Katarina Sostaric

Reporter

Katarina Sostaric is a Des Moines based reporter for Iowa Public Radio.

She previously covered Eastern Iowa for IPR from Iowa City. Before coming to Iowa, Katarina was a reporter and host at a public radio station in Southeast Alaska, where her work also aired on Alaska’s statewide public radio network.

Katarina worked as a Morning Edition news anchor and general assignment reporter at KBIA in Columbia while she was a student at the Missouri School of Journalism. She has bachelor’s degrees in Convergence Journalism and International Studies from the University of Missouri.

Katarina’s favorite public radio program is Reveal.

adam wright
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

A proposed wind project in Iowa could make MidAmerican Energy the country’s first utility to generate renewable energy equal to 100 percent of customers’ annual usage. The company announced this goal two years ago.

On Wednesday, MidAmerican Energy President and CEO Adam Wright said last year, just over half of the energy produced by the company came from wind. 

“That’s going to continue to creep up,” Wright said. “By the time we get to 2019, 2020, we should be above 90 percent from wind, and the rest will be coming from the other resources that we have.”

John Pemble / IPR file photo

Political analysts say there’s “reason to be optimistic” this year’s elections could lead to a record-breaking number of women serving in the Iowa Legislature.

There have never been more than 35 women among the state’s 150 lawmakers.

“Part of the reason we hit that ceiling is not having enough women run for office,” said Kelly Winfrey, assistant professor at Iowa State University and coordinator at the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics. “This year, we have more women running, so we would expect to see more women winning.”

dave jamison
John Pemble/IPR file

Gov. Kim Reynolds is asking the state to deny unemployment benefits to the former director of a state housing agency she fired over allegations of sexual harassment.

Reynolds fired Iowa Finance Authority Director Dave Jamison on March 24, less than 24 hours after she received a complaint from one of his employees.

nate boulton
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

UPDATE: 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 24

Nate Boulton said in a statement Thursday morning he is suspending his campaign for governor. 

"While I depart this campaign for governor with a heavy heart, I remain resolved to the greater cause of creating a future Iowa we all can be proud to call our home," the statement read.  

There are five other Democrats running in the primary.  By Thursday morning, four of them had called for Boulton to drop out of the race, and John Norris said Boulton shouldn't be the Democratic nominee. 

cedar rapids police patch
City of Cedar Rapids

Sherriff’s deputies in Iowa are increasingly spending time on mental health cases. They are tracking down people who are court-ordered to enter mental health treatment and transporting patients between hospitals and commitment hearings.

Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson says his deputies sometimes arrest people who not breaking the law but who clearly need assistance. He says sometimes there’s nowhere to take them but to jail.

bill signing
John Pemble / IPR

Iowa’s Executive Council voted Monday to approve the hiring of a Chicago-based conservative law firm to represent the state in a lawsuit challenging the fetal heartbeat abortion law.

planned parenthood clinic
Sarah Boden/IPR File

Groups that provide or refer patients for abortions would reportedly be barred from receiving federal funding under a soon to be released Trump administration proposal.

democratic debate
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

The six Democratic candidates for Iowa governor had some heated exchanges Wednesday at a debate at the Iowa Public TV studios in Johnston. It was the first time voters saw the six candidates directly address each other and attack their opponents’ records.

All of the candidates said they want to decrease state tax credits given to businesses because they see them as hurting Iowa’s revenue growth and leading to budget cuts for education and state agencies.

rita bettis
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Planned Parenthood, the ACLU of Iowa and the Emma Goldman Clinic are suing Gov. Kim Reynolds over her recent signing of the fetal heartbeat abortion law.

They say the law—which bans most abortions after about six weeks into pregnancy—should be struck down as unconstitutional. They are also asking the Polk County District Court to block the law from taking effect while the lawsuit plays out.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland President and CEO Suzanna de Baca said Tuesday if the law takes effect July 1, it will have a “devastating effect” on women seeking abortions.

democratic primary forum
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

There’s a lot of Democratic energy surrounding the 2018 elections because Democrats see them as a chance to get into Congress and oppose the Trump administration’s agenda.

In Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, which covers rural southwest Iowa and the cities of Des Moines and Council Bluffs, three candidates are running in the Democratic primary to take on two-term Republican U.S. Rep. David Young. Eddie Mauro, Cindy Axne and Pete D’Alessandro have similar views on many issues and all live in the Des Moines area, but they have different backgrounds.

jerry foxhoven
Joyce Russell/IPR

Another worker at Iowa’s school for delinquent boys has been attacked by a resident.

According to Iowa Department of Human Services, a student of the state training school at Eldora punched a staff member in the face on Saturday, May 5.

DHS Director Jerry Foxhoven described the resulting injuries at a meeting Wednesday.

“The doctors have said that his injuries look like what they get from somebody from a very serious car accident,” Foxhoven said.

Wikimedia Commons

Early voting started Monday for the June 5th primary elections for Iowa governor, U.S. representatives, and other offices. It marks the first statewide use of Iowa’s new voter ID law, which was signed into law in 2017.

Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald says if voters register by May 25, they don’t need an ID to vote in-person.

“So you can sign an oath of identity saying, ‘I’m Joe Voter, I’m in the pre-registration book. I either don’t have my ID or I prefer not to give it.’ For 2018, that’s an option for everybody,” Fitzgerald says.

bill signing
John Pemble / IPR

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the country’s most restrictive abortion law Friday afternoon, banning most abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

House and Senate Republicans sent the bill to Reynolds earlier this week after back-to-back, late-night votes.

Reynolds signed the bill surrounded by children and Republican lawmakers, while protesters chanted outside her office.

tom miller
Joyce Russell/IPR

UPDATE: Governor Kim Reynolds signed the fetal heartbeat abortion bill at 3:00 p.m. today (Friday).

As Iowans wait to see if Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds will sign the fetal heartbeat abortion bill into law, Iowa’s attorney general is deciding if he would defend the law in court.

shannon lundgren
John Pemble / IPR

A bill that would ban almost all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected passed the Iowa House late Tuesday night and the Iowa Senate early Wednesday morning following hours of passionate debate.

The bill would ban most abortions after about six weeks into a pregnancy, with some exceptions for rape, incest, fetal abnormalities, and to save the life of the mother. It now goes to the governor’s desk.

Iowa capitol
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

A new program that aims to reduce jail populations could be terminated under a bill that passed the Iowa House Monday evening.

A bill appropriating funds for the state’s justice system includes a provision that would outlaw the use of the Public Safety Assessment in pretrial hearings when determining whether to detain or release a defendant before trial.

senator tom greene
John Pemble/IPR

Senators on both sides of the aisle expressed frustration Monday with the House’s refusal to consider a bill that would expand Iowa’s medical marijuana program.

Republican and Democratic senators have been calling for an expansion of the list of medical conditions that allow a patient to obtain medical marijuana. The bipartisan group also wants to remove the state’s cap on the amount of THC, the most psychoactive component of marijuana, that’s allowed in medical preparations.

traffic camera
Adrian Pingstone / Wikipedia

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday that the Iowa Department of Transportation does not have the authority to regulate cities’ traffic cameras.

In a 6-0 opinion, Supreme Court justices agreed the IDOT cannot order Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Muscatine to remove or relocate traffic cameras. The state legislature would have to pass a law specifically granting the IDOT the authority to make and enforce rules for cities’ traffic cameras.

protesters wells fargo
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Protesters targeted a Wells Fargo shareholder meeting in Des Moines Tuesday and listed several complaints against the bank that was recently hit with a $1 billion fine for loan abuses.

“We’re gonna beat back the bank attack,” chanted protesters standing in a hotel lobby below the shareholder meeting. They cheered when they learned the people in the meeting above could hear them.

Lori Young of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement—one of the groups that organized the protest—said Wells Fargo is too big.

oversight committee
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa lawmakers are looking into whether companies known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are overcharging public entities for prescription drug benefits.

