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 radio producer in the Twin Cities. In addition to IPR, Sarah's work has appeared on NPR, WBUR's "Here and Now" and Harvest Public Media.

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

Ways to Connect

Sarah Boden/IPR

Hundreds of Iowans participated in Des Moines’s “Day Without Immigrants” march, an event that was one of many taking place around the country yesterday. 

The march is designed to highlight the importance of immigrant labor to the US economy. Dozens of Latino-owned businesses closed and people took off work to make the point that immigrants provide an important source of labor, often by taking on low-pay, backbreaking jobs many US citizens don’t want.

WIKICOMMONS / Richc80

The city of Nevada’s Chief of Police says his department has arrested an Ames man who reportedly threatened to kill, brand, and cause bodily harm to a transgender high school student. The student's gender identity is reportedly why he was targeted by 65-year-old Mondell Olson. 

Olson is accused of leaving two voicemails with these threats on a Nevada Community School District phone line. Chief Ricardo Martinez says Olson also sent an inappropriate and unwanted text message to a district teacher that was sexual in nature.

FLICKR / KATY WARNER

A case pending before the Iowa Supreme Court could result in the deportation of many immigrants who currently have legal status. It considers whether Muscatine County is interfering with federal immigration policy by prosecuting a woman for identity fraud and forgery.

Sarah Boden/IPR

The Iowa House Human Resources Committee will likely soon vote on a bill from the state Senate that takes away public family planning money from organizations that provide abortions. The legislation most affects 12 Planned Parenthood clinics.  

No state or federal dollars pay for abortion services. But people who want to defund organizations like Planned Parenthood argue that giving any public funding to these clinics still indirectly promotes abortion.

Laura Limmex of Ankeny says she opposes abortion, after having a horrible experience at age 16.

Flickr / Farragutful

The Iowa Supreme Court says a valid traffic stop can’t be prolonged without reasonable suspicion, once the original cause for that stop is resolved. As a result a man's aggravated misdemeanor conviction has been overturned. 

Flickr / Brad Covington

Some local governments are opposing legislation in the Republican-controlled Iowa house that would stop cities and counties from setting an hourly wage that’s higher than the state minimumIf the legislation becomes law this would lower the hourly wages in Johnson, Linn, Polk and Wapello counties.   

Since 2008, Iowa’s minimum wage has been $7.25, which is also the federal minimum. Many argue in 2017 that’s not enough.

WIKICOMMONS / Iznewton

Legislation that bans the transfer or receipt of fetal tissues has passed out of subcommittee in the Iowa state Senate. Federal law already makes it illegal to sell fetal tissues for profit, but supporters of the bill say they don’t want aborted fetuses used in research.  

AMY MAYER/IPR FILE

Sen. Chuck Grassley says he’s not concerned about a tweet by President Donald Trump that called a federal judge in Seattle a “so-called judge.” The president was responding to a ruling by Judge James Robart that temporarily blocks the president’s executive order on immigration, a ruling Trump called “ridiculous” in that same tweet.

 

Some say Trump’s comment is an attack on the separation of powers. But Grassley, who heads the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, says he doesn’t worry about what the president says.

EIGHTH CIRCUIT BAR ASSOCATION

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Iowa and six other Midwestern states, will soon be the most "lopsided" federal appeals court in terms of the number of judges appointed by a single party.

As Rox Laird writes in the Iowa appellate court blog "On Brief", due to several retirements, President Donald Trump is expected to appoint three new judges to the Eight Circuit’s bench. This means only one of the court’s eleven judges won’t be a Republican appointee.

Sarah Boden/IPR

A bill taking away federal family planning funding from organizations that provide abortions in Iowa has passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by an eight-to-five vote along party lines.  The legislation turns down a total of $2.9 million federal dollars received via the Iowa Family Planning Network (IFPN) waiver. 

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Iowa's largest abortion provider, stands to lose roughly $1 million in funding. Based on tax documents, this is about five percent of the organization's annual revenue. 

A diesel pipeline that ruptured and leaked last week northwest of  Mason City is back in use. Tom Byers of Magellan Midstream Partners says the defective portion of the 12-inch pipeline was cut out, and a new portion welded into place, allowing operations to resume on Saturday morning.

"Clean up is ongoing, on the site as we speak," says Byers. "That includes the removal of contaminated soil. We’ll be removing that soil and replacing it with clean soil."

Michael Leland/IPR

An Iowa Supreme Court ruling has found that 10 drainage districts northwest of Des Moines are not liable for potentially millions of dollars in damages. Des Moines's water utility brought the case in a novel attempt to sue other government entities for monetary damages.

Des Moines Water Works says farm runoff into the Raccoon River from drainage districts in Sac, Calhoun

Flickr / Carl Wycoff

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is distributing free scientific collector's permits to deer hunters in northeast Iowa, to use by February 5. The state agency says it hopes to collect up to 300 samples from culled deer, information it will use to combat the spread of chronic wasting disease. 

Sarah Boden/IPR

Iowa’s Republican lawmakers are a step closer to defunding the state’s Planned Parenthood clinics. A bill to instead fund organizations that don’t provide abortion services passed out of a state senate subcommittee today.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland supporters crammed into the meeting to voice their objection to the legislation. The hallway behind the senate chamber held those who couldn’t fit into the hearing room, with their chants of "Women's Rights! Women's Rights" carrying into the room.

Flickr / an0nym0n0us

Coe College and the Willis Dady emergency shelter in Cedar Rapids are teaming up on Monday to host a service day for veterans experiencing homelessness or near homelessness. The sessions will focus on mental health, personal finance and employment. 

Willis Dady volunteer coordinator Holli Erkson says that often times people who are caught in the cycle of homelessness encounter additional barriers to employment.

