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 producer in Minnesota.

In addition to IPR, Sarah's work has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend All Things Considered and WBUR's Here and Now.

Her reporting has won multiple awards, including a regional Edward R. Murrow for her story on a legal challenge to Iowa's felon voting ban.

Sarah's favorite public radio program is On The Media. 

Ways to Connect

Flickr / TumblingRun

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to boost the amount of ethanol blended into the nation’s fuel supply under new rules issued Wednesday.

The EPA finalized the rules governing ethanol production, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), for 2017, adding about 1.2 billion gallons in total renewable fuel. That’s an increase of about 6 percent year-over-year.

Sarah Boden/IPR

A panel of local, state and federal law enforcement officials met in Urbandale Wednesday morning at the Westside Conservative Club meeting to discuss changes and challenges faced by law enforcement. One topic that weighed heavily in the conversation was recent fatal attacks against law enforcement both here in Iowa and nationwide. 

Chief Mike Venema of the Clive Police Department says his officers know police work comes with risk. But this year's unprovoked attacks have changed how he feels about his job.

Sarah Boden/IPR

The days surrounding Thanksgiving, especially the following Sunday, are the busiest travel days of the year for the Des Moines International Airport. The Transportation Safety Administration says the DSM airport sees 3,000-3,500 travelers on a routine day, but around Thanksgiving those numbers will be up to 4,500. 

The type of flyers are different as well. Airport Executive Director Kevin Foley says usually it’s about a 50-50 split between business and leisure travelers, though around Thanksgiving 90 percent of travelers are not frequent flyers. 

Iowa’s largest LGBTQ organization has selected a new executive director.

Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel will become the head of One Iowa, beginning in January. He grew up in Pomeroy and now lives in Bondurant.

Hoffman-Zinnel says he isn’t looking to make any rash changes, but one top priority is legislation that bans youth gay-conversion therapy. Many teens are forced into treatment to change their sexuality or gender.

Flickr / "George" Larcher

Sunday is Transgender Day of Remembrance, and people in central Iowa will gather at 6:00 pm at the steps of the state capitol for a vigil to remember those in the global trans community who have been lost to violence in 2016. 

Sophia Stone of Transformations Iowa, a support group for transgender and non-binary people, says Sunday’s vigil will honor people who have been murdered because of their gender non-conforming identities.

Food Bank of Iowa

The Food Bank of Iowa is stocking up for winter with its annual Combat Hunger food drive, which is hosted the Thursday and Friday before Thanksgiving. 

Leading up to Combat Hunger, businesses and schools in the Des Moines metro host their own food or fund drives. Then donations are turned over to the Food Bank of Iowa.

James Carr/Flickr

The parents of an Iowa man who drowned while in custody of the Missouri Highway Patrol will receive a $9 million settlement.

On May 31, 2014, 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson was on a weekend trip to the Lake of Ozarks in Missouri, when he was taken into custody under suspicion of boating while intoxicated.

Officer Anthony Piercy hand cuffed Ellingson and took him aboard his patrol boat. At some point Ellingson fell overboard and drowned.

Sarah Boden/IPR

Supporters of a Cedar Rapids man who was shot by a police officer and is now paralyzed, spoke at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. The group then peacefully protested outside of Coe College, not far from where 37-year-old Jerime “Danky” Mitchell was shot on November 1.

Activists want institutional changes implemented to improve how Cedar Rapids police officers interact with the community, especially black residents. They’re also demanding the release of the dash camera video of the shooting of Danky Mitchell. 

Protesters say they’re planning to gather Tuesday afternoon at the 4:00 pm city council meeting in Cedar Rapids. They’re demanding information related to this month's shooting of Jerime "Danky" Mitchell , who is now paralyzed from the neck down after being shot by Cedar Rapids Police Officer Lucas Jones.

The confrontation started as an early traffic stop. It’s not known how or why the situation escalated to Jones firing his weapon.

Sarah Boden/IPR

Some 200 peaceful protesters took to the streets in Des Moines on Thursday evening after gathering on the steps of the state capitol. This “Not My President” protest is one of many taking place nationwide since Tuesday's election.

The event began as a rally and progressed to a march. Demonstrators walked from the capitol building, through Des Moines’s East Village, to city hall before the parade circled back.

JOHN PEMBLE/IPR FILE

Over a million people voted in the judicial retention elections of three Iowa Supreme Court justices. Chief Justice Mark Cady, Justice Brent Appel and Justice Daryl Hecht were each retained with more than 64 percent of the vote.

Though almost half of registered Iowa voters participated in the election, the number who cast their ballots for or against retention of the justices was nearly half-a-million fewer than the number of Iowans who voted in the presidential race. 

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.   

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