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.

Collier's New Encyclopedia, v. 10, 1921

On April 6th, 1917 the United States declared war on Germany and the U.S. joined World War I.  More than 114,000 Iowans served in the armed forces during WWI, and 3,576 Iowans lost their lives.

During this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a conversation looking back on this pivotal moment in world history and the role that Iowa played at home and abroad.

On March 14th, 1889 Susan La Flesche became the first Native American to receive her medical degree. Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Joe Starita has written about the life and legacy of Dr. La Flesche in his new book  A Warrior of the People.

Beneficial Insects for Your Garden

Mar 31, 2017
Silk Knoll / flickr

While pollinators are lauded as the most beneficial insect to have in your garden, there are other insects that you also want around. Iowa State University Extension Entomologist Donald Lewis explains the various roles insects play in our landscape.

Lewis explains that the insects which we might perceive as a danger or a nuisance, such as wasps or bald-faced hornets, actually provide a needed service.

 

Ken Brown

Ken Brown, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies at the University of Iowa Tippie School of Business, says he took the plunge and booked a trip to the remote continent of Antarctica, because his 81-year father Bob said such a journey was on his "bucket list."  It was a magical trip, Brown told us, but he still worries about the the continent's future.

On April 28, 2015, six couples from Kentucky walked into the U.S. Supreme Court with plaintiffs and attorneys from four other states to argue their right to marriage equality. Iowa-based documentary maker Alex Schuman was with those couples, and on that date, he was filming every moment.

“It almost started as an accident,” he says. “I was a TV reporter in Louisville, Kentucky, and I wasn’t aware this case was happening at all.”

Jorg Schreler / Flickr

It seems like it should be simple. When someone believes something that isn't true, just give them the facts. Show them the evidence, and they'll change their mind. Facts, however, are surprisingly easy to disregard when they threaten a person's closely held beliefs. 

"Certain beliefs are harder to change than others," says Zlatan Krizan, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University.

Lynn Smith is an audio visual archivist for the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, and a few years ago, she made a discovery.

“I was looking at films that were supposed to be in black and white and on the side, I saw ‘kodacolor.’ So, I started doing some research,” says Smith. "Kodacolor film appears to be in black and white until it's run through a special projector." 

The color film she uncovered contains the earliest known color images of the White House and was shot by former First Lady Lou Henry Hoover.

Michael Leland

Large migratory birds, including turkey vultures, sandhill cranes, great blue herons, and bald eagles, are on the move in Iowa this spring. One eagle in particular is trying to hatch out of its shell in a nest just north of Decorah.

[See live feeds of eagles - both the "Decorah Eagles" and the "Decorah North Nest"]

Establishing and Restoring Windbreaks

Mar 24, 2017
National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff / flickr

 

The state of Iowa is no stranger to its share of strong, gusty winds. A row of trees and shrubs can make a noticeable difference in erosion control or in reducing home heating costs. Iowa State University Extension Forrester, Jesse Randall, shares ways to plan for and establish healthy windbreaks.

His tips on how to configure a successful windbreak:

University of Iowa Press

Who would think that doing a key word search of a massive newspaper database would turn up a previously unknown short novel by the much beloved 19th century author Walt Whitman?   University of Houston graduate student Zachary Turpin was the detective who uncovered his second Whitman find in an 1852 issue of an obscure New York City newspaper. 

David Bruce / Flickr

 

Spring in Iowa brings all kinds of weather - warm sunshine, high winds, severe thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes. Severe weather can do a number on roofs, siding and windows.

So, let’s say a hail storm hits your house. How do you know when it’s time to call the insurance company?

Home improvement expert Bill McAnally says that the first thing you want to do is see what size the hail was. If it was 3/4 of an inch or an inch, esp an inch or above, you probably have some damage. 

Michael Bornstein (bottom right) with other children, showing their number tattoos / Courtesy of Pańtswowe Muzeum Auschwitz-Birkenau

Michael Bornstein was just four years old when his family was forced from their home in Poland and taken by train to Auschwitz. He survived seven months at the death camp before he was liberated.

After the war, Bornstein and his mother moved to the United States. In 1966 he graduated from the University of Iowa with his PhD.

Most record labels find artists who already have an audience and then use their talent and following to make money. What if the business model worked a little different, and the label had the time to invest in helping an artist to develop their art and grow as a professional businessperson at the same time? That’s the same question Tobi Parks with Station 1 Records, which operates as a non-profit in Des Moines, had. During this hour, she talks with host Charity Nebbe about the label.

Claudia McGehee / University of Minnesota Press

After children's book author Jacqueline Briggs Martin read an article in the paper about a man who had restored a creek back into a thriving habitat, something about the story struck her.

"It was amazing that the whole ecosystem has restored itself," she says. "How did the frogs, birds, and bugs know to come back? I found it remarkable that the ecosystem could build itself up."

