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.

Courtesy of Megan Gogerty

During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with Megan Gogerty about her new one woman play Lady Macbeth and Her Pal Megan.

Gogerty says that Hilary Clinton’s run for President inspired her to think about ambitious women and tropes in storytelling that allows women to be powerful. That led her to think about Lady Macbeth.

Margalea Warner has been living with schizophrenia since she was in her 20’s. When she was first starting to have symptoms, life was hard.

“I had depression as a teenager, and as a college student. I had a very serious suicide attempt my freshman year that I survived,” she explains.

“But then my senior year, I heard voices in my head telling me to jump into the Potomac River, and I obeyed them."

“My life became more and more unmanageable, and my mother took me to our family doctor who was sure I was on drugs. I wasn’t. It was my illness.”

Redistricting happens after each U.S. Census. Iowa lost one congressional district in 2013 based on the results of the 2010 Census; before that, Iowa had five districts. Today, we have four. 

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with David Daley, former editor-in-chief of Salon magazine who has written about redistricting, and Tracy Osborn, an associate professor of political science and director of the Politics and Policy Program at the University of Iowa. 

Charity Nebbe

Not every home improvement project turns out the way you imagined, but every once in a while you can make a change that accomplishes exactly what you want and becomes one of your favorite things.   This hour on Talk of Iowa, it's our monthly program with home improvement expert Bill McAnally of Fort Dodge.  Bill spends some time reminiscing this Valentine's Day about some of the projects that he's still proud of and our listeners tell us some of the things they most love about their homes.

Wikimedia Commons

Iowa has four major state forests and six minor ones, measuring somewhere shy of 44,000 acres. In those forests right now, mission number one - keep the oaks alive.

"We have had very erratic weather the last few years. It’s been very wet, and we’re really worried about oak death,” says John Byrd, Area Forester for Shimek State Forest in Southern Iowa. “It takes work to get oaks to grow. If you let everything go, it’s not the species that would be there. If you let it go, it would be maple, basewood and elm.”

Vera Kratochvil/Wikimedia Commons

More cut flowers are purchased on Valentine's Day than any other day of the year, in spite of the fact that it falls in the dead of winter. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Cindy Haynes and Richard Jauron of Iowa State University about the best flowers to buy for longevity. Most cut flowers don't last more than a week. 

James P. Mann / flickr

After serving time in the corrections system, finding a job isn’t the easiest task. A new program in Johnson County is hoping more Iowans will return to the work force with the know-how to take on jobs in agriculture. Scott Koepke is education director for Grow Johnson County. 

Wikimedia Commons

Iowa State Basketball star Georges Niang was drafted to move to Indiana at the end of last season play for the Pacers. He's been active on their roster and their feeder team's roster, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. He's keeping a diary of his travels and time in the NBA, giving fans a sneak peak behind the curtain. 

Anton Raath / Flickr

In recent weeks, sales of the novel 1984 by George Orwell, first published in 1949, have soared. It climbed to the top of the amazon.com best seller list, and bookstores report that copies are flying off the shelves.

Since so many people are reading or re-reading it right now, on this "book club" edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a conversation about what makes this classic relevant in 2017. 

She starts the hour talking with Andrew Simmons, an English teacher who transforms his classroom into the world of 1984 and Big Brother every October.

Stephanie Brunia

Stephanie Brunia is a photographer who lives in Oxford, Iowa. One of her favorite subjects is her father, Steve. Her work is on display right now in Café Baratta in the State Historical Building. It’s a unique exhibition titled Thursday’s Childinspired by a moment when Stephanie noticed her dad's age in a way she hadn't before.

Melanie Levi / Flickr

Stories of extraordinary weight loss make gripping television, but the kind of fast and furious weight loss viewers love to see doesn’t tend to last.

“The body was equipped to defend against weight loss, and that makes maintenance of weight loss during dieting an exercise extremely difficult," says Dr. Allyn Mark of the University of Iowa. "This is true not only with the contestants in the biggest loser…but it’s also true of individuals who diet to lose modest amounts of weight.”

