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 @RickBrewerIPR and @KatelynHarrop. Our Executive Producer is Katherine Perkins. Our theme music is by The River Monks.

Imagine coming face to face with someone who burglarized your home, or even someone who killed a family member Could you do it, and if so, what would you say? We talk about restorative justice how it’s being used in Polk County and throughout the state. Later, a conversation focusing on rehabilitation how volunteers are creating writer’s workshops and choirs in prison.

Auto Recalls

Feb 17, 2010

Auto recalls continue at a critical time in the automobile industry. What do Toyota recalls mean for Iowa car dealers and the U.S. automotive industry? What can other car manufacturers learn from Toyota's troubles? Ben Kieffer talks with Ken Chester of the Motor News Media and Barrett Thomas of the University of Iowa's Tippe College of Business.

Iowa Documentarians

Feb 16, 2010

The film 'The Cove', which shows a secret dolphin-killing field in Japan, is a favorite to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Dubuque-native Louis Psihoyos who directed and starred in the film discusses the project. Also, photojournalist and author Chip Duncan, a native of Shenendoah, discusses his new book 'Enough to Go Around: Searching for Hope in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Dafur'.

Iowa Judicial System

Feb 15, 2010

Iowa’s Judicial branch faces a budget crunch and increasing demand for judicial services. How is Iowa’s court system handling tough economic times? What have furloughs meant for those seeking access to Iowa’s courts? Host Jeneane Beck talks with Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Jane Lorentzen, President of the Iowa State Bar Association.

A conversation with University of Iowa Professors Tony Paik and Erika Lawrence. Paik's study found that married couples are less likely to experience jealous feelings, but when they do, it's more damaging to the relationship. Later in the hour, in memory of Iowa's former Poet Laureate, we listen back to an interview with Robert Dana.

Title IX

Feb 10, 2010

A discussion about Title IX, a nearly forty year old law that opened the door for women in high school and college sports. We speak with Donna Lopiano, the former C.E.O. of the Women’s Sports Foundation and a pioneer and champion of Title IX. Then, a conversation with Calli Sanders, Senior Associate Athletics Director at Iowa State University, and Craig Ihnen, Associate Director of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union about the status of Title IX in Iowa.

Folk artist Vance Gilbert’s songs and stage banter often touch on the fact that he's a black man in a field of music dominated by both white performers and audiences. To mark black history month, we talk with Gilbert about his latest CD and about his upcoming show in eastern Iowa. Jazz musician Ray Blue talks about his own music and the role music plays in black history.

A flood plain management bill will set rules for land use within the 500-year flood plain. The bill is aimed at preventing future flooding and losses. But, some communities may no longer get funding to help build/maintain levees, or would be required to raise houses and businesses to certain elevations within the flood plain. We’ll talk about the pros and cons of the recommendations contained within the bill.

Ben Kieffer talks with members of the Des Moines Area Community College Electronic Crime Institute. The institute looks at the sophisticated techniques used to steal identities and personal information. Then a conversation with screenwriter and documentarian Matt Sienkiewicz, who has spoken and written on issues of racial and ethnic stereotyping in the long-running Comedy Central Cartoon "South Park". Sienkiewicz visits the University of Northern Iowa campus next week.

From Mike Myers to Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert to Tina Fey The Second City imprint is felt across every entertainment medium. The legendary comedy troupe returns to Iowa, looking back at 50 years of classic sketch comedy. We'll talk with members of the comdey troupe. Later in the hour, we look back at the legendary comics who graced the famous Chicago Theater with Mike Thomas, author of 'Second City Unscripted'.

University of Iowa Emergency Medicine Dr. Chris Buresh and Cedar Rapids Red Cross volunteer Peter Teahen have just returned to Iowa after a trip to Haiti where both provided medical relief to earthquake victims. Later in the hour, a conversation with Black Hawk County Public Health director Tom O'Rourke who reflects upon his 36 years in the public health sector.

Mountain Lions

Feb 2, 2010

A mountain lion shot near Marengo by a deer hunter in December marked the first confirmed sighting of the big cat in Iowa in more than five years. Among the guests- DNR Research Biologist Ron Andrews who discusses the history of the big cats in Iowa and whether they should be a designated wildlife species in the state.

Mental Health Services

Feb 1, 2010

A discussion of Mental Health services in Iowa. During the first half of the program we’ll debate legislation that would mandate broader insurance coverage for mental illness including drug or alcohol addiction. Later, Department of Human Services Director Charlie Krogmeier discusses closing one of the state’s four mental health institutes.

