IPR News Stories

As the first in the nation voting state, Iowa is where all presidential candidates begin - and many end - their campaign to the White House. Join IPR reporters Clay Masters and Kate Payne as they delve into Iowa's role in shaping the nominating field - from Iowa's caucus history to the candidates, the moments and people that shape the 2020 presidential cycle. 

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https://www.511ia.org/ / Iowa DOT

Officials in western Iowa are watching the rising Missouri River. Water breached a levee in Pottawattamie County Wednesday evening, the third protective structure in the area to breach due to the Missouri River’s third round of flooding this year.

Tuition at Iowa's public universities has been on a steady climb. Since 2009, the average cost of tuition and fees is up 40 percent. State funding has not recovered from cuts made during the Great Recession.
Rachel Radkowski / Flickr

At a welcome back event at Iowa State University in August, students filled the Great Hall in the Memorial Union. They walked past tables sponsored by campus clubs and local organizations offering every kind of free swag from can cozies to Frisbees to pizza. Many of the students were also aware of another offer that has been proposed by some Democratic candidates for president: free college tuition.

The cost of college and student debt are all-consuming for some families, and they're driving political conversations this cycle. On the eighth episode of Caucus Land, we'll break down what the candidates are promising and hear what higher ed experts make of their plans.


Kate Payne/IPR

Severe heat waves due to climate change are expected to pose an increasing threat to Iowa workers and residents. According to this year’s Iowa Climate Statement, a recent analysis released Wednesday, the state is slated to see dangerously hot weather in the coming decades.

Courtesy of Iowa 511 Traveler Information - Statewide Facebook page.

The Missouri River’s rising water has breached two protective structures in western Iowa’s Pottawattamie County, and the water is continuing toward nearby roadways.

Clay Masters / IPR

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday she will take President Donald Trump and his administration “at their word” after he verbally agreed to a fix for his decision to exempt 31 refineries from blending ethanol into gasoline.

But Reynolds said she has not talked to Trump since their meeting in Washington D.C. last week. She was asked if the president would announce an agreement in Iowa.

Katie Peikes / IPR file

The rising Missouri River is expected to crest later this week, possibly bringing a third round of flooding to parts of southwest Iowa. Federal officials say they are confident some levee repairs made this summer due to prior flooding will hold. They’re also keeping an eye on some breaches that haven’t been repaired.

Natalie Krebs/IPR

Schools are often on the forefront in spotting mental health issues in children. But historically educators have received little training in this area. In Iowa, legislators have set aside $2 million to expand mental health training in schools. But when nearly a quarter of kids are estimated to have a psychiatric disorder, some people want the state to do more.

Katie Peikes / IPR file

A state board has signed off on $15 million to buy out damaged homes and to build and repair levees in western Iowa. But some flood recovery projects are being left on the table.

Amy Mayer / IPR file

Iowa’s ethanol producers and farmers may soon hear some positive news after weeks of turmoil, according to Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who met with White House, Agriculture Department and Environmental Protection Agency officials last week.

Courtesy of the City of Sioux City

Sioux City has started the process of relocating a historic World War II chapel and airmen’s housing project currently sitting near the local airport. The chapel is one of the last remaining pieces of Sioux City’s World War II air base, but doesn’t work with the airport’s current land use.

Katie Peikes / IPR file

The Missouri River’s levels are rising, triggered by recent heavy rainfall in states upriver from Iowa and greater releases from flood control dams. Officials in one southwest Iowa county are advising people to consider evacuating, while others continue to watch the river.

Kate Payne / IPR

The U.S. Geological Survey is expanding its network of water quality sensors to include a first-of-its-kind mobile sensor – that will cruise the Mississippi River attached to a steamboat.

Katarina Sostaric / IPR

This school year, some college students are getting help from a new state-funded scholarship that was proposed by Gov. Kim Reynolds as a way to prepare Iowans to fill high-demand jobs. But an error in the law means many 19-year-olds can’t qualify for this form of financial assistance, known as the Last Dollar Scholarship.

