River to River

Weekdays at 12 p.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One and 10 p.m. on IPR News

River to River is Iowa Public Radio's talk program focusing on the news, issues and events in our state. This national award-winning program goes beyond the headlines, frames community problems, and fosters conversation. On Mondays during the legislative session, join in conversations with lawmakers and those impacted by action at the Statehouse.  Wednesdays, political analysts from around the state help you dissect the week in politics.  Fridays we buzz through the week’s big news stories.

River to River is hosted by Ben Kieffer @IPRBen.  It’s produced by Emily Woodbury @EmilyWoodburyLindsey Moon @lindseysmoon and Katelyn Harrop @KatelynHarrop. Our Executive Producer is Katherine Perkins. Our theme music is by The River Monks.

Office of the Vice President

Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of assaulting her when they were both in high school, says she wants the FBI to investigate before she testifies.

Kavanaugh has categorically denied her accusation. Blasey’s lawyers say she has been the target of “vicious harassment and even death threats” since her identity was made public.

On this politics day edition of River to River, listeners call into Iowa Public Radio to share their thoughts on how leaders in Washington are reacting.

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.

Gage Skidmore/flickr

 

Like “a knife fight in a brawl” – that’s how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell describes the close Senate midterm races.

 

On this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer and guests Wayne Moyer, Rosenfield Professor and professor of political science at Grinnell College, and Scott Peters, professor and department head at the University of Northern Iowa’s Department of Political Science, take stock with just over 50 days remaining before the midterm election.

 

Keith Allison / Wikimedia Commons

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first to kneel during the national anthem in protest of social inquality and police brutality. Because of this controversial move, he hasn't been signed by a team since he went out as a free agent last year, but he has maintained his spot in the political sports conversation, and continues to spark dialogue through a new Nike ad campaign. 

Courtesy of the UI International Writing Program

Just across the street from the University of Iowa’s famed Writer’s Workshop is the Shambaugh House, the hub of the UI International Writing Program.

 

As part of the program’s 12-week residency, authors from every continent gather in Iowa City to do readings, lectures, translate literature into their native languages, and travel across the United States. Sometimes, Iowans invite residents into their homes to dine with transnational guests, says the director of the International Writing Program, Christopher Merrill.

 

Andrea Booher

 

With just 30 units for every 100 families in need of shelter, Des Moines has less affordable housing available than Brooklyn, Boston, or Omaha. Even when housing can be secured, often following a wait that can last several months, or even years, the quality and safety of affordable housing may be questionable in Polk County.

Fibonacci Blue

 

 

A recent New York Times investigation revealed possible changes to the way sexual misconduct is handled on college campuses across the country.

 

Office of Senator Chuck Grassley

 

On the night before the confirmation hearings for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, 42,000 documents containing legal opinions, emails and other records pertaining to Kavanaugh were distributed to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

 

Looking forward to the 2020 presidential election, the Grinnell College National Poll says 36 percent of likely voters would elect President Trump for office and 43 percent plan on voting for someone else.

 

USDA Photo by Lance Cheung

Companies and farmers weathering the Trump administration’s trade policy, which has brought painful tariffs to many industries, could be running out of patience. That’s according to former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who served as USDA secretary for both of President Obama’s terms. 

Vilsack says that farmers and companies were willing to be patient as the Trump administration took a hard stand with China, but after feeling the impact of tariffs, that patience is now running out.

desks
alamosbasement/flickr

On this News Buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks to Emily Piper, lobbyist for the Iowa Association of School Boards, and Kristin Hilton, school counselor at Central Academy, about a new Iowa law that requires training for educators to help students with mental health issues.

This law is designed to give teachers the tools to help students experiencing mental health issues and establish protocols for suicide prevention. 

---

pixabay.com

The amount of public money spent to support non-public education options including private schools and homeschool programs has increased by 53 percent over the last ten years according to a recent report from The Des Moines Register.

On this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer explores what it means to spend public education dollars on non-public education options. He talks with Des Moines Register reporter Mackenzie Ryan, who recently published an article breaking down just how many public dollars ended up supporting non-public education options. 

Jessie Jacobson / Flickr

More Iowa high school students go on to college than oublic school graduates  in other states. Iowa also has the best graduation rate of any state in the country. But does that mean we have the best schools?

During this hour of River to River, we hear how Iowa's schools compare nationally in terms of funding, test scores and graduation rate, and talk about how the Iowa Department of Education measures the success of schools statewide. 

Guests for this hour include:

Gage Skidmore

Today is the first of four days of funeral services for Senator John McCain.

On this edition of politics day on River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts, Evan Renfro of the University of Northern Iowa and Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa, about the Arizona senator’s legacy.

As a former Air Force intelligence analyst, Renfro also discusses Russia’s planned war games, the largest since the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and the controversy over the revoking of security clearances by the Trump Administration.

Phil Roeder

All beliefs and all actions are political. And often, inaction is just as political.

That’s according to Jeanne Dyches, assistant professor of education at Iowa State University, whose research centers around the idea of how teachers bring their political beliefs into the classroom.

“There is absolutely no way for a teacher not to bring his or her politics to the classroom,” she says.

Samir Luther

The Trump administration wants to allow states to set their own emissions standards for coal-fueled power plants. The plan is a rollback of Obama-era pollution rules.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer gets reaction to the proposal from Iowa’s energy sector, and guests estimate how much the new rules will change the course of Iowa’s energy future, especially since Iowa is a national leader in wind energy.

