Charity Nebbe

Talk of Iowa Host

Charity Nebbe grew up in rural Iowa just outside of Cedar Falls.  She began her career in public radio at WOI Radio in Ames, Iowa when she was a student at Iowa State University and has been working in public radio ever since.  Early in her career she created Chinwag Theater a nationally syndicated public radio show that she produced and co-hosted with well known author Daniel Pinkwater.  She spent ten years at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor and in 2010 returned to Iowa. 

Charity is now the host of Iowa Public Radio’s Talk of Iowa, heard weekday mornings at 10.  She is also the host of Iowa Ingredient, soon to debut on Iowa Public Television and the author of the children's book “Our Walk in the Woods,” published in 2008. 

Charity's favorite public radio program is On The Media.

Ways To Connect

Don Shall / Flickr

When looking at Iowa waterways, it's easy to overlook the furrier creatures--otters, mink, muskrats, and of course, beavers.  

"They are engineers, there's no question about it," says Jim Pease, wildlife expert.

Facilities management arborist at the University of Iowa, Andy Dahl, decided to take advantage of that engineering instinct.

"What they've actually done is help us open the vistas. They are almost the perfect employees," says Dahl. "They work the night shift, they don't call in sick; they're so efficient I'm afraid they may jump over me in the org chart."

Oleg Yunakov / Wikimedia Commons

Why won’t my flowers bloom? They used to.

That’s a question that many gardeners are faced with at some point. Aaron Steil, program manager for Reiman Gardens in Ames, says it’s important to remember that gardens aren’t static. Sometimes spaces that were once full sun can become partial shade.

“Occasionally you’ll see this clump of iris that just won’t produce flowers anymore. Some gardners forget that sometimes our gardeners change. Take a step back and look at it with new eyes," he says.

Emily Woodbury

When you put together your perfect playlist, how much of the music comes from your youth?

A new study says that most people stop seeking out new music around age 33, and some people believe that our most important cultural tastes are set in our teen years.

Photo Courtesy of Rachel Scheib

More than two million couples will get married in the United States this year. Forty percent of those marriages will be second marriages for one or both spouses, and often there are kids involved. What’s the best way to approach a second marriage with children in mind?

Rachel Scheib is a stepmom and mother from Des Moines. She says she did her research before marrying her husband, Tim, who has three daughters from a previous marriage.

David Wade Couch / flickr

Though Iowa is known as an agricultural state,  more than 60 percent of Iowans live in cities, and the gulf between rural and urban Iowa is about much more than distance.

Wikimedia Commons

Now that our landscape is lush and green the impulse to plant something is strong, but how do you pick the perfect tree for your landscape?

Professor and Department Chair of Agriculture at Iowa State University Jeff Iles says that it’s important to remember that planting a tree is not like planting flowers.

“You’ve got to think it out. You’ve got to take into account what’s there already, and hopefully this tree is going to be with you for a while. You’ve got to plan for what it's going to turn into,” he say.  

Paul VanDerWerf / Flickr

The idea was deceptively simple: create a small structure where people could leave books they were okay parting with and find new literature, like a take-a-penny-leave-a-penny jar, just with books. Less than a decade after the first was erected, 20,000 have sprung up in 75 countries. Margret Aldrich, a little free library devotee, says the concept feels weird at first blush.

Lindsey Moon

Last summer Beth Howard hosted her last pitchfork pie stand in Eldon at the American Gothic House. This year, she's reviving the stand, but this time she's opening up shop on the other side of the world. 

Howard will be hosting around 1,200 people at U.S. Embassy in Thailand on the fourth of July this summer as one of her last stops on her “World Piece” tour. She’s leaving Tuesday to travel the world in search of the best pie recipes and will be teaching pie making classes along the way.

pawpaw67 / flickr

Parents want their kids to be safe, but some believe safety concerns have gone too far.

“This kind of environment of being suspicious of everybody around them and giving them no chance to be children or to play is just a horrible disservice to the children," says Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things: Crime, Drugs, Minorities, Teen Moms, Killer Kids, Mutant Microbes, Plane Crashes, Road Rage, & So Much More.

Gene Alexander, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Lots of us like to go camping for the weekend, but what about for several weeks or months at a time?

Instead of dealing with leases and temporary housing as a part of his season with the Iowa Cubs, Blake Cooper, a pitcher for the Iowa Cubs, decided to live with his wife in a camper at the Adventureland campground in Altoona.

Halvard from Norway

When our horticulture experts are stumped by a caller, they turn to the experts at Iowa State University's Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic.  They identify plant diseases, weeds, mushrooms and insects.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Entomologist Laura Jesse and Plant Pathologist Lina Rodreguez-Salamanca about the sleuthing that happens in diagnosing a plant disease or insect infestation.

It’s been about three months since Daniel Finney wrote his first column in the Des Moines Register about his efforts to lose more than 300 pounds. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Daniel Finney about his weight loss journey.

"The little things are a tremendous life improvement," says Finney, referring to walking to the mailbox and household chores. "You go from dreading simple basic daily tasks to not really thinking about them, and you become really grateful of the fact that you are on this journey to recover."

Courtesy of Nick Dawe

A cappella singing has come a long way since its roots in cathedrals or a barber shop quartet, as exemplified by the new film Pitch Perfect 2. Lee Nelson directs choral activities at Wartburg College and says it’s a constantly evolving genre.

courtesy of Bill McKibben

Rapidly melting sea ice, crippling drought, violent storms--author and environmental activist Bill McKibben has been predicting these events for decades.  But now, he says, "We need to get serious about taking care of ourselves."  IPR's Charity Nebbe speaks with McKibben about what it will take to convince humanity to take action on climate change.  McKibben delivered the commencement address at Grinnell College on May 18.

littlemalba / Flickr

Sigal Barsade, professor of management in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, says the secret ingredient to a happy workplace is cheaper than free beer or ping pong tables--it's love.

