Monday, December 14, 2009

Best Hat poll

We are holding a best hat poll on the wordpress site.
Come on over and get a good look at the fun hats.

Or you can just click here.

Enjoy the poll.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Green themes

We're getting ready for green things on the Iowa Journal.

Some of it you may have seen before.

Check it out here:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Iowa Wine Industry

There's a new post about the Iowa Wine industry here that you might enjoy.

I'm still playing around with both formats of blogging, but I'm thinking Wordpress is my leader right now.

If you subscribe to this blog, you can also do so on the other site. I think.

Give it a shot, here.

Again, you can read the post about Iowa wine upcoming episodes on the Iowa Journal here.

We are talking about Tabor Home, Brush Creek, Fireside Winery and Tassel Ridge.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blogger or Wordpress?

I'm strongly considering switching this site to one on Wordpress.

I've been playing on Wordpress this week to see if its better.

I like to see stats on my posts. What is getting people's attention, both in reading and commenting. I can see posts on Facebook or Twitter, but I'm curious who's reading the whole post.

Wordpress gives you stats, not just clicks, but what buried links are getting clicked. That's a great tool for me.

Layout and design are key. If I just pick a good design, that shouldn't be a problem for the blog.

Blogger is a simple use tool.

But, I think, I want more.

What do you think?

Take a look at the new Wordpress site here:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Waiting for Miley with Wartburg College Comm Arts

The kids at Wartburg College are doing it again.

I should be more specific, the Communication Arts students. Its been a few years since I was in their shoes, sweatshirts and hats, but once a Commie, always a Commie.

I've written about a couple of guys trying to get a student as Jimmy Fallon's intern. You can read about Nate and Spencer's adventures here.

This time, its all about Miley. Miley Cyrus, that is.

A few of of the Comm Arts students have made a music video. They didn't write or perform the music, just used it to add their own take with the help of their Mac computers and some creative downtime. It took a little bit of planning and from what I learned today. Including some casting involved.

Here's Waiting for Miley:

They are trying to be an internet sensation and are doing there best to be everywhere and tell everyone they know about their video. So far, its working on a Wartburg scale. The video posted late in the week. As of Friday, the views on YouTube were only about 300. Now they are approaching 3,000. Help them get there and tell your friends to make this everywhere. They've been peppering the Today Show and others about the video hoping for a little viral outbreak.

My Twitter Friend Leslie Berg knew she'd seen a video like it before, and here's a look at the same concept with a Backstreet Boys or Nsync or some other boy band's song.

The Wartburg version is students working primarily on the Trumpet, the student newspaper. The other version appears from a work site or office situation.

Traditional students spend late nights at the library, in lounges, maybe the bar. But Comm Arts students at Wartburg spend time at the J Lab or locked in a studio working on their craft. Its a fun environment where you can be a little loopy in a late night hour or even cranky.

I've gotten some great posts about Wartburg Comm Arts legends. That one is in production now and will posted soon. Thanks to all for the great comments so far.

From what Mac and Nate have said, more videos from this group could be coming soon. So, keep your eyes peeled.

Also, I've been told there's older versions of video from my time at Wartburg, so this could be a bad idea opening up this can of worms.

I think the part that got me hooked was 1:16 in when everyone raises their hands up at once and I knew this was no low-budget item.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Best of the week Nov 11-20, 2009

I'm going to try and keep a tab of stories through the week that are interesting or stories I think you should know that are happening in the state. These are stories that likely would have been in the news analysis portion of The Iowa Journal, but since we don't do that anymore, I'll compile them here.

If you'd like to see the next in the series of posts, click here for its new location.

Even though Thomson is in Illinois, it does have an impact on Iowa. The Obama administration is pushing for a plan to convert the Correctional Facility to become the new Gitmo.

This was a big deal during most of my time in the Quad Cities. I know the Watermelon Cafe was on TV and in print several times, all hoping for economic benefit of a new prison coming to the region that badly needed the jobs.

Here's a story out of the Clinton Herald. Lots of media stories have been done about this proposal.

A lot of the hub-bub is over jobs and fear. This area of Illinois has seen some rough economic times, even before this latest downturn.
John Carlson of the DM Register takes a visit to Thomson.

School districts are looking at a few options for saving money. One that's gaining some attention is sharing superintendents. Mason City and Clear Lake are larger schools, but the two are looking at the idea. Clear Lake has an interim super this year and he's warm to the idea.

Here's KIMT-TV's story.

Did Webster City ignore warning signs about a company's role in their economy? Electrolux was the major employer in town and recently announced they are closing and moving operations to Mexico. A few are wondering if the community economic officials should have removed some of the eggs out of the town's basket and diversified the community's economy. They city says they didn't want to upset their employer by bringing in competition for workers.

The Des Moines Register raised this thought earlier this week.

Ever get asked to write a recommendation for someone you may not know that well? Maybe a LinkedIn note or on another site. Here's a story from the NY Times about their advice.

Between OK Henderson and Dave Price, they've brought up an idea floated by Ed Failor, Jr about merging the 3 public universities into one. Failor cites the Wisconsin or somewhat how Missouri runs things.

Here's Kay's blog post on the subject.

Here's Dave's discussion on his show, Purple Matters, on Des

The city of Cedar Rapids is still rebuilding and now they are thinking about going green in the process as well, looking to expand into some LEED construction standards. That's being good citizens and leaders.

The issue came up in this Cedar Rapids Gazette story.

Adam Belz of the Cedar Rapids Gazette looks at how combing some of Iowa's counties may save money and make sense. Here's the story that may leave your home county merged with another.

And finally, a shout out to the Iowa Journal for looking at all tax credits, not just the movie tax credit. Now the Governor is wanting to examine all the credits. Here's the DM Register's story. Here's ours. Enjoy.

What did I miss that the state should care about?

If you'd like to read the next Best of the Week post, click here for its new location.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Iowa Tax Credits to get full review

We know we have at least one viewer of the Iowa Journal - Gov. Chet Culver.

Late Thursday afternoon the Governor's press office sent out a release about an examination of all tax credits the state offers.

That sounds a lot like a recent Iowa Journal program. We looked at all tax credits in the state and discussed what is good and bad about offering them. That was back on November 5th, 2009. Producer Sara Frasher did a great job of breaking down what tax credits are and then we featured Newton's efforts with credits.

You can view the program right here.

Here's the blog post about the program here with a great West Wing clip just for Michael Graham.

Also, the Des Moines Register is writing about the story as well. Here's their story.

Here's the Governor's full release.

State agency directors to submit report, provide recommendations on credits

DES MOINES – Governor Chet Culver today ordered a comprehensive review of each of the state’s 30 tax credit programs. He asked the Directors of the six state agencies that oversee the tax credit programs to submit a review of their respective department’s tax credit programs. Those Directors will then serve on a panel to review the programs and submit a report to the Governor addressing oversight, accountability, transparency, public reporting, cost-benefit, and which programs should be continued, curtailed, and or eliminated.

The Governor named Iowa Department of Management Director (IDOM) Dick Oshlo to chair the panel. The review will be due to IDOM at the close of business on Dec. 4, 2009. The panel will hold two public meetings to discuss the review in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids the week of Dec. 7, 2009. Dates and locations of the public meetings are yet to be determined.

