Business and Economy

Business and Economy
10:50 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Proposed Pipeline Would Cut Across Iowa

Landowners in rural Keokuk County, Iowa discuss a proposed pipeline that would be built in some of their farmground.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

 Business is booming in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale oilfields. With that boom comes a need for infrastructure. More than half of the oil out of the Bakken leaves by train or truck.  But companies are working on pipelines.  One proposed pipeline would cut clear through the state of Iowa. 

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Business and Economy
5:37 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Why Data Centers Are Choosing Iowa

Jimmy Emerson

Data centers store digital information off site from a company’s headquarters.  In the past couple years tech giants Google, Facebook and Microsoft have all announced plans for new facilities in Iowa.  

John Rath blogs for Data Center Knowledge and works as a facilities manager for OneNeck IT Solutions in Cedar Falls. He says one advantage to building in Iowa is a low incidence natural disasters.

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Duane Arnold Report
8:06 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Nuclear Plant Economic Impact Touted

Governor Branstad at Nuclear Plant

Iowa’s only nuclear power plant, the Duane Arnold Energy Center,  is observing its fortieth year in operation with the release of a report showing its economic impact in  the state.   Governor Branstad joined company officials for a celebration at the plant outside Palo.  

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Business and Economy
5:00 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Restaurants Closing due to Low Profits

In Cedar Rapids Ken and Kathy Skvor closed their restaurant Cork'n Fork late last year. They say the economy took it’s toll on their 16 year old business.
Photo by Dean Borg

Customers expecting a dining bargain are making it difficult for restaurants to stay in business.  Jessica Dunker, President and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association   composed of some six-thousand restaurants, says it’s increasingly common for customers to choose free water when ordering an entrée, depriving the business of beverage profits.  Dunker also says restaurants hoping to boost sales by offering deals such as Living Social or Groupon promotions are creating “Groupon addicts”.

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Business and Economy
5:14 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Regional Airport Project Experiences Turbulence

Rob Hammann stands by a large shed on his property where his wife, Robin, has written a phrase protesting the regional airport.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Plans to build a new regional airport are underway in south central Iowa’s Mahaska County. Two existing airports – in Oskaloosa and Pella would close – and a new consolidated one would provide services to large companies in the area. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports on the fight over whether or not a new regional airport will help the area economy. 

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Business and Economy
6:44 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Men Hold Two-Thirds of Management Jobs in Iowa

Credit SalFalko / Flickr

There are far more men than women in top management jobs in Iowa, according to a new report.

The Center for American Progress Action Fund, a liberal advocacy group, has released a "State of Women in America" report. It found men hold 67 percent of managerial jobs in Iowa as top administrators in the public and private sectors.

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Business and Economy
6:04 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Lawsuit May Stall Davenport Casino Plan

Davenport is already home to the Rhythm City casino.
Credit chibirashka / Flickr

Prospects for a new casino along Interstate Highway 80 on Davenport’s north side may be stalling as the city considers a lawsuit.

        

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Business and Economy
6:02 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Iowa Business Beat: Education Economics

Credit Sarah McCammon / IPR

 It's back to school season in Iowa. IPR's Clay Masters talks education economics with Sarah McCammon while she finishes up her assignment for Marketplace this summer covering business and economics news. They discuss the increasing costs for teachers and parents to pay for public school and a report by the US Department of Education found colleges giving bigger grants to wealthier kids. 

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Business and Economy
7:48 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Head of Economic Development Authority Concerned about Mississippi River

The Mississippi River
Credit IPR

New attention is being focused on the crumbling lock-and-dam system on the Mississippi River. Iowa officials painted a frightening scenario when they appeared before the Mississippi River Commission last week in Dubuque. 

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Business and Economy
6:57 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Iowa Business Beat: Rockwell Collins Buys Airinc, John Deere Earnings Beat Projections

Rockwell Collins is headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Credit Facebook / Rockwell Collins

Many Iowans work for two companies in recent business headlines. In a nearly 1.4 billion dollar deal, Cedar Rapids-based Rockwell Collins announced it was buying communication system company Airinc. Rockwell Collins CEO, Kelly Ortberg, calls it the biggest deal the company has undertaken.

And the latest quarter of John Deere earnings beat analyst projections. IPR's Clay Masters talks with Sarah McCammon, who's on assignment for Marketplace this summer, about the two news-making companies. They also discuss the state's corn crop and how it compares to the cornbelt as a whole.

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Business and Economy
6:05 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Iowa Business Beat: The Economics of Early School Start Date

Crowds at the Iowa State Fair.
Credit Iowa State Fair

    

The Iowa State Fair wraps up next weekend. IPR's Clay Masters talks with Sarah McCammon, who's on assignment with Marketplace, over the economics and controversy over when schools should start and how that affects state fairs and tourism. Masters also talks with McCammon about the energy stories she's done on Transocean, the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that was involved in the BP oil spill three years ago, and a solar company that’s also ahead of its peers.

