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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Deb Zeller

A bronze statue stolen from downtown Sioux City will return by next summer, with some repairs and a new pedestal, which is designed to be more secure. So secure that Sioux City Art Center won't give too many details on the new mount for "Goddess of the Grapes." 

"Well if I told you, it wouldn't be a secured design," laughs Al Harris-Fernandez, director of the art center. "It's just something that will give us more to attach the sculpture onto so that it can't be easily removed." 

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Federal officials have told Iowa the state is not ready to transition management of its Medicaid system to private companies.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has told Iowa in a letter today it may transition to private management on March 1st instead of January 1st, 2016, as long as the state makes sufficient progress toward readiness by that time.  

The agency says, “a transition on January 1st would risk serious disruption in the care for Iowa Medicaid beneficiaries.”

Flickr / John M

It might not help you burn off that large Thanksgiving meal, but a new study from the University of Iowa says people who use desks designing for sitting and standing at work do burn about 87 more calories a day, compared to coworkers who only sit.

Flickr / Jeff Gitchel

Parts of Iowa are still facing flooding as a result of this past weekend’s rain. The National Weather Service says as rainwater in central Iowa flows southeast into rivers and streams, agricultural fields and low-lying roads will be submerged. 

"The one thing to note though is that the streams widen as they go down stream, so they they can handle more water" says NWS meteorologist Rod Donavon. "The impacts will be lessened as we get down towards the Ottumwa area, for example, on the Des Moines River." 

A coalition of religious leaders is having a unity prayer gathering on west steps of the State Capitol on Sunday. The group’s purpose is to show solidarity with Iowa Muslims, in light of what it calls, “hateful, divisive language" against Muslims in recent days.

Rev. Billy Young, president of the Pastors and Ministers Alliance of Des Moines, plans to attend. He says the current anti-Muslim climate reminds him of his childhood in Mississippi, where the Klu Klux Klan burnt a cross on his front lawn because his family was African-American.

Flickr / William Patrick Butler

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is in Iowa this week accessing the state’s readiness to transition the management of Iowa’s Medicaid program into the hands of four private companies on Jan. 1. Critics say the process has been unorganized and rushed, and many Medicaid recipients complain they don’t have enough information to determine which, if any, of the Managed Care Organizations best fits their coverage needs.

Flickr / Consumerist Dot Com Follow

Iowa’s Department of Human Services says United Healthcare has signed the most Medicaid providers of the four private Managed Care Organizations that are slated to take over management of the state’s Medicaid system on Jan. 1. United Healthcare has signed almost 66 percent of the state’s nearly 30,000 Medicaid providers, Amerigroup has signed 57 percent, WellCare 50 percent, and AmeriHealth Caritas 43 percent.

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

The Department of Human Services says it is not sure exactly how many of the nearly 30,000 Medicaid providers in Iowa have signed with at least one of the four for-profit companies that will take over Iowa’s Medicaid management on Jan. 1. This lack of information was one of the points Democrats used in a failed effort to delay the transition during Monday's Health Policy Oversight Committee meeting.

"I'm a little disappointed in the numbers you're giving me," says Rep. John Forbes of Urbandale. "Twenty-five days before this goes live. I have some concerns about that." 

Flickr / Tyler

At the Iowa Taxpayers Association's annual symposium on Friday, elected officials discussed Medicaid and the program's transition into management by four private, for-profit companies. The change is scheduled for January 1st, but many say this is a rushed deadline. 

State Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Democrat from Council Bluffs, says he anticipates that during the next legislative session, a lot of focus will be devoted to resolving Medicaid-related issues. 

JOHN PEMBLE/IPR FILE

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday that plea bargains may not be undermined by the prosecution, which negotiates agreements with defense attorneys. 

Andrew Lopez pleaded guilty in 2013 to child endangerment. He reached a plea bargain that recommended probation and no-contact agreement. 

At Lopez's sentencing hearing the prosecuting attorney submitted new evidence at a sentencing hearing, including photos of burn and bite marks on the toddler involved. The judge in the case sentenced him to a prison sentence of up to five years. 