The following letter was sent to agency directors today:

Dick Oshlo
Iowa Department of Management
State Capitol
Room G13
Des Moines, IA 50319

Fred Hubbell
Iowa Department of Economic Development
200 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309

Jeff Ward
Iowa Agricultural Development Authority
505 Fifth Avenue, Suite 327
Des Moines, IA 50309-2322

Bret Mills
Iowa Finance Authority
2015 Grand Ave.
Des Moines, Iowa 50312

Cyndi Pederson
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
600 East Locust Street
Des Moines, IA 50319

Mark Schuling
Iowa Department of Revenue
Hoover State Office Building
1305 East Walnut
Des Moines, IA 50319

Rob Berntsen
Iowa Utilities Board
350 Maple Street,
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

Dear Agency Directors:

During recent months the Culver-Judge Administration has worked to address the budget challenges facing the State of Iowa. In preparation for submitting my budget to the general assembly in January, we are reviewing all areas of state spending, including annual state investments in the form of tax credits. It is essential that we evaluate the expense and effectiveness of each tax credit program to ensure that Iowans are receiving an appropriate return on our investment.

Today I am announcing the creation of a tax credit review panel to be headed by Department of Management Director Dick Oshlo. As Directors of tax credit administering agencies, you will also serve on the panel. The panel is to prepare a report to the Governor with recommendations for each tax credit program, including oversight, accountability, transparency, public reporting, cost-benefit, and which programs should be continued, curtailed, and or eliminated.

There are many stakeholders in the state tax credit programs and we need to hear from each of them. The panel will meet once in Des Moines and once in Cedar Rapids during the week of December 7th to allow the tax credit program participants as well as the general public to voice their opinions and concerns.

To assist the panel with their work, I am asking you to submit information on your respective departments’ tax credits to the Iowa Department of Management by close of business December 4, 2009. Submissions should include the following information for each tax credit program administered by your agency:

· General description of the purpose of the tax credit
· Minimum, maximum and average value of tax credits issued
· Contingency liability for each tax credit
· Number of tax credits issued each year
· Number of individuals and/or businesses served by the tax credit
· Whether the tax credit is transferable and, if so, how many times
· Whether the tax credit is refundable
· Processes for oversight and regulation of the tax credit
· The Return on Investment for the tax credit
· Data on the fiscal impact of the tax credit for the past ten years, if available
· A description of what information is currently made available to the public for the tax credit(s) administered by each agency.

If you have any questions, please contact Dick Oshlo at 515-281-5201.Thank you for assistance in this important matter.


Chester J. Culver
Governor of Iowa

BTW, we are likely moving sites. If you would like to check us out, visit the new one right here. Its just that simple. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Looking for Iowa Visionaries

Who are Visionaries in Iowa?
Who can see where the state is going and what needs to be done to get there?

We are looking for some people who you may consider having good vision for the state.

We hope to bring a few minds together to talk about the future of the state for an upcoming Iowa Journal.

Any ideas?

We are looking for someone who is not just an entrepreneur, but more with vision of 'we've got these problems, here's how we solve it,' type of thing.

For example, someone who can say "we've got these water quality issues, its going to be painful, here's how we fix it."

In the past we've turned to think-tank types or college professors who can study these issues and offer solutions who are not tied to an electorate to keep their jobs.

If you've got an idea on someone, send it to

Thanks for your time.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chronic Care

75-percent of the nation's health care spending goes to the treatment of chronic diseases. Can such on-going health issues be treated in a way to reduce health care costs?

That is one question we are working on for this week's Iowa Journal on chronic care.

We're talking about treatment for chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and asthma. That's almost 3/4 of the 2 trillion dollar spending on health care in this country.

So, what can you do to help this conditions?

We will be featuring the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program –coordinated/implemented by the Iowa Department on Aging. Also a look at a program that deals with juvenile diabetes.

Children are also being impacted -- It has been estimated that chronic health issues affect 10 to 30 percent of children.

So this week, we'll talk about those health issues.

Here's our guest list for the program. Bill Applegate, executive director of the Iowa Chronic Care Consortium, Kathy Leggett, director of the Center for Advocacy and Outreach at Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines, and Helen Eddy, assistant vice president of Health and Wellness for Hy-Vee, Inc.

Here's the official news release on the program.
Chronic Health Conditions:
On the Thursday, November 19 edition
of The Iowa Journal

(Johnston, Iowa) –Thursday’s episode of The Iowa Journal will take a look at efforts to handle chronic health conditions. This program airs Thursday, November 19 at 8 p.m. It will be rebroadcast Friday, November 20 at 6:30 p.m. on IPTV and Saturday, November 21 at 8:30 a.m. on IPTV WORLD. It will also be available online at

Treating chronic conditions consumes 75 percent of the nation’s $2 trillion in health-care spending. These conditions include diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, cancer and asthma. The next episode of The Iowa Journal will feature a visit to a class offered to seniors on how to deal with the fatigue, pain and stress that often accompanies living with chronic conditions. It will also include a story about a special camp for children with diabetes where they learn the skills they need to manage their disease.

In the studio to discuss efforts to assess health risks and promote preventative health practices are Bill Applegate, executive director of the Iowa Chronic Care Consortium, Kathy Leggett, director of the Center for Advocacy and Outreach at Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines, and Helen Eddy, assistant vice president of Health and Wellness for Hy-Vee, Inc.
For more information about The Iowa Journal, visit or call (515) 242-3146. For information on how to watch IPTV WORLD in your area, visit

I'm always open to your thoughts on questions for our guests. Also, we're always open to topic ideas.

We are still looking for those Iowans who you think are visionary. Who is doing something that in 5 to 10 years we're going to say, wow, they really knew what was happening. You can post it in the comments section of the blog or send me an email to

We're working on a crime victims program for December and also a look at the wine industry in Iowa. Next week we'll have a look at the natural heritage of Iowa.

Last week we talked about art in public places and the public discussion of art. I thought it went well and included a look at the Pappajohn Sculpture park in Des Moines and also the Molecule Man in Council Bluffs. You can view the entire program here.

Or you can read the entire post about the program here. That program also flew along with a Central Iowa Honor Flight.

See you next time.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

More Sesame Street memories

Last week I went down memory lane and started talking about the first 40 years of Sesame Street and the memories it gave me. It also rung true with many of you as well.

Here's a look at the post if you want to catch up on last week's start to the discussion.

But, I forgot a couple of segments, the above clip is from when Elmo visited The West Wing. He was given an exam by Mrs. Bartlett. That episode also is when Big Bird and CJ meet in the hall. Quite funny when you think that one could be confused with the other and the two had some similarities.

There also was a good discussion about government funding for Sesame Street by Toby. I'll get to that topic in a future post about our art discussion from the November 12 Iowa Journal.

Back to Sesame Street.

I found a couple of old classics that I had forgotten.

Guy Smiley anyone? Who didn't want to be a game show host after watching him? I've learned all my emcee skills from this segment.

Also, ABC did a couple of great stories about Sesame Street. This first clip talks about the controversial beginning to the program.

Here is a look at the 40 years includes some great lambchops from Gordon and an orange Oscar the Grouch.

Finally, here are some of your memories on Sesame Street.

Bob Palmer is old. Its just fun to say that, because he goes back to the beginning. "My memories are that I clearly remember the day it premiered in 1969 when I was 3 on Channel 11 in Chicago."

