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News
6:36 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

After Younkers fire, questions remain

Damage viewed from the Skywalk in Downtown Des Moines.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

With street closures blocking off traffic in the heart of downtown Des Moines, workers from offices near the former Younkers building took to the skywalks to view the damage. Lori Jones says her earliest memory of the building was shopping for school supplies in the 60's.

"Younkers has been a fixture that whole time," Jones said. "It brings tears to my eyes."

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
4:00 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

USDA predicts more soybean acres this year

The USDA predicts farmers may plant more soybean acres this year, thanks in part to lower corn prices.
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

The U. S. Department of Agriculture is predicting fewer acres will be planted in corn this year, compared to last year, while soybean acreage will be up.

In its Prospective Plantings report, the federal agency uses survey data collected from farmers to estimate how much of each grain will be planted. While the corn estimate of 91.7 million acres would mark the lowest acreage since 2010, it would still rank as the fifth largest planting of that grain in the United States since 1944.

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Legislative Day
2:48 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Shifting Views on Medical Cannabis in the Iowa Legislature

Sally Gaer is mother of a 24 year old diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome who says medical marijuana would help her daughter. She is standing in the Iowa Capitol Law Library, 3/31/2014
John Pemble

Views on medical marijuana appear to be shifting in the Iowa Senate and among the GOP.

Today on River to River - what this may mean for cannabis in Iowa moving forward.

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Literature
11:34 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Surviving Middle School: A Memoir of Seventh Grade

RDECOM / flickr

For most of us middle school is the most awkward time of life. Kevin Brockmeier has plunged back into this difficult years with his new memoir, A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe revisits middle school with Brockmeier.

Later in the program, Director of the Iowa Youth Writing Project, Dora Malech, talks about the importance of getting kids writing, along with some tips and best practices.

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Statehouse and Politics
8:53 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Confidential Settlements Still Front and Center at Iowa Statehouse

Credit John Pemble / IPR

The issue of the Branstad administration's confidential settlements with laid-off state workers still seems to be front and center at the capitol. As much as $400,000  was given out to fired workers. That doesn't show up on any budgets or balance sheets. The governor for his part has outlawed such settlements. IPR's Clay Masters checks in with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell to discuss where things stand with the settlements and other issues up for discussion in the legislature this week. 

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News
1:20 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Awards Honor Iowa Public Radio News

Iowa Public Radio’s 2013 Eric Sevareid Awards

This weekend during the Midwest Journalism Conference, Iowa Public Radio placed in six categories for Northwest Broadcast News Association's Eric Sevareid awards. We are awaiting the results of awards from additional organizations and will post the results when we know.  Here are Iowa Public Radio's Eric Sevareid award winning stories and programs. 

 

  

Editor Note: Earlier we listed the wrong story by Durrie Bouscaren. 

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News
5:30 am
Sun March 30, 2014

Day of Insects

The emerald ash borer exhibit at the Day of Insects event.
Rickk Fredericksen Iowa Public Radio

It sounds like the title of a horror movie, but the people who attended the “Day of Insects” have an appreciation for the six-legged creatures that we share our lives with. One specimen in particular, caught the attention of Iowa Public Radio’s Rick Fredericksen.

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Statehouse and Politics
5:36 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Senator McCaskill is ISU’s Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics

Senator Claire McCaskill during a press conference in November 2013 talking about her bill designed to curb sexual assaults in the military.
Senator McCaskill's Flickr Page

There are 20 women now serving in the U.S. Senate including Senator Claire McCaskill from Missouri. She is this semester’s Iowa State University Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics where Friday she delivered a lecture on the Ames campus.

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River to River
3:46 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Board of Regents Efficiency Study

The Old Capitol on the University of Iowa, May 19, 2006.
Matt Yohe

The first of three public hearings was held today at the University of Iowa in advance of a comprehensive efficiency review by the Iowa Board of Regents.  The review is expected to generate $15-25 million in savings.

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River to River
3:25 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Iowa City's Oculus Rift

Host Ben Kieffer rides a roller coaster on the Oculus Rift, March 28, 2014.
Kirk Cheyney

Fab Labs, started in 2007 by MIT, aim to democratize access to tools and technology. In May, The S.T.E.A.M. Room Fab Lab, will open on the eastside of Iowa City.  S.T.E.A.M Room Director of Operations Kirk Cheyeny says visitors will have access, "To any tool you need to build anything that you want."

