Talk of Iowa

Nicholls of the Yard / Flickr

Painted lady butterflies are having a really good year, according to Nathan Brockman, entomologist and curator of the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing at Reiman Gardens.

Brockman conducts an annual survey of butterflies, and he's seen a lot of painted ladies recently.

"Last year, one week we saw 12, one week we saw 21; but when we did our survey this week, we saw 747 individuals on the gardens' ground."

Rawbert|K|Photo

Heated conversations—especially political ones can be unsatisfying and emotionally draining.  In this Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with the co-facilitators of a "difficult conversations" workshop organized by the University of Iowa School of Social Work.  Guests are Alison Oliver and Jefri Pallermo from the University of Iowa, and North Liberty based consultant, coach, and speaker Heather Woody joins in for advice for workplace conversations.

http://www.mattkuhns.com

The Iowa and Iowa State football rivalry as we know it today only dates back to 1977, but even during the years when the Cyclones never played the Hawkeyes, there was a rivalry between the two schools. And the sports rivalry may pale in comparison to a conflict when Virgil Hancher was the president of the University of Iowa and James Hilton was the President of Iowa State University.  Matt Kuhns has written about those years in the new book Hancher vs. Hilton: Iowa’s Rival University Presidents.

Fixing Your Late-Summer Patchy Lawn

Sep 6, 2017
Image courtesy of Hans Braxmeier

It can be very frustrating when the picturesque, cloudless blue summer sky is undercut by a patchy, dead-looking lawn. In these last days of summer, it's common to assume that a discolored lawn is dead, but Iowa State University Extension Turfgrass Specialist Adam Thoms recommends inspecting the lawn more closely before assuming anything.

Image courtesy of Michael Leland

One of Iowa's largest and most recognizable insects is the Praying Mantis. Contrary to their predatory nature and creepy appearance, the Praying Mantis is actually beneficial to the garden, and according to Entomologist Donald Lewis, they can't really hurt you.

John Pemble

Bruce Campbell has been producing and starring in films since the 1970s, and through work largely with low-budget horror films, he has carved out a niche for himself as an iconic B movie actor. His most recognized role is that of Ash in the Evil Dead film franchise, which has produced three films, six video games, numerous comic books, and a critically-acclaimed TV show on Starz entitled Ash vs. Evil Dead, which was renewed for a third season in 2016. He mentions how his horror movie The Evil Dead received some added credibility from a fellow horror icon.

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In under three years, Mike Glenn went from needing glasses to complete vision loss. In this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe talks with guests about conditions that can lead to adult vision loss or severe impairment. Glenn lost his vision to diabetic retinopathy. Nebbe also talks with Archie Rodin who has gradually been losing his sight to macular degeneration.

photo submitted

More people than ever are enjoying Iowa's trails and waterways, but because of state funding cuts, there are Iowans concerned about the future of those waterways. In this Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Brian Morelli, Gazette Reporter who recently examined this issue in "An Unclear Path for Outdoor Recreation."

Rachel.Adams / Flickr

Great advancements in technology certainly assist everyday life, but these advancements often inflict people with dread.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe speaks with two novelists, Benjamin Percy and Alissa Nutting, who reflect these anxieties in their work.

Kim Whitley-Gaynor / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode

The 2017 Iowa Teacher of the Year, Shelley Vroegh, often cites an article written for new teachers that compares teachers to marigolds. She says that if you plant marigolds near vegetables, they are going to make those vegetables thrive. She adds that it's important for teachers to ask themselves what qualities are going to help other teachers thrive.

The article also talks about how walnut trees are poisonous and you don't want to plant near them.  

Resisting Hate

Aug 24, 2017

The racial violence that occurred in Charlottesville last week has ignited an intense, nationwide discourse about race in America. Many people are unsure how to broach the subject of race, as well as the differences between free speech and hate speech.

Brian Borland knew that his dad was a phenomenal basketball player as he was growing up. What he didn't know was that his mom, Carolyn Nicholson, was an Iowa high school basketball superstar. 

"I was at my parents condo in 2006, and I heard them talking about going back to Des Moines for the 50th anniversary of Maynard winning the state championship in 1956. And I was like 'what state championship?'" he explains. "She said, 'well me and your aunt Glenda played basketball and we won a state championship when we were younger. Do you want to come with me?'"

Photo Courtesy of Amber Causey

Amber Causey is a distinguished Army veteran with a master's degree in criminal justice and she is a mother. She's competing for Ms. Veteran America 2017 in October and is hoping to go to law school. She's also a survivor of human trafficking. 

She says after her mom was incarcerated when she was 13, a lot about her life changed. She moved in with her dad, who was abusive, and ended up running away from home and dropping out of high school. 

Image courtesy of magdus

During the dry periods of summer, many gardeners across the state are unsure how to keep their gardens full of life during the lack of rainfall. Luckily, there are multiple flowers that can still thrive without much water, as Iowa Master Gardener Coordinator Denny Schrock explains.

Photo courtesy of Black Valley Films

The Iowa State Fair is known worldwide as a showcase for all things food-related. This year, that includes a new documentary about a controversial topic: genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Food Evolution was commissioned by the non-profit, International Food Technologists and it seeks to "follow the science" to get the truth about GMOs. The science led the filmmakers to produce something that comes down squarely in favor of what they say is a technique that's misunderstood and often vilified.

W.W. Norton & Co.

