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. 

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Pat Blank/IPR

Iowa’s congressional incumbents all won reelection Tuesday, as the delegation remains at three Republicans and one Democrat. 

Republican 1st District Rep. Rod Blum of Dubuque defeated former Cedar Rapids council member Monica Vernon, capturing 54 percent of the vote across 20 counties in northeast Iowa.

Once the race was called in his favor, Blum told a raucous crowd in Dubuque that’s he is going back to Capitol Hill finish what he started when he voted against then-House Speaker John Boehner.

Sign on the side of County Road E41 in Story County, Iowa.
Flickr / Carl Wycoff

Iowa is generally considered a swing state, but polling indicates that Iowans will likely be reelecting U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley and deliver the state’s six electoral votes to presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Jeff Kaufmann, Chair of the Iowa Republican Party, adds it’s also possible the state’s two most moderate districts will reelect their freshman Republican congressman, and the state Senate could very well flip to a GOP majority. Since it's unlikely Republicans will lose control of the House, the Iowa General Assembly and the governorship may soon be controlled by the GOP. 

NSHEPARD / FLICKR

Polls open Tuesday at 7:00 am and close at 9:00 pm, making Iowa the state with the second-longest polling hours nationwide. Voters who are in line by 9:00 pm, but haven’t voted yet, will still be able to register and submit a ballot.

Secretary of State Paul Pate says Iowans have a big window for voting. But that doesn’t mean people should wait until the last minute, especially for those opting for same-day registration.

FLICKR / JOE HALL

Today is the final day for Iowans to vote early and skip the long lines Election Day. Some counties also are likely on Monday to begin tallying the over half-million ballots already cast. Those results are kept internal and won't be released until tomorrow, after 9:00 pm when polling is complete.

Secretary of State Paul Pate encourages anyone who’s not yet mailed in their absentee ballot to drop it off in-person at their county courthouse. All ballots must be postmarked by today.

JOHN PEMBLE/IPR FILE

An Urbandale man has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of two central Iowa police officers. Scott Michael Greene is accused of killing Des Moines Sgt. Anthony "Tony" Beminio and Officer Justin Martin of the Urbandale Police Department, in separate ambush-style attacks early Wednesday morning. 

Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert calls Greene "a monster" and says there’s no way to make reason of the officers' deaths.

"This was calculated murder," says Wingert. "It was cowardly from the way it was carried out to the way it was ended." 

Des Moines and Urbandale Police Departments

Police in Des Moines and Urbandale says two officers killed in ambush-style attacks this morning were likely shot before they saw their assailant.

Urbandale Officer Justin Martin, who has been with the department for about 15 months, and Des Moines Police Sgt. Anthony Beminio were killed in separate attacks, about two miles and 20-minutes apart, while sitting in their patrol cars early this morning.

Des Moines and Urbandale Police Departments

Updated information at 12:05 pm

Des Moines Police spokesman. Sgt. Paul Parizek, says Sgt. Bemino and Officer Martin were ambushed while sitting in their respective police vehicles roughly two miles apart, and there appears to have been nothing either man could gave done to prevent the attacks.

AMY MAYER/IPR FILE

Sen. Chuck Grassley says he wants FBI Director James Comey to disclose why it’s necessary to review newly discovered emails related Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The Iowa Republican, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, first made this request in a letter sent to Comey on Monday.

Grassley argues that withholding this information is unfair to Congress, the public and to Clinton.

FLICKR / JENNIFER MORROW

The State of Iowa is increasing the amount of money it pays to the three private companies managing Iowa’s Medicaid system by $33.2 million. Gov. Terry Branstad says the increase is largely due to pharmaceutical costs, which are higher than anticipated since April when the state privatized its Medicaid system.

"We're dealing with healthcare costs," says Branstad. "It's not something that's going to be perfect." 

Flickr / Joe Hall

A Des Moines woman has been charged with Election Misconduct, a Class D felony, after allegedly voting twice for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. Terri Rote says she was afraid her first ballot for Trump would be changed to a vote for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

"I wasn't planning on doing it twice, it was a spur of the moment," says Rote.* "The polls are rigged."

But Polk County Attorney John Sarcone says voter fraud in Iowa is very rare, which is evidence that Iowa’s election system is secure.

Sarah Boden/IPR

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence returned to Iowa this afternoon, stumping at a rally at Central Iowa Community College in Fort Dodge. Before a crowd of approximately 300 people, Pence said Trump’s ability to give voice to the aspirations and frustrations of the American people is similar to that of President Ronald Reagan.

Republican VP nominee went on to discuss plans for the first 100 days of a Trump administration.

Iowa Public Television

Republican US Representative David Young and Democratic challenger Jim Mowrer debated for the second and final time Wednesday night in Council Bluffs. Both aim to represent southwest Iowa in Congress come January. 

One highlight of the evening was when Iowa Public Television moderators gave each candidate a chance to respond to a negative campaign ad produced by their opposition.

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.

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