Steph Boeding likes the Grover classic. Maybe this is why Grover isn't on as much. "Near... far!"

Sesame Street has a pattern and is familiar in many parts. That's helpful for Anne Holtan. "The boys love sesame street and love being able to access them on the web. Routines & repetion is big in our household with autism therefore you can hear "the ladybug's picnic" song...123,456,789 etc This week's favority is 40th anniversary theme song over & over & over!"

My KWQC friends Lora Ullerich and Michael Colon didn't use to agree on many things, but they do on one thing now.

Lora Ullerich "PB & J sandwiches, apples & milk sitting in the kitchen where I could peak around the corner & watch TV. Fav. was the Count...1,2,3,4,5,-6,7,8,9,10-11,12. HA! HA! HA!"

We can all remember where we were when we watched the program. It used to be, we only had one, maybe 2 TVs in the house.

Laura Holtz Ballard remembers "Sitting in the den, watching with Lana, and being excited to watch her learn!"

Current caregiver and mother to 3 Katie Carey Lochner says "I remember watching it as a kid two or three times a day (same episode :) ) Then Bennett was obsessed with Sesame Sings Karaoke when we lived in Lincoln so we heard that on numerous trips home...several times...I still get the "Somebody come and play" song and "Ladybug Picnic" in my head!! :)"

I can say we go through that as well as Noah likes to watch the Sesame Street learns the ABC's. This includes Steve Carrell as the letter 'Z.'

And we finish with another old guy comment from Michael Peterson. "I remember the first time the Count appeared. He would silence Bert and Ernie everytime they would try to talk!!! Hilarious!!!"

Sorry to throw Bob and Mike under the AARP bus. Too easy.

Katherine Sue Sorensen has two favorites of Cookie Monster and Elmo! Plus Chris Reece reminds us all of The Yep-Yep monsters!

And how many songs we've learned from Sesame Street are still with us as Amy Bruxvoort Sauke reminds us. "We all sing with the same song, the same voice....and we sing in harmony."

Thank you everyone for your great comments. I know you are continuing to share these thoughts with your children and grandchildren.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Public Art - What does it do for you?

We're talking public art on tonight's Iowa Journal at 630p on IPTV.

We had a lively discussion about who picks what art goes where, the economics of public art and what role art plays in our lives.

Should we forgo plowing streets for a public art statue?

Find out that answer in our discussion with Sarah Grant, artist and founder of Sticks. Also J. Todd Graham, CEO of the Iowa West Foundation and Porter Arneill of the Kansas City Municipal Arts Commission.

We also look at the new Pappajohn Sculpture park in Des Moines and some of the public art in Council Bluffs.

Our final segment tonight is the latest Central Iowa Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. This fits not only with Veteran's day, but the week that we at the very least should try to remember our members of the military.

You'll be able to view our segments on line at

Here's where you can view the Vet's story now.

And here's where you can view the Pappajohn piece already.
See you next week for chronic care.


In a post about Sesame Street, I wandered to a clip I was looking for about the NEA. Toby gets an earful about some of the NEA funded projects. We did talk a bit about that before our taping on Thursday, but not on the show. Do a few projects like the ones mentioned in the clip taint art discussions?

We also have the full show link done now. You can view the Iowa Journal talking about art in public, here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sesame Street Turns 40

Do you know the difference between Bert and Ernie?
How about who Mr. Noodle is?
Do you remember Mr. Hooper's store?

How many of you grew up watching Sesame Street?

I did, too.

Now, I get the chance to share Sesame Street with my sons. That's Noah in the IPTV lobby last year with Bert and Ernie. He still waves at the two when he comes to visit me at work.

The landmark television program turns 40 this week and it appears to have no signs of a midlife crisis.

Yes, some of the originators of the series are gone, but there many long time parts of the program that don't go away. Including Big Bird, Rita, Oscar and Bert and Ernie.

I loved the program as a kid. I love it even more now as a father. Noah started watching the show after I encouraged him to. Now, he likes to watch Elmo and the gang on the show.

As a public TV employee, I appreciate it as well. Its a good feeling to have that program as your signature of your network.

I love showing Noah the great clips of Grover and Kermit. Each time, Grover would try to sell Kermit something. One that's funny is this clip.

You don't see Kermit on the show anymore, but you still see plenty of your familiar favorites hanging around the block.

The show also captures current popular programs and spoofs them. There's Law and Order: Special Letters Unit.
Or how about Mad Men:

Then, there's the classics.
Rubber ducky, you're the one.

I hope to see the program on for another 40 years.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Public Art on The Iowa Journal

Here's a look at this week's public art discussion on The Iowa Journal.

You'll have to do a little homework by watching this past program from TIJ.

We also will be looking at the most recent Central Iowa Honor Flight. Producer Andrew Batt and Photojournalist Steve Carns made the trip to DC last week. We are putting together a little piece of their work. Andrew will feature WW2 vets who came home to be farmers.

We air this program on Thursday at 8p and Friday at 630p. Our show is recordable by DVR and TiVo.

See you then.

Art in Public Places:
On the Thursday, November 12 edition
of The Iowa Journal

(Johnston, Iowa) –(Johnston, Iowa) –Thursday’s episode of The Iowa Journal will take a look at the emergence of new public art in Iowa including the state’s newest sculpture park, which is in downtown Des Moines, and will feature a discussion with some experts about why art matters. This program airs Thursday, November 12 at 8 p.m. It will be rebroadcast Friday, November 13 at 6:30 p.m. on IPTV and Saturday, November 14 at 8:30 a.m. on IPTV WORLD. It will also be available online at
In September, a 4.4 acre sculpture park was unveiled in downtown Des Moines with 24 sculptures donated by a philanthropic couple, Mary and John Pappajohn. The project was a collaborative effort of the Pappajohns, the City of Des Moines, the Des Moines Art Center and numerous corporate and private funders.
There are many displays of art in public places throughout Iowa, including a major community-driven public art master project in Council Bluffs. Who determines what art is displayed in public areas? How it is funded? And what is the role of art in society? In the studio to discuss these question will be J. Todd Graham, president and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation and Iowa West Public Art in Council Bluffs; Porter Arneill, director/public art administrator of the Kansas City Municipal Arts Commission; and Sarah Grant, artist and founder of Sticks, Inc. which produces object art and furniture in Des Moines. Sticks work is on display in many places, including Blank Children's Hospital, Iowa State University and the Hotel Pattee in Perry.
This episode will also see how the trip went for 350 World War II veterans from Iowa who were flown to Washington, D.C. to visit the World War II Memorial.
For more information about The Iowa Journal, visit or call (515) 242-3146. For information on how to watch IPTV WORLD in your area, visit

Friday, November 6, 2009

Football friday, baseball is all OK

Just wanted to post a couple of reads for your Friday.

If you like the Hawkeyes, you can't help but notice Pat Angerer on the field. This linebacker is everywhere. He's even more dominant than he was at Bettendorf High School.

I remember watching Pat play on the 2004 Bettendorf football team that went on to win the state title. That team dominated everyone and went on to beat West Des Moines Valley for the state title. The 2009 West Des Moines Dowling Catholic Maroons remind me a lot of the Bulldogs. Both dominate opponents. Bettendorf just had a couple of players that went onto play D1 ball with Angerer and Colin Sandeman. Ryan Frick was the QB of that team that went on to play at Minnesota State.