If you've spent time touring Iowa, you've noticed signs for towns like What Cheer, Des Moines and Maquoketa. You've also probably seen signs for rivers named "Raccoon" and "Nishnabotna." Where did those place names come from, and what's the best way to pronounce them? 

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with word maven Patricia O'Conner, who is author of the book Woe is I and author of the blog "Grammarphobia." 

Clare Roth / Iowa Public Radio

The Kirkwood Culinary Arts program, located on campus in Cedar Rapids, was ranked as the #16 Culinary program in the country by Best Choice Schools. David Horsfield, department chair of hospitality at the school, says it's due to some true foresight Kirkwood leaders had in the late 2000s to create a classroom that would operate in the real world. The program has students serve regular guests off the street, instead of simply their teachers and fellow chefs-in-training. He dubs the inciting incident "the whisper story."

Phee/Wikimedia Commons

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, we ask: 'what's stressing you out right now?' We also talk about ways to better manage stress and stress' effects on the body and mind. 

"We don't want to paint stress all as a negative. Stress is really important for us to have in our lives," says Dr. Hanna Stevens, who studies stress and is a psychiatrist at the University of Iowa.  "If you have absolutely no stimulation in your life, you wouldn't learn things. Your brain wouldn't develop right, and your body wouldn't develop right." 

John Downer Productions Ltd. / BBC

Chimpanzees are human's closest living animal relatives. They share 99 percent of human DNA and quite a bit of behavior, both positive and negative.

On this Talk of Iowa segment, Charity Nebbe speaks with primatologist and anthropology professor at Iowa State University, Jill Pruetz. For the last sixteen years she has studied the lives of Savanna chimpanzees in Fongoli, Senegal, and these chimps are featured in the new BBC series, Spy in the Wild, premiering tonight at 7 p.m. CST on Iowa Public Television.

Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

McGregor, Iowa might be the birthplace of American circus. The Ringling brothers, after all, were born there and spent 12 years there before moving to Baraboo, Wisconsin, where they founded the Ringling Brothers Circus. 

Peter Wagner, past-president of the Circus Fans Association of America, has researched the brothers' history in Iowa. 

"Their first show was in McGregor. At that time, they weren't even a traveling circus," he says. "They would go to various states and check into a hotel and then would announce that they would do a show in the lobby of the hotel." 

Courtesy of Akwi Nji / The Hook

“The Hook” is building community and bringing people together in Cedar Rapids through story-telling, poetry and other performance. The creative collaborative began in January 2016 with poetry readings and curated live performances. Now it's expanded to ARTLoud, a program that intersects poetry, music, and dance, and a new series that takes place in the living rooms of regular folks around the city.

Smabs Sputzer / Flickr

After a couple of weeks of ice, snow, mud, and gloom over most of the state, the thought of working outside may not be very appealing right now, but the sun in peeking out today and there is still work to be done outside.

Jeff Iles, professor and chair in the Horticulture Department at Iowa State University says pruning is best done during the dormant season.

Penn State / Flickr

Sepsis strikes more than a million Americans every year. Between 28 and 50 percent of those patients will die.

"People are getting all kinds of procedures that are altering their immune system and their ability to handle these infections, and so what we see is that infections are actually going up and we're getting significant number of deaths," says Dr. Patrick Schlievert, professor and chair in the Department of Microbiology at the UI Carver College of Medicine. "The funding and the understanding that goes with that has not kept up with it."

Jim Wise / Flickr

Tami Rundle understands that a barn is not necessarily the sexiest subject for a documentary. When her husband Kelly suggested doing an hour-long feature of the creation and history of barns, she was hesitant.

"I was like, 'Ooo-kay...we'll give this a shot,'" she laughs. "But, as is often the case with our documentary subjects, I caught the bug. And probably the most inspirational and wonderful part of the project was hearing these stories, and that really is the soul of the film. That is what brings these barns to life again."

