Day Without Immigrants, HB 291, Social Justice Council

Listen Here Now Originally broadcast 02/17/2017
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Ames immigrant rights activist Rick Exner and Zoami Callas-Ríos Sosa, immigrant resident and activist from Webster City, report from the A Day Without Immigrants rally in Des Moines, part of a national day of demonstrations and boycotts, to highlight immigrants' roles in US society.

We also heard from Melissa Peterson, government relations specialist from the Iowa State Education Association teachers' union, describes how the Iowa Legislature passed House Bill 291, that dramatically scaled back collective bargaining in union contract negotiations for the state’s public workers, and the union's perceived consequences.

Kathy Hansen, Director of School, Community and Media Relations for Ames Community School District, introduces Steph Shares, Ames Middle School teacher who started a Social Justice Council there. Student leasers in the group, Malik Davis, Jason Vernon, and Olivia Reed, describe how they address prejudice and bullying.

Alex Fejfar, from the Ames History Center, tells the story of Herman Banning, who studied at Iowa State and was the first African American to get his pilots license. He traveled from coast to coast, barnstormed, and even named his plane Miss Ames.

Public Education in the Cross-Hairs; Murder Mysteries

Originally broadcast 02/15/2017
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First, Steve Gray, joint superintendent of both Nevada and Colo/Nesco school districts, discussed the challenges rural schools face--and how those might be exacerbated by pending legislation. Then, State Senator Herman Quirmbach of Ames told of over one-and-a-half million dollars that will be lost by both Ames and Boone school districts with this year's 1.1% allowable growth law, and describes scenes of disenfranchisement in this week's legislative hearings. Finally, Kelly McMahon, a preschool / kindergarten teacher in the Cedar Rapids school district, formerly a teacher in Milwaukee, compared the climate under Scott Walker's Act 10 to that she expects with the pending Iowa labor bills, HSB84 and SF213. Iowans for Public Education urged citizens to discuss these issues with their legislators. Senator Jerry Behn will hold several.

The second half of our show featured two plays opening this weekend. Joe Ferrell and Sam Barnes gave us a preview of Judge Story's Theatrical Troupe's dinner theatre, Who Will Murder Marsha? a play about a woman addicted to reading murder mysteries, and what happens when her husband tries to persuade her to stop. The second murder mystery, Webster City Community Theatre's Murder on a Budget, is set during a class reunion on a cruise ship (the budget reunion location). Playwright/director Sally Evans described a the situation of this, her fifth, original murder mystery play.

Racial Disparities in Ames Schools

Originally broadcast 02/10/2017
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The Iowa School Report Card showed a 36 percentage point achievement gap between white and black students at Ames Middle School--and this gap has been increasing. Other sources show racial discrepancies in disciplinary measures. ISU sociology professor and school board candidate Monic Behnken, who studies the "School-to-Prison Pipeline", as it is widely called, joins us for a wide-ranging discussion of these issues.

We hear from Ames Middle School principal Pam Stangeland, and listen to audio from the ACSD school board meeting where the achievement gap was discussed by district staff only after school board member Lewis Rosser raised a question about it. Then, we hear from Tom Andre, former Chair of ISU's Department of Curriculum and Instruction and current member of AMOS, about data showing persistent racial disparities in school disciplinary measures across the Ames district.

Finally Melissa Spencer, the Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator of Story County, presents us a reminder of how to be prepared for disasters, in both our households and our places of work.

International Students and Refugees at ISU and in Ames

Originally broadcast 02/10/2017
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ISU Hoodies and Hijabs rally: fears, angers, hopes, and visions of local students and residents, including one of the rally organizers
Photo by Jill Itzen, Iowa State Daily                 Wesley Harris,
a PHD candidate in the ISU School of Education and president of the ISU Black Graduate Student Association at, and Dr. Martino Harmon, Sr. Vice President of Student Affairs.
Support for international and multicultural students at ISU is described by Liz Mendez-Shannon from the new ISU Office for Diversity and Inclusion, together with Elizabeth Martínez-Podolsky - Multicultural Liaison Officer, Undergraduate Retention Specialist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and Tabatha Cruz - Program Coordinator for                              Retention and leader of the Multicultural Vision Program.

Tedesco Park and Immigrant Issues

Listen Here Now Originally broadcast 02/08/2017
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Leanne Harter gave her monthly Story County report including plans for Tedesco Environmental Learning Corridor.

The implications of State Study Bill 67 to beconsidered by the House Public Safety Commitee were explored, first at the forum held in Story City on February 4, in a dialogue between Representative Dave Deyoe and Rick Exner. We reported its fate in the Public Safety Committee where 75 protesters stormed the hearing, denouncing the “You’re Not Welcome Here” bill. The protest failed to prevent the bill passing out of committee.

Then we focused on Webster City, where we heard from Janet Toering, director of All Cultures Equal Community Center (ACE) about the importance of immigrants to the economy of Iowa. Zoami Calles-Rios-Sosa, President of ACE, told us about the ways citizens of Webster City are supporting their immigrant populations through a new organization Better Together.

We wrapped up this topic with an interview with JoAnn Barten, Ames immigration lawyer, about some of the legal complexities immigrants can face.

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