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.

Politics and Prose

Humans are naturally social animals, but convention and routine have made many of our gatherings stale and meaningless, at least according to author Priya Parker. 

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Parker, founder of Thrive Labs, about her new book The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters. Parker shares tips for how to use your next gathering to cultivate community and bring people together in meaningful ways.

Rolf Dietrich Brecher / Wikimedia Commons

 

The recent wet weather has been too much for some gardens, and it has made some Iowa insects happy and healthy. Entomologist Donald Lewis and horticulturist Richard Jauron talked with Charity Nebbe about earwigs, springtails and other insects that are thriving in the damp conditions.

Lewis says that earwigs enjoy the place between the mulch and soil, where conditions are warm and humid.

 

Photo Courtesty of Matthew Christopher

During this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe catches up with designer Matthew Christopher. Before Christopher became a couture dresser for celebrities and brides across the world, he made prom gowns for his dates in his hometown of Wellman. He learned to sew in 4-H as a kid.

“I was enthralled with Brides magazine at the age of 10,” Christopher says.

 

Photo Courtesy of Andre Wright

Andre Wright, CEO of the fashion label Born Leaders United, saw a post by his friend Jason Sole on Facebook months ago. Sole wrote that as as a culture, we need to stop stereotyping people based on how they dress. In that post, he pointed specifically to the hooded sweatshirt.

Wright picked up the phone and called Sole, and the Humanize My Hoodie campaign was born. 

Jace Anderson/FEMA

 

No matter how intrigued you may be about the impact of a flood, it’s best to avoid exploring the waters until some time has passed.

“I see people wading in that water and I think, ‘would you go wading in sewage water?’ Because that’s exactly what it is,” says home improvement expert Bill McAnally. “Whatever is in your yard, it comes around the gutter and down the storm sewer... I see everything possible come floating into that river.”

 

LWYang, Creative Commons / Flickr

When a well known writer, actor, filmmaker or musician gets accused of inappriopriate or even criminal behavior, especially in cases of sexual misconduct, what happens to their body of work? Has the art created lost its value? Should we stop teaching texts or bodies of work because of an uncovered wrong? 

These are some of the questions being asked in the wake of #MeToo. Alfred Martin, professor of communication studies at University of Iowa says we’re asking these questions because we want to feel like something is being done in response.

exezippdf/Flickr

Suffering is part of the human condition, but hardship isn’t distributed equally. For centuries humans have tried to make sense of suffering, personal suffering, and the pain of others.

In his latest book, Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering, philosophy professor Scott Samuelson brings together the ideas of some of the world’s greatest philosophers, as well as his own thoughts and lessons he has learned from his students at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City.

Claudia McGehee Illustration

Discussions about endangered species in Iowa often focus on the bigger, showier species that make headlines, like the bald eagle; but there are many species at risk that fly under the radar.

For instance, the Topeka Shiner, a small minnow that lives in Midwestern streams.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with ecologists and biologists who are looking out for Iowa’s smallest, most threatened species, including the Topeka Shiner, the Rusty Patched Bumblebee, the Wood Turtle, and many more.

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.

McFarland's Mill

On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks to Richard Jauron, Iowa State University Extension Horticulture Specialist, and Linda Naeve, Iowa State University Extension Specialist in Value Added Agriculture, about how you can use mulch in your garden this summer. 

"Mulch has a lot of good characteristics to it and good advantages in a garden," Naeve says. "Most of us think, oh I want to mulch to keep the weeds down... but it also helps conserve soil moisture."

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.

Constancia Huff Roling

An extended voyage down the Mississippi River in a kayak hasn't always been high on Barb Geiger's list of things she wanted to do. But one Sunday morning in 2013, after weeks of preparation, Barb and her husband set off in a self-built kayak for an epic five month journey of paddling and service work. 

Concrete hearts, angels, and puppies… the sculptures of Isabel Bloom have been beloved since the 1950s. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Donna Young about the life of the remarkable Iowa artist behind the whimsical sculptures. 

Young says Bloom's work was unique for her time, not only because she was a woman who owned her own business, but because of the medium she worked with. 

"At the time, cement was used for construction, not art," says Young. 

FIRMM

Right now, chances are pretty good that you're surrounded by plastic. A plastic keyboard, plastic water bottle, the plastic fixtures in your car, perhaps even a plastic case on your phone. There's no denying that plastics are an integral part of our society, but they're also a huge factor in a major environmental disaster that's becoming increasingly apparent in our oceans and waterways. 

Yancas / Flickr

Along with the rich greens and beautiful blossoms of early summer come bugs— gnats, mosquitoes, ticks, and many others. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe chats with Iowa State University entomologist Donald Lewis about biting insects. 

