IPR News Stories

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.

Courtesy of Brian Hull

Puppeteers from all over the country are traveling to Iowa for the Great Plains Puppet Train, a regional puppet festival in West Liberty.

The events begin Thursday, September 13 and run through Sunday the 16th. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe visits with some of the artists who will be performing, including Brian Hull of Nashville.

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.  

grassley town hall
Katarina Sostaric/IPR

Sen. Chuck Grassley finished his annual 99-county tour Monday with a contentious town hall-style meeting in Osceola. Some Iowans pressed Grassley to justify his handling of the Supreme Court confirmation process, while others thanked him for his work during last week’s hearings.

A man from Martensdale asked if Grassley would slow down the confirmation process until allegations that nominee Brett Kavanaugh committed perjury are resolved.

Katie Peikes/IPR

Native American activists say they see a void in northwest Iowa as their people try to heal from alcoholism, drug abuse and traumatic experiences. They built a sweat lodge over the weekend in Sioux City that they hope will inspire people to seek out the healing they need.

North Scott Junior High via facebook

Students and staff at an eastern Iowa school are still recovering after an attempted shooting last month. While North Scott Community School District officials are rethinking campus safety plans following the incident, a lack of funding may limit potential changes. 

Back in 2012, one of the major employers in Montrose, Colorado, a sawmill, was in receivership and on the brink of collapse. At the time, local media reported that the cost of logging timber had become prohibitively expensive, and the log yard was nearly empty.  

These days, logs are stacked high next to a humming mill. Production is up 20 percent from even just 2016.

Courtesy of Invenergy

Some western Iowa residents say they’re concerned about wind projects being planned nearby. Energy developer Invenergy is planning almost 170 wind turbines in Sac and Ida counties.

Wikimedia Commons

Conservationists say they’ve made progress in the 10 years since historic floods hit eastern Iowa. Now they're calling for even more investment in flood protection. 

planned parenthood clinic
Sarah Boden/IPR File

Sitting outside the Iowa Capitol, Chelsea Chism-Vargas recalled the moment in 2017 when she found out state lawmakers were trying to cut off her access to Planned Parenthood. 

“I felt my shoulders go back and kind of a gasp like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is my program.’”

For years, Chism-Vargas was getting free birth control pills and annual reproductive health exams at Planned Parenthood through a federally-funded family planning program for low-income and underinsured Iowans.

Iowa DNR

Results of an investigation into an August fish kill in northwest Iowa show animal manure is likely the reason dozens to hundreds of fish were found dead in the Floyd River.

Amy Mayer / IPR

An increasing number of farmers is using cover crops to keep water, soil and nutrients from running off fields. But while many studies have shown the agronomic and environmental benefits of the plants that come up after cash crops such as corn or soybeans get harvested, it’s been harder to determine whether a farm business will recover the initial planting cost.

Katie Peikes/IPR

State officials are looking to expand digital literacy at six high poverty elementary schools across Iowa. They visited a Sioux City elementary school on Wednesday to learn about how students have benefitted from computer programming.

Wapsipinicon Mill via facebook / https://www.facebook.com/wapsi.mill/

The flooding Wapsipinicon River rose to 16.86 feet in Independence on Wednesday. Floodwater streamed into some businesses and parking lots and marrooned some cars in the northeast Iowa City.

Courtesy of Council Bluffs Community School District

Some western Iowa school districts are letting voters decide this month whether or not they should issue bonds to fund school improvement projects.

Kate Payne / IPR

The city of Cedar Rapids is preparing for another flood. The Cedar River is forecast to crest at 16.5 feet this week, after days of rainfall saturated eastern Iowa.

Katie Peikes / IPR

Bison are helping sustain a diverse native prairie in western Iowa through grazing.

Amy Mayer / IPR file photo

Independent farmers who question the consolidation of farming are finding support from an unexpected ally.

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker has introduced a bill calling for an 18-month moratorium on mergers and acquisitions in the food and agribusiness sector.

SalFalko/flickr

A nearly six-year-old lawsuit challenging Iowa’s program for keeping sex offenders confined after they serve their prison terms has been dismissed by a federal judge in Sioux City.  

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Bennett ruled against patients in the Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders, or CCUSO, housed at the Mental Health Institute in  Cherokee.  

An offender is assigned to the program after a civil court deems him or her to be a risk to society.    But there have been civil rights challenges here and elsewhere.

Amy Mayer / IPR

John Peterson farms corn and soybeans in Jackson, Minnesota, and came to the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, in late August to see what’s new and to learn about the most current technologies.

“It’s all about return on investment,” Peterson said. “Whatever it is that I am focused on, it needs to bring value back to the farm. Otherwise it’s a toy and I really don’t have any use for it.”

vigil
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Members of Iowa’s Latino community gathered at the state capitol Thursday to honor the memory of Mollie Tibbetts and to unite against hateful rhetoric.

Vanessa Marcano-Kelly translated Lincon Guerra’s words.

“We are meeting here today in an act of solidarity and moral support to her family and loved ones, asking them to receive our deepest condolences and prayers.”

They released balloons, had a moment of silence, and prayed for Tibbetts, her family and others affected by violence.

Kate Payne / IPR

Across the country, construction firms say they’re having a hard time finding skilled workers. In eastern Iowa, a coalition of companies and educators is trying to grow the next generation of builders by teaching them early.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Cleanup of a June crude oil spill in northwest Iowa is expected to continue through October. Officials from one county in the region recently met with the state and those involved in the cleanup to learn more about the process.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds today defended her call for immigration reform following the killing of University of Iowa student Molly Tibbetts, allegedly by a man federal officials say is an undocumented Mexican immigrant.  

Following the discovery of the victim’s body, President Trump, Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, and Gov. Reynolds all issued statements highlighting the immigration status of Cristhian Rivera who is jailed on a first degree murder charge.    

Rob Dillard / Iowa Public Radio

Sherry Poole officially began the job as principal at Hoover High School July 1. Less than three weeks later, the Hoover softball team won the Class 4A state title. Not a bad start.

“Some of the other principals around the metro were so encouraging and so nice, and they sent me a text saying, 'Wow, how are you going to top that?'" she says with a laugh. "So, it’s been a fun ride.” 

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