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The Exchange, The Patterning Instinct, Boys Training School Lawsuit

The Exchange 112917

Comingup on the Exchange, two disability rights advocacy groups are suing the state of iowa over the treatment of troubled youth the Eldora Boys training school.  There are allegations of mistreatment and lack of care of mentally ill youth.

Also, Iowa is leading the nation in it’s new program to benefit farmers who plant cover crops to help improve water quality and get rid of the Dead Zone in the gulm of mexico.

We talk with Jeremy Lent the author of a new book that delves in the reasons why mankind keeps doing the same things and making the same mistakes over and over.. and we have a preview of this Friday’s ode program with Aly Karsyn


Advocacy groups have filed a federal lawsuit alleging officials at an Iowa school for juvenile offenders are failing to provide adequate mental health care. The lawsuit was filed Monday in Des Moines by Disability Rights Iowa and the national watchdog organization Children's Rights. The groups allege that officials at the Boys State Training School in Eldora, administer "dangerous" psychotropic medications without adequate oversight and consent. Nathan Kirstein is with Disability Rights Iowa.  Kirstein says the issues with the boys training school are much like the issues that eventually closed down the girls training school in Toledo.

That was Nathan Kirstein of Disability Rights Iowa talking about the lawsuit that organization has filed with the national group Children’s Rights against the state of Iowa over the way officials treat youthful offenders at the Boys Training School in Eldora. 

Disability Rights Iowa

That was Nathan Kirstein, of Disability Rights Iowa. The group is suing the state over the treatment of troubled youth at the Boys State Training School in Eldora.  The national group Children’s Rights is also involved in the lawsuit.  The Iowa Department of Human Services says it won’t comment on ongoing litigation.

You’re listening to the exchange on Siouxland Public Media, I’m Mary Hartnett.

Iowa has a first in the nation program aimed at decreasing dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico caused toxic algi blooms.  The program will give farmers who plant cover crops a $5-per-acre discount on their crop insurance over the next three years, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Cover crops soak up excess nutrients in the soil, especially during wet winter months, when fertilizer leaches out of bare fields and into waterways. 

Nitrogen turns to nitrate when it hits the water, fouling drinking water sources and also contributing to toxic algal blooms.  Much of this excess fertilizer flows into the Mississippi River and then the Gulf of Mexico, creating a dead zone each year that depletes oxygen in the water and chokes off aquatic life.

The three-year demonstration project is a partnership of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship  and the USDA Risk Management Agency which administers crop insurance. 

Ann Robinson is the Agriculture Policy Director for the Iowa Environmental Council.  

How cover crops work

Robinson says the way cover crops work to help preserve the soil and clean the water is fairly simple.

That was Ann Robinson, the Agriculture Policy Director for the Iowa Environmental Council.

Sarah Carlson is the Cover Crop director for Practical Farmers of Iowa.  She works with farmers to help them practice an agriculture that benefits both the land and people.  Carlson says farmers have long used cover crops for a myriad of reasons.  

The Iowa Environmental Council

That was Sarah Carlson, the Cover Crop director for the Practical Farmers of Iowa.  She and her colleagues are being recognized for their expertise next month at cover crop conference in Indianapolis.

Practical Farmers of Iowa

You’re listening to the Exchange, on Siouxland Public Media, I’m Mary Hartnett. 

Climate change has been blamed on many factors, from pollution to overuse of fossil fuels. But one author says the “pattern” for creating this problem and many others was created long before we depended on oil and gas.  Jeremy Lent is the author of “The Patterning Instinct: A cultural history of humanity’s search for meaning.  

Lent says That the patterning instinct is very strong in humans and it makes them distinct from all other animals. He says humans have a strong need to pattern meaning and metaphor into the things that surround us.  And those patterns have set the stage for events that occurred hundreds and even thousands of years later.

Jeremy Lent

That was Jeremy Lent the author of the Patterning Instinct: A cultural history of humanity’s search for meaning 

Aly Karsyn

Aly Karsyn has a preview of this Friday's Ode.


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