River to River on IPR News and Studio One

Weekdays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

River to River is Iowa Public Radio's talk program that focuses on the news, issues and events in our state. This national award-winning program goes beyond the headlines, frames community problems, and fosters conversation. Wednesdays, Ben Kieffer is joined by political analysts from around the state to dissect the week in politics. Joyce Russell hosts Mondays during the legislative session looking at statehouse issues.

During the show, contact us at 1-866-780-9100, IPRTalk on Twitter, our Facebook page, or via email rivertoriver@iowapublicradio.org. Our theme music is by The River Monks.

Want to share an idea for a future show? Contact one of our producers:
Ben Stanton: bstanton@iowapublicradio.org
Dennis Reese: dreese@iowapublicradio.org
Emily Woodbury: ewoodbury@iowapublicradio.org
Katherine Perkins: kperkins@iowapublicradio.org
Sarah Boden: sboden@iowapublicradio.org

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River to River
1:06 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Author Erik Larson and Statehouse Update

History offers the benefit of hindsight. But New York Times Bestselling author Erik Larson tries to transport readers back in time, before the outcome of events was known.  In his latest book, In the Garden of Beasts he takes us to pre-war Berlin with the family of the first U.S. Ambassador to Nazi Germany, William E. Dodd.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with him about narrative non-fiction in advance of a visit to Des Moines.  And Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell tells us how close Iowa lawmakers may be to adjournment.

River to River
11:35 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Police K-9's/Denise O'Brien

How are canines aiding in crime fighting efforts? We'll find out when Ben talks to Officer Cordell Miller of the Des Moines Police Department. Miller's German Sheppard Bello tracked down a crime suspect that would have escaped if not for Bello's crime fighting abilities. Later, a conversation with Denise O'Brien from Atlantic, Iowa. She's just returned from a year-long mission in Afghanistan working on a reconstruction team with Afghan farmers.   

River to River
11:26 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Zach Wahls

Iowa City native Zach Wahls skyrocketed to celebrity after a video of his speech before the Iowa Legislature became the top political youtube video of 2011. Now he’s written a book called My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family that looks at growing up with two lesbian mothers. Ben talks with Zach about the book and his newfound celebrity, which includes an appearance this week on Late Night with David Letterman.

River to River
2:49 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Politics Day: Obama in Iowa

President Obama makes another stop in our fair swing state of Iowa. Mitt Romney pivots toward the general election... campaigning with Florida Senator Marco Rubio, as the Veepstakes heat up. And the trial of John Edwards on federal campaign finance charges in North Carolina. Host Ben Kieffer talks with analysts Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa and Dennis Goldford of Drake University about these and other issues in our weekly political discussion.
 

River to River
1:19 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Combat Veterans Coping with PTSD through Psychiatric Service Dogs

Thousands of veterans have returned from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.  Nightmares or flashbacks, angry outbursts, and hyper vigilance are common symptoms. In addition, many veterans also have to learn to live with physical injuries. A Des Moines-based not-for-profit called Paws & Effect is helping some Iowa veterans live better lives by training and placing psychiatric service and mobility dogs. Join host Ben Kieffer as he talks with combat veteran Wade Baker and the organization’s executive director Nicole Shumate.

River to River
1:13 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Legislative Monday: Funding for Higher Education / Government Transparency

Funding for Iowa’s public universities is still up for debate at the statehouse. Join guest host Jonathan Ahl as we discuss a multi-million dollar budget gap between what Senate Democrats and House Republicans have proposed for higher education. Later in the conversation we’ll talk about government transparency and about the pros and cons of a longtime effort to create an Iowa Public Information Board.

River to River
1:33 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Bullying

A 14-year old Iowa boy was laid to rest this week, after family members say he was bullied online and at school. The death of Kenneth Weishuhn comes as the new film, Bully, opens in Des Moines. The documentary follows another student, Alex, who was bullied at his middle school in Sioux City. Ben talks with the filmmakers about the film, about bullying and what can be done to stop it.

River to River
7:00 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Money Smart Week

How much do you talk to your kids about money? A new T. Rowe Price survey reveals parents are talking more and more to their children about the economy and good investment choices. Ben talks to Joanne Kuster, Chair of Money Smart Week and Tim Bakula of the University of Northern Iowa's Financial Aid Department. UNI recently launched a financial literacy program aimed at teaching students how to use credit cards and manage their finances.  

River to River
1:00 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Politics Day - Statehouse News

The scheduled date of adjournment has come and gone, at the Iowa legislature, along with lawmakers’ per diem expenses.  But are the extended hours at the Statehouse unusual?  Host Ben Kieffer looks back on memorable moments from past legislative sessions, with longtime political reporters.  They also discuss the work of the Iowa Caucus Review Commission, and the state’s looming Congressional races.  Guests include the Associated Press' Mike Glover, the Des Moines Register's Kathie Obradovich, and Iowa Public Radio's Joyce Russell.

