Iowa towns

Courtesy of the Clinton Lumber Kings

Joyce Wilkerson has been going to as many Clinton Lumber Kings games as she can since the early 1990’s. She keeps coming back because she loves the stadium, the fans and the team. “There’s no time in baseball; I love that.”

IPR's Pat Blank

  Cedar Falls has been named the 2014 eCity for the state of Iowa. The award comes from Google and the independent research firm IPSOS. The recognition means the brick and mortar business community in Cedar Falls also embraces connecting online with their customers. They also use the web to find new ways to market their products. Chris Russell is Operations Manager for Goggle's Council Bluffs Data Center. He says, " the point of all this is that it's not always Des Moines that wins.

Iowa's orchestras, choirs, bands, & operas are awesome, but let's not forget our chamber music! Tune in 7AM Saturday or 8PM Sunday to hear two recent highlight from the Ames Town & Gown Chamber Music Association, now in its 65th season.

maplegirlie / flickr

In Des Moines, Pit Bulls, American Staffordshire terriers and Staffordshire terriers are defined as vicious breeds, even if they have no aggressive history.

History's Seeds

Aug 18, 2014
Chiot's Run

Most vegetable seeds today are bred by seed companies to be hearty and easy to grow. They’re created by cross-breeding different varieties and selecting for specific characteristics.

Heirloom seeds are different. Like your grandmother’s engagement ring or a dusty old photo album, these seeds have been passed down through generations.

J. Stephen Conn

In this segment of River to River, we discuss the situation in the Northwest Iowa town of Cherokee, home to about 5000 Iowans.

Clay Masters / IPR

The Okoboji area is known for its tourism industry. The most recent data from the Dickinson County Chamber of Commerce says 255 million dollars are spent annually from tourism. But for last 40 years, cyclists on the Register’s Great Bike Ride Across Iowa have never stayed overnight in the Iowa Great Lakes. The natural barrier is a winding highway that goes from four to two lanes to wind around the lakes and an amusement park. But the RAGBRAI moved through the Iowa Great Lakes with no major problems.

IPR's Pat Blank

  Students at Crestwood High School FFA are making a 20 thousand dollar investment in a soon to be opened beef processing facility near Lime Springs in North Iowa. They're using some of the 90 thousand dollars they had in the bank after selling some land a few years ago. Initially the FFA chapter was unable to take advantage of the opportunity because state law did not allow investment of taxpayer money in a private enterprise.  State lawmakers assisted the group in introducing the Entrepreneurial Funds for Student Organizations and Clubs Act.

Clay Masters / IPR

  Torrential downpours in northwest Iowa caused rivers to swell… floodwaters damaged homes, businesses and farmland.  Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are assessing the area to see if it qualifies for federal help. State officials on Monday said public infrastructure sustained more than $15 million worth of damage in the state.

That doesn’t include homes, businesses and farmland in Rock Valley and other parts of the region that were destroyed.

“We’ve had a few (floods), but nothing remotely close to this,” said Rock Valley Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo.

Listen below to a podcast of a live set from our studio Monday featuring four stellar young musicians from ChamberFest Dubuque.  Dubuque native Michael Gilbertson founded the festival in 2009; since then his compositions have won the Israel Prize and major awards from ASCAP and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and have been performed by the Washington National Opera, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, a

Sarah Shatz

To become a Van Cliburn gold medalist, what kind of piano should you learn on? Steinway? Yamaha? Jon Nakamatsu’s international career began on the keys of a humble toy organ. Concerned that at the age of four he would never be serious about playing the piano, Jon’s parents did not want to invest in an expensive instrument he would not use. Jon steps up to perform one of the most challenging pieces in the piano repertoire with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra.

Cowboy Church

Jun 1, 2014
IPR's Pat Blank

  A musical group from Northeast Iowa has found a way to combine their love of the Old West with their faith and they’re sharing it with others.

Photo by James Minchin III/AMC

Marshalltown native Toby Huss’ latest project reaches back into history into the burgeoning computer revolution of the 1980’s, when IBM was out in from of the PC wars. The new series, AMC’s Half and Catch Fire, premiers this Sunday.

Huss, along with a small group of people at a midlevel computer company in Texas called Cardiff Electric, try to reverse engineer an IBM PC, steal the technology and improve upon it. He talks with host Ben Kieffer about the new series. 

Wikimedia Commons

Time changes everything, and in Iowa, that’s glaringly apparent in many of the state’s communities with populations of less than 5,000 people. So the story goes, small towns are dying. But according to Iowa State Professor Terry Besser, that’s not exactly true. She has been monitoring Iowa’s rural communities  for more than two decades, trying to put her finger on what it is that keeps towns alive… and what contributes to the rural blight.

Emily Woodbury

When a woman leaves prison she will face many challenges, and to succeed she needs to have the skills to navigate her world and to make good decisions. This hour we talk about a class designed to help incarcerated women do just that.

John Pemble

While he didn't win the Sioux City senate seat, at least 2010 candidate Rick Mullin and the Iowa Democratic Party won’t have to pay $231,000 to State Senator Rick Bertrand.

