Iowa industry

Emily Woodbury, via Wordle

A trip to the emergency room is expensive, even for more routine procedures. Take for example, Ron Smith, an Indianola resident whose $24,240 bill for a rabies vaccination was negotiated down by $17,627 by his insurance company.

Today, the third installment in our examination of hospital costs. We find out how insurance negotiations play into how much you pay for that ER visit, how Iowa’s insurance landscape may change through the Affordable Care Act, and how the number of visits to the ER may be affected by Obamacare.

Today's guests include:

Fish Farm

Apr 17, 2014
IPR's Pat Blank

One of Iowa's only Aquaponics facilities is marketing locally grown, chemical free vegetables and fish raised in a sustainable manner and available year round. All Seasons Harvest is located just north of Cedar Falls and grows lettuce, kale, herbs and Tilapia fish in a six thousand square foot greenhouse.  

A Taste of Iowa Summer

Mar 20, 2014
IPR's Pat Blank

A first of its kind facility in Marshalltown is bringing a taste of Iowa summer to dinner tables.  Iowa Choice Harvest frozen sweet corn and apples have been available in a few grocery stores in the central part of the state, but in April, all 107 Fareway stores will feature the products.  Iowa Choice Harvest is a group of 30 farmers who have invested in the company to have Iowa grown fruits and vegetables available year round.   CEO Penny Brown Huber was able to secure a USDA grant to study how the market would react to a facility like theirs.

Ragged Records / facebook

Today on River to River, we explore the continuing changes in the music industry...including the fact that more and more users are listening from large online libraries of music – like Rhapsody, Spotify, or Pandora – rather than purchasing individual songs or albums. We also discuss why vinyl records are making a comeback.

Geoffrey Fairchild

Today on River to River, we bring you six stories.

First, University of Iowa President Sally Mason meets with the Board of Regents for a special meeting this afternoon to discuss her remarks on how the university handles sexual assault allegations. Iowa Public Radio correspondent Dean Borg tells host Ben Kieffer what to expect out of the meeting.

On a strict party-line vote, a committee in the Iowa Senate today addressed  what they say may be  excessive reserves  at the state’s leading health insurance company.   The bill would give the state insurance commissioner authority to order Wellmark to give profits back to consumers depending on the results of an audit of the company’s bottom line.     An earlier audit showed the company’s reserves might be too low.     

    

Monastery Candy

Feb 14, 2014
Monastery Candy

Iowa is home to many talented chocolatiers and a number of them live in a place that might surprise you. Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey is a cloistered monastic community of Trappistine nuns near Dubuque. 

Tuukka Koski / Little, Brown and Company

THE MAST BROTHERS' RED WINE BONBONS

A full-bodied red wine works best here, as it won't be overpowered by the dark chocolate.  Try a Criollo-heavy chocolate with notes of dark fruit, like Madagascar.

 GANACHE

  • Heavy cream, 1/2 cup
  • Dark chocolate, 6 ounces, chopped
  • Red wine, 2 ounces (just over 1/3 cup)
  • Unsalted butter, 1 tabled spoon

COATING

  • Dark chocolate, 8 ounces, melted and tempered

Make the Ganache

Rick Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

Manufacturing continues to be the lead sector of the economy in Dickinson County, thanks, in part, to Polaris Industries. The company has been turning out Indian motorcycles for more than six months. Part two of a two-part story. 

Rick Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

Exactly six months after they were unveiled at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Polaris Industries cannot keep up with the demand for Indian motorcycles. The iconic brand is produced exclusively in Spirit Lake. Part one of a two part story.

Photo courtesy of GCN

Formed in 2010 to provide disaster relief to earthquake victims in Haiti, Iowa based Global Compassion Network is expanding its reach. Later this month, ten Safe T Homes built by Sukup Manufacturing in Sheffield will be used as housing for missionaries in Kenya. GCN Development Coordinator, Mary Graham says another project is under construction in Peru. She says, "it'll be a multi-purpose center and a Bible camp. We're really excited to bring the Safe T Homes around the world."  Graham says Global Compassion Network also responds to disasters in the U.S.

2013 has been a busy year for Iowa Public Radio's news team. Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with reporters and correspondents about some of the most meaningful and challenging stories they covered. It's a "reporter's notebook" edition of the show.

Here is a list of the full features heard on today's show:

January 10 - Undocumented Immigrants at University

Charity Nebbe / The view from "Talk of Iowa" host Charity Nebbe's front door at sunset.

What makes Iowa stand apart from the rest of the Midwest. Tom Morain of Graceland University in Lamoni and Mike Draper of Raygun, the Des Moines-based satirical t-shirt company, sit down with host Charity Nebbe to discuss Iowa unique.

Durrie Bouscaren

Host Ben Kieffer covers a number of topics in a roundup of the week's news including a conversation with Iowa Public Radio's Cedar Rapids reporter Durrie Bouscaren on how Iowa military contractors have been affected by the s

Casey Fleser / Flickr

Garrison Keillor once said, “A book is a gift you can open again and again.”  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Jan Weismiller and Paul Ingram of Prairie Lights bookstore in Iowa City, and Mollie Loughlin of The Book Vine in Cherokee about the best books to give as gifts this year.  We've compiled the list below, along with what our reviewers had to say about each book.

