News

Jill Pruetz

Through observation and carefully controlled study, human understanding of the behavior and intelligence of other creatures has grown exponentially over the last 40 years. Yet, there’s still so much unknown.

In his new book, aptly titled, primatologist Frans de Waal addresses the provocative question, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? Charity Nebbe talks with De Waal about the extent of human understanding and how animal intelligence is studied during this Talk of Iowa interview. 

John Pemble/IPR

Lawmakers wrapped up the 2016 legislative session at the Statehouse on Friday, April 29. While the House and the Senate reached a deal on the budget which included tax credits for couples who adopt instead of defunding Planned Parenthood, they did not compromise on bills that would have expanded access to medical marijuana or funded new water quality initiatives in the state. 

Michael Coghlan from Adelaide, Australia / Wikimedia Commons

Supporters of a sentencing reform bill approved by the Iowa legislature this session call it a "step in the right direction," despite the fact that there is bipartisan agreement that more steps are needed to address racial disparities in Iowa's criminal justice system.

The bill is awaiting Governor Terry Branstad's signature.

Courtesy of Matthew Christopher

Matthew Christopher is a rising star in the world of high fashion and wedding gown design. With seven collections, a handful of red carpet gowns to his name, and a flagship salon in New York City, you might not guess he's originally from Wellman, Iowa. This week, Christopher returns to Iowa for the inaugural Flyover Fashion Fest.

"We are bringing my 2016 collection, which is absolutely stunning, and we're going to bringing some new looks, what's going on in the bridal industry. It's exciting to bring this to my hometown area."

Credit Zach Bouden-Holmes / The Des Moines Register

Just over a year ago, Daniel Finney, metro columnist for the Des Moines Register, made a big decision--to try to lose 300 pounds. Shortly after that decision, he made an even braver choice--to share the journey publicly in the state capital's paper of record. 

Beth Amann

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa broadcast features Orchestra Iowa’s “New Frontiers” concert. It includes music composed by Milhaud, Mozart, and Schumann and features bassoonist Matthew Ransom.

WIKICOMMONS / GAGE SKIDMORE

Kent Sorenson completed his testimony on behalf of the prosecution Monday in the trial of three staffers from former Congressman Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign. The staffers are accused of using a third party to disguise payments to Sorenson in exchange for his endorsement of Paul.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Governor Branstad and the top Democrat in the Iowa Senate exchanged harsh words Monday over the legislature's failure to approve a plan for water quality improvements before adjourning last week.    

Governor Branstad's proposal to tap school infrastructure dollars to raise billions of dollars for water quality fell flat.  

On a bipartisan vote, the House passed a bill to divert money from other state programs but the bill was not debated in the Senate.  

Branstad says Majority Leader Mike Gronstal wasn't serious about doing something about water quality this year.

USDA/Flickr

The federal Food and Drug Administration calls a report of a new low in poultry salmonella rates "encouraging."

The study is part of a larger government effort to reduce the persistently high rates of the food-borne illness in chicken and turkey, especially illnesses caused by bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.  

FLICKR / 401(K) 2012

If you still haven’t completed your 2015 state income taxes, today is the filing deadline. If you're late filing, be prepared to pay a penalty of an extra ten-percent on top of whatever you owe.

"I will say that typically there is a very slight grace period," says Victoria Daniels of the Iowa Department of Revenue, "but I encourage people strongly to get their returns in and file them electronically and make their payments no later than 11:59 pm."

John Pemble/IPR

State lawmakers brought their 2016 legislative session to a close last evening before darkness fell,   wrapping things up a week and a half past their scheduled shutdown.    

The roughly seven-point-three billion dollar state budget is now on its way to the governor, and lawmakers go home to campaign for re-election.  

One of the most highlighted ambitions for the 2016 session did not come to pass, and that’s a long-term plan to clean up Iowa’s rivers and streams.

Janette Beckman (copyright Trio Settecento)

Violin superstar Rachel Barton Pine is in the headlines because a pilot refused to let her carry on her Guarneri -but that precious instrument is only the most famous of her fiddles. Rachel is also a master of its Baroque and Renaissance predecessors, and she brought one to Ames for a concert of Italian Baroque music with her Trio Settecento.  You can hear the result on this week's University Concert.

Joyce Russell/IPR

After months of negotiations, statehouse Democrats and Republicans have reached agreement on how to keep an eye on the new privatized Medicaid system. Since April 1, health care for more than half a million Iowans has been managed by for-profit companies. 

Rep. Linda Miller (R-Bettendorf) says under the compromise more consumers will be added to a key Medicaid advisory council.

“We’ve told the governor he has to get the consumers on there,” Miller said, “at least ten consumers on there, I think, by July 1st.”

Prestage Farms

Prestage Farms of North Carolina, doing business as Prestage Foods of Iowa promises to create hundreds of new jobs in North Central Iowa if their proposed 240 million dollar pork processing plant near Mason City wins local government approval.

Neighbors say the need for thousands of hogs will mean more factory farms. They fear the farms will produce odor and foul the air and water. Tom Willett of rural Mason City and others are asking the city council  to delay approval of the project for 90 days.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The final Wednesday of the month isn't our normal night for our live broadcast from the Des Moines Social Club, but we'll happily make an extra trip when the music is this good! Iowa native Julie Christensen and her band Stone Cupid were in the area for a string of performances, and managed to squeeze us in for a couple of great live sets. Check out their performance right here!

Richard Jauron

Arbor Day is a wonderful day to think about planting trees, but it’s also a good time to walk amongst beautiful trees and learn a little bit about the species that surround us.
 