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Solar Power Court Fight
1:09 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Power Companies Spar Over Solar

Credit: City of Dubuque

Advocates  for solar power are watching an Iowa court case that pits a small Dubuque company  against the state’s giant electric utilities.    Both sides say the case could  eliminate  some of the barriers to solar power in the state.  

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Business and Economy
6:45 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Iowa Business Beat: Cost-Benefit Analysis for Better Government

Credit Matt Cardy / Getty Images

  The Pew Charitable Trusts and McArthur Foundation are funding a project that hopes solve public policy in an evidence-based way. IPR's Clay Masters checks in with Sarah McCammon, who's on assignment with Marketplace this summer, about her reporting on the issue. They also discuss an upcoming story she's working on the economics of recycling. 

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Business and Economy
6:43 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Iowa Business Beat: Controlling the Cost of College

Candidates applying for a place at the Medical University of Vienna sit for an exam in a hall of the fair grounds in Vienna on July 5, 2013.
Credit Patrick Domingo / Getty Images

This week IPR's Clay Masters checks in with Sarah McCammon, who's on assignment with Marketplace, about issues regarding paying for college.

IPR would like to know what business issues are important to you, join our IPR Insight Network and lend your expertise and experience to our reporting.  

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Business and Economy
6:41 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Iowa Business Beat: Unemployment Rate Holds Steady, Energy Markets Heat Up

Farmers Rick Hammond and Abbi Harrington. Rick is married to Abbi's sister, Heidi. The family is fighting the Keystone XL.
Credit Sarah McCammon / IPR

  This week Clay and Sarah discuss the state's unemployment rate which is largely unchanged for June. They also discuss an issue Sarah is reporting on regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline and its impact on the country if its built or not. 

IPR would like to know what business issues are important to you, join our IPR Insight Network and lend your expertise and experience to our reporting.  

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Business and Economy
5:43 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Iowa Business Beat: Shakeups in Agribusiness

Credit Sarah McCammon / IPR

This week Clay and Sarah discuss big news in agribusiness and how the industry is reacting. The U.S. House passed a farm bill that strips the nutrition portion out of the legislation, breaking up the rural/urban coalition of lawmakers. Also, a deadly pig virus is causing pork producers to be even more cautious with how they operate their business. And a deadly train accident in Quebec has people in the United States looking at how the country transports oil. 

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Business and Economy
6:27 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Iowa Business Beat: Positive Economic Indicators in Iowa

Credit Sarah McCammon / IPR

 IPR's Clay Masters talks with Sarah McCammon who's on assignment covering business news for Marketplace. 

IPR would like to know what business issues are important to you, join our IPR Insight Network and lend your expertise and experience to our reporting.  

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Business and Economy
7:30 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Postville, Iowa then and now

The name of the kosher meat packing plant was changed from Agri-Processors to Agri-Star when it reopened under new ownership
Credit Pat Blank

Five years ago, on May 12, 2008, Postville's kosher meat packing plant was the site the largest immigration raid in Iowa history. Iowa Public Radio's Pat Blank talks with some of those who were there then and who are still there now

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Business and Economy
5:35 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

MidAmerican Energy Announces $1.9 billion Wind Deal in Iowa

Credit flickr

Iowa’s biggest economic development deal was announced Wednesday. As Governor Terry Branstad puts it… it’s all about wind energy. Mid-American Energy will in invest 1-point-9 billion dollars in Iowa to add up to 1,050 megawatts of wind generation. That’s about 656 new wind turbines IN IOWA by 2016. Branstad says Iowa’s wind energy industry is a good selling point for high-tech companies like Facebook which just announced it would build a data center in Altoona, just outside of Des Moines.

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Business and Economy
7:22 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Berkshire Hathaway: Coming to a "For-Sale" Sign Near You

Iowa residents soon will be seeing a Berkshire Hathaway logo on "for sale" signs in front of some homes.
Credit Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway's newest Iowa acquisition, Prudential First Realty, soon will be adopting the “Berkshire Hathaway Home Services” logo. The company has 77 agents and three offices in central Iowa, and their “For Sale” signs that now say Prudential, will be converted to Berkshire Hathaway.

Brennan Buckley is a company marketing executive in Des Moines.

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Business and Economy
3:57 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Mississippi River Levels Rise Slowly

Water levels on the Mississippi are rising —thanks to snow melts and recent precipitation
Credit Clay Masters, Iowa Public Radio.