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River to River
2:59 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

News Buzz: Cyclones at the Sweet 16

Iowa State Cyclone Melvin Ejim defending Kansas Jayhawk forward Kevin Young in Ames, Jaunary 28, 2012. Ejim was chosen as Big 12 Player of the Year earlier this month.
SD Dirk

Host Ben Kieffer talks with Iowa Public Radio's Des Moines correspondent Rick Fredricksen about how lobotomies became common practice for curing PTSD in Iowa veterans after WWII.  Also, the Des Moines Register's Bryce Miller discusses the Cyclones in the Sweet 16, and the University of Iowa turns down HBO's

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Horticulture Day
1:53 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Grow Berries

A berry.
giniger https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode

Nothing says summer quite like the taste of ripe, red strawberry.  The berries from your garden taste better than anything you can buy anywhere.  Join host Charity Nebbe for this Talk of Iowa Horticulture Day.   She and guests will talk about strawberries, raspberries, and other small fruits and forester Mark Vitosh answers tree questions.

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Health Care
8:07 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Behind the Numbers on Your Hospital Bill

Dr. Thomas Striegel treats a patient in the emergency room
Nick Oza The Arizona Republic

In the emergency room, the last thing you want to think about is what your bill is going to look like. But, weeks later you will receive a bill in the mail; and you might experience some sticker shock.

Today on River to River, we seek to answer your hospital billing questions. Questions like: why does an aspirin cost upwards of $15, when I can get a generic bottle at the drug store at 2 cents a pop?

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Wildlife
3:56 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Birds of the Upper Midwest

Red winged blackbird
Elizabeth Reetz

Of all the birds that make their home (even for just a season) in Iowa, we may know their common names (sparrow, robin, etc.), but not their scientific names. But the these longer names in Latin tell a lot about the description and behavior of a bird species. This hour, Charity Nebbe speaks with the co-authors of the new book, "The Scientific Nomenclature of Birds in the Upper Midwest," Iowa Citians James Sandrock and Jean Prior.

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News
5:30 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Veterans: Lobotomies to Meditation

A common kitchen ice pick was a prototype instrument used in one type of lobotomy.
Rick Fredericksen Iowa Public Radio

From radical brain surgery, to drug therapy and meditation, Iowa veterans have done it all while coping with mental illness in the aftermath of war. Treatments have come a long way since lobotomies were performed on World War II vets in Knoxville.  

See the Wall Street Journal investigation

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News
5:21 am
Thu March 27, 2014

The Murky World of Emergency Room Billing

Five months after a bicycle accident, Martha Norbeck wonders if some of the charges on her ER bill could have been avoided.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

No matter how you slice it, medical care is expensive—especially in an emergency.

Martha Norbeck shuffles through paperwork as she looks back over her itemized hospital bill from a bike accident five months ago.

“Just to have the guy come to the ER to do my stitches was $460, the six stitches was $846… so that was $140 a stitch or something?” Norbeck muses. 

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Statehouse and Politics
4:51 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Greyhound Industry Fights Racetrack Bill

Photo by Rainer Hungershausen

A three-member panel at the statehouse signed off on a  bill to end greyhound racing at casinos in Council Bluffs and Dubuque.    The casinos and the communities where they’re located say dog racing is a dying sport.  But the greyhound industry is putting up a good fight.  

  

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Talk of Iowa
4:37 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

It’s Electric! Rural Electrification in Iowa

The Rural Electrification Administration erects power lines.
Credit National Archives and Records Administration / U.S. Department of Agriculture

When a storm knocks out power for a few hours, it's an inconvenience; if the outage lasts much longer it becomes a crisis.  However, not so long ago electricity was far from ubiquitous in Iowa.

Iowan Kieth Wirt was 10 years old when electricity came to his family’s farm in Panora. Like most households, the first appliance the Wirts purchased was a refrigerator, and soon after indoor plumbing.

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Politics Day
3:01 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Farmer from Iowa Comment and Castration Ad Focus National Attention on Iowa's Senate Race

State Senator and GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Joni Ernst
Squeal JoniforIowa.com

Video has surfaced of Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley at a private Texas fundraiser with trial lawyers drawing a stark contrast between a future with him serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and a future with GOP Senator Charles Grassley Chairing that committee.  In the video, Braley describes Grassley as an "Iowa farmer" who "never went to law school."  Slate has called it the

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Politics Day
1:46 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

'Farmer...Never Went to Law School'

Congressman Bruce Braley speaks to the crowd at the 2013 Iowa Democratic Party Jefferson Jackson Dinner in Des Moines
Gregory Hauenstein https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode

Iowa Congressman and Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley has apologized for comments he made at a January fundraiser in Texas. 

"If you help me win this race, you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice ... on the Senate Judiciary Committee," Braley said. "Or you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee."

