Sarah Boden

Reporter

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 / TOBIAS LEEGER

The state legislature yesterday sent a bill to Gov. Terry Branstad setting August 23 as the earliest date students can go back to class. The bill attempts to balance the interests of Iowa K-12 education and the state's tourism industry. Not everyone is pleased.

Lisa Riggs is president of the Travel Federation of Iowa and general manager of the Danish Windmill in Elk Horn. The windmill was shipped from Denmark to the west-central Iowa town in 1975.

Flickr / Tobias Leeger

The Iowa House passed a bill on the contentious issue of school start dates for Iowa K-12 students today. The legislation allows middle and elementary schools that follow year-round calendars to set an early school start date; however, all other schools could start only as early as August 23.

State Rep. Mary Mascher, a Democrat from Iowa City, voted against the bill. She says the one-size-fits-all start date for high schools is a bad approach.

JOE LENCIONI

From characters like Cinderella to pop singers like Miley Cyrus, girls grow up in an environment rich in images of femininity. 

During the second episode of this two part series, host Charity Nebbe gets insight into the challenges and dangers girls face as they grow. To end the hour, we hear how the media influences their development.

Find part one of this series, "Raising Boys" click here. 

Wikimedia Commons

The 2015 Cancer in Iowa report released today shows a drastic jump in the number of cases of skin cancer in the state.

Sarah Boden/Iowa Public Radio

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Iowa Board of Medicine faced off at the Iowa Supreme Court Wednesday over providing abortion services with telemedicine. In Iowa only doctors can prescribe the medication that induces miscarriage. Since it's expensive to staff doctors at all its clinics, Planned Parenthood physicians teleconference with patients seeking abortion services.

Amy Mayer/IPR

The state's largest water utility has voted to proceed with its lawsuit against three northwest Iowa county boards of supervisors. Des Moines Water Works first announced its intent to sue back in January.

The water utility says high nitrate levels in the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers, which supply the city's drinking water, are a result of nitrogen fertilizer runoff from farms in Sac, Buena Vista and Calhoun counties.

Flickr / bfi Business Furniture Inc.

The Iowa Supreme Court says anyone claiming damages for wage discrimination that occurred before 2009 is out of luck.

Three female employees of Muscatine-based Allsteel are suing the office furniture manufacturer, alleging male employees were paid more for similar work.  While the lawsuit is pending, the high court's ruling greatly limits the amount of damages the plaintiffs may eventually claim.

Flickr / Francisco Osorio

Can serious illness increase your odds of divorce? If you're a women over the age of 50 that seems to be the case.

A new Iowa State University study looking at the divorce rate for older heterosexual adults has found that if a wife experiences a serious illness like cancer or stroke, the probability of her marriage dissolving increases by 6 percent. A husband becoming ill, however, has no statistical impact on a couple’s chances of divorce.

Flickr / Doug Kerr

A bill raising Iowa’s interstate speed limit from 70 to 75 miles per hour didn’t get voted on in the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday. Since the deadline for bills to reach the senate or house floor for a vote approaches, it is highly unlikely the legislation will advance.

Sen. Wally Horn, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, supports the bill. He says bumping the speed limit up could cut down on traffic.

Flickr / Lord Jim

A bill that aims to curtail distracted driving passed out of the Iowa Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday.

The legislation would make the use of a smartphone or similar device a "primary offense," which would allow police officers to pull someone over  just for emailing or texting while driving. The police currently can not do that.

The Transportation Committee’s ranking member, Republican Sen. Tim Kapucian of Keystone, says the greater number of drivers using smartphones and similar devices makes roads increasingly dangerous.

Don Graham

Iowa has the highest average for indoor radon concentration in the nation, according to the University of Iowa. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports the radioactive gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Radon is colorless, odorless and tasteless, so people may breath the gas for years before it's detected.

Women’s Choice Center

A 2012 study found 87 percent of women who seek an abortion were highly confident about the decision before receiving any pre-abortion counseling. But what if a woman changes her mind?

Abortion reversal is a method touted by San Deigo-based Dr. George Delgado. He started building a network of doctors and nurses to preform reversals three years ago.  Today this network is active in 34 states including Iowa.

Flickr / Hibr

A bill in the Iowa Senate aims to expand the legal protections of domestic violence victims.

Under Iowa criminal law victims of domestic violence in dating relationships only have access to heightened protections if they are living with their abuser. A bill that gives victims access to certain protections, even if they aren't cohabitating, passed unanimously in the Senate Judiciary Committee today and will soon come before the entire chamber for a vote.

Sen. Janet Petersen, a Des Moines Democrat, says violence in dating relations can be just as deadly as marital violence.

Flickr / Daniel Morrison

As Iowa’s Secretary of State works to implement online voter registration, the Iowa legislature weighs in.