Emily Woodbury

Hippotherapy, or therapeutic horseback riding, uses the movement of horses to help individuals improve their neuromotor function, including coordination, balance, and strength.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe visits Miracles in Motion, where children and adults with special needs come for hippotherapy and therapeutic riding lessons. 

Mark Vitosh

In recent years, many Iowans have noticed something strange happening to the leaves on their oak trees. The leaf tissue becomes brown or purple and shrivels up, making the leaves look ripped or torn. This condition is known as “oak tatters.” 

Oak tatters has been observed since the 1980s and documented since 1995, but the cause remains a mystery.

Florida Grand Opera

Growing up outside of Kalona, Jessica Faselt didn't come from a particularly musical family. She sang in choir when she was a child, but didn’t realize the power of her voice until a concert in high school where she sang "O Holy Night" and brought the crowd to tears. 

After this experience, Faselt went on to study vocal performance at the University of Iowa. It was there that she discovered her passion for opera.

"To me, opera brings together so many art forms," Faselt says. "It's the human voice talking about the human experience through song and music."

Kate Payne

47 years ago, Iowa State Representative Marti Anderson gave birth to a baby girl. She gave her up for adoption and wondered about her ever since. Thanks to a home DNA test, she has now been reunited with her daughter.

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe visits the Herbert Hooover Presidential Museum and gets a tour of a new exhibit,"Tallgrass to Knee High: A Century of Iowa Farming," on display through October 2018. Melanie Weir, assistant curator at the museum, is her guide. 

Nick Brincks

How do you get kids to pay attention to lessons about important but not necessarily attention-grabbing topics like water quality and soil erosion?

Heavy metal rock anthems about cover crops and raps about watersheds are not often linked to science education, but for Jacqueline Comito, program director for Iowa Learning Farms, it's a perfect fit.

"Sense of humor is, I think, one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal," says Comito, who is also a musician.

Renee Harper

Ripe strawberries right out of the garden are one of the joys of summer. It's important to know how to select strawberry varieties, harvest the fruit, and even—after a few good harvests—renovate an old strawberry patch.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, Denny Schrock, State Master Gardener Coordinator, has some suggestions for growing the sweetest fruit.

"If you’re doing the June bearing variety, you want to plant those 18 to 24 inches apart," Schrock says. "If you have good Iowa loam, you should have a good crop of strawberries." 

Katherine Perkins

Summer is a great time to crack open a book and escape into worlds both imaginary and real. During this episode of Talk of Iowa, Jan Weismiller and Tim Budd of Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City and Kathy Magruder of Pageturners Bookstore in Indianola join host Charity Nebbe to share their favorite reads for your summer list.

State Historical Society of Iowa

One hundred years ago this month, then Governor William Harding signed an executive order declaring English the official language of the state. The Babel Proclamation banned languages other than English from being spoken in schools, churches, in public, and even on the telephone. 

Stephen Bowler

Rhubarb is one of the first flavors of spring. It's delicious in desserts and, some would argue, out of hand. On this Talk of Iowa, we share tips for growing rhubarb.

Linda Naeve, ISU Extension Specialist in Value Added Agriculture, says growing rhubarb can be a breeze.

"The right site is pretty easy - full sun, well-drained. Simple," Naeve says. 

Ames Historical Society Website

For the past three years, Iowa State University's "Teaching and Learning Iowa History" series has taught courses about social justice in Iowa. This summer, a new course will highlight American Indian Iowans and their contributions to social movements in the state.

Braceros in the U.S.

May 23, 2018
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode (cropping and contrast changes made)
Oregon State University Archives

Between 1942 and 1966, the Bracero Program brought 4.6 million Mexican migrant workers to the United States including to jobs in Iowa. They were working largely in agricultural jobs.

Brian Behnken is an associate professor of history and the U.S. Latino studies program at Iowa State University. He explains the history of the program, how it was implemented, and what was required of workers and employers.

The program began during World War Two.

The Death Midwife

May 23, 2018
Photo of workshop by Donna Belk and Sandy Booth

In recent years, there has been expansion of palliative care, which is medical care that focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of serious illness.  There also has been increased availability of hospice care, which is designed to give support and comfort to people in the final phase of a terminal illness. There’s a new movement in end of life care called death midwifery.

cedar rapids police patch
City of Cedar Rapids

Sherriff’s deputies in Iowa are increasingly spending time on mental health cases. They are tracking down people who are court-ordered to enter mental health treatment and transporting patients between hospitals and commitment hearings.

Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson says his deputies sometimes arrest people who not breaking the law but who clearly need assistance. He says sometimes there’s nowhere to take them but to jail.

Phil Thomson

In this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe is joined by Mark Simmet and Tony Dehner of IPR's Studio One to look at some of the music you can hear at Iowa's 2018 summer music festivals. Scroll down for Tony and Mark's lists of suggested listening.

Pages