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William Whittaker

Did you know that Iowa is home to approximately 27,000 recorded archaeological sites? All over the state there are records of Iowans who came before us.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with William Whittaker and Mary De La Garza, authors of “The Archaeological Guide to Iowa”.

Whittaker and De La Garza touched on some of their favorite sites across the state, from the Blood Run site outside of Sioux Falls to the Palace site outside of Des Moines.

Photo by John Pemble

The president of China, a longtime associate of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, will be returning to the United States later this year.  

Governor Branstad has invited the Chinese leader to visit to Iowa again during the trip. Xi Jinping first came to the state in 1985 and returned in 2012 to sign a multi-billion dollar soybean export deal.  

“We have already sent a letter saying we would love to host him in Iowa again,” Branstad says.

Daniel Silliman / flickr

In 2012, a landlord in Iowa City was arrested for spying on tenants through peepholes he created in his apartment complex. The landlord, Elwyn Gene Miller, spent a couple weeks in jail, paid fines, and is still a landlord in Iowa City.

On this legislative day edition of River to River, a victim of that peeping landlord, Ruth Lapointe, talks about why invasion of privacy laws need to be strengthened.

"The code currently requires that a perpetrator be aroused by spying on their victim and that their victim be at least partially nude," says Lapointe.

Grant Gerlock/Harveset Public Media

 

Just over a year ago, Tracy Dethlefs learned she has stage 1 breast cancer. Since then, she estimates she’s charted some 10,000 miles travelling from her farm near Loup City in central Nebraska to area hospitals for treatment. Every surgery, round of chemotherapy and radiation treatment was a road trip.

“Radiation treatments usually (take) only about 5 minutes (on) a day that they have to see you,” Dethlefs said. “But for a week, for seven weeks in a row, you’re driving every single day to the cancer treatment center. We’re about an hour away from cancer centers.”

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In 1956, female students at Iowa State College had to be back in the freshman dorms by 8:45 p.m. on weeknights with lights out at 11:00 p.m. 

Gracia Willis graduated from ISC, now Iowa State University, in 1959. She says, in those days, there were strict standards for how co-eds were to behave.

“There were rules on nearly every aspect of our life. Groups of 12-15 ladies shared a telephone. The telephone was not to be used during study time. We were not allowed to wear slacks to class.”

Flickr / Eli Feldblum

Florida-based Global Travel International Inc. has reached an agreement with the Iowa Attorney General’s office to pay nearly $45,000 in refunds to Iowans. The buying club advertises savings on retail or travel-related purchases.

Attorney General Tom Miller alleges that starting in 2008, Global Travel enrolled Iowans without giving specific notices or disclosures. As a result people were charged monthly membership fees without the proper consent.

United Nations Photo/Flickr

Some Iowa industries would pay fees for the first time in order to enforce clean air regulations, under a bill making its way through the Iowa Senate.   

The Department of Natural Resources says fees are based on the weight of emitted pollutants and the state has collected less money as industries have reduced emissions.

The DNR is negotiating with regulated industries to come up with a new fee structure. 

Photo by John Pemble

Republicans in the Iowa House say they still support so-called stand your ground legislation, even though it has not been a gun rights priority this year.    

The House and Senate are considering a wide-ranging bill backed by the NRA, but it does not include a provision that says you can defend yourself with lethal force outside your home with no duty to retreat or avoid conflict.     

Senate Republican leader Bill Dix says stand your ground legislation remains a constituent priority.

John Pemble / IPR

Last week was the second self-imposed deadline for the Iowa legislature to get bills through committee. That means if they didn’t clear committee on Friday… they’re dead for the year. IPR's Clay Masters checks in with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell about what died and what's left for Iowa lawmakers to debate. 

Michael Sauers / Flickr

Iowa's driver's licensing laws set it apart from most of the country. Teenagers can get learner's permits at fourteen, permits to drive to school after six months of instruction, and fairly unrestricted licenses at sixteen. But that may be putting young Iowans at risk.

Anne McCarte is Senior Vice President for Research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. She says teens' inexperience, coupled with their propensity to take risks, causes a disproportionately high rate of crashes.

CIA Operations Head Reflects on 30 Years

Apr 3, 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."

jjjj56cp / flickr

It's almost go-time in the garden, which means it's time to get ready for planting season.

On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Iowa State University Extension horticulturists, Linda Naeve and Richard Jauron.

They share advice on getting rid of old plant debris, how to dispose of it, and how to avoid common pitfalls in the planning process. Richard and Linda also answer listener questions, including an inquiry on how to plant flowers for a fall wedding.

Jane Kettering, St. Ambrose University

    There is a Middle East Institute on the campus of St. Ambrose University in Davenport.

The immediate question that comes to mind is why a Catholic University in the middle of America has created an academic institute focused on the Arab world.

Pat Blank / IPR

After announcing his plans last Monday to run for the Republican Party nomination for President in 2016, Texas Senator Ted Cruz embarked on a two-day campaign swing through Iowa.  In Cedar Falls on Thursday, he spoke to around 100 at the Pipac Events Center.  

Photo by John Pemble

Mandela Wani Michael joined the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army when he was just 11 years old. He says he wanted to keep going to school, but that was not an option.

“When the war broke out, we had to leave my town. Finding food and water, it became a problem. I would wake up and think ‘I have to go to school,’ but there was no school in the bush. The only way for me to be with friends was to join my friends as child soldiers.”

Jad Abumrad on Unanswered Questions and Making Concepts Dance

Apr 2, 2015
PopTech / flickr

What does a shrimp sees when it looks at a rainbow? How well can we really know the minds of animals? Why do we blink?

