Iowa

Photo Courtesy of Kwizera Imani

 

When Kwizera Imani was attending school in the Mtabila refugee camp in Tanzania, he never imagined a life in Iowa, let alone attending college in Ames.

More than a decade later, Imani has graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in aerospace engineering with five interships under his belt and a brand new job  as a senior associate software engineer for Collins Aerospace that will take him from the Midwest to Sterling, Virginia. 

AP Photo

In 2019, Iowans said goodbye to a number of remarkable leaders and voices in the state.

On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by journalists, loved ones, and colleagues to remember the lives of several notable Iowans who passed last year.

Richard Scott Marsh / Flickr

The origins of many of Iowa's town and city names are obvious: Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Mason City, Fort Dodge. But what about places like What Cheer, Gravity, Sabula? And how do you pronounce Nevada? Also, why is Des Moines not in Des Moines county? 

Charity Nebbe/IPR

This program originally aired on 9-27-19

All this week, Talk of Iowa has explored the question “Iowa: Is this home?” On the final episode of this Iowa Week series, six stories of finding, or perhaps not finding, home from Iowans originally from other parts of the country and the globe.

Courtesy of University of Iowa Athletics

Hayden Fry came to Iowa to coach the Hawkeye football team in 1978. When he got here the Hawks had been through 17 consecutive non-winning seasons. It took a couple of years, but Coach Fry transformed Hawkeye Football.

During his tenure, he won 143 games, the team shared three Big Ten titles, and went to three Rose Bowls. In addition to being a great coach, he was also a larger than life character. He was funny, smart, tough and could throw a temper tantrum with the best of them. His players loved him. The fans loved him. And he loved them back.

Photo Courtesry of Sehba Faheem

Generation Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation yet, and they’re poised to be the most educated generation too.  In 2020, Gen Zers, many of whom are in their early 20s and late teens will also become the newest generation to head out on Caucus Day with the hopes of influencing the selection of the next Democratic nominee for president.

Kate Payne / IPR

Longtime Democratic Congressman Dave Loesbsack says he believes President Donald Trump has committed serious abuses of power. Still, the seven term Representative and retired political science professor says he’ll wait to see the articles of impeachment before deciding how he would vote.

Rich Herrmann / Flickr

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with local historian Larry Grill of Schleswig and amateur naturalist Glenn Pollock of Omaha, Nebrasksa about their research of an 1820 expedition through Iowa. 

Matthew Alvarez / IPR

In a new collection of essays, “Some Of Us Are Very Hungry Now,” Andre Perry writes about his journey from Washington D.C. to Iowa City to Hong Kong exploring questions about race, racism, homophobia, self-discovery and identity. 

Jim Williams/Randel Bailey

At least 76 Iowans fought for the Confederacy in the American Civil War despite Iowa's status as Union State. A new book,  Iowa Confederates in the Civil War, dives into the history of these soldiers and their motivations for leaving Iowa to fight for the Confederate States of America. 

Kyle Head / Unsplash

Theater has a problem. Only 30% of all plays performed nationwide last year were written by women, and that number is even lower in parts of the Midwest. Iowa State wants to change that.

Megan Bannister

With fall colors at their peak in Iowa, and Halloween around the corner, it's a great time for some spooky adventures and fall foliage visits.  

In this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe explores both beautiful and spooky fall excursions with travel writer Megan Banister as she shares her favorite must-see fall destinations. But first, a look at the newly reopeneed Cedar Bridge – one of the six famous covered bridges in Madison County. 

Spooky Iowa Destinations

Jennifer Drinkwater

 

It’s easy to focus on all the things that are wrong in the world today, but Jennifer Drinkwater has a way to recognize the good that is hiding in plain sight. The What’s Good Project is a collaborative archive of the good in communities which feature paintings inspired by interviews, stories, photos, and drawings. 

In this segment of Talk of Iowa, Jennifer Drinkwater joins host Charity Nebbe to discuss how art has a positive impact and how this project can help shape a community. 

 

“Focusing on strengthening those assets helps create a 'spiraling up effect' in communities," Drinkwater says. "It can help strengthen the challenging areas, and I thought why not use this as a way to start an art project."

Drinkwater's work has focused on her native state of Mississippi, and her adopted state of Iowa, but she hopes to connect with people around the world. She says The What's Good Project is, as of now, a continuation of her life's work. 

 

Charity Nebbe / IPR

 

Indigenous People's Day was first celebrated in 1989 in South Dakota, and it has gradually caught on around the country as an alternative to celebrating Columbus Day.

Several cities and towns across Iowa declared the second Monday of October to be Indigenous People's Day in 2017. Governor Kim Reynolds made a statewide declaration in October 2018, and this year many other communities in Iowa have joined the movement. 