A subcommittee in the Iowa Senate is considering a bill that allows voters to provide their birth date and a unique identifying number, like the last four digits of a Social Security number, to register to vote online. Voters would then verify their identity with an electronic signature. 

A subcommittee in the Iowa Senate chose not to pass the current version of a juvenile sentencing bill, but instead are looking for suggestions on how to improve the legislation. 

The bill allows for judges to sentence juveniles guilty of first-degree murder to life without parole, life with the possibility of parole, and life with the possibility of parole only after 35 years.  

Flickr / Dr. Warner

The Iowa Supreme Court says it’s legal for cities to issue tickets to vehicle owners using traffic cameras. Attorney Michael Jacobsma, who represented himself, says the city of Sioux City denied him due process when he was mailed a citation, after his vehicle was spotted by a traffic camera going 67 miles per hour in a 55-mile-per-hour speed zone. 

Flickr / gosheshe

A bill that bans minors from commercial tanning beds due to risk of skin cancer has cleared a committee in the Iowa House, despite objections from a coalition of Republicans on the panel.  

Rep. Ken Rizer, a Republican from Cedar Rapids, says parents should decide whether their 16 or 17 year old can tan since older teens are legally able to participate in other potentially hazardous activities. 

Flickr / TumblingRun

The value of farmland in the Corn Belt is dipping. In Iowa value dropped 7 percent last year. 

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

A Cedar Rapids psychiatrist is concerned with the closing of the Mt. Pleasant Mental Health Institute and a general lack of mental health services, including specialized residential programs.

The closing of Mt. Pleasant means the state's only residential program that caters to people with both psychiatric and substance abuse issues will discontinue.  Dr. Al Whitters says this is a much-needed service.

Flickr /M Glasgow

The teen birth rate in Iowa is down more than 35 percent since the year 2000.

That’s according to the 2013 Iowa Kids Count report. The annual study released by the Des Moines-based Child and Family Policy Center charts trends in child wellbeing in the state of Iowa.

John Pemble/IPR

The AIB College of Business announced new details today about the gifting of its 20-acre Des Moines campus to the University of Iowa.  

The campus will be renamed the Regional Regents Center. It's located two miles from the Des Moines airport and is comprised of 17 buildings, including apartment-style student housing. 

Carl Wycoff

A bill in the Iowa house would allow school districts to levy taxes to supplement transportation costs, but some say the legislation doesn't do enough to help rural districts.

Many school districts in rural Iowa cover a large geographic area, so a sizable portion of general operating budgets is spent on busing at the expense of other expenditures like text books and teacher salaries. Enabling school boards to raise property or income taxes to address transportation costs would allow districts more budgeting leeway. 

USDA/Anson Eaglin

President Obama wants all food safety regulation handled by a single new federal agency. 

Currently the Department of Agriculture oversees meat, poultry and egg production, while the Food and Drug Administration handles most other foods including produce and fish. U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley says though, in theory, he supports consolidating federal responsibilities to one department, he prefers food inspection to stay under the purview of the USDA. 

Iowa lawmakers from the House and Senate weighed the benefits of closing two of the state's four mental health institutes, during a joint subcommittee today.

Under Gov. Terry Branstad’s proposal the Clarinda and Mt. Pleasant facilities would close, consolidating adult psychiatric services at Independence and Cherokee mental health institutes.  Clarinda has 9 inpatient psychiatric beds and Mt. Pleasant 15.

Photo by John Pemble

Des Moines-based AIB College of Business is merging with the University of Iowa, thus increasing UI’s presence in central Iowa.

Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction

The Iowa Supreme Court says the good deed of one defendant did not unfairly sway the jury's opinion of his codefendant. 

Mercedes Potter

Iowa’s tourism industry does not support a bill in the Iowa House that would allow school districts and private accredited schools to begin the academic year earlier than Sept. 1.  The industry worries an earlier start to the school year would deplete the high-school-age workforce during late summer.

Gaela Wilson of the Iowa Group Travel Association says tourism greatly affects small town economies since summertime dollars flow into the rest of the community.

Sarah Boden/Iowa Public Radio

Today marks the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S.  Supreme Court ruling which over turned state laws banning abortion. But the issue of abortion is still hotly debated.  

Standing in an exam room I’m waiting to meet with Dr. Jill Meadows, a Planned Parenthood of the Heartland physician based in Iowa City. I’m in Des Moines, but really I could be at any of nine Planned Parenthood clinics in Iowa because I’ll be speaking with Meadows using a two-way video conference.

cwwycoff1/Flickr

Iowa’s senior U.S. senator put forth legislation today to protect farmers during bankruptcy.

Young of Iowa

Iowa Congressman David Young says his first week in Congress was extremely busy.

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