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

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. 

Hydrant Help

Jan 12, 2015

Firefighters across the state are asking residents to help clear snow away from water hydrants so they can be ready to be used if needed. Cedar Falls Battalion Chief John Bostwick says being able to access the hydrant could cut down on the damage to the structure and may even save lives.

Amazing Space

Jan 7, 2015
Indian Creek Natute Center

Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids will soon become home to one of the very few buildings in America to be NetZero. Executive Director, John Myers says,"becoming NetZero energy is a key component to achieving the Living Building Challenge. Our long-term partner Alliant Energy, will help us demonstrate renewable technologies and educate the public on responsible energy use."  http://www.indiancreeknaturecenter.org/amazingspace

Biodiesel Boost

Dec 5, 2014
Iowa Biodiesel

  The U.S. House this week overwhelmingly passed a package of tax incentives retroactively for 2014. Among the incentives was the reinstatement of the $1 per gallon biodiesel blenders tax credit that expired on Dec.31, 2013.

Diesel Dilemma

Dec 2, 2014

  Drivers of diesel-powered vehicles may be wondering why they aren't enjoying the same low prices as those who fill up with gasoline. 

Deere and Company

The John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum in Waterloo opens to the public next Tuesday, Dec. 2.

Project  Manager Dawn Hendershot says it took four years to plan and renovate the structure which features 19 tractors from different eras and more than two dozen “hands-on “ interactive exhibits. She says “they’ll get to see examples of tractors, the engine design and manufacturing and how the tractors here have had a global impact.”

Deere Decline

Nov 26, 2014
IPR's Pat Blank

Quad Cities based Deere and Company is reporting fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that beat expectations.

The agricultural and construction equipment manufacturer says earnings per share were $1.83 on revenue of $8.9 billion. That topped predictions of $1.57 on $7.75 billion in sales. 

But when compared with the previous year, the company's earnings and revenue both declined.  Deere officials say they don’t expect that trend to improve in 2015.

Deere expects sales to decline in  both its agriculture and turf equipment lines.

Baby It's Cold INSIDE

Nov 25, 2014

The U.S Energy Administration this week predicted Midwesterners could enjoy utility bills as much as 38 percent lower than last winter. While that sounds good, the man who oversees a low income heating assistance program believes the numbers are flawed.

Premium Processing

Nov 11, 2014
IPR's Pat Blank

Central Iowa is about to get a much needed economic shot in the arm as a long awaited beef processing plant opens its doors providing hundreds of new jobs. 

courtesy of Rod Blum campaign

Republican Rod Blum, a Dubuque businessman, defeated Democrat Pat Murphy for Iowa’s 1st Congressional District in a tight race that was separated by a little more than 5,000 votes. 

Train Track Trespassing

Oct 30, 2014
Iowa Northern Railroad

Many types of wildlife migrate and feed along the edges of freshly harvested fields near railroad tracks setting up a recipe for disaster if hunters can’t resist the temptation to stay off the property. Iowa railroad officials, including the Iowa Northern Railroad’s Mark Vaughn say their trains often carry unusual and oversized freight such as windmill components and tractors from the Deere Assembly plant in Waterloo.  He says this could be dangerous if someone is walking nearby.He says “ our locomotives and railcars typically overhang the track by at least three feet on either side and the

25 Mile March

Oct 24, 2014

U.S. Army veteran John Lame and Iowa National Guardsman Chad Madison are organizing what they hope will be an annual event to raise awareness about solider suicide. Lame says their effort is based on a program in Minnesota called The Next Objective held each October 23rd.

Rand Rallies Republicans

Oct 22, 2014
IPR's Pat Blank

U-S Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is in Iowa today in support of GOP candidates up and down the ticket. Speaking at the University of Northern Iowa on behalf of First District Congressional candidate Rod Blum, Paul said he believes Republicans will do well in the upcoming election,” in Kentucky where I’m from, the Democratic candidate for the U-S Senate can’t remember who she voted for for President, and then you come to Iowa and everybody comes here for the Democrat but they can’t remember his name either, I really wish Bruce Bailey well, I really do.”


IPR's Pat Blank

  Cedar Falls has been named the 2014 eCity for the state of Iowa. The award comes from Google and the independent research firm IPSOS. The recognition means the brick and mortar business community in Cedar Falls also embraces connecting online with their customers. They also use the web to find new ways to market their products. Chris Russell is Operations Manager for Goggle's Council Bluffs Data Center. He says, " the point of all this is that it's not always Des Moines that wins.

Don't Blame the Farmers

Oct 10, 2014

  An Iowa energy expert says farmers are often unfairly blamed when propane supplies are low and prices are high. Farmers use LP to dry their corn before it's stored to avoid spoilage. Harold Hommes with the State Department of Agriculture says  farm use is only part of the picture. He says international customers also draw down supplies, " we now export around 400 thousand barrels a day and probably will for the foreseeable future.

Less Pain for Propane

Oct 9, 2014
IPR's Pat Blank

   State agriculture and energy officials are working together in the event that there's high demand for liquid propane this harvest season. Iowa Propane Gas Association Executive Director Deb Grooms says customers were asked to top off their tanks this summer. She says farmers got the same message from Ag Secretary Bill Northey.

First District Face-off

Oct 8, 2014
Photos provided by candidate's campaigns

The candidates battling for an open First District Congressional seat are meeting for their first debate tonight. Iowa Public Radio's Pat Blank has a profile of the race.

Democrat Pat Murphy and Republican Rod Blum are well known in the Dubuque area. Blum is a businessman and Murphy is a long time state lawmaker.  But the first district also includes Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and many other towns west of the Mississippi.  Each candidate is using a different method to introduce himself to voters. Blum tells constituents he feels an obligation to run.

Produce Premium

Oct 7, 2014
IPR's Pat Blank

Iowa farmers and gardeners harvesting a bumper crop of produce can now get a tax credit when they make a donation to their local food bank.

Caustic Cucumbers

Sep 30, 2014
Courtesy photo

Along with Iowa' s more traditional crops, two species of cucumber vines are having a bumper year.  You won't find them at the farmer's market though, because they're weeds. The light green vines can grow as long as 30 feet and will coil around anything they touch. They've been showing up in windbreaks in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Iowa State University Agronomy professor Bob Hartzler says the vines are very aggressive and will return year after year.

Sprouts and Scholars

Sep 26, 2014
Courtesy photo

  The student organization Sprouts and Scholars at Davenport Central High School has planted an organic vegetable garden and is now harvesting their first crops.  They are enjoying a bumper crop of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and onions. The group secured grants from both Hy-Vee and Lowe's to help offset the cost of the project. As they've discovered, part of the reward of having a garden is being able to share the bounty with others. So they've allowed the cafeteria staff to have the ingredients for salsa and soup and they recently presented Mayor Bill Gluba with a basket of tomatoes.

Trackin' Turtles

Sep 18, 2014
IPR's Pat Blank

A group of University of Northern Iowa students and their professor have been spending alot of  time in the woods these days tracking an endangered species of turtle.  Of the 14 kinds of turtles in Iowa, half of them are protected including the wood turtle.  A grant from the U.S. Wildlife and Fisheries Division is funding the research. Biology professor Jeff Tamplin heads the effort. He looked for the wood turtle along streams and in marshes in Black Hawk and Butler counties for two years before finding the shell of a deceased one in 2003.

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