Pat Blank

All Things Considered Host

Pat Blank has been with Iowa Public Radio for 24 years. She was hired as a reporter and eventually was chosen to host Morning Edition at the Cedar Falls studios in 1986.  She has been host of All Things Considered since 1995. She is a nationally award winning reporter who has also worked in commercial radio and television. Pat has served as a part-time instructor at Wartburg College and at the University of Northern Iowa where she teaches journalism classes.  She is on the Board of Control for UNI’s student run radio station KULT. She is currently serving a second term on the  Iowa Archives of Broadcasting National Advisory Board.

Pat has a bachelor’s degree in radio-television broadcasting from the University of Northern Iowa.

Pat's favorite public radio program is This American Life.

Ways To Connect

Celebrating ADA

Jul 17, 2015
Americans with Disabilities

Twenty-five years ago, through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), our nation committed itself to eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is proud to play a critical role in enforcing the ADA, working towards a future in which all the doors are open to equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, integration and economic self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities. In honor of the 25th anniversary of the ADA, the U.S.

Nice Ice

Jul 16, 2015
IPR's Pat Blank

Cedar Rapids is in the national spotlight for the next four days as the city hosts the USA Curling Arena National Championships.  Curling is a game played on ice in which large, round, colored stones are slid across the surface toward a mark known as a button.  Think shuffle board, but with a lot more action as team members sweep the path of the stone to control its speed and direction.   The surface is always an important factor, but this level of competition demands an ice expert.  Enter Kevin Madsen of New London, Minnesota who’s part of an elite crew.

Courtesy photo

When you think about packing for summer camp some obvious items come to mind; sleeping bags, maybe a flashlight, or swimsuits. But a nature center in Northwest Iowa  is looking to add another item to the list, your grandparents.

It’s often difficult for kids and grandparents to coordinate their schedules to allow quality time together, but The Dickinson County Conservation Board in Okoboji is looking to make it easier and more fun than ever. Grandpa, Grandma & Me! is a new kind of day camp focused on bringing kids and their grandparents together for a unique camp experience.

No Pain Propane

Jul 7, 2015
Courtesy photo

  ***  Please note the original  post had two thousand homes, the number is roughly 15  percent of Iowa homes or just over 183 thousand**

Good news for those who use liquid propane; from backyard grillers to farmers and to homeowners. Prices are at an all-time low.

Iowa Agriculture Department Energy Analyst Harold Hommes says those who grill will probably not notice, “when we get into those small cylinders at retail generally with the price of the exchange and that process we don’t see that fluctuate too much.”

Think Before You Drink

Jul 3, 2015
Courtesy photo

The Fourth of July is one of Iowa’s most popular holidays for boating, but historically it’s been one of the most dangerous. State Department of Natural Resources boating safety expert, Susan Stocker says many accidents and injuries can be prevented with good planning. She says Iowa law requires that the water craft have onboard; one life jacket per person as well as other equipment.

Iowa DNR

Trumpeter swans were abundant throughout Iowa in the 1800s, but pioneers commonly shot swans from the sky in fear of potential crop damage and they were harvested to near extinction by hunters. Iowa Department of Natural Resources wildlife technician Dave Hoffman says thanks to the help of volunteers, these majestic white birds were able to be reintroduced to the state in 1995 and continue making their comeback with more than 45 nesting pairs spotted last year.

Operation Dry Water

Jun 25, 2015
U.S Coast Guard

Operation Dry Water is set to begin tomorrow as state, federal, and local law enforcement continue to focus on the state’s boating while intoxicated laws and draw public attention to the hazards of boating under the influence.

Jindal Visits Iowa

Jun 15, 2015
IPR's Pat Blank

Louisiana Governor Republican Bobby Jindal was in Iowa Monday to take part in a forum on national security. The event was broadcast live from Mudd Advertising Studios in Cedar Falls and sponsored by the group Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security.  Jindal has been mentioned as a possible 2016 presidential candidate. Jindal is expected to announce next week if he will join a crowded field of GOP candidates.

Stop Bugging Me!

