Rob Dillard

Correspondent

Rob Dillard is a Des Moines based correspondent for Iowa Public Radio. He joined IPR in 2001 as host of Morning Edition and moved to reporting in 2007.  He has been on special assignment for IPR since early 2011 reporting the ongoing series “Being in Iowa.” It has taken him around the state shining light on small segments of the population, including Muslims, military veterans, Latinos and the physically disabled. The series has won awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and Northwest Broadcast News Association (NBNA).

Rob has extensive experience in radio, newspaper and media relations dating back more than 30 years. He has also taught news writing at Central College in Pella. Rob earned his bachelor’s degree in mass communications at the University of Iowa.

Rob’s favorite public radio program is Morning Edition.

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Profile
12:00 am
Fri February 27, 2015

A Candid Talk About Race

University of Iowa Law Professor Angela Onwuachi-Willig.
Credit University of Iowa Law School

The nation has spent the past month honoring black history. Part of that past includes the lingering disparities between blacks and whites in the U.S.

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Profile
12:00 am
Thu February 19, 2015

A Couple on a Mission to Papua New Guinea

Diane and Dan Folkers were back in Des Moines recently taking a break from missionary work in Papua New Guinea.
Credit Rob Dillard

Dan and Diane Folkers gave up their middle-class lives to move to the remote mountains of Papua New Guinea more than two years ago.

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Profile
12:00 am
Mon January 26, 2015

New Language, New Culture, No Problem

Clemen Wilcox, a native of Colombia, is embracing life in Iowa.
Credit Rob Dillard

Clemen Wilcox counts how long she’s lived in the Midwest by the number of winters, not years. This is her 13th.

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Education
12:00 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Minority Students Dream to Teach

Sarai Tillinghast with Dream to Teach students San San Te and Josiah McGhee.
Credit Rob Dillard

Sarai Tillinghast is encouraging minority students to become teachers in Des Moines. She shares moments from her own meaningful career to convince them to join the ranks. Here's the story of the project known as Dream to Teach.

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Education
12:00 am
Wed January 14, 2015

High Schoolers Learn Arabic in Des Moines

Abeer al-Haddad in front of the Arabic alphabet.
Credit Rob Dillard

It’s time for Arabic class at Central Academy on the west edge of downtown Des Moines. Today’s lesson: naming the seasons of the year.

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Education
12:00 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Hopeful Africa Aids Schools in Kenya

Hopeful Africa founder Moses Bomett at a Des Moines coffee shop near downtown.
Credit Rob Dillard

Two young Central Iowans have been helping to fund schools in Kenya since they were teenagers. Hopeful Africa started as an after-school club is now a serious nonprofit.

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Health
3:46 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

New Downtown Des Moines YMCA Set to OpenI

Inside the new downtown Des Moines YMCA.
Credit Rob Dillard

The cardio equipment and weight machines are in place for the opening of the new Des Moines YMCA on New Year’s Day. It’s being billed as the largest downtown YMCA in the country. 

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Education
3:57 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Two Million to Support DMACC and Ankeny Schools

Ankeny developer Dennis Albaugh with DMACC President Rob Denson, left, and Ankeny School Board member George Tracy.
Credit Rob Dillard

An Ankeny couple is making two major gifts to support projects in their hometown. The money from Dennis and Susan Albaugh will be split between Des Moines Area Community College and the Ankeny School District.

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Profile
12:00 am
Fri December 19, 2014

A Playhouse for People with Down Syndrome

Megan Christofferson and her son, Bo, at GiGi's Playhouse in Windsor Heights.
Credit Rob Dillard

A newly redesigned building sits on a heavily traveled stretch of road in Windsor Heights, a Des Moines suburb.  GiGi's Playhouse is a lively spot where people with Down syndrome gain self-confidence.


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Arts and Culture
12:00 am
Thu December 11, 2014

A Cameroonian Writer Spins African Tales

Cameroonian writer Ngwah-Mbo Nana Nkweti
Credit Ngwah-Mbo Nana Nkweti

Writer Ngwah-Mbo Nana Nkweti injects her Cameroonian heritage into stories about people who share her same multicultural background.

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Education
8:05 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Regents Freeze Tuition Again

Iowa Board of Regent President Bruce Rastetter.
Credit Amy Mayer

The Iowa Board of Regents is freezing tuition for in-state undergraduate students for the third year in a row.

