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Library reduces operations following staff exodus and wrongly-accused Coralville man receives $390K

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

This Newsbuzz edition of River to River takes a look at what's happening in Iowa's courts, explains how the recent temporary closure of a public library reflects a national trend and relives comedy from the early days of radio.

In this episode of River to RIver, host Ben Kieffer talks with University of Iowa Professor Dan Diekema about the latest variant of COVID-19 spreading in the United States. Samantha Hernandez from the Des Moines Register shares how a small-town library caught in a national debate over LGBTQ-themed books is again without a director and operating under reduced hours. Gazette reporter Trish Mehaffey reports a Coralville man received a $390,000 joint civil settlement from Iowa City and Coralville after he was wrongly accused of drunken driving without any evidence of alcohol or drugs in his system.

Later in the episode, Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter Robin Opsahl tells us about Governor Kim Reynolds' press conference with state health and safety officials to warn Iowans about the growing threat of fentanyl and counterfeit pills. And we hear another installment of What Dennis Found in the Basement in which Dennis Reese and historian Tim Walch remember "The Happiness Boys," a popular radio program of the early 1920s. Closing out the hour, Studio One host Tony Dehner shares new tracks from the Midwest and beyond to groove into the weekend.


  • Dan Diekema, University of Iowa clinical professor of Internal Medicine-Infectious Diseases
  • Samantha Hernandez, Des Moines Register education reporter
  • Trish Mehaffey, The Gazette courts reporter
  • Robin Opsahl, Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter
  • Tim Walch, historian
  • Dennis Reese, retired IPR midday host and historian
  • Tony Dehner, Studio One host
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio
Dani Gehr is a producer for River to River and Talk of Iowa. Dani came to Iowa from her hometown in the northwest suburbs of Chicago to attend Iowa State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism, international studies and French. Before coming to IPR, Dani covered local government in Story County for the Ames Tribune and Des Moines Register.