Mobile Health/flickr

The University of Northern Iowa is the latest of the state’s three public universities to report cases of the mumps.

Iowa Department of Public Health officials are warning students to take seriously the outbreak of mumps that’s been affecting the college communities since the beginning of the school year.

CIA Operations Head Reflects on 30 Years

Nov 12, 2015
Secretive Ireland / Flickr

When Thomas Twetten graduated from Iowa State, he knew he was interested in foreign countries and psychology. When he graduated with a masters degree in international affairs from Columbia University, he knew he wanted to serve his country. His only quandary was whether to join the State Department or the Central Intelligence Agency.

"I joined there partly because of the aura of not knowing very much about it. There was much less information available about the CIA."

Flickr / David Morris

Severe weather is moving rapidly from the southwest through Iowa this afternoon. The National Weather Service has issued tornado warnings, and severe weather has damaged buildings, trees, or knocked out power in several Iowa counties. 

Iowa Public Radio

Don’t forget to include Iowa Public Radio Classical in your Thanksgiving celebration this year, as we present an encore of Orchestra Iowa’s 2015 Brucemorchestra concert. Our Performance Iowa broadcast will air on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 26 at 2 PM.

Len Matthews / Flickr

In high school, Nick Seymour never saw himself doing stand-up, but once when he got the opportunity to take a class in comedy at Iowa State, he figured it'd be a fun way to spend a semester.

"At the beginning, I didn’t know there’d be a performance associated with it. The teacher shocked us all the first day with that information. Everyone freaked out for awhile."

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

In a night full of sound bites, one candidate's lack of substance may have helped him stand out in a crowded field of candidates. Ben Carson, one of the 'outsider' candidates, didn't go into much policy in the third Republican debate.  Donna Hoffman, associate professor of political science at University of Northern Iowa, says that didn't hurt him.

"He has this huge likability factor but he's not being very specific in terms of policy, and so far that's working for him."

That's viable for Carson now, but Hoffman's unsure of its endurance as a long-term strategy.

Roger Higgins, World Telegram staff photographer

For 65 years Charlie Brown has been getting kites stuck in trees, missing footballs, and getting hit by baseballs.

On this Talk of Iowa segment, Charity Nebbe talks with Karen Johnson, director of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, about why Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang still resonate with audiences, as well as the enduring legacy of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, 15 years after his death.

"He was always authentic," says Johnson about Schulz. "He said to many people, 'To know me is to read the strip; everything I am goes into that strip.'"

Photo by John Pemble

The new University of Iowa president, Bruce Harreld, says his biggest challenge in his new job is building trust across the entire UI community. Harreld’s first day was last week. The former IBM Executive faced scrutiny before he was selected for the job for how the search was conducted. Harreld says right now his job is to listen.


Holding kids back if they don’t read at grade level by the end of third grade was on the agenda at the statehouse Tuesday. 

Education officials are writing the rules for a 2012 law that gives parents of struggling students a choice:  send them to summer school, or they won’t be promoted to fourth grade.  

Speaking before the Iowa Administrative Rules Review Committee, Department of Education spokesman Phil Wise recalls the education reform bill the legislature passed in 2012.

ACLU / Whitney Curtis

A black, transgender woman has filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, saying staff at a West Des Moines hotel treated her hostilely because of her gender identity and race.

If you could pick just one food to represent Iowa, what would it be?  In his new book, "The Mad Feast: An Ecstatic Tour Through America's Food," Mathew Frank has selected a dish for every state in the union.  We talk with Frank about his culinary map of the United States and the food he feels represents Iowa, the Loosemeat Sandwich.

IPR file photo by Amy Mayer

A Labor Department proposal could make some nitrogen fertilizer more expensive or harder to find. That has Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asking the Labor Department some questions about its new guidance on chemical storage.

Greater Des Moines Partnership

 The Des Moines Metro area’s largest private employer is announcing plans to develop a history museum downtown.

Economic development leaders say it will be a linchpin to the revitalization of Walnut Street. 

Wells Fargo says it will open a 5,500-hundred-square-foot museum in its bank lobby a year from now.

City leaders say that times out perfectly with revitalization efforts on the street, which served for years as a hub for buses and was shut off to traffic.

Flickr / Zachary Korb

Iowa ranks first in the nation when it comes to a citizen’s access to public information, but there is room for improvement. / Flickr

Iowa is facing a shortage of middle-skill workers, including those in the fields of nursing, welding, and manufacturing.

On this River to River segment, host Ben Kieffer talks with people pushing for more technical and career training from the high school level onward, including Waterloo Community School District Superintendent Jane Lindaman and Dave Bunting, a longtime educator at Kirkwood Community College.

There was a time when it was a rare treat to spot a white-tailed deer in Iowa.  That treat is no longer rare.  Today, it's our monthly Wildlife Day on Talk of Iowa, with wildlife biologist Dr. Jim Pease of Ames.  Jim tells us about the history of deer in the Hawkeye State, their place in the environment and our complicated relationship with them.