There's a blog post by @IowaHawkeys here from The Bleacher Report called Angerer Management. Its been hard for teams to manage Pat all season.

If you want to look at Angerer and Sandeman in action at Bettendorf in that title game with Valley, take a look here.

Also, I try to read Ken Levine's blog. Ken has written for several TV series like MASH, Cheers and his personal favorite, Big Wave Dave's. Ken does the post-game show on KABC radio for the LA Dodgers. I always enjoy his stuff. Here's a look at a posting this week about the 2009 Dodger season.

He'll post a lot about behind the scene's stuff of TV and Radio, so its always fun for me to read.

And of course, my friend O Kay Henderson has a new location for her blog. Kay is now a regular contributer to Iowa Press and used to visit us quite often on The Iowa Journal until we tweaked the format. Maybe that didn't go so well as we will be put on the shelf at the end of the fiscal year.

Now to the top of the post, picture explanation.

IPTV has updated their web videos. Hopefully I can post them in full form soon, but now you'll have to look at links and trust me on watching them.

A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the Midwest League and the Iowa teams in the league. It was a quick story, but is now posted in a higher quality of video than what you've seen before on If its not updated yet, it will be shortly.

This week's show on tax credits in Iowa will be in that format and hopefully the same from here on out. Enjoy.

In the future, I will try to post a couple of links to interesting stories that you may be interested from a state-wide perspective. What plays well and impacts the whole state? I'll take your suggestions to

UPDATE: This just in. I like MASH. Its a good thing I've got a friend who helped complete my collection. Good ole' Michael Graham. Congrats to he and Jen on their wedding just two short weeks ago. For that reason, I'll post a picture of them here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tax Credits and Deducations on the next Iowa Journal

Do you know the difference between tax credits and tax deductions?
Does your employer get a tax break?
Does your government know?

The recent stories of the Iowa Film Industry tax credit abuses got us thinking about the questions and others. Just how many tax credits are on the books? 30. What are they, what good are they and do we need more or less will be the focus of this week's Iowa Journal.

Our guests include Rep. Paul C. Shomshor, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, a democrat from Council Bluffs. Also Peter Fisher, Research director with the Iowa Policy Project and Bill Brown, chair of the board for the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.

We had Peter Fisher our program about what to do with an old mall. You can watch that fun discussion here.

This week we'll have a fun tax talk at 8p on Thursday and 630p on Friday. I hope you can join us.

Last week I got a little wrapped up in the production of the Kathryn Koob show. Today (Nov 4), marks 30 year since she was taken into captivity in Iran. She and 52 others were held for the next 444 days. They were released on the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated.

Koob is from Iowa, traveled the world and now is back in Iowa where she's done some teaching at Wartburg. Disclaimer: my alma matter.

There's a huge show page with the 20 minute version of the feature here:

The entire 49 minute interview is online on that page I've linked. If you want the best clip, including her discussion on the current president of Iran, check out clip 4.

If you want to see what else we're up to on The Iowa Journal, visit our Twitter page:

Or our website as well.

Next week we'll talk public art. Followed by chronic care on Nov. 19.

BTW, I just had to post a West Wing clip to make newlywed Michael Graham read this posting. Its all for him. Also, I like the TV show "The West Wing."

I forgot to add, some of my co-workers are saying Hello Quad Cities this week as they are preparing for the recording of the Quad City Symphony. I believe they are recording Saturday night. So, if you see the big purple truck, that's what's going on from us in the QC this week.

See you soon.

5p Update: The show is done and ready for air. Good discussion on tax credits. We talked about transparency, cost/benefit and are tax credits the best tool in the economic toolbox. See you tonight. I'll post the link for the show when they are complete.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Kathryn Koob and Terrorism on the next Iowa Journal

Thirty years ago this week, trouble was brewing in Iran. Militants were in the middle of planning a series of events that would change the country's landscape forever. On November 4th, 1979, militants stormed the American Embassy in Tehran. 66 people were taken hostage, 53 of them remained that way for 444 days.

One of them is Iowa native Kathryn Koob. Koob was working in the Iran American Cultural Center.

We traveled to Waverly to talk to Koob about her captivity and release plus her thoughts on the experience.

We'll also hear part of a speech from Jane Mayer, who spoke to Grinnell College about terrorism earlier this year.

Broadcast date is Thursday at 8p and Friday at 630p. You will also be able to view the story later in the week on

Here's the newly released press release about next week's show.

Kathryn Koob, former Iranian Hostage
and Jane Mayer, author of The Dark Side:
On the Thursday, October 29 edition
of The Iowa Journal

(Johnston, Iowa) –Thursday’s episode of The Iowa Journal will talk with Kathryn Koob, who was taken hostage in Iran in 1979. This program airs Thursday, October 29 at 8 p.m. It will be rebroadcast Friday, October 30 at 6:30 p.m. on IPTV and Saturday, October 31 at 8:30 a.m. on IPTV WORLD. It will also be available online at
In 1979, Koob was the director of the Iran-American cultural center. While there, she was abducted and held hostage in Tehran for the 444 days Iranian students. She has chronicled her life in a book called Guest of the Revolution and is now an instructor at Wartburg College in Waverly. The Iowa Journal host Paul Yeager talks to Koob about her time as a hostage, her views on Iran today, and her belief that one of her captors is a well-known Iranian figure of today.
The Iowa Journal will also show an excerpt of a presentation by author Jane Mayer, whose book, Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals, documents U.S. torture tactics on detainees as part of the post 9/11 war on terror.
For more information about The Iowa Journal, visit or call (515) 242-3146. For information on how to watch IPTV WORLD in your area, visit

Monday, October 19, 2009

H1N1 and the Midwest League.

Here's a look at this week's show and the press release sent out for it.
I'll post a bit more on the show later in the week.

October 19, 2009
Jennifer Glover Konfrst, 515-242-3146

H1N1, Professional Baseball:
On the Thursday, October 22 edition
of The Iowa Journal

(Johnston, Iowa) –Thursday’s episode of The Iowa Journal will focus on the H1N1 flu and take a look at Iowa’s professional baseball teams. This program airs Thursday, October 22 at 8 p.m. It will be rebroadcast Friday, October 23 at 6:30 p.m. on IPTV and Saturday, October 24 at 8:30 a.m. on IPTV WORLD. It will also be available online at
School districts across the state are reporting a greater-than-normal number of sick children. Medical clinics are seeing a growing number of patients with influenza symptoms. Given that flu season is just beginning, The Iowa Journal explores how government, business, and medical leaders are preparing for and responding to H1N1.
H1N1 is not necessarily more deadly than other flu strains, but because the virus is new, few people have immunity against it, and more people could get sick. The virus's ability to mutate is also causing concern. Although there's no evidence it will change, the possibility makes for unknowns. Who will be most vulnerable, what will be the severity of the illness, and will vaccines be safe and effective?
Guests for this episode include: Rebecca Curtiss, bureau chief for the Center for Disaster Operations and Response at the Iowa Department of Public Health; Jami Haberl, executive director for Safeguard Iowa Partnership, a statewide disaster management coalition of businesses and government leaders.
This episode will also look at Iowa’s professional baseball teams. Of the six teams in the state, four of them are in the Midwest League, which plays Class A baseball. There are teams in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Clinton and Burlington. The Iowa Journal will explore the set up of these teams and how they create the baseball experience for their fans.
For more information about The Iowa Journal, visit or call (515) 242-3146. For information on how to watch IPTV WORLD in your area, visit
# # #

