Pat Blank

All Things Considered Host

Pat Blank has been with Iowa Public Radio for 24 years. She was hired as a reporter and eventually was chosen to host Morning Edition at the Cedar Falls studios in 1986.  She has been host of All Things Considered since 1995. She is a nationally award winning reporter who has also worked in commercial radio and television. Pat has served as a part-time instructor at Wartburg College and at the University of Northern Iowa where she teaches journalism classes.  She is on the Board of Control for UNI’s student run radio station KULT. She is currently serving a second term on the  Iowa Archives of Broadcasting National Advisory Board.

Pat has a bachelor’s degree in radio-television broadcasting from the University of Northern Iowa.

Pat's favorite public radio program is This American Life.

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Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
4:12 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Unverferth adds jobs in a drought year

One of the hundreds of grain carts made annually by Unverferth Manufacturing near Shell Rock
Pat Blank

Farm equipment maker Unverferth Manufacturing Incorporated is taking a leap of faith by adding jobs with the help of a 600 thousand dollar boost from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

The Shell Rock plant is Butler County’s largest employer with 425 current jobs. The state money will be used to build a  6 million dollar expansion and create 75 jobs over three years.

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Business/Economy
2:19 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Giant Wind Towers For Massive Wind Power

One of the largest wind towers in North America under construction in a farm field in Notheast Iowa
Dean Borg

      With the wind energy tax credit about to expire at the end of this year….power companies are using favorable fall weather to install more towers across Iowa’s landscape.

      Cranes are working in an Eastern Iowa cornfield near Mechanicsville to build what will be the tallest wind generator in North America.                  

 Two towers….one concrete and the other steel…..and the generators are being built by Acciona (AX-SEE-OH-NA) which has a plant in West Branch, Iowa.

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Education
5:47 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

2013 Iowa Teacher of the Year

2013 Iowa Teacher of the Year Tania Johnson with Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds
Dean Borg

Governor Terry Branstad has named veteran Cedar Rapids educator Tania Johnson  the 2013 Iowa Teacher of the Year.

Johnson spent most of her 22-year teaching career in Cedar Rapids kindergarten classrooms before she accepted a teacher leadership position with her school district this fall.

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Health
2:28 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Twice Blessed

This sign greeted Brad, Christina, Ava and Aidan when they arrived at their home in Clive after Ava spent nearly four months at the Mayo Clinic.
Christina DeShaw

This past Monday, a central Iowa couple was able to bring their twin babies home for the first time. One baby, the boy, was born healthy, but his sister has a serious heart defect that kept her hospitalized for nearly four months. In January, at 18 weeks of pregnancy Brad Weitl and Christina DeShaw discovered that one of their twins had hypoplastic left heart syndrome, in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped. This was Ava, her brother Aidan’s heart was fine. After the diagnosis, Christina got on the internet to gather information about what to do next.

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Agriculture
5:57 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Drought Does Not Discriminate

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley stands in his soybean field near New Hartford, Iowa. In a non drought year, the beans would be waist high.

In May of 2008, an EF5 tornado hit Parkersburg and New Hartford in Northeast Iowa. Two weeks later. the entire town of New Hartford was evacuated because of flooding. In both cases, property owned by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley and his family was spared. This summer’s natural disaster however is different.  Although the Grassleys' farmland in Butler County will still produce a crop, the yields are greatly reduced. Iowa Public Radio's Pat Blank walked with Senator Grassley through his corn and soybean fields on Wednesday afternoon.

Health
7:12 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Unraveling the mystery of SCAD

Tracy Hjelle and her husband John at their home in Decorah. Tracy is recovering from a life threatening heart condition known as SCAD.
Pat Blank

A northeast Iowa woman is part of a study that’s helping unravel a rare heart condition that strikes young, otherwise healthy people. 42- year- old Tracy Hjelle (YELL-ee)  is the picture of health, she’s athletic and is in great shape, that’s because she’s the pitching coach for the Luther College softball team, but her world turned upside down on a Sunday morning in April as she and the team were preparing to leave Decorah for a game in Wisconsin.

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Education
2:32 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

UNI President Allen Announces Retirement

University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen has announced plans to retire "no later than July 1, 2013."  Iowa Public Radio's Pat Blank reports.

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Business/Economy
3:38 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Wasendorf Waits

Russell Wasendorf Sr. outside his now closed 18 million dollar office building in rural Cedar Falls
Waterloo Courier

Russell Wasendorf had hoped tomorrow would be the day he’d be released on bail...

But the hearing's been postponed, so the former head of Peregrine Financial Group remains in jail…

and the business empire he built,  first in Chicago and then later in Iowa,  continues to crumble. 

His once fairy tale like existence came to an abrupt end earlier this month.

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Business/Economy
7:03 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Financial Fallout

Courtesy

Economic development officials have begun to assess the fallout from the abrupt closure of the Cedar Falls-based international brokerage firm, Peregrine Financial Group doing business as PFGBest.  The company is being investigated by both governmental and regulatory officials for fraud and misuse of customer money.  220 million dollars is reportedly missing, Company founder, 64 year old Russell Wasendorf Sr. attempted suicide on Monday. CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber, Steve Dust says they're reacting to what they know and discounting what they can't verify.

Business/Economy
6:53 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

New Skills=New Life

Tanaha Pettit of Waterloo, who was in prison in 2009, has completed the new manufacturing careers certificate program and works at Bruns Machine in Cedar Falls.
Pat Blank

The job market can be a challenge for anyone these days, but imagine what it’s like for someone who’s spent time in prison or who has a less than stellar work history for other reasons.  Iowa Public Radio’s Pat Blank reports on an innovative program in Northeast Iowa that’s slowly making a difference.

Health
7:29 pm
Sun June 17, 2012

Adapting Well

Wheelchair athletes prepare for track and field events
Pat Blank

As athletes around the world fine tune their skills in order to compete in the London Olympics, another much smaller, specialized group has just completed a four day camp in Cedar Falls.  Iowa Public Radio’s Pat Blank takes us to the Adapted Sports Camp at UNI.

Arts & Culture
3:35 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

Depot Spared

A 100 year old railroad depot set for demolition this summer, will instead be the site of a birthday party. The Gilbertville Depot now belongs to a non-profit organization which is hoping to re-open it as a stop along the Cedar Valley Nature Trail.  Iowa Public Radio’s Pat Blank talks with the group’s Dick DeWater.  The birthday event is set for the afternoon of July 7th.

 

 

To learn more about the Gilbertville Depot:

Business
3:22 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Pink Slime Maker To Close Plants, 650 To Lose Jobs

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 4:06 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some other news. Two words - pink slime - have been powerful enough to cost the jobs of 650 meat-processing workers.

Iowa Public Radio's Pat Blank reports on the backlash against a ground-beef filler.

PAT BLANK, BYLINE: Officials with Beef Products Incorporated, or BPI, will permanently close three production plants in Waterloo, Iowa; Amarillo, Texas; and Garden City, Kansas; by the end of the month.

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Business
5:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Higher gas prices may affect volunteer programs

The Triple A’s average price for a gallon of regular gas this week is three dollars and ninety cents a gallon. That has a lot of people thinking about how much and where they drive. Iowa Public Radio’s Pat Blank reports, it’s also taking a bite out of some volunteer programs like Meals on Wheels.

All Things Considered

Weekdays at 4 p.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One
 

Every weekday, "All Things Considered" hosts Robert Siegel, Michele Norris and Melissa Block present the program's trademark mix of news, interviews, commentaries, reviews and offbeat features.

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