Talk of Iowa

Weekdays at 10 a.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One and 9 p.m. on IPR News

Talk of Iowa brings a mix of regular guests and a range of experts to the microphone to discuss what’s happening in Iowa and what makes this a special place to live. Guests include wildlife expert Jim Pease and the Hort Gang on Fridays.

Talk of Iowa is hosted by Charity Nebbe @CharityNebbe. It’s produced by Dennis Reese, Emily Woodbury @EmilyWoodbury, Lindsey Moon @lindseysmoon and Katelyn Harrop @KatelynHarrop. Our Executive Producer is Katherine Perkins. Our theme music is by The River Monks.

Makedocreative / Wikimedia Commons

Trying to slow down floods or filter out pollution? Hoping to capture more water for agriculture? Worried about erosion or wildfire? It turns out that one creature can help with all these problems and more - the beaver. 

According to Ben Goldfarb, the author of a new book about beavers, the beaver is as useful of an animal as it is interesting. The beaver's iconic tail, for example, has many purposes. 

"A beaver's tail, it's a fat storage mechanism. Like bears put on fat for the winter, beavers put on fat in their tail," says Goldfarb. 

Vladimir Kulikov / Wikimedia Commons

Investing money, time and effort into getting a PhD used to almost guarantee a position at a college or a university somewhere, but times have changed. The job market for academics has gotten a lot tighter, the competition stiffer and the future less certain. 

Rusty Gates is a history professor at Bradley University in Peoria, and while he feels incredibly lucky to be working in his field, he does sometimes wish he could find a job closer to home. He lives in Iowa City, where his wife, who is also a professor, works at the University of Iowa. 

Photo Courtesy of Amber Rowley

Linden is a town of about 200 people, and Bagley is not much bigger with a population of just around 300 in west-central Iowa. The last two weeks, however, have been like Christmas in August for both small town libraries. 

Late Summer and Fall Planting

Aug 17, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

 

The signs of fall are starting to surface: shorter days, school supply shopping, and flowers dimming. But despite these signs, there is still time to plant vegetables and prepare for the impending cooler weather. On this Horticulture Day, DNR Forester Mark Vitosh and Iowa State University Horticulture Specialist Richard Jauron talk with Charity Nebbe about what to plant at this time of year.

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.

John Pemble

 

 

Corn dogs, baby ducks, and a butter cow to boot!

 

The Iowa State Fair is a time-honored tradition for many Iowans, and has gained a reputation for being one of the largest fairs in the nation.

 

Do you remember your first fair? 

Tony Potter

 

Church can be a place of solitude, reflection, and community. For Joe Jennison, writer and director of the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group, the Catholic Church provided that space, but could also be unwelcoming at times.

His experience as a gay man in the church led him to write the one-man show Confessions of a Gay Catholic.

Randy Everette / Wikimedia Commons

 

Gazebos are a great place to comfortably enjoy some much needed shade in the garden. Their iconic geometric shape also adds elegance to otherwise bare spaces. They may look complicated to build on your own, but home improvement expert Bill McAnnally encourages the DIY'er fans of home improvement day that the process is manageable. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, he talks with host Charity Nebbe.

McAnnally recommends cedar wood and patience for the building process.

Courtesy of Allison Engel

With plenty of fast fashion outlets and cheap clothing available, Americans are purchasing, and discarding, clothing items at a rate never seen before. Allison Engel, co-author of second-hand shopping guide, "Thrift Style," says used clothign stores often provide cheaper, high-qualilty clothing options, while decreasing textile waste.

Flickr - The U.S. National Archives

 

While her peers were renting their first post-grad apartments, Kari Grindberg was moving into a different residence -- a senior living community in Pella, Iowa. She's a recent Central College graduate who is spending her summer fostering relationships with Iowans much, much older than she is.

On this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe explores the benefits of intergenerational relationship building, both for senior communities, and young people alike.

 

Photo Courtesy of Iowa State University Extension

Iowa has a new invasive species, the jumping worm, and it spells bad news for soil health. According to Iowa State University extension entomologist Donald Lewis, the worms have been in New England for a decade. They are also found in Iowa's border states, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. 

Stefan Maurer / Creative Commons

Wolves are a keystone species, but they haven’t lived in Iowa for years. Their successful reintroduction into the upper midwest and the Yellowstone National Park shows us the incredible impact wolves have on the ecosystem they live in.

For example, wildlife biologist Jim Pease says the wolves make sure there aren't too many elk and other grazing animals around. He points out some of the changes that resulted in Yellowstone National Park when the wolves returned.

 

Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan

This summer, the University of Iowa’s student-run newspaper, The Daily Iowan, celebrates 150 years serving the Iowa City community.

“It doesn’t matter how you deliver a story; if it’s a great story people will read it. College students at The Daily Iowan have been writing great stories for 150 years, and they will be for a long time,” says Bill Casey, publisher of the Daily Iowan from 1976 to 2016. He oversaw tremendous growth at the paper, received a number of awards for his work, and mentored many students. 

 

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. He was an activist, a revolutionary, a political leader, philanthropist, and a role model for many global leaders. He fought apartheid in South Africa and spent 27 years in prison before emerging to lead his country as South Africa’s first black head of state, and the first head of state to be elected in a fully representative democracy. Mandela was also awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, and his ideals and words have inspired millions.

Courtesy of Doug Thompson

Doug Thompson of Marion has been performing as a comedian for over a decade. A few years ago, he was inspired to expand his skill set and learn hypnosis -- after seeing a really bad set. 

"I was watching this act, and I just thought, this could be so much  more," Thompson says. "I'm that kind of person who always wants to be learning and growing."

