Sarah Boden

Reporter

Sarah Boden is a Des Moines-based reporter for Iowa Public Radio. Before coming to Iowa, she was a freelance reporter and producer in Minnesota.

In addition to IPR, Sarah's work has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend All Things Considered and WBUR's Here and Now.

Her reporting has won multiple awards, including a regional Edward R. Murrow for her story on a legal challenge to Iowa's felon voting ban.

Sarah's favorite public radio program is On The Media. 

Ways to Connect

Sarah Boden/IPR

A group of state attorneys general, including Iowa's Tom Miller, are suing U.S. Education Sec. Betsy DeVos and her department for what they say is a failure to enforce a rule that protects student borrowers from predatory for-profit schools.

Flickr / National Renewable Energy Lab

Sen. Chuck Grassley had lunch Monday with the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, on the same day he and a group of bipartisan senators sent Pruitt a letter urging him to not reduce the amount of biodiesel in the nation’s fuel supply for 2018.

WIKICOMMONS / Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Farmers use fertilizer because it helps crops grow. But according to a new study from Iowa State University, for some native plant species in Iowa a chemical found in fertilizer does the opposite, harming the biodiversity in Iowa’s tallgrass prairies.

Nitrogen is found in fertilizer and is hard to contain as it flows from farm fields to water and gets into the air, reaching other plants.

Nodaway Valley Historical Museum

This weekend citizens from a southwest Iowa community’s past will come back to life for the Nodaway Valley Historical Museum seventh annual cemetery walk.

Reenactors will revive 11 people buried in the Clarinda Cemetery. This isn’t a spooky event, but rather one that allows people from in and around Page County to learn about local history. 

Nodaway Valley Historical Museum curator Trish Okamoto says researching each of the departed takes about a year.

Sarah Boden/IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds says she hasn’t received any indication from the White House that it opposes Iowa’s attempt to lower premium rates for health insurance policies on the Obamacare exchange.

Jean Poland Photography / Mason City Chamber of Commerce

A forum is scheduled for Saturday morning at Mason City High School to discuss two measures on its November ballot that total up to $32 million in bonds that would support several development projects.

WIKICOMMONS / Nevit Dilmen

Iowa has enough money through March to continue providing health care to children from moderate and low income families, while Congress figures out how to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The program provides healthcare to nearly 9 million children nationwide, including 60,000 in Iowa. States structure CHIP programs differently, which means funding will run out in different places at different intervals.

A suburban Des Moines school district says it will resume tomorrow after it canceled classes today due to threatening text messages that were anonymously sent to a number of students and parents.

The texts were received last night from a number with a 818 area code, which is used in Los Angeles County, CA.

Sarah Boden/IPR File

The deadline to submit renewal applications for the program known as DACA is Thursday, but some people may be struggling to find enough money for the application fee.

Last month President Trump decided to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, though he’s allowing one final renewal for people whose waivers are set to expire by next March. This Obama-era policy allows people who were brought to the country illegally as children to live and work in the U.S. for a two-year renewable period.

Flickr / Jim Forest

Some of the brightest stars from Iowa City’s literary community will give readings at the Englert Theatre on Sunday afternoon to raise money for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas and the Virgin Islands.

All money raised will go directly to the American Red Cross. Tickets are by donation, with the suggested level of $10. Readings will be given by more than a dozen writers, including Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson, Iowa’s first poet laureate Marvin Bell and Lan Samantha Chang, who is the director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection / WIKICOMMONS

Along with overwhelming destruction, Hurricane Maria has brought renewed attention to the US government's role in Puerto Rico’s debt crisis.

For years the US territory had been prohibited from restricting its debt through bankruptcy proceedings, which made the island’s economic woes worse. Last year's passage of the Promesa Act gave Puerto Rico protections from debtors and an avenue towards debt restructuring. 

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Tim Day / WIKICOMMONS

The Iowa National Guard is sending 24 airmen to Puerto Rico tomorrow morning to help with response to Hurricane Maria by assisting local law enforcement. 

Iowa National Guard spokesman Colonel Greg Hapgood says it’s rare to deploy airmen solely for security assistance. Usually a mission’s focus is something like transportation or water purification. But due to the catastrophic devastation in Puerto Rico, Hapgood says security assistance is key towards stabilizing the U.S. territory. 

Jasper County Sheriff's Department photo

The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday evening in a case that looks at how far a person’s right to privacy extends during a warrantless search by law enforcement.

In October 2015, Bion Ingram was driving a car that wasn’t his. When he was pulled over by a Jasper County Sheriff’s deputy, the deputy noticed the registration did not correspond to the car’s license plate.

WIKICOMMONS / EPA

An attempt to toughen environmental standards for confined animal feeding operations has failed as the state’s Environmental Protection Commission says it lacks the jurisdiction to reform the current permitting process.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and the D.C.-based Food & Water Watch filed the request. They want the EPC to create stricter rules and complain the current permit process’s scoring system, known at the master matrix, offers no meaningful evaluation of environmental or community protections. 

WIKICOMMONS / Kepper66

A central Iowa police chief says he’s “very fearful” that ending an Obama-era immigration policy will diminish public safety in his community, so he's urging Congress to pass legislation that allows people who were eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to continuing living and working in the US. 

