Katarina Sostaric

Reporter

Katarina Sostaric is a Des Moines based reporter for Iowa Public Radio.

She previously covered Eastern Iowa for IPR from Iowa City. Before coming to Iowa, Katarina was a reporter and host at a public radio station in Southeast Alaska, where her work also aired on Alaska’s statewide public radio network.

Katarina worked as a Morning Edition news anchor and general assignment reporter at KBIA in Columbia while she was a student at the Missouri School of Journalism. She has bachelor’s degrees in Convergence Journalism and International Studies from the University of Missouri.

Katarina’s favorite public radio program is Reveal.

kim reynolds
John Pemble/IPR

Iowa’s governor and senior U.S. Senator are joining the chorus of conservatives criticizing President Trump’s policy of separating migrant families at the border. 

Paul "710928003" / flickr

A pilot program in four Iowa counties that aims to make the pretrial bond system fairer for all defendants will continue through the end of the year because of a veto by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds. But a new, shorter timeline limits research efforts around the program.

pills and money
Images Money / flickr

Iowans who buy their own health insurance will have more options for coverage under the Affordable Care Act next year, but the price of that coverage is still unclear.

Insurance premiums for plans under the Affordable Care Act spiked this year when only one company agreed to sell insurance in the state. That company is Medica, and it’s proposing more plan options for next year.

mike randol
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa’s Medicaid director Wednesday told the Council on Human Services the state’s privatized Medicaid program is saving money for taxpayers, but his explanation left questions unanswered.

Medicaid Director Mike Randol said the state is projected to save $140.9 million in the fiscal year that ends June 30, compared to what the state would have spent before its health care program for low income and disabled people was turned over to for-profit companies.

“I think it’s important to understand that regardless of the methodology, there are savings,” Randol said.

reynolds
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds released a new "playbook" Tuesday to guide high schools in setting up registered apprenticeship programs with local businesses.

Speaking at the Career Academy of Pella, Reynolds said it will help the state meet its workforce education goals and help businesses fill their need for skilled workers.

"So because of this step-by-step playbook, I'm confident that we'll get more employers and high schools and community colleges across Iowa to work together to start registered apprenticeship programs," Reynolds said.

dave jamison
John Pemble/IPR file

A judge has ruled former Iowa Finance Authority Director Dave Jamison should not have received unemployment benefits after he was fired over credible allegations of sexual harassment.

Gov. Kim Reynolds fired Jamison in late March, hours after two of his employees came forward with allegations of sexual harassment.

Jamison was granted unemployment benefits in April, and the governor’s office appealed that decision by Iowa Workforce Development.

Iowa State University
Wikimedia Commons

As Iowa’s Board of Regents voted to increase college tuition Thursday, one board member called recent budget cuts to higher education the “worst state government attack” he’s seen on Iowa’s public universities.

“I view it that way when we are taking three great universities downhill,” said Regent Larry McKibben, a former Republican state lawmaker. “And for me as a board member, to see that happen is extremely difficult.” 

cindy axne
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Cindy Axne won the three-way Democratic primary election in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District Tuesday night with about 58 percent of the vote. She will face two-term Rep. David Young (R-Van Meter) in the November general election.

Axne addressed supporters at her campaign office in West Des Moines shortly after the race was called.

“I am so grateful for the support that I’ve received across this district,” Axne said. “And I know you’re all going to be by my side as we take this to a victory in November.”

dave jamison
John Pemble/IPR file

An unemployment benefits appeal hearing Tuesday revealed more details about Gov. Kim Reynolds’ firing of Iowa Finance Authority Director Dave Jamison over sexual harassment allegations, including the admission Jamison was fired without an investigation and was not given a chance to respond to claims.

Jamison received unemployment benefits after his firing, and the governor’s office is appealing those benefits.

fez zafar
American Iftar Dinner

After the Trump administration broke a White House tradition last year of celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a Des Moines teen is trying to revive and expand the tradition.