These are some of the questions that Radiolab creator and co-host, Jad Abumrad, tackles with each episode of his show.

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Republicans in the Iowa House Wednesday revived wide-ranging firearms legislation, agreeing to some demands from Senate Democrats.  

Senate Democrats argued an earlier bill threatened public safety.  

The GOP agreed to drop a proposal to eliminate the three day waiting period to purchase a handgun.  

Earlier this week the differences between the House and Senate seemed insurmountable.   Democrats wanted to preserve the required permit to acquire a handgun including a three day waiting period and mandatory background checks.   

Flickr / United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The world’s first openly gay head of government is in Iowa. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir served as Iceland’s Prime Minister from 2009 to 2013.

Sigurðardóttir is one of the keynote speakers for the 10th annual Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth, which takes place Friday at the Prairie Meadows Event Center in Altoona. 

Wikimedia Commons

The deadline for outlining a deal with Iran regarding the nation's nuclear weapons program has been extended. 

According to Grinnell College political sciencist Wayne Moyer, that deadline is important. "When it comes to international negotiations, it's only a deadline that causes anything to be done." 

Moyer talked with Iowa Public Radio's Ben Kieffer today during River to River. He also commented that in order for a deal with Iran to have any chance of winning over Congress, it's going to have to contain specifics. 

wintersoul2/flickr

The party may soon be over if you’ve been using a handicapped parking permit in your vehicle without being handicapped.  

The Iowa House voted unanimously to eliminate non-expiring permits and require drivers to reapply for them every five years instead.     

Moulton Republican Larry Sheets says some people are cheating:

Joyce Russell/IPR

An eleventh hour attempt is underway in the Republican-dominated Iowa House to delay Governor Branstad’s plan to close the mental health institutes at Mount Pleasant and Clarinda.

Republicans and Democrats alike want to keep the facilities open until alternative arrangements can be made for patients. 

Acute care at Mount Pleasant is scheduled to shut down next Monday and staff will be laid off.   A bill from the Democratic-controlled Senate has now cleared a three-member panel in the House to continue to accept patients through the end of the fiscal year. 

iprimages

A committee in the Iowa Senate today voted not to recommend the reappointment of Governor Branstad’s choice to head the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.

Director Arlen Ciechanowski  was in charge when an assistant director was accused of sexual harassment.  

FLICKR / TOBIAS LEEGER

The state legislature yesterday sent a bill to Gov. Terry Branstad setting August 23 as the earliest date students can go back to class. The bill attempts to balance the interests of Iowa K-12 education and the state's tourism industry. Not everyone is pleased.

Lisa Riggs is president of the Travel Federation of Iowa and general manager of the Danish Windmill in Elk Horn. The windmill was shipped from Denmark to the west-central Iowa town in 1975.

Photo by John Pemble

McCoy, You’re Going Straight to Hell – that’s the title of State Senator Matt McCoy’s new book. In it, Iowa’s highest-ranking openly gay elected official shares personal stories and opinions sent to him on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate.

"Not only was I going straight to hell, but I was bringing the souls of innocent Iowans with me...all these souls that would be lost as a result of marriage equality," he says.

In this River to River interview, Ben Kieffer talks with Sen. McCoy about the book, as well as his future political ambitions.

Sadle Hernandez / Flickr

In 2015, nearly everyone has a camera in their back pocket. Is there still a need to employ photographers? 

David Guttenfelder, an Iowa native who grew up in Waukee and was named Time’s 2013 Instagram photographer of the year for his coverage of everyday life in North Korea, says 'yes.' Good photographers just have to integrate cell phone camera into their professional work.

“I started just carrying my phone as my second camera to be creative,”  Guttenfelder said. 

John Pemble

Iowa has a law mandating life in prison without parole for teen killers, but this law is deemed unconstitutional by both the U.S. and the Iowa Supreme Courts.

A proposal moving through Iowa’s legislature would modify the state’s current law mandating life in prison for juveniles convicted of murder. The legislation gives judges three sentencing options. One of those options is still life in prison without parole.

John Pemble/IPR

An executive with the alternative transportation company known as Uber was at the capitol today, lobbying for a bill the company says would help them expand to more Iowa communities.   

Uber offers rides like a taxi, except the drivers use their own cars and drum up business through a smartphone app.   

“This bill provides a uniform standard,” says Uber General Manager Pooneet Kant. “With Des Moines, there’s also West Des Moines a driver could be going through. We think having a uniform standard makes more sense.”  

Photo Courtesy of Ash Bruxvoort

One of the best ways to learn anything is through experience. Farming is no exception.

Over the course of the last year, Iowan Ash Bruxvoort has been traveling the country apprenticing on organic farms. She started out on a small CSA in Atlantic and says getting on farm experience has taught her more than anything else she could have done.

 

John Pemble / IPR

Iowa lawmakers are facing another funnel deadline this week at the statehouse. Bills must have cleared one chamber and a committee in the other chamber in order to continue to be eligible for consideration. IPR's Julie Englander spoke with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell about some of the bills facing this deadline. One would make it a primary offense to use your cell phone while driving. Another would make speeding tickets issued by traffic cameras more detailed.

Some Farmers Warming Up to the Affordable Care Act

Mar 30, 2015
file: Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

Until the federal health insurance marketplace opened in late 2013, farmers and ranchers were more likely to be uninsured than many other occupational groups. The Affordable Care Act changed that by requiring them to buy insurance. But it also gave them coverage options they didn’t have before.  

Jon Bailey, of the Nebraska-based Center for Rural Affairs, says it’s hard to make sweeping generalizations about how the health care law is working for farmers and ranchers.

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