Sarah Boden


Sarah Boden is a general assignment reporter for Iowa Public Radio based in Des Moines. 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 All Things Considered.

Ways to Connect

Flickr / Peter & Joyce Grace

The Friday after Thanksgiving can be a busy day for many of Iowa’s roughly 100 choose-and-harvest Christmas farms, as many growers sell their first trees of the season.

A number of Iowans still prefer buying a real tree, as opposed to an artificial one, though these trees require additional maintenance. One of the most important parts of Christmas tree maintenance is keeping the tree hydrated. 

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

About 50 people rallied outside the State Capitol Tuesday afternoon, in response to Gov. Terry Branstad’s order blocking Syrian refugees from settling in Iowa.

"Mr. Branstad I ask you to find it in your heart, to find the courage, and to stop being afraid of people that are different from you," said Samantha Thomas, the one of the rally's organizers and executive director of Global Arts Therapy, which does work with youth and refugees.

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Iowa clergy submitted a letter to Gov. Terry Branstad’s office Monday afternoon, condemning what they call discrimination against Syrian refugees “on the basis of religion," and to "reject fear and cruelty" by welcoming them to the state.

Flickr / Vicki DeLoach

The Salvation Army kicked off its Red Kettle season on Friday. Bell ringers will collect spare change until Christmas Eve at 62 locations throughout metro Des Moines, and at many locations around Iowa.

The Christian charity organization hopes to raise $1.1 million over the next month in central Iowa.  The drive generates about 40-percent of its overall budget. Last year's kettle drive was disappointing, and the Salvation Army  had to dip into rainy-day reserves.


The federal government has reindicted three former Ron Paul staffers, in charges related to secret payments to former Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson for his endorsement of Paul for president in late 2011, shortly before the 2012 Iowa Republican Caucuses. A trial last month ended in a hung jury and a new trial for the staffers is set for December 14. 

Iowa Public Radio / John Pemble

The Iowa Supreme Court on Thursday heard the appeal of an Iowa woman who was denied unemployment benefits after missing work and subsequently losing her job as a medical assistant because she was in jail. Sondra Irving missed more than three weeks of work after being held at the Johnson County Jail in late 2013, in part because she couldn’t make bail which was set at $17,500.

Flickr / much0

Teachers, parents, and students embraced and some cried moments after the Iowa Board of Education voted unanimously to de-accredit and close the Farragut Community School District. This is only the third time the state education board has dissolved a school district. 

Iowa Public Radio / John Pemble

The Iowa Supreme Court heard arguments Monday night in the appeal of a 100-year sentence given to a Waterloo man in 2013. Donald Reed was convicted on drug-related charges and received an enhanced sentence because of a prior crime he committed when he was 17.  

Iowa Public Radio / Clay Masters

Congressman Steve King (IA-4) is endorsing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for the Republican presidential nomination. The Iowa Republican said Cruz was a "constitutional originalist" and the answer to his prayers. King cited the Texan's views on faith, the military, and immigration policy in his endorsement speech. 

Both men are firebrands and often at odds with establishment colleagues in their own party. But King, who is well-liked among evangelicals and the tea party in his state, says the senator will be able to appeal to libertarian, evangelical, and mainstream Republican voters.

Flickr / JOE GRATZ

The Iowa Supreme Court meets at Valley High School in West Des Moines tonight where it will consider whether an enhanced sentence is constitutional if the initial crime committed occurred when the offender was a minor.

In 2013, Donald Reed of Waterloo was given a 100-year prison sentence, with the possibility of parole after a third of the time served, for convictions on drug-related charges. This was an enhanced sentenced due to a previous drug offense he committed at age 17. 

Trump Visits Fort Dodge

Nov 13, 2015
Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took his campaign to Fort Dodge Thursday night, for his first Iowa appearance since being assigned a Secret Service detail. The real estate mogul spoke to a crowd of roughly 1,700 people at Central Iowa Community College.

Trump took some swipes at the media and its lukewarm reviews of his performance in the latest GOP debate, citing his favorable rankings in online polls.

Flickr / David Morris

Severe weather is moving rapidly from the southwest through Iowa this afternoon. The National Weather Service has issued tornado warnings, and severe weather has damaged buildings, trees, or knocked out power in several Iowa counties. 

ACLU / Whitney Curtis

A black, transgender woman has filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, saying staff at a West Des Moines hotel treated her hostilely because of her gender identity and race.

Flickr / Zachary Korb

Iowa ranks first in the nation when it comes to a citizen’s access to public information, but there is room for improvement.

Flickr / Steven Depolo

A new study aiming to improve the quality of life for dementia patients and their caretakers is looking for participants in Iowa. The goal is to create a detailed snapshot of dementia care in the U.S. 

Iowa Public Radio / Amy Mayer

Iowa hit a milestone in its avian influenza recovery this week by lifting the last quarantine on a commercial poultry farms affected by the virus. A Sac County turkey farm can now begin repopulation.

