Wikipedia / Wapcaplet

The University of Iowa’s Heart and Vascular Center will become the first facility in the state to provide a recently-FDA-approved procedure that decreases the risk of stroke in patients with a type of irregular heartbeat. 

Iowa Press/IPTV

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says he supports having Iowa and New Hampshire leading the way in the presidential nominating process. Carson, who would be the party’s titular head if elected president, was reacting to Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus this week saying it might be time to consider other options.

Carson says he’d need a real good reason to support that.

Covering the Caucuses

Oct 2, 2015
Clay Masters / IPR

 The Iowa caucuses are only four months away now and with them be ready to hear more from NPR political reporters. NPR's Don Gonyea and Tamara Keith stopped by Iowa Public Radio to discuss covering the Iowa caucuses with IPR's Clay Masters.

"You tend to get a cross-section of parties. You get people haven’t made up their mind up yet and they’re happy to talk to you," Gonyea says. "That’s a treasure trove for a reporter."

Gonyea also notes you get close access to  most of the candidates.

Pat Blank/IPR

Republican Presidential candidate Marco Rubio is on a two-day swing through eastern Iowa. Thursday night in Cedar Falls he told a crowd of more than 300 that the federal government is failing in its obligation to keep Americans safe.

The junior Senator from Florida says there’s plenty of blame for what he calls the loss of prestige by the U.S. He says the recent air strikes by Russian planes in Syria are proof that the situation is out of control.

John Pemple/IPR file photo

Iowa U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley is among those sponsoring legislation aimed at recalibrating prison sentences for certain drug offenders.  Grassley appeared at a Washington news conference today with Senators from both parties.  He called the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 a significant change in how the courts treat lower-level drug crimes.

Julie Stevens

A student landscape architecture project at Iowa State University is being recognized by a national organization for working to make the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women a more humane and therapeutic environment.

The American Society of Landscape Architecture has given the ISU project a Community Service Award of Excellence for creating outdoor classrooms using native Iowa limestone and prairie plants, and a decompression deck for staff at the women’s prison in Mitchellville.

Gage Skidmore/flickr

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says legislation to crack down on illegal immigrants is meeting with opposition in the Republican-dominated Judiciary Committee that Grassley chairs in the U.S. Senate.   

As proposed by Grassley, the bill would levy a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for felons who are deported and then return to the country. 

 Grassley says mandatory minimums have become controversial.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Major Iowa GOP donor Bruce Rastetter today stood alongside Chris Christie and announced he’s endorsing the New Jersey Governor for the Republican nomination for president.     

Rastetter and other influential Iowans are backing the man they tried to convince to run in the last presidential election. 

Flanked by other political heavy hitters, Rastetter announced the endorsements any candidate would envy. 

The group wasn’t happy with the Republican field four years ago, so they boarded Rastetter’s plane and flew to Christie’s home turf.

Joyce Russell/IPR

About 150 people turned out in Alden in Hardin County yesterday to hear New Jersey Governor and Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, who’s on a two-day campaign swing through the state.  

Christie leveled hard-hitting criticism at the Obama administration, particularly in foreign policy.  

Christie says the president focused on climate change more than the trouble spots around the world.

A first-of-its-kind report out released today found most community college students leave school with debts of less than ten-thousand dollars.  But it also finds those who borrow the least are the most likely to default.

The executive dean of student services at Des Moines Area Community College, Laurie Wolf, contributed to the report. She says there may be a simple reason why students default on loan debts as small as 500-dollars.


About 300 people turned out in Newton Saturday night to hear Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who is on a two-day weekend campaign swing through the state.   Sanders drew cheers with his populist message, including criticizing income inequality.  

Elizabeth Gaffney, a high school teacher from Baxter, has already heard Bernie Sanders, once in Ames, and again on the soapbox at the State Fair.  

She is new to Democratic politics.         

 “I used to be a Republican,” Gaffney says.  “Bernie’s made me a convert.”

