River to River

Weekdays at 12 p.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One and 10 p.m. on IPR News

River to River is Iowa Public Radio's talk program focusing on the news, issues and events in our state. This national award-winning program goes beyond the headlines, frames community problems, and fosters conversation. On Mondays during the legislative session, join in conversations with lawmakers and those impacted by action at the Statehouse.  Wednesdays, political analysts from around the state help you dissect the week in politics.  Fridays we buzz through the week’s big news stories.

River to River is hosted by Ben Kieffer @IPRBen.  It’s produced by @EmilyWoodbury and @KatelynHarrop. Our Executive Producer is Katherine Perkins. Our theme music is by The River Monks.

Our founding fathers gathered in taverns to enjoy lively political conversation over a local brew, and so do we.

This episode of River to River, Pints & Politics” presented by The Gazette and Iowa Public Radio, was recorded live on Thursday, March 21 at Theatre Cedar Rapids.

The conversation was co-hosted by River to River host Ben Kieffer and Gazette investigative reporter Erin Jordan. The panel featured Gazette columnists Lynda Waddington and Adam Sullivan, along with Gazette political reporter James Lynch.

Katie Peikes/Iowa Public Radio

Gov. Kim Reynolds has issued a total of 43 countywide disaster proclamations in response to flooding that began on March 13. 

The impact has been widespread, but communities in southwestern Iowa continue to experience the heaviest impact, with many community members finding themselves displaced and assessing the damages of homes, properties, and businesses.

On this episode of River to River, we hear stories from three communities who continue to feel the effects of last week's flooding. 

This program features conversations with: 

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

Clay Masters / IPR

Former Texas Congressman and latest 2020 presidential contender Beto O'Rourke spent his first days on the campaign trail driving himself in a rented minivan across 13 Iowa counties.

In this “politics day” edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts, Rachel Caufield of Drake University and Wayne Moyer of Grinnell College, about O’Rourke’s appeal.

Wikimedia Commons

 

As the country prepares to celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which set the stage for women gaining the right to vote, scholar Sally Roesch Wagner is marking the anniversary by editing  "The Women's Suffragette Movement." The anthology highlights the work of women who led the national campaign for voting rights.

Wagner joins River to River host Ben Kieffer to discuss the collection of writings and the importance of the suffrage movement today. 

Max Pixel

Mary Neubauer and her husband tried to find their way through Iowa's mental health system for years, seeking help and support for their son Sergei, who died by suicide at the age of 18 in 2017. 

"Truly a labyrinth." That's how Neubauer, now an advocate, describes mental health services in Iowa.

Justgrimes/Flickr

More than 70 thousand students would be unable to vote early on their college campuses under a wide-ranging election bill making its way through the Iowa Senate. 

On this "news buzz" edition of River to River, host Emily Woodbury speaks with University of Iowa College Republicans Chair Kyle Apple and Iowa State College Democrats President Taylor Blair to learn about student reactions to the proposed bill. 

Also on this episode:

George Hodan

This program originally aired on July 26, 2018.

Human trafficking - illegally transporting people for forced labor or commercial sex - is one of the world’s largest criminal industries found in every state, including Iowa.

Library of Congress

This program originally aired on June 28, 2018.

Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate Nick Dybek’s latest book tells a mysterious story set in the aftermath of one of World War I’s most horrific encounters, the Battle of Verdun.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Dybek about his new book, The Verdun Affair: A Novel, about the battle and its aftermath.

John Pemble/IPR

The Iowa Legislature is in it's ninth week at the Statehouse, with last Friday marking the first deadline of the session. During this River to River episode, Clay Masters talks with reporters about what bills are still being considered and what bills didn't make the cut after last week's "funnel." 

Guests include: 

free stock photos

Research cited by the FCC estimates that almost half of all calls received in 2019 will be spam, and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is not pleased. 

On this "news buzz" edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Deputy Attorney General Nathan Blake about the Attorney General's endorsement of a plan aimed at restricting spam calls. 

Also in the hour: 

Pablo Martinez Monsivais

U.S. Senator Charles Grassley says the long-anticipated findings of Robert Mueller’s investigation could drop within the next two weeks.

In conversation with River to River host Ben Kieffer, Grassley says it’s vital for such reports to be made public. He also supports a bipartisan bill to ensure this and all future special counsel reports are released publicly. 

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.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Political scientists Chris Larimer of the University of Northern Iowa and Dave Andersen of Iowa State University join host Ben Kieffer for this Politics Day edition of River to River

In the hour, the trio discuss topics including:

  • U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo's visit to Iowa
  • A new probe into President Trump lead by House Democrats
  • The Senate as a possible roadblock to the president's national emergency declaration
  • Who is in and who is out in the crowded 2020 race for the presidency

University of Iowa College of Public Health

The Iowa Cancer Registry's 2019 report shows new cases of most types of cancer are holding steady. Investigator Mary Charlton says the exception is cancers caused by the human papillomavirus or HPV.

