Wolf Trap Opera

The Des Moines Metro Opera heralds in Iowa Public Radio’s 2016 Opera in October series with performances from their 44th Festival Season. IPR’s first DMMO broadcast features Verdi’s Falstaff on Saturday, October 1st at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 2nd at 3:00 p.m.

Julie Freed

As of 7pm Sunday, the Cedar River at Cedar Rapids had reached 14 feet, considered a "moderate flood stage." It is expected to crest at 23 feet at about 7am Tuesday, and will be the city's second-highest river level and the highest since the historic 2008 flood.

The Quaker Oats plant that towers over the east bank of the river was closed at 7pm Sunday.  A spokesperson said only emergency staff would be in the building until further notice.

Angel Olsen was born in St. Louis, lived for a time in Chicago, and currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina.  She has recorded and toured with Bonnie "Prince" Billy as a backing singer, and has been releasing her own music since 2010.

Courtesy of Asphate

Paintings, symphonies, and sculptures have long been considered art forms, but the last century has given way to newer forms of expression that many consider to be artistic.

"Art is something that captures a lot of what we all agree upon is important or beautiful, but what makes it art is something that takes it into that realm of someone's imagination," says Todd Behrens, curator of the Sioux City Art Museum.

The act of creating is a powerful one, but you don't have to be a professional artist to tap into that power.  On this "Iowa Week" program about the arts in Iowa, we talk to a number of Iowans about art in their communities, from theater to community bands to the visual arts. 

Cedar Rapids

The Cedar River in downtown Cedar Rapids is expected to crest Monday at 24 feet. That’s seven feet lower than in 2008 when floodwaters ravaged the city’s downtown. Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett says that forecast could change.

“We’re at the mercy of the river, we’ll be able do an adequate job of keeping most of the water in the banks of the river at 22 feet, so 24 is really go to be challenging for us and we just hope it doesn’t get any worse,” he says.

submitted photo

Ames is among the central Iowa communities recovering from heavy rains late Thursday night.

Assistant city manager Brian Phillips says parts of Ames received five inches of rain, much of it falling in about an hour.  And he says at least two manhole covers disappeared in the deluge.

"If there's a storm sewer that has a very large slug of water going through it, that can compress the air underneath the manhole cover," Phillips says, "and that compression pushes upward [and] can pop the manhole cover off."

Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

Farming in the fertile Midwest is tied to an environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. But scientists are studying new ways to lessen the Midwest's environmental impact and improve water quality.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts the so-called "dead zone," an area of sea without enough oxygen to support most marine life, to grow larger than the size of Connecticut, or roughly 6,000 square miles.  

Flickr / Memphis CVB

Currently 50,000 Latinos in Iowa are registered to vote, according to Iowa’s League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

The organization is intensifying voter outreach in Iowa, as it wants to increase Latino registration by as many as 10,000 people. LULAC is attending all Latino festivals in Iowa, including one this weekend in Des Moines.  It's also holding community events this month and in early October. 

Photo courtesy Brandon Pollock, Waterloo Courier

Updated at 10:15pm Thursday.

Sandbagging continues in communities along the Shell Rock and Cedar Rivers in northeast Iowa  after portions of Butler and Floyd county were hit with as much as a foot of rain last night. To the southeast, people in Cedar Rapids have begun building sandbag levees to protect an area devastated in 2008.

In Butler County, Sheriff Jason Johnson says volunteers who want to assist with cleanup are welcome, but sightseers are not.

MCAD Library

Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “Every great architect is — necessarily — a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.”

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer hosts a discussion on architecture in Iowa. He’s joined by Iowa State University College of Design associate professors Dan Naegele and Cameron Campbell. They explain how building design in Iowa has changed over the decades, what is says about us, and the art of the field.

Sarah Boden/IPR File

Legal challenges so far have not been an effective tool in the fight to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in Iowa. But pipeline opponents say they have a new strategy.

The plan is for teams of about five protesters to deploy all along the pipeline route to block equipment and vehicles. Ed Fallon of Bold Iowa says these groups are called Bold Action Teams, or BATs.

A BAT will function autonomously, deciding as a group when to peacefully demonstrate. Right now only 30 or so people have joined a BAT team, but that number is expected to grow.

Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

Standing on a platform above the eastern bank of the Missouri River at the Kansas City, Missouri, Water Services intake plant is like being on the deck of a large ship.

Electric turbines create a vibration along the blue railing, where David Greene, laboratory manager for Kansas City Water Services, looks out across the river. Water the color of chocolate milk is sucked up and forced through screens below, picking up all the debris the river carries downstream.  

Michael Leland / Iowa Public Radio

Humans have been making monuments and memorializing events, people, and tragedies for a long time. Do we think about memorials different today than we used to? 

According to David Schmitz, who is Executive Director with the Dubuque Museum of Art, the answer is yes.  Schmidtz has worked cataloging memorials and monuments in the state. 

Sarah Boden/IPR File

A staffer from Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign is headed to prison for his role in a conspiracy that falsified Federal Election Commission reports. Unlike his two co-defendants who only got probation, Dimitri Kesari will serve three months behind bars.

At the sentencing hearing, federal Judge John Jarvey described Ron Paul's former deputy campaign manager as the scheme's "architect.” He noted that Kesari went to considerable lengths to conceal payments to a state senator in exchange for him leaving the Michele Bachmann campaign and endorsing Ron Paul. 

Dean Borg/IPR

Results from a sexual violence survey of University of Iowa students are guiding administrators in strengthening an anti-violence plan for the Iowa City campus.

