IPR News Stories

Adam Wilson / Unsplash

A new report by the non-profit Trust for America’s health found that drug-related deaths rates in Iowa decreased by 15 percent while alcohol-related deaths decreased by 4 percent from 2017 to 2018.

Orchestra Iowa / Facebook

Orchestra Iowa, situated in Cedar Rapids and under the direction of Tim Hankewich, has announced its 2020-2021 season, which includes a yearlong celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday with a twist. They’re taking a unique focus and plan to pay tribute to Iowa’s Czech heritage and explore Beethoven’s works supported by his Czech patron, Prince Joseph Franz von Lobkowicz. 

The first in-person concerts of the season are currently scheduled for mid-September. 

Amy Mayer / IPR file

A new agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture makes Iowa the seventh state where some small meat lockers can sell products in other states.


Republican Rep. Steve King is seeking a 10th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He hopes to be reelected to the rural and conservative 4th Congressional District, which spans northwest and north-central Iowa. King has easily won nearly every election, but this time he is facing opposition from four other conservative Republicans who want his seat. 

DarQuan Jones (center) speaks to reporters in Des Moines with his father Daryl (left) and Des Moines NAACP president Kameron Middlebrooks (right).
Grant Gerlock / IPR

A 22-year-old black man in Des Moines said he wants to know why he was targeted by three white men who assaulted him last weekend. DarQuan Jones was attacked early Saturday morning in south Des Moines and told police at least one of the men used racial slurs during the incident.

Screenshot / Iowa PBS

The four Democrats running to face Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst debated for the first time Monday night. The November race is looking to be both competitive and expensive. Sen. Ernst hopes to get a second term representing Iowa, and Democrats see the seat as a possible pickup in November as they try to take the majority in the Senate.

Adi Goldstein / Unsplash

Remember that old recorder, band or orchestra instrument tucked away in the closet? Now is your chance to dust off your talents, get lessons, and dive back in. Some of Iowa’s top-notch classical musicians and music schools are teaching online music lessons right now using Facetime, Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts to keep music education alive during the pandemic.

Campaign Facebook pages

Iowa has a primary election on June 2, and Iowa Public Radio is featuring profiles of the Democrats who are running to take on Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst in November.

This week, IPR has featured profiles of the four Democrats running. UNI Political Science Professor Chris Larimer says the winner of the race will have to run a very expensive campaign and the race is looking more competitive than it had earlier this year.

Chad Elliott / Facebook

Here’s a collection of five newly-written songs by midwestern folk musicians.

John Pemble / IPR file

Iowa has a primary election on June 2, and Iowa Public Radio is featuring profiles of the Democrats who are running to take on Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst in November.

Real Estate Executive Theresa Greenfield is one of the four candidates seeking her party’s nomination. Greenfield ran in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District race in 2018 but dropped out after she found out that one of her campaign staffers falsified signatures on her nominating petition.

iowa capitol
John Pemble/IPR file

Republican leaders of the Iowa Legislature announced Wednesday that the legislative session will resume June 3.

This is the third time top lawmakers have decided to delay their return to the Statehouse since they put the session on hold in the early hours of March 17 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

John Pemble / IPR File

Iowa has a primary election on June 2, and Iowa Public Radio is featuring profiles of the Democrats who are running to take on Republican U.S. Senator Joni Ernst in November.

Eddie Mauro is a businessman and former coach and teacher who lives in Des Moines. Mauro ran unsuccessfully in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District race in 2018 but lost to now-Congresswoman Cindy Axne.

Pat Blank / IPR

Iowa farmers have hit a bit of a speed bump with widespread frost and colder temperatures.

Iowa State University Extension Field Agronomist Paul Kassel said he hasn’t had any reports of damage but the cooler weather has put a damper on growing progress.

We’re kinda losing out here on leveraging our early planting. We like to plant early to kind of extend the growing season and increase the amount of time during the summer months when we can fill the kernel and the pods that’s probably the overall bigger concern,” said Kassel.   

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Iowa has a primary election on June 2, and Iowa Public Radio is featuring profiles of the Democrats who are running to take on Republican U.S. Senator Joni Ernst in November. 

Mike Franken is a former U.S. Navy Vice Admiral.  The Sioux Center native now lives in Sioux City, and is making his first run for political office.  

Alice Dietrich / Unsplash

Creative people often work in isolation, which means a shelter-in-place mentality is not unfamiliar. However, so many creative fields such as publishing and live music have affected people's livelihoods. With returning to normal off in the distance, we wanted to know how creative people have been handling this new world and how they've found comfort in the arts.

Voters in some parts of Iowa are responding in droves to a mailing from Secretary of State Paul Pate's office.