The History Press

On Dec. 12, 1934, police raided a canning factory in Cedar Rapids--what they found was an illegal bar and gambling set up.  That incident set off a year-long investigation into graft that reached into all levels of Iowa State government.  It was all driven by Verne Marshall, the editor of the Cedar Rapids Gazette.  Jerry Harrington, an Iowa City writer of Iowa history, tells the story in his new book, "Crusading Iowa Journalist Verne Marshall: Exposing Graft and the 1936 Pulitzer Prize." (History Press)

Daniel Lobo / Flickr

Suicide rates in the United States are the highest they’ve been in 30 years, but no matter what statistics show us, each individual loss to suicide is devastating. Survivors are left with grief, anger, questions and often a sense of guilt. Cheri Jenkins, whose father and mother both died by suicide, said one of the hardest emotions for her to reconcile was anger.

IPR's Emily Woodbury

Still printed on a 19-century letterpress printing machine in Anamosa, IA, publisher Tim Fay has just released his 23rd issue of "The Wapsipinicon Almanac."  It's a homegrown, homemade journal and features essays, stories and articles by Iowa writers.  The first issue was published in 1988 and you can't order it or read it online.  You'll have to find it in a bookstore or other shop.

Steve Evans/Wikimedia Commons

Around 1,000 refugees resettled in Iowa in 2016. Most of them arrive in the state with nothing to their name and have three months of support to learn a new language, get a job and find a place to live. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with representatives from organizations that help refugees get settled and work with them after other services to help them expire. 

Global Greens, a project of Lutheran Services in Iowa, is helping refugees find land to farm, and is helping people to learn the business of farming. 

Chris / Flickr

Shumpei Yamaki never thought dance would work out. He assumed hip hop would be a hobby.

"Then I started to go to school in Philadelphia and I was skipping classes to learn to dance," he says.

Realizing where his passion truly lay allowed him to focus more of his time and energy in the art. He felt he was on his way when someone else's choice sent his life spinning in a different direction once again.

"I got hit by a drunk driver, so I had to stop dancing," he says.  "That was one of my questions for the doctor: 'Can I back flip again?'"

Charity Nebbe

When wolves disappeared from Iowa in the early 20th century, coyotes filled the vacancy left behind.

"The coyote, then, was mostly a western species - a great plains species that gradually moved eastward," says emeritus wildlife extension specialist, Jim Pease.

In addition to adapting to a new area, coyotes have also adapted to live alongside humans.

The Unnamed Press

This hour, we hear from two women (one an Iowan and the other a former Iowan) who have had their first books published.  Charity speaks with Stephanie Ash, who grew up in Oelwein and attended the University of Iowa and Jen Rouse, who lives in Iowa City.   Stephanie's book is a novel and Jen's is a poetry collection.

John Pemble

In what may be his final Condition of the State address of his career, Governor Terry Branstad urged lawmakers to prioritize K-12 funding, road safety, and water-quality.

He also signaled support for changes to the state’s collective bargaining laws and called for 2017 to be a “Year of Manufacturing” in Iowa. 

Alisabeth Von Presley

We know that media images and cultural expectations can have serious consequences for girls, but how do boys and men feel when flooded with images of the ideal man with six pack abs and a chiseled physique?

Tim Eilers, who is Wellness Director for Whirlpool and a former college football player, says that when he was younger, those images made an impression.

“I played on the offensive line, so they wanted me to be as big as I could be. I wanted chiseled abs,” he says.

Photo Courtesty of the Iowa State University Department of Agriculture

There are blooms outdoors, even when it seems like everything has gone gray. You just have to know where to look for them. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Richard Jauron, horticulture expert with Iowa State University Extension and Cindy Haynes, who is professor in charge of the master gardener program. 

"The lenten rose might be something you’d consider for a bloom. Some people call it a Christmas rose," says Haynes. 

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