Michael Leland

News Director

Michael comes to IPR from Wisconsin Public Radio, where he led an award-winning news staff for nine years.  He has also worked as a News Director at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor.  Before getting into management, Michael’s reporting career took him to a variety of places, from Chicago City Hall, to a former coal mine 600 feet under southern Illinois, to an Inuit community in far northern Canada.

Michael is a New Englander who came to the Midwest for graduate school  in the mid '80s and decided to call this part of the country home.  He has a master’s in Journalism and Mass Communication from Kansas State University.  His undergraduate degree is in Communications and Business Administration from Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts.

Michael’s favorite public radio program is On the Media.

Mother Mosque website

The head of a Cedar Rapids mosque is inviting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to meet with members of the Muslim community.  Imam Taha Tawil of the Mother Mosque says his members would like to hear about Trump’s plans if he’s elected, and have a chance to talk to him about Muslims’ role in the U-S over the last 100-plus years. 

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Federal officials have told Iowa the state is not ready to transition management of its Medicaid system to private companies.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has told Iowa in a letter today it may transition to private management on March 1st instead of January 1st, 2016, as long as the state makes sufficient progress toward readiness by that time.  

The agency says, “a transition on January 1st would risk serious disruption in the care for Iowa Medicaid beneficiaries.”

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is suspending his campaign for president.   NPR reports Jindal made the announcement in an interview with Fox TV, saying "this is not my time."

Clay Masters/IPR

The three remaining Democratic presidential candidates rallied thousands of supporters in Des Moines last night, at the state party’s annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner.  During the Saturday’s speeches, Senator Sanders drew contrasts to Clinton by talking about his early opposition to the war in Iraq, the keystone XL pipeline and the Defense of Marriage Act. Janice Payne is a retired lab tech from Des Moines. She attended a rally for Senator Sanders before the dinner. “He’s more for the middle-class and he’s not about being bought by the upper echelon.

John Pemble/IPR file

Former Rhode Island governor and U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee has dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination for president.  Politico and other news organizations report he is making the official announcement in a Washington speech this morning. 

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Virginia Senator Jim Webb is no longer a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.  NPR reports Webb made the announcement today in Washington, DC.  

Webb's campaign has struggled to attract significant support, nationally as well as in Iowa.  In an NBC/Wall St Journal Poll published in early October, Webb was polling at about one-percent in Iowa.

Webb says he still might run for president as an independent.

VPR

"Bernie Sanders is an improbable politician. Independent, occasionally irascible, he came from the far left and an urban background to win elections in one of the most rural states in the country."

Our colleagues at Vermont Public Radio have produced a documentary about Bernie Sanders' life and political career.  It's called Becoming Bernie.  We're including it on our site for those of you who'd be interested in reading or listening to it.  

Joyce Russell/IPR

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has all but dropped out of the race for president, suspending his campaign as of today.  He made his brief announcement at a news conference in downtown Madison late this afternoon, and took no questions at the conclusion of his statement.  NPR reports that while Walker didn't mention GOP front runner Donald Trump by name, he did say that optimism in the GOP this year had "drifted into personal attacks."

Perry Drops Out

Sep 11, 2015
Joyce Russell/IPR

Texas Governor Rick Perry has become the first among the Republican presidential candidates to drop out of the race.  NPR is reporting that Perry is suspending his campaign.  

"We have a tremendous field – the best in a generation – so I step aside knowing our party is in good hands, and as long as we listen to the grassroots, the cause of conservatism will be too," he told a gathering in St. Louis Friday.

The University of Iowa’s Faculty Senate has approved a motion expressing ‘no confidence’ in the Iowa Board of Regents.

Tuesday afternoon’s action that followed a two-hour frustration-laced debate is the latest expression from the Iowa City campus, following the Regents’ hiring of business executive Bruce Harreld as the University’s new president.

Senate President and Law Professor, Christina Bohannan, told the faculty she’s heartbroken.

University of Iowa photo

The Iowa Board of Regents has hired Bruce Harreld as its 21st president.  The Board has unanimously approved him to replace Sally Mason, who retired last month.  Harreld is a former IBM executive and Harvard Business School Faculty member.

Harreld was the only one among the four finalists for the UI presidency who was not already leading a college or university.  At his public forum in Iowa City Tuesday, many people challenged his qualifications to head a major university.  Many others on campus have questioned the quality of the search firm that vetted candidates for the job.

Joyce Russell/IPR file

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says he is not joining the calls for President Obama to cancel an upcoming state visit by the President of China.  Republican Presidential candidates Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, and Carly Fiorina are among those saying Obama should cancel Xi Jinping’s state visit next month because of what they call China’s efforts to undermine U.S. interests.  On Friday, Branstad said President Xi is an old friend and that relationship has been good for Iowa.

MIchael Leland/IPR

Here's what you'll see if you drop by where poultry is usually displayed at the Iowa State Fair's Avenue of Breeds.  Poultry was barred from the fair this year because of concerns over avian flu.  It's the first time since 1904 there's been no...real poultry at the fair. Photo by Michael Leland, 8/16/15

John Pemble/IPR

With the higher-profile candidates Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders gone from the Iowa State Fair Sunday, the crowds waiting to see or hear presidential hopefuls were noticeably smaller.

Still, Republican Ben Carson delivered his speech from the Des Moines Register soapbox before a crowd of several hundred that spilled across the Grand Concourse from the stage area.  Carson said putting aside partisan bickering will give Americans the opportunity to solve serious problems, like the national debt.  He says it threatens to destroy the future for America’s children.

IPTV photo

Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says he will not run for reelection in 2016.  The Hiawatha Republican says he will step down as Speaker at the start of the 2016 legislative session, and serve out the remainder of his two-year term. Paulsen has served in the Iowa House for 13 years. He served as Minority Leader from 2008 to 2010 and has been Speaker of the House since 2011.  He said in a statement that this is, “…the right time for me to step aside as leader and allow someone else to lead the caucus,”  Gov.

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