IPR News Stories

Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

The Iowa congressman thought to be among the country's most vulnerable incumbents said he’s not worried about this year’s midterms. Multiple national analysts have singled out Iowa Congressman Rod Blum, R-IA, as a prime target for Democrats hoping to take back the U.S. House. The two-term Republican is facing Democrat Abby Finkenauer in a toss-up race for the 1st Congressional District in northeast Iowa.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Eric Branstad, who directed President Trump’s Iowa campaign in 2016, says he is in discussions with the president about how to win Iowa again when Trump runs for re-election in 2020.   

Branstad, the son of former Governor Terry Branstad, led the president to a nine-point victory in 2016 over Hillary Clinton.   

Speaking at the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, he left little doubt he’d like to direct the Iowa campaign again.

Amy / IPR file photo

Veterinarians and officials are hoping to keep a deadly foreign virus from infecting the American hog industry. African swine fever has been making its way off its namesake continent and into Europe, including Russia. Now, it’s reached China, leading to the culling of about 8,000 hogs.

In response, Japan closed its market to all pork imports from China.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cwppra/ / Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection And Restoration Act

This year’s so-called "dead zone" off the coast of Louisiana is much smaller than expected. After monitoring farm runoff from the Midwest, that has some researchers surprised. 

Courtesy of Allison Engel

With plenty of fast fashion outlets and cheap clothing available, Americans are purchasing, and discarding, clothing items at a rate never seen before. Allison Engel, co-author of second-hand shopping guide, "Thrift Style," says used clothign stores often provide cheaper, high-qualilty clothing options, while decreasing textile waste.

Kate Payne / IPR

A non-profit organization hoping to restore native habitats in eastern Iowa is getting some help from a herd of goats.  Seventeen goats are currently eating their way through 40 acres of invasive plants on the Muddy Creek Preserve in Johnson County. Staffers at the Bur Oak Land Trust hope to ultimately restore the parcel to pre-settlement conditions, but they say they need the animals' help to get it done.

Rafael Radkowski/flickr

Iowa State University has settled two lawsuits filed by an African-American woman who was fired from her position as head of the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX coordinator.

The suits involved the university’s handling of a case of sexual assault.

One suit filed in U.S. District Court in Des Moines and another in federal court in Iowa’s southern district claim Robinette Kelley was prevented from enforcing civils rights regulations on campus under Iowa’s Civil Rights Statute and under the federal government’s Title IX. 

Courtesy of Osceola County

Parts of northwest Iowa say they could use federal help recovering from damage that June and July heavy rains brought to the area. Gov. Kim Reynolds is asking President Donald Trump for $16 million in federal aid for 30 counties.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Grain, livestock and dairy farmers from around the state expressed support for President Trump’s trade policies at a roundtable discussion in Des Moines sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa.   

The president’s tariffs against China and other countries have pushed prices down for some Iowa commodities.   But the farmers say they’re optimistic the tariffs will result in fairer trade practices in the future.   

Hog farmer Doug Reimer from Guttenberg says his operation has been “hit somewhat.”

Esperanza Yanez can spot a sick cow just by looking at it.

“The head hangs down and they don’t eat,” said Yanez, who immigrated from Mexico two decades ago and has been caring for cattle ever since.

susan christensen
Katarina Sostaric/IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds appointed District Court Judge Susan Christensen to the Iowa Supreme Court Wednesday to take the place of retiring Justice Bruce Zager.

Christensen, 56, lives in Harlan and works in Iowa’s Fourth Judicial District. She has worked in family and juvenile law and has served as an assistant county attorney.

Iowa DNR

State environmental officials are tracking pheasant numbers across Iowa this month to get a picture of the population trend.

Courtesy of Sioux City Economic Development Department

Officials involved in a western Iowa expo center project say the venue could bring tourism to the region. They are encouraging a county to stay committed to the effort.

Kate Payne / IPR

Investigators aren’t ruling out any conclusions in the ongoing search for a missing eastern Iowa woman. A team of local, state and federal officers looking into the disappearance of Mollie Tibbetts say they’ve chased down more than 200 leads in the two weeks since she went missing. 

