Rick Brewer

Talk Show Producer

Rick came to Iowa Public Radio as a producer for Talk of Iowa and River to River in June 2019. He has worked at WFIU, community radio WFHB, WIUX's American Student Radio and created a couple of podcasts. His work has also been heard on PRX Remix, WAMC, and WFYI. Before his life in audio he worked at archives and libraries.

Alice Dietrich / Unsplash

Creative people often work in isolation, which means a shelter-in-place mentality is not unfamiliar. However, so many creative fields such as publishing and live music have affected people's livelihoods. With returning to normal off in the distance, we wanted to know how creative people have been handling this new world and how they've found comfort in the arts.

Aaron Burden / Unsplash

For Democrats, flipping the Senate seat held by Republican Joni Ernst is likely to be an uphill battle. On this Newsbuzz edition of River to River, we take a look at the democratic challengers and the week's coronavirus news.

Courtesy of Penguin Random House

Have you ever wondered who invented the wheel? Who told the first joke? Who drank the first beer? Who was the first surgeon? Who sparked the first fire? 

Courtesy of Jim Pease

While schools are closed, we're creating a series of "Talk of Iowa" episodes that will be fun and educational for learners of all ages. Every Tuesday, we'll learn about Iowa wildlife, and every Thursday, we'll learn about Iowa history.  

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Across the country, restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus are being loosened in some states. On this news buzz edition of River to River, we get a snapshot of the picture here in Iowa.

A.W. Warrington / State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines

While schools are closed, we're creating a series of "Talk of Iowa" episodes that will be fun and educational for learners of all ages. Every Tuesday, we'll learn about Iowa wildlife, and every Thursday, we'll learn about Iowa history.

Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

On this episode of River to River, guest host Katelyn Harrop speaks with several guests about some of the latest and ongoing coronavirus stories in Iowa, including Gvernor Kim Reynolds' decision to partially reopen businesses in 77 of Iowa's 99 counties, and how survivors of domestic violence can access resources during this national crisis.

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On this episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe invites Richard Jauron and Aaron Steil to talk about the best methods for planting trees this arbor day. Jauron and Steil also answer listener questions about the plants and trees in their lives.

Guests:

  • Aaron Steil, assistant director, Reiman Gardens
  • Richard Jauron, extension horticulture specialist, Iowa State University  

Courtesy of National Archives

While schools are closed, we're creating a series of "Talk of Iowa" episodes that will be fun and educational for learners of all ages. Every Tuesday, we'll learn about Iowa wildlife, and every Thursday, we'll learn about Iowa history.

Annie Spratt / Unsplash

 

Educators, parents and students are all struggling to find their way through distance learning, but the challenges can be even greater for special education students.

Courtesy of Library of Congress

While schools are closed, we're creating a series of "Talk of Iowa" episodes that will be fun and educational for learners of all ages. Every Tuesday, we'll learn about Iowa wildlife, and every Thursday, we'll learn about Iowa history.

Courtsey of Mara Hvistendahl

Let’s go back to some news you may remember from several years ago. In 2011, two ethnic Chinese men were seen digging up seeds in a cornfield here in Iowa. When approached, they sped away in a hired car. At first, it was a routine report of trespassing. It quickly grew into a long FBI investigation that uncovered a plot by the Chinese agricultural company DBN, to reverse-engineer seed lines belonging to Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer. 

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It’s a scary time for Iowans suddenly out of work and struggling to pay bills. On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer is joined by Iowa State University's Cindy Fletcher to answer questions about revising a budget, prioritizing bills, paying down debt and connecting Iowans with community resources to stretch reduced incomes. Also this hour, your COVID-19 medical questions answered from Dr. Dan Allen of UnityPoint Health in Des Moines.

CDC / Unsplash

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer speaks with renowned neuroscientist Dan Levitin about his new book "Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives." This book offers new insights on getting older and asks the overarching question: why do some people age better than others? It also debunks myths about memory, depression and chronic pain in old age.

Thought Catalog / Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our lives. Social distancing has meant shutting down all kinds of events and gatherings, closing churches and stores and limiting restaurants to take-out only service. Many of us have been encouraged or required to work from home. Perhaps you are now a new at home worker, making that transition.

Photo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Transportation Historic Archives

While schools are closed, we're creating a series of "Talk of Iowa" episodes that will be fun and educational for learners of all ages. Every Tuesday, we'll learn about Iowa wildlife, and every Thursday, we'll learn about Iowa history.  