This hour, host Charity Nebbe speaks live with two Iowa writers, Inara Verzemnieks and Elizabeth Dinschel.

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There's been some new and alarming research about the increasing number of suicides and cases of depression among teens. Are cell phones and social media contributing to the problem? During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Jean Twenge, who is author of the forthcoming book IGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood. 

What's in a Name?

Aug 14, 2017
Image courtesy of Eviatar Bach

Baby names tend to peak in popularity, and then decline over the following years. According to the Social Security Administration, none of the top ten male or female baby names in Iowa from 1960 showed up in the top ten in 2016. Names like David, Mary, Michael, and Lori have been slowly replaced by Oliver, Emma, Owen, and Olivia. Patricia O’Conner, language expert and author, discusses the decline in popularity in the once ever-present names "John" and "Mary."

Kate Ter Haar

Is your sidewalk a hazard? Has your driveway seen better days? Cracks in concrete happen over time, and they're sometimes difficult to troubleshoot, especially if the problem is due to a tree root or uneven ground. 

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with home improvement expert Bill McAnally about concrete, asphalt and other paving solutions for your driveway, sidewalk, patio or paving project. 

Sandy Dyas Photography

Susan Becker was having a tough time.  Her mother had recently died.  She started feeling like she had made wrong decisions. She wasn't motivated.  She decided there needed to be a change.

She got a job as a lunch lady in Bellevue in northeast Iowa, and she was managing a staff that was many years older than her.  It was challenging, and ultimately it was enjoyable, meaningful, and sparked a renewed outlook on her life.  

"These ladies, what they considered their job...it was service with love."

Yolanda

The decline of Monarch butterfly populations over the past two decades has received much attention from scientists. However, recent surveys of the Monarch population in the Midwest have not been showing dramatic decreases.

Monarch populations are thought to be tied to the disappearance of milkweed, the only plant on which Monarchs lay eggs. Iowa State University assistant professor in ecology, John Pleasants says Monarch populations in the Midwest may appear stable because counts are taken in open areas where butterflies can find milkweed.

Steve Gibbons

December of this year marks the 60th anniversary of the premiere of The Music Man on Broadway; it was written and composed by Mason City native Meredith Willson.  In this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe explores what the musical says about Iowa and why the music and story have remained popular.

First, we visit the Des Moines Community Playhouse, which has one last weekend of performances of their production of The Music Man.  We hear from actors Brad Church and Katy Merriman who play Harold Hill and Marian Peroo.  

University of Iowa Press

Bix Beiderbecke was a self-taught cornet player from Davenport, a white kid from the corn belt born in 1903.  He only lived to be 28 years old, but against all odds his musical influence has lasted for generations.  This hour, host Charity Nebbe speaks to author Brendan Wolfe, who grew up in Beiderbecke's hometown.  Wolfe's new book is called "Finding Bix: The Live and Afterlife of a Jazz Legend." (University of Iowa Press)

photo submitted

In 2004, Mandy Martinson was addicted to methamphetamine. She helped her drug dealer boyfriend as a way to feed her habit, but when her home was raided and drugs were found she received a 15 year mandatory minimum sentence in federal prison. She received clemency last year and is now home rebuilding her life. During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with Martinson about her long road to freedom and recovery.

Photo couresty of Kittie Weston-Knauer

Kittie Weston-Knauer is not your typical retiree. At the age of 67, she's the oldest female BMX athlete in the country.

She started racing after her son got into BMX. When given the choice to sit around and do nothing or compete, she says she will always choose to race and will continue with the sport for as long as she can. 

"I have always been competitive," she laughs. "Look, I grew up with five brothers."

Photo Courtesy of Sarah Cooper

Iowan Sarah Cooper recently finished one of the most grueling bike races in the country, Race Across America, placing 10th overall. She was the first woman to cross the finish line. If riding her bike 3,000 miles across the country wasn't hard enough, she did the second half of the race battling a condition called Shermer's Neck, which left her unable to hold her head up. 

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Chiot's Run

On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with horticulturists Richard Jauron of Iowa State University Extension and Aaron Steil of Reiman Gardens.

Tomatoes are relatively easy to check for ripeness, but other garden fare can be tough, especially with underground vegetables.  

For new potatoes, Steil says that you need to wait until the tops dieback.

Growing old brings challenges. Some of them are harder than others. 

"The hardest thing I had to adjust to was having my teeth in a glass of water next to my bed at night," laughs Evelyn Birkby, who is a nearly 98 and lives in her home in Sidney, Iowa. 

Birkby and her late husband Robert planned to age in their home, and they have done just that. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, she talks with host Charity Nebbe about their preparations, like building their home with a minimal number of stairs to make for easier access in older age. 

Liz Lawley / Flickr

Getting your baby or toddler to sleep can be one of the biggest challenges of parenting and for many parents, co-sleeping is the answer. The dangers of co-sleeping, however, have been well documented by the medical community. 

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with author and associate professor of sociology at Iowa State University Susan Stewart who has recently published a new book Co-sleeping: Parents, Children and Musical Beds. 

Phil Roeder / flickr

Rising in popularity over the years, a trip to the local farmers’ market has become a staple outing for summers in Iowa. If the “buy fresh, buy local” shopping experience interests you, there are some tips to ensure your visit is worth your while. Iowa State University Specialist in Value Added Agriculture Linda Naeve suggests bringing a cooler with a freezer pack in if you have a long distance to drive, bringing reusable grocery bags, and not bringing your dog unless it’s a service animal.

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