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.

In light of Memorial weekend boating accidents, a discussion of boating safety laws with Susan Stocker, Boating Safety Educator with the Iowa DNR. Then, an Iowa lawmaker talks about his renewed push for stricter laws to combat drinking and boating.

Activism and Fulbright

Jun 8, 2010

We talk with Marisa Handler, UI Writer's Workshop graduate and author of "Loyal to the Sky," an award-winning memoir that documents her coverage of activist communities worldwide. Then, we discuss the Fulbright Scholarship program with a coordinator and a former scholar.

In his new book "Unhinged", Dr. Daniel Carlat says psychiatry has changed from a profession in which we try to understand people and talk to them, into a profession that diagnoses disease and medicates. Host Ben Kieffer explores the topic with Dr. Carlat and University of Iowa Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Robert Philibert.

Animal Abuse

Jun 4, 2010

We'll hear the amazing story of a Sioux City cat that was rescued after having a nail driven through its head, and discuss the implications of that horrific case of animal abuse. Guests include Executive Director of the Animals and Society Institute and the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.

Host Dean Borg talks with GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Rod Roberts. Later in the hour, a conversation with State Climatologist Harry Hillaker and Iowa State University Extension Climatologist Elwynn Taylor. The weather experts discuss the lack of tornado activity in Iowa this spring and the tools used to study tornadoes.

Host Dean Borg talks with two of the three Republicans who hope to win the GOP’s 2010 nomination for governor.

Business start-ups reached their highest level in 14 years in 2009. How is Iowa staying ahead of the curve in economic development opportunities? Host Ben Kieffer talks with Curt Nelson of the Entrepreneural Development Center in Cedar Rapids.

We follow IPR's Katherine Perkins through her "graduation" from chemotherapy. Then, we hear about the hundreds of clinical trials for cancer patients taking place across Iowa.

21-Only Ordinance

May 27, 2010

Beginning June 1, bar owners in Iowa City will prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from entering their establishment. The issue goes before voters in the General Election this fall. In a program broadcast live from the Java House in Iowa City, host Ben Kieffer examines the culture of drinking with University of Iowa Vice President of Student Services Tom Rocklin and UI student Raj Patel who led the effort to have the issue placed on the November ballot.

In an archived program from May 2009, host Ben Kieffer talks with Marilyn Yalom, author of 'The American Resting Place' and Michael Lensing of Lensing Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Iowa City. The guests examine some of the most bizarre burial practices and how different cultures explore death.

Iowa Supreme Court

May 25, 2010

While a lot of attention is currently focused on the U-S Supreme Court and the nomination hearings of Elana Kagan,we’ll look at the Iowa Supreme Court. Iowa’s merit system for appointing Justices is an exception across the U-S. We’ll talk with former Iowa Supreme Court Justice Robert Allbee and two professors who have studied the Iowa Supreme Court and its decisions.

A conversation with former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich who previews his upcoming trip to visit Polk County Republicans and discusses what Iowa GOP candidates must do to win in November's General Elections. Later in the hour U.S. Senator Charles Grassley provides an update on oil spill in the Gulf.

Reporters Roundtable

May 21, 2010

Des Moines Register Columnist Kathie Obradovich and Cedar Rapids Gazette Political Reporter James Lynch join Ben Kieffer to discuss the recent visit by the Dalai Lama, the last gubernatorial debate before the primary and Vice-President Joe Biden's trip to Iowa to endorse Governor Culver.

Cashless Society

May 20, 2010

Debit card usage has climbed fourfold since 1999 and the Payments Council predicts that banknotes and coins will be used for fewer than half of all transactions in the next five years. We examine the prospects of a cashless society with a University of Iowa Finance Professor and the leader of a Des Moines business offering a web-based technology for transferring money.

Iowa Refugees

May 19, 2010

Since 1975 more than 30-thousand refugees have come to Iowa to find a home. It began with Governor Robert Ray as Vietnamese families fled war and persecution. Now 35 years later, two of Iowa's three refugee resettlement agencies are suspending their programs. What does it mean for the state and the refugees currently living in Iowa? Host Jeneane Beck talks with Governor Robert Ray and the Bureau Chief of the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services.