Natalie Krebs / Iowa Public Radio

A primary election on June 2 will determine who runs against Republican Sen. Joni Ernst for one of Iowa's U.S. Senate seats. There are also primaries in each of Iowa's four congressional districts, as well as in many state legislative districts.


Due to concerns about COVID-19, Secretary of State Paul Pate has made adjustments to this year’s voting process. 



Lydia Mann / Flickr

Sunday is Mother’s Day. Music, especially Folk music, is often passed down in families. Here are five examples of mothers making music with their grown children.

kim reynolds
John Pemble / IPR file

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation Wednesday that will allow some more businesses to reopen Friday.

Campgrounds, drive-in movie theaters, tanning facilities and medical spas can reopen at 5:00 a.m. Friday statewide if they follow public health guidance.

Photo Courtesy of Ben Loeb

Music buffs usually associate the “Three B’s” as the trio of the classical geniuses Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. This Friday, IPR’s Steinway Cafe is honoring at least one of those. 

IPR Classical's Steinway Cafe series hosts live, in-studio performance on our renovated 1918 Steinway piano over the noon hour. Due to social distancing measures and ongoing health concerns surrounding COVID-19, we’re hosting the first virtual Steinway Cafe performance on Friday, May 8 on Facebook and streaming at iowapublicradio.org. 

Dallas Tuttle / IPR File

In an effort to support local musicians and keep the music community engaged during this unprecedented time, IPR is bringing you a weekly live concert series every Tuesday night that we're calling #IPRTunesday. 

RDG Planning & Design

In 2018, Varsity movie theater in Des Moines closed after an 80-year run. Now the nonprofit Des Moines Film Society wants to reopen it.

President of the Film Society’s board of directors, Ben Godar, says his four-year-old organization has been looking for its own home to screen independent films and hold events.

“We’ve tried to tie in a lot of education where we can to our screenings, have filmmakers in person, things like that,” says Godar. “Having our own facility is just going to give us more and more tools to do those kind of things.”

The 77 counties being allowed to partially reopen May 1 make up most of western, north central and south central Iowa.
Office of the Governor

Seventy-seven counties in Iowa are partially re-opening business in the midst of this pandemic on Friday. Iowa's Governor Kim Reynolds set the scene Thursday during her press conference.

"COVID-19 is here to stay and we must learn to live with it," the Republican governor told reporters.

The coronavirus continues to drive unemployment numbers higher in Iowa. Last week, 28,827 workers filed initial claims for unemployment assistance, including people who work in Iowa but live in another state.

Rob Glover / Flickr

May brings warm weather and blooming flowers here in the northern hemisphere. In folk songs, it also brings courtship. Countless traditional ballads in the English language (and other languages as well) begin by specifying that the action takes place in May. Some end happily, some not. Here are a few of them.

401(K)2012 / flickr

Gov. Kim Reynolds last week temporarily prohibited debt collectors and banks from seizing funds from Iowans’ bank accounts and wages during the coronavirus public health emergency.

Iowa State Patrol

You can add increased speeding to problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Iowa State Patrol Public Information Officer Sgt. Alex Dinkla said traffic on Iowa's roads and interstates is down 40 percent.

He told IPR's Pat Blank on All Things Considered Thursday that some people are driving "way too fast" because the patrol has seen citations for speeds of more than 100 mph increase by 52 percent over the four-year average.

Dinkla said for the month of March, 103 tickets were issued for speeding in excess of 100 mph.

Workers at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa, take the first bets at the casino's new sportsbook.
Grant Gerlock / IPR file

Iowa Workforce Development notified Iowans last week that refusing to return to work for fear of getting coronavirus will disqualify them for unemployment payments, but that’s not always the case.

Iowa Legal Aid Litigation Director Alex Kornya said state law is more nuanced than IWD’s statement would lead Iowans to believe.

martin/ x1klima / Flickr

Incarcerated Iowans are voicing fears that the new coronavirus may “run like a wildfire” through the state’s correctional facilities. Statements from individuals currently held in Iowa prisons that were shared with Iowa Public Radio raise concerns about the Iowa Department of Correction’s ability to control the spread of the virus, at a time when confirmed case numbers are ticking up and testing remains limited. Some Iowans serving time warn that widespread outbreaks of the disease could lead to “panicking” and a critical breakdown in the “social adhesive” that makes life behind bars possible.

Courtesy of Robby Pedersen

Downtowns were once a hub for general retail. Then they transitioned to having more restaurants and specialty stores like gift shops. Now those types of businesses are closed in Iowa because of COVID-19. 

The Awful Purdies

Here’s a collection of songs from Midwestern artists, most of them newly recorded from wherever the artists find themselves these days. As the weeks of sheltering-in-place go by, IPR's Karen Impola encourages you to continue to seek out new music to listen to, and to sing, play, and dance to.