It got pretty shaky there for a bit, as river levels fell dangerously low, slowing down barge traffic essential to exporting Iowa’s grain crops. Mike Peterson with the Army Corps of Engineers in St. Louis says they were able to keep boats moving until mother nature stepped in to make the Mississippi navigable again. 

"I think it’s a source of relief for a lot of folks in the Corps, the Coast Guard and the river industry." 

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Business/Economy
3:19 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Retrieving Freedom

Army veteran Chad Johnson and his dog Copper
Pat Blank
  • IPR's Pat Blank reports on a project that pairs college students with service dogs in-training.

A unique project in Northeast Iowa combines Wartburg College students with service dogs-in-training who will eventually be paired with military veterans or children with special needs.  The dogs can profoundly assist physically and emotionally wounded soldiers and give hope to families who need a boost to help cope with a child with challenges. The non-profit organization Retrieving Freedom is supplying the dogs. Their website is retrievingfreedom.org.

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Business/Economy
5:10 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Former CEO Wasendorf sentenced to 50 years

Credit Courtesy photo
  • Iowa Public Radio's Pat Blank reports Russell Wasendorf will spend the rest of his life in prison.

A  federal judge has sentenced 64- year- old Russell  Wasendorf, Sr. to 50 years in prison.  Last July, following an attempted suicide, Wasendorf  admitted to stealing more than 215 million dollars in customer funds from his Cedar Falls brokerage firm Peregrine Financial Group.

In a plea agreement in September, he pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud, embezzlement and making false statements. 50 years is the maximum punishment for those offenses. There is no parole in the federal court system. He was sentenced by Chief Judge Linda Reade.

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Business/Economy
9:13 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Shipping Woes Along the Mississippi River

A grain elevator owned by Cargill sits along the Mississippi River in Muscatine, Iowa.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

With lingering drought keeping the crucial Mississippi River waterway at historically low levels, some projected that barge traffic on the river would come to a scraping halt in early January. It hasn’t proved to be quite as bad – the Army Corps of Engineers now says the river will likely stay open for transportation at least through the month – but many grain and energy industries that rely on sending products up and down the river aren’t yet breathing a sigh of relief.  

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Business/Economy
7:01 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Iowa Wind Industry Leaders Praise Extension of Tax Credit

Credit Iowa Wind Energy Association / Facebook

The “Fiscal Cliff” bill signed by President Obama includes renewal tax credits for wind energy. Iowa is third in the nation for wind power production.

Wind energy companies here claim the incentives are essential for the growth of the industry. Harold Prior is the Executive Director of the Iowa Wind Energy Association. He says as the deadline approached without guaranteed renewal, investors were hesitant to start projects.

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Business/Economy
1:44 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Curbside Bus Services Increase in Iowa, United States

A Double Decker Megabus idles in Omaha. It makes stops in Des Moines and Iowa City before reaching its final destination of Chicago.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

More than 93 million people are expected to be jumping in their cars and traveling this holiday season according to Triple-A. But there’s a new trend emerging that is rivaling the car and even some airlines. Curbside buses are extending routes. Even through the unlikely sparsely populated Midwest and Great Plains.

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Business/Economy
5:30 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Lake Delhi Frustration and Hope

The Maquoketa River runs through the Lake Delhi dam.
Rick Fredericksen

Complex negotiations continue as the State of Iowa partners with landowners in Delaware County, in hopes of bringing back Lake Delhi.  Part 2 of 3.

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Business/Economy
5:30 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Lake Delhi's Massive Loss

Hartwick Marina, on the water line where Lake Delhi used to be.
Rick Fredericksen

It was almost 2 and a half years ago when flooding swamped Lake Delhi; the dam washed out, and the lake vanished down river. Today, efforts are underway to bring it back. The economic impact is mounting.

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Business/Economy
6:20 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Help for idled Hostess workers

Credit Pat Blank

A blue and white “Now Hiring” sign hangs on the front of the Wonder Bread bakery in downtown Waterloo.  It’s an outdated sign because not only is the company not adding workers, last Friday it laid off everyone who worked there.  Parent company Hostess has filed for bankruptcy idling nearly 19 thousand workers across the country. A federal judge is considering the case and has agreed to mediation.

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Business/Economy
3:46 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Iowa utility crews in NY brace for second storm

Alliant Energy crews from Iowa and Wisconsin work to restore power in New York state.
Credit Courtesy photo

Hundreds of Iowa utility workers are on the East Coast helping restore power to the thousands knocked offline by Super Storm Sandy. Just as progress is being made, another storm threatens to undo much of the work already accomplished. Lead Safety Consultant for Alliant Energy in Cedar Rapids, Kent Sodawasser says crew members are struggling with downed trees.  Sodawasser says he was humbled today when a man wearing a red, white and blue tie shook his hand and said, "Thanks for putting my power back on, now I don't have to watch over my generator and I can go and vote."

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