Starting with the Clinton administration, the White House has hosted an annual iftar dinner to celebrate Ramadan. It continued through the Bush and Obama presidencies, but Donald Trump did not hold the event when he took office in 2017.

planned parenthood lawyer
Michael Zamora / Des Moines Register

A Polk County judge Friday temporarily blocked Iowa’s “fetal heartbeat” abortion law from being enforced while a legal challenge is underway. The law, which bans most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, was supposed to take effect July 1.

The temporary injunction is the first step in a legal challenge led by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Iowa. They, along with the Emma Goldman Clinic of Iowa City, argue the law is unconstitutional.

paul pate
Kate Payne/IPR

Iowa’s voter ID law, which was passed last year and is in a “soft rollout” phase, is facing a lawsuit days before the June 5 primary election. A Latino civil rights group and an ISU student said they are suing Secretary of State Paul Pate because the voter ID law is “burdensome and irrational.”

Pate said in an emailed statement the lawsuit is “baseless and politically motivated,” and his office has asked the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) for feedback on voter education initiatives.

adam wright
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

A proposed wind project in Iowa could make MidAmerican Energy the country’s first utility to generate renewable energy equal to 100 percent of customers’ annual usage. The company announced this goal two years ago.

On Wednesday, MidAmerican Energy President and CEO Adam Wright said last year, just over half of the energy produced by the company came from wind. 

“That’s going to continue to creep up,” Wright said. “By the time we get to 2019, 2020, we should be above 90 percent from wind, and the rest will be coming from the other resources that we have.”

John Pemble / IPR file photo

Political analysts say there’s “reason to be optimistic” this year’s elections could lead to a record-breaking number of women serving in the Iowa Legislature.

There have never been more than 35 women among the state’s 150 lawmakers.

“Part of the reason we hit that ceiling is not having enough women run for office,” said Kelly Winfrey, assistant professor at Iowa State University and coordinator at the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics. “This year, we have more women running, so we would expect to see more women winning.”

dave jamison
John Pemble/IPR file

Gov. Kim Reynolds is asking the state to deny unemployment benefits to the former director of a state housing agency she fired over allegations of sexual harassment.

Reynolds fired Iowa Finance Authority Director Dave Jamison on March 24, less than 24 hours after she received a complaint from one of his employees.

nate boulton
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

UPDATE: 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 24

Nate Boulton said in a statement Thursday morning he is suspending his campaign for governor. 

"While I depart this campaign for governor with a heavy heart, I remain resolved to the greater cause of creating a future Iowa we all can be proud to call our home," the statement read.  

There are five other Democrats running in the primary.  By Thursday morning, four of them had called for Boulton to drop out of the race, and John Norris said Boulton shouldn't be the Democratic nominee. 

cedar rapids police patch
City of Cedar Rapids

Sherriff’s deputies in Iowa are increasingly spending time on mental health cases. They are tracking down people who are court-ordered to enter mental health treatment and transporting patients between hospitals and commitment hearings.

Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson says his deputies sometimes arrest people who not breaking the law but who clearly need assistance. He says sometimes there’s nowhere to take them but to jail.

bill signing
John Pemble / IPR

Iowa’s Executive Council voted Monday to approve the hiring of a Chicago-based conservative law firm to represent the state in a lawsuit challenging the fetal heartbeat abortion law.

planned parenthood clinic
Sarah Boden/IPR File

Groups that provide or refer patients for abortions would reportedly be barred from receiving federal funding under a soon to be released Trump administration proposal.

democratic debate
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

The six Democratic candidates for Iowa governor had some heated exchanges Wednesday at a debate at the Iowa Public TV studios in Johnston. It was the first time voters saw the six candidates directly address each other and attack their opponents’ records.

All of the candidates said they want to decrease state tax credits given to businesses because they see them as hurting Iowa’s revenue growth and leading to budget cuts for education and state agencies.

rita bettis
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Planned Parenthood, the ACLU of Iowa and the Emma Goldman Clinic are suing Gov. Kim Reynolds over her recent signing of the fetal heartbeat abortion law.