Should we use technology to catch people running red lights and reduce accidents? Cedar Rapids is the latest city to install red light cameras at intersections. Other cities are thinking about installing them while some states are voting to ban them altogether. We debate the pros and cons of red light cameras with representatives from law enforcement, the insurance industry and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa. Then, a look at the evolution of the egg industry with two Iowa State University professors featured on the History Channel Modern Marvels program.

Radon in Iowa

Jan 28, 2010

January is Radon Action Month in Iowa. We'll talk with Rick Welke from the Iowa Department of Public Health's Radon program about why the colorless, odorless gas is such a problem in Iowa.

Dick Ferguson, CEO and Chairman of ACT will talk about the history of the test, which is the subject of a new exhibit at the State Historical Museum, and how the test has evolved over time. Then, College Admissions officials from Iowa State University will discuss how the ACT and other tests are used for college admissions.

Are team names like the Redskins racially offensive? Anthropologist Christina Gish Berndt of Iowa State University says the use of indian imagery goes back to pre-Revolutionary War times when Americans wanted to set themselves apart from Europeans. Then, UNI men's basketball Coach Ben Jacobson talks about the secret to the success of mid-major conferences. The Panthers won an automatic birth to the NCAA tournament last year, and this year boasted one of the longest winning streaks in college basketball.

Tax Credit Debate

Jan 25, 2010

In 2007, the state awarded more than 400 million dollars in tax credits. In these lean economic times, are tax credits a necessary stimulus or a drain on state resources better spent on schools and kids? Among the guests- Peter Fischer of the Iowa Policy Project, Chris Nelson of Kemin Industries in Des Moines and State Senator Herman Quirmbach.

The Reverend James Lawson spent 14 months in prison after declaring himself a conscious objector and refusing to report for the draft in 1951. He later went to India to study the principles of nonviolent resistance from Ghandi. He met Martin Luther King Jr. and worked with him until King's death. Lawson is in Iowa City this week to discuss King and the human rights movement. Then a conversation with Celeste Bembry of the University of Northern Iowa's College of Humanities and Fine Arts. Bembery discusses UNI's School of Music concert focusing on the negro spiritual genre.

Members of the state Board of Education have received an update on the condition of community colleges. Enrollment numbers have continued to spike and the 15 state institutions are struggling to deal with budget cuts and one-time federal stimulus funds at a time when more displaced workers are seeking new employment skills. We discuss the report with Steve Ovel of Kirkwood Community College. Later in the hour, a conversation with Johnston High School teacher Sarah Brown Wessling, a finalist for the National Teacher of the Year award.

Copyright Criminals

Jan 20, 2010

The practice of remixing existing bits and pieces of sound to create new music is a central component of hip-hop and other musical forms. But, recycling someone else’s music without permission is also copyright Infringement. Ben Kieffer talks with U of I Associate professor Kembrew McLeod and UI alum Benjamin Franzen about their documentary film "Copyright Criminals" which examines this ongoing debate.


Jan 19, 2010

ISU Associate Professor of Anthropology, Jill Pruetz and Dr. Ben Beck, Conservation Director of the Great Ape Trust of Iowa discuss chimp research and findings.

Jeneane Beck talks about Governor Culver's push for government reorganization. Guests in the first half of the program include State Representative Mary Mascher and State Senator Randy Feenstra. Then, Governor Culver discusses reorganizaion and other legislative priorities.

Ben Kieffer talks with U of I Emergency Room Dr. Christopher Buresh. Dr. Buresh recently returned from Haiti, and is now collecting relief supplies to take on a return trip. Then, author Ethan Watters talks about his book, "Crazy Like Us," in which he contends the U.S. is changing the sypmptoms and prevalence of mental illness around the world.

Children's Issues

Jan 14, 2010

We talk with panelists at an upcoming Drake University Conference focusing on children's issues, including childhood obesity and growing up during wartime.

Bob Dorr Reflections

Jan 13, 2010

Legendary IPR Bluesman Bob Dorr reflects on his career at IPR as he prepares for a his "kind-of" retirement.

IPR's Ben Kieffer talks with representatives from Iowans for Tax Relief, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry and others for reaction to Governor Culver's Condition of the State speech.

Session Preview

Jan 11, 2010

IPR's Jeneane Beck talks with legislative leaders about what to expect from the upcoming session.

Ben Kieffer talks with individuals who have offered their compelling stories in the new book, 'Voices of Multiple Sclerosis'. The book offers candid, heartfelt, and inspiring testimonials of 40 diverse individuals who have been affected by the crippling disease. Among the guests is Dr. Terry Wahls of Iowa City, who overcame secondary progressive MS through intensive nutrition and exercise coupled with electrical stimulation.