Paul Ingram - Fiction

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee

While support to reduce prison sentences has been growing, Iowa State University sociologist Matt DeLisi recently testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that for certain offenders this would be a mistake. 

Dean Borg / IPR

A popular Central Iowa restaurant is closing this weekend.  (Saturday night; November 16th)  Iowa Public Radio’s Dean Borg reports the Suburban Restaurant, along U-S Highway Sixty-Nine north of Ames, is what its loyal customers say is an icon of “home-style dining.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Iowa's cultural and economic shift away from the family farm created serious problems for the state.  It has also created opportunities for reinvention and creativity.

Jimmy Emerson / jimmywayne / Flickr

Host Ben Kieffer gets the latest on news from around Iowa.  MidAmerican Energy gives an update on the power outage which left almost 40,000 Des Moines-area residents in the dark. IPR's Joyce Russell discusses changes to the problematic Toledo Juvenile Home.  The DNR has a new report which looks at drought conditions in Iowa.  Also, Dubuque native Brooks Wheelan joins the cast of "Saturday Night Live."

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

A young company from upstate New York, that manufactures packaging materials with agricultural waste is moving into an empty facility in Cedar Rapids. Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports.

The old Cryovac building on the Southwest side of Cedar Rapids has been vacant for almost five years, ever since parent company Sealed Air closed the 250-person food packaging division. The announcement came  about six months after the 2008 flood.

But now, new life is coming into the building—in the form of fungus.

Sarah McCammon / IPR

 It's back to school season in Iowa. IPR's Clay Masters talks education economics with Sarah McCammon while she finishes up her assignment for Marketplace this summer covering business and economics news. They discuss the increasing costs for teachers and parents to pay for public school and a report by the US Department of Education found colleges giving bigger grants to wealthier kids. 

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

Nationally, unemployment rates for veterans are in decline, but the highest rates of joblessness are suffered by soldiers most recently returned from deployment.

Back home, finding a job can be a challenge--whether it be finding the right words for a resume, or getting re-certified for the civilian equivalent of a military job.

Facebook / Rockwell Collins

Many Iowans work for two companies in recent business headlines. In a nearly 1.4 billion dollar deal, Cedar Rapids-based Rockwell Collins announced it was buying communication system company Airinc. Rockwell Collins CEO, Kelly Ortberg, calls it the biggest deal the company has undertaken.

And the latest quarter of John Deere earnings beat analyst projections. IPR's Clay Masters talks with Sarah McCammon, who's on assignment for Marketplace this summer, about the two news-making companies. They also discuss the state's corn crop and how it compares to the cornbelt as a whole.

Iowa State Fair

    

The Iowa State Fair wraps up next weekend. IPR's Clay Masters talks with Sarah McCammon, who's on assignment with Marketplace, over the economics and controversy over when schools should start and how that affects state fairs and tourism. Masters also talks with McCammon about the energy stories she's done on Transocean, the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that was involved in the BP oil spill three years ago, and a solar company that’s also ahead of its peers.

Shawn Cornally / Iowa BIG

A small group of teachers in Cedar Rapids is trying a new way to inspire students to learn, by getting them out of the classroom and working on projects with community mentors. As Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports, the Big Ideas Group is wrapping up a summer pilot program, and will become an option for students across the district this Fall.

To get an idea of how this works, take 12th grader McKenna Cole, who—at a weekly meeting, explains to her fellow students why she’s working with a wastewater treatment plant to test how poplar trees can filter water.

Patrick Domingo / Getty Images

This week IPR's Clay Masters checks in with Sarah McCammon, who's on assignment with Marketplace, about issues regarding paying for college.

IPR would like to know what business issues are important to you, join our IPR Insight Network and lend your expertise and experience to our reporting.  

Corn Crew

Jul 22, 2013
Pat Blank

A Midwest summertime tradition is in full swing: corn detasseling.  Every summer, seed corn companies hire thousands of seasonal workers to remove the top of the corn plant to produce hybrid varieties.  The minimum age in Iowa to do the work is 14. Those as young as 12 can detassel in Illinois and Nebraska.  Many crew leaders who started in their teens are now in their 50s and 60s.  Workers say even though it's often hot in the cornfield and the work is tedious, they return year after year because they are paid good money by the companies.

Sarah McCammon / IPR

  This week Clay and Sarah discuss the state's unemployment rate which is largely unchanged for June. They also discuss an issue Sarah is reporting on regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline and its impact on the country if its built or not. 

IPR would like to know what business issues are important to you, join our IPR Insight Network and lend your expertise and experience to our reporting.  

Sarah McCammon / IPR

This week Clay and Sarah discuss big news in agribusiness and how the industry is reacting. The U.S. House passed a farm bill that strips the nutrition portion out of the legislation, breaking up the rural/urban coalition of lawmakers. Also, a deadly pig virus is causing pork producers to be even more cautious with how they operate their business. And a deadly train accident in Quebec has people in the United States looking at how the country transports oil. 

Detasseling Delay

Jul 10, 2013
Courtesy photo

The wet spring has delayed the growth of corn used for seed by Iowa companies including the largest, DuPont Pioneer. That, in turn, has pushed back the schedule of hundreds of part time workers who make money in the fields by removing the top of the plant known as the tassel.  Production manager for the Reinbeck facility, Colby Entriken says ,"we're hoping to start pulling tassels next week which is about a week behind schedule.

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