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The Exchange, Iowa Water Quality Bill, UI Clinical Trials

Welcome to The Exchange, on Siouxland Public Media. I’m Mary Hartnett.  

For the third year in a row, the Iowa House on Tuesday took up water quality legislation, and by noon the bill finally passed on a mostly partisan vote.    The legislation which is now on its way to the governor spends millions of dollars for water quality improvement projects over the next decade.       But the final version pitted farm groups against environmentalists and there was bitter debate.   

Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a research-based plan to reduce nutrients in Iowa waterways by 45%....Nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus pollute Iowa drinking water and create algae blooms that make the lakes unswimmable.     Spirit Lake Republican John Wills says the bill that finally passed assures there’ll be money to carry the strategy out:

State Representative John Wills (R), Spirit Lake

WILLS:    The bill builds upon the successful implementation of the nutrient reduction strategy and provides for long-term and sustainable funding.   This is just the beginning not the end.

The bill spends 286 million dollars over 12 years to improve practices on the farm and in cities and towns.   That money would be diverted from existing sources that currently pay for schools, infrastructure, and other priorities.    That’s a problem for minority Democrats:

State Representative Sharon Steckman (D) Mason City

STECKMAN:     I'm asking myself why this why now.

Representative Sharon Steckman along with  most Democrats favored a version of the bill that also would have diverted money away from other priorities.   But they say in their bill   there was more to ensure the dollars are targeted where they will improve the water the most.   Dubuque Democrat Charles Isenhart said the alternative bill would have made more accountability possible including

State Representative Charles Isenhart (D) Dubuque

ISENHART:    Goals, timelines, measurement, monitoring of water quality in stream, public reporting of results.

The bill that passed instead initially came from Governor Brans tad’s office and has the backing of major farm groups as well as Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.    Northey called the bill do-able.   Boone Republican Chip Baltimore was one of a handful of GOP lawmakers who opposed it:

BALTIMORE:    I did not come down here to check a box and just because water quality the words water quality is in the title of the bill does not make me proud to vote for it so I can put it on a postcard when I campaign.

State Representative Chip Baltimore (R) Boone

Critics say the bill makes individual landowners less accountable for any money they receive to improve farm practices.     Baltimore singled out the Farm Bureau for what he called its aggressive lobbying, and for in his words being unwilling to compromise.   Rep. Will called the lobbying immaterial.

The Iowa Environmental Council said neither version of the bill provided enough money to address what they estimate is a 4 to 6-billion-dollar problem.     One lawmaker called it a trickle in the bucket.      The council put out a statement calling the bill that gained final passage an irresponsible. use of taxpayer funds that gives no assurance of actually cleaning up our lakes and streams,

Rep. Wills said Iowa is already making progress getting nutrients out of the water:      

MILLS:    We’ve already in the last five years with the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, 83% of our rivers and streams are monitored with water monitor devices and they show that we’ve already reduced our nutrient load by 1% just in 4 years so we want to continue with that goal in mind.

In her condition of the state speech, Governor Reynolds called the legislation monumental.    After it passed, she issued a statement   calling it   an important next step in making Iowa’s lakes, rivers and streams cleaner.   She’ll announce the time for a signing ceremony at a later date.


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

The University of Iowa Health Care Center recently found a way to greatly expand its clinical trial opportunities.  The center joined the TriNetX global health research network, which provides access to industry-sponsored clinical trial opportunities.

In the first six months, UI Health Care was provided access to over 40 clinical trial opportunities from biopharmaceutical companies and Contract Research Organizations (CROs) on the network.  David Fursari is the chief technical officer with TriNetX based in Boston, Massachusetts.  

David Fusari

David Fursari, TriNetX

That was David Fusari of the TriNetx, a Boston-based global health network that connects researchers conducting clinical trials. The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has been working with TriNetX for the past six months.

Dr. Patricial Winokur, Executive Dean, UI Carver College of Medicine

Dr. Patricia Winokur is the Executive Dean of UI Carver College of Medicine.  She talks about the school’s collaboration with TriNetX global health company in terms of clinical trials. 

Dr. Winokur

That was Dr. Patricia Winokur,  the Executive Dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine.  She was talking about the school’s collaboration with TriNetX global health company in terms of clinical trials. 

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

There have been a large number of books written about the Little House author Laura Ingalls Wilder looking at her life and work. Now horticulturalist, teacher and writer Marta McDowell has written about Laura and her relationship with the landscapes of her books.  McDowell is known for her books about authors like Beatrix Potter and Emily Dickenson as gardeners.  

In her book, “The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Frontier Landscapes that Inspired the Little House Books. McDowell says the book was inspired in part by 

by the huge reaction to “Pioneer Girl: The annotated Autobiography” of Laura Ingalls Wilder four years ago.

McDowell says she realized that she would have to visit each Little House site in order to get a feel for the landscapes and the plants that grew there. 

Author, horticulturalist and teacher Marta McDowell


That was Marta McDowell, author of “The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Frontier Landscapes that Inspired the Little House Books.

South Dakota Chorale

The South Dakota Chorale, a professional choral organization based in Sioux Falls, has been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance for its latest recording, "Tyberg Masses."

The Grammy Awards will be presented  Jan. 28. 

The music of Marcel Tyberg, a church musician and composer killed in the holocaust, has only recently been rediscovered. The South Dakota Chorale's concerts and recording are the first time the choral works have been heard since Tyberg's death. The recording was made at First Plymouth Congregational Church in Lincoln, Neb.

Siouxland Public Media’s Ally Karsyn talks with the chorale’s chair, Heath Weber about the nomination and the music that inspired it.

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