Iowa Public Television is Iowa's statewide public broadcasting network. IPTV provides quality, noncommercial programming to make a difference in the lives of Iowans. As one of the last locally controlled media enterprises in the state, IPTV is committed to telling Iowa's stories like no one else can. Our mission to educate, inform, enrich, and inspire Iowans enables IPTV to present an unequaled array of programs of lasting value to Iowans regardless of where they live or what they can afford. More than 1.4 million viewers a week turn to IPTV for programming that reflects a range of interests for Iowans in all demographic categories. Iowa Public Television stations include: Channel 11, Des Moines; Channel 12, Iowa City; Channel 21, Fort Dodge; Channel 24, Mason City; Channel 27, Sioux City; Channel 32, Waterloo; Channel 32, Council Bluffs; Channel 36, Davenport; Channel 36, Red Oak.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The World Food Prize and a guy named Bill Gates

For last 22 years, those who've contributed to helping feed the world have been asked to come to Des Moines and discuss progress, research attempts and for some, accept the biggest award of all-- The World Food Prize.

Tonight is no different.

Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, native of Ethiopia, and now of Purdue University, will be given the award live on Iowa Public Television beginning at 7pm. Ejeta was born in a mud floored shack and now is helping feed his native country and others by his work with sorghum. His hybrids are resistant to drought and the Striga weed. You can learn more about Ejeta here on the World Food Prize website.

Ejeta appeared tall on the video taped piece I previewed earlier in the week. I asked about his height, I found out he'd been a member of the Ethiopian National team. He stands 6-7, so you can imagine the image if the two of us stood next to each other. So, we sat in the Iowa Capital's Law Library. We got a chance to talk to Ejeta on Wednesday. He was gracious with his time. You'll be able to view it later tonight following the ceremony. Our program begins at 8p.

Also included in tonight's Iowa Journal is Bill Gates. Yes, that Bill Gates as he addressed the symposium earlier in the day. Hear what he and others said at the end of our broadcast.

Last week we talked about Iowa's Natural Heritage. It was a fun program to be a part of as we brought in two panelists via the ICN in addition to our in-studio guests of Chuck Gipp, Pat Bode and former Congressman Neal Smith. You can view that on our website here.

Next week we talk about H1N1 and then a look at the Midwest League teams in Iowa. It was fun to visit the Burlington Bees, Quad City River Bandits, Clinton Lumberkings and Cedar Rapids Kernels earlier this summer. This will be the first time we use the video. We also are planning a program about minor league sports in iowa. We hope to talk about the USHL and NBA-D league that play in Iowa.

In two weeks, we'll talk with Iowan Kathryn Koob about her experience as a hostage in Iran. November 4th, 2009 will mark 30 years since she was taken into captivity.

See you on the air at 8p tonight and 630p on Friday.

Give us a follow on Twitter at if you want all the Iowa Journal scoop.

See you tonight.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Upcoming Iowa Journals

We are always working on new topics and shows here at IPTV.

Right now I've got a couple of shows and features in the works.

Here's a look at two of the topics I'll have a hand in.

Midwest League Baseball Oct 22 TIJ #307
5 cities in Iowa have professional baseball. 4 of them are in the Midwest League, which plays Class A baseball. ‘A’ ball is the lowest level of full-season minor leagues. There are teams in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Clinton and Burlington. The last two cities usually battle for the title of smallest towns in the country that have professional, full-season baseball. They are community owned in Clinton and Burlington, one of the main reasons they still have a team. We’ll look at the set up of the teams in their towns and how they make the experience for fans and families. The date of the show is timed to be right before the beginning of the World Series on October 28th. We will do another show using the video and interviews for a show on minor league sports in Iowa and the economic challenges of having a team. This will be in either November or December and will include a look at hockey and basketball. Run time for the story is 3-4 minutes and will be the tag to the H1N1 program.

Kathryn Koob: Oct 29 TIJ #308
Koob was a hostage in Iran for 444 days. Her first day in captivity was November 4th, 1979. She has retired from her work in foreign service in Austria, Australia and other outposts. We talked to her in Waverly on the campus of Wartburg College, her alma matter and employer since her retirement. She’s a member of the Communication Arts faculty. We talked about her time in captivity, who they were (she’s convinced that one of the men in the group was current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad). We also talked about treatment of hostages mentally and physically, including terrorism and torture. This will story will include her feature set up and then interview. Run time will be in the 20-22 minute length, depending on the show’s tag of the Jane Mayer’s speech from Grinnell.

I'm Back

Just wanted to let you know, I've been away from the blog for a bit. But that's because I've been away from work for a bit.

Amy gave birth to Levi Paul Yeager on September 27th at 215a in Des Moines. Everything went fine. Everyone is fine. Noah has been extremely excited about his brother and we hope that continues.

I did take 2 weeks off, but did return for two Iowa Journal tapings. Now I'm back full time and ready for work. More on that later.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What role does Social Media play in your smart life?

I like working at Iowa Public Television.

If you are a regular reader, all 2 of you, then you've seen me write that before.

I get to have great discussions on a daily basis about topics in the news, of interest and good stories.

Today I forwarded this YouTube video with newer numbers on social media and its impact. Thanks to Mike Mickle for sharing, BTW.

What are your thoughts on social media?
Is it good?
Is it the future?
What value do you gain as an intellect taking part in SM?
Why not call someone?

I argue that IPTV has to be involved in social media. We are still moving forward officially at a slow, plotted pace. Others, in their personal accounts, this blog being one of them, are not. I like what Twitter can do for me and my work. I've said before, if I was still running an assignment desk or reporting full time, I would be in heaven. I think public TV has a place to a part of it all.

I like how facebook keeps me in contact with friends. I can peer into their lives and have a starting point of conversation when I see them in person.

Do smart people, who watch public TV or listen to NPR think social media has a place and a future?

Does anyone under 30 without children watch public TV? That topic will wait for another day.

Please, please, share your thoughts.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Health Care and a trip in the time machine

The Iowa Journal tries to get their arms around the debate of health care reform. The issue is huge and we take our bite tonight. We look at the "Summer of Discontent" when lawmakers went to their home districts to hold regularly scheduled town meetings. Those meetings were dominated by healthcare discussion. At times, it got loud, even a little uncomfortable. What does that mean? Will that help us solve any issues?

The reform bill is moving forward. What does this mean to insurance, hospitals and those helping craft the changes?

Great question, Paul.

We just happen to have people from those fields in our studio for tonight's show. We'll put the Iowa Journal on the monitors seen in the picture above.

Three guests with stakes in the health care debate will be in our studio: Iowa State Senator Jack Hatch, (D-Des Moines), chair of the White House Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform; Kirk Norris, president/CEO of the Iowa Hospital Association; and Joe Teeling, chairman and CEO of Bearence Management Group, a consulting group that helps employers with the purchase of health insurance.