Today the Iowa Supreme Court today found that an ad run by Mullin’s campaign did not meet the definition of defamation. 

Senator Bertrand sued Mullin and his party saying the campaign ad purposely misled voters into thinking Bertrand was the owner of the pharmaceutical company Takeda, when in reality he was an employee.

Underwood & Underwood / Public Domain/Library of Congress

In Iowa, many of us are proud of our progressive history, but that doesn't mean we don't have skeletons in our closets, and even some Ku Klux Klan robes in the attic.  After World War I, life in Iowa changed dramatically, and a lot of people didn't like it.  That disorientation opened the door to the Ku Klux Klan.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with two historians from Mason City about the history of the Klan in Iowa.  We heard from numerous listeners whose families had direct experience with the KKK, including Larry in Des Moines.  Charity talked with Larry after the show, and he shared this st

Iowa’s only nuclear power plant, the Duane Arnold Energy Center,  is observing its fortieth year in operation with the release of a report showing its economic impact in  the state.   Governor Branstad joined company officials for a celebration at the plant outside Palo.  

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

On a Saturday morning in Mason City, city officials give a group tour of eight homes once flooded in 2008, in the hopes that someone will come to buy one. and move it out of the floodplain.

It can cost thousands of dollars to pay a contractor to move a two-story, historic house, and turnout is minimal. But a handful of former residents show up to walk through their homes one last time.

Amy Mayer/IPR

Each year, the statewide nonprofit organization Iowa Rivers Revival honors a community for its commitment to the river that runs through it. This year the group named Decorah as its River Town of the Year. 

On a cool spring day, fish splash at the trout hatchery in Decorah as a few hearty men in waders angle nearby. Alongside the Upper Iowa River is a multi-use, four season trail. The recreation options are among the reasons Iowa Rivers Revival selected Decorah and the Oneota Valley for this year's award. 

University Press of Kansas

Many of the big ideas that have changed the world have started in small towns.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with John Miller about his new book, Small Town Dreams: Stories of Midwestern Boys Who Shaped America, we’ll talk about how the place you come from shapes who you are, how small towns have changed over the years and about some remarkable men who came from Midwestern small towns. Then, sociologist Paul Lasley talks about what it means to grow up in a small town today.


25 years ago an Iowa farmer and baseball fan started hearing voices in his corn field.  The film "Field of Dreams," touched millions in a profound way and left behind a baseball diamond in Dyersville that has taken on a life of its own.

Join us Thursday afternoon to hear one of the great musicians of our time, Simon Estes, as he tells us about his extraordinary work as a musician, humanitarian, and educator. Born in Centerville, IA, where his father worked as a coal miner, Estes was the first black male artist ever to appear at the Bayreuth Festival (he is one of the rare singers  to triumph in all of Wagner's major operas) and has sung lead roles with all of the world's great opera houses and orchestras.

Orchestra Iowa

The 2008 Cedar Rapids flood literally capsized the Paramount Theatre's Wurlitzer organ, leaving it badly damaged. But a coalition restored the historic instrument to its full glory, and Orchestra Iowa unveiled it this March in a triumphant concert that you can hear rebroadcast tonight at 7PM on IPR Classical.

Courtesy photo

Something happened Wednesday morning that many people thought would not. One of three eggs in an eagle's nest near the Decorah Fish Hatchery is no longer an egg, but an eaglet. The egg hatched in spite of brutal weather conditions including ten inches of snow and 20 degree below zero temperatures. No one is happier about the day's events than Bob Anderson who installed a web cam in the nest 6 years ago as part of the Raptor Resource Project. He talks with Iowa Public Radio's Pat Blank.  See the nest at

Seymour Herald

The last of Iowa’s coal mines shut down in 1994, but in the early 20th century, coal mining was the number two industry in the state. Today on Talk of Iowa, we listen back to a conversation with historian Dorothy Hubbard Schwieder and Kristin Redenius, a coal miner’s daughter. They explain what it was like to work in Iowa’s coal mines, and how the mines shaped communities. 

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Waterloo's renowned bluegrass and folk string band, Comfort Kings.

Listen to and download the podcast to find out more about their latest album, Prairie Fire.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Waterloo, IA's, loud and proud pop-rockers, TWINS.

Listen to and download the podcast to find out more about their latest album, Funny Faces and their upcoming album, Tomboys on Parade.

New Neighbors

Mar 6, 2014
IPR's Pat Blank

  Since 1990, Waterloo has been a draw for refugees looking for a new start.  Five thousand Bosnians relocated there and over the years have had a significant positive impact on the business community and school system. Since 2010, an influx of nearly 12 hundred Burmese have made their way to Northeast Iowa. An initial federal grant has expired and now the search is on for sponsoring agencies to help foot the bills.

K.H. Sidey / Adair County Free Press

For 125 years, four generations of the Sidey family have delivered the news of Adair County.  While many small, independently owned papers perished or became parts of large conglomerates the Adair County Free Press persisted.