Courtesy of Troy Stolp

The relationship between Council Bluffs and Omaha goes back thousands of years. Evidence shows inhabitants of the region date as far back as 900 AD. With such a long history of being joined across the Missouri River, Council Bluffs and Omaha have developed a complicated relationship.

USDAGOV / Creative Commons

There are several changes to the 2020 U.S. census. For example, for the first time ever, people will be given the option to fill out the census online and through a mobile app. These changes, however, do not come without their own set of challenges.

Greg Thatcher

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe is joined by Fairfield-based artist Greg Thatcher, who has been making art inspired by yew trees for more than 30 years. Thatcher talks about his “Sacred Yew” exhibit at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and his multi-decade relationship with a single grove of yew trees in a small English town. 


Greg Thatcher, Artist.  

Kathleen Ronayne/AP

The film "Erin Brockovich," starring Julia Roberts came out in 2000 and is based on the true story of Brockovich, a legal researcher, activist and single mother who uncovered a 30-year long industrial poisoning of a small town’s water supply by Pacific Gas and Electric. 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said outside experts will be asked to review operations at DHS facilities in Glenwood to recommend ways to fix gaps in care.
Grant Gerlock / IPR file

Gov. Kim Reynolds acknowledged Tuesday her June 2019 firing of former Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven was partly related to his response to concerns about increased deaths at a state-run facility for disabled residents.

Patrick Semansky / AP Photo

Democratic presidential hopefuls are on stage in South Carolina ahead of that state’s primary. The candidates’ battle follows Sen. Bernie Sanders’ wins in the New Hampshire primary and the Nevada caucuses. The debate starts at 7 p.m. CT, and is available for streaming online through the CBSN app. 

Paul 710928003 / flickr

Three Iowa counties with aging and overcrowded jails will ask residents next Tuesday to approve bonds for new law enforcement centers that house their jails, allowing them to add space to hold more inmates and upgrade infrastructure. 

Courtesy: Linn County Attorney's Office

After nine days of testimony and legal arguments, and more than 40 years of unanswered questions, Jerry Lynn Burns has been found guilty of killing Cedar Rapids high schooler Michelle Martinko, who was found stabbed to death in her family’s car outside the Westdale Mall in 1979. A jury of seven women and five men handed down the unanimous verdict Monday afternoon in Davenport after about three hours of deliberations. New developments in forensic DNA analysis and a family genealogy website led investigators to Burns. It’s one of the first cases of its kind in the country to go to trial.

John Pemble / IPR file photo

An email released from the Department of Human Services Monday shows a top official had knowledge of alleged controversial experiments conducted at Glenwood Resource Center.

Lindsey Moon and John Pemble / IPR

The 2020 Iowa Legislature gaveled in for the session on Jan. 13. They're scheduled to continue meeting at the Statehouse until sometime around April 21. Over the course of the 100 days lawmakers have to conduct business, file and debate legislation, and pass bills, there are two important deadlines. 

susan christensen
Katarina Sostaric/IPR file

The Iowa Supreme Court announced Monday it selected Susan Christensen as its new chief justice.

Christensen is from Harlan and was appointed to the court by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds in 2018.

Craig McLachlan / Unsplash

The University of Iowa's 2020 What About ME(N) Summit seeks to "explore how our community can redefine masculinity and influence the culture we live in to end gender-based and interpersonal violence." Craig Bidiman, the summit's keynote speaker, joins host Charity Nebbe on this segment of Talk of Iowa to explore the masculine boxes men are placed in and why self-awareness, both mentally and physically, can be difficlut for some men to confront.

Julien Cha / Flickr

Last month, Kesho Scott of Grinnell College presented a three-part lecture series on the black holocaust as part of the Drake Community Library's "Bucket Courses." This community event was at maximum capacity for Scott's presentation as the audience sought to learn more about the atlantic slave trade and why this period in world history is now being called a holocaust.

John Pemble / IPR file

Iowa lawmakers considered dozens of bills last week ahead of a legislative deadline known as the first “funnel” of the 2020 session.

Most bills that don’t relate to taxes or budgets had to pass through a subcommittee and full committee by the end of last week to remain eligible for debate. 

Natalie Krebs / IPR

In some parts of Iowa when you call 911, there’s no guarantee that an ambulance will be available, and this is a big problem in rural areas, where volunteers are scarce. That’s because emergency medical services are not considered essential, like fire or police.


State biologists are considering increasing the number of antlerless deer that hunters can harvest in 11 counties next hunting season, while at the same time, decreasing the harvest quota in as many others. 

