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Rain Stymies Fall Harvest

11 hours ago
Dean Borg/IPR

Eighty-five percent of Iowa’s corn harvest remains in the field. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly update says, despite recent heavy rains, the corn harvest is ten days ahead of last year’s pace at this stage of the season.

However, soybean harvest, only 18 percent complete, lags five days behind last year.

Persistent heavy rain is keeping harvest equipment out of the fields.

In eastern Iowa, Randy Toenjes, farming near Monticello, estimates it’ll be a week before muddy fields are sufficiently dried to support heavy combines and grain trucks.

Courtesy of Sioux City https://www.sioux-city.org/home/showdocument?id=17457

Sioux City hopes to draw more people into the city by making part of its riverfront more fun and interesting.

Dean Borg/IPR

Persistent heavy rainwater, collecting throughout east central Iowa’s Cedar and Iowa River basins is flowing downstream to Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and dozens of other communities.

The Coralville Reservoir, currently using 76 percent of its capacity storing excess flow from the Iowa River and other streams upriver from Iowa City, is forecast to rise within a half-foot of uncontrolled flowing over the dam on Monday, October 15.

Rodney White/Des Moines Register

Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democratic candidate for governor Fred Hubbell took questions on a wide range of issues in their first debate Wednesday, sponsored by KCCI-TV and the Des Moines Register.    They weren’t shy about challenging each other’s positions and moderators had some trouble keeping the crowd out of the debate.   

Excitement ran high outside the debate venue on the Ankeny Campus of Des Moines Area Community College, where competing crowds chanted in favor of Hubbell and Reynolds.     James Stauch of West Des Moines had this advice for the Democratic challenger.

Clay Masters/IPR

President Donald Trump was in Council Bluffs Tuesday night to announce a regulatory change that would lift a ban on selling an ethanol-gasoline blend during the summer months. Right now, the Environmental Protection Agency prohibits the sale of gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol, commonly called E15, during the summer months.

“My administration is protecting ethanol,” Trump told the crowd gathered at the Mid America Center. “Today we are unleashing the power of E15 to power our country all year long.”

Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ,  flew to Iowa to headline a Democratic fundraiser Saturday night fresh off the Senate’s vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sen. Booker, who serves on the Senate judiciary committee, says the process for confirming Kavanuagh was a sham. The senator is seen as a potential contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. Iowa is the leadoff state in the nominating process. But Booker focused on the midterm, telling the crowd not to be discouraged by any of the president’s actions.

Katie Peikes/IPR

Dentists from around the state gave free care to hundreds of people in Sioux City Friday. For many of the patients, it’s difficult to afford such care on a routine basis.

Some Linn County voters are still confused about the sample ballots they received. More than 300 voters have mailed them back with their candidates marked off.

Courtesy of Sustainable Iowa Land Trust

An Iowa non-profit organization is permanently setting aside 63 acres in Johnson County for sustainable farming. Due to the work of the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust, or SILT, the farmland 10 miles north of Iowa City will never be developed or used for row cropping. The group hopes the land will make getting into the business of growing food affordable for young farmers.

Amy Mayer / IPR

Michael McEnany always knew he wanted to be a farmer. Both of his grandfathers were, and he “always loved tagging along with my Grandpa Ed.”

Both of his parents chose ag-related careers, but neither of them went back to the farms they’d grown up on. Still, McEnany’s done nothing but farm for more than a decade. Starting part-time in college, he worked his way up to a full-time, year-round job on Steve Henry’s corn and soybean operation in Nevada, Iowa.

John Pemble /IPR

Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds is making the case she should be elected to her job for the first time in November. She took over when former Gov. Terry Branstad left office to be U.S. Ambassador to China in 2017. Reynolds, 59, served as Branstad’s Lt. Governor since he was voted back into office in 2010.

A recent Iowa poll shows Reynolds in a close race for the governor’s office against Democrat and retired businessman Fred Hubbell. Hubbell, 67, says a larger-than-expected budget surplus of $127 million shows Reynolds is doing a poor job of managing the budget.

children's mental health board
Joyce Russell/IPR file

Advocates for mental health solutions in northwest Iowa believe there are a lot of barriers that need to be addressed as a state board works to draft recommendations for a children’s coordinated mental health system.

doctors office
Jennifer Morrow / flickr

The Iowa Farm Bureau released some information Wednesday about new health plans that are meant to be a cheaper alternative to health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

But the Farm Bureau plans, offered in partnership with Wellmark, don’t have to follow federal health insurance laws, which raises questions about consumer protections.

