Katherine Perkins

News/Talk Programming Director

Katherine Perkins has done various jobs at IPR member stations since 1999. She is now Program Director for News/Talk and Executive Producer for Talk Shows. As part of her job she is responsible for managing the sound of the news and information stream on IPR and long-term planning and oversight for Talk of Iowa and River to River. She oversees the broadcast schedule for the news and information stations that are part of IPR. She also continues to produce talk shows, but mostly tries to stay out of the way of the hosts and producers, so they can continue to produce great programs. Before she assumed Executive Producer duties, Katherine was a talk show producer, researching topics, developing content and booking guests for Talk of Iowa and River to River, a role she has performed since 2007. Katherine’s reporting and producing have won statewide and national recognition.  She’s spent her entire career (more than 20 years) in public media, starting as a student reporter and weekend anchor for WSIU in Carbondale, IL

Katherine has a master’s degree in public affairs reporting from University of Illinois – Springfield, formerly Sangamon State University.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in radio-television from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale.

Jeanne Bishop

Jeanne Bishop remembers the last night she saw her younger sister alive in 1990 as one of the happiest for her family. They had gathered in Chicago to celebrate the news that Nancy and her husband Richard were going to become parents. Nancy was three months pregnant.

That night, after returning to their townhouse in Winnetka, Nancy and Richard were murdered by a local teen. It was a robbery gone wrong. Richard was shot once in the back of the head, and Nancy was shot multiple times in the abdomen. Nancy and Jeanne's father found the pair dead in their basement the next morning. 

IPR

NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben was in Iowa the morning after the release of an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll found the enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats for the upcoming midterm elections had closed.

John Pemble /IPR

Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds is making the case she should be elected to her job for the first time in November. She took over when former Gov. Terry Branstad left office to be U.S. Ambassador to China in 2017. Reynolds, 59, served as Branstad’s Lt. Governor since he was voted back into office in 2010.

A recent Iowa poll shows Reynolds in a close race for the governor’s office against Democrat and retired businessman Fred Hubbell. Hubbell, 67, says a larger-than-expected budget surplus of $127 million shows Reynolds is doing a poor job of managing the budget.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Democratic candidate for governor Fred Hubbell has been critical of the state’s budgeting practices under Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds. Hubbell, a 67-year-old retired businessman, says recent figures from the state revenue estimating conference are an indication of fiscal mismanagement. The $127 million surplus was larger than budget officials expected.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the woman who has accused him of sexually assaulting her in high school, Christine Blasey Ford, are testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Watch the proceeding live.

John Pemble/IPR

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Jake Porter was not invited to participate in the three debates between Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell. Porter says it’s too bad because he would’ve added to the conversation.

“We would talk about things that may get ignored now like criminal justice reform (and) things that often aren’t talked about,” Porter says. “Also, different ideas for the budget."

Thomas Langdon / University of Iowa

NPR's Cokie Roberts says instead of draining the "swamp," as politicians describe our nation's capitol, more members of Congress should bring their families when they come to serve. Roberts grew up in Washington D.C., the daughter of democratic Representative Hale Boggs, who served in the U.S. House for 28 years, and Representative Lindy Boggs, who held her husband's seat for 18 years after his death.

Mid-Prairie Home School Assistance Program

In the 1980's the home schooling movement was driven by evangelical Christians, who wanted to incorporate their religious beliefs into their children's education. But today, a broad range of Iowa families are choosing to teach their children at home.

YMCA Camp Wapsie

YMCA Camp Wapsie has just wrapped up summer camp, for the 100th time. The Eastern Iowa camp is celebrating its centennial year of bringing youth outdoors for a week of adventure, fun and friendship.

To get a sense of how Wapsie has been successful in establishing a camp culture that transforms generations of campers into counselors and staff, we asked Maxwell Meyer and Sami Therme, both of Iowa City, to keep audio diaries of their experiences as counselors for some of the oldest and youngest campers.

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

In this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Dennis Goldford, professor and chair of political science and Rachel Caufield professor of political science at Drake University.

Mary McCarthy

Five days after the historic summit between President Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, a group of Asian scholars arrived in Seoul. Mary McCarthy, associate professor of politics and international relations at Drake University, was among them. She says the group was surprised by the optimism in South Korea surrounding the summit, and what it could mean for relations between North Korea and the western world.

"I think that we have seen so much skepticism, so much criticism in the U.S., but in South Korea the mood was very different," says McCarthy.

Don Graham / Flickr under Creative Commons

While farmers and those who represent farm-state interests may be grateful for $12 billion in aid to offset the loss of exports in an escalating trade war with China, the European Union, Canada and Mexico, many say they would prefer stable markets to government aid.

Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley issued a statement Tuesday saying he doesn't fault the President for trying to get a better deal for Americans.

Dean Borg / IPR

Glenn Van Wyk is clearing debris spit out by the July 19th tornado after ripping through the nearby Vermeer factory and leveling three of his farmstead’s buildings. But he hasn’t yet decided what to do about flattened corn fields littered with steel sheets and other parts of the Vermeer buildings.

Van Wyk estimates about 40-acres is damaged. Maybe a total loss. He and his wife, Denise, farm 160 acres outside Pella, less than a quarter mile from the Vermeer plant’s Global Pavilion.

Getty Images

Over the next few months, the Supreme Court battle between conservative and liberal interest groups over nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh is expected to cost tens of millions of dollars and leave a lasting impact on the nation's political landscape.

