News

Sarah Boden/IPR

Rep. Dave Loebsack of Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District says he wants to make sure Social Security remains intact for future generations. 

While stumping Monday at Des Moines Register’s soapbox, Loebsack, Iowa's only Democrat in Congress, told a crowd of about 70 people that after his father died, Social Security survivor benefits made it possible for him to attend college.

"There are some who are saying we've got to privatize it. 'We've got to turn that trust fund over to Wall Street, and to those investors.' Well folks, I don't think that's a good idea," Loebsack. 

SARAH BODEN/IPR

Democrat Jim Mowrer of Des Moines went on the offensive at the Des Moines Register’s State Fair soapbox Monday. The Iraq War Veteran is challenging Rep. David Young in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District.

Mowrer cited a recent failed amendment that would have prohibited federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees. Young was one of several GOP lawmakers to switch their votes, defeating the measure.

 

Zebby Wahls

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Zach and Zebby Wahls of Iowa City about a hugely successful deck of playing cards they designed inspired by the 2016 presidential campaign.  

ISU Department of Housing

Students at Iowa’s three public universities begin moving into residence halls this week and in some cases, there’s more demand for housing than there are rooms.  Iowa State University says it had to turn away many returning students who wanted on-campus housing to make sure it had enough room for freshmen students, who move in on Tuesday. When the housing application period opened up last spring, a limited number of spots for returning students filled quickly and the remaining students were wait-listed.

Joyce Russell/IPR
Joyce Russell/IPR

Former Des Moines Register editor and NBC news executive Michael Gartner is weighing in on the Donald Trump campaign’s practice of denying press credentials for prominent news organizations.

Gartner calls it “loopy”, but he’s downplaying the effect of the policy.

“Any reporter who's worth her salt can get into anything,” Gartner said.

However, a Washington Post reporter was recently barred from a rally for vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence even as a regular citizen.    

Michael Leland/IPR

U.S. Senate candidates took over the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair Sunday, with the Democratic candidate accusing Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley of ducking the fair’s forum, and an independent candidate criticizing the country’s “aristocracy of money.”

Former Iowa Agriculture Secretary and Lt Governor Patty Judge told a crowd gathered for the soapbox speech if she’s elected, she’ll try to get a seat on the Senate Agriculture Committee and help write the next Farm Bill.

Sarah Boden/IPR

Voters of Iowa's 3rd Congressional District heard from two candidates Friday at the Des Moines Register's soapbox  at the Iowa State Fair. 

Freshman Rep. David Young took the stage first, and boasted to a crowd of roughly 45 people that he has not cashed a pay check since April, because Congress has failed to pass a budget. The Republican incumbent says his salary will be in escrow until this happens, or until January 3, 2017, which is the last day of the 114th Congress. 

Clay Masters / IPR

There’s been a lot of talk in Iowa about water quality. From failed attempts by the legislature and the governor to come up with new funding, to the state’s largest water utility suing three rural boards of supervisors in northwest Iowa. That area of the state is part of a region called the “prairie pothole”. It stretches from Canada, down through the Dakotas, northern Montana and western Minnesota as well.

In North Dakota, much of this habitat is still intact and conservationists are concerned about the health implications of a landscape looking more like Iowa.

Rebecca Sales/Flickr

That phone book delivered to your doorstep every year may soon become a thing of the past under new rules the Iowa Utilities Board is considering.  

Industry representatives say the new rules would bring the state’s telecommunications industry into the modern era.

Under the rules, telecommunications companies would no longer be required to provide the books, although industry representatives say they would be provided upon request.

Michael Sadler with CenturyLink says the paper books are getting used less all the time.

Muscatine's Secret to Perfect Melons

Aug 12, 2016

 

What's the difference between cantaloupe and muskmelon? How many types of melon are there? And how in the world do they grow seedless watermelon?

 

With Melon season finally upon us and harvest time in full swing, the Hort Gang helps answers those questions, and find out just what makes those melons so irresistibly juicy.

 

Dr. Christopher Peters introduced himself to an audience at the Iowa State Fair Thursday as the Republican candidate for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. Peters told those gathered at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox he wants to make sure people have less government in people’s lives.

“Our founders were deeply distrustful of centralized powerful government,” he said. “They sought to diffuse power between the three branches of the national government, as well as between the national government and the separate state governments.”

Sarah Boden

The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines is preparing for the birth of its first baby rhinoceros. Five-and-a-half-year-old black rhino Ayana is expected to give birth in late fall.

On this news buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Dr. June Olds, the senior veterinarian overseeing the birth of the rare baby rhino, as well as Lou Keeley, the large mammal area supervisor at Blank Park Zoo.

Keeley says this pregnancy is a big deal, simply because there are not many black rhinos left in the world.

John Pemble / IPR

The 2016 Iowa State Fair got underway this morning with an opening ceremony at the newly-renovated Oman Family Youth Inn building.  It’s one of many fair facilities that’s been upgraded in recent years with funding from the Blue Ribbon Foundation.  Fair manager Gary Slater says since the foundation was formed 23 years ago, it has raised $125 million.

"We have completed many renovation projects, many new construction projects, that obviously would not have been possible without this public-private partnership that we have," says Slater.

John Pemble/IPR

Republican Congressman Steve King says he does not have any qualms with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall on the Mexican border. He says he’d go even further. King made his comments before a crowd at the Des Moines Register soapbox on the opening day of the Iowa State Fair.