University of Iowa photo

A group representing faculty in the University of Iowa’s Liberal Arts College is censuring the UI’s incoming president, Bruce Harreld.

Language and Cultures Professor Russ Ganim chaired the Faculty Assembly, a group representing the broader Liberal Arts faculty. He says censuring President-select Harreld isn’t meant to humiliate.

“The purpose was not to embarrass anyone,” he said.  “The purpose was to reaffirm our core values. First and foremost of those values being intellectual honesty. And academic integrity.

Matt Brooks/NET News file photo

China will buy 13-point-eight metric tons of U.S soybeans this year, worth about $5.3 million.  Twenty-four contracts making that official were signed today in downtown Des Moines. 

This year’s Iowa soybean harvest is expected to be strong, and Laura Foell welcomes this news.  She and her husband farm 900 acres near the Sac county town of Schaller. She’s also the chairwoman of the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

Joyce Russell/IPR

An Ames minister will receive the 2013 Robert D. Ray Iowa SHARES Humanitarian Award for his 30-year  career fighting hunger in Iowa and around the world.   

In a ceremony next month, officials with the World Food Prize will honor Rev. Russ Melby who organized Church World Service Hunger Walks in Iowa communities to benefit Iowa food banks, as well as hunger relief abroad.    

Rev. Melby came to Iowa in 1984 and hoped to organize food walks in all 99 counties within five years.

Sculpt Siouxland

Someone has stolen a bronze statue from downtown Sioux City. The city’s Art Center discovered "Goddess of the Grapes" was gone on Tuesday from it's 4th Street location, after doing an inventory of all the public art sculptures it maintains.

The roughly 20-inch statue depicts a young woman holding grapes, standing on her toes and reaching towards the sky. "Goddess of the Grapes" is owned by the nonprofit Sculpt Siouxland and maintained by the Sioux City Art Center.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum today appeared before the Westside Conservative Breakfast club in Urbandale where he staked out one of the most conservative positions on immigration in the Republican race for president.    

Santorum wants to limit not just illegal immigration but legal entry into the country.    

Santorum says too many people are coming here legally and competing for American jobs.

Hades 2K/flickr

Some Iowa consumers have gone without landline phone service for weeks at a time this summer, and the Iowa Office of Consumer Advocate is requesting proceedings against the CenturyLink phone company. 

Between August 24 and September 11th, the office received eight complaints of repair delays ranging from ten days to, in one case, more than a month.  

Consumer Advocate Mark Schuling has asked the Iowa Utilities board to consolidate the cases to speed things up.

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Democratic State Sen. Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids kicked off his campaign for U.S. Senate at a city park in Callender Tuesday morning.

Hogg hopes to challenge Sen. Chuck Grassley. The Republican is seeking his seventh term in the Senate. 

It was a low key event. Hogg spoke to about a half dozen people and described himself as an “underdog.”

Iowa Public Radio / John Pemble

State Sen. Rob Hogg is announcing his bid for the U.S. Senate, tomorrow in his grandmother's hometown of Callendar, located in Webster County. The Cedar Rapids Democrat will challenge Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, who has held his seat since 1981.

Hogg says he is not worried about running a financially competitive campaign against the incumbent, though he says the nation needs campaign finance reform.

IPR's Pat Blank

As the fall harvest hits full speed, state public safety officials are asking motorists to check their speed as they approach over-sized farm equipment on the road.

Iowa Highway Patrol Sergeant Nate Ludwig says traditional cars and trucks are no match for the agricultural machinery, which often weighs several tons.

“This time of year you need to watch for those large trucks, tractors and implements," he says.  "It can be anything from a small tractor to a large 20 row bean head combine,” he said.

Harvest Public Media flie photo by Peggy Lowe

Have you noticed your grocery store's organic section starting to spill over? It's not your imagination. The organic sector is raking in the dough.

