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Understanding Why Hiring Is So Difficult In Iowa

Labor photo.jpg
Darcy Maulsby
Weitzel's restaurant and bar in Atlantic.

Help wanted signs are everywhere. On this edition of River to River, a labor economist explains what’s behind the lack of workers to fill open positions in Iowa.

Also on the program, Stephen Gruber-Miller of the Des Moines Register recaps this week’s close of the Iowa legislative session and IPR's Natalie Krebs and Philip Joens of the Des Moines Register talk about the big unmasking we saw across the state this week and how retailers are reacting.

To finish the show, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Sergeant First Class Sean Everette about Navy Fireman 1st Class William D. Tucker. It has been nearly 80 years since his death. But soon, Tucker will find his final resting place in his hometown — the southwestern Iowa community of Bedford.

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Courtesy of The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
Navy Fireman 1st Class William D. Tucker of Bedford. Tucker was killed on the USS Oklahoma in the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. On June 30, 2021, Tucker will be placed in his final resting place in his hometown after specialists at The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency identified his remains through DNA testing.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Tucker was aboard the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Pearl Harbor. On that day, the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. Hit by several torpedoes, it quickly capsized. Tucker was among the 429 crewmen who died. Sgt. Everette explains how Tucker's remains were identified through advances in DNA technology. Tucker's funeral is scheduled for June 30, 2021, in Bedford.


  • Stephen Gruber-Miller, statehouse reporter, Des Moines Register
  • Natalie Krebs, IPR health reporter
  • Philip Joens, breaking news and public safety reporter, Des Moines Register
  • Peter Orazem, professor of economics, Iowa State University
  • Sergeant First Class Sean Everette, public affairs specialist for The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency based in Washington, D.C.
  • Cece Mitchell, host, IPR Studio One Tracks
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Rick Brewer was a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River