Jun 15, 2015

Summer’s official start is right around the corner and with it comes an increase of pesky insects. State Health Department officials are warning against lathering on too much insect repellent.  IDPH Medical Director Patricia Quinlisk says a little spray goes a long way. “You want to use the lowest concentration that you need,” she explains. “Concentrations don’t tell you how well they work, they tell you how long they’re going to last.”

(Not So) Gross Anatomy

Jun 2, 2015
IPR's Pat Blank

For medical students enrolled in Gross Anatomy class, a rite of passage is dissecting human bodies. But putting hands on a real body is impractical for students who won’t eventually become doctors, however, technology is providing some new options.

Oh Deer!

May 28, 2015
IPR's Pat Blank

It’s baby wildlife season in Iowa and many well-meaning people who find them believe they are orphans. Iowa Wildlife Center Executive Director Marlene Ehresman says most do not need to be “rescued” and taking them from the place where they were born will more likely do more harm than good.

IPR's Pat Blank

A French military honor has been presented to 94 year-old Cleon Wood of Cedar Falls. Wood was a gunner on B-17 bombers that flew more than 30 missions over Europe in World War II.   Wood received the French Legion of Honor for his participation in the June 1944 D-Day invasion and other American air missions in France.  Counsel General of France for the Midwest, Vincent Floreani presented the medal to Wood in a weekend ceremony. Floreani says, "these people are so humble, they don't think they did anything special, they say they were just doing their job, but they are heroes." 

Amy Mayer

The Iowa Department of Agriculture is canceling all live bird exhibitions at the Iowa State Fair, county fairs and other gatherings of birds in an effort to contain the spread of H5N2, a deadly bird flu that's led to the euthanization of more than 25 million poultry in the state. 

Scientists are still unsure exactly how the disease is spreading. The department’s order begins immediately and is effective through the end of 2015. 

Takin' Care Of "Business"

May 19, 2015
IPR's Pat Blank

  Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton held a roundtable with small business owners in a bike shop in Cedar Falls. She says her focus on small business is a crucial component of her fight to help families get ahead and stay ahead. She also says she’s in favor of trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership, but it’s a work in progress.

Flickr

The Iowa Department of Agriculture is responding to a second case of avian flu in a Northwest Iowa turkey flock. It’s a commercial operation in Sac County.   The facility has 34,000 turkeys and is located near the initial case of H5N2 in Buena Vista County. State officials have quarantined the production areas and birds on the property will be euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease.

State Agriculture officials and the Iowa Department of Public Health are working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure proper precautions are being taken.

Wine Cooler

Apr 23, 2015
Submitted photo

Grape growers get nervous when temperatures drop into the 20s in April as they did in some parts of Iowa Wednesday night. State Viticulture Specialist Mike White says a freeze warning is always cause for concern but he's had no reports of damage, "for the most part things look pretty good in Iowa. There may have been a vineyard or two in Southern Iowa in a low area that had frost, but I think right now,we're looking pretty good."

Debt-Free College

Apr 22, 2015

University of Northern Iowa students, faculty and community members came together Wednesday to call on 2016 presidential candidates to support a national goal of debt-free education at institutions of higher learning. Americans for Democratic Action's Iowa organizer, Chris Schwartz says "we're here today to send a message to the presidential candidates whether it's Hilary Clinton or Ted Cruz that you need to come out and support the concept of debt-free college education if you want the support of students and the ADA in this caucus cycle." 

IPR's Pat Blank

The month of April means tax time and for the past 50 years, in one Northeast Iowa town there’s a tradition that’s almost as reliable. It’s the Shell Rock Spring Swing Show.

Battle Buddies

Apr 8, 2015
Cory Smith Photography

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, Eric and Leonard Myszka of Cedar Falls will be sharing their 650 square foot diorama of the Appomattox courthouse and battlefield. The display features more than 7,600 hand painted toy soldiers in elaborate detailed terrain with imbedded sound and special effects.  The Myszkas will host an open house this weekend. The diorama can also be seen by appointment.  

Pat Blank / IPR

After announcing his plans last Monday to run for the Republican Party nomination for President in 2016, Texas Senator Ted Cruz embarked on a two-day campaign swing through Iowa.  In Cedar Falls on Thursday, he spoke to around 100 at the Pipac Events Center.  