University of Wyoming Extension

Is your once uniform and lush lawn now looking rusty or being invaded by crabgrass? A wet June into a dry July may have you wondering how to make your lawn green again.

On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Jason Burns tackles lawn care with Nick Christians, turf grass expert and Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University.

"Crabgrass is definitely the big issue this summer," Christians says. "It loves wet weather so the conditions have been perfect this year."

Hiroki H.

Pink tomatoes, purple snap beans, yellow cauliflower, orange winter squash. On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with horticulturalists Cindy Haynes and Richard Jauron about planting and harvesting a colorful vegetable garden. They also share information about the upcoming ISU Horticulture Field Days being held at demonstration gardens across the state.

Courtesy of Brad Anderson

As the founder of Above + Beyond Cancer, oncologist Dr. Richard Deming is used to treating patients, and going further to inspiring and encouraging cancer survivors as they challenge themselves physically as cyclists or mountain climbers.

But right now, Deming is finding himself on the other side of the treatment process, as he recovers from a serious bicycle accident that left him with a fractured collar bone, fractured shoulder blade, multiple fractured ribs, a punctured lung, and a lung contusion.

Kari Bruck Photography / Courtesy of Emilie Matthias

Five year old Garrett Matthias died on July 6 of a rare form of cancer that affected his cranial nerve and inner year.

He was an exuberant and creative five year old, who loved super heroes, and his parents have chosen to share his personality, his words, and his ideas through a unique obituary and a joyful celebration of life that they hosted at their home in Van Meter this past weekend.

Creative Commons: Pixnio

 

Malinda McCollum and Anthony Varallo are both graduates of the Iowa Writers Workshop, enthusiasts of the short story form, and authors of their own, new story collections. They’re also married to each other.

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks to McCollum and Varallo about what draws them to short stories, both as writers and readers, and how the pair successfully manage writing projects, full teaching loads at the College of Charleston, and parenting

Charity Nebbe

 

 

What happens after we die? It’s a question that we can’t answer. But more and more people are reporting what happened to them during a "near-death experience." And if you listen closely to their stories, some fascinating clues to the question emerge.

Tana Tesdall

As Alejandro Larios Mora struggled through elementary school in Anaheim, California, he didn't know he would one day travel to Iowa to become a veterinarian.

He also didn’t know that he had not been born in the United States.

“I thought I was like anybody else,” he says. “I didn’t think I would have any problems with my future.”

After he was born in Mexico, Larios Mora’s parents moved him to Hawaii, making him a DREAMer.

Emily Woodbury

Heading into her junior year at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Diamond Roundtree is an accomplished poet. She just recently published a collection of her poetry titled, Words from My Heart.

The collection includes a poem about how being bullied made her who she is today, another that explores her African American heritage, and many words designed to encourage, empower and inspire her readers.

Anjali Pinto

Anjali Pinto became a widow on New Year’s Eve of 2016 when her young, strong, 30-year-old husband, Jacob Johnson, died suddenly of an aortic dissection.

They had been planning to ride RAGBRAI together as a way to honor Jacob’s late grandmother, but instead, Pinto ended up riding across the state with Jacob’s family to honor both Jacob and his grandmother.

How to Keep Your Garden Rose-y This Summer

Jul 16, 2018
Kikuo Teranishi / Wikimedia Commons

Roses have found their way into our hearts and into our gardens. Whatever beautiful species of rose brings color to your garden, Aaron Steil, assistant director of Reiman Gardens, and Richard Jauron of ISU Extension discuss how to get the most out of your roses.

“This year is going to be a little rough for disease issues with roses,” said Steil. “It has been warm. It has been wet, which is the perfect situation for two major diseases that hit roses: black spot and powdery mildew.”

When to Trim Back Tree Branches

Jul 13, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

 

Two people lost their lives on July 3rd when a large Oak tree branch fell on them as they were watching fireworks in Rock Island, Illinois. While there’s likely no way to know if the accident was preventable, it’s a tragic reminder that we should all be aware of the health of the trees in our landscape. 

On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Jeff Iles, professor and chair of Iowa State University's Department of Horticulture, about trees.

 

NPS Photo

 

25 years ago, author Elizabeth Leiknes moved away from her family in Truesdale, Iowa, though she looks upon her home state with great fondness. Her latest book, The Lost Queen of Crocker County, is an ode to the Midwestern identity.

It’s a story inspired by Leiknes' drive home from work one day. While driving, she felt a thump under her car.

“Is it a kitten? Is it a dog? What had happened?” Leiknes remembers asking herself. She went back and found nothing, but it got her thinking.

Pixabay

Iowa State University psychologist Doug Gentile says that research shows parents do not use, appreciate, or agree on the age-based rating systems used for movies, television, and video games in the U.S.. 

"Only six percent of parents say that the movie ratings are always accurate, only five percent of parents say the television ratings are always accurate, and only six percent say the video game ratings are always accurate," says Gentile. "Even if they're using the ratings, often their children see things they didn't expect them to be able to see."

Scribner publishing

 

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate Tom Macher talks with host Charity Nebbe about his debut memoir Halfway. He reflects on his childhood, growing up in a commune and a boys home, and the path that led him towards alcoholism.

“I felt like [alcohol] was the thing that I had been missing my whole life,” Tom says. “It wasn’t that I was missing a relationship with my father, or whatever other hole we feel inside ourselves.”

Iowa Women's Archives

Iowa has the longest running state high school girl's basketball tournament in the country, but for most of that history girls did not play the game we know today. 

According to research by Karen Mason of the Iowa Women's Archives, girls in Iowa have been playing 6-on-6 basketball since the early 1900's. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Mason and University of Iowa American Studies lecturer Jennifer Sterling about the game and a new exhibit that is touring the state this summer. 

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