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Katie Peikes / IPR

Four years ago, a major northwest Iowa food processing company closed. The site will soon reopen under a new company that plans to bring lost jobs back to the area.

Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island District / http://www.mvr.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation/Lock-and-Dam-Information/Peoria-Lock-and-Dam/

Congress is allocating billions of dollars to expand the work of the Army Corps of Engineers, as past of a larger funding package that includes the Departments of Defense, Labor, and Health and Human Services. But adequate funding to replace the aging locks and dams on the Mississippi River is not part of the deal. 

dave jamison
John Pemble/IPR file

An investigation of former Iowa Finance Authority director Dave Jamison released Thursday has found he committed “egregious” acts of sexual harassment against two employees, and two other employees knew about it.

Joyce Russell/IPR

The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board today threw out ethics complaints against Gov. Kim Reynolds for accepting gifts of free flights on private jets, including a trip to a bowl game in Memphis last year.   

Since May of 2017, in nine instances the Reynolds campaign traveled on private planes. and reported it as in-kind campaign contributions.     

Board Chairman James Albert questioned the board’s attorney Megan Tooker about precedent for such free travel.

Amy Mayer/IPR

At the Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson, Connie Wehmeyer says she likes the slots tournaments, the free Tuesday donuts and the fact that Wild Rose puts money into the community.

“It’s good for the county,” she said. She should know. Wehmeyer only travels eight miles from her home in Grand Junction to enjoy the gaming. And last year alone, Grow Greene County, the “qualified sponsoring organization,” or non-profit partner, that receives 5 percent of Wild Rose’s revenue, awarded nearly $1.5 million in grants to municipalities, school districts, non-profits and other groups.

Amy Mayer / IPR

A civil engineering student from Spain and Big 12 women’s golf champion could fill a room with her smile. That’s how one professor remembered Celia Barquín Arozamena at a vigil on the Iowa State University campus Wednesday.

“I think about how hard she worked in her classes,” said Jim Alleman, an ISU professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering. Even in his difficult classes that didn’t often generate happy expressions among students, Alleman said he would look out at their faces and see Barquín Arozamena smiling.  

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

There’s a close race for governor in the state right now between incumbent Republican Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell. With less than two months before the election, IPR Morning Edition Host Clay Masters dicsusses the status of the race with Des Moines Register Chief Politics Reporter Brianne Pfannenstiel.

Kate Payne / IPR

Federal agencies and local leaders are committing to work together to expand water quality monitoring on the Mississippi River. Representatives from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Transportation signed the agreement Wednesday with a coalition of mayors from up and down the Mississippi.

cristhian bahena rivera
Kelsey Kremer / Des Moines Register

The man accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder Wednesday at the Poweshiek County Courthouse in Montezuma.

County Attorney Bart Klaver formally read the charge against 24-year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera in court.

Said defendant on or about July 18, 2018 in Poweshiek County, Iowa, did murder Mollie Tibbets in violation of Iowa Code,” Klaver said.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds this week defended her appointment of 6th District Judge Jason Besler, following questions about whether it met a constitutional deadline. 

The governor must make a judicial appointment by 30 days after names are submitted to her.  If the deadline is not met, the constitution requires the chief justice to make the appointment instead.

police car
Tony Webster / Wikimedia Commons

The Iowa Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case that could determine the fate of pretextual traffic stops in the state.

Gage Skidmore via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/17649805888/

The chair of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee says he’ll hold a full and fair hearing on allegations of sexual assault by a nominee to the Supreme Court, scheduled for this coming Monday. The committee's past handling of similiar reports had sweeping political consequences. 

Courtesy of https://usssiouxcitylcs11.org/news/

In just two months, a combat vessel named after Sioux City will be commissioned a Navy warship, ready to deploy around the world.

Joyce Russell/IPR

The Democratic Party of Iowa today accused Gov. Kim Reynolds  of corruption in office for taking campaign contributions from one of the managed care organizations that are  benefiting from the privatization of Medicaid services in Iowa.    

According to the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Finance Board, the political action committee for Anthem, Inc., the parent company of Amerigroup, has given $2500 this year to the Reynolds campaign.  A contribution of $1500 arrived on August 22, two days before contracts were signed with the private firms.

