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Families of Starts Right Here victims reject association with gang participation

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

Preston Walls, 18, is charged with the deaths of two Starts Right Here students — 18-year-old Gionni Dameron and 16-year-old Rashad Carr. Police say the deaths stemmed from a gang dispute, but the families of the victims reject this characterization.

On this news buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Des Moines Register breaking news reporter Francesca Block about her reporting on the tragedy. He also talks with Axios reporter Jason Clayworth about Des Moines Waterworks' $50 million plan to fix water nitrate levels. Iowa medical student Guillermo Ramano Ibarra tells us about a near-death experience involving a distracted driver. Iowa lawmakers have proposed a bill that would ban handheld phone use while driving.

Later, IPR's Morning Edition host Clay Masters talks with Kieffer about the Iowa Democrats' upcoming vote on the next party chair and the future of the Iowa Caucuses. Also, IPR statehouse reporter Katarina Sostaric updates listeners on the 2023 legislative session. And finally, Studio One host Mark Simmet helps listeners groove into the weekend with tunes from Belle and Sebastian and King Tuff.


  • Francesca Block, breaking news reporter, Des Moines Register
  • Jason Clayworth, reporter, Axios
  • Guillermo Ramano Ibarra, medical student, Iowa Medical Scientist Training Program
  • Clay Masters, Morning Edition host, Iowa Public Radio
  • Katarina Sostaric, statehouse reporter, Iowa Public Radio
  • Mark Simmet, Studio One host, Iowa Public Radio
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
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.