News

Iowa’s largest LGBTQ organization has selected a new executive director.

Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel will become the head of One Iowa, beginning in January. He grew up in Pomeroy and now lives in Bondurant.

Hoffman-Zinnel says he isn’t looking to make any rash changes, but one top priority is legislation that bans youth gay-conversion therapy. Many teens are forced into treatment to change their sexuality or gender.

Flickr / "George" Larcher

Sunday is Transgender Day of Remembrance, and people in central Iowa will gather at 6:00 pm at the steps of the state capitol for a vigil to remember those in the global trans community who have been lost to violence in 2016. 

Sophia Stone of Transformations Iowa, a support group for transgender and non-binary people, says Sunday’s vigil will honor people who have been murdered because of their gender non-conforming identities.

Josh More / Flickr

It was just a few weeks ago that the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines facilitated the birth of a rare baby black rhino, and now the zoo says one of their four giraffes is pregnant.

In this River to River interview, host Ben Kieffer talks with caretakers, veterinarian Dr. June Olds and large mammal supervisor Lou Keeley, about reticulated giraffe Uzuri's pregnancy and what they are planning for with the birth.

Daniel Rehn

This week, Google and Facebook announced measures aimed at halting the spread of "fake news" on the internet.

Google says it’s working on a policy change that will prevent websites that misrepresent content from using its AdSense advertising network. Facebook updated its advertising policies, spelling out that its ban on deceptive and misleading content applies to fake news.

mikemennonno / Flickr

When it starts to get colder, a lot of people bring plants inside from outdoors, and on this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Richard Jauron, horticulture expert with Iowa State University Extension; Linda Naeve Iowa State University Extension Value Added Agriculture Specialist; and Mark Vitosh, DNR District Forrester about caring for house plants during the winter.

Some plants don’t look as healthy once they have been brought indoors, according to Jauron, That's okay. 

 

Food Bank of Iowa

The Food Bank of Iowa is stocking up for winter with its annual Combat Hunger food drive, which is hosted the Thursday and Friday before Thanksgiving. 

Leading up to Combat Hunger, businesses and schools in the Des Moines metro host their own food or fund drives. Then donations are turned over to the Food Bank of Iowa.

James Carr/Flickr

The parents of an Iowa man who drowned while in custody of the Missouri Highway Patrol will receive a $9 million settlement.

On May 31, 2014, 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson was on a weekend trip to the Lake of Ozarks in Missouri, when he was taken into custody under suspicion of boating while intoxicated.

Officer Anthony Piercy hand cuffed Ellingson and took him aboard his patrol boat. At some point Ellingson fell overboard and drowned.

Marcia Cirillo/flickr

Unofficial totals from last week’s election are out from the Secretary of State’s office, showing turnout among Iowa voters was down slightly compared to 2012.  

Officials say the numbers reflect the weaker support for Hillary Clinton compared to Barack Obama four years ago.    

More than than one-and-a-half million Iowans voted this year.

“In terms of all registered voters turnout was 71.2 percent according to the data we have so far,” said Secretary of State spokesman Kevin Hall.

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

A coalition of state environmental groups called the Mississippi River Collaborative is pressuring the federal Environmental Protection Agency to do more to clean up waterways in the Mississippi River Watershed.

In a report released today, the group calls upon the EPA to take concrete action to force improvements in water quality.

Ian Freimuth / Flickr

RAYGUN, the snarky clothing company based out of Des Moines, has made hand towels emblazoned with a donkey, elephant and the words ‘Thank You For Not Discussing the Election” encircled and crossed through, just in time for Thanksgiving. After one of the most divisive elections in modern American history, Thanksgiving dinner will be undoubtedly dicey conversational territory for many Iowans.

Who Runs the World? Cats!

Nov 17, 2016
Charity Nebbe / Iowa Public Radio

They rule the internet. They rule the alleyways. For many pet owners, they rule the house. With 74 to 90 million pet cats in the United States, they have become one of the most popular pets in human history. Yet many owners would be surprised how few practical benefits they provide.

JOHN PEMBLE/IPR FILE

A couple is asking the Iowa Supreme Court to allow them to sue Fort Dodge Community Hospital for the costs of their son’s past, present and future care. Pamela and Jeremy Plowman say because doctors failed to diagnose abnormalities of their fetus, the couple lacked the necessary information to consider abortion.

The hospital argues since it didn’t cause the child's congenital defects, it’s not responsible for his care. Additionally, the Fort Dodge Community Hospital contends that in Iowa, parents can't sue just because a child is born.

House GOP caucus

Republicans in the Iowa House have voted to re-install the leaders who oversaw last week’s GOP success at the ballot box.

Republicans now enjoy at a 59 seat majority in the House after defeating two Democratic incumbents last week.

Meeting in private on Wednesday, they re-elected Rep. Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake as Speaker of the House and Rep. Chris Hagenow of Windsor Heights as majority leader.   He will direct the House debate calendar.

House Republicans will meet next month to discuss specifics on the agenda.

Mercy Medical Center

Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines is opening the state’s first obstetrics emergency department.  It will be staffed around-the-clock by OB-GYN doctors.

Gage Skidmore

President Obama says countries across Europe, as well as the United States, are confronting populist movements based on a fear of encroaching global forces.

