Seasons

Michael Leland/IPR

The man in charge of administering Iowa’s low income heating assistance program, known as LIHEAP, says the cost of staying warm this winter may become a public health emergency. Jerry McKim says he is especially worried about some of the state’s older citizens.

“In an effort to better afford their utility bills, a lot of those elderly households will cut back on their prescribed medicine or they set their thermostats too low risking their already insecure health,” he says.

Flickr / thenicole

All 902 plow trucks owned by the Iowa Department of Transportation now equipped with a new GPS system. It allows vehicles to gather all sorts of data, which the DOT will use for clearing Iowa’s roadways of snow and ice more efficiently. 

Craig Bargfrede heads DOT winter operations. This new system costs about $850,000, but Bargfrede says the upgrade will pay for itself in time and money savings. 

JOHN PEMBLE

*This is an updated version of this story. 

If you don’t have to travel, it's best to stay off Iowa roads today since the blizzard that blanketed parts of the southwest U.S. has moved into the Midwest as a heavy snowstorm. Roughly 5000 Iowa Department of Transportation trucks are out clearing snow from the state’s interstates and highways, most of which are partially or completely covered with snow, ice and slush.

Pat Blank/IPR

Once the weather turns cold, the first utility bill following the temperature dip usually prompts homeowners to look for ways to rein in costs. Most Iowa utility companies and rural electric cooperatives offer ways to save energy free of charge.  Some offer to bring in a home energy specialist like Jason Jefferson.

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

On a cold, blustery day in Dubuque, Iowa, a giggly, 5-year old named Etta McCarthy was bundled up in pink snow gear at Bunker Hill Golf Course. 

Usually Melancholy / flickr

They are easy to grow, decorative and delicious.

Courtesy of June Melby

What did your childhood summer consist of? Swimming pools, games of frisbee, putt-putt golf? For June Melby, a Decorah resident, it was the latter - and only the latter. 

TumblingRun / Flickr

Summer is officially over, but the changing of the seasons brings a whole new type of beauty to our Iowa landscape.

gabontour / flickr

Over the next few weeks the green in our fields will turn to gold and the leaves on the trees will begin to change.

Courtesy of June Melby

What did your childhood summer consist of? Swimming pools, games of frisbee, putt-putt golf? For June Melby, a Decorah resident, it was the latter--and only the latter. 

Summer Lull for Plants

Jun 20, 2014
Nikos Koutoulas

Spring is a riot of blossoms and fall brings with it beautiful changes in color. But in the midst of summer, there can be a bit of a lull.

Tony Baranowski

Usually, when we tell somebody about a trip, we tell them about where we went, for how long, maybe even what we drove... but on most trips the most important part is not where we went or what we did, but who we were with.  That was the case for Tony Baranowski (III) of Iowa Falls.  He talked with Charity Nebbe about his family vacations to Table Rock Lake in Missouri as a boy growing up.  He says it's only through the perspective gained as a father himself, that he realizes just how hard his father, Tony Baranowski II, worked to make sure everyone was having a good time on those trips.

Jennifer Roscoe

Summer is the time of year when seemingly reasonable people load up the car for a family road trip.  The misadventures of the Griswald family in National Lampoon's Vacation captured the trials and tribulations of this summer ritual.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with travel writer Jennifer Wilson about potential destinations on an Iowa road trip, and listeners share their family road trip memories.

Wikimedia Commons

According to the National Summer Learning Association, most elementary students lose about two months worth of math and reading skills over the summer break, a problem that is well documented yet plagues parents and educators alike. Brandi Miller is a teacher at Garden Elementary, a school that’s a part of the Des Moines Public School system on the East Side of Des Moines. As a literacy coach, she says she sees first-hand the skills students lose over the summer when they return to school each fall. “We do assessment tests, and we almost always see loss.

This summer, June through September, we'll be looking back at some of our favorite Java Blend broadcasts of 2012.

Tune in every Saturday starting June 14 at 2 PM to catch these special encore broadcasts featuring locally grown and nationally known artists. 

Spring Lawn Care

Apr 11, 2014
Guneet Narula

The grass is finally starting to get green… or maybe your lawn isn’t following suit.

Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Ryan Adams, Iowa State University Extension turf grass specialist, about springtime lawn care. He and horticulturist Richard Jauron answer questions about your lawn, garden and landscape.