Ready Campus

Mar 26, 2015
IPR's Pat Blank

The University of Northern Iowa today hosted the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Ready Campus Fair. This event reached out to students, staff, and faculty and community members to encourage them to prepare for emergencies.

First in the state, FEMA’s disaster relief event featured other organizations such as the Iowa National Guard, Star One Search and Rescue, UNI student organizations, and more disaster-relief groups.

TraumaHawk

Mar 13, 2015
IPR's Pat Blank

A pilot project designed to give emergency room personnel more time to prepare for accident victims is set to move into its next phrase. The mobile application known as TraumaHawk is providing more lead time for ER doctors.

IPR's Pat Blank

Northeast Iowa farmer Chris Soules  has been in the national spotlight for weeks on a TV reality show in search of a bride.  At the same time, a group who promotes relationships in a more traditional way is preparing to celebrate a milestone.

On a recent Saturday morning about 50 members of the Iowa-Wisconsin chapter of Singles in Agriculture toured the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veteran Museum in Waterloo.

IPR's Pat Blank

Waverly or more specifically, Wartburg College will be the site of an international music festival this spring.

The Grammy award winning British folk rock band Mumford and Sons will be in Waverly June 19 and 20 as part of their 2015 Gentlemen of the Road tour. Wartburg College Vice President for Marketing and Communication, Graham Garner says the event is one of only four “stopover” locations. He says “this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we are so excited to be a partner in making this happen.”

Disconnect

Feb 26, 2015
Flickr

A new report by Iowa’s largest utility companies shows hundreds of households are behind on paying their energy bills.  A federal program called LIHEAP provides protection from having the power shut off between November 1st and March 31st. Iowa’s Director Jerry McKim says he’s concerned about those who are not part of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, but there is protection.

“The law says if you haven’t had a payment agreement that you broke in the last 12 months, the utility must, not might, offer you a minimum of 12 months to pay off your past due balance.”

Working from "Home"

Feb 17, 2015
Photo by Mark Tade

The Branstad Administration’s Home Base Iowa is helping military veterans find new jobs across the state.  The program launched last May is adding both prospective employers and employees at a good pace.

Home Base Iowa is on a mission to provide educational and employment opportunities to veterans already here or because of the downsizing of the Department of Defense, those who may be considering Iowa as a place to live and work.

Wasendorf Fallout

Feb 4, 2015
Waterloo Courier

U.S.Bank in Cedar Falls has been ordered to pay $18 million to defrauded customers of a failed brokerage firm. The settlement is the result of a lawsuit filed by The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission against Peregrine Financial Group.  The suit claimed the bank should have known CEO Russell Wasendorf Sr. was stealing customer funds because the account was treated like a regular checking account. The suit alleges the bank allowed Wasendorf to transfer of millions of dollars to pay for his private jet, his restaurant, and even his divorce settlement.

IPR's Pat Blank

The unsolved murders of two Northeast Iowa cousins took a new turn today. Flanked by members of more than a dozen law enforcement agencies, Evansdale Police Chief Kent Smock says they’re focusing their attention on the place where the remains of 8-year old Elizabeth Collins and 10-year old Lyric Cook Morrissey were found more than two years ago. Smock says "Seven Bridges is an extremely remote area and in order to get there, you have to know how to get there. We're asking that everyone think about anyone they know who is familiar with Seven Bridges Wildlife area."

Flickr

Agricultural equipment manufacturing companies across the Midwest are downsizing their work force. After nearly one thousand layoffs last October, another round will sideline an additional thousand workers. Deere and Company has announced 910 layoffs. Black Hawk Engineering in Cedar Falls will idle 40 workers, and Unverferth Manufacturing near Shell Rock will sideline 48 employees.

Need for Speed

Jan 14, 2015
IPR's Pat Blank

20 years ago, when the folks at Cedar Falls Utilities developed their own broadband internet system, they had no idea that the President of the United States would use it as a model for the rest of the country. Mr. Obama visited Cedar Falls Wednesday.  Here is his speech.

   The President is traveling around the country in advance of his State of the Union address next Tuesday to spotlight his priorities for his final two years in office.  Fast and affordable internet access is among those priorities. 

Pages