Regents President Bruce Rastetter says it’s the first time in state history resident tuition has remained the same over this long a period.

Rastetter deflects concerns the freeze will mean much higher tuition in the future.

“The critical component to avoid that is the universities becoming more efficient, which they are, and then legislative state support,” he says.

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Arts and Culture
12:00 am
Fri November 14, 2014

The History of Waterloo in Five Chapters

Francesca Soans and Robert Neimeyer in the recording studio for their five-part documentary series on the history of Waterloo.
Credit University of Northern Iowa

Two Waterloo-area residents are in the midst of producing a series of five documentaries that chronicle the history of the city. The filmmakers are focusing their camera on a few locations that are key to Waterloo’s past.

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Health
12:00 am
Wed November 12, 2014

An Iowa-based Doctor Tracks Ebola

Dr. Samir Koirala trains a local health official in Sierra Leone on how to track Ebola.
Iowa Department of Public Health

A doctor on loan to the Iowa Department of Public Health is back in the state after a stint in Sierra Leone. The native of Nepal was there to track the ebola outbreak in West Africa. 

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Arts and Culture
12:00 am
Wed October 22, 2014

A Concert Pianist Adapts to Blindness

Concert pianist Tim Schmidt, a professor emeritus of music at Waldorf College, performs during the 50th anniversary of White Cane Day at the Iowa Department for the Blind.
Credit Rob Dillard

When the Iowa Department for the Blind threw a party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of White Cane Day, it called on a former client to provide entertainment. 

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Environment
12:00 am
Fri October 17, 2014

An Ojibwe Woman Protects Mother Earth

Carol Kramer in the regalia she wears when leading the Pine Point village Pow Wow.
Credit Photo extracted from a Dove Program poster circulated on the White Earth Indian Reservation.

The recipient of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation’s highest honor is being recognized for her environmental work while serving on the Jasper County Conservation Board and elsewhere. The Newton woman credits her Native American heritage for instilling a love of Mother Earth.

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Arts and Culture
12:00 am
Fri October 10, 2014

A Great Grandson of Slaves Leads Grinnell College

Credit: Grinnell College

Grinnell College President Dr. Raynard Kington leads one of the nation’s most selective, academically challenging institutions of higher learning. He uses his family’s oppressed past to introduce social justice issues to students.

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Politics
2:03 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Mowrer: I Will Not Apologize

Fourth Districe Congressional Candidate Jim Mowrer
Jim Mowrer for Congress Facebook Page

Democratic congressional candidate Jim Mowrer says he will not apologize for or remove television ads his campaign is running against Republican Congressman Steve King.

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News
12:00 am
Thu September 25, 2014

A Split Personality Caused by a Mixed Heritage

Claudia Schabel stands in front of the Brazilian flag at Dupont Pioneer headquarters in Johnston.
Credit Rob Dillard

  Midwest-based hybrid seed giant Dupont-Pioneer, which has offices worldwide, employs someone called

   an Organizational Vibrancy Champion. In other words, she’s in charge of diversity.

“An organization becomes more vibrant when you have diversity inclusion, when you have employee engagement.”

Claudia Schabel

  holds the job on the sprawling campus of Dupont-Pioneer in Johnston. She’s nearly ideal for the job. Half of her character was shaped next to her twin sister in South America.

“I grew up in Capinas, Sao Paolo in Brazil,” she said

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Business and Economy
12:00 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Translating Trade Deals in China

Li Zhao Mandelbaum is owner of China Iowa Group, a trading company in West Des Moines
Credit Rob Dillard

Li Zhao Mandelbaum comes from a nation of more than one-point-three-billion people. So the concept of small is relative.

“I often introduce myself, I’m from Nanning, a small city in China, and people will say OK tell me the population, and I will say well, we have about six million population,” she said.

Her hometown is about an hour’s flight west of Hong Kong near China’s border with Vietnam. It’s known for its lush greenery and hilly terrain. But despite its beauty, it wasn’t enough for the adventurous, young Li Zhao.

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Business and Economy
12:00 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Native of India Leads High Tech Push

Tej Dhawan, co-founder of StartupCity Des Moines
Credit Rob Dillard

A few dozen of Central Iowa’s high-tech brain trust are pouring beers and munching tacos on the fifth floor of a downtown Des Moines office building.

They’ve come together a few days before the lights go out on a business incubator that became the centerpiece for an area known as Silicon Sixth.