The country's certified organic farms sold $5.5 billion in organic products in 2014. That's a 72 percent increase since 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2014 survey of organic agriculture shows. The goods that brought in the most cash were organic milk, eggs, chicken, lettuce and apples, according to the survey.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Eight Republican candidates for President were in Des Moines last night, vying for the votes of Christian conservatives at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual fall banquet. 

Some evangelicals say it’s hard to win the Iowa caucuses without their support but so far they have not coalesced behind a single candidate.  

Some have chosen sides.  Jeff Newell of Granger waved a sign for Texas Senator Ted Cruz as hundreds of activists filed in to the Knapp center at the fairgrounds.  

“I think Christians are getting a raw deal,” Newell says.   

Iowa DNR

The 98-acre State Forest Nursery in Ames has been losing money since 2007 because of decreasing demand for seedlings. That made it a likely target for closing when the Iowa Department of Natural Resources was looking to trim the budget. District Forester Mark Vitosh says however, the nursery is open and is filling orders for this fall and next spring.

Joyce Russell/IPR

The husband of a Burlington woman who was shot and killed by a Burlington police officer appeared before a state board today, arguing for the release of a video recording and other information in the case.  

In January, Officer Jesse Hill answered a domestic disturbance call and shot and killed 34-year old Autumn Steele after the family’s dog attacked him. 

Steele’s family and the Burlington Hawk Eye newspaper petitioned the Iowa Public Information board hoping to be able to hear 911 recordings and view body cam video.  

John Pemble/IPR file

On Mother’s Day 2012, 17-year-old Isaiah Sweet of Manchester put on earmuffs, loaded ten bullets into an assault rifle, and shot his grandparents in the head. He was later sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Thursday, the Iowa Supreme Court was asked if that’s ever an appropriate sentence for a juvenile in Iowa.

Harvest Public Media file photo by Kristofor Husted

The Obama administration is challenging America to reduce food waste by half in 15 years.

In an announcement Wednesday, officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency said they would team up with food retailers, charity groups and local governments to meet that goal. 

(Read the NPR story here.)

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Creative Commons

In a small state like Iowa with so many presidential candidates on the ground, the homegrown political talent to support those campaigns is stretched thin.

Joe Shannahan knows firsthand how tough the market for experienced political operatives is in the Hawkeye State these days.

"This year, it's difficult to find staff, because there are so many campaigns," says Shannahan, a partner with LS2Group in Des Moines, a public relations firm that often hires former campaign workers from both parties.

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Though the tone in Washington maybe polarizing, college students in Des Moines from different sides of the aisle can still break bread...or share a pizza. 

About 65 students attended a pizza watch party of the CNN Republican Debate at Drake's Harvey Ingham Hall. The event was cohosted by the Drake College Republicans and Drake University Democrats.

"Our main focus is just to show that we can work together," says senior Bri Steirer, president of Drake Democrats. "I just love politics, so I obviously was going to watch...But we figured we'd make it a joint event. Why not?"

Food Companies Show Concern about Farm Runoff

Sep 16, 2015
Photo by Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

In order to grow massive amounts of corn and soybeans, two crops at the center of the U.S. food system, farmers in the Midwest typically apply hundreds of pounds of fertilizer on every acre they farm. This practice allows food companies to produce, and consumers to consume, a lot of relatively cheap food.

But that fertilizer can leach through soil and wash off land, polluting our drinking water, destroying our fishing rivers, and turning a Connecticut-sized chunk of the Gulf of Mexico into an oxygen-depleted hypoxic zone, suffocating aquatic life.

Iowa Public Radio / John Pemble

Wednesday is the first day of the Iowa Supreme Court's 2015-2016 session. The high court will hear five cases, including one questioning when someone should be given the Miranda Warning, which is the right to remain silent when in police custody and the right to legal counsel. 

Zyriah Schlitter was found guilty in 2012 of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment resulting in the death of his 17-month-old daughter Kamryn. During his trial, Schlitter made statements that conflicted with a taped interview conducted by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.