Francis Hannaway / Wikimedia Commons

In Iowa, it takes more time to get a license to practice cosmetology than it does to become an emergency medical technician. That's part of the reason why two Des Moines women are suing the state's Board of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences. Achan Agit is one of those women. 

Joyce Russell/IPR

The Iowa National Guard has admitted two women to artillery units in Northwest Iowa for the first time in history.  

Officials say they expect to recruit more women, now that combat jobs are open to females. 

Iowa National Guard Adjutant General Timothy Orr says 18 percent of those serving in the Iowa Air Guard are women, with 15 percent in the Army Guard.

Orr would like to double that.

He says women in support units are already exposed to combat:

Flickr / Steven Depolo

A new study aiming to improve the quality of life for dementia patients and their caretakers is looking for participants in Iowa. The goal is to create a detailed snapshot of dementia care in the U.S. 

Iowa Public Radio / Amy Mayer

Iowa hit a milestone in its avian influenza recovery this week by lifting the last quarantine on a commercial poultry farms affected by the virus. A Sac County turkey farm can now begin repopulation.

Commercial facilities hit by avian flu are required to wait three weeks after disinfection before they can repopulate. Seventy-two Iowa sites were affected by the 2015 bird flu outbreak, and more than 31 million birds were killed.

jacki-dee / Flickr

Iowa may have had a mild fall so far, but winter is just around the corner. With that in mind, it's time to prepare yards and gardens for the arrival of winter.

Aaron Steil, Manager of Public Programs at Reiman Gardens, joins host Charity Nebbe to discuss best practices for winter readiness. Steil provides some tips for care of strawberries, asparagus, perennial care, diseased plants, and even how to take care of the leaves covering lawns.

IPR file photo by Amy Mayer

The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal will change tariffs on agricultural exports, but for Midwest farmers and ranchers, the devil is in the details.

The TPP agreement could cut tariffs levied by many countries on U.S. exports like pork and rice, making it easier to get some products into markets in Asia.

Midwest cattle ranchers scored a win under the deal with a big tariff cut in Japan, says David Salmonsen of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Photo Courtesy of Johnny Case

Since the Ultimate Fighter debuted on mainstream television, watching Ultimate Fighting Championship fights has become increasingly popular across the country. Johnny Case, originally from Jefferson, will be taking part in Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Night 77, to be held Saturday, November 7 in San Paulo Brazil.

Case says it was his background as a wrestler that led him to UFC fighting.

Photo by John Pemble

The chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts has concluded a two-day visit to Iowa, which included conducting research for the NEA's future.  In a Town Hall-style meeting in downtown Des Moines last night, NEA Chairman Jane Chu said she'd just met with Iowa arts leaders to help write an infrastructure report.  It will assess what resources will be required to expand a community's arts sector as part of the NEA’s new initiative called Creativity Connects.

Wikimedia Commons

Energy company Dakota Access wants to build a pipeline across Iowa to transport crude oil from North Dakota.   The company has initiated eminent domain proceedings against Iowa State University.  

But university officials say they’re willing to negotiate voluntary easements for the ISU property the pipeline would cross. 

Vice-President Warren Madden says the university will resist condemnation, but if the Iowa Utilities Board approves the project, then ISU is ready to negotiate terms.    

Mercy Medical Center

Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines is using an eight-point-five million dollar gift to establish a women’s health center.

The money comes from the family of the late Frank Comfort and will help start a medical center in Clive dedicated to women in mid-life or older.

The facility will be known as the Mercy Comfort Women’s Center and is expected to open in early 2017.

The gift from the Comfort Family Foundation is the largest family gift in Mercy history.

Pat Blank/IPR

Longtime Cedar Falls Mayor Jon Crews is calling it quits. He announced Thursday he’s decided to retire instead of facing a run-off election next month.

Crews is currently serving his 15th term, having held the office three separate times over the past 40 years. This week’s election showed him finishing second in a three-candidate field, about 700 votes behind Cedar Falls school board member Jim Brown.

Crews says Brown will still have to run, but now the focus will be different. 

March of Dimes

Iowa earns a grade of C on a report card issued by the March of Dimes.

The rating measures the rate of premature births in the state, and it shows a disparity between the races.

The percentage of babies born before full term in Iowa is 9.3.

For blacks, it’s 11.7 percent.

The state director of programs and advocacy for the March of Dimes, Michelle Gogerty says it’s not clear why this disparity exists.

She says the state chapter is working to do something about it.

John Pemble

The National Endowment for the Arts was created in 1965 under the Johnson Administration. NEA Chairman Jane Chu has been in office for a little over a year, and during that time she has traveled to 30 states. Chu is currently in Iowa, her first visit to the state as Chairman. 

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Chu about the NEA's current focus, the division's 50th anniversary, and whether we should be encouraging young people into a career in the arts.