Honeybees may be among the many victims of this winter's extended stretches of extreme cold. The State Department of Agriculture's Apiarist, Andrew Joseph says annual winter losses among U.S. beekeepers run about 30 percent. Iowa's losses are likely to be 60 to 65 percent. He says bees that are in good shape can survive a very harsh winter, but those that have been weakened by pesticides or parasites are not likely to survive until spring.

This past winter is the state's harshest winter in decades.  Wildlife biologist Jim Pease talks with host Charity Nebbe about the negative and positive effects of this long, hard winter on Iowa's wildlife.

Preparing for Winter

Nov 15, 2013
Gerald Davison

The snow that fell over most of the state early this week was a strong reminder that it’s time to put the garden to bed. Today on Talk of Iowa, it’s Horticulture Day! Host Charity Nebbe talks with horticulturists Richard Jauron and Aaron Steil about preparing your yard and garden for winter.

It has already begun.  We can see a little bit of orange, some yellows and even some burgundies... and it's just going to get better.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with DNR District Forester Mark Vitosh about the conditions that lead to a vibrant fall and what our chances are this year.  They also discuss when to expect peak color and how to track the peak across the state.  ISU Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron also joins in to answer questions.

froggieb / Flickr

The changing season affects the animal behaviors in the sky and trees, on the ground and in the water.  Host Charity Nebbe speaks with wildlife biologist Rebecca Christoffel of Iowa State University Extension, ISU fisheries specialist Allen Pattillo and DNR forester Mark Vitosh.  

Michael Holler / Flickr

Host Charity Nebbe and Patricia O'Conner, aka The Word Maven, discuss the words and phrases of summer.  O'Conner reveals the origins of dog days, bikini, lemonade and barbecue.

Jim Davies / Iowa Public Radio

Pianist and composer Dan Knight has preformed all over the world, but he has always called Iowa home. Today he visits us to say "goodbye; at least for now.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Dan Knight about his plans for the future and his upcoming farewell concert.  They also create a soundtrack for the summer based off listener memories.

Flickr / Grant MacDonald

Though half of Iowa is still under a blanket of snow the rivers are swollen, the days are growing longer and spring is definitely on its way. "Talk of Iowa" sits down with wildlife biologist Jim Pease to talk about the signs and songs of spring.

CR Artist / flickr

Even though Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow, don’t bet old man winter is done with us just yet. Today on River to River, we talk about the winter storms we’ve had this year… and if there’s been progress towards drought recovery. Also, journalist Callie Crossley joins our conversation to talk about race relations in the U.S. and where there’s room for improvement.

Conrad Kuiper / Flickr

When snow covers the ground the world looks as if it is sleeping under a blanket of white, but life does go on. Wildlife biologist Jim Pease joins Charity Nebbe to discuss life under and in the snow and  how that white stuff benefits the burrowers, the hibernators, and other birds and mammals. 

Pease also discusses how snow is an insulator and a boon to wildlife for keeping warm and how even some amphibians benefit from the snow.

Via Tsuji / Flickr

Every December tens of thousands of seemingly sensible Iowans buy a cut tree and bring it into the house. On Horticulture Day Charity Nebbe talks with forester Mark Vitosh about Christmas trees, how they’re grown, how to pick a good one, how to keep it fresh and how our Christmas tree crop was affected by the drought.

Horticulturist Richard Jauron then joins the conversation to answer listener questions about the plants in their lives.

Francesco Scaglioni / Flickr

We just spent the summer trying to keep our plants alive through the drought, now it’s time to think about how to keep them alive through the winter. Charity Nebbe talks with horticulturist Richard Jauron and Aaron Stile of Reiman Gardens to talk about protecting your plants from cold and critters and answer your questions.

Elizabeth Thomsen / Flickr

The windows are shut and the furnace has been running. It’s time to make sure your home is ready for winter. Our home improvement expert Bill McAnally talks about winterizing your home and how to get the best value if you need to make a big investment in a new furnace or insulation.

Chris Murphy / Flickr

Spring came early this year, summer arrived and hit us hard, and now autumn is doing its thing. It's Horticulture Day and Forester Mark Vitosh will be here. He talks about how the long, hot dry summer has affected trees and how the fall color season is shaping up.

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