Ben Kieffer / Iowa Public Radio

    

When Donald Trump made the comment that Hillary Clinton's only card was "the woman card," Clinton took up the mantle.

"If fighting for women's healthcare and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in."

Two Iowan siblings took it a bit more literally. Zach and Zebby Wahls are creating a deck of playing cards celebrating prominent women in American history. They launched a Kickstarter yesterday afternoon in the hopes of gaining $5,000 in 30 days.

It took three and a half hours.

Courtesy of UI Special Collections

The historic Brinton collection almost got lost to the sands of time, or, less poetically, the dirt of the landfill.

“Some of it was in boxes labeled ‘Brinton C-R-A-P.’ It seemed that the future was in doubt,” says Michael Zahs, the man who saved the collection.

Matt Dempsey / Flickr

When ESPN first launched in 1979, it was unclear how the public would respond to an all-sports cable channel. Three years later, a woman actually named ESPN in her divorce suit, claiming the network ruined her married by offering too much coverage. Travis Vogan says ESPN has fomented fanaticism not just for the teams it depicts, but for the network itself. One example of this? People naming their babies Espn (pronounced ‘es-pin’).

Austin Kirk/Flickr

You're about to start paying less for eggs at the grocery store because egg farms are recovering from last year's bird flu outbreak a bit faster than expected.

 

Clay Masters (Clinton, Cruz, Trump); John Pemble (Sanders); Alex Hanson (Kasich)

While presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is asked about hair, clothes, and makeup more than her male counterparts, she isn't the only candidate spending time thinking about her appearance.

“Most people don’t realize quite how much goes into any politician or candidate's face or clothing,” says beauty consultant Rachel Weingarten

Joyce Russell/IPR

An expansion of Iowa’s medical cannabis law was defeated this week in the Iowa House, leading to an emotional reaction from affected families.

"I'm disappointed," says Sally Gaer. "I feel misled by the members of the House. We've been working on this for months, and what they did [Monday] night shows they have no conscience - pure and simple. They decided not to help Iowans most vulnerable because they, quite frankly, don't care."

John Pemble/IPR

 

The lobbying groups who treat state lawmakers to thousands of dollars worth of free food every year could face some new requirements under last-minute legislation at the capitol.   

It’s part of an 11th hour budget bill under consideration as the legislature marches toward adjournment.  

Interest groups routinely serve breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks to elected representatives as they work to influence legislation.

There’s no limit on what they can spend during the session as long as all lawmakers are invited.  

Gage Skidmore

Ron Paul testified today in the federal trial of three former staffers from his 2012 presidential campaign. The trio is accused of using a third party to disguise payments made to former Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson in exchange for his endorsement of Paul.   

Though at times he had trouble hearing, the former Texas congressman appeared at ease on the stand, making several quips which got smiles and occasional laughs from the jury. A joke about former Minnesota governor and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura was  particularly well received.

John Pemble, IPR news

The annual Workers Memorial Day is remembering Iowa lives lost while on the job in 2015. 

Thirty-nine Iowans were killed at work last year.

The list includes Andrea Farrington, who was murdered at Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville last summer.

There were also people who died in explosions, falls, trench collapses, and vehicle accidents.

Iowa’s Commissioner of Labor Michael Mauro says on average, 12 people are killed on the job every day in the U.S.

Nancy Hagen / Iowa Public Radio

Chefs from Eastern Iowa will try and out-cook each other at Iowa Public Radio’s fourth Battle of the Chefs in Cedar Rapids at New Bo City Market on Wednesday, May 5.

During this Talk of Iowa interview,  host Charity Nebbe talks with this year’s new faces: Jim Vido of the Ladora Bank Bistro; Drew Weis of Flatted Fifth Blues and BBQ (Potter’s Mill); and Daniel Dennis, a chef with Lion Bridge Brewing.

Photo by Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

The population of Northern Colorado is booming. People are flocking to the area and population numbers are on the rise.

The same thing is happening with dairy cows.

Weld and Larimer counties already sport high numbers of beef and dairy cattle, buttressed by the region's feeding operations. But an expansion of a cheese factory owned by dairy giant Leprino Foods will require even more cows to churn out the milk needed to produce bricks of mozzarella cheese and whey protein powder.

John Pemble/IPR

A state senator who oversees spending on public buildings, including the capitol complex, has harsh words for Governor Branstad as state lawmakers move toward adjournment.  

The governor has rejected borrowing for infrastructure repairs, including more than $600 million in deferred maintenance.

As a result, repairs will be left undone at the Wallace State Office Building, the State Historical Building, and the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.

Des Moines Democrat Matt McCoy charges that Branstad will not leave public buildings in better shape than he found them.

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

The conspiracy trial of three senior staffers from Ron Paul's 2012 Presidential Campaign had its first full day of testimony on Wednesday.  Campaign Chair Jesse Benton, Campaign Manager John Tate, and Deputy Campaign Manager Demitiri Kesari are accused of using a third party to disguise payments made to former Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson in exchange for his endorsement of Ron Paul.

hancher.uiowa.edu

May is flowering with an abundant array of arts events around the state. This month’s Iowa Arts Showcase features:

·         Charles Swanson, Executive Director of Hancher, detailing the launch of their new season and their historic opening gala following the flood of 2008

·         The Des Moines Metro Opera’s General and Artistic Director, Michael Egel, diving into the DMMO’s new summer season operas and the stars that will grace the Blank Performing Arts Center stage in Indianola

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