Our series continues with a look at the history of the good roads movement and the Lincoln Highway in Iowa. The guides for this hour of history will be Tom Morain of Graceland University and former director of the State Historical Society of Iowa and Drake Hokanson, author of The Lincoln Highway: Main Street Across America.

Courtesy of Lisa Fender

Most of us are spending a lot more time at home these days. Many people have been motivated to dig into a thorough spring cleaning and still others find the familiarity of home is breeding contempt. Or, at least discontent with some past decorating choices. 

Courtesy of Siobhan Spain

As the coronavirus spreads every one of us will know someone who is infected, if we don’t already. But right now it can still be difficult to wrap our minds around what is going on and many people are, understandably, reluctant to share that they are infected with COVID-19. On this segment of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe speaks with Siobhan Spain, director of Mainframe Studios in Des Moines to share her story. She and her husband have both tested positive for COVID-19.

CoWomen / Unsplash

During this dark and scary time there are some points of light. We’ve seen neighborhoods come together virtually. People have been decorating in themes for families to enjoy when they go out for walks, coordinating support for elderly neighbors, organizing socially distant birthday surprises for people who are stuck at home, and swapping home schooling or entertainment ideas.

Iowa Labor Collection / State Historical Society of Iowa Library-Iowa City

This program originally aired on Septmeber 5, 2019.

Since the late 1970s, the Iowa Labor History Oral Project has been collecting interviews from the working class across Iowa. They are collecting history from the ground up, as opposed to leaders or people with power.

Matthew Henry / Unsplash

Guest host Charity Nebbe speaks with several mental health experts about how to navigate mental health in times of crisis. They offer tips and share information about mental health resources that are available in Iowa.

Iowa PBS

Dean Borg passed away this week at the age of 81. Borg was a broadcasting legend in the state of Iowa. He is best known for his work on the Iowa PBS program Iowa Press, a position he held for more than 40 years. During that period he interviewed every president from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama. Borg also spent 20 years as a correspondent with Iowa Public Radio.

NRD / Unsplash

While much of our economy has ground to a halt, grocery store operations are ramping up amid the coronavirus pandemic. There is not a food shortage. Rather, grocers and markets are trying to meet increased demand and have had difficulties stocking shelves in a timely manner as supply chains have slowed. Additionally, stores have adjusted hours and are taking precautions to create a safe environment for shoppers and workers.

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It’s too early to get planting in the garden, but it’s the perfect time to think about giving your shrubs and trees a trim. On this 'Horticulture Day' edition of Talk of Iowa, guest host Katelyn Harrop speaks with Richard Jauron of Iowa State University and Aaron Steil of Reiman Gardens about the best practices to prune and trim shrubs and trees.   

Edi Libedinsky / Unsplash

Large parts of our economy have nearly ground to a halt. On this episode of River to River, Ben Kieffer speaks with several Iowans, from a variety of industries, about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected their jobs, businesses and lives.

John Pemble / IPR

Iowa's legislative session will be suspended for at least 30 days as a means to help limit the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Katarina Sostaric, IPR's statehouse reporter, speaks with River to River host Ben Kieffer on the latest news from the capitol. 

Mikhail Vasilyev / Unsplash

On this 'Horticulture Day' edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe speaks with Donald Lewis and Richard Jauron of Iowa State University extension and Mark Vitosh of the Iowa DNR to answer listener questions about the bugs, plants, trees and prairies in their lives.

Matt Alvarez / IPR

Dr. Francois Abboud describes his coming to the United States as serendipitous.

In 1955, as a young up and coming doctor in Egypt, he had little knowledge of the United States' medical offerings. But after a family friend filled out an application for a fellowship at the University of Milwaukee, without his knowledge, he received an acceptance letter. He soon got married and within a few short months was on his way to America. This was the beginning of a medical career that has spanned more than six decades in the midwest

Courtesy of Rachel Cox

Rachel Cox’s grandmother was a woman with a big personality and a keen sense of fashion. When Cox, a photographer and assistant professor of photography at the University of Iowa, first started taking pictures of her grandmother, she didn’t have any particular projects in mind. But as her grandmother declined over the course of a decade, suffering from a degenerative brain disease, she felt compelled to photograph her life and death. The result is the book Shiny Ghost.

Micaela Parente / Unsplash

Homo erectus evolved around 2 million years ago, and was the first known human species to walk fully upright.

After Homo erectus dispersed from Africa, the species colonized the ancient world.  Then, about 400,000 years ago, Homo erectus essentially vanished, with the lone exception of an Indonesian island.

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