In our efforts to get more topics in the show, we've also hop into the time machine to go back to 1959. That year Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev took a whirlwind trip through the U.S. including a stop in Iowa. The story includes interviews with Khrushchev's son who made the 1959 trip with his father, and Roswell Garst’s granddaughter, Liz Garst, who was 8 years old when Khrushchev visited her grandfather's farm.

See if you notice any changes in the beginning of the show tonight. We are trying some things. See if you notice.

On a personal note, no baby yet. We are close, due date is Friday. We just hope to not deliver on the side of the road like our friends Brad and Carie. Great story here about their experience earlier this week. I did blog about it here with the link to the WQAD story.

Maybe the monkey knows what the delay is all about.

See you tonight at 8p on IPTV in full HD. Also Friday at 630p.

If you watch The Office or Grey's or CSI, we are commercial free. No commercials to skip through on our program. So, watch us in real time and record the other show.

The entire show will be posted on Friday to Some parts of the show are already posted.

We also have an official Iowa Journal Twitter page at

Thank you for reading this far.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I hope we can make it to the hospital

We are ready. I think. I hope. I pray. This as we prepare for the birth of our second son.

I also hope and pray the same thing doesn't happen to us that happened to our friends Carie and Brad Kreiner.


Elliot Carl Kreiner was born at 10:54 p.m., Sunday night, 7 pounds 2 ounces, 20 inches long, on the side of John Deere Expressway. Elliot's mom and dad are Carie and Brad.

Carie and Amy were roommates when they first started their full-time careers with John Deere. They only knew each other from the internship program, but enough to live together in Moline. So, the girls have been close ever since. Carie was in our wedding and Amy was a part of their wedding.

We keep in touch and contact, especially now that they've come back to the midwest from North Carolina. Amy and Carie have another connection again they were both expecting a baby around the same time in late September. Amy is still holding on, but Carie and Brad couldn't wait to deliver their third baby.

When I say they couldn't wait, they really couldn't wait.

Carie and Brad were headed to the hospital late Sunday night as Carie knew it was time. Her water broke in the car on the drive from Geneseo to Moline and Trinity Hospital (the same place Noah was delivered, in the hospital). They were driving down John Deere Road when the baby wouldn't wait anymore. Brad then delivered the baby right there, 1/2 mile from the hospital.

Noah and I went to Kindermusik on Tuesday night and we came home to Amy being on the phone with Carie. I could tell they had their baby as Amy said, "oh, Elliot, what a great name."

Amy hung up the phone and said they had their baby, but there's a great story to go with it. Amy then tells the story you just read and I said, wow. That sounds like a story. Does the media know?

Yup. Figures that WQAD's Chris Minor reported their story. Here's the link to her story. As always, Chris does a great story.

Congrats to Brad and Carie.

I'm glad Brad is so cool under pressure. Even if he is a Central College grad.

I hope I can sleep tonight and not have their story going to my brain.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Iowa Film Industry Part Deux

A few days, more than a few changes for the Iowa Film Office and the Iowa Department of Economic Development.

The head of the Iowa Motion Picture Association, Tom Wheeler, is now out of a job after being put on paid administrative leave.

The Governor's office issued this release a few minutes ago.


DES MOINES – Governor Chet Culver announced today the departure of two officials from the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED).

The manager of the Iowa Film Office, Thomas Wheeler, has been dismissed from his position effective this afternoon. The Iowa Film Office is a division of IDED. Amy Johnson will serve as the interim manager of the Iowa Film Office.

In addition, the resignation of Vince Lintz as deputy director of IDED has been accepted.

IDED is currently reporting to Richard Oshlo, director of the Department of Management, while new leadership for the department is being considered.

Earlier today, Governor Culver asked the Attorney General, State Auditor and Department of Revenue to assist in a review of the Film, Television and Video Project Promotion Program. On Friday, Governor Culver accepted the resignation of IDED Director Mike Tramontina and asked the Economic Development Board to not approve further film tax credit certificates until questions about the administration of the program are answered.

This news comes on the same day members of the board of the Iowa Motion Picture Association held a press conference in Des Moines. Pictured above are Bruce Heppner Elgin, VP of the IMPA Board of Directors and president of StoryBench, Ann Wilkinson, IMPA board member and owner of PMS Casting, and Kent Newman, president of the IMPA Board of Directors and Full Spectrum Productions.

Many media outlets attended, lots of questions and lots of coverage has already happened this weekend.

Several members of the IMPA were in attendance as were those who are in the film industry of Iowa. It almost felt like a pep rally at one point and a wake at another.

Also got a comment about a movie StoryBench is starting next week in the West Branch and Williamsburg area.

The movie is called "Collapse," the last movie to receive tax credits before this mess. Its the third movie the Coralville-based Storybench has done and all of them have been all-Iowa productions.

Thanks to Criss Roberts for the comments.

The story continues...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Take Out the Trash Day?

NBC's political drama The West Wing gave light to the subject of taking out the trash. A story that was piled in with others that most journalists didn't care about. Sometimes, real stories, usually buried deep, were all thrown out together.

Some newsrooms empty on Friday or are focused on sports. When I worked weekends in Davenport, I was in on Friday to get a feel for what's happening and what would be a story the next couple of days. That helped to not come into a weekend cold and void of all current events.

Sometimes, when news breaks late in a day, its hard to get anything official. That can be a problem, but that sometimes leads to better stories of people reacting, not officials reacting. Sometimes that strategy works, but people are noticing when you dump a story on the weekend.

It appears that maybe that's happened Friday with the State of Iowa, Governor Chet Culver's office and the Iowa Department of Economic Development.

Governor Culver's press office normally issues schedules of the Governor, Lt. Gov and First Lady on Friday afternoons.
But this release has a bit more bite.

Press Release from Iowa Governor's Office
Sent: Friday, September 18, 2009 4:49 PM


DES MOINES – The Director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, Mike Tramontina, has tendered his resignation, effective immediately, to Governor Chet Culver.

The Governor has accepted Tramontina’s resignation.

The Department of Economic Development will report to Richard Oshlo, the interim director of the Department of Management, while new leadership at IDED is being considered.

Department heads will resign from time to time during the middle of an administration.
But the news comes at the time of stories floating and in print that the head of the Iowa film office was out of a job. That story was posted on line earlier today.

Here's the most current story from the Register.
The Iowa Film Office issued a statement Friday afternoon.

Good afternoon,

You may have heard false rumors that Tom Wheeler, Manager of the Iowa Film Office, was no longer with the IDED. The IDED has shared with IMPA that Tom is still with the IDED, but currently is not in the office and, according to IDED policy, does not disclose information on personnel matters.

The main thing to know is that the Iowa Film Office is open and operating. In the interim, Amy Johnson is the main contact for the Iowa Film office, which is continuing to accept and process tax incentive applications.

The IMPA is currently finalizing our formal comments regarding the IDED administrative rules for the Film Tax Incentives. Our comments will focus on the need to maintain stability and continuity in the program; as well as continuing support for workforce training and business/infrastructure development.

Thank you,

Tammy Shutters
Program Director
Iowa Motion Picture Association

More to come on this story, that's for sure.
We've had Tramontina on the Iowa Journal a few times. We've also talked about the Iowa Film Tax Credit. In fact, it was the show's second episode back in 2007.

Then we revisited the issue in the spring.