On this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts who compare the fears in Europe that led to Brexit to those here in the U.S. that propelled Donald Trump into the White House. They also discuss President-Elect Donald Trump's potential cabinet picks and what that list says about how Trump may govern. 

file: Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

The Great Recession decimated the American economy more than eight years ago. And while many of America's cities have crawled back to modest economic prosperity, the rural economy has stagnated, displaying few bright spots in employment and poverty rates.

In short: rural parts of the country are still struggling.

Sarah Boden/IPR

Supporters of a Cedar Rapids man who was shot by a police officer and is now paralyzed, spoke at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. The group then peacefully protested outside of Coe College, not far from where 37-year-old Jerime “Danky” Mitchell was shot on November 1.

Activists want institutional changes implemented to improve how Cedar Rapids police officers interact with the community, especially black residents. They’re also demanding the release of the dash camera video of the shooting of Danky Mitchell. 

Evan Vucci, AP

Republican candidate Donald Trump made a practice of criticizing the media at his campaign rallies, even calling out some journalists by name. That criticism was greeted by booing, jeering and worse from the crowds. NPR political reporter Sarah McCammon was there for all of it. She spoke with Trump supporters throughout the campaign and witnessed the Trump campaign’s relationship with the media.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Long before European settlers plowed the Plains, corn was an important part of the diet of Native American tribes like the Omaha, Ponca and Cherokee. Today, members of some tribes are hoping to revive their food and farming traditions by planting the kinds of indigenous crops their ancestors once grew.

Michael Leland/IPR

Opponents of the 1,200 mile-long Dakota Access Pipeline held protests in Iowa and throughout the country today, in hopes that President Obama will shut down the project. 

At a midday rally outside the federal building in downtown Des Moines, Heather Pearson, a landowner in western Iowa, urged dozens of protesters to stay involved in the campaign against the project.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Drivers of the high-dollar all-electric vehicle known as Tesla may be making their way across Iowa more often, now that some super-fast charging stations are available.   

Hy-Vee stores in West Des Moines, Coralville, and Davenport have installed the new so-called superchargers in their parking lots to benefit Tesla drivers only.   

Company spokesman Will Nicholas says it will speed up long-distance Midwestern travel.

“Our cars can come in here at no cost currently and charge up to 170 miles in 20 minutes,” Nicholas said.

Officials at Hy-Vee are reporting so-called skimmers had been discovered attached to ATMs in three Des Moines-area stores. These devices are used to steal debit and credit card information. 

A spokesman for the Iowa Attorney General’s office says incidents involving skimmers in Iowa are rare, and happen mostly at gas stations, not at ATMs. Communications director Geoff Greenwood points to some things that might indicate a machine has been messed with.

The nonprofit Iowa Policy Project is out with the third part of its 2016 study on the cost of living in the state.This one focuses on the public support systems in place to assist low-income working families.

The report by the research director at the Iowa Policy Project, Peter Fisher, identifies so-called “cliff effects” within low-income assistance programs. These occur when a families higher wages result in the loss of public support. He says, for example, Child Care Assistance disappears at 145 percent of the poverty level.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

It is hard to have conversations with people who disagree with your viewpoint. If you're having an even harder time with those conversations lately, you're not alone. 

"This election has played to our most primitive fear, and fight or flight responses. A lot of us are just weary and need to give ourselves time to muster those better qualities in ourselves," says Krista Tippett, host of the radio show On Being.

"Compassion, empathy and understanding don't feel very natural right now, but they are what are needed to live right now."

DOWNTOWNDAVENPORT.COM

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa encore broadcast features the Quad City Symphony Orchestra’s “Masterworks II: Bach, Brahms, and Shostakovich” concert. The program includes works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, and Dmitri Shostakovich, and features violinist Naha Greenholtz and cellist Hannah Holman.

 

Protesters say they’re planning to gather Tuesday afternoon at the 4:00 pm city council meeting in Cedar Rapids. They’re demanding information related to this month's shooting of Jerime "Danky" Mitchell , who is now paralyzed from the neck down after being shot by Cedar Rapids Police Officer Lucas Jones.

The confrontation started as an early traffic stop. It’s not known how or why the situation escalated to Jones firing his weapon.

Courtesy of Joe Palca

During the 25 years he has been with NPR, Joe Palca has covered everything from biomedical research to astronomy.

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Palca about the process of science and how its findings get communicated to the public. They also discuss his latest series Joe’s Big Idea, which explores the minds and motivations of scientists and inventors.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds is putting to rest persistent rumors that Governor Branstad will retire before his four-year term ends, putting Reynolds into office and setting her up as the incumbent in 2018.    

The governor has long denied any such intention.    

The rumor got new life with news reports that Branstad could become ambassador to China under a new Donald Trump administration.   

Reynolds was asked at the administration’s weekly news conference if she had discussed the possibility with the governor.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Officials with Governor Branstad’s administration say they hope to double the number of registered apprenticeships with Iowa employers over the next five years, part of their goal to get more Iowans into post high-school training and education.   

Under the program, trainees are paid to learn a trade or other job skills.    

Eighteen-year-old Josh Smith is working for Mid-American Energy while learning welding at Central Campus High School in Des Moines. 

Jennifer C. / Flickr

Winter is on its way, and perhaps a bit late in Iowa this year. If overing roses and strawberries, or planting bulbs has been on your to-do list, it's almost time. 

"This weather has been good for those of us who are procrastinators," says Schrock. "You talked about covering strawberries. The temperature has to be in the 20's consistently for them to go completely dormant, so don't cover them yet."

"The same is true for roses, but be careful because it could happen any day now." 

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