Guests include: Dan Lutat of Iowa Lake Community College and Justin Foss of Alliant Energy.

John Pemble

This week, the murder of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts by a man who is believed to be an undocumented immigrant left the political landscape sharply divided.

On this News Buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks to Chris Larimer, professor of political science at the University of Northern Iowa, about the response to the Tibbetts case by politicians from Iowa and across the nation, including Senator Ernst’s call to reconsider “Sarah’s law."

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

 

A significant community push from the community is supporting the opening of a detox center in Sioux City.

On this hour or River to River, Executive Director Siouxland Human Investment Partnership Matt Ohman and Director of Four Directions Community Center in Sioux City and native community advocate Frank LaMere join host Ben Kiefer to discuss efforts to establish comprehensive care for community members struggling with addiction and homelessness in the Sioux City area.

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman admitted into NASA's astronaut training program, and the first African-American woman in space. She visited the Iowa State Fair earlier this week. He also checks in with astrophysicist Jasper Halekas, co-investigator of the Parker Solar Probe mission for NASA, about the mission's spacecraft that is flying around the sun.

Jeff Dzadon/Flickr

A recent analysis ranks Iowa as having the ninth worst infrastructure in the country.

The state’s rural county bridges may be what spurred the poor rating by content and analysis company 24/7 Wall St, according to Aaron Granquist, a project manager who’s overseeing the state’s upcoming infrastructure report card.

Todd Huffman / Creative Commons

 

Opioid-related deaths are on the rise in Iowa, and research suggests that needle exchanges may be effective in decreasing drug-related deaths.

 

KOMU News / Creative Commons

In this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks to public radio reporters from Iowa, Ohio, Kansas and Missouri to see hower voter laws are changing across the Midwest.

Iowa

A 2017 voter law required voters to provide an identification numbers from a driver’s license, a non-driver’s license or a voting card in order to apply for an absentee ballot.   

Wikimedia Commons / Luke Harold

The Trump-bashing attorney Michael Avenatti appeared in Iowa at the Iowa Democratic Party Wing Ding over the weekend, and he also stopped by the Iowa State Fair. 

During this Politics Day episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Wayne Moyer of Grinnell College and Jim McCormick of Iowa State University about Avenatti's visit. They also discuss the Paul Manafort trial, President Trump's attacks on Omarosa Manigault Newman, and other political news of the week. 

Shane T. McCoy / Wikimedia Commons

 

Fear can often instigate a rippling feeling of helplessness, but what if this same emotion could be converted into empowerment? Brandon Webb, former Navy SEAL, joined Ben Kieffer on River to River to talk about his experience with grappling with his own fears in his latest book, "Mastering Fear: A Navy SEAL's Guide"

Flickr / koschi

Climate change is coming to Iowa, and with it, more frequent and intense storms. During this hour of River to River, we hear stories of severe weather recovery. 

Marshalltown Mayor Joel Greer joins to discuss the EF-3 tornado that hit town nearly a month ago, and Angie Crees of Bondurant talks about how her roof lifted up and set back down by an EF-2 tornado the same day.

Madeleine McCormick/IPR

As we age, many things become more challening. That includes driving. 

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Dan McGehee of the University of Iowa National Advanced Driving Simulator, and Larry Neppl, who is an instructor for AARP's Driving Safety Program. 

Iowa is second only to Florida in the highest percentage of licensed drivers over the age of 85, and ranks fourth in the nation in percentage of the population over the age of 65. 

wikimedia.org

Long before more than two million women and allies gathered in Washington D.C. for the 2017 Women’s March, and before almost daily protests against the current presidential administration spalshed across national headlines, Americans were organizing and mobilizing acts of resistance, dating back to the very founding of the nation.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Lynn Hicks, communications director for the Iowa Attorney General, about the rise in robocalls and what you can do to stop receiving future calls from scammers.

Jo Christian Oterhals

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with award-winning author Paul Greenberg about his new book, The Omega Principle, in which he explores the history, science, and business behind omega-3 fatty acids.

Greenberg is the James Beard Award-winning bestseller of Four Fish and American Catch, a regular contributor to The New York Times and is a Pew Fellow in marine conservation. 

ACF OPA

What's the extent of the problem, both in Iowa and across the U.S.?

In 2017, there were 218 calls made from Iowa to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and there were 74 human trafficking cases reported that year. Those numbers have steadily increased since 2012.

The number of identified victims in the U.S. is on the rise. The National Human Trafficking Hotline recorded a 35 percent increase in reports in 2016.

Are underage children being trafficked?

Yes. Not only that, but a study from the Center for Court Innovation found that younger victims see more customers than older victims (the children ages 13-17 were purchased by an average of 5.4 customers per day versus 4.4 times per day for those aged 18-24).

Are traffickers always men?

No. The UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking found that 52 percent of people recruiting victims are men, 42% are women, and 6% are both men and women working together.

Who are the buyers?

According to a 2014 study, about 14 percent of men in the United States report having ever paid for sex, and 1 percent report having done so during the previous year. "Of a small group of highly active customers – those who sought out sex workers listed on a prostitute review website - a substantial portion of them are married white men who earn over $120,000 annually, and have graduate degrees."

Where does trafficking occur?

About 75 percent of trafficking occurs in hotels/motels, according to Stephen O’Meara, a retired human trafficking coordinator with the Nebraska Attorney General's Office. This is why advocates in Iowa are focused on training hotel and motel staff to recognize trafficking as it happens. Trafficking also happens in illicit massage parlors in Iowa.  

Pages