They exchange pleasantries with the two men at the heart of Startup City Des Moines – Christian Renaud and Tej Dhawan.

Before the party began, Dhawan sat in a remote conference room and reflected on what he was looking to accomplish for high-tech firms in Central Iowa.

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Education
12:00 am
Fri August 22, 2014

A Refugee Connects with Students in Marshalltown

Aiddy Phomvisay at Marshalltown High School
Credit Rob Dillard

The marching band’s drum-line sets the tone for the first day of classes at Marshalltown High School.

Sixteen-hundred students fill the football-field bleachers as the school’s principal – Aiddy Phomvisay  – grabs a mike.

“If I could have your attention for less than five minutes," he announced. "I know that’s amazing that Mr. Phomvisay is only going to take five minutes to address the student body.”

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News
12:00 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Turning Sorrow into a Humanitarian Cause

Credit Rob Dillard

Her name is Salome Nengean – born in the northwest Iowa town of Sioux Center – raised in Nigeria. She’s 29 now and, with her husband, frequently travels to the place of her youth where her mother still lives. She says during one of these trips in 2011.

“We happened to meet two kids, who were living with an elderly woman, and somehow they just caught our attention," she said. "There was just something cute about them, there were other kids, but they would just separate from the rest of the group and sit together.”

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2014 Voter Guide
2:58 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Candidate Profile: David Young

Third District Republican candidate David Young

Read this candidate profile of 3rd District Candidate David Young. He was interviewed as part of IPR's 2014 Primary Voter Guide series.

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News
5:36 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

IPR Requests Additional Funding from Board of Regents

Iowa Public Radio will be asking the Board of Regents next week to return its funding level for fiscal year 2015 to the amount it received in 2013: $944,800. 

That would be  $236,200 more than it was scheduled to receive under a strategic plan approved by the Regents three years ago, which gradually reduces Regents funding over a 6-year period.

A key part of the IPR plan is to become independent from university funding by 2017, replacing it with large donor contributions.

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Year in Review
2:24 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Top IPR Reporter Picks of 2013

2013 has been a busy year for Iowa Public Radio's news team. Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with reporters and correspondents about some of the most meaningful and challenging stories they covered. It's a "reporter's notebook" edition of the show.

Here is a list of the full features heard on today's show:

January 10 - Undocumented Immigrants at University

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News
10:31 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Highlights around the State: Election 2013

The 106-year old Polk County Courthouse will see rennovations.
Stephen Matthew Milligan Wikimedia Commons

$81-million Bond Referendum approved for court services in Polk County

Iowa City bars will remain 21-only after 10 p.m. 

Cedar Rapids approves Local Option Sales Tax for road repair

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News
4:40 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Iowa Public Radio Names Executive Director

The Board of Directors of Iowa Public Radio has named Myrna Johnson as its Executive Director effective January 27, 2014.

“After an extensive search process that began in April we are pleased Myrna has agreed to join us on January 27, 2014.  Her impressive resume, exceptional references, adept interview and public presentation skills give us great confidence in her leadership and her fundraising capabilities.  I’m confident our staff, board, donors, underwriters and listeners will enjoy working with her” said Douglas West, Chair of the search committee. 

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News
3:21 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

An Express Lane Comes to the Des Moines Airport

The Transportation Security Administration is speeding some passengers through the checkpoint at Des Moines International Airport
Credit Rob Dillard
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Arts and Culture
2:27 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Hardacre Theater Will Close After Festival

The Hardacre Theater in Tipton

Filmmakers and movie lovers are descending on Tipton this weekend for the Hardacre Film Festival. But as Iowa Public Radio’s Rob Dillard  reports, when the festival goes dark tomorrow (Saturday) night, so too will the theater in which it plays.

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News
4:41 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Iowa Public Radio Board Reaches Settlement with Former CEO

Former Iowa Public Radio CEO Mary Grace Herrington has agreed to a settlement with the IPR Board of Directors totaling $197,000. She was fired by the board in late February.

The Board of Directors of Iowa Public Radio has reached a financial settlement with former Chief Executive Officer Mary Grace Herrington.

Herrington was fired from the top job at Iowa Public Radio in late February.

According to the agreement signed by Herrington and Board Chair Kay Runge, the board will make two payments totaling 197-thousand dollars to Herrington.

The settlement says the money is for “emotional distress and other compensatory damages, and attorneys’ fees and expenses.”

In exchange, Herrington agrees to “release all claims against IPR.”

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