River to River
1:00 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

American Troop Withdrawal from Vietnam

It was 37 years ago this month the final American soldiers completely withdrew from Vietnam.  Bob Drury's new book Last Men Out: The True Story of America's Heroic Final Hours in Vietnam focuses on the final hours of eleven Marine Corps Security Guards who were the last to be flown off the roof of the U.S. embassy, just minutes before being captured or killed.

River to River
1:00 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Legislative Issues on the Campaign Trail

As we enter the waning days of the legislative session, behind-the-scenes negotiations on the big issues remaining to be resolved begin in earnest.  Lawmakers have yet to agree on budget targets, education reform or commercial property tax relief.  But, how will upcoming elections impact those negotiations?  Host Joyce Russell  talks with Democratic and Republican leaders about the issues lawmakers want to take on the campaign trail this fall… and how that may impact debate over issues yet to be decided. 

River to River
1:33 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Young Voters and 2012

In 2008 more voters UNDER the age of 35 participated in the election than voters OVER the age of 65. And voters under 30 overwhelmingly supported Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama. But, a lot can happen in four years. Host Ben Kieffer talks with young voters about who they’re supporting in 2012 and the issues important to them.  Guests include Scott Keeter, Director of Survey Research for the Pew Research Center, Steffen Schmidt, University Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University, and Heather Smith, President of Rock the Vote.

River to River
1:05 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Governor Branstad & Doctors Without Borders in South Sudan

One of the key issues that have yet to be resolved in the Iowa legislature this session is education reform.  The House and Senate have passed dueling plans and the Governor says the Senate’s version is “watered down.”  Join host Ben Kieffer as he’s joined by Governor Terry Branstad.  We’ll ask him about education reform and about the debate over finely textured lean beef – or what critics are calling “pink slime.”  Later, Ben talks with Elizabeth Wentzel, who after raising five children decided to chase her life-long dream to travel to a far away land to work and support others less fortun

River to River
11:00 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Politics Day

A recall election of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is set for June 5th.  That comes a year after Walker signed a bill removing collective bargaining rights from some public sector unions.  Join host Ben Kieffer as we take a look at our neighbors to the northeast in what some political analysts are calling a microcosm of what might occur on a national level.  Plus former Pennsylvania senator and winner of the Iowa caucuses Rick Santorum has suspended his campaign and U.S.

River to River
11:00 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Political Commentator Mark Shields and First Amendment Center's Ken Paulson

The Wall Street Journal calls him "the wittiest political analyst around." The Washington Post calls him "a walking almanac of American politics." Host Ben Kieffer talks with nationally-known columnist and political commentator Mark Shields. He’s worked in Washington through the administrations of nine U.S. Presidents.

River to River
11:00 pm
Sun April 8, 2012

Legislative Monday: School Start Date / Direct Care Workers

Iowa law prevents school districts from starting classes before September first but the Iowa Department of Education routinely grants waivers. Join host Joyce Russell as we discuss a proposal in the Iowa House that would make it harder for schools to start in mid-August. School superintendents say it should be a local decision while the tourism industry says an early start date hurts business. Later, we’ll have a discussion about professionalizing direct care workers.

River to River
11:00 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Heartland Heroes

The American Red Cross of Central Iowa is honoring citizens from across the state that have performed extraordinary acts of courage. Ben talks with Melisa Wissink of Granger who has established the Iowa Chapter of COPS, which provides support for families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty; Kathy Tumilson of Rockford, whose son Jon was killed in a U.S.

River to River
11:00 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

2012 Gender Gap

The latest USA Today/Gallup Poll shows President Obama with an 18-point lead among women in 12 possible battleground states. That’s prompted Republican Mitt Romney to start talking more about his wife Anne on the campaign trail. We'll explore the growing gender gap among voters and how it could impact the 2012 election. Ben's guests are Dianne Bystrom of the Carrie Chapman Center for Women and Politics, Chris Larimer of the University of Northern Iowa's Political Science Department, former Iowa Senate Republican Mary Kramer and former Iowa Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge.

River to River
11:00 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Politics Day

Oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court over the Affordable Care Act don’t seem to have done anything to garner support for the law, or the court.  A new survey by the Pew Research Center shows an increasing number of people view the law more negatively, and view the court less favorably.  Host Jonathan Ahl talks with guests Dave Peterson and Steffen Schmidt of Iowa State University about these shifting perceptions.  They also analyze results from the three latest primary contests including Wisconsin.

River to River
11:00 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Ambassador Stephen Rapp and Patrick Clancy

Waterloo native Stephen Rapp has traveled the globe to prosecute those involved in some of the most heinous war crimes atrocities. He was responsible for leading the prosecutions of former Liberian President Charles Taylor for crimes committed during the civil war in Sierra Leone. Ben talks with Ambassador Rapp about his job heading the Office of Global Criminal Justice. Later, a conversation with Patrick Clancy who leads the Iowa School for the Deaf and the Iowa Braille School.