On this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Steffen Schmidt, Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University, and Wayne Moyer, Rosenfield Professor of Political Science at Grinnell College, for their analysis of this contentious fight for the Supreme Court.

Wikimedia Commons

 

Charles Edward Miller / Wikimeda/Flickr - Creative Commons

In this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Chris Larimer, associate professor of political science at University of Northern Iowa and Donna Hoffman, associate professor and chair of political science at UNI about the public outcry over children being separated from their migrant parents at the U.S. border and the state party conventions for Democrats and Republicans over the weekend.

Eric McCollum

Scott Cawelti has been writing a column in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area for more than 40 years. But, in a recent column he announced his decision to put down the editorial pen.

Cawelti started his editorializing with an admiration of longtime Des Moines Register columnist Donald Kaul, and delivered three pieces to what was then the Cedar Falls Record. "And by golly, people liked them. I mean, sort of, enough to keep me going a while," says Cawelti.

John Pemble/IPR

State representative Chip Baltimore says it's time to let someone else "take up the flag" at the Iowa legislature. The Boone Republican and former chair of the House Judiciary Committee is not seeking a fifth term.

He was convicted in January on charges of first-offense OWI and possession of a dangerous weapon while under the influence, but he claims he made the decision not to run long before he was charged with those offenses.

MadMaxMarchHare / Wikimedia Commons

At a time of rising tuitions and tight budgets at the state’s Regents universities, the president of the University of Northern Iowa is expressing some relief.

Mark Nook has been on the job in Cedar Falls about a year. Tuition at his school is climbing two-point-eight percent, a little more than $200. That's less than the three-point-eight percent increases at Iowa State and the University of Iowa. Nook says he understands why higher education is often on the chopping block during state budget considerations.

Congress.Gov

During this River to River interview, host Ben Kieffer talks with Representative Dave Loebsack about the issues facing his constituents in Iowa's 2nd district, including flood risk, healthcare, employment, and trade tariffs. Later in the hour, Loebsack answers listener questions.

One issue that remains close to Loebsack's heart is the Cedar Rapids flood, which was 10 years ago on June 13th.

Emily Woodbury / IPR

It's a very simple idea. A boy, a dog and a short story.

Migrate this simple idea to Twitter, and it becomes a phenomenon. As of this writing, @IvePetThatDog has more than 90-thousand followers. Gideon Kidd is the star of "I've Pet That Dog." He's a normal nine-year-old boy from Cedar Falls, who is anything but typical.

John Pemble / IPR

After a tense weekend of economic negotiations with the United States' closest allies at the Group of 7 Summit, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley is warning that President Donald Trump's tactics are threatening the state's farmers. At a tumultuous time in international trade relations, Grassley joined IPR's River to River to talk tariffs, North Korea and the Justice Department with host Ben Kieffer.

John Pemble / IPR

Iowa Democrats have nominated businessman Fred Hubbell to take on Gov. Kim Reynolds in the November gubernatorial election. Jake Porter will be the Libertarian candidate for governor.

Congressional matchups are set with two women earning Democratic spots on the ballot. Abby Finkenauer, the Democrat nominated in the first congressional district, would be the youngest woman elected to Congress if she is successful in her bit to oust incumbent Republican Congressman Rod Blum. No woman has ever been elected to Congress from Iowa. 

UIHC

The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa has been approved to use a new therapy that harnesses the immune system to treat specific forms of leukemia and lymphoma. Dr. George Weiner is director of the center and says the therapy shows great promise.

John Pemble / IPR

After speaking with all of the Democratic and Libertarian candidates on Iowa's gubernatorial primary ballot, IPR's Clay Masters extended an invitation to Gov. Kim Reynolds to discuss her vision for the state. While Reynolds does not have an opponent in the June 5th GOP primary, the crowded gubernatorial field has criticized her handling of the privatization of Medicaid and funding for mental health care services. Masters spoke with Reynolds about those and other issues. What follows is a transcript of the conversation.

Da Capo Press

A former University of Northern Iowa English professor who recounted her 42-year friendship with the author Kurt Vonnegut in a 2009 memoir died May 8th at the age of 86. Loree Rackstraw taught English at the University of Northern Iowa for 30 years, was fiction editor of the North American Review and a well-known supporter of the arts.

John Pemble/IPR

Andy McGuire is a physician and health care management executive. She was also chair of the Iowa Democratic Party in 2015 and ‘16 and oversaw the last Iowa caucuses. Now, she’s running for her party’s nomination for governor.

She spoke with IPR's Clay Masters on Wednesday May 9, 2018 at her campaign office in Des Moines. A transcript of the conversation follows:

I'm asking everybody who's running in the primary why they want to be governor?

John Pemble / IPR

For the past five or six years, there’s been a lot of attention surrounding Iowa's water quality. Last year, a federal judge dismissed the Des Moines Water Works’ lawsuit against drainage districts in three northern Iowa counties. The utility had claimed the districts were funneling high levels of nitrates into the Raccoon River, a major source of drinking water for 500,000 Iowans. Earlier this year, Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill she called "monumental," which allocates $282-million for water quality projects in the state. But the law is not without controversy.

John Pemble / IPR

Fred Hubbell is an Iowa businessman who was also tapped by Democratic Governor Chet Culver to chair the Iowa Power Fund and be interim director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development amid the film tax scandal. He has been active in Democratic politics for years, donating to many campaigns and candidates. But, he says listening to Republicans talk about the success of the 2017 session after defunding Planned Parenthood, rolling back collective bargaining rights and privatizing Medicaid was the tipping point that pushed him to become a candidate himself.

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