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

A new group is advocating for legislation to restore the voting rights of Iowa felons. The Coalition for Fair Restoration of Voting Rights comprises 17 groups, including the ACLU of Iowa, and the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP.

The long-term goal is a constitutional amendment that ends felony disenfranchisement from the ballot box. But the coalition is also proposing legislation for the next session that allows people with less serious felonies to vote.

Jim Mowrer for Congress & Young for Iowa

Political watchers say the race in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District is one of the most competitive in the country.

The incumbent, Republican David Young, has only served one term in Congress. And Democrats historically have larger turnouts during presidential election years. So Democrats says their candidate Jim Mowrer has a shot at turning this district blue.

FLICKR / JIMMY EMERSON, DVM

The former city clerk of Casey, Iowa was sentenced on Friday to five years in prison for mail fraud and the arson of a community building.

Flickr / Katy Warner

A Muscatine woman argued at the Iowa Supreme Court that since the employment of immigrants is regulated by the federal government, she’s protected from state identity theft charges. How the high court rules has significant implications for Iowa's undocumented immigrant community. 

In 1997, 11-year-old Martha Martinez came to the US as an undocumented immigrant. In 2014 she was charged with using a fake identity to gain employment.

Sarah Boden/IPR / Iowa Public Radio

Gov. Terry Branstad said on Monday morning that he has “great confidence” Iowa’s Secretary of State, county auditors and poll watchers will make sure the upcoming election is “honest and clean.”  But when asked about GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeting that Republican leaders deny that there’s “large scale voter fraud,” the governor pivoted to discussing what he perceives as a media bias against his party’s nominee.

Sarah Boden/IPR

More than a dozen contracts were signed today in downtown Des Moines between Chinese food companies and U.S. soybean producers. The signatures cement the purchase of $2.1 billion worth of soybeans, which will go to feeding Chinese livestock. 

Iowa is currently the top U.S. producer of soybeans. Gov. Terry Branstad says the state’s relationship with China is very important, since the country is the world's largest soybean consumer. 

Jon Pemble/IPR file

The heads of both Iowa’s Republican and Democratic parties say they’re not concerned about party unity. That’s in spite of the fact both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the least-liked presidential candidates in the history of U.S. polling.

On the Republican side of the aisle, scores of prominent GOPers are refusing to support or defend Trump. This include several Iowa state lawmakers.

But chair Jeff Kaufmann says some of these un-endorsements are politically motivated.   

FLICKR / THEUPSSTOREHUNTINGTONBEACH

Three California women suspected of attempting to scam Iowa libraries and businesses are now barred from operating in Iowa. If Brittany Hertsch, her half-sister Krystle Lester or their aunt Sandra Steinmetz are found to be marketing copier or printer toner, office supplies or other merchandise in Iowa they could face criminal charges. 

Real Clear Politics

GOP vice presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana stumped on Tuesday at the Des Moines Area Community College in Newton. The visit comes less than a week after a tape surfaced of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. 

Pence says he was “offended” by Trump’s comments, and even canceled a campaign event over the weekend. But Pence told supporters in Newton that Trump's apology shows humility, and adds that next month’s election isn’t so much a choice between two people, but between two futures.

Flickr / GAGE SKIDMORE

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is showing no sign of pulling his support from  Donald Trump. That's in spite of the fact that dozens of Republican governors, congressional representatives and senators have rescinded their endorsements of the GOP presidential nominee or said he should step down.

Steve Evans/Wikimedia Commons

Nearly 1000 refugees have been resettled in Iowa this year.

Director of Admissions for the U.S. State Department Larry Bartlett says while these new Iowans come from all over the world, the one thing they have in common is that they were forced to leave their homes.

Flickr / Johnny_Spasm

A post office in Des Moines has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after two employees developed heat-related illnesses while delivering mail this summer.

In one incident a mail carrier ended up in the emergency room, and in another case, a carrier became so sick she was home from work, recovering for three days. OSHA says the supervisor of the latter employee had initially told the carrier to keep delivering mail on her 11-mile route in 93-degree heat, despite the fact she felt ill.  

JOHN PEMBLE/IPR FILE

A conference call with reporters was unable to clear up why Sen. Chuck Grassley withdrew from a debate on Iowa Public Television.

The Republican incumbent was slated to go head-to-head with Democratic challenger Patty Judge on October 20th. But last week his campaign cited unspecified complaints about the IPTV format as the reason for canceling.

When asked what specifically was wrong with the format Grassley directed reporters to contact his campaign staff.

Flickr / Alpha

Gov. Terry Branstad is slated for a trade mission Japan and China next month to promote Iowa beef and pork products. Representatives of both industries, who will travel with the governor, say the two Asian countries present significant economic opportunities.

Sarah Boden/IPR

The Cedar River is now below the “major flood stage” level in Cedar Rapids. The city is breathing a sigh of relief as it recovers from the second-worst flood in its history. 

Public Works Director Jen Winter reports that Cedar Rapids is recovering "very quickly," and crews have begun to remove flood barriers near the city's bridges. The entire evacuation zone will reopen at 7:00 am Saturday morning. 

City Manager Jeff Pomeranz attributes the relative lack of damage to the commitment of and preparation by city workers.

Dean Borg/IPR File

The lessons learned from the historic flood of 2008 are helping Iowa mitigate damage from this year’s flooding in northern and eastern parts of the state.

Jeff Olson is the Public Safety Director for the City of Cedar Falls. On Wednesday's Talk of Iowa, Olson told host Charity Nebbe the city recorded its second-highest water levels in this year's flooding.

After the 2008 flood, the city wrote a plan that Olson says, "tells us exactly what we need to do," when the Cedar River peaks. 

