State agencies

Hades 2K/flickr

Some Iowa consumers have gone without landline phone service for weeks at a time this summer, and the Iowa Office of Consumer Advocate is requesting proceedings against the CenturyLink phone company. 

Between August 24 and September 11th, the office received eight complaints of repair delays ranging from ten days to, in one case, more than a month.  

Consumer Advocate Mark Schuling has asked the Iowa Utilities board to consolidate the cases to speed things up.

Kenneth Mertes

Many scientists believe that Earth is in the midst of a sixth great extinction. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, threats to biodiversity in the Midwest.

The National Guard

Recent clashes between police and civilians in Ferguson, Missouri have led local community members to consider the military-style equipment given to local police departments.

Rick Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

In this ‘digital age,’ from telephones to newspapers, there’s a rare magazine that is flourishing as a hard copy edition. Of all places, it is published by state government. We go inside Iowa Outdoors.

Jim Pease

So far this summer, wildlife biologist Jim Pease has paddled hundreds of miles down Iowa’s waterways to gather biological data for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Today on Talk of Iowa, he shares his experience.

Rick Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

It was 60 years ago when mental health professionals welcomed a new option for their patients. Instead of radical brain surgery and dangerous forms of shock treatment, doctors could prescribe a simple oral medication for the first time. An Iowa woman was a nurse during this crucial turning point and IPR’s Rick Fredericksen has her story. 

Iowa Department of Public Safety

In 1935 fifty men were sworn in as the first officers of the Iowa Highway Safety Patrol.

keeva999 / flickr

The EPA sets regulations for 6 sources of air pollution, but there are hundreds of pollutants known to the EPA that go unregulated.

Alex Heuer

In Fort Madison, 550 inmates were scheduled to be transferred to a new $132 million state maximum security  prison - that was three months ago.

Emily Woodbury

Many of this year’s blockbusters, video games, and books are set in post-apocalyptic worlds - a growing trend in the past few years.

Today on River To River, we take a look at why this is such a common theme. Host Ben Kieffer talks with Iowans who are prepared to face an apocalyptic scenario, and he sits down with an Iowa Homeland Security representative, to find out how prepared the state of Iowa is for disaster.

Emily Woodbury

Iowa is the second most privately owned state in the U.S., so land preserved on its public parks is particularly special. Today on River to River –  the future of Iowa’s parks.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Happy Friday! Here's your news buzz wrap-up for the week...

Joyce Russell, IPR’s Statehouse Correspondent, recaps the 2014 Iowa legislative session:

Paul Sleeper, Fisheries Biologist for Iowa DNR, explains that fishy smell near your lakes and ponds:

Markus Ortner

In a four to one vote in Council Bluffs, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission rejected a $174-million proposal for a casino in downtown Cedar Rapids. Commissioner Dolores Mertz of Algona cast the lone “yes” vote.

Commission Chair Jeff Lamberti said approving the Cedar Rapids Development Group LLC request, “Would be a significant precedent,” that he wasn’t willing to take. 

Rick Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

From radical brain surgery, to drug therapy and meditation, Iowa veterans have done it all while coping with mental illness in the aftermath of war. Treatments have come a long way since lobotomies were performed on World War II vets in Knoxville.  

See the Wall Street Journal investigation

Frederic Rivollier

"Since the beginning of 2013, there has been a huge increase in the sale of really simple UAV systems," says Rory Paul, CEO of Volt Aerial Robotics, based in Chesterfield, Missouri.

With their ability to take high definition photo and video footage, UAVs (known as "unmanned aerial vehicles" or drones) bring up a number of security concerns, and they also have the potential to be put to good use. The Iowa legislature is currently considering ways to regulate these vehicles; so today on River to River, we analyze this legislation.

Emily Woodbury / IPR

Today on Talk of Iowa, we wrap up our corrections series with a conversation on the programs offered to incarcerated offenders. Host Charity Nebbe learns about how these programs are designed for treatment, recovery, rehab, and enrichment. And, she inquires into the effectiveness of these programs towards lowering the recidivism rate.

Emily Woodbury / IPR

Prison inmates have a lot of time to think. Some offenders take comfort in their faith, for others it’s a time to explore a new belief system. Today on Talk of Iowa: spirituality behind bars.