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
8:52 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Hog Farmers Differ on Packer-Owned Pigs

A proposal in the Nebraska Legislature would allow meatpacking companies operating in the state to own hogs from birth to slaughter, a change that some say would take market share from farmers.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

 

Nebraska hog farmers aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on a proposal that would allow meatpacking companies more control over the state’s hog industry. And farmers all over the country are watching.

Currently, a 1998 state law bans meatpacking companies from owning and raising the hogs the process. But lawmakers have proposed an end to the ban, which would allow for more vertical integration of the hog industry.

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River to River
3:16 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Honoring Veterans in Hospice

The Korean War Veterans Memorial, May 1, 2008.
Janet Crum

Serving in the military changes one's perspective on life, but often it also alters the way they face death.  Ben Kieffer speaks with Deborah Grassman, the CEO and co-founder of Opus Peace.  Opus Peace  is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help people work through trauma.

Prior to Opus Peace, Grassman worked as a nurse practitioner for three decades at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She was also the director of the VA's hospice program and personally took care of over 10,000 dying veterans.

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Talk of Iowa
2:57 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

The Aging Challenge

Using video games to stay active
Iowa State University Extension LIFE; used with permission http://www.extension.iastate.edu/life

People are living longer, but are they living better, more healthy, more active lives?  Colin Milner is CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, and is visiting Iowa to talk about opportunities for governments, organizations, and individuals to take advantage to the changes that are ahead for people and communities.  Also on the program is Iowa State University Assistant Professor Sarah Francis, who also oversees ISU Extension's program Living Well Through Intergenerational Fitness and Exercise.

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Statehouse and Politics
7:56 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Sen. John Culver Reflects on Bipartisanship of Congress

Former Sen. John Culver (center) with students at Simpson College.
Credit John C. Culver Public Policy Center

Former Democratic U.S. Senator John Culver served 16 years in Congress. He now lives in Washington D.C., but he’ll be back in Iowa later this week to visit the Culver Public Policy Center at Simpson College in Indianola.  

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Legislative Day
3:36 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Future Regulation of Drones in Iowa

An image of a farm from an RC Helicopter UAV
Frederic Rivollier

"Since the beginning of 2013, there has been a huge increase in the sale of really simple UAV systems," says Rory Paul, CEO of Volt Aerial Robotics, based in Chesterfield, Missouri.

With their ability to take high definition photo and video footage, UAVs (known as "unmanned aerial vehicles" or drones) bring up a number of security concerns, and they also have the potential to be put to good use. The Iowa legislature is currently considering ways to regulate these vehicles; so today on River to River, we analyze this legislation.

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Legislative Day
3:14 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Iowa Statehouse Considers Legalizing Fireworks

Jeff Golden

On the Fourth of July, Iowans may hear fireworks going off in their neighborhoods, but it is still illegal to buy and light large aerial fireworks in the state.

This legislative session, lawmakers at the Iowa Statehouse are considering whether to lift the ban on the sale and use of fireworks. State Representative Matt Windschitl and Al Esch, of the Iowa Firefighters Association, sound off with their opinions on the matter, along with River to River listeners.

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Do you feel strongly about whether fireworks should be legal in Iowa?

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Home Improvement
3:10 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Deconstruction and Reuse

Demolition of the Anna E. Waden branch library in San Francisco in 2011
David Gallagher https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode

A dilapidated outbuilding or a house in need of serious updating may look like an eyesore, but it is also an opportunity to recycle and reuse old materials.  Join host Charity Nebbe, Home Improvement Expert Bill McAnnally, and Siobhan Spain of the Center on Sustainable Communities for a talk about deconstruction.  

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Statehouse and Politics
9:48 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Appropriations to Address Shortage of State Troopers

Cuts to the Department of Public Safety during the recession have left some Iowa counties without a single state trooper in residence. Now, the shortage may be alleviated under a justice system budget bill at the Statehouse. 

Under the bill, the Department of Public Safety would receive about $6 million to hire 33 new troopers. Representative Gary Worthan (R-Storm Lake) says in the overnight hours, there are as few as 6 patrol officers on duty in the entire state.

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Statehouse and Politics
6:50 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Anti-Bullying and Rural Broadband Bills on Rocky Ground

Credit John Pemble / IPR

There are a number of signs that things are wrapping up much earlier this year at the Iowa statehouse. Republican and Democratic Leaders in the House and Senate say they are well ahead of schedule and there’s a few issues shaking out that will likely be fodder in 2014 campaigns.

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River to River
10:29 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

News Buzz: Sports Edition

The US-Norway ice sledge hockey semi-final, March 18, 2010.
sonson

March Madness has returned and several Iowa teams are doing well.  Des Moines Register sports columnist Bryce Miller discusses this year's tournament.

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