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.

Marcus Kwan/Flickr

The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board issued an opinion Friday saying candidates for public office cannot use campaign funds for child care.

“I think that it’s disappointing,” said Reyma McCoy McDeid, a candidate in this year’s Democratic primary for Iowa House District 38. “I really hoped to remove this small but significant barrier to parents running for office.”

desks
alamosbasement/flickr

More than a year after receiving orders from an administrative judge, the Iowa Department of Education agreed to make some changes to special education requirements that could open up special education programs to more students.

foxhoven
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Several days after the new fiscal year started July 1, Iowa has yet to finalize contracts with the companies that run its privatized Medicaid program.

This also happened last year. Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven told lawmakers in January negotiations would be completed in time for their budget process.

But lawmakers approved budgets more than two months ago without knowing how much the Medicaid program would cost.

chuck grassley
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says it’s time for the Senate Judiciary Committee to get to work after President Trump announced a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court Monday night.

Grassley chairs the committee. He says it will likely take at least 65 to 70 days before Judge Brett Kavanaugh gets a confirmation hearing.

suzanna de baca
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

The Iowa Supreme Court struck down a law Friday requiring women seeking abortions to wait 72 hours between an initial appointment and getting the procedure.

In a 5-2 decision, the court ruled the waiting period violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the Iowa Constitution.

naloxone
Tom Wolf / flickr

Iowa officials will distribute 2,000 free opioid overdose reversal kits throughout the state this Friday.

More than 350 pharmacies will have naloxone, a drug that stops an opioid overdose, available for free. Each kit has two doses of the drug in a nasal spray form, branded as Narcan.

It’s part of the state’s effort to address increasing opioid-related deaths in the state.

supreme court
John Pemble/IPR file photo

Twenty-two Iowans have applied to become the state’s newest Supreme Court justice.

The State Judicial Nominating Commission will interview applicants July 9 to start the process of choosing a replacement for Justice Bruce Zager. He is retiring effective Sept. 3.

This is the first Iowa Supreme Court vacancy since 2011. Some court watchers see it as an opportunity to diversify the state’s highest court because all seven justices are currently white men.

flood rock valley
City of Rock Valley

Heavy rain continued to fall Monday morning on areas of northwest Iowa already soaked by storms over the weekend. In the far northwest corner of the state, an oil spill is complicating matters.

On Friday, 32 rail cars derailed in Lyon County and spilled an estimated 230,000 gallons of crude oil into the Little Rock River.

Rock Valley City Administrator Tom Van Maanen said his community, which is downstream from the oil spill, is concerned about the oil that escaped containment efforts.

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.

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