Jon Pemble/IPR file

Iowa’s senior senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, says he hasn’t heard any discord from his colleagues about President Trump cutting a deal with congressional Democrats to increase the debt ceiling for the next three months.

This surprise move gives Democrats leverage for future negotiations and some speculate Trump was signaling displeasure with Republicans. But Grassley isn’t hearing grumbling.

Sarah Boden/IPR File

Southeast Iowa’s Des Moines County is considering applying for federal funding, know as the Title X program, to create a clinic to provide sexual and reproductive healthcare to low-income people, including to those who don't qualify for Medicaid services.

AMERICAN RED CROSS

A significant number of Iowans have reached out to the state’s chapter of the American Red Cross to volunteer in the wake of Hurricane Harvey; and with Hurricane Irma heading towards Florida the emergency assistance organization says there's certainly a need.

This week more than 70 people attended volunteer information sessions at the American Red Cross Serving Greater Iowa. Regional Communications Officer Mark Tauscheck says in a normal week only a few people reach out to the organization about volunteering.

Sarah Boden/IPR File

A study looking at the safety of telemedicine abortions in Iowa finds the complication rate is statistically identical when compared to in-person medication abortions.

Telemed abortions are medical abortions, meaning medication is used to induce miscarriages. Only instead of meeting in-person, a woman obtains that medication during a teleconference with her doctor.

Jon Pemble/IPR file

Iowa’s attorney general is joining 15 other states that are suing President Trump, in an attempt to preserve an Obama-era policy that protects nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from being deported.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was created under an executive order. It allows undocumented immigrants without criminal records to live and work in the US for a two-year renewable period. 

Sarah Boden/IPR

Iowa’s senior senator says President Trump’s expected announcement concerning an Obama-era immigration policy throws a contentious issue into "the lap of Congress" because the president "is found between a rock and a hard place."

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program allows undocumented immigrants who came to the country as kids to live and work legally in the US. Ten Republican attorneys general are threatening to sue the Trump Administration if the president doesn't end DACA.

Iowa Labor Collection, State Historical Society of Iowa

More than 1,200 interviews documenting Iowa’s labor history are set to be digitized and will be available online sometime next year, making the Iowa Labor Collection one of the most comprehensive labor oral history achieves in the nation. 

American Red Cross

About 50 American Red Cross volunteers from Iowa are helping with the response to Hurricane Harvey. Many are working 12-hour days and will remain in Texas for the next two or three weeks.

Volunteer Michael Gee of Iowa City is a 31-year-old Navy hospital corpsman, and this is his first Red Cross deployment. Currently he's helping organize shelters in Austin for volunteers and refugees.

Sarah Boden/IPR File

In Iowa an estimated 6,000 people are eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows undocumented immigrants who came to the country as kids to live and work in the U.S.. 

ACLU of Iowa

The ACLU of Iowa has filed what is believed to be the first transgender rights lawsuit in Iowa since the state amended the Iowa Civil Rights Act in 2007 to include gender identity protections.

Jesse Vroegh, a transgender nurse, worked at Iowa’s Department of Corrections for seven years. After he publicly transitioned to male, Vroegh says he was barred from using the men’s bathroom and locker room, and denied medical coverage for surgery.

Sarah Boden/Iowa Public Radio

President Donald Trump's stance on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was on the minds of some people who attended Sen. Chuck Grassley's town hall meeting in Mount Ayr in southern Iowa Wednesday.

President Trump said Tuesday the trade agreement will probably be terminated at some point.

ACLU OF IOWA

A Des Moines suburb says it is not violating the First Amendment rights of two couples who were told to remove signs on their properties that were critical of the city.

Last week a letter from the ACLU of Iowa to the city of Windsor Heights said that infringes on free speech. In its response, Windsor Heights says the homeowners didn’t comply with city code because they lacked permits, and because the signs displayed were the wrong size.

Joyce Russell/IPR File

Gov. Kim Reynolds is declining to say whether she’s fully behind President Trump, when she was questioned during her weekly press conference if the president still has her “full-fledged” support. The governor says Iowa is her first priority.  Reynolds backed the Republican nominee Trump during the presidential election. 

Last week Trump seemed to equate neo-Nazis and skinheads with protesters opposing white supremacy after a protest in Virginia turned violent.

Reynolds said racist bigotry and hate is unacceptable, and emphasized her focus is on Iowa.

Drake University

The Metro Arts Alliance of Greater Des Moines is ending operations after nearly 42 years, citing a lack of grant funding. 

The alliance is perhaps best known for arts education programming and the annual Jazz in July series, which celebrated its 35th year this summer.

Executive Direct Angela Ossian wouldn't say whether the drop in funding was from government or private sources, or both.

FLICKR / TAKESHI KUBOKI

The path of totality for today’s solar eclipse all but misses Iowa, except for a sliver of Fremont County, the state’s most southwestern county. 

Less than 600 square acres of Iowa will experience total darkness. Part of this area includes the Lower Hamburg Bend Wildlife Management Area.

Matt Moles works at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau. At 1:05 pm, he says, eclipse watchers at the wildlife area will experience 32 seconds of total darkness.

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