"In the unit in which there was more affection, caring, compassion and tenderness among employees, we found there was greater employee engagement, better job satisfaction and teamwork, less employee withdrawal, less burnout, and less hard measures on absenteeism."

Lucas Mann lost his big brother to a heroin overdose when he was only 13 years old. He writes about his journey to get to know his late brother in his new memoir Lord Fear.

“Even before I thought of myself as a writer, I would sit down, and his addiction and his presence was always really there in the background. Even in my book Class A which is about baseball, his absence works his way into the book,” Mann explains.

John Tann / Flickr

If you head out for a hike, there's a decent chance you'll return with a hitchhiker. All three types of ticks in Iowa are active right now. 

Donald Lewis, an entomologist with Iowa State University extension, speaks with host Charity Nebbe about ticks. ISU Extension horticulturist Richard Jauron and DNR district forester Mark Vitosh also join the conversation.

Photo by Christopher Gannon

When Iowa history is taught the focus is usually on settlement and early statehood, but interesting things have happened since 1846.

A new summer course at Iowa State University is designed to fill in some of the gaps.

This summer, a first of its kind online history course focusing on civil rights in Iowa is being offered to ISU students, teachers, and the general public.

Courtesty of Jane Sutter Brandt

Jane Sutter Brandt remembers when her grandfather’s soda fountain in Burlington was still serving pineapple and cottage cheese for 15 cents and a tuna sandwich for a dime. She writes about the family’s business in her new memoir Sutter’s Sodas Satisfy: a Memoir of 90 Years of Sutter Drug Company.

Matthew Paulson / Flickr

Do the deer eat your hostas? Do raccoons share your sweet corn?

Humans and wild animals often clash because we need and want different things from the environment, but there are ways to successfully coexist with the creatures that wander the backyards and farms all across Iowa.

On this Wildlife Day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with wildlife biologist Jim Pease about some principles of gardening with wildlife in mind.

Llez / Wikimedia Commons

Sweet potatoes are often thought of as a southern plant, but with the right care, they can thrive in Iowa.

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Ajay Nair, Assistant Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University, about the ins and outs of growing sweet potatoes in your own backyard. Technique is key.

neoterrar / Flickr

Cedar Rapids hasn't always been known as a food mecca, but the chefs competing in next week's Battle of the Chefs say the city's been moving steadily towards more fresh, refined, and interesting taste profiles.

"Ten years ago, where would people eat? They'd go to Iowa City or they'd go over to Mount Vernon to the Lincoln Cafe, because we had very few places. But now we have people coming up from Iowa City and from   different parts of eastern Iowa to eat in Cedar Rapids," said Tony Bata, owner of Bata's Restaurant.

screen shot from the Kickstarter video

In order to try to produce more local milk, Kalona Supernatural is getting creative. They've just got a few days left in a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to build a fence to expand the pasture available for milking cattle to graze. 

Moyan Brenn / Flickr

Iowans have a growing appetite for locally grown and produced foods – everything from meat and dairy to fruit and vegetables. In order to try to fill that demand, food hubs are forming throughout the state.

Jan Libbey is an administrator for Healthy Harvest of North Iowa. She says food hubs are a way for small producers to meet big demand. “One producer may not be able to produce enough locally grown tomatoes for a restaurant, but if two or three producers joined forces, they would be able to.”

That’s the idea behind a food hub; farmers work together.

Jennifer Percy/Courtesy of Grand Central Publishing

In novelist Benjamin Percy’s latest vision of the future, a super flu and nuclear fallout have turned the United States into a nightmarish wasteland. The apocalypse begins in Ames, Iowa.

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Percy about his latest novel, The Dead Lands.  It takes place about 150 years after life as we know it has ended. Small outposts of humanity, disconnected from one another, struggle to survive in a harsh world.

Alana Tamminga Photography

Students at Decorah High School have lost friends in recent years, some to accidents, some to suicide. Senior Rebecca Haars saw that her fellow students were hurting and vulnerable, so she decided to do something to help. She brought the Raw. Honest. Loved. project to Decorah.

On this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe talks with Haars and Alana Tamminga, the woman behind this powerful project.

David Prasad / Flickr

Prairie rehabilitation has become an important part of restoring native plants and wildlife in many communities. One noticeable change in recent years is that many prairies are being grown on a smaller scale, in urban environments and backyards across Iowa.

Jason Hickey / Flickr

We all have those moments in life that we look back on with 20/20 hindsight and wish we could do differently. Author Cate Dicharry aims to make light of these life mistakes and times of regret with a tinge of humor in her new book “The Fine Art of F***ing Up.”

On this segment of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Dicharry about the inspiration for her new novel.

City of Concord NC / Flickr

The Arc of Southeast Iowa is in the process of building an inclusive playground in Iowa City. And though federal guidelines instituted in 2014 require newly built playgrounds to be ADA accessible, "accessible" and inclusive can be two very different things. Jorja Ludeking is one of the leaders on the project at the Arc. She says ensuring playgrounds are welcoming and accomodating to people of all abilities is essential.

Colleen Chisman

As wild animals have adapted to our growing cities and towns, more and more people are encountering wildlife in their own backyards. What do you do if the wild animals you find are injured, orphaned, or displaced?

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