Nancy Walleser

Though Iowa’s largest Women’s March took place in Des Moines on Saturday, several smaller sister marches were held around the state. The smallest occurred in Harpers Ferry, a town located in northeast Iowa with a population of less than 300.

Harpers Ferry march organizer Nancy Walleser says five people rallied in support of gender equality and other social justice issues.

"If you don't stand up, who will?" says Walleser.

Clay Masters/IPR

Thousands of people rallied at the Iowa Capitol today to voice their support for human rights and women’s rights. The Des Moines Women's March was one of hundreds of similar events that took place across the country.

Like the main women’s march in Washington, D.C., organizers says attendance for the Des Moines March exceeded initial expectations. Organizers had said they were expecting up to 10,000.  Law enforcement officials today said they were not able to estimate the crowd size. 

John Pemble /IPR file photo

As many as 10,000 are expected to attend the Iowa Women’s March on Saturday. The Des Moines demonstration is one of dozens taking place across the country, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. 

"The whole point of this is to bring people together of all genders and backgrounds, so we can stand together in social justice and human rights issues that deeply impact all of us," says Sandy Mostaert, the state representative for the Iowa Chapter of the Women’s March. "Women’s rights are human rights."

Flickr / ~W~

Iowa lawmakers are considering tougher regulations to keep drivers from texting. Right now, a texting driver can only be ticketed if they’re stopped for another offense, but a bill that passed out of a Senate subcommittee this afternoon would allow law enforcement to pull someone over for texting.

Since it’s hard to prove whether someone is texting or using their phone for another purpose, lawmakers say they’ll also consider “hands-free” legislation which would make it illegal to even hold a phone while driving.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

A bill passed out of subcommittee late this afternoon allows a woman to sue her physician for the emotional distress that results from an abortion. Currently a only handful of states, including Nebraska and Wisconsin, have similar laws. 

Sarah Boden/IPR

The Republican-controlled Iowa statehouse aims to limit abortion access by cutting off public funding to Iowa’s 12 Planned Parenthood clinics, which serve a reported 26,000 patients.

Lawmakers say they’ll fund sexual and reproductive healthcare services provided by organizations other than Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. But the healthcare organization said in a conference call this morning this will create a vacuum for critical services.

John Pemble / IPR

As the first week of Iowa's 2017 legislative session comes to a close, River to River host Ben Kieffer checks in with Iowa Public Radio statehouse correspondent Joyce Russell to get an idea of what's on tap in the Iowa House and Senate.

Proposal to change confirmation process

JOHN PEMBLE/IPR

Iowa's chief justice is warning lawmakers that problems are already beginning to emerge due to a lack of funding to the state judicial branch. In his State of the Judiciary address this morning, Chief Justice Mark Cady told legislators to invest in critical judicial services, even in "a time of scarce financial resources."

John Pemble/IPR

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is signaling support for changes to the state’s collective bargaining laws, that some say would weaken them. In his Condition of the State address this morning, the governor took aim at public employee health plans.

“The cost of these benefits has grown dramatically because of our antiquated collective bargaining system that has led to over 500 healthcare plans,” says Branstad, "many of which are inefficient and way too costly for public employees and Iowa taxpayers."

Des Moines Public Schools

Iowa’s K-12 school year is only about half-way over, but many districts around the state have begun the process of hiring for the 2017-2018 academic year. Des Moines Public Schools, the state’s largest district, says it plans to hire more than 100 teachers based on anticipated retirements and resignations. 

More than 10 percent of the new hires will be special education teachers. These instructors are particularly difficult to find, due to the various certifications within this area of teaching.

FLICKR / PHIL ROEDER

Iowa’s secretary of state is proposing voter ID legislation that he says will ensure the integrity of the state's elections. The proposal requires a voter to show a passport, state-issued ID, driver’s license or military ID before casting a ballot. 

Though Sec. Paul Pate has yet to release a draft of the bill, he says any voters who do not have an ID will be issued a free voter identification card. Student IDs would not be accepted, but Pate says down the road that could change.

Flickr / Lindsey Broadhead

The USDA has allocated 115 thousand acres from the Conservation Reserve Program to Iowa, so farmers previously shut out of CRP can apply on a first-come first-served basis this month.

Contracts on some 2. 5 million acres nationwide are expiring this year, and the federal government is taking a more targeted approach to the program, which pays farmers to transfer environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production into conservation.

WIKICOMMONS / American007

Iowa City is considering whether to formally declare itself as a "sanctuary city." There’s no legal definition for the term, but it generally means a municipality has implemented policies limiting its cooperation with federal immigration authorities

The city council and staff will discuss adopting such policies, as well as the formal title, at 5:00 pm this afternoon during a work session.

Mayor Jim Throgmorton says he’s not in favor of Iowa City formally clearing itself a sanctuary city.

The entire uniformed division of the Des Moines Police Department will be equipped with body cameras next year. The more than 300 cameras are being purchased with the help of a grant from the Department of Justice, as well as community donations.

The DMPD says the cameras will aid with evidence gathering and help the community gain a better understanding of police work.

"The public will get a really raw inside look inside look at some of the things that we do and how we do things, and why we do things. Some of the things we have to put up with," says Sgt. Paul Parizek. 

Voters in parts of Scott County have until tomorrow to cast their ballot in the special election for state senate seat in District 45.  The seat in western Davenport and all of the city of Buffalo has been vacant since September, after the death of longtime Senator Joe Seng.

Scott County Auditor Roxanna Moritz acknowledges that while two days after Christmas isn't the most opportune time to head to the polls, she encourages people to still turn in a ballot.

"People have fought for us to have the right to vote," says Mortiz. "Don't become apathetic." 

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