Deb Herbold

Starting today artist Rose Frantzen will be live painting 20 Iowans, two each day of the Iowa State Fair in the Varied Industries Building as part of Iowa State University’s “Your Beautiful Adventure” project.

Clay Masters/IPR

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was back in Des Moines Wednesday for her first appearance since her close win over Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses. 

After touring a local t-shirt store and stopping at a bakery, Clinton spoke to about 1500 people packed in the gym at Lincoln High School. She says in her first 100 days as president she’ll make the biggest investment in good paying jobs since World War Two. She also spoke highly of Iowa wind energy.

Michael Vadon (Trump) and Gage Skidmore (Clinton)

Donald Trump and his campaign are responding to accusations that the candidate encouraged "Second Amendment people" to commit violence against Hillary Clinton during a rally Tuesday. The Trump campaign says the notion that Trump was suggesting violence is "ridiculous" and that he was referring to voting instead. 

The History Press

Murders were uncommon in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in the 1940s, and especially a murder at the very high-end Roosevelt Hotel, sometimes called the Ritz-Carlton of Eastern Iowa.   On Dec. 15, 1948, a hotel chambermaid found aircraft engineer Byron Hattman dead in room 729.  

IPTV

A national award for public television station leaders has been named in honor of the former executive director and general manager of Iowa Public Television. The inaugural Daniel K. Miller PBS Station Leadership Award was presented to Miller on Tuesday at his home in Des Moines.

JOHN BOLLWITT

Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered a review of Iowa’s alcohol laws. A working group will likely begin meeting in the next month to review existing regulations and make modernization recommendations.

"There is a huge emergence of entrepreneurial enterprises like craft distillers, micro brewers, family wineries," says spokesman Robert Bailey of the Iowa Alcohol Beverages Division. "It’s changed a lot since (Iowa's alcohol) law was first written when prohibition was first repealed."

Suzanne Hogan for Harvest Public Media

 

Urban farms and gardens are popping up in cities all over the country, often touted as the key to a sustainable lifestyle, as creating healthy vibrant communities and promoting economic development. A new study by the John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, however, says urban agriculture advocates need to be careful about overselling the benefits.

Cultural Impact

Gage Skidmore/flickr

A spokesman for Governor Branstad confirms that the governor has agreed to advise the Donald Trump campaign on renewable fuels and other issues, what the spokesman calls “issues important to Iowans".  

But the spokesman declined to comment on reports that another prominent Iowan, agribusiness leader Bruce Rastetter, is on the list for a job in a Trump administration.  

Branstad spokesman Ben Hammes is downplaying the announcement about the governor advising Trump.

Gage Skidmore

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, David Cay Johnston, whose latest book The Making of Donald Trump culminates nearly 30 years of reporting on the media mogul and reality TV start turned presidential candidate. 

Joyce Russell/IPR

Consumer advocates who are worried about elderly Iowans in particular pleaded with the Iowa Utilities Board Tuesday not to ease up on phone companies who provide landline service, especially in rural Iowa.  

The Board is considering rules to give companies more time to restore service when there’s been a phone outage. 

Anthony Carroll with the AARP says thousands of Iowans without cellphones still rely on landlines for everyday needs, including dialing 9-1-1.

Putting the 'Wild' Back in Wildlife

Aug 9, 2016

In the early 19th century wild cougars, wolves, and bears once roamed the vast Iowa prairies, but today they're nowhere to be found. Where did they go, and where are they now?

During this hour of Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe talks with Emeritus Associate Professor of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa State University, Jim Pease, about the history of Iowa's native wildlife and some of its oldest predators. 

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is questioning Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's commitment to ethanol.

Grassley says Clinton has been exploring an energy policy in California that focuses on carbon reduction and relies upon a market strategy. That contrasts with the existing Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which mandates production of ethanol and other bio-based fuels. The RFS has been a boon to Corn Belt farmers.

AMY MAYER/IPR FILE PHOTO

Sen. Chuck Grassley says his schedule has prevented him from attending any of three rallies GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has held in Iowa since the Republican National Convention. But Iowa’s senior U.S. Senator says he does support the candidate. 

Though many Republicans have distanced themselves from Trump, Grassley says that’s not the case with him.

Joyce Russell/IPR
Joyce Russell/IPR

Governor Branstad is urging the administrators who oversee spending for Iowa’s Regents universities to keep a close eye on their budgets, after reports of large salaries at the Regents administrative offices.   

Due to the salary for the board’s executive director and other expenses, over $3.5 million will come from the universities themselves to keep the board office running.   

Branstad says the cost of running the board should stay as reasonable as possible.

Orchestra Iowa

Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa encore broadcast this week features Orchestra Iowa’s “OI Chamber: Russian Troika” concert. The program includes three distinctly Eastern European masterpieces.

WIKICOMMONS / Konstantin von Wedelstaedt

The fights of thousands of Delta Air Lines travelers have been canceled or delayed due to Monday’s early morning power outage in Atlanta, where the company is headquartered. This outage caused Delta's computer system to crash.

Two of the more than 450 canceled Delta flights were round trips headed for Omaha's Eppley Airfield. One was scheduled to arrive from Minneapolis at 12:37 pm and then take off again at 1:13 pm. The other canceled flight was from Atlanta, which scheduled to land in Omaha at 5:11 pm, and then leave at 5:51 pm.

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