This story brings up several questions. Have we seen the end of the film boom in Iowa?
Will Iowa's Film Office be put back together?
Is the Governor responding to pressure from critics of the tax credit?

We'll see how this story develops.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mayor Brent Matthias?

A former TV reporter, Wartburg VP and emcee for Dolly Parton plans a run at mayor of Waverly.

We've featured Waverly on The Iowa Journal and talked to now-retiring mayor Ike Ackerman. Fun thing about Ike is he can recite every town in Iowa and its population as according to the DOT map issued.

This is not an endorsement of Brent Matthias' campaign, but rather sharing the info.

Brent and I go back a bit during my time at Wartburg and the time since. He's a guy like me, communications major, went through the doors at KWWL-TV and loves the color orange.

Here's an article from 2005 about Brent from the Waterloo Courier.

He'll be in the race against some political big hitters for the Bremer County town. Bob Brunkhorst, the former State Senator, Fifth Ward Councilman Fred Ribich and At-large Councilman Duane Liddle all have already announced their candidacy.

Brunkhorst was in the Senate when I was at Wartburg and started my reporting career at KIMT-TV. Ribich was on faculty at Wartburg during my time, but I did not have any classes with him.

You may have seen Brent on commercials for Casey's General Stores a few years ago. Maybe we can find a couple of those out there and post as well.

What are your favorite Brent Matthias stories?

Here's his release.

Matthias to run for Mayor

A stranger to politics but no stranger to the Waverly Community is running for Mayor. Brent Matthias former KWWL reporter and former Wartburg Assistant Vice President for Admissions is the latest candidate to seek the office of Mayor of Waverly.

"As a son of a Mom who was a social worker and a Dad who was a farmer, and a Wartburg graduate, service and hard work have been ingrained in my life since a young age. Being raised in Bremer County and now living in Waverly since 2002, I have come to appreciate what a wonderful community Waverly is." Matthias stated.

Matthias, 39, will be running against three other candidates, all who have political backgrounds. Bob Brunkhorst, the former State Senator, Fifth Ward Councilman Fred Ribich and At-large Councilman Duane Liddle all have already announced their candidacy.

Therein lies the motivation for Matthias declaring his candidacy.

"There are so many good things about Waverly, but now it is time to take the community to the next level, and one of the ways to do that is to bring in a fresh face and new perspectives; perhaps it’s time for folks to have a non-politician to choose from on the ballot."

Matthias is not unfamiliar to serving the community. He currently serves on the Waverly Cable & Telecommunications Commission, has coached Little League Baseball and Youth Football in Waverly, and is currently a high school baseball coach and motivational speaker. That has led him to start his own company, Matthias Entertainment & Consulting. He and his wife, Kari, have four children and are members of St.John's Lutheran Church here in Waverly. Kari is a speech language pathologist for AEA 267.

"My family and I have talked about giving back by being involved in city government and I always said "someday". But after being flooded out of our house in the summer of 08' and learning more about the political process through recovery efforts, I realized that this is the time to become more involved and that "someday" is now." Matthias said.

Matthias's key issues will include; bringing more economic development to town, looking into flood recovery and flood mitigation issues, improving the systemic health of city government, and bringing in more tourism to Waverly.

"We want to focus on all the citizens of Waverly and hear what their needs are and how they want to see their community move into the future. Waverly has good schools, a good college, a good hospital, a good retirement community, good businesses, and there is no reason that Waverly can't be the star of the state! It should be an exciting time for all of the families and citizens of Waverly!"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Norman Borlaug, Economy and the Dead Zone

The first show of the new season is in the books, now its time for episode two of The Iowa Journal.

I've mentioned before that we playing with the format a bit. Did you notice?

This week we also do something different. No studio discussion. Its just three stories this week. We had a discussion scheduled on the Dead Zone and Iowa's contribution, but have dropped that for another big story. The death of Iowa native Norman Borlaug.

We've got a hold of a documentary that was in the works about Borlaug and will air a part of that Thursday night at 8p on statewide Iowa Public Television. Market to Market is also working on a feature as well. Andrew Batt is on the case. Look for his report Friday night. On a side note, I had just mentioned Borlaug's health to Batt about ten days ago after hearing that Borlaug was not in good health. I will stop mentioning anyone and their health for quite sometime.

We also will look at the economy according to Creighton University Economics professor Ernie Goss. Earlier this month, Rick Fuller and I traveled to Omaha to spend a couple of days with Dr. Goss. He's been on show in a couple of other times to talk about gambling, and regional economies. He's a good friend of the show and always enjoyable to talk to. We already aired one feature on his MidAmerica Business Conditions Index on Market to Market. You can watch that story here. We'll air our feature on Thursday and then post the full interview about Iowa's economy on our website.

--UPDATE-- The full interview lives here. If the video is not there, check back, it will be soon.

Another fun side note about Borlaug as said by Penn and Teller. Ok, really just Penn since Teller is silent. Here's a fun video sent to me by Derek Balsley.

Producer Nancy Crowfoot also is putting the finishing touches on Iowa's contribution to the Dead Zone. What are Iowans doing to put chemicals in the Mississippi River and eventually the Gulf Of Mexico? There is a conference about this issue taking place in the next few days, so this is a preview to that. We'll revisit the topic later in the season in-studio when we can devote time to it.

Thanks for taking the time. Glad to have you reading this far.
Have you seen the monkey?

See you Thursday at 8p on IPTV. BTW, no new Grey's Anatomy this week.
UPDATE: The Office is new. But they do reruns. We don't.
You can also watch our replay Friday night at 630p.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Season of The Iowa Journal

Its time to get those DVRs ready to record a brand new season of The Iowa Journal, your favorite Iowa Public Television program. Except for Clifford, Sid, Martha and a whole bunch of other great shows on the network.

We are back Thursday at 8p on statewide IPTV in full high definition. We begin season 3 with a look at education in Iowa. The official line from our website is:

"The Iowa Journal examines the need to refocus the work of school principals, and how that could help increase student achievement."

In a previous Tweet on Wednesday morning, you were given homework. Here's the note again..

"Your homework before Thursday's return of The Iowa Journal at 8p on IPTV."

Our program will include a look at The Principal Story, a documentary airing on IPTV September 15th.

Here's part of the official news release.

Troyce Fisher of the School Administrators of Iowa; long-time Des Moines North High School principal, Vincent Lewis; and Ben Johnson, a newer assistant high school principal from Fort Dodge. The program will also feature reports from Clear Creek Amana Middle School, and an interview with Iowa Department of Education Director Judy Jeffrey.

See you Thursday at 8 or Friday at 6:30p on IPTV.

Monday, August 24, 2009

How is Iowa doing on healthcare, economy and stimulus?

There's a chance I may get to do an interview segment for PBS' NewsHour on Tuesday or Wednesday. Now that I've said it, I'll jinx it. Regardless, I would like to know how you feel on some issues.

PBS is looking for hosts and producers across the country to answer questions about the state of the country from our home view.

I need to do a little research and that's where you can help. This way, I sound like I know what's on the mind of Iowans best answer the questions.

The producer of the segment has a few questions, so I have a few questions for you.

Can you help me answer these questions?

Q: Are you surprised on what has happened to President Obama's public approval in your area?

Q: How are people feeling about health care reform?

Q: How engaged are they in the debate?

Q: Areas of reform they feel strongly about?

