Kate Payne

Reporter

Kate Payne is an Iowa City-based reporter for Iowa Public Radio. Before she came to the Midwest she was a reporter and fill-in host for WFSU, the NPR member station in Tallahassee, Florida. Kate has won awards for her political and feature reporting and her sound editing.

Kate is a proud North Florida native, an avid reader and loves experimenting in the kitchen.

Feel free to send story tips and Iowa road trip ideas to kpayne@iowapublicradio.org.

Kate's favorite public radio program is Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Thomas Favre-Bulle

Thousands of Iowa high schoolers wrapped up rigorous Advanced Placement exams this month, in the hopes of earning college credit. But some students don’t have access to the in-class instruction that can help them pass their APs and test out of university requirements.

Mike Fritcher via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikefritcherphotography/28345182261/in/photolist-YaC8mq-6Kpc5g-iZdW55-J8XkmS-axeGbk-26QwzgE-JKtZ1s-cZGHow-cZGHvu-P51BXw-Pcu4pu-NhAr6x-NZebRo-BJjbh-4MzPnm-JF4FM-4NigoN-QmtcLo-HzGfZK-FC9jEG-G2sQzj-Fb15fq-FFkzTh-FcS3jf-stNvQ-JYi

Federal officials have selected 62 Iowa communities  for a new Opportunity Zone program. The effort is meant to encourage investment in underserved areas. But Iowa officials say they're still waiting for more details on how the program will actually work.

Douglas Palmer via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/diacritical/4628043944/

An Iowa non-profit organization is trying to pay for the release of all 32 individuals detained in an immigration raid in Mount Pleasant. By getting them out of detention centers, organizers behind the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project say those arrested will have a much better chance of presenting their case in court.

Kate Payne / IPR

Early projections from national media outlets suggest Iowa Congressman Rod Blum may be one of the most vulnerable representatives in the country. Four Democrats want to unseat the two-term Republican during this year’s midterms. In this key toss-up race, some voters are saying electability is more important than policy.

university of iowa
Vladimir Kulikov / Wikimedia Commons

Non-tenure track faculty at the University of Iowa say they’re laying the groundwork for labor negotiations with the administration. The group of adjuncts, instructors and visiting professors had its first formal meeting with officials Wednesday morning.

Kate Payne

A superintendent in eastern Iowa is keeping his job, despite letting a convicted sex offender volunteer in his district. The administrator had previously offered to resign over the issue that some say has divided the school community.

Kate Payne/IPR

Family members of those detained in an immigration raid in Mt. Pleasant this week are still reeling, after federal law enforcement officials arrested 32 workers at a concrete factory Wednesday morning.

Now their families are trying to navigate the legal system, hire lawyers and figure out how to pay the bills. Fifteen year old Oscar Lopez’s stepfather was among those detained.

“I think of him as the hardest working man there is,” Lopez said. “He just really… he just tried to get a roof over our head, food to us, everything. Give us the best life there could be.”

Feed Iowa First via facebook / facebook.com/feediowafirst

A non-profit organization that puts fresh produce on the tables of food insecure Iowans is carrying on the legacy of its late founder.

Seth Sawyers via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/sidewalk_flying/

The Davenport Community School District is considering closing one of its schools, in order to balance the budget. One local official says the problems are partly caused by the state’s school funding formula

Brownells, Inc. / https://www.brownells.com/aspx/general/about_brownells.aspx

Iowan Pete Brownell will not seek another term as president of the National Rifle Association. For some of his neighbors in the city of Grinnell, that’s a relief.

Kate Payne/IPR

The state’s top elections official says the state's voting systems are buffeted by cyber attacks. Now Iowa's secretary of state is launching a new partnership to try and insulate the department.

Jen Castro via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jencastro/16345941420/

For Native American advocates, this Saturday is a national day of awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women. Members of the Meskwaki tribe are organizing a walk to remember an Iowa woman who disappeared in 2015.

Floyd County Government. / http://www.floydcoia.org/441/Jail

Voters in a North Iowa county approved a $13.5 million bond Tuesday to build a new jail. More than 68 percent of Floyd County voters signed off on the referendum, clearing the 60 percent threshold needed to pass. Pressure to rebuild the 77 year old facility has been building for years.  An inspector from the state Department of Corrections first labeled the Floyd County facility inadequate in 2013.

