KHOI Reporter Denied Access to Governor's Press Conference, Pub Fiction Aug 12

Originally broadcast 08/02/2021 

Last Wednesday, July 28, KHOI Reporter Laura Belin attempted to attend the press conference held by Governor Reynolds but was denied access by Pat Garret, Communications Director for the Office of the Governor. Belin, who is the author of the blog Bleeding Heartland, showed that she also reports for KHOI and was told Garret would “look into it.” KHOI respectfully requests that Ms. Belin be admitted to news events in order to report for our radio station.

On Friday, an email was sent by the Iowa Capital PressAssociation officers to Pat Garrett, objecting to the exclusion of Laura Belin from the governor’s news conference:


The Iowa Capitol Press Association objects to your exclusion of one of our members, Laura Belin, from the governor’s news conference on July 28.

Belin, as a contractor with KHOI Radio, meets the only written media credential qualifications that exist in state government, created by the Iowa House for the 2020 legislative session. Another journalist and ICPA member who meets this same criteria, Jack Hunt, was credentialed to cover the Legislature in 2020 through a contract with a separate media organization. Further, the governor routinely admits journalists to cover news events outside of the Des Moines area who have never been credentialed by any state entity.

We respectfully request that Belin be admitted to all future news events as a member of the working press. Some representatives of the association would be happy to meet with you to discuss this issue."

Iowa Capitol Press Association
Erin Murphy, President
Kathie Obradovich, Vice President
Katarina Sostaric, Secretary

The Iowa Capital Press Association also issued a statement to AP’s Ryan Foley, who reported this incident, relating to a separate public records controversy with the Iowa governor's office. 

On Local Talk, Laura Belin explains what happened and the status of what kinds of credentials are needed during this year, adjustments have been made due to the pandemic. Then, Randy Evans, Executive Director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, speaks about how Belin’s exclusion from the press conference is a violation US court decisions ruling that politicians cannot treat reporters differently based on perceived bias. The Iowa Freedom of Information Council helps reporters, government officials, and all citizens with access to legally public documents. 

Amy Juhnke, co-chair of Ames Public Library Friends Foundation, announces Pub Fiction, August 12th Ames’ most literary (and nerdy) pub crawl. Crawlers are invited to dress up as their own literary figure favorites as they visit participating bars, who will have their own literary themes as well. Participating businesses will include: Della VitiDog EaredBooksLondon Underground, NoirTime OutTorrent, and Whiskey River. KHOI producer Cynthia McClure and her husband Chris McClure are regulars. On Local Talk, they describe why one should do it, as well as what literary figures they have been and will be when crawling Pub Fiction.

LOCAL TALK 30 July 2021

Originally broadcast 07/30/2021 

Listen to the entire episode now! 

Local Talk Friday July 30, 2021 featured Dennis Hart News.  A memorial to Loren Zephier, Chief Golden Light Eagle of the Yankton Nation was presented in a discussion of the sacred sundance.  Neil Weiss, Water and Pollution Control Asst. Director discussed water practices to reduce consumption during draught.  For further information he said call 515-239-5150 or go to website CityofAmes/Smart Water and learn more about water conservation.

Opioids and Pain, Homelessness, and Festivals

Originally broadcast 07/28/2021 

Stefan Franzen, author of Patient Z, an exploration of the effects of national policy on opioids for pain patients started the program.  Al Womble,  president of Black Democratic Iowa Caucus,  informed us of the plight of residents of the Crestwood Apartments (23 low income apartments) in Davenport, who are being evicted with inadequate warning on August 1.  Turning to festivals in our listening area, we heard from Teri Gallahan one of the organizers of Gilbert Days being celebrated next Friday and Saturday, July 30 and 31.  Paul Wierson was joined by Shanon McKinley, director of StoryCity’s Greater Chamber Connection to give us a recap of Story City’s Abbreviated Scandinavian Days and Carousel Convention.