Clay Masters/John Pemble / IPR

House Republicans running in tough races this fall have two choices when it comes to how they handle President Trump. Embrace him and hope that rallies Trump’s base to their side or stay away from the president and hope that will draw in more moderate and independent voters. Consider two incumbents in neighboring Iowa districts who are testing out these strategies.

When President Donald Trump came to Peosta, Iowa this summer he was on stage with the district’s two-term Republican Congressman Rod Blum.

Katie Peikes / IPR

Growing up, Sioux City native Ron Clements often attended screenings of Disney films that showed for two weeks at the city's Orpheum Theatre, but it was a reissued screening of Pinocchio he saw when he was nine years old, that turned the lightbulb on — he knew he wanted to be an animator for Disney.

"I became obsessed by that movie," Clements told a crowd Friday during his talk at the 14th annual Sioux City International Film Festival. "I drew the characters and drew the characters and went back to see it until it left."


University of Iowa

Iowa’s Board of Regents -- frustrated by declining and unpredictable state support for the state universities -- is hoping to give students, future tuition predictions.

In a statement during the Thursday’s regents’ meeting, Board President Mike Richards said, “at our November meeting, we intend to discuss a multi-year tuition model with a baseline percentage increase for in-state undergraduates for the next several years.”  Richards said the forecast will begin with the 2019-2020 academic year.   He added, “specifics on the potential tuition increases will come at that meeting.”

neverything via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/neverything/

State investigators say heavy rains were in a factor in a manure spill at a dairy farm in eastern Iowa. Some researchers say a changing climate could increase the risk for similar incidents. 

John Pemble/IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office is defending a recent judicial appointment, after a Democratic blogger claimed the governor missed the deadline for selecting a new district judge.

According to Bleeding Heartland, there is no written confirmation that Reynolds selected Jason Besler for the 6th district judgeship by 30 days after his name was submitted to her.

According to the Iowa Constitution, if the deadline is missed, the Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court makes the selection instead.

Gary Smith has worked at the grain elevator at Okaw Farmer’s Co-op in Lovington, Illinois, for 40 years. On his desk sit two computer screens, where he tracks corn and soybean prices online at the Chicago Board of Trade.

As he explained, trade moves fast: “Just bam bam bam, and within a few seconds it could change a nickel or a dime against your favor.”

John Pemble/IPR file

The University of Iowa is settling a lawsuit alleging it violated open meetings laws during a 2015 search for its current president. 

On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump promised to revitalize rural America, specifically through increased investment in infrastructure. And his ag secretary, Sonny Perdue, wants to modernize the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

One rural bank representative said there’s a key piece to doing that: Fixing an outdated and burdensome loan application process to make it easier to access capital.

Vladimir Kulikov / Wikimedia Commons

Iowa’s governor is defending budget cuts to the state’s university system as some schools lose ground in national rankings. 

dick lamb
Katarina Sostaric/IPR

The Iowa Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a case against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which stretches diagonally across the state, and the Iowa Utilities Board.

mike randol
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa’s Medicaid director said Tuesday he doesn’t know what is driving a recent increase in what the state is paying per Medicaid member.

Kim Spading, a member of the council that oversees the Iowa Department of Human Services, asked during a budget presentation why the per-member cost shot up in the past two years.

“This is the opposite of what we would’ve hoped for,” Spading said.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Senior Legal Counsel and special adviser Sam Langholz told a conservative crowd in Urbandale today that the election for governor this year could affect the makeup of the Iowa Supreme Court for decades to come.      

Langholz spoke to about 50 people at a breakfast meeting of the Westside Conservative Club at the Machine Shed restaurant.

He cited recent court decisions that conservatives opposed, and suggested that future appointees could mean different results. 

Courtesy of National Park Service / nps.gov

Funding and staffing issues have led Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources to close its only fish habitat monitoring station on the Missouri River, leaving some western Iowa residents unhappy. 

Kate Payne / IPR

Cedar Rapids officials have adopted a plan to fund permanent flood protection in the city. Ten years after historic floods battered the city, its leaders want taxpayers to help protect it from the next disaster. 

Prices for crops like corn and soybeans have declined as the U.S. has sparred with top trading partners, but exports of those crops have not plummeted the way many observers had feared.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Democrat J. D. Scholten who’s running for Congress in Iowa’s 4th  District says incumbent Republican Steve King is abdicating his leadership by declining his invitation for three campaign debates.  

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