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Cleanup is continuing in northwest Iowa after a train derailed last month and leaked crude oil into the Rock River. Dickinson County officials are concerned oil-contaminated soil is being removed from an area in Lyon County and coming to a Dickinson County landfill.

Amy Mayer / IPR file photo

The next hurdle for the 2018 farm bill is a conference committee, where the House and Senate work out a compromise between their two very different bills.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, says he doesn’t expect to serve as one of the nine senators on the committee because he doesn’t have the seniority, but he’s hoping his limit on federal payments will survive.

NRCS via https://www.nrcs.usda.gov

Iowa regulators are not meeting some state requirements for water-quality related conservation practices, according to an analysis of the Department of Natural Resources by state Auditor Mary Mosiman. The DNR is not implementing a program to buy property rights to restore wetlands near agricultural drainage wells, as set out in state law.

doctors office
Jennifer Morrow / flickr

The executive director of Iowa’s medical regulatory board has abruptly retired, saying he was treated unfairly by state officials.

The Iowa Board of Medicine put executive director Mark Bowden on administrative leave about a month ago, and voted to reinstate him Friday.

Board members then scheduled a meeting for Monday morning to consider Bowden’s employment status. His retirement was announced instead.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A planned expo space in Northwest Iowa is intended to bring more events, farm and tractor shows to the community. Woodbury County is talking about reconsidering its financial commitment. 

Updated Aug. 2, 2018 — The Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission did not have enough votes Aug. 1 to approve the poultry barns at issue. Another vote is expected Aug. 15, though any decision is expected to be appealed.

Kate Payne / IPR

President Donald Trump touted a recent trade deal with European Union leaders at a stop in Iowa Thursday. He visited Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta with an official mission to hold a discussion on workforce development. But the status of the president’s international trade disputes and political flashpoints from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to prescription drug prices steered much of the conversation away from economic development policy.

There could soon be a different kind of fuel going into trucks and planes, one that could help farmers and create rural jobs.

It’d come from sorghum: a grass grown around the world, but increasingly so in states like Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska. 

The former state senator who made recommendations last year for addressing sexual harassment in the Iowa Senate is weighing in on State Senator Nate Boulton’s decision to return to the capitol.  

Boulton (D-Des Moines) dropped out of the race for the democratic nomination for governor after complaints of sexual improprieties.   Some of his Democratic colleagues, including Minority Leader Janet Peterson (D-Des Moines), wanted Boulton to resign his Senate seat.    

But former Republican Senator Mary Kramer says that wouldn’t be fair to the voters who put him in office.

Clay Masters / IPR

President Donald Trump is slated to visit Dubuque Thursday to host a roundtable discussion on workforce development. But the trip comes as the state is grappling with the backlash from the president's own trade policies, and news of a federal plan to bail out farmers feeling the impact.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Portions of Iowa’s controversial voter ID law will not be enforced for now, after a ruling today by a Polk County District Court judge.  

The law signed by former Governor Terry Branstad in 2017 requires voters to show identification at the polls starting in 2019.

Judge Karen Romano’s ruling temporarily blocks other parts of the law governing absentee ballots which were already in effect for the June primary election.

Courtesy of Sustainable Iowa Land Trust

Sustainable Iowa Land Trust is selling a permanently protected farm in Southwest Iowa in a move to pay off debt and honor the farm’s previous owners.

Tom Gustafson / Courtesy of Okoboji Tourism

A group of residents in northwest Iowa has plans to spruce up the area leading into the Iowa Great Lakes.

Dean Borg / IPR

Glenn Van Wyk is clearing debris spit out by the July 19th tornado after ripping through the nearby Vermeer factory and leveling three of his farmstead’s buildings. But he hasn’t yet decided what to do about flattened corn fields littered with steel sheets and other parts of the Vermeer buildings.

Van Wyk estimates about 40-acres is damaged. Maybe a total loss. He and his wife, Denise, farm 160 acres outside Pella, less than a quarter mile from the Vermeer plant’s Global Pavilion.

university of iowa
Vladimir Kulikov / Wikimedia Commons

An on-campus worker education program is still looking for solutions, after the University of Iowa announced it’s closing the center down.

Courtesy of Sioux County

Weeks after heavy rain damaged about 80 homes in a northwest Iowa town, officials are looking into installing permanent barriers to protect buildings from future flooding.

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