Although fewer than ten-percent of the UI’s enrollment responded to the Speak Out Iowa survey in Fall, 2015, administrators say they’re using the results to engage the campus community in creating a safer environment.

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Supporters and opponents of several proposed mergers among agricultural seed and chemical companies are making their case to lawmakers in Washington.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Tuesday to, as committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grasley (R-Iowa) put it, get everything out on the table. Grassley says public testimony can raise concerns the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission may need to consider as they evaluate the proposed new pairings.

Amy Mayer/IPR

On a gray day, just as the rain begins to fall, Roger Zylstra stops his red GMC Sierra pick-up truck on the side of the road and hops down into a ditch in Jasper County, Iowa. It takes two such stops before he unearths amid the tall weeds and grasses what he’s looking for.

"Here is one of the tiles," he says, pointing to a pipe about six or eight inches in diameter. Water trickles from it into a culvert that runs under the road after flowing through a network of underground drainage lines below his farm field. "That's where it outlets."

Sarah Boden/IPR

Two staffers from Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign were sentenced Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Des Moines. Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton and Campaign Manger John Tate will each serve two years of probation and pay a $10,000 fine.

In May the men and a third staffer, Deputy Campaign Manger Demitri Kesari, were convicted of conspiring to create and submit false campaign finance reports to the Federal Election Commission. 

Tate, Benton and their wives appeared emotional and relieved upon hearing the sentences.

When you think of the state of Iowa, you might not initially find yourself thinking about its music scene or rich musical culture. But there is a growing diversity of sound in the state and a “special sauce” that makes the music that’s made here unique.

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Dave Zollo, Iowa City based artist and founder of Trailer Records; Luke Tweedy, owner of Flat Black Studios and Tim Hankewich of Orchestra Iowa about music in Iowa.

Clay Masters / IPR

Many Republican leaders in swing states are split or lukewarm on supporting their nominee for president. Not so in Iowa where Republicans have taken over many of the state’s top state and federal elected posts. All of the state’s top elected Republicans have announced they are supporting Donald Trump for president, and the Republican National Committee has made Iowa one of its priorities in November’s election.

Orchestra Iowa

This week's Symphonies of Iowa encore broadcast on Monday, September 26 at 7 p.m. presents Orchestra Iowa's "OI Chamber: French Kiss" concert. It features music by French composers François Couperin, Camille Saint-Saëns, and César Franck.

The Orchestra Iowa Chamber Players present French chamber music spanning three centuries. The Baroque harpsichord and the modern trumpet join the orchestra’s principal strings for this romantic concert. Tune in on Monday, September 26 at 7 p.m. for this Symphonies of Iowa encore broadcast!


Brian Seifferlein/Harvest Public Media

Living in the Platte River Valley in central Nebraska means understanding that the water in your well may contain high levels of nitrates and may not be safe to drink.

"When our first son was born in 1980, we actually put a distiller in for our drinking water here in the house," says Ken Seim, who lives in the Platte Valley near the town of Chapman, Nebraska. "And at that time our water level was 12 parts per million."

Sarah Boden/IPR

While stumping this afternoon in Mason City, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence told supporters, “It was a weekend of terrorist attacks." The Republican vice presidential nominee was referencing bombs planted in New York and New Jersey, and the stabbing attack at a Minnesota mall.

While addressing roughly 300 people at Music Man Square, Pence said America needs a president who knows the country is at war with what he calls “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Amy Mayer/IPR

The Democratic candidate for vice president is reaching out to students and other voters in Iowa.

Iowa State University student Eric Spies introduced Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, who said he was making his first stop in Iowa since Hillary Clinton chose him as her running mate. Kaine's wife, Anne Holton, also spoke to the crowd of a couple hundred people, many of them students, at the Memorial Union on the Iowa State campus in Ames. 

Learning to read music helps students in math and having a health outlet for creativity is part of what encourages innovative thinking.

Do students in Iowa have enough access to things like music lessons and art classes? Should arts education be a part of the Iowa Core in terms of curriculum? Some arts educators, including David Law, Executive Director of the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education, say "yes." There's been an unsuccessful push to make arts a part of the Iowa Core for the last decade.

Roland Ferrie

The changing color of the leaves can only mean one thing: October has arrived, and with it comes Iowa Public Radio’s Opera in October series! For five weeks, listeners can tune in to enjoy opera productions from the Des Moines Metro Opera, UNI Opera Theatre, and Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre.

November Election Means Big Things for the Supreme Court

Sep 19, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

​“I don’t think I need to persuade anyone that this is a critical election for the Supreme Court," says author Jeffrey Toobin.

Toobin, a staff writer for The New Yorker, a senior legal analyst for CNN and the author of critically acclaimed best sellers including The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, has spent most of his life following the inner workings of our nation’s highest court.

Katherine Perkins/IPR

Just off of 2nd Avenue in Cedar Rapids sits an unassuming little carriage house. In a tiny studio apartment that used to be the hayloft, is where the most iconic American painting was created. Artist Grant Wood lived as well as worked in the space from 1924 - 1935, and he created all of his masterpieces there, including "American Gothic," "Young Corn," and "Woman with Plants."

Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe toured the studio with Katherine Kunau, associate curator of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

7th Groove / Flickr

Iowa City is preparing to host an international sporting event that will be televised live around the world: the UCI World Cup of Cyclocross. John Meehan is a pediatric surgeon in Iowa City and the director for the Jingle Cross. He says cyclocross is different than a typical bike race.