Vang, A Mary Swander Production About Immigrant Farmers, Mandalas by Swati Lodha

Originally broadcast 07/26/2021 

Listen to the entire episode now! 

Last Wednesday, Iowa’s U.S. Sen.Chuck Grassley, U.S. Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa governor TomVilsack, and the president of the National Pork Producers Council, Jen Sorenson from West Des Moines, called for Congress to overhaul the U.S. immigration system to ease a farm-worker shortage, stating that farm worker shortage is year-round in Iowa. According to Mary Swander, Artistic Director of SwanderWoman Productions, a theatre troupe that performs dramas about food, farming, and the wider rural environment, at least 50 % of farm labor in Iowa is done by immigrants. Swander, who is a playwright, Executive Director of AgArts, a nonprofit designed to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts, former Poet Laureate of Iowa and an award-winning author, describes how she created her play Vang, about immigrant farmers in Iowa. The play follows farm families who came from Mexico, Laos, Sudan, and Holland. We also hear a brief excerpt from one of their stories. Mary discusses what she learned from interviewing these farmers, their issues of land access, cultural barriers, and overcoming hardship to reinvent the American dream. A performance of Vang can be seen online here

Ames resident Swati Lodha, shares her discovery of the art of mandala, a meditative tool that can be picked up for stress relief, peace, and even possibly better sleep. Lodha makes mandalas with pen and paper but also references the famous mandala made from sand by Buddhist monks, that take weeks to make and then are instantly destroyed.  She points out that not all mandalas are round; they can come in any shape but must use repetitive designs.Swati has collaborated with Nadav Mir at Morning Bell in Ames, where her mandalas can now be found as stickers. They can also be seen here on Instagram.

LOCAL TALK 23 July 2021

Originally broadcast 07/23/2021 

Local Talk for Friday, July 23, 2021 featured Dennis Hart news from the past week from the Ames Tribune.  Liz Garst from Coon Rapids, Iowa discussed her Garst family history of farming.  Her discussion of conservation easements on property they will be selling includes a "soil health" requirement.  This is a new concept that Ms. Garst spelled out nicely.  Public Relations Officer for the City of Ames, Susan Gwiasda invited Ames Fire Chief, Rich Higgins to discuss Emergency Preparedness sign up.  It is good to double check and observe that special medical needs are included in your contact information.  Check with Melissa at 515-382-7316 or Story county  Doug Harr, President of Iowa Audubon rounded out the hour with a disturbing story concerning song bird populations on the East Coast.  A mysterious calamity is killing song birds.  The malady has migrated west to Indiana yet it has not be diagnosed in Iowa at this time.  Iowa Department of Natural Resources issued a news release that it is timely to clean bird feeders and the feeding area with a 10% bleach solution.  However it is not necessary to discontinue feeding birds at this time.  John Trudell provided music interludes with Baby Boom Che from his CD Grafitti Man.

Iowa Outdoors - Trains, Trails, Rivers, Creeks, and Gardens

Originally broadcast 07/21/2021 

Bob BourneRailroad Historian, and vice president of the Ames History Museum, gave us a brief rundown on how Iowa developed more railroad tracks than any other state.  Then Lisa Hein,  from the Natural Heritage Foundation told us about the transformation of an abandoned railroad line into Iowa’s High Trestle Trail.  Since the High Trestle Trail overlooks the Des Moines River the next place to go was the organization that cares for rivers, Prairie Rivers of Iowa.  Doug Cooper and Mike Kellner told us about how that organization is celebrating its 21st birthday on August 20 at Alluvial Brewing Company (and where to get tickets) "Butterflies, Bees, and Brew"    And Steve Lekwa, retired Story County Conservation Officer, addressed the question “Who Were the Ioway.” We ended in the garden of Dr. Patricia Tice, who told us the story of her invention of The Plant Patron which successfully and humanely keeps critters from damaging plants in gardens.


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