Camas Leeson


The summer travel season is right around the corner, and whether it's a family road trip in the region or a jetsetting destination halfway around the world, we all gather experiences and stories from our travels.

Sarah Johnson

The U.S. Surgeon General says electronic cigarette use among young people is increasing at “epidemic proportions.” In Iowa, 2018 data shows that nine percent of high school students in the state used e-cigarettes. Nationally, there was a 78 percent rise in vaping among high school students from 2017 to 2018.

Omar Al Farooq Pn

Recent films like Marvel's "Black Panther" and Jordan Peele's "Us" have been praised as a huge step forward for black representation in Hollywood and pop culture. But black actors and directors have been making art in Hollywood far before these films came to the big screen. 

State Historical Society of Iowa

Buxton, Iowa was a company town, but it wasn't like any other company town. It was founded by Consolidation Coal Company in 1900 and when the company recruited miners they did not discriminate on the basis of race. Buxton became Iowa's first fully integrated town and the community thrived until the coal ran out. On this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe sat down with author Rachelle Chase to talk about her new book, "Creating the Black Utopia of Buxton Iowa".

Emily Woodbury/Iowa Public Radio

Everybody can get behind daily pictures of cute dogs, and 10-year-old Gideon Kidd of Cedar Falls has gone viral sharing pictures of dogs he's met on his twitter account @IvePetThatDog

Almost exactly one year ago, Gideon and his mother Rachel Braunigan launched the account, and since then Gideon has amassed more than 214,000 followers from his daily dog posting.

Many of us don't give a second thought to the software that runs aspects of our everyday lives, from morning alarms or fitness apps on our phones, to the code directing a red eye flight out of Chicago O'hare. Behind the software are computer programmers who work line-by-line to make these things possible.

On this segment of River to River host Ben Kieffer examines the world of programmers with journalist Clive Thompson, author of "Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World."

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Bills exploring medical marijuana and the definition of an "unborn person" are up for discussion at the Iowa Statehouse. 

During this episode of River to River, we take a look at a Senate bill that could further define criminal charges for a nonconsensual termination of pregnancy and discuss a House bill that could expand the program for medical cannabis in the state. 

After being released from treatment at Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines for chronic migranes, Grace McCunn of Ames says she couldn't stop thinking about the other children still stuck in the hospital for treatment.

"I wanted to do something to try and make their stay just a little bit better," McCunn says.

She decided to fundraise for the hospital with a lemonade stand, raising about $100 on her first day. Since then, she's organized two 5ks for the hospital, raising more than $50,000, and she is now the subject of a new documentary, "Amazing Grace Lemonade Race". 

guizmo_68 / Wikimedia Commons

This time of year nature lovers and ornithophiles alike can go out and witness the wild and wonderful mating displays of a strange looking little bird, the American Woodcock.  

"It's nothing I can define, it's nothing tangible, but boy, you spend a few evenings in the woods or on the edge of the woods watching these guys, and they just get into your heart like few other species can," says naturalist Greg Hoch.

Andrew Bardwell/Flickr

On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer and guest Todd Pettys of the University of Iowa College of Law explore some of the biggest recent cases discussed in the U.S. Supreme Court term, and look ahead to some of the most anticipated cases slated for argument. 

Cases discussed include:

  • Timbs v. Indiana
  • The American Legion v. American Humanist Association
  • Gamble v. United States
  • Department of Commerce v. New York

This Sunday is St. Patrick's Day, a day when everybody is at least a little bit Irish, but there are many Iowans who have genuine Irish heritage. The Irish are the second largest immigrant group in Iowa history, and many Iowans with Irish roots take pride in their heritage, and the hardships their ancestors overcame.

On this hour of talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe sits down with historian and author of Irish Iowa, Timothy Walch, and proud Irish Iowan Ken Donnelly, to discuss how the Irish shaped Iowa's infrastructure and culture. 

Courtesy of Luis Argueta

It's been more than ten years since a 2008 raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rocked the small community of Postville, Iowa. The story of this community, and the undocumented workers swept up in the chaos, is told in a documentary series by director Luis Argueta.

Argueta says he decided to come to Iowa after reading about the raid in a New York Times article.

Charity Nebbe / Iowa Public Radio

Iowa has a reputation as being a home for writers. Recently that has been especially true for writers of poetry. Many poets across the state releasing new collections, participating in readings, poetry slams, and striving to teach and inspire the next generation of poets.

During this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe will be speaking with three Iowa poets about their work and about the growing scene across the state. Their writing deals with a range of themes and inspirations, from death and sickness, and true crime, to arm wrestling at the Iowa State Fair.

Phil Roeder

Jackson Pollock's "Mural" is the most famous work of art owned by the University of Iowa. The piece is seen as one of Pollock's most important works, and it marked a shift in styles during Pollock's career as an artist.

Mural was saved during the floods of 2008, sent to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles to be restored, and has been on tour ever since. It will return to Iowa City when the new University of Iowa Museum of Art is ready.

Justin Hofman/National Geographic


Plastic is cheap, easy to manufacture and endlessly flexible. Over the last 70 years plastic has completely transformed the way we live. This innovation has created a global pollution crisis that threatens humans and wildlife, from the smallest of plankton to blue whales, with more than 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flowing into oceans every year.

On this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with the co-leaders of National Geographic's "Source to Sea" plastics initiative, environmental engineer Jenna Jambeck, and marine biologist Heather Koldeway about the causes of this crisis, and steps we can take to reduce plastic pollution at home and around the world.

Monumental change is needed to reduce the impact of plastic on our planet's waterways, but Jambeck and Koldeway say small, everyday lifestyle advancements can help you do your part to reduce single use plastic waste.

It's been 50 years since the landmark Supreme Court case, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District, which guaranteed First Amendment rights for public school students. 

The students whose protest of the Vietnam War sparked the legal battle that birthed this legal precedent, Mary Beth and John Tinker, are spending the anniversary in Iowa speaking to students and community members with the goal of amplifying the voices of young activists. 

Chris Carlson/AP

Figure skating pair Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc turned heads with their gold medal-winning routine at the U.S. Figure Skating Championship in Detroit earlier this year, marking their formal comeback after a terrifying fall left Cain hospitalized with a concussion, and the team's skating future in jeopardy. 

On this Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Cain and LeDuc about their comback, goals, and passions.


There is a stereotype that comes to mind when we talk about eating disorders -- the too thin anorexic or bulimic teenage girl. In reality anyone can have an eating disorder and many who struggle with eating disorders don’t fit this description, and as a result, those people do not get the help they need.

During this Talk of Iowa interview Charity Nebbe talks with Sarah Thompson.

James Pritchett

A Lot of Iowans have been planting milkweed over the years in an effort to bring Monarch butterflies back from the brink, and there has been some success. But dramatic changes in the landscape due to large scale agriculture and our own personal landscapes have such an impact, that planting milkweed is just a drop in the bucket.

PIVISO / flickr

Scott Searle of Davenport is better known as the "yo-yo man" to many in the Quad Cities-area who see him log hundreds of miles while yo-yo-ing. The hobby sprang from a dark place for Searle, and he's used it to help battle his alcoholism and drug addiction.

"I discovered that the sidewalk was your infinite treadmill," he says. 

Searle says his family made many attempts to intervene to help him stop drinking, but his focus didn't shift until he started exercising at his local YMCA.