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

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.

WIKICOMMONS / Journal of the Iowa Geological Suvey, 1893-1918

The Iowa History Advisory Council has released a new set recommendations for K-12 social studies education, aimed at improving Iowa history education across the state.

Tom Morain of the Iowa History Advisory Council told a group of fourth and fifth grade students at Des Moines’ Jackson Elementary School these new recommendations will make history “come to life.”

"You're going to get to go to places where history happened," says Morain. "That's going to be a whole new way of experience what history is."

JOHN PEMBLE/IPR FILE

Gov. Terry Branstad dismissed accusations Tuesday that Iowa’s approval of an interstate, crude-oil project is the result of political horse trading with the Texas oil industry. 

The Dakota Access Pipeline’s parent company, Energy Transfer Partners, is based in Texas. Opponents of the pipeline allege Dakota Access was granted the use of eminent domain due to Branstad’s relationship with the Lone Star State's oil industry.

They point to a 2013 fundraising trip, when then-Texas Governor Rick Perry hosted a lunch in Houston for Branstad. 

JOHN PEMBLE/IPR FILE

The Iowa Supreme Court has released its first opinions of the 2016-17 term. Both deal with attorney discipline. 

Michael Reilly is now again able to practice law in Iowa. Reilly lost his license 10 years ago for depositing client funds into his personal bank account to supplement a gambling addiction.

Flickr / TheUPSStoreHuntingtonBeach

At least 15 public libraries in Iowa have been targeted by a toner pirate scam this year. That’s according to the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, which filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against three Orange County, California-based businesses Thursday.

The supposed scam came to light thanks to Cate St. Clair, an attorney by training and library director by trade. When Robey Memorial Library in Waukon received a mysterious bill for about $400 for toner, St. Clair called the number printed on the invoice.

Sarah Boden/IPR

Thirty opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline were arrested Wednesday while blocking entrances to a pipeline construction site in Boone County. The county Sheriff’s Department said they were charged with the simple misdemeanor of trespassing. 

"[I’m] nervous, this will be my first arrest since I was 14,” confided Crystal Defatte of Bettendorf, as she walked to the pre-selected protest site. "I have three children, and they deserve to inherit a world with clean drinking water.”

FLICKR / JENNIFER MORROW

Medicaid providers and recipients criticized the privatized management of Iowa's Medicaid system at the state capitol Monday.

Governor Terry Branstad says there is less waste, fraud and abuse when Medicaid is run by private companies. But critics contend that poor administration of the program by three for-profit Managed Care Organizations or MCOs is harming the quality of life of low-income and disabled Iowans.

Dakota Access LLC

A group of landowners failed in their request of an emergency stay from the Iowa Utilities Board in a three-to-zero vote in an attempt to stop construction of the Dakota Access pipeline from beginning on their properties. The group contends that since the trenching of the pipeline is imminent, their constitutional right to due process hinges on the success of an emergency stay.

This ruling essentially kicks the decision back to Polk County Judge Jeffrey Farrell who told the landowners Monday they first had to seek relief from the IUB before petitioning the district court.

Flickr / Ka!zen

An anti-human trafficking panel will be held at Des Moines University on Friday. It aims to educate the public on recognizing and combating the enslavement of people for the purposes of forced labor or sex work.

One panelist is Cathy O'Keefe, director of the Quad Cities-based Family Resource's "Braking Traffik" program. She says no community is immune to the crime as it affects all ages, races and ethnicities. 

Winneshiek County Sheriff's Office

Mudslides and flooding of near-historic levels in northeast Iowa have washed out roads, and prompted both evacuations and school cancelations.

Winneshiek County saw the greatest amount of rainfall overnight. Some areas received more than seven or eight inches.

Winneshiek Co. Sheriff Dan Marx says he's planning for more flooding this evening, as the National Weather Service anticipates another quarter-to-half inch of rainfall.

Dakota Access LLC

The Iowa Utilities Board will hear arguments on Thursday morning regarding an emergency motion from a group of 15 landowners who want to keep the Bakken Oil pipeline off their properties. The group's attorney Bill Hannigan contends that condemnation hearings for turning over private land to pipeline company Dakota Access LLC have been faster than what was reasonable for the landowners to anticipate. 

Dakota Access LLC

A pipeline company says a group of landowners challenging its use of eminent domain was too late in filing a motion asking the Polk County District County to temporarily stop pipeline construction. Therefore, Dakota Access LLC says the landowners’ motion should be tossed.

Dakota Access

A group of landowners will ask the District Court in Polk County this afternoon to stop the Dakota Access pipeline from beginning construction on their properties. They aim to hold off the condemnation of their lands until they have their day in court to challenge the company’s use of eminent domain.

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