News

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

If you’ve driven along I-80 between Iowa City and Des Moines in the last year, you’ve noticed the dozens of wind turbines being built along the interstate. Those are part of a $3.6 billion MidAmerican wind energy expansion project. The Iowa Utilities board approved another $922 million wind energy project, Wind XII, late last year; and with its approval, MidAmerican is positioned to provide its customers with 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources in the next few years.

Michele Dorsey Walfred / flickr

With a palette of grays, browns, and whites, winter in Iowa can be pretty drab, but flowering plants can brighten things up.

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron and Aaron Steil of Reiman Gardens join host Charity Nebbe and introduce us to flowering houseplants that are easy to grow and bloom reliably. They also answer listener questions.

USDA.gov

The ongoing partial shutdown of the federal government, now into its third week, is reaching ever deeper into the lives of people far from the Washington, D.C. epicenter.

Beyond the hundreds of thousands of employees who are either working without pay or furloughed indefinitely, the people those employees would have been working with and for are now feeling the sting of closed offices, delayed payments and missing services.

IPR/Madeleine King

As hard as it may be to believe, IPR has now kicked off our fifth year of Studio One Underground! It's been an honor and a privelege to be able to do these LIVE shows from the Des Moines Social Club, and most importantly, it's been a lot of fun!

John Pemble / IPR

In the fall, Republican Governor Kim Reynolds was elected to her first full four-year term. She says she still plans to meet with her Democratic opponent Fred Hubbell whom she beat by 3 points. IPR's Morning Edition Host Clay Masters and State Government Reporter Katarina Sostaric sat down with Governor Reynolds Thursday of the legislative session which begins on January 14.

Clay Masters / IPR

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is finishing up her first trip to Iowa since her New Year’s Eve announcement that she is considering running for president in 2020. Iowa is the first state in the nation to hold its caucuses.

The Democratic senator talked a lot about the federal government investing too much in America’s wealthy and well-connected at her events in Council Bluffs, Sioux City and Des Moines. She called for big structural changes in Washington, the economy and politics.

Sen. Warren told crowds Saturday she’s working on building a grassroots team early.

Edward Kimmel/Flickr

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren will visit Iowa today, just a few days after launching her 2020 exploratory committee for a White House bid. 

On this news buzz edition of River to River, host Emily Woodbury speaks with political analyst Donna Hoffman of the University of Northern Iowa for analysis ahead of Senator Warren's visit to Council Bluffs, Sioux City, Storm Lake, and Des Moines.

Also in today's program:

Vincent Parsons via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrtickles/13279253934/

After more than 70 years in the business, a beloved meat locker in eastern Iowa closed its doors last week. Once a mainstay in the state, many small-time meat processors are disappearing.

electric bill
Alliant Energy

Starting in January, Iowans who buy energy from MidAmerican, Interstate Power and Light (Alliant Energy), and Black Hills Energy will get monthly bills that look a bit different. Electric and gas bills will list an energy efficiency charge as required by a new law.

But it’s not a new, additional charge.

John Pemble / IPR file

Iowa’s first two congresswomen were sworn into office Thursday in Washington D.C. and one of their first votes in the U.S. House of Representatives was to re-open the government. U.S. Reps. Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne defeated Republican incumbents in November.

As of Friday, the federal government has been partially shut down for 13 days because of President Donald Trump’s call for funding a wall along the U.S. southern border. 

beadfx

With a new year comes new adventures and new art and musical events across the state of Iowa! From symphony and chamber concerts, to jazz shows and theater performances, to operas and art exhibitions, Iowa has it all to kick off 2019. Tune in to IPR Classical on Friday, January 4th at noon or listen below to hear more details about these upcoming events.

Reyner Media via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/89228431@N06/

A non-profit executive says the federal tax cut law is changing how some Iowans are giving to charity. 

kim reynolds
John Pemble / IPR

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday she will try to enact a law that would allow Iowans to get birth control pills directly from a pharmacist without seeing a doctor first. She said it's the right thing to do.

“This is an opportunity for us to do a common sense thing that I think needs to be done,” Reynolds said in an interview with Iowa Public Radio. “So I’m hopeful we can have bipartisan support, and we can move this through.”

University of Iowa senior Erica Cole was in a car accident in May of 2018 that so badly crushed her left leg from the knee down that she had to have it amputated. 

She says waking up without her leg after the accident was weird, but more than she was upset, she felt lucky. 

"I felt very lucky to still be here. Going through that and having that fear that I wasn't going to make it.... It sucks, but from the beginning, it was an immediate, 'oh my gosh, I'm still alive. I'm going to make the best of it.'" 

