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.

U.S. Army photo/Patrick Bloodgood

To many homeowners, the feeling of not knowing what you're talking about when dealing with a contractor is all too familiar.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe sits down with home improvement expert Bill McAnally to decode the language of contractors. One thing to keep in mind, McAnally says, is that as the home owner, you are in control of the encounter.

mikemennonno / Flickr

When it starts to get colder, a lot of people bring plants inside from outdoors, and on this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Richard Jauron, horticulture expert with Iowa State University Extension; Linda Naeve Iowa State University Extension Value Added Agriculture Specialist; and Mark Vitosh, DNR District Forrester about caring for house plants during the winter.

Some plants don’t look as healthy once they have been brought indoors, according to Jauron, That's okay. 

 

Ian Freimuth / Flickr

RAYGUN, the snarky clothing company based out of Des Moines, has made hand towels emblazoned with a donkey, elephant and the words ‘Thank You For Not Discussing the Election” encircled and crossed through, just in time for Thanksgiving. After one of the most divisive elections in modern American history, Thanksgiving dinner will be undoubtedly dicey conversational territory for many Iowans.

Who Runs the World? Cats!

Nov 17, 2016
Charity Nebbe / Iowa Public Radio

They rule the internet. They rule the alleyways. For many pet owners, they rule the house. With 74 to 90 million pet cats in the United States, they have become one of the most popular pets in human history. Yet many owners would be surprised how few practical benefits they provide.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

It is hard to have conversations with people who disagree with your viewpoint. If you're having an even harder time with those conversations lately, you're not alone. 

"This election has played to our most primitive fear, and fight or flight responses. A lot of us are just weary and need to give ourselves time to muster those better qualities in ourselves," says Krista Tippett, host of the radio show On Being.

"Compassion, empathy and understanding don't feel very natural right now, but they are what are needed to live right now."

Jennifer C. / Flickr

Winter is on its way, and perhaps a bit late in Iowa this year. If overing roses and strawberries, or planting bulbs has been on your to-do list, it's almost time. 

"This weather has been good for those of us who are procrastinators," says Schrock. "You talked about covering strawberries. The temperature has to be in the 20's consistently for them to go completely dormant, so don't cover them yet."

"The same is true for roses, but be careful because it could happen any day now." 

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How much do you really know about where you food comes from? Could you grow enough food to sustain yourself and your family in a garden?

USFWSmidwest

With 100-year and 500-year floods happening in Iowa with increasing frequency, it’s important to understand how the state's ecology and infrastructure interact with rising water.

Emily Woodbury

There are animal shelters and rescues all over the state dedicated to helping dogs, cats, and other pets. But for animals a little out of the ordinary, some extra care is necessary.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe visits the Iowa Farm Sanctuary in Marengo, a new venture already filling up with pigs, goats, sheep, a newborn calf, and many birds. Shawn and Jered Camp co-founded the rescue this year, as a place to showcase the emotional and social intelligence of farm animals.

Emily Woodbury

While Letts resident Mike Hutchison cherishes his role as a caretaker for more than 60 wild, exotic birds, he still wishes his job wasn't necessary.

Jennifer C. / Flickr

 

Why Do We Still Care about Shakepeare?

Nov 3, 2016
Painting by Martin Droushout; Photo by Emery Walker / Wikimedia Commons

Four hundred years and over 35 plays later, William Shakespeare is still a household name. So why does the British playwright’s work continue to be studied, while his contemporaries fall to the wayside?

“Even though it has been 400 years, we still continue to make new discoveries," says Adam Hooks, an Associate Professor in the University of Iowa English Department, and author of Selling Shakespeare: Biography, Bibliography, and the Book Trade.

Arturo Pardavila III/Wikimedia Commons

It’s been 71 years since the Chicago Cubs have been to the World Series. Cubs fans are excited, and nervous, now that a series run is finally happening.

“I thought that when they made it, I would celebrate and cry, but when they won the pennant, I just sort of sat there in shock,” says Chip Marshall, former sports reporter for the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

Gold Star Museum

What does it mean to live an ethical life? Is it necessary to have religious beliefs in order to have a moral code?

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Webb Keane, George Herbert Mead collegiate professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, and Bob Cargill, assistant professor of classics and religious studies at the University of Iowa, about these questions. 

Both argue that humans don't need religion. 

Karen Roussel / Flickr

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with novelist Benjamin Percy about the elements that combine to create thrilling fiction: suspense, tension, urgency, and violence.

"It’s a way to safely appeal to our base desires, and safely work our way through the dark, the basement, the long drop, the tight space," he says.

Comic, author, and actress Jen Kirkman comes to Iowa this weekend as part of the Witching Hour Festival. On her latest special on Netflix, I'm Going to Die Alone (and I Feel Fine), Kirkman dives into the topic of her decision to not have children.

"Even the movement itself is called 'Childfree by Choice' and choice to me illustrates, you know, Coke or Pepsi, you sit there and you weigh the options. To me it was a non-instinct. It never dawned on me to even want children, ever. It wasn't even a choice."'