Commercial facilities hit by avian flu are required to wait three weeks after disinfection before they can repopulate. Seventy-two Iowa sites were affected by the 2015 bird flu outbreak, and more than 31 million birds were killed.

Library of Congress

Frank Klipsch has defeated Davenport’s four-term mayor, Bill Gluba by capturing more two-thirds of the vote in yesterday’s municipal election. Klipsch, the former CEO of the Scott County Family YMCA, says his leadership style will be less authoritarian than Gluba’s as he plans to focus on shared interests and building consensus.

Flickr / Phil Roeder

The jet stream responsible for Iowa’s unseasonably warm November weather isn’t going to last long enough for weekend picnics. A cold front will come through the state Thursday night.

Flickr / Jennuine Captures Photography


Stun guns produce an electrical shock that causes pain. Wednesday night, the Iowa Supreme Court considers whether this qualifies these devices as "dangerous weapons."

The categorization matters because when Taquala Howse was arrested at a Waterloo Walmart for shoplifting in 2013, officers found a stun gun in her purse. She was convicted of carrying a concealed dangerous weapon without a permit, but the Iowa Court of Appeals overturned that conviction this spring.

Boys Town National Research Hospital / Skip Kennedy

The greater degree a child’s hearing loss, the harder it is for that child to keep up with normal-hearing peers. But a new study by the University of Iowa, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, shows hearing aids can make a big difference.


The cost of a dozen eggs has dropped about a dollar since August, when the price was roughly double from the previous year as a result of the worst outbreak of avian influenza in the nation’s history. But bird flu is only part of the reason egg prices were so high this summer.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

An Iowa man convicted of first-degree murder in 1992 will be resentenced. This comes as little surprise following the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling this summer in State of Iowa vs. Yvette Louisell

Eric Querrey was 15 when he shot and killed 16-year-old Stacy Halferty. He received the mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Two African-style hair braiders in Des Moines are suing the Iowa Board of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences.

Hair braiders in Iowa are required to complete 2,100 hours at a licensed cosmetology school and pass an exam, even though these requirements generally don’t train or test the practice of African-style hair braiding. The lawsuit says Iowa code is burdensome, arbitrary and impair a hair-braider’s “constitutional right to economic liberty.”

Wikicommons / Patsy Lynch, FEMA

The City of Waterloo has agreed to pay a total of $272,000 for violations of the Clean Water Act, pending a 30-day public comment period and approval by a federal court.

The city was accused of discharging untreated sewage into the Cedar River and its tributaries, which allowed repeated backups of sewage-laden wastewater into homes and other buildings. Waterloo was also accused of failing to properly operate and maintain its sewage treatment and collection systems.

Under terms of the settlement, Waterloo does not admit any wrongdoing.

Eighth Circuit Bar Assocation

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments next month in Des Moines at Drake University.

Federal appeals courts are one level below the U.S. Supreme Court. The Eighth Circuit handles cases from Iowa and six other states. Usually the court only hears cases in St. Louis and St. Paul.

Sarah Boden/IPR

A federal jury delivered a mixed verdict Thursday in the trial of two senior aides from Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Campaign chairman Jesse Benton was acquitted of lying to the FBI in relation to his knowledge of secret payments made to former Iowa state senator Kent Sorenson for his support of Ron Paul. Deputy campaign manager Dimitrios Kesari was found guilty on one of five counts, causing financial records to be falsely reported to the Federal Election Commission. 

Flickr / Joe Gratz

A federal jury in Des Moines completed its first full day of deliberations Wednesday in the trial of two senior aids from Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign. It appears jurors are having a hard time coming to consensus in deciding if deputy campaign director Dimitrios Kesari and campaign chairman Jesse Benton are guilty of charges related to keeping payments to Kent Sorenson, a former Iowa state senator, secret from the Federal Election Commission. 

Jury deliberations are underway in the federal trial of two senior staffers from Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign. During closing arguments defense attorneys repeated to the jury several times that Kent Sorenson, a key prosecution witness, lies.

"If Kent Sorenson told you that the sky was blue," said Jesse Binnall, attorney for defendant Dimitrios Kesari, "you'd have to go out and check."

Flickr / Jim Best

A new paper from the University of Iowa has found that parents tend to talk to sons and daughters differently after an injury.

Research shows boys are more prone to injury than girls. Elizabeth O’Neal, a Ph.D. candidate at UI’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, says a contributing factor could be the way children are socialized after an injury.

Wikimedia Creative Commons / Gage Skidmore

Former State Sen. Kent Sorenson continued his testimony Friday afternoon in the trial of two former staffers from Ron Paul’s 2012 Presidential campaign. Dimitrios Kesari and Jesse Benton, who is married to Paul's granddaughter, are accused of conspiracy and lying to the FBI respectively.