Q: How has unemployment been fairing there?

Q: What sectors are hardest hit by the recession?

Q: Any other topics people care about right now besides Economy and Health care reform?

Q: What budget issues is your legislature dealing with?

Q: What impact has stimulus money had on your area?

If you've got thoughts on any of these questions, please send me a response or post them in comments. I appreciate the time.

If you want to email me, drop me a line to

The Iowa Journal returns September 10th

The new season of The Iowa Journal is getting closer.

We have put the Iowa State Fair in the rearview mirror and now its time to set sail for season 3 of The Iowa Journal.

We begin September 10th with a look at "The Principal Story." Its a documentary featuring a new and veteran school principal. Both women are followed in their ups and downs of the world of education. We will be doing a local look at the program to see the Iowa angle to this POV documentary. You can watch a video clip right here.

September 17th will bring a look at the 50th anniversary of Khrushchev's visit to Iowa and the Garst family in Coon Rapids. It was ground breaking then and would still be major news today if it was to be repeated. We've found some old TV footage with Jim Zabel and Jack Shelley doing commentary on the visit by the Soviet Union leader.

We are visiting with Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss next week as he releases his latest economic survey. What goes into that survey will be seen on Market to Market next week, but we will have an extended interview with Goss on the Iowa economy.

We've also got producers looking at the healthcare debate, the preparedness for H1N1, Iowa's contribution to the Dead Zone and look at our natural heritage.

These topics will be discussed in full on some programs, while others will be a snapshot of what's happening now and compiled for a larger discussion down the road.

The Iowa Journal may look a little different to you at home this fall, but we hope its still the same show that you've come to expect from Iowa Public Television.

For now, you can see some of our past work at

See you September 10th at 8p.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Help bring Wartburg and Jimmy Fallon together

I don't know Spencer Albers.
I don't know Nate Vaughn.

But I do know their school and their cause.

Both are trying to get Nate a spot as Jimmy Fallon's intern on Fallon's new late night talk show on NBC.

Nate is like me in that we are/were electronic media majors at Wartburg College in Waverly.

Spencer sent me a note on Twitter asking me to help the cause, so here I go.

Vaughn would be a campus based intern doing funny stuff from Waverly and also blogging about it.

Wartburg has a full release here.

And if you want to see Nate's video. Its here. Fun stuff featuring the Wartburg Chapel, track and studios of Wartburg TV.

Please take time to vote and send to your friends if you think Nate's the right guy for the job.

Take time to help your fellow Iowan and Wartburg student.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Time at the Iowa State Fair

I think most of the Iowa State Fair prep is done and ready. Now I just need the days to arrive to do the stories.

This is my second year of producing fair coverage for IPTV. Its still fun for me to got out and enjoy a day. I'm always amazed at how you can get sucked into one event and not notice anything else that's happening around me.

Here's a look at where you can see me or avoid me during the Iowa State Fair. I plan to post pictures as the days go on from the mobile production.

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009.
Tallest Cornstalk: Annual event. This year one of the spectators will be a family from Washington, Iowa who has connections to the tallest corn stalk ever.
For more than 30 years, from 1939 to 1967, no one grew corn taller than Don Radda. His top stalk reached 31 feet 7/8 inches. Now a permanent commemoration of the stalk has been erected at the Washington County Fairgrounds with hope for a similar statue at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. We are looking at the historic growth efforts by Radda and this year's corn competition at Pioneer Hall. Measuring begins at noon on Wednesday.

Friday, August 14th, 2009.
Welde Bear show: Johny Welde operates the bear show and it is more than just an attraction, this is a way of life.
For 85 years the Welde family has raised bears and kept them. These bears at the Iowa State Fair are part of a traveling show that leaves Florida during hurricane season. His bears are movie stars, nothing new for the family. Current group were in Brother Bear and have modeled before. Family history goes into many TV shows and movies.
They travel with 11 bears, they do not sell the bears. Johnny's been around the Bears since he was 3. That's almost 50 years.
We plan to attend the noon show.

Sunday, August 16th, 2009.
Marbles shooting contest: - Marvin Oline has run the show for nine years.
There are 2 or 3 shoots every day, between 1 and 5 near the old church and the chainsaw guy. Its in the shade, raised tables and everyone gets a button, bag of marbles and a ribbon. A couple of divisions, finalists get call backs for the last day of the fair. 9th year at ISF. Marvin has been facinated by marbles his whole life. Meet at 12 on Sunday.

Polka Performance: First time feature for the IPTV Fair coverage. Polka people from across the state will dance at Pioneer Hall. We followed a central Iowa polka club on a dance warm up at a senior center in Clive. Then we're following them as they entertain at the State Fair with other polka clubs across the state. The show is interactive, trying to get people from the crowd involved in the dancing. This is also an effort to preserve the spirit that is the polka including wardrobe, music and dance.
See you at 9AM on Thursday, August 20th, 2009.

Say hello to us or any of the IPTV crew and let them know how you think we're doing and that you love the Iowa Journal.

Did I mention you can see Dan Wardell at the Fair as well? Stop by and say hello in the Varied Industries building.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Blast from the State Fair past

This week is the time to get our Iowa State Fair features in order before next week hits. We did more pre-fair features than in years past as a way to cut down on OT. So, I even got into the mix.

I was editing the Corn Dog Kickoff on Monday. I was in need of tapes from 1993 when the Blue Ribbon Foundation really got going. I pulled some of our tapes from that year when I stumbled across some great video from my high school years.

It wasn't my personal experience, but from my time frame of when I was there with my 4H projects.

But what I found was the State Fair Queen contest. A review of tape of the 1993 Fair was well worth it. Former Wartburg students Emily Jaspers, Cheri Jensen, Steph Harvey and a name I hadn't seen in quite some time, Sara Franken. Sara was a Comm Arts major. Even one of Amy's high school mates, Nellie Bassett. Also Amy Horst, currently with the Metro Waste Authority.

The 1994 tape found former Wartburger, Amy Fleming. I think the KIMT-TV anchor would love me if that tape showed up one day.

I know in 10 or 20 years I'll look at the stuff I'm doing now and laugh. But until that time, I can just chuckle at my past.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Iowa State Fair coverage

Its time to get our corn dogs and lemonade diets ready for IPTV's coverage of the Iowa State Fair.

We got our assignments of fair stories for this year. We've got some fan favorites again. For me, most everything is new to me. There's so much to the fair that I don't see or have seen before.

You can spend 6 hours at the same event and be focused on that same event and have no idea there's anything else going on at the fair. Last year I was at the Monster Arm Wrestling event inside a show arena. You have no idea the fair is going on because there's no windows to the outside and you are focused on that one event.

This year I'll be covering the marble shoot, bears, tall corn, polka plus my features already shot on the Jacobson Exhibition and the corn dog kick off.

Iowa Public Televisions coverage of the Iowa State Fair is usually some of our most watched programming of the network. That's exciting to be part of something that special to Iowans. Here's a look at our coverage from the past and plans for this year. We begin airing nightly highlight shows on August 17 at 9 P.M.

Check out page for past coverage like the husband calling and mom calling contest.

Here's my rubber chicken toss story.

Right now I'm finishing writing about the Corn Dog Kick Off and soon time for the Jacobson story.

What's your favorite event of the Iowa State Fair?