Elias Castillo / Unsplash

In this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer examines the historical roots of Latinos living in the heart of the country. Kieffer is joined by Rene Rocha, professor of political science at the University of Iowa,  to discuss migration and the Abolish ICE movement. 

Vhauri / Flickr

When Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five was published in 1969, it was an instant success. However, it took 25 years for the author to finish his masterpiece. Some of those years were spent in Iowa and the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop.

Slaughterhouse-Five tells the story of Billy Pilgrim, a veteran of World War II, who is "unstuck in time"  and claims to have been abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. The book explores Pilgrim's life and the aftermath of his experience as a prisoner of war in Germany and how it affected his life.

Charity Nebbe

A big dream is coming true for film lovers in Downtown Iowa City this week. For the last three years, people have watched the construction of the Chauncey building. This fifteen-story building will have a mixture of commercial and residential space, but what is on the first floor has film lovers excited. On Sept. 20, the new space for FilmScene, a non-profit cinema, and cultural organization will open its doors to the public. 

Iowa National Guard / The National Guard

The Iowa National Guard has been added to a congressional investigation involving President Donald Trump's Turnberry resort.

Center For American Progress / Flickr

On Tuesday September 10, Van Jones spoke at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City. Jones is a news commentator, an advocate for social justice and New York Times bestselling author. He also served as President Barack Obama's special advisor for green jobs. Jones is also the President and Founder of Dream Corp., a justice incubator with the overarching goal of closing prison doors and opening doors of opportunity. His talk at Hancher was sponsored by the University of Iowa College of Law as part of the Levitt family lecture series.

Joe Wolf / Flickr

Iowa State University has been undergoing several changes this fall, including the development of new mobile app safety technology.

"One of our new tools that we have in place is something called the ISU Guardian App," said Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen.

Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

A community college in western Iowa is reaching out to countries around the world and bringing international students to the area.

Terry Murrell is the president of Western Iowa Tech Community College. He says the school is the only one in North America where South Korea sends students. 

"We’re kind of the Harvard of South Korea, if you will, so if you go to any of the schools in South Korea, the hardest shirt to get is a Western Iowa Tech shirt over Harvard and some of the other schools."

Scott Webb / Unsplash

Satisfaction with your home can depend on its size compared to your neighbors' homes, according to new Iowa State University research. Dan Kuhlmann, assistant professor of community and regional planning, found that people are more likely to be dissatisfied with their house if it is smaller than their neighbors'.

Ben Godar / Birth of the Cy-Hawk: A Documentary

When Iowa and Iowa State renewed their football rivalry in 1977, a group of ordinary guys conceived and created the trophy they would call “the Cy-Hawk.” A new documentary, Birth of the Cy-Hawk, tells this unique, Iowa story.

Iowa Labor Collection / State Historical Society of Iowa Library-Iowa City

Since the late 1970s, the Iowa Labor History Oral Project has been collecting interviews from the working class across Iowa. They are collecting history from the ground up, as opposed to leaders or people with power.

Matthew Hayward / NBC

It has been a great year for Iowa ninjas, at least five Iowans competed on NBC's  American Ninja Warrior.  Three athletes who train at Ninja U, an American Ninja Warrior gym in Cedar Falls, qualified for this year's competition. Christi Marie is a PE teacher in Waterloo who made it to the second round of the competition. Jackson Twait, a student at the University of Northern Iowa, also made it to the second round of competition and Scott Behrends, co-owner of Ninja U, will appear in the finals filmed in Las Vegas.

Jessica Francis / Flickr

Roey Ahram via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/roeyahram/

Healthcare workers have filed suit against the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, alleging they aren’t being paid on time for extra work. The plaintiffs hope to have the case recognized as a class action, and say there are thousands of potential members who also not being paid in a timely fashion.

Sthefany Nobriga / IPR

Iowans over the age of 65 are working longer than ever before, and the reasons are varied. Several retirees are still working past their retirement age and chose to live in a retirement community.

Some work because they feel the need to stay busy and it's an ideal way to keep money in their pocket, others keep working because they can't afford to support themselves mostly because they do not have enough retirement savings. 

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with researcher Brian Kaskie about this trend and speaks with several Iowans who are working into their golden years. 

Matthew Putney / Courier Photo Editor

 

John Pemble

This program originally aired on 8-15-18.

 

Corn dogs, baby ducks, and a butter cow to boot!

 

The Iowa State Fair is a time-honored tradition for many Iowans, and has gained a reputation for being one of the largest fairs in the nation.

 

Do you remember your first fair? 

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