Courtesy of CDC

Sioux City has been working to get its drinking water back to compliance after violating a drinking water standard for disinfection byproducts.

Amy Mayer / IPR file

The national average price for corn this season is back to $3.60 a bushel, about where it’s been most of this year except for an early-season spike ($4.16 in July) before the size and quality of the crop was known. 

That’s not great news for corn growers, and for the ethanol part of the market, the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates are even worse.

Kate Payne/IPR

Iowa’s elected conservationists want to stop farmers from planting up to the edges of creeks and rivers. A statewide association is pushing for mandatory 30 foot stream buffers along the state’s waterways, to slow erosion and nutrient loss.

Holly Bickmeyer is worried about what a large livestock operation would do if it moves in next door. 

She points to the small lake in front of her house on the 20-head cattle farm she operates in Maries County.

“Sinkholes open up all the time,” Bickmeyer said. “You see the lake that’s in my front yard here? If somebody builds a hog operation at the end of my driveway, I would be concerned about that waste getting into the groundwater and I walk out one day and all my bass are dead.”

Bickmeyer said that’s why she wants her local county commissioners to decide if concentrated animal feeding operations, also known as CAFOs, can locate nearby. 

Mike Mozart/Flickr

Iowa has one of the highest obesity rates in the country, according new report by the non-profit Trust for America's Health.

More than 35 percent of Iowans are considered obese, making it seventh in the nation. That's significantly higher than the national rate of about 31 percent, according to the report.

Foad Hersi/Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

National gun control advocates are calling on retailers, including Hy-Vee, to prohibit customers from openly carrying firearms in their stores. The push comes after last month’s deadly shooting at a Walmart in El Paso.

alamosbasement/flickr

A western Iowa school district has failed to pass a bond for a fourth time in four years, though it significantly pared this one down. 

courtesy Iowa DOT

A three-year-long construction project to improve safety at the U.S. 30 - Interstate 35 interchange in Ames is nearly complete.

Bushel Boy Farms

Minnesota-based Bushel Boy Farms is expanding its fresh produce business to Mason City. North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation president Chad Schreck said the $35 million investment involves a 50-acre facility to grow and package tomatoes. He said the project will be built in three phases.

paul pate
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announced Tuesday he is making a new push to register more high school students to vote.

And more high school students are eligible to participate now that a new law allows 17-year-olds to register to vote. They can also participate in primaries and caucuses if they will turn 18 in time for the November general election.

wind turbine
Michael Leland/IPR

At least two dozen people expressed concerns to the Madison County Board of Supervisors Tuesday about an ordinance that would halt the construction of wind turbines for at least two years.

 

The proposed ordinance has come in response to concerns about potential health impacts from the turbines from the county board of health.

 

The board has recommended that turbines be built at least a mile and a half from houses.

 

Clay Masters / IPR File

Iowa Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King currently has less money to spend on his campaign than his Republican primary challengers, but King says he isn’t worried as he vies for a 10th term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Reid Rosenberg / Flickr

Several states are reportedly ditching their Republican primary next year, paving the way for the president’s re-nomination. But Iowa Republicans will still caucus this February.

troy price
Clay Masters/IPR file

Iowa Democrats will not have phone-based virtual caucuses in 2020 after national Democratic officials voted Friday to reject the state party’s plan for absentee caucus participation.

Kate Payne/IPR

Iowa is seeing certain impacts of climate change impacts more clearly than much of the rest of the country, according to a new analysis for the Iowa Policy Project. The findings predict the trend of increasingly hot, wet weather in the Upper Midwest will likely continue and worsen if greenhouse gas emissions go unchecked.

kelly garcia
Courtesy of Gov. Kim Reynolds' office

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Thursday she appointed Kelly Kennedy Garcia to be the new Iowa Department of Human Services director, two and a half months after Reynolds abruptly ousted the previous director.

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