They say the law—which bans most abortions after about six weeks into pregnancy—should be struck down as unconstitutional. They are also asking the Polk County District Court to block the law from taking effect while the lawsuit plays out.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland President and CEO Suzanna de Baca said Tuesday if the law takes effect July 1, it will have a “devastating effect” on women seeking abortions.

democratic primary forum
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

There’s a lot of Democratic energy surrounding the 2018 elections because Democrats see them as a chance to get into Congress and oppose the Trump administration’s agenda.

In Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, which covers rural southwest Iowa and the cities of Des Moines and Council Bluffs, three candidates are running in the Democratic primary to take on two-term Republican U.S. Rep. David Young. Eddie Mauro, Cindy Axne and Pete D’Alessandro have similar views on many issues and all live in the Des Moines area, but they have different backgrounds.

jerry foxhoven
Joyce Russell/IPR

Another worker at Iowa’s school for delinquent boys has been attacked by a resident.

According to Iowa Department of Human Services, a student of the state training school at Eldora punched a staff member in the face on Saturday, May 5.

DHS Director Jerry Foxhoven described the resulting injuries at a meeting Wednesday.

“The doctors have said that his injuries look like what they get from somebody from a very serious car accident,” Foxhoven said.

Wikimedia Commons

Early voting started Monday for the June 5th primary elections for Iowa governor, U.S. representatives, and other offices. It marks the first statewide use of Iowa’s new voter ID law, which was signed into law in 2017.

Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald says if voters register by May 25, they don’t need an ID to vote in-person.

“So you can sign an oath of identity saying, ‘I’m Joe Voter, I’m in the pre-registration book. I either don’t have my ID or I prefer not to give it.’ For 2018, that’s an option for everybody,” Fitzgerald says.

bill signing
John Pemble / IPR

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the country’s most restrictive abortion law Friday afternoon, banning most abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

House and Senate Republicans sent the bill to Reynolds earlier this week after back-to-back, late-night votes.

Reynolds signed the bill surrounded by children and Republican lawmakers, while protesters chanted outside her office.

tom miller
Joyce Russell/IPR

UPDATE: Governor Kim Reynolds signed the fetal heartbeat abortion bill at 3:00 p.m. today (Friday).

As Iowans wait to see if Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds will sign the fetal heartbeat abortion bill into law, Iowa’s attorney general is deciding if he would defend the law in court.

shannon lundgren
John Pemble / IPR

A bill that would ban almost all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected passed the Iowa House late Tuesday night and the Iowa Senate early Wednesday morning following hours of passionate debate.

The bill would ban most abortions after about six weeks into a pregnancy, with some exceptions for rape, incest, fetal abnormalities, and to save the life of the mother. It now goes to the governor’s desk.

Iowa capitol
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

A new program that aims to reduce jail populations could be terminated under a bill that passed the Iowa House Monday evening.

A bill appropriating funds for the state’s justice system includes a provision that would outlaw the use of the Public Safety Assessment in pretrial hearings when determining whether to detain or release a defendant before trial.

senator tom greene
John Pemble/IPR

Senators on both sides of the aisle expressed frustration Monday with the House’s refusal to consider a bill that would expand Iowa’s medical marijuana program.

Republican and Democratic senators have been calling for an expansion of the list of medical conditions that allow a patient to obtain medical marijuana. The bipartisan group also wants to remove the state’s cap on the amount of THC, the most psychoactive component of marijuana, that’s allowed in medical preparations.

traffic camera
Adrian Pingstone / Wikipedia

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday that the Iowa Department of Transportation does not have the authority to regulate cities’ traffic cameras.

In a 6-0 opinion, Supreme Court justices agreed the IDOT cannot order Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Muscatine to remove or relocate traffic cameras. The state legislature would have to pass a law specifically granting the IDOT the authority to make and enforce rules for cities’ traffic cameras.

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