John Pemble / IPR

During funnel week, dozens of bills come before subcommittees hoping to make it past the committee level to stay in play for the rest of the session. One bill that would add clarity about “bona fide religious purpose” to Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 doesn't make it. Legislators say the language is too broad for it to advance. A bill requiring vaccination information to be on a child's death certificate passes a committee and is eligible for floor detate. And two bills about Iowa’s 41-year-old can and bottle redemption program come before subcommittees.

Richard Lee / Unsplash

On this “News Buzz” edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with a variety of guest about the week’s latest news stories. This episode includes an update on a forty-year-old cold case in Davenport, what legislation made it through the first deadline at the Statehouse, and the worrying results about bald eagle populations in Iowa. 

We also hear about new research from Iowa State University that can determine the age of a fingerprint, and the many problems in getting adequate emergency medical services in Iowa.


Kevin Doncaster / Flickr

The days are starting to lengthen, and gardeners are itching to do something to get ready for the growing season. So, why not start some seeds indoors?

Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe talks with ISU Extension horticulturist Richard Jauron and assistant director of Reiman Gardens Aaron Steil about the best conditions for getting seeds to sprout, and the best way to prepare seedlings to go outside this spring.

John Locher / AP Photo

Follow NPR's live coverage of the 2020 Nevada caucuses, including results and analysis.

solar panels
Warren McKenna / Farmers Electric Coop

A controversial bill that would have allowed utilities to charge extra fees to Iowans with solar panels is being changed to a proposal that almost all stakeholders praised at a subcommittee meeting Thursday.

The original version of the bill pitted MidAmerican Energy against environmental groups and pork producers. The Senate passed it last year, but it did not have enough support to get through the Iowa House of Representatives.

John Pemble / IPR file

State lawmakers are behind schedule when it comes to passing funding for K-12 education. Republican leaders in the Iowa House and Senate still have not come to an agreement on how to reconcile their competing proposals.

jeff edler
John Pemble / IPR

Cities and counties would not be allowed to ban housing voucher discrimination under a bill that advanced in an Iowa Senate committee Thursday.

Federal housing assistance in the form of a voucher allows low-income families to choose a place to live. The federal government covers part of the cost of rent. A local public housing agency administers the funding and enters into a contract with the landlord in addition to the tenant’s lease. The landlord is responsible for maintaining certain health and safety standards.

Sen. Jeff Edler, R-State Center, proposed the bill.

Courtesy: Linn County Attorney's Office

The defense team for Jerry Lynn Burns rested its case Thursday, posing questions about whether key DNA evidence is simply circumstantial. The 66-year-old Manchester, Iowa man faces a first degree murder charge in the 1979 killing of Cedar Rapids high schooler Michelle Martinko, who was found stabbed to death in her family’s Buick in the parking lot of the Westdale Mall.

Ben Moon

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Doug Peacock about his work in the wilderness, tracking dangerous animals, his fight against climate change and his crusade to save grizzly bears.

Peacock is the author of “The Essential Grizzly: The Mingled Fates of Men and Bears”, “Walking It Off: A Veteran’s Chronicle of War and Wilderness” and “Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness.”

Department of Defense

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Jerry Yocum, vice president of the Camp Algona POW Museum Committee, historian and lead writer of “13,000 Nights: Kossuth County Men in Axis POW Camps in WWII.”

The Kossuth County enlisted men, John Muehe, Gordon Dimler, Richard Lavrenz, Howard Smith, John Spongberg and Donald Chiquet all spent more than 747 nights in German captivity. All of them survived.

Yocum said it took four years to research, document and dig deep to tell the stories of these prisoners of war.  


What are the Rules? Can I Break Them?

Feb 20, 2020 (cropped)
Chris Clayson

  This program origionally aired on 5-15-18.

The laws, morals, and ethics which guide us, can also confuse us, and sometimes challenge us to improve or change the rules.

In this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe gets a look at the philosophy of rules with Scott Samuelson, a philosophy professor at Kirkwood Community College. He says that he's learned a lesson stemming from the life of Socrates that for the most part, rules are important to follow, and when they need to change, then sometimes civil disobedience is that way that is done.

Courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District Facebook page

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it's "confident" that repairs done to federal levees along the Missouri River in southwest Iowa will make them ready to defend against the spring 2020 flood season. But even with repairs made, the levees are not quite what they used to be.

Good Era Film

Singer-songwriter Ben Rendall, who is a member of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls band TWINS, has released a new single and music video, “In Your Twenties.”

iowa capitol
John Pemble / IPR file

A House panel tabled a bill Wednesday that would ban Iowa health care providers from trying to change a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

House State Government Committee Chair Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, said people on both sides of the issue raised too many concerns about his proposal to advance it ahead of this week’s legislative deadline.