Talk of Iowa

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Iowa has been through a lot of change in the last 40 years. The farm crisis set off a chain reaction that continues to impact rural Iowa today. While some rural areas are doing well, others are still struggling and trying to cope with ever dwindling populations. 

Public Gardens are "Hidden Gems"

May 12, 2017
Jason Mrachina / flickr

The Friday before Mother’s Day has been named National Public Gardens Day, which creates a wonderful opportunity to visit and celebrate the many public gardens in Iowa. Public parks like the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, Reiman Gardens in Ames, and the Bickelhaupt Arboretum in Clinton are just some of many across the state. Assistant Director of Reiman Gardens, Aaron Steil, says that what sets these organizations apart from private counterparts is their dedication to educating the public about beautification and conservation of plant ecosystems.  

Pat Blank/IPR

There are lots of resources about co-parenting after a divorce, splitting your finances…. maintaining a civil relationship with your ex… but what about you? During this hour of Talk of Iowa – a conversation about your life after a divorce. Host Charity Nebbe talks with Cat Cantrill, who owns Vitality Vertical Fitness in Cedar Rapids, runs an online empowerment program called Secret Wardrobe and found a whole new identity after her marriage ended.

The new documentary I'm Not Racist... Am I? shows the journey of 12 teenagers from New York City who meet over the course of a school year to talk about race and privilege in a series of workshops and in conversations with friends and family members. The film's director, Catherine Wigginton Greene, hopes the film will inspire others to recognize and interrupt racism in their own lives.

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When building a shed, do you shell out the cash for a prefab, or do you build it yourself? What about that garage you’ve always wanted?

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with home improvement expert Bill McAnally about best practices for building a shed or garage.

McAnally says that step one is to figure out the boundaries of the property to avoid accidentally building on a neighbor's property.

Harvard Square Press

This hour, we hear about the life of Michael Majok Kuch, a featured "Lost Boy of Sudan" from the PBS documentary "Dinka Diaries," as described in the poet Harriet Levin Millan's first novel "How Fast Can You Run." (Harvard Square Press). 

Pat Guiney

There is no single authority on single and plural pronouns, but our regular grammar expert always has practical advice.  In this Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Patricia O’Conner, author of Woe is I and other books about the English language. O’Conner says "they," "their," and "them" can (sort of) be singular.  

Screenshot: Iowa Public Television's "Greetings From Iowa"

Iowa Public Television has unveiled their new digital-first series "Greetings from Iowa."  In this Talk of Iowa conversation, host Charity Nebbe talks with IPTV Producer/Director Tyler Brinegar who developed the series and IPTV's Digital Content Manager Taylor Shore.  

F_A seelensturm / Flickr

Spraying herbicide to achieve what many consider to be the ideal lawn became a common practice in the mid-20th century. Many people stopped that practice after studies showing the health impact of human contact with common pesticides and weed killers.

Dwight Sipler

If a farmer grows lettuce and a local school district wants to use it in the cafeteria, who chops it? It proves to be a more challenging question to answer than it might seem.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe explores the middle structure of the local food system by talking with Brandi Janssen about her new book, Making Local Food Work: The Challenges and Opportunities of Today's Small Farmers.

Doc Searls

What we want out of students attending school has changed over hundreds of years.  Are we preparing students for jobs, for life, for citizenship, for social mobility? During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe explores the history of the debate with University of Iowa's Chris Ogren, associate professor of history of education in the department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies.

Director of the Iowa Department of Education Ryan Wise, and two retired teachers, Charles Blair-Broeker and Michael Peterson, also join the conversation. 

Planting Wildflowers in Iowa

Apr 28, 2017
Brett Whaley / Flickr

The end of April is a great time to explore nature and see wildflowers in bloom across Iowa. The beauty of these flowers is fleeting as they bloom and wilt all before the trees have fully expanded their leaves. Having adapted to their woodland environment, wildflowers maximize their photosynthesis time before the woods become a shady environment for the summer months. Iowa State University extension horticulturist, Cindy Haynes, says that woodland phlox, shooting star, and wild columbine are a few wildflower varieties that have still yet to bloom.

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.

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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.

 

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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.

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