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A Nation Engaged: "It can happen; there's hope"

This show originally aired on April 26, 2017. On this special edition of River to River , Ben Kieffer hosts a discussion on presidential power, recorded Tuesday, April 25 at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch. Opinions in the audience varied, but as one participant noted: "[I] can't remember the last time we were in an auditorium talking about politics and the entire crowd didn't think just like me. We had a civil discussion with those that think differently....

Duration: 00:44:59

Childless by Choice

This show originally aired on March 4, 2016. Psychotherapist Jeanne Safer found the roots of her 1996 book, Beyond Motherhood: Choosing a Life Without Children, in her own life. “I became interested because I had to be interested. I really was struggling myself to make this decision. It took me five years to do it. I really worried about it, I thought about it, I didn’t talk to many people about it because I didn’t really know anybody who was going through it.” But once she started...

Duration: 00:48:59

Debriefing Trump's United Nations Address

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Sara Mitchell, F. Wendell Miller Professor of political science at the University of Iowa, and Jim McCormick, a professor at Iowa State University, about President Trump's speech yesterday to the United Nations and the debate over the health care in the Senate. "Trump's doctrine is America first," says Mitchell. "His other doctrine is anything but Obama, and you see him moving away from anything that was worked on by Obama."

Duration: 00:45:29

North End Update Shares the Good News Happening in North Waterloo

Every Friday at 4PM, North End Update's live Facebook show shares good news about an area of Waterloo that normally is portrayed in a negative light. Upon tuning in, you hear their signature "Boomshakalaka!" Joshalyn “Rocki” Johnson and Cheryl “Chaveevah” Banks Ferguson are the duo behind the show. "We've been hearing a lot of bad things happening in Waterloo, specifically on the North End, so we wanted to promote good things and good things people are doing," Johnson says. "What I've known...

Duration: 00:17:43

International Writing Program Turns 50

The International Writing Program at the University of Iowa is one of the university's signature programs, attracting notable authors from across the world and establishing both the university and Iowa City as paramount to the future of American literature. Since 1967, over 1,400 writers from more than 150 countries have come to Iowa. International Writing Program director Christopher Merrill explains how the program came about. "It grew out of the Writers' Workshop. Paul and Hualing Engle...

Duration: 00:04:25

"They're Grateful to Get Electricity"

Several hundred utility workers from Iowa have been among the army of workers trying to restore power to millions of people cut off after Hurricane Irma swept through Florida and Georgia this month. Mid-American Energy sent 250 employees and contractors, including 150 tree trimmers. Twenty-six vehicles from Iowa’s Association of Electric Cooperatives are there along with 46 linemen. And Alliant Energy dispatched 200 workers and equipment from Iowa and Wisconsin. Don Finn is a Senior Manager...

Duration: 00:03:44

Getting the Most Out of Your Late-Season Produce

With the changing leaves and the cooling temperatures, late season vegetables are ready for harvesting. Knowing when exactly to harvest specific vegetables is a problem for many people, but Iowa State University Extension specialist Linda Naeve has advice for those curious about winter squash. "Winter squash is interesting because it has a very firm skin, so when the fruit becomes full-sized, do the finger nail test. If you can't really penetrate the skin with force, it should be nice and...

Duration: 00:49:11

Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier's Story

Jon Kerstetter has experienced many "crossings" in his life — from a civilian doctor to a medical officer in the Army National Guard, and then, after a career-ending stroke, from a medical provider to a recovering patient. In this hour of Talk of Iowa, Jon Kerstetter talks with host Charity Nebbe about his life's transformations, detailed in his new book, Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier's Story. "All of the things we think about being human — the goodness, the love. . . when you go to war,...

Duration: 00:49:10

Iowans in Florida, Recovering from Hurricane Irma

As of early today, the death toll from Hurricane Irma stood at 82. More than half the fatalities occurred in several hard-hit Caribbean islands, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In Florida, 1.5 million homes and businesses remained without power yesterday, in sweltering heat, five days after the historic storm ripped through southeast U.S. Residents who evacuated have been returning to their homes to survey the damage and start the process of recovering from this massive...

Duration: 00:46:05

Holy Rover: Journeys in Search of Mystery, Miracles, and God

For her newest book, author and traveler Lori Erickson went in search of places where she felt something special. In her new memoir, she visits holy sites all over the world and says that Holy Rover: Journeys in Search of Mystery, Miracles, and God is similar to what "St. Augustine might have written if he was born a Lutheran in Iowa." During this hour of Talk of Iowa , she talks with Charity Nebbe about her travels. "Well, as holy sites, I define them really broadly. I feel that taking a...