Flickr / reader of the pack

If it’s not safe for people to be at home due to flooding, then it’s also not safe for pets. That’s why Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control is sheltering four-legged companions who can’t accompany the humans who are evacuating their homes.

Animal Care and Control Program Manager Diane Webber says the agency’s old building was completely flooded in 2008. The city agency's new facility is designed to accommodate more animals during times of crisis.

Iowa Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management

Despite the flooding of several rivers in eastern Iowa, all of Iowa’s interstate highways are open. So far only secondary roads have flooded, but that may change later this week.

As water flows down river, the Iowa Department of Transportation is keeping a close eye on Interstate 80. This highway crosses Iowa, and the country, east-to-west.

Flickr / Memphis CVB

Currently 50,000 Latinos in Iowa are registered to vote, according to Iowa’s League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

The organization is intensifying voter outreach in Iowa, as it wants to increase Latino registration by as many as 10,000 people. LULAC is attending all Latino festivals in Iowa, including one this weekend in Des Moines.  It's also holding community events this month and in early October. 

Sarah Boden/IPR File

Legal challenges so far have not been an effective tool in the fight to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in Iowa. But pipeline opponents say they have a new strategy.

The plan is for teams of about five protesters to deploy all along the pipeline route to block equipment and vehicles. Ed Fallon of Bold Iowa says these groups are called Bold Action Teams, or BATs.

A BAT will function autonomously, deciding as a group when to peacefully demonstrate. Right now only 30 or so people have joined a BAT team, but that number is expected to grow.

Sarah Boden/IPR File

A staffer from Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign is headed to prison for his role in a conspiracy that falsified Federal Election Commission reports. Unlike his two co-defendants who only got probation, Dimitri Kesari will serve three months behind bars.

At the sentencing hearing, federal Judge John Jarvey described Ron Paul's former deputy campaign manager as the scheme's "architect.” He noted that Kesari went to considerable lengths to conceal payments to a state senator in exchange for him leaving the Michele Bachmann campaign and endorsing Ron Paul. 

Sarah Boden/IPR

Two staffers from Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign were sentenced Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Des Moines. Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton and Campaign Manger John Tate will each serve two years of probation and pay a $10,000 fine.

In May the men and a third staffer, Deputy Campaign Manger Demitri Kesari, were convicted of conspiring to create and submit false campaign finance reports to the Federal Election Commission. 

Tate, Benton and their wives appeared emotional and relieved upon hearing the sentences.

Sarah Boden/IPR

While stumping this afternoon in Mason City, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence told supporters, “It was a weekend of terrorist attacks." The Republican vice presidential nominee was referencing bombs planted in New York and New Jersey, and the stabbing attack at a Minnesota mall.

While addressing roughly 300 people at Music Man Square, Pence said America needs a president who knows the country is at war with what he calls “radical Islamic terrorism.”

WIKICOMMONS / Gage Skidmore & U.S. Congress

The Vice Presidential nominees for both major parties -- Republican Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Democratic Virginia Senator Tim Kaine --  are in Iowa this afternoon. During the caucuses, Iowa gets plenty of attention, but high profile visits are less common during the general election. 

Donna Hoffman heads the Political Science Department at the University of Northern Iowa. She says because Iowa is a swing state, it’s still playing an important role in the presidential contest.

AMY MAYER/IPR FILE PHOTO

The City of Des Moines’s water utility is trying to sue 10 drainage districts in northwest Iowa in federal court, accusing the districts of polluting the Raccoon River. But first, Des Moines Water Works must convince the state Supreme Court that drainage districts can be held liable.

The drainage districts assert that for over a century, the Iowa Supreme Court has held that they can’t be sued for a civil wrong due to their limited authority. Attorney Michael Reck told the court during oral arguments Wednesday that it should stand by its previous rulings.

CLAY MASTERS/IPR FILE

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and the Iowa Corn Growers Association are offering to pay the legal costs in a lawsuit that names three northwest Iowa counties.  Des Moines Water Works alleges that farm runoff from drainage districts in Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac Counties has caused exceedingly high nitrate levels in the city's water supply. 

Craig Hill is president of the Farm Bureau. He says the counties have been unfairly singled out in the Water Works lawsuit.

Flickr / Leonieke Aalders

The Iowa State Bar Association is recommending that voters retain all 63 Iowa judges and the three state supreme court justices who are facing judicial retention elections this November. The ISBA is basing this recommendation on the 2016 Judicial Performance Review survey. 

JOHN PEMBLE/IPR FILE

The Iowa Attorney General Office argued Friday at the state Supreme Court that justices should overturn a ruling from six years ago. 

In Iowa, when someone is arrested, law enforcement have 45 days to press charges. Back in December 2010, the court ruled six-to-one in State v. Wing, that when a person reasonably believes they are under arrest, law enforcement must still adhere to the 45-day deadline. That's even if an individual isn't actually under arrest. 

Flickr / Michael Jenkins

As fall hunting seasons approach, sportsmen and women will be able spread out more due to a USDA grant that incentivizes Iowa landowners to put private property into conservation. The Iowa Habitat and Access Program, or IHAP, pays people to improve natural habitat on their properties. In exchange, they allow the public the hunt on their lands.

JOHN PEMBLE/IPR FILE

It was déjà vu at the Iowa Supreme Court, which held the first oral arguments of its 2016-17 term today. Justices heard a drunken-boating case for the second time as a result of a U.S Supreme Court ruling from June.

That federal ruling found that law enforcement can arrest drivers who don't submit to breathalyzer tests, but also determined blood tests to be unconstitutional. The Iowa case concerns breath-sobriety testing and drunken boating.

Pages