The House Oversight Committee heard testimony Wednesday from Ottumwa pharmacist Mark Frahm, who said he lost money on prescription drugs he provided to the Wapello County Jail.

Frahm said CVS Caremark charged the county about $5,000 for a month’s worth of drugs, but CVS Caremark only paid Frahm about $1,000 to provide those drugs.

iowa senate
John Pemble / IPR

The Iowa Senate adopted a new sexual harassment prevention policy Tuesday as part of its response to a high-profile $1.75 million harassment settlement against Senate Republicans.

mike cormack
Joyce Russell/IPR

Senate Democrats Thursday blocked Iowa Public Employment Relations Board Chairman Mike Cormack from returning to his position.

They voted down Gov. Kim Reynolds’ nominee for his role in administering a controversial collective bargaining law passed last year. Cormack’s board oversees the elections public-sector unions must now hold before each contract negotiation.

cathy glasson
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Workers on Democrat Cathy Glasson’s campaign for governor have become the first campaign staffers in Iowa to unionize. Glasson is a union leader, and making it easier for Iowans to join unions is one of her central campaign promises.

Organizing Director Michael Fasullo said Glasson campaign workers want to set an example.

supreme court
John Pemble/IPR file photo

The Iowa Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case that could determine whether the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) has the power to regulate cities’ traffic cameras.

Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Muscatine are challenging a 2015 IDOT order to remove some of their traffic cameras. The cities have been ordered to stop issuing tickets from the cameras in question while this case is being considered by the state’s highest court.

traffic camera
Adrian Pingstone / Wikipedia

The Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in one of four cases involving traffic cameras.

Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Muscatine argue the Iowa Department of Transportation doesn’t have the authority to regulate how cities enforce their traffic laws.

In 2015, the IDOT ordered the three cities to remove some of their speed cameras. The cities sued, and in 2017, a district court upheld the IDOT order. The cities appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court.

corbett
Dean Borg / IPR

A Polk County judge ruled late Wednesday that Ron Corbett cannot run in the Republican primary for governor, leaving Gov. Kim Reynolds without a primary challenge.

Judge David May upheld the state elections panel’s decision to keep Corbett off the ballot because his petition was eight signatures short of the number required by law.

rogers speaks to school choice people
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Supporters of programs to expand state funding for various forms of non-public education rallied at the Iowa Capitol Wednesday along with hundreds of students.

They have been advocating for new laws that would give state money to students enrolling in private schools, among other initiatives. So far, their legislative priorities have not made it to the full House or Senate. 

Trish Wilger, executive director of Iowa Advocates for Choice in Education, says there is still time left in this legislative session to address those issues.

ron corbett
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

A Republican candidate’s appeal to get on the primary ballot for governor came before a Polk County judge for a hearing Tuesday.

The state elections panel last week threw out Ron Corbett’s bid for governor in a 2-1 decision because it found his petition was eight signatures short of the 4,005 needed to qualify. That leaves incumbent Gov. Kim Reynolds with no opponent in the June 5 primary election.

Corbett appealed the decision, and his attorneys told a judge Tuesday that some crossed-out signatures should have been counted by the elections panel.

regina sampieri
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Over a decade ago, Regina Sampieri’s mom called the police on her because she was afraid she would die. Sampieri was abusing painkillers and getting dangerously thin.

“I used to describe being on drugs as being on the merry-go-round from hell,” Sampieri says. “You’re up, down, up, down, around and around—and all you want to do is get off this crazy, awful merry-go-round—and you can’t. You’re stuck there.”

gavel
SalFalko / Flickr

A Johnson County judge has found Lamar Wilson was not justified in shooting three people on Iowa City’s crowded Pedestrian Mall last summer.

Wilson claimed he fired his gun in self-defense, and asked the judge to grant him immunity from criminal charges in an early test of Iowa’s “stand your ground” law, which was passed in 2017.

Pages