Talk of Iowa

For 10 years, Iowa State University's non-partisan campaign training program "Ready to Run" has prepared women to be first time candidates. This year, they have had record enrollment in the workshops.

Kelly Winfrey is coordinator for Research and Outreach for the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University. She says women are far less likely to run for office than males, but at recent Ready to Run workshops, they have had record numbers of women interested in running for local and county offices.

Fredrik Rubensson / Flickr

In 1964, just weeks away from graduating from Grinnell College, Dennis Maulsby decided his best option after college would be to voluntarily enter the military. After returning from the Vietnam War almost five years later, he channeled his war experiences into various creative outlets, ultimately pursuing writing poetry. He self-published his first book, Remembering Willy, and All the Others, and received silver medal awards from veterans associations. His latest book, Free Fire Zone is a collection of short military stories.

Glory Days was a live story telling sponsored by Iowa Watch and Iowa Public Radio. It took place in Iowa City on Saturday, April 8. 

Here are the stories in order:

Host Charity Nebbe started off the program with a story of her own about the many things that were going on beneath the surface during her high school experience.   

John Paul Derryberry talked about his "twin" Eric.  Both friends had lost their fathers at a young age.  Eric also shared the use of his handicap parking permit.

Plan Ahead for Your Future Trees

Apr 21, 2017
amdougherty / flickr

Cool temperatures, plentiful moisture, and a long growing season make spring the best time to plant trees. On this Horticulture Day, DNR District Forester Mark Vitosh gives advice on tree selection, site selection, and tree care.

Vitosh places a large emphasis on planning ahead in order to ensure that your planting is most effective. Looking at conditions such as required sunlight, drainage, and the overall space the tree could potentially take up are all key in the planning stage.

 

Nina Youngbear

Shelley Buffalo is  a member of the Meskwaki Tribe in central Iowa. When she left the tribe's settlement to go to college, she was faced with questions about Native American culture. Some of her answers to those questions took years to fully form. Recently, she founded the Jingle Dress Society as a way for natives to express their culture, and she hopes it lets them take control of their own narrative.

In this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with Buffalo about the idea behind Jingle Dress Society, as well as the emotions behind it.

Nina Subin

Public radio listeners have been listening to Maureen Corrigan’s advice for decades. Corrigan has been the book reviewer for NPR’s Fresh Air for 27 years, she is literary critic for the Washington Post, and the Jamie and Nicki Grant Distinguished Professor of the Practice in Literary Criticism at Georgetown University.

In this Talk of Iowa interview, she talks with host Charity Nebbe about how she chooses what books to review out of the 200 plus that she receives each week. She also describes her love of reading for work and pleasure.

Rebecca Stanek / flickr

Before the Americans with Disabilities Act, families who had a child with special needs were often told to send their children to an institution, or that there was no hope. Two Iowa educators have just released a free, online book about the history of special education in Iowa.

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with two former school psychologists, Jeff Grimes and Jim Stumme.

Charity Nebbe

On today’s Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe and producer Emily Woodbury visit the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative in Des Moines, formerly known as the Great Ape Trust. The facility is home to a family of five bonobos including the world famous Kanzi. The bonobos can communicate with humans through the use of a vocabulary made up of lexigrams, symbols that stand for words. 

Growing Asparagus is Worth the Wait

Apr 14, 2017
Rob Ireton / flickr

A patch of asparagus can be a great addition to your vegetable garden as they can live up to 30 years. But without immediate visible results, the process can seem discouraging to some. Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University and Extension Commercial Vegetable Specialist, Ajay Nair, says that waiting the 3-4 years prior to a full harvest is worth the wait.

He offers instructions for planting your young asparagus plant, generally referred to as a crown.

D Sharon Pruitt / Flickr

According to professor of psychology, Marianne Lafrance, our hair plays a bigger role in our lives than we might think. She says there is a psychological impact of having a bad hair day. 

In her research, Lafrance found that a majority of people are inclined to have lower self-esteem on bad hair days.

Chiot's Run / Flickr

Many changes have taken place in agriculture over the last 100 years. While most of the emphasis in commercial agriculture has been on maximizing yield, with truly remarkable results, this shift in focus also led to an incredible loss of bio-diversity and significant cultural losses in some communities around the world.

Michael M. Huang/Studio Reserved

In Iowa there are hundreds of old schools, post offices, and churches that sit vacant. Some of them have been given new life as apartments, or as makers spaces and hubs for creativity. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Michael Wagler of Main Street Iowa. We also check in with several Iowans who have been working to reimagine these old buildings. 

Need a New Podcast to Binge? Try IPR's "Lit City"

Apr 7, 2017

The tenth and final episode of the first season of Lit City, Iowa Public Radio’s new book podcast, goes live next Thursday, April 13th. Co-hosted by IPR's Charity Nebbe and UI English Ph.D. student Anna Williams, Lit City revisits author interviews from Talk of Iowa while also exploring the sights and sounds of the United States’ only UNESCO City of Literature – Iowa City.

Springtime Care for Your Lawn

Apr 7, 2017
Bruce Aldridge / flickr

As April showers kickoff spring weather across the state, flowers are beginning to bloom and grasses are starting to grow. Iowa State University Extension turfgrass specialist, Adam Thoms, shares some advice for how to establish and maintain healthy lawns.

Thoms advises that the next week is a good time to begin the pre-emergence weed control process.

 

Wikimedia Commons

Dan Lerner teaches the largest and most popular non-required course at New York University: "The Science of Happiness."  We were lucky to get to talk to him for an hour about his ideas.  He told us: "Surprisingly, there are a lot of scientific studies that have been done on the idea of happiness--in fact since the late 90s there has been a wave of research into what we call positive psychology, or what is simply termed happiness, well-being or thriving."

Iowa City native Bridget Kearney, most known for her work as bassist for the band Lake Street Dive, is out with her debut solo album “Won’t Let You Down.” During this Talk of Iowa interview, she talks with host Charity Nebbe about her approach to songwriting, and the new music videos she created for this album. 

"Whenever I had time off from Lake Street Dive, I was really excited to be in the studio," she says. "It was a great way to keep engaging that side of my brain and to stay excited about music and songs." 

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"]

Marcelo Noah / flickr

During this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Fmr. U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins about his latest work and his writing style. He admits that despite common perceptions about poetry, his poems don’t contain much rhyming.

 

“I write with my ear. I want to make poems sound good and there are lots of ways to do that without having a formal rhyme. Charles Wright defined poetry as, ‘language that means more and sounds better,' and I really think those are the two ingredients. Poetry just sounds better than non-poetry.”

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.

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