In the past few years the number of Chinese students seeking an American education has seen a considerable increase. Even American prep schools have been busy recruiting China's best and brighest. We examine the great U.S.-China student exchange with Chinese students in Iowa and Iowa students seeking an education overseas. Plus, an interview with NPR Shanghai correspondent Louisa Lim.

Human Origins

May 17, 2010

A conversation with Lee Berger, the American paleoanthropologist who last month discovered the bones of a new hominid species. Australopithecus sediba lived almost two-million years ago during a mysterious period spanning the emergence of the human family. Then, two Iowa paleoanthropologists discuss the questions raised and answered by this discovery.

A look at the challenges that lie ahead for the baby boomer generation when it comes to care for their aging parents. What are the best options when it comes to long-term care? Ben Kieffer talks with Ingrid Wensel of the Heritage Area Agency on Aging. Later in the hour, a conversation with author Gail Sheehy. Her new book "Passages in Caregiving" examines her role as a caregiver after her husband was diagnosed with cancer.

We discuss medical marijuana research, now that two Iowa organizations (Iowa Board of Pharmacy and the Iowa Medical Society) have endorsed the idea of reclassifying marijuana to allow for more clinical study. Guests include the co-director of the only facility in the U.S. currently doing clinical trials, an Iowa physician and State Senator Joe Bolkcom.

Religious Cults

May 12, 2010

We examine religious cults with Iowa State University Asscoiate Professor Nikki Bado. Then a conversation with author Carolyn Jessop who is in Iowa to promote her book "Triumph". The book chronicles her life after escaping an extremist Mormon sect.

Physical Fitness

May 11, 2010

In Grundy Center this week, national and international representatives will meet to discuss ways to change physical education in schools. Host Ben Kieffer talks with University of Northern Iowa alumn Shellie Fole who serves as the Executive Director of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. We'll also talk with a P.E. teacher at Grundy Center Elementary School and the Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The "brain drain" - a rapid exodus of young adults has been a concern in Iowa for decades. Now, small Iowa communities are being proactive in reaching out to native sons and daughters to keep them close to home. We'll talk with economic development representatives and find out how they're working to keep small town Iowa vibrant.

Midwifery in Iowa

May 7, 2010

There has been a significant increase in midwife attendance at Iowa births. We talk with a midwife, one of her clients and Democratic State Representative Mary Mascher who is supporting a bill to expand the number of midwives certified to practice in Iowa.

We focus on job prospects as our economy struggles to recover from the worst economic downturn since the 1930’s. Specifically, the job outlook for two careers that parents have often taken as a measure for success in their kids doctors and lawyers. Host Ben Kiffer talks with Drake University Law School Dean Allan Vestal and Roger Tracy of the University of Iowa's Carver College of Medicine.

Immigration Overhaul

May 5, 2010

Arizona's new immigration law is spurring debate about a possible federal immigration overhaul. Host Jeneane Beck talks with members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement who are behind the push for immigration changes on the local and state level. Also joining the conversation is the Media Director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Waters to Watch

May 4, 2010

The National Fish Habitat Action Plan has selected Diamond Lake in northwest Iowa as one of the 10 "Waters to Watch" for 2010. The 2010 10 "Waters to Watch" list is a collection of rivers, streams and lakes that will benefit from strategic conservation efforts to protect, restore or enhance their current condition. Host Ben Kieffer talks with a Dickinson County Biologist and a DNR official about efforts to provide a cleaner and healthier habitat for Diamond Lake and other lakes across Iowa.

Farm Bill

May 3, 2010

The House Agriculture Committee held its first hearing on the Farm Bill in Des Moines April 30th. We'll talk with Bruce Babcock, Director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development and others who testified in Des Moins, about the changes needed and likely in the 2012 Farm Bill.

Host Ben Kieffer discusses possible Wall Street reforms, changes on the horizon in immigration laws and the President's recent trip to the midwest with Iowa's two congressmen.

Campus Sexual Assault

Apr 29, 2010

We examine the issue of sexual assault on Iowa's college campuses. We talk with representatives from victim advocacy, criminal investigation and the campus disciplinary process to see what policies the Regents Universities have for handling such incidents, and what they're doing to prevent them.

A conversation with the American Presidential Historian Richard Norton Smith. The former Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum Director is in Iowa this week to discuss why American history should remain part of our daily lives. Later in the hour a University of Iowa researcher discusses efforts to improve Iowa’s dismal record of teen driving safety.