DAIRY: AMY MAYER; WHEAT: VALDEMAR FISHMEN / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA; CREATIVE COMMONS

Farmers and agriculture groups are digging through the details of the new North American trade deal, called the United States Canada Mexico Agreement, and some are raising concerns that clash with the celebratory mood of the three countries’ leaders.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Democratic candidate for governor Fred Hubbell has been critical of the state’s budgeting practices under Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds. Hubbell, a 67-year-old retired businessman, says recent figures from the state revenue estimating conference are an indication of fiscal mismanagement. The $127 million surplus was larger than budget officials expected.

City of Cedar Rapids via facebook

The city of Cedar Rapids has spent more than a half a million dollars on emergency flood protection during the month of September. There was virtually no damage from the recent flood scares, but there’s a still a cost.

Courtesy of Erica DeLeon / One Siouxland

Becoming a United States citizen is complicated. Immigrants are often faced with many choices in an unpredictable process that can take years, even decades.

In Sioux City, an immigration services nonprofit recently tried to replicate these challenges, by simulating what the citizenship process is like.


hiv test
Katarina Sostaric/IPR file

Public health researchers believe illegal needle exchanges are reducing transmission of hepatitis c in Iowa. Advocates hope the data will help build support for legalizing the practice in the state. 

children's mental health board
Joyce Russell/IPR file

The group tasked with developing recommendations for creating a children’s mental health system in Iowa is hosting a series of meetings starting this week to get public input.

The first meeting is Tuesday in LeMars, followed by eight more meetings throughout the state.

Peggy Huppert is executive director of a mental health advocacy group and sits on the Children’s System State Board. She says personal stories are very important for informing the board’s work.

Joyce Russell/IPR

By federal order, Iowans will soon have another health insurance option that won’t be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.   It’s called short-term limited duration insurance.  Some critics see it as another way for the Trump administration to kill Obamacare by a thousand cuts.   Now  Iowa’s insurance commissioner is at odds with a statehouse committee over what kind of consumer protections to require.     

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Melissa Gesing is the new executive director of 50-50 in 2020, a non-partisan organization with the goal of having an equal number of women and men holding office by the end of the decade.

Roey Ahram via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/roeyahram/

Some public health advocates say Iowa’s Medicaid program is illegally denying treatment for certain hepatitis c patients. With drugs that can cure 98 percent of patients, care for the potentially deadly disease is incredibly effective, but also incredibly expensive.

mary mosiman
John Pemble/IPR file

A legal question has become central to this year’s unusually high-profile race for state auditor: does the elected auditor have to be a certified public accountant (CPA) for the auditor’s office to issue financial audits?

There doesn’t seem to be a simple answer.

When she was campaigning at the Iowa State Fair, State Auditor Mary Mosiman, a Republican, said she’s the only CPA running for auditor this year, and that makes a difference.

One year ago, Hurricane Maria swept over Puerto Rico, bringing 150 mph winds. Nearly 3,000 people died, homes and buildings were ruined and farms were destroyed all over the U.S. territory.

According to Luis Pinto, a farmer near Yabucoa, southeast of the capital San Juan, the sound of the wind screaming through the trees “felt like the hurricane was crying.” Plantain trees were flattened on Pinto’s farm. In all, the storms caused $300,000 in damage to his crops, cattle, fences and roads.

Courtesy of Sioux County Sheriffs Office

Crews are working to rebuild a collapsed bridge in northwest Iowa after nearly 40 rail cars derailed and more than a dozen fell into the Floyd River.

Congress has spent weeks trying to meld the House and Senate versions of the next farm bill into one agreeable piece of legislation.

Left in the balance is the current farm bill, which will expire Sept. 30 without an extension.

Thomas Hawk via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/14471621099/

A political advocacy group is banking on a digital ad campaign to get young Iowans to the polls. 

Joyce Russell/IPR

The Republican Party of Iowa featured their Ways and Means Chairman from the Iowa Senate today to criticize the Democratic candidate for governor’s expressed views on tax policy.

Gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell is on record criticizing government spending on corporate tax credits.   But for a news conference at RPI headquarters in Des Moines,  Sen. Randy Feenstra, R-Sioux City, put together a list of the millions in tax breaks Hubbell Realty and other Hubbell concerns have received over the years.  

John Pemble/IPR

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Jake Porter was not invited to participate in the three debates between Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell. Porter says it’s too bad because he would’ve added to the conversation.

“We would talk about things that may get ignored now like criminal justice reform (and) things that often aren’t talked about,” Porter says. “Also, different ideas for the budget."

Kate Payne / IPR

A musician is keeping a silent film tradition alive by performing the film scores in real time, most recently turning his sights on the 1927 film Metropolis, with a performance on the Barhydt Organ at Fairfield's Arts and Convention Center.

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