Little, Brown and Company

If you ever wondered what the early days of Rolling Stone magazine were like, if you've ever imagined the parties and the drugs and the craziness of it, Robin Green tells us it was all of that, "and more." Green has detailed it in her memoir "The Only Girl: My Life and Times on the Masthead of Rolling Stone."

Marco Verch / flickr

A year-end report shows that the obesity rate in Iowa has jumped from 32 percent in 2016 to 36 percent in 2017. That's the steepest increase in over a decade. 

During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with Nicole Kennedy, director of operations for Live Healthy Iowa, and Jacque Schwartz, a clinical dietician at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines about the increase and how to set healthy new year weight loss goals. 

State and county elected officials across Iowa started new terms Wednesday. After the swearing in of a newly-elected supervisor in Johnson County, the county's board is now made up of four women and one man, thought to be a first in the state.

University of Iowa Press

One of the great secrets of Iowa sports history is that the Hawkeye State had a professional basketball team at one time.  It didn't last long (just one season) and the new NBA had a hard time attracting fans, but Iowa fans were thrilled to have the Waterloo Hawks as part of the league.

AP Images/Jacquelyn Martin / Copyright 2019 The Associated Press

President Trump met with leaders from both parties and both chambers Wednesday, in an effort to find a compromise that would end the federal government shutdown. The meeting was billed as a briefing about security at the border, but talk quickly turned to the president's demand for $5 billion in funding for a border wall, a key campaign promise.

Amy Mayer / IPR file photo

After a year that saw persistently low prices for many agricultural products — exacerbated by the retaliatory tariffs imposed on U.S. goods — farmers are eager for a recovery in 2019.

Pork producers have been working within the trade-war parameters since China imposed a hefty tariff in April. Northeast Iowa pig farmer Al Wulfkuhle said the sudden drop in Chinese demand for U.S. pork turned what had started as a promising year into a challenging one.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A Sioux City native who survived sexual abuse in the Catholic church hopes bringing his experience to the public will encourage more people to come forward.

Katie Peikes/IPR

The company that bought the idled Tyson Foods plant in northwest Iowa aims to open for business early in 2019.

Michael Leland/IPR

If you don’t mind the cold, tomorrow could be a good day for a hike.  More than two dozen Iowa state parks are hosting so-called First Day Hikes New Year's Day -- free hikes guided by park staff. Hikers will get the chance to experience the quiet beauty of nature in winter, spectacular views, and a host of cultural treasures offered by Iowa’s state parks.

dave jamison
John Pemble/IPR file

State auditors have found the Iowa Finance Authority misspent $549,399 in the roughly two years before former Executive Director Dave Jamison was fired over sexual harassment allegations.

The report released Friday was one of several investigations launched weeks after Gov. Kim Reynolds fired Jamison, a personal friend of hers, on March 24.

Iowa DOT map

One of Iowa’s 14 Sears stores will close in late March, as part of the company’s latest round of reductions announced Friday.  Sears Holdings says the store at the Southern Hills Mall in Sioux City is among 80 Sears and K-Mart stores throughout the country that will close, as the company fights to stay in business. 

The company has told its employees liquidation sales will begin in about two weeks. 

The Sioux City location includes an auto center, which will close in late January.

Kate Payne / IPR

A mother and son from Honduras have found shelter in Iowa after traveling with thousands of migrants from Central America. The family arrived in Iowa City on Christmas Day, after fleeing gang violence in their home of Choloma, Honduras.

Shawn Clover via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/shawnclover/

As the partial federal government shutdown continues, some sites and services across Iowa are scaling back operations.

IPR/Tony Dehner

One of our favorite Christmas traditions every year at IPR is our yearly live broadcast of A Conquered Christmas, hosted by our friend Christopher The Conquered, live from the Basement of the Des Moines Social Club. The show began in 2015, and at the time we had no idea it would grow into what it's become in its fourth year. A wide variety of Iowa musicians once again joined in the fun, performing not only classic holiday favorties, but some original Christmas songs and some non-holiday songs that just happened to fit in with the night's themes.

A new museum exhibit in Sioux City shows how popular Christmas toys have changed from the 1900s to the present. 

Katie Peikes/IPR

The western Iowa city of Denison is known as the hometown of actress Donna Reed. And residents have embraced that.

Every year just before the holidays, a theater bearing Reed’s name makes it a tradition to show the classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life."

 


This year, they hosted a screening with Spanish subtitles — a nod to the town’s large Hispanic population.

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