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.