Grant Gerlock

Reporter

Grant Gerlock started covering Des Moines and central Iowa for IPR in March 2019. Before that he covered food, agriculture and rural life for Harvest Public Media at NET in Lincoln, Nebraska, where his work was recognized with a Regional Murrow Award and awards from the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association.

Grant has a master’s degree in mass communication from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and graduated from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. He grew up on a farm outside of Cumberland in southwest Iowa where he listened to public radio in the tractor.

Grant’s favorite public radio program is Fresh Air.

Ways to Connect

John Pemble/IPR file photo

State and federal attorneys want the Iowa Supreme Court to reverse a Tama County magistrate judge’s decision to dismiss a set of criminal charges because they occurred on tribal land. In oral arguments Wednesday, they argued a law passed by Congress last year does not entirely eliminate the state’s jurisdiction on the Meskwaki Settlement in eastern Iowa as the judge ruled.

John Pemble / IPR file photo

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is awarding more than $2.1 million in grants to support dozens of projects and organizations across the state, including everything from theatre performances to rural revitalization.

A one-cent local sales tax took effect in Des Moines in July. Now the issues is going back before voters in neighboring communities.
City of Des Moines

An additional one-cent sales tax will start showing up Monday on shoppers' receipts in Des Moines and several surrounding communities. Half of the revenue from the local option sales tax passed by voters in March is earmarked to lower property tax rates.

Kayla Lyon speaks during a subcommittee hearing on February 26, 2019.
John Pemble / IPR file photo

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has chosen a member of her own staff to head the state Department of Natural Resources. Kayla Lyon is the first woman appointed to lead the agency.

Muscatine is one of many Mississippi River towns to see recent flooding. The Upper Mississippi River has been designated among the most endangered rivers in the country, due to unauthorized levee construction.
Kate Payne / IPR file photo

The Mississippi River is continuing to dip below flood stage in Iowa after setting new marks for the longest flood on record in communities from Dubuque to Keokuk. As the water recedes, local leaders are setting to the task of adding up all the damage left behind.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

A group of Iowa House Democrats is waiting to hear what comes next in a lawsuit aimed at rolling back changes to the process for choosing Iowa Supreme Court justices. The lawmakers are challenging new rules passed on the last day of the legislative session giving the governor more influence over the membership of the judicial nominating commission.

Megan Klindt and Donald Hendricks died when an engine fire spread throughout this bus in rural western Iowa.
Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office

After reviewing the case of a school bus fire in western Iowa, a federal safety board is calling for changes to fire safety standards that date back to 1971. The National Transportation Safety Board said buses are overdue for an upgrade to protect students from fires, but also said school districts should follow stricter rules to ensure drivers are healthy enough to take action when there is an emergency.

Former Iowa governor and current ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, gives testimony at the Polk County Courthouse in Des Moines.
Des Moines Register pool photo

Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad testified Friday that he did not discriminate against Christopher Godfrey when he asked him to resign as Iowa’s Workers’ Compensation Commissioner before his six-year term was up.

Godfrey is suing Branstad, claiming he was asked to leave the position in 2011 because he is gay and that, after he declined, Branstad retaliated by slashing his salary.

Erolld Belegu, an advisor to Kosovo's prime minister, explains the country's incentives for Iowa businesses.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

The Republic of Kosovo is making a pitch for Iowa companies to invest in the young country’s economy. Representatives from Iowa’s sister-state in southeastern Europe were in Norwalk Wednesday to promote a program which includes 1,200 acres of land that will be parceled out to companies willing to build new operations in the country.

The Polk County Courthouse in Des Moines.
Bill Badzo / Flickr

A 10 person jury had its first opportunity Wednesday to hear arguments in a case where former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is accused of pressuring a department-head to resign because he is gay. Former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner, Chris Godfrey, is suing the state, Branstad and two former aides because he says when he refused to step down his salary was cut in retaliation.

Clay Masters / IPR file

Dozens of communities released untreated water into rivers and streams over the past week after heavy rain fell across the state. According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, more than 70 cases of flood water bypassing wastewater treatment centers have been reported since Thursday and more are expected from this week’s deluge.

Cyclists ride across the High Trestle Trail bridge near Madrid, Iowa.
Phil Roeder / Flickr

A plan to create a nationwide trail network for hiking and cycling includes a winding route through Iowa, from Davenport to Council Bluffs. The Great American Rail Trail was mapped out by the non-profit Rail Trail Conservancy and builds off of the state’s existing trail network.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, speaks to protestors outside a McDonald's in Des Moines. The Democratic presidential candidate said he supports making $15-per-hour the national minimum wage.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Workers and union supporters were joined by New York City mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio at a protest in front of a Des Moines McDonald's.

Flickr/OakleyOriginals

The National Weather Service has confirmed two tornadoes touched down in western Iowa Wednesday morning near the towns of Adair and Anita.