John Pemble/Iowa Public Radio

 

Iowa lawmakers are looking to end the statute of limitations on cases of child sex abuse in Iowa.

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer and Iowa Public Radio Statehouse Reporter Katarina Sostaric discuss two senate bills aimed at eliminating this statute of limitations.They also explore legislation aimed at increasing access to birth control without a visit to the doctor.

 

Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union / The Gazette

 

There was a time in the state when it was debated whether basketball was healthy or appropriate for girls. Now, the Iowa's state girl's basketball tournament is celebrating its 100th year. 

On this News Buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks to Jason Eslinger, Assistant Director of the Iowa State Girls High School Athletic Union, about commemorating the tournament's biggest milestone yet.

 

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

“A con man,” “a cheat,” “a racist," -- these are all phrases President Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen used to describe the President today as he testified before Congress. How will Cohen’s testimony change the course of the investigations?

During this Politics Day conversation on River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with political scientists Jim McCormick and Jonathan Hassid of Iowa State University. 

iowa capitol
John Pemble/IPR

Iowa lawmakers are considering three bills that would change eligibility requirements for public assistance programs like Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. 

Jack Reardon, who grew up in Des Moines in a single parent household says that there isn't a need to increase oversight for the program, but that there is a need to expand programs like SNAP. 

James Q. Lynch/The Gazette

Some of Iowa's youngest state lawmakers have made a plan to break through partisan gridlock and foster cooperation between Democrats and Republicans. On this News Buzz edition of River to River, host Emily Woodbury talks with two members of the Iowa Future Caucus, Senator Zack Wahls and Representative Joe Mitchell, about their priorities at the capitol and why they feel they are well equipped to tackle the partisan divide.

Andreanna Moya Photography / Flickr

This program originally aired on April 24, 2018.

Teresa Hafner would not be alive today if she had not received a new heart through the Iowa Donor Network. She lives because of a motorcycle accident that killed a 26-year old woman. During this hour of River to River, she talks with host Ben Kieffer about being the recipient of a heart transplant. 

"Back in 2006, I flat-lined while I was at work and had to have a pace maker and a defibrillator placed at that point. I was fine for a while, and then I went into heart failure," she says. 

Max Goldberg

In 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D) was defeated in the Iowa caucuses by the closest margin in the history of the contest; and he’s back for the 2020 election.

In this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer asks political analysts, Rachel Caufield and Dennis Goldford of Drake University, how Sanders’ entry shapes the crowded field of candidates. They also discuss a new Iowa poll showing that while support from Trump’s border wall has increased, Iowans are still split on the matter.

Emily Woodbury/Iowa Public Radio

While the 2020 presidential election is more than a year away, campaign season is already in full swing here Iowa, with media coverage ramping up both locally and nationally. 

Julian Garrett
John Pemble / IPR

Senate Republicans advanced a proposal out of a committee Monday that would change the make-up of the judicial nominating commissions that recommend potential judges to the governor.

The bill would allow the governor and statehouse leaders from the same political party to appoint three-fourths of the members of each commission, and statehouse leaders from the other party would appoint the remaining fourth.

Ted Eytan/Flickr

 

On this "news buzz" edition of River to River, IPR's State Government Reporter Katarina Sostaric joins with updates from the state legislature. Then, we hear from Jesse Vroegh, the focus of a recent ruling in Polk County which determined that the state of Iowa had engaged in discrimination by forcing him to use a restoom at his workplace, the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women, that did not align with his gender identity.

TumblingRun / flickr

Modern medicine helps us live longer, but what about the quality of those extra years? In her new book "The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life," bestselling author Katy Butler writes about how to live, age, and die with meaning. 

"Dying well is a process. It's not an act," she says. "The point I'm trying to make here is that this is not a process to start when you're making a panicked call to 911 at the end of life." 

"Living well naturally segues into dying well."

Stacey MacNaught/Flickr

 

With social networks at our fingertips, it’s easy to feel like we’re more connected than ever before, but your constant scrolling, liking, and app downloading may actually decrease your quality of life.

That’s according to “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World”, a new book by Georgetown computer scientist and author Cal Newport. In the book, Newport explores a new philosophy for technology use -- one where you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected activities which bring you both utility and joy.

Jim Mone/AP

Two more candidates have officially announced their intention to take on President Trump in 2020, with many more dipping their toes into the candidacy waters. 

Woodleywonderworks/Flickr

 

 

The Governor has made K-12 education a priority, and Iowa lawmakers are at work crafting proposals at the Statehouse.

During this hour of River to River, hosts Ben Kieffer and Katarina Sostaric are joined by Democratic ranking member of the House Education Committee Rep. Ras Smith, and Republican chair of the Education Appropriations Subcommittee Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink. They talk about proposed changes to K-12 education base funding as brought forward by the Iowa House and Senate.

 

Pablo Martinez Monsivais

In his new position as President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate, Charles Grassley is third in line of presidential succession.

During this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with presidential historian Tim Walch about the constitutional role of President pro tempore, going way back to John Adams, the country’s first president of the Senate.

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