Duration: 00:37:42

Higher Than Usual Voter Turnout in Johnson County

Voter turnout is typically low for school board elections. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate says turnout is usually 4-7% of registered voters. "We can do better," says Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, "especially when you think about how there are 480-thousand K-12 kids in our public schools and it’s 60 percent of our state budget." On this politics day edition of River to River , Ben Kieffer hosts a discussion on the results and turnout of yesterday's elections. Johnson County had a...

Duration: 00:37:12

The Science Behind a Good Night Sleep

Tens of millions of Americans are impacted by chronic sleep disorders and intermittent sleep problems that can significantly diminish health, alertness and safety. On this edition of River to River , Dr. Eric Dyken, director of the University of Iowa Sleep Disorder Center, explains some of the research that is being done on the science of sleep. "They've sort of localized a little bit more that biologic clock that is responsible for having you wake up, and having you go to sleep," Dyken...

Duration: 00:35:49

Bob Dorr and the Blue Band Rocking Iowa on Farewell Tour

Since 1981, Bob Dorr and the Blue Band have played about 100 gigs per year all around Iowa and the Midwest. Over their 30-plus year run, they have become one of Iowa's most celebrated bands, playing their beloved, self-described brand of blues/soul/rockabilly/reggae/Creole/rhythm music at festivals and venues across eastern Iowa, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Omaha, and Chicago. They have shared the stage with such icons as B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, and Bobby Rush. Band leader Bob Dorr...

Duration: 00:40:14

Celina Karp Biniaz: From Auschwitz to Des Moines

In a boxcar headed to Switzerland, 13-year-old Celina Karp — a "Schindler Jew" — was shocked to instead find herself at the Auschwitz concentration camp when the train's doors opened. Soon after, along with hundreds of other women, she was marched into a shower. "We were wondering, 'are we going to get gas, or are we going to get showers?' You can't imagine the relief, even though we were in Auschwitz, when the water came down." During this hour of Talk of Iowa , Celina Karp Biniaz talks...

Duration: 00:39:34

Painted Lady Butterfly Population Boom

Painted lady butterflies are having a really good year, according to Nathan Brockman, entomologist and curator of the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing at Reiman Gardens. Brockman conducts an annual survey of butterflies, and he's seen a lot of painted ladies recently. "Last year, one week we saw 12, one week we saw 21; but when we did our survey this week, we saw 747 individuals on the gardens' ground." On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa , Charity Nebbe talks with Brockman, as...

Duration: 00:37:51

About to Have a Difficult Conversation? First Take a Deep Breath

Heated conversations—especially political ones can be unsatisfying and emotionally draining. In this Talk of Iowa , Charity Nebbe talks with the co-facilitators of a "difficult conversations" workshop organized by the University of Iowa School of Social Work. Guests are Alison Oliver and Jefri Pallermo from the University of Iowa, and North Liberty based consultant, coach, and speaker Heather Woody joins in for advice for workplace conversations. Oliver says that before embarking on a...

Duration: 00:39:35

Detasseling: A Lesson in Persistence and Gratitude

Many Iowans are familiar with detasseling, the process of pulling the tops off corn plants to achieve cross pollination. For Jamie Christie Christensen and her daughter, Jenna Simpson Davidson, detasseling was an annual lesson in persistence and gratitude. Jamie and Jenna stopped by the StoryCorps booth in Des Moines to talk about the connection they see between those summers in the fields and their time in the classroom. Story Corps is a national initiative to record and collect stories of...

Duration: 00:03:47

UI Driving Simulator Research on Cannabis, Distracted Driving, and Automated Vehicles

This show originally aired on April 4, 2017. Distracted driving concerns everyone on the road – and it’s something lawmakers at the statehouse have maintained a focus on this legislative session. On this edition of River to River , host Ben Kieffer talks with researchers at the National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) at the University of Iowa. They discuss the latest observations they've made in regards to how cannabis use affects drivers, the impact of distraction or fatigue while...

Duration: 00:44:58

How to Make a Spaceship

The author of a new book says the race to private space exploration began with Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis. Julian Guthrie wrote How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race and the Birth of Private Spaceflight to tell the story of the Xprize and the teams competing for the $10 million prize. According to Guthrie, Peter Diamandis, a Greek-American engineer, physician, and entrepreneur came up with the idea of a contest to spur private industry to pursue space flight...

Duration: 00:45:21

Fixing Your Late-Summer Patchy Lawn

It can be very frustrating when the picturesque, cloudless blue summer sky is undercut by a patchy, dead-looking lawn. In these last days of summer, it's common to assume that a discolored lawn is dead, but Iowa State University Extension Turfgrass Specialist Adam Thoms recommends inspecting the lawn more closely before assuming anything. "One of the great things to do is to actually get out and pull on the lawn, especially if the grass is still yellow looking. If it pulls right out in big...

Duration: 00:49:14

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