Former Des Moines city councilwoman, Christine Hensley, has been helping organize opposition to the construction of a new federal courthouse on a former YMCA site.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Some Des Moines business leaders and city council members want the federal government to reconsider plans for a new courthouse on a coveted piece of real estate in downtown Des Moines. The agency in charge of the $137 million project could decide how to move forward as soon as Wednesday.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld a 2017 law limiting bargaining rights for many state employees. In 4-3 rulings in two separate cases, the court denied arguments made by unions representing teachers and other public workers that the law violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution because it gives more bargaining rights to public safety workers.

Steve Bullock unsuccessfully defended the state's campaign finance law at the U.S. Supreme Court as the state's attorney general. But as governor, he signed one of the nation's strongest campaign transparency laws.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

In his first stop in Iowa to campaign for the Democratic nomination for president, two-term Montana governor Steve Bullock highlighted bipartisan achievements that he said set him up to connect with swing-state voters.

Gov. Kim Reynolds updates the Flood Recovery Advisory Board on disaster relief in southwest and southeast Iowa.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

FEMA has approved $12 million in payments to people recovering from Iowa floods, and 1,829 registrations for help have been filed with the agency. Those are the latest numbers reported by Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management to the state Flood Recovery Advisory Board.

John Pemble / IPR file photo

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley is hopeful about the direction of trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, even after President Trump announced plans to increase tariffs on Chinese imports. Iowa's senior senator said it’s a good sign that negotiators from the two countries are still planning to meet in Washington this week to discuss a potential deal.

Collin Richards sits with his attorneys waiting to hear whether his trial would be moved out of Story County.
Lyn Keren / Ames Tribune

The man charged with the murder of an Iowa State University golfer will go on trial in September, but not in Story County where the crime occurred. Instead, the trial will be three hours away in Decorah.

Ankeny Centennial junior Benton Renaud speaks to a group of students at the U.S. Youth Climate Strike in Des Moines.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

A few dozen Des Moines area students took time out of school Friday to rally for political action on climate change. The Youth Climate Strike outside the Iowa Capitol was part of a day of demonstrations across the country.

Hospital leaders join Gov. Kim Reynolds in a groundbreaking for Clive Behavioral Health.
Natalie Krebs / IPR

Construction starts this month on a new behavioral health hospital going up in a Des Moines suburb. Clive Behavioral Health will be part of the MercyOne system. It will have 100 beds to provide much needed inpatient care as well as outpatient treatment and counseling, crisis response and telehealth services.

Governor Kim Reynolds speaks before signing a bill establishing a statewide children's mental health system.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed a law (HF690) laying the groundwork for the state’s first comprehensive mental health system for children. It initially requires the state’s mental health regions to determine how to fix gaps in existing programs, although they won’t receive extra money this year to make changes.

Flooding on Iowa roads.
File photo by Dan Patterson / Flickr

After a weekend of heavy rain, more showers and storms were moving across southeastern Iowa Tuesday.

Runoff from the storms theatens to push the swollen Mississippi River near record flood levels. Floodwaters on the river are expected to crest this week in Iowa. In the Quad Cities, the river will come near the peak of 22.6 feet reached in 1993.

“The current forecast at Rock Island Lock and Dam No. 15 is currently 22.2 feet, coming up just a little bit short but not by much,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Mike McClure.

Hornick resident Dale Ronfeldt's garage in water in March 2019. A reporter joked with him that he had "lakefront property" and Ronfeldt joked, "you want to buy some?"
Katie Peikes / IPR file

As Iowans apply for federal assistance to help reclaim their flooded homes and businesses, FEMA is hiring temporary workers to help sort through their applications. The disaster agency plans to hire around 60 people to process paperwork and inspect damaged property, among other jobs.

Clay Masters / IPR file

Iowa is spending a fraction of what should be budgeted toward improving water quality, according to an analysis by the nonprofit Iowa Policy Project. The group argues state lawmakers should raise taxes in order to put more money toward solutions, but that doesn’t appear to be under consideration just yet.

Amy Mayer / IPR file

The latest version of Iowa’s ag gag law is headed to court, just like its predecessor. The ACLU of Iowa and other groups are suing the state, arguing that the law violates the free speech of journalists and animal rights advocates by making it a crime to go undercover on the farm.

Under the new law, an individual who lies in order to gain access to a farm or agricultural facility with the intention of physically or economically harming the business can be charged with trespassing.

Katie Peikes / IPR file

FEMA wants to hear from Iowans who were forced to move out of flooded homes to find out if they plan to apply for federal aid. The agency offers financial assistance to renters and grants to homeowners to make their properties safe to live in again. Low interest loans are also available from the Small Business Association.

Grant Gerlock/IPR

Many Democratic presidential candidates have offered their reaction to Thursday’s release with redactions of the Mueller report investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 election. 

Campaigning in Des Moines, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said she feels the special counsel should testify before Congress.

“The most important thing is that Bob Mueller come before Congress so that we can get to the bottom of why there’s this difference between his interpretation of the law and the Attorney General of the United States,” Klobuchar said.

Grant Gerlock / IPR

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said at a Des Moines rally Tuesday night that his party needs to spend more time talking about issues where Republicans have traditionally controlled the message.

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