks with Cat Cantrill, who owns Vitality Vertical Fitness in Cedar Rapids, runs an online empowerment program called Secret Wardrobe and found a whole new identity after her marriage ended.

The new documentary I'm Not Racist... Am I? shows the journey of 12 teenagers from New York City who meet over the course of a school year to talk about race and privilege in a series of workshops and in conversations with friends and family members. The film's director, Catherine Wigginton Greene, hopes the film will inspire others to recognize and interrupt racism in their own lives.

Salim Virji / Flickr

When building a shed, do you shell out the cash for a prefab, or do you build it yourself? What about that garage you’ve always wanted?

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with home improvement expert Bill McAnally about best practices for building a shed or garage.

McAnally says that step one is to figure out the boundaries of the property to avoid accidentally building on a neighbor's property.

Harvard Square Press

This hour, we hear about the life of Michael Majok Kuch, a featured "Lost Boy of Sudan" from the PBS documentary "Dinka Diaries," as described in the poet Harriet Levin Millan's first novel "How Fast Can You Run." (Harvard Square Press). 

Pat Guiney

There is no single authority on single and plural pronouns, but our regular grammar expert always has practical advice.  In this Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Patricia O’Conner, author of Woe is I and other books about the English language. O’Conner says "they," "their," and "them" can (sort of) be singular.  

Screenshot: Iowa Public Television's "Greetings From Iowa"

Iowa Public Television has unveiled their new digital-first series "Greetings from Iowa."  In this Talk of Iowa conversation, host Charity Nebbe talks with IPTV Producer/Director Tyler Brinegar who developed the series and IPTV's Digital Content Manager Taylor Shore.  

F_A seelensturm / Flickr

Spraying herbicide to achieve what many consider to be the ideal lawn became a common practice in the mid-20th century. Many people stopped that practice after studies showing the health impact of human contact with common pesticides and weed killers.

Dwight Sipler

If a farmer grows lettuce and a local school district wants to use it in the cafeteria, who chops it? It proves to be a more challenging question to answer than it might seem.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe explores the middle structure of the local food system by talking with Brandi Janssen about her new book, Making Local Food Work: The Challenges and Opportunities of Today's Small Farmers.

Doc Searls

What we want out of students attending school has changed over hundreds of years.  Are we preparing students for jobs, for life, for citizenship, for social mobility? During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe explores the history of the debate with University of Iowa's Chris Ogren, associate professor of history of education in the department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies.

Director of the Iowa Department of Education Ryan Wise, and two retired teachers, Charles Blair-Broeker and Michael Peterson, also join the conversation. 

Planting Wildflowers in Iowa

Apr 28, 2017
Brett Whaley / Flickr

The end of April is a great time to explore nature and see wildflowers in bloom across Iowa. The beauty of these flowers is fleeting as they bloom and wilt all before the trees have fully expanded their leaves. Having adapted to their woodland environment, wildflowers maximize their photosynthesis time before the woods become a shady environment for the summer months. Iowa State University extension horticulturist, Cindy Haynes, says that woodland phlox, shooting star, and wild columbine are a few wildflower varieties that have still yet to bloom.

For 10 years, Iowa State University's non-partisan campaign training program "Ready to Run" has prepared women to be first time candidates. This year, they have had record enrollment in the workshops.

Kelly Winfrey is coordinator for Research and Outreach for the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University. She says women are far less likely to run for office than males, but at recent Ready to Run workshops, they have had record numbers of women interested in running for local and county offices.

Fredrik Rubensson / Flickr

In 1964, just weeks away from graduating from Grinnell College, Dennis Maulsby decided his best option after college would be to voluntarily enter the military. After returning from the Vietnam War almost five years later, he channeled his war experiences into various creative outlets, ultimately pursuing writing poetry. He self-published his first book, Remembering Willy, and All the Others, and received silver medal awards from veterans associations. His latest book, Free Fire Zone is a collection of short military stories.

Pages