What To Do With Your Fallen Leaves

Oct 28, 2016
Jack / Flickr

  To rake or not to rake this time of year? That is the question. Living in the Midwest means that the changing seasons bring about changing chores. This hour on Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe talks with  Iowa State University horticulturists Linda Naeve and Richard Jauron. 

 

If you do rake your leaves, you need to decide what to do with them. Jauron says that instead of disposing of them, try using them as mulch.

 

"If you bag them with a mulching mower, you can save them for next year and use them as a mulch."

 

pfkings / Wikimedia Commons

With rising student debt nationwide, career placement is often considered the most important marker of a successful stint at university. But Dave Gould, member of the honors faculty and administrator at the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa, says pragmatic, salary-focused concerns can't be the only questions posed to students during their time in school.

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Posting a photo of your child on Facebook may seem like a harmless way to keep your family and friends up to date, but “sharenting” has actually become a hotly debated topic among parents. As more concern grows for the safety and privacy of children online, one Iowa dad used his children’s social media presence as a learning tool.

photolibrarian / Flickr

See Iowa in 1919 through the eyes of a 28-year-old stenographer, celebrate the contributions of the Hollywood elite in World War II, find out how the railroads revolutionized mail delivery: You can do all of that and more at the 2016 History Camp Iowa.   This hour, we get a preview of what you can learn at the event next month in Des Moines, featuring professional and amateur historians as they speak on Iowa as well as national and international history topics.

portrait by George Catlin, photo courtesy of Cliff / Flickr

Moccasin, chipmunk, hickory--many words from Native American languages have morphed into words we use in modern American English. English language expert Patricia O’Connor explains that many Native American words that have been adopted into English still retain their native associations, but there are many words especially for animals and different kinds of food that have gone full cross cultural.

Wikimedia Commons

This time of year, it’s hard to avoid pumpkin spice. It’s being used for candles, lattes, and even beef jerky. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Aaron Steil, assistant director for Reiman Gardens about what makes up the iconic blend.

Horticulture expert Richard Jauron also joins the conversation to answer listener questions.

Phil Roeder / Flickr

Research shows that living in a walkable community is good for your health, good for your kids, and good for the local economy, but it can be a struggle for cities to develop infrastructure towards better walkability.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a discussion on what it means for a community to be walkable, the impact it can have, the barriers to walkability, as well as the pros and cons of skywalk systems.

Guests on today’s program include:

University of Iowa Press

Between the 1930s and the 1960s, northern universities became a destination for black students from the south looking for the kinds of opportunities they didn't have access to back home.  The process of integrating Iowa's public universities was long and slow.  Black athletes and artists were among the first students to cross the academic color line in Iowa City.   This hour, we'll hear about a new book that tells the stories of many of the black students who were among the first to study at the University of Iowa.

julochka / Flickr

Doris Montag is a museum curator without a museum. She creates exhibits that are shown at public libraries and museums all over Eastern Iowa. There was the exhibit on egg cartons at the Coralville Public Library this summer and the exhibit on the history of barbers at the Johnson County Historical Society Museum, and one on Black Santas incoming to the African American Museum of Iowa. She finds her inspiration in the stories told by every day objects.

Frank Kovalchek / Wikimedia Commons

Just about a decade ago, Roger Miller, along with some fellow steel guitar players, started to worry about the future of the instrument. There weren't a lot of young players. So they did something about it and founded the Jump Start Academy, which pairs seasoned steel petal guitar musicians with young people who want to learn.

"We'll give you a steel guitar to play on and pair you with a mentor for a year," explains Miller. "We've got teachers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa, so this is growing across the Midwest." 

Historian Tom Morain started working at Living History Farms in 1981. That was the beginning of a career dedicated to researching, teaching and sharing Iowa history.

"Iowa history is one of the few subjects that you're walking around surrounded by primary resources... People who know Iowa history because they've lived it," says Morain. "If [teachers] have materials on what happened locally, how local towns responded to that, our experience has been they love it and students love it."

Heather Paul / Flickr

Adding up the costs of bird seed, travel, and birding tools, birders spend more than 20 billion dollars a year just to look at them, but birds also get in the way. Humans tend to consider some birds good and some birds bad. For example, the blue jay was long considered a morally corrupt bird due to its behavior of raiding other birds' nests, but in recent years, the bird has been recognized for its intellect.

Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

Can you imagine moving to a new town and going to a new school where you can’t understand what anyone is saying? Thousands of students in Iowa have that experience every year. In fact, the number of English language learners in the state has increased by 452 percent in the last 20 years. 

Lia Plakans, who is an associate professor of education at the University of Iowa, says that many of those ELL students are coming to districts that are in more rural parts of the state. 

Why October is the Best Time to Plan Your Spring Garden

Oct 14, 2016
Field Outdoor Spaces / Flickr

 

The rich yellows, oranges, and reds of fall are dominant in the landscape right now, but it’s time to start thinking about the pinks, purples, and whites of spring. 
 
On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Iowa State University horticulturists Cindy Haynes and Richard Jauron about fall bulbs and how to plan for your spring garden.   

 

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