Katarina Sostaric

Reporter

Katarina Sostaric is a Des Moines based reporter for Iowa Public Radio.

She previously covered Eastern Iowa for IPR from Iowa City. Before coming to Iowa, Katarina was a reporter and host at a public radio station in Southeast Alaska, where her work also aired on Alaska’s statewide public radio network.

Katarina worked as a Morning Edition news anchor and general assignment reporter at KBIA in Columbia while she was a student at the Missouri School of Journalism. She has bachelor’s degrees in Convergence Journalism and International Studies from the University of Missouri.

Katarina’s favorite public radio program is Reveal.

david young and cindy axne
John Pemble/IPR file

Two candidates running for Congress in Iowa’s competitive 3rd District debated a wide range of topics Thursday night in Johnston.

Republican Congressman David Young of Van Meter has been campaigning on what he says is his record of protecting people with preexisting medical conditions during his two terms in the U.S. House.

Democrat Cindy Axne of West Des Moines doesn’t see it that way.

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.

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.

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.

chuck grassley
John Pemple/IPR file photo

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said Tuesday Senate Judiciary Committee staffers have so far found “no corroboration” of sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“This week, we’re going to do our best to get to the bottom of it,” Grassley said of the hearing he will chair this week to look into Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party.

Grassley was asked if he will cancel the committee vote on Kavanaugh if he finds Ford’s testimony to be believable.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

child working with tutor
Katarina Sostaric/IPR

After a judge ordered the state of Iowa to change how schools determine if students qualify for special education, educators are grappling with how to follow the judge’s orders. And while some advocates hope this opens up special education to more students, some families are still going to great lengths to get special services for their kids.

chuck grassley
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said Tuesday President Trump’s announcement of a preliminary trade deal with Mexico and details for $12 billion in farmer aid shows he is “keeping his promises to rural America.”

Grassley said Iowa farmers have been feeling a lot of uncertainty as commodity prices drop and Trump’s trade war continues. But he says the preliminary trade deal with Mexico is encouraging, even though he doesn’t know the details yet.

Grassley was asked if there is any risk to announcing a deal with Mexico before Canada has agreed to anything.

rebecca kiessling
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

A Polk County judge heard arguments Friday from a group trying to intervene in a legal challenge over Iowa’s law that bans most abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

The Michigan-based group, Save the 1, claims the law’s exceptions for victims of rape and incest are unconstitutional because they discriminate against people conceived in those situations.

david young
John Pemble / IPR

Republican Congressman David Young took the stage at the Des Moines Register Soapbox Thursday and told state fair-goers ongoing trade disputes and tariffs are making him nervous.

After his speech, Young (R-Van Meter) told reporters he has made it clear to the Trump Administration that he “doesn’t like” tariffs that are affecting Iowa pork and soybean producers.

“As a leverage tool, I understand what [Trump is] doing,” Young said. “But as policy, we cannot allow this to go on a whole lot longer and allow this to become pure policy and have it mired in that.”

John Pemble

 

 

Corn dogs, baby ducks, and a butter cow to boot!

 

The Iowa State Fair is a time-honored tradition for many Iowans, and has gained a reputation for being one of the largest fairs in the nation.

 

Do you remember your first fair? 

kim reynolds
John Pemble / IPR

Republican Governor Kim Reynolds took to the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the state fair Tuesday and touted her new legislation and positive state rankings as part of her campaign to remain governor of Iowa.

She told supporters and fair-goers she is proud of signing tax code changes, mental health reform, and job training bills into law.

“We have a lot of positive things happening in Iowa,” Reynolds said. “And I know the other side wants to think everything’s doom and gloom and Iowa’s going to hell in a handbasket and I’m sorry, it is not.”

fred hubbell
Katarina Sostaric/IPR

Standing on the Des Moines Register soapbox Saturday, Democratic candidate for governor Fred Hubbell criticized Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds for what he said is her failure to stand up to the White House during escalating trade disputes.

Hubbell said tariffs are putting rural communities “on edge.”

“It’s not acceptable to say, ‘Let’s be patient, it’s going to work its way out.’ We need someone to stand up for Iowans and put Iowans first, regardless of who’s in the White House and regardless of what the party is,” Hubbell said. “And that’s what I’m going to do.”

deidre dejear
John Pemble / IPR

Secretary of State candidate Deidre DeJear told state fair-goers Friday she wants all eligible voters in Iowa to have access to the ballot box.

DeJear is a Democrat challenging Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate in the November election.

She said her grandmother in Mississippi saw the sacrifices made when people of color and women were seeking the right to vote.

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.

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.

marshall county courthouse damage
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Clean-up efforts continued Friday in Marshalltown after a tornado devastated the downtown area and some residential neighborhoods Thursday afternoon.

Streets in downtown Marshalltown were blocked off so crews and residents could remove bricks, broken glass, tree branches and downed power lines.

“As you get out into the neighborhoods, if you go west from downtown, we look like we have some pretty significant damage about six to eight blocks going to the west, and then to the east approximately 12 blocks,” Marshalltown Fire Chief Dave Rierson said.

kim reynolds
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds Wednesday defended a state review of how an Iowa State Patrol captain handled a sexual harassment complaint against a trooper.

The Associated Press reported this week a state employee accused Captain Mark Logsdon in emails of failing to follow up on her harassment complaint against Trooper Wade Karp.

Marcus Kwan/Flickr

The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board issued an opinion Friday saying candidates for public office cannot use campaign funds for child care.

“I think that it’s disappointing,” said Reyma McCoy McDeid, a candidate in this year’s Democratic primary for Iowa House District 38. “I really hoped to remove this small but significant barrier to parents running for office.”

desks
alamosbasement/flickr

More than a year after receiving orders from an administrative judge, the Iowa Department of Education agreed to make some changes to special education requirements that could open up special education programs to more students.

foxhoven
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Several days after the new fiscal year started July 1, Iowa has yet to finalize contracts with the companies that run its privatized Medicaid program.

This also happened last year. Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven told lawmakers in January negotiations would be completed in time for their budget process.

But lawmakers approved budgets more than two months ago without knowing how much the Medicaid program would cost.

chuck grassley
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says it’s time for the Senate Judiciary Committee to get to work after President Trump announced a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court Monday night.

Grassley chairs the committee. He says it will likely take at least 65 to 70 days before Judge Brett Kavanaugh gets a confirmation hearing.

suzanna de baca
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

The Iowa Supreme Court struck down a law Friday requiring women seeking abortions to wait 72 hours between an initial appointment and getting the procedure.

In a 5-2 decision, the court ruled the waiting period violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the Iowa Constitution.

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