Host Charity Nebbe finds out what the Department of Corrections does to meet the spiritual needs of inmates, and she listens to stories from those who have worked in Iowa Prisons, including a pastor, a rabbi, an imam, and a Native American spiritual guide. A former offender joins the conversation as well, to speak to her experience finding religion while incarcerated.

Emily Woodbury / IPR

When a parent is sent to prison, the lives of his or her children are changed forever. Today on Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a discussion on parents in prison. Maintaining and creating healthy bonds, and breaking the cycle of incarceration.

Sarah McCammon / Iowa Public Radio

As we continue our series on corrections in Iowa…here's the second half of our report on sex offender treatment and monitoring.  

About 1 in 8 inmates in Iowa's prison system are sex offenders, and many go through treatment while in prison.  But does it work?

Emily Woodbury / IPR

In our society when you break the law you will be punished, but our prison system is supposed to be about more than retribution.  Today on Talk of Iowa, we begin our summer series exploring Iowa’s correctional system with a conversation about the purpose of prison… punishment, deterrence and rehabilitation.

Emily Woodbury

Many of this summer’s blockbusters are set in a post-apocalyptic world, including “This is the end”, “World War Z”, “After Earth”, and “Elysium”.

Today on River To River, we take a look at why this is such a common theme this year. Host Ben Kieffer talks with Iowans who are prepared to face an apocalyptic scenario, and he sits down with an Iowa Homeland Security rep, to find out how prepared the state of Iowa is for disaster.

John Pemble / IPR

At least one state senator is calling for the person in charge of the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown to step down so a more thorough investigation can be conducted. This follows repeated complaints over management of the Veterans home. The Senate Veterans Affairs committee held a meeting Monday  to hear testimony. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

Flickr / J. Stephen Conn

In 2007 the state of Iowa allowed casinos to move from riverboats to land.  Since that time several communities around the state have sought a piece of the casino action.  But how many casinos are too many for Iowa?

"River to River" looks at current casino proposals in Warren and Linn Counties.  We'll also examine why communities like Davenport and Sioux City are in the process of moving their casinos from riverboats to land.

Iowa Department of Public Safety

In 1935 fifty men were sworn in as the first officers of the Iowa Highway Safety Patrol.  Today on Talk of Iowa, we go back in time to origins of what is now the Iowa State Patrol.  We hear stories about those first 50 officers and the woman, Iowa’s first female secretary of state, who founded the patrol.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, schools are changing their intruder response procedure from a stay put and hide method, to a fight or flight response. Today on River to River, we talk with violent incident trainers and educators who are changing the way our schools and our children prepare for the worst case scenario, and how these changes are empowering teachers and students in order to keep them safe.

University of Maryland Press Releases / Flickr

A committee of scientists led by University of Iowa professor Jerry Schnoor says the Environmental Protection Agency will need to develop novel tools, technologies, and a systems approach to solve environmental problems in the 21st century.

The task of daily chores, attending class picnics, and the uneasiness of the Cold War days are just some of the memories Carroll Englehardt, author and professor emeritus of history at Concordia College, shares in his book, “The Farm at Holstein Dip: An Iowa Boyhood.” Then  Jeff Morgan, public information officer at the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Office, talks about the art of  historical preservation with Pete Sixbey, a conservator at the State Historical Society of Iowa.

Host Ben Kieffer’s recent conversations with offenders inside the Iowa State Penitentiary prompted this look at the victim’s perspective on violent crime. This hour, Ben talks with Jonna Williams of Waterloo, the victim of a kidnapping and rape in 1994, when she was just 13 years old. Also joining the conversation are Black Hawk County Prosecutor Tom Ferguson and Mary Roche, Director of Victim Programs with the Iowa Department of Corrections.

Contact Jonna about victim’s advocacy through her Facebook page

It was 37 years ago this month the final American soldiers completely withdrew from Vietnam.  Bob Drury's new book Last Men Out: The True Story of America's Heroic Final Hours in Vietnam focuses on the final hours of eleven Marine Corps Security Guards who were the last to be flown off the roof of the U.S. embassy, just minutes before being captured or killed.