River to River
11:00 pm
Sun April 1, 2012

Legislative Day: Property Tax Reform

One of the top priorities heading into this year's legislative session was property tax reform. With scheduled adjournment only weeks away time is once again running out for lawmakers to act. Host Joyce Russell examines the long history of the property tax debate in Iowa, and the Democratic and Republican plans to fix the system. Among the guests- Democratic Senator Joe Bolkom from Iowa City, Republican Representative Tom Sands from Wapello and Des Moines City Manager Rick Clark.

River to River
1:30 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Being Homeschooled in Iowa

All this week, we’ve been hearing what it’s like “Being Home Schooled in Iowa.”  Our reports from IPR’s Rob Dillard have highlighted the reasons why parents choose to home school their children, assistance programs for home school students, and the transition from home schooling to college.  Join host Ben Kieffer as we discuss what it means to be home schooled in Iowa.

Being in Iowa is funded in part by The Principal Financial Group Foundation and Alliant Energy.

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River to River
11:00 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Legal Implications of Alzheimer's

Alzheimer’s disease can be a devastating diagnosis for a family.  Planning for the challenges that will come as the disease progresses is crucial.  For example, who makes financial and health care decisions when a loved one is no longer able?  I’m Ben Kieffer, next time on River to River, we’ll talk about the legal and public policy challenges presented by an aging population and an increasing incidence of dementia.

River to River
11:00 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Politics Day: Health Care Debate

Not since Bush v Gore in 2000 has the Supreme Court considered such a politically charged issue. Join us as Ben talks about the constitutionality of the health care law with University of Iowa political scientist Tim Hagle and Coe College political scientist Bruce Nesmith.  They'll also look at the return visit to Iowa by Vice-President Joe Biden to talk manufacturing jobs.

River to River
11:00 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Severe Weather: Tornadoes

Severe weather experts from throughout the country will be at an annual Severe Storms and Doppler Radar Conference in Ankeny later this week.  Join host Ben Kieffer as he talks with storm chaser Jeff Piotrowski who will give his firsthand account of last year’s massive tornado in Joplin, Missouri.  Ben also talks with Alabama TV meteorologist James Spann of ABC 33/40 in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa about his experience broadcasting severe weather coverage during a violent outbreak of storms in April of last year.  Finally, Ben talks with National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Smith about

River to River
11:00 pm
Sun March 25, 2012

Mental Health Redesign

Revamping mental health care remains a work in progress at the Iowa Statehouse. Host Joyce Russell talks with advocates, providers, county officials and legislators who are working on a redesign of the mental health system. The hope is that the mentally ill will be able to get the help they need, no matter where they live in the state. One of the issues stalling progress on the legislation, is cost. Join in the conversation to discuss the system as it exists today, and proposed changes.

River to River
11:00 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Vets Visit Iwo Jima and Lee Hamilton

Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley and Waterloo veteran David Greene join Ben to discuss their recent visit to the World War II battlefield at Iwo Jima, Japan.  The Congressman's father Byard Braley was a veteran in the Battle of Iwo Jima and Greene returned to the island for the first time since seeing combat there in 1945. Later, former Indiana Congressman and 9/11 Commission co-chair Lee Hamilton talks about U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.  Hamilton's lecture at Iowa State University on March 27 is titled "American Foreign Policy after Iraq and Afghanistan". 

River to River
11:00 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Politics Day: Illinois Primary

The hunt for the GOP nomination continues with the Illinois primary. We'll analyze the latest election results and focus on the money race in the election, as President Obama's campaign raised 45-million dollars in February. We'll also look at politics closer to home, with the official review of the 2012 Iowa caucuses. Ben's guests are Grinnell College Political Science Professor Wayne Moyer and New Hampshire political analyst Arnie Arnesen.

River to River
11:00 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

New Studies and Research in Sleep

If you’re having trouble getting shuteye, here’s something else to keep you awake at night - a new study that links common sleeping pills to a higher risk of death.  Join host Ben Kieffer as he talks with neurologist and director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Iowa, Dr. Eric Dyken.  They’ll also talk about the connections between memory and sleep.

River to River
11:00 pm
Sun March 18, 2012

Legislative Monday: Education Reform

Governor Terry Branstad has proposed sweeping reforms to Iowa’s education system and the debate is likely to intensify now that the Republican-controlled Iowa House has approved its reform package.  The measure now goes to the Democratically-controlled Iowa Senate.  Host Joyce Russell discusses topics ranging from third grade retention and online learning to new teacher probation and end of course exams on our next legislative show from the law library at the state capitol.

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