Mid-Prairie Community School District / https://www.mphawks.org/midprairie-high-school

A southeast Iowa superintendent is standing by his decision to let a convicted sex offender volunteer in his district. Amid pushback from parents and former students, the issue could cost the official his job.

university of iowa
Vladimir Kulikov / Wikimedia Commons

The University of Iowa is rolling out a new plan to combat harassment and sexual violence on campus by expanding education and training for students, faculty and staff and supervisors. The effort draws on a findings from a survey of nearly 7,000 students’ experiences with sexual misconduct.

Iowa Wind Energy Association / Facebook

Black Hawk County is moving forward with a plan to build 35 wind turbines, despite concerns from local residents. But an Iowa researcher says the impacts will likely be minimal.

Kate Payne

Iowa students across the state protested gun violence Friday, to mark 19 years since the Columbine shooting in Colorado. One of the demonstrations was at a gun store owned by the president of the NRA.

Kate Payne

This story was updated on 4/19.

Non-tenure track faculty at the University of Iowa are demanding higher pay, better benefits and more representation. Around sixty non-tenure track professors and supporters braved the weather to deliver their demands to campus administrators Wednesday.

John Fowler via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/snowpeak/27057517509/

A rollback of federal rules on migratory birds has conservationists worried. The federal government has announced it will stop prosecuting companies that accidentally kill species protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. They fear the changes could pave the way for industrial developments that pose a threat to the species in Iowa.

university of iowa
Vladimir Kulikov / Wikimedia Commons

The University of Iowa is putting construction and maintenance on hold in order to absorb an estimated $5.5 million worth of budget cuts from state lawmakers. School officials say stalling necessary repairs will cost more in the long term. 

Thomas Hawk via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/14471621099/

As Iowa’s local law enforcement officers are beginning to adjust to the state’s new sanctuary cities law, they’re running into some constitutional questions.

Rachel Samerdyke/USFWS Midwest via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmidwest/9260033969/

Wildlife biologists need the help of Iowa residents to monitor frog and toad populations. The research could tell scientists more about the state’s water quality.

Kate Payne

Eastern Iowa officials are encouraging people to report any hate-related incidents. In the past few months Iowa City has seen white power fliers handed out in a neighborhood and anti-Semitic graffiti on the University of Iowa campus. Now local law enforcement and community leaders are asking for residents' help to identify and prevent potential hate crimes.

Gage Skidmore via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/17649805888/

Facebook executive Mark Zuckerberg will have to answer to members of Congress this week about the company’s management of user data. He's slated to testify before a joint meeting of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees on Tuesday, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday. Here's some insight on what Iowa’s senior senator wants to hear.

Kate Payne

Iowa’s senior U.S. Senator is downplaying some of the concerns over proposed tariffs on Chinese imports. . Farmers are bracing for a potential trade war which could threaten corn, soybean and hog sales. While Sen. Chuck Grassley acknowledges the impacts could hurt farmers, he says it’s too early to be too worried.

The Shelter House via facebook / https://www.facebook.com/shelterhouseiowa/

An Iowa City nonprofit is starting construction on a new kind of housing development for those experiencing chronic homelessness. The unit is thought to be the only one in the state to use the “housing first" model. 

Kate Payne

Iowa U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst says she’s worried about the fate of DACA recipients in Iowa. The Republican lawmaker is voicing her concerns after President Donald Trump tweeted the program is "dead."

Thomas Favre-Bulle

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is expected to sign a bill that would require the state’s schools to plan for emergencies.  If SF 2364 goes into effect, administrators may need to make changes soon.

The University of Washington / http://depts.washington.edu/moving1/black_migration.shtml

The city of Waterloo has won more $47,500 in grant money to a study a historically black neighborhood

quasicasa via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/quasicasa/

Johnson County is raising its suggested minimum wage to $10.27 an hour. While officials can’t legally enforce the change, they hope it will set a new baseline for worker pay. 

Pages