Quinn Johnston/Courtesy of the Cerney Brothers

Live music enthusiasts of Iowa, rejoice. Your options are expanding. There's a new start up in Des Moines that intends to match people who want to host house concerts with musicians. It's called HomeDitty. 

During this segment, host Charity Nebbe talks with Katie Byers, founder and CEO of a matchmaking service of sorts called HomeDitty, meant to connect artists with people who want to host concerts. 

Emily Woodbury

When you put together your perfect playlist, how much of the music comes from your youth?

A new study says that most people stop seeking out new music around age 33, and some people believe that our most important cultural tastes are set in our teen years.

YUVAL PELEG

The Bible is the most read book of all time. For billions of people around the world, it provides answers, and it also leaves many questions.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with archaeologist and biblical scholar Robert Cargill, who has worked long, hard, and traveled far to find an answer to the question of - Where did the Bible come from?

He's written about what he has found in his new book, The Cities that Built the Bible.

Mid-March is approaching, which means the growing season is getting close. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe discusses with guests about how plants multiply. 

Linda Naeve, who works with Iowa State University Extension, explains different ways plants are spread.

Courtesy of Asher Brown

 Iowa based singer-songwriter Asher Brown describes himself as a self-made man. His new album "Pitchforks" is an autobiographical album about the realization that he is transgender and his transition to life as a man. During this Talk of Iowa interview, he talks with host Charity Nebbe. 

Brown says one of his biggest concerns about transitioning was about his singing voice. 

The History Press

In 1908, the Rev. William Lloyd Clark of Davenport wrote: "If I owned Hell and Davenport, I would sell Davenport and keep Hell."  Iowa's largest metropolis along the Mississippi River was called "the worst city in the country" and "the wickedest city in the west" by many people and it was the Bucktown neighborhood on the east edge of downtown that earned Davenport that reputation. 

Phee/Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever heard a noise that you just can’t stand? Think about someone chewing with their mouth open, or someone sniffling with a cold. 

Irritation is one thing, but in extreme cases for people living with hyperacusis or misophonia, these sorts of annoying sounds can trigger fear or even pain. Matthew Manz is one of those people; he carries earplugs and headphones with him everywhere.

Leslie Odom Jr. will speak in Iowa City on March 27 at 7:30pm at the Hancher Auditorium. On this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe talks with Odom about his role in Hamilton and the power of theater.

"We can do things that we can't do in television and film, because we don't have to be literal. We walk into those buildings and we're willing to suspend our disbelief and take these journeys," he says. "That childlike belief and using your imagination, that's the power of theater. That's maybe when theater is most powerful."

Aaron Hawkins / Flickr

The average student graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2016 graduated with more than $37,000 in student loan debt, and according to the personal finance website, Make Lemonade, there are more than 44 million borrowers with $1.3 trillion in student loan debt in the United States.

wrightbrosfan / Flickr

The zoos of the 1970s would be barely recognizable when compared to the zoos of today, and some believe the zoos of the future will be radically different again - with their focus geared mostly towards conservation efforts.

Mark Vukovich, the president and CEO at Blank Park Zoo, calls the condition of the world’s wild species a “staggering disaster.” He says, "In 20 years for sure, the only place you’ll be able to see some animals is in the zoo.”

Smabs Sputzer / Flickr

As a beautiful weekend approaches the state of Iowa, many are looking forward to getting a head start on their spring yard work. If you’re looking to start pruning your shrubs soon, Assistant Director of Reiman Gardens Aaron Steil has some recommendations.

Lukas Keller/University of Zurich

Each year, scientists and enthusiasts across the globe celebrate Darwin Day as a way teach the principles embodied in Charles Darwin's research on evolution, and to learn about the latest evolutionary research being conducted today.

Since 1991, the University of Iowa's Wildlife Camp has been working to teach Iowa youth to love the outdoors and all the bugs and dirt that come with it. It's expanding this year to include six new state parks across Iowa, thanks to a grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

During this Talk of Iowa segment, assistant camp director Meredith Caskey talks with host Charity Nebbe. 

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

John Darnielle grew up in Claremont, California, but at heart, he’s an Iowan. He pulls on the sense of community and a bit of nostalgia he observed while he was living in Colo in the 1990s in his new novel Universal Harvester.

Jemar Lee

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, we kick off a series of conversations about issues affecting Iowans, in collaboration with the Cedar Rapids Gazette, called Iowa Ideas. First up: K-12 education.

Pat Blank / Iowa Public Radio

Spring is just around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about gardening again.

On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Iowa Master Gardener coordinator Denny Shrock and Iowa State University horticulturist Richard Jauron about selecting seeds, starting seeds, and when it’s best to delay planting. They also troubleshoot problems commonly encountered when starting seeds and answer listener questions.

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