Flickr / Laura Taylor

A new study from the University of Iowa shows that for some patients with stage IV breast cancer, surgery can significantly prolong their lives. 

Once breast cancer reaches stage IV, the disease has spread to parts of the body beyond the breasts. Many doctors consider these patients incurable and won't operate as they don't want to incur the risks of surgery in an already terminal patient.

But it turns out surgery may be worthwhile. 

Flickr / Cathy Brown Brown

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running for president as a Democrat, is siding with farmers on a renewable fuel rule. The EPA will increase the quantity of ethanol in the U.S. fuel supply above its initial proposal earlier this year, but many corn growers and other ethanol advocates are upset that the new level still falls short of what was originally projected back in 2007.

Flickr / Pictures of Money

For nonprofit organizations in Iowa and around the country, today is “Giving Tuesday,” a day marking the unofficial start of the charitable-giving season. But before you give, it’s wise to checkout a charity’s credentials.

Photo by John Pemble

Gov. Terry Branstad says the state will move forward as planned with the January 1st deadline for Medicaid privatization in Iowa. That’s despite last week’s recommendation from Administrative Law Judge Christie Scase that the state dismiss one of four contracts it awarded to for-profit companies to manage Iowa’s Medicaid programs.

Flickr / Peter & Joyce Grace

The Friday after Thanksgiving can be a busy day for many of Iowa’s roughly 100 choose-and-harvest Christmas farms, as many growers sell their first trees of the season.

A number of Iowans still prefer buying a real tree, as opposed to an artificial one, though these trees require additional maintenance. One of the most important parts of Christmas tree maintenance is keeping the tree hydrated. 

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

About 50 people rallied outside the State Capitol Tuesday afternoon, in response to Gov. Terry Branstad’s order blocking Syrian refugees from settling in Iowa.

"Mr. Branstad I ask you to find it in your heart, to find the courage, and to stop being afraid of people that are different from you," said Samantha Thomas, the one of the rally's organizers and executive director of Global Arts Therapy, which does work with youth and refugees.

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Iowa clergy submitted a letter to Gov. Terry Branstad’s office Monday afternoon, condemning what they call discrimination against Syrian refugees “on the basis of religion," and to "reject fear and cruelty" by welcoming them to the state.

Flickr / Vicki DeLoach

The Salvation Army kicked off its Red Kettle season on Friday. Bell ringers will collect spare change until Christmas Eve at 62 locations throughout metro Des Moines, and at many locations around Iowa.

The Christian charity organization hopes to raise $1.1 million over the next month in central Iowa.  The drive generates about 40-percent of its overall budget. Last year's kettle drive was disappointing, and the Salvation Army  had to dip into rainy-day reserves.

WIKICOMMONS / GAGE SKIDMORE

The federal government has reindicted three former Ron Paul staffers, in charges related to secret payments to former Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson for his endorsement of Paul for president in late 2011, shortly before the 2012 Iowa Republican Caucuses. A trial last month ended in a hung jury and a new trial for the staffers is set for December 14. 

Iowa Public Radio / John Pemble

The Iowa Supreme Court on Thursday heard the appeal of an Iowa woman who was denied unemployment benefits after missing work and subsequently losing her job as a medical assistant because she was in jail. Sondra Irving missed more than three weeks of work after being held at the Johnson County Jail in late 2013, in part because she couldn’t make bail which was set at $17,500.

Flickr / much0

Teachers, parents, and students embraced and some cried moments after the Iowa Board of Education voted unanimously to de-accredit and close the Farragut Community School District. This is only the third time the state education board has dissolved a school district. 

Iowa Public Radio / John Pemble

The Iowa Supreme Court heard arguments Monday night in the appeal of a 100-year sentence given to a Waterloo man in 2013. Donald Reed was convicted on drug-related charges and received an enhanced sentence because of a prior crime he committed when he was 17.  

Iowa Public Radio / Clay Masters

Congressman Steve King (IA-4) is endorsing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for the Republican presidential nomination. The Iowa Republican said Cruz was a "constitutional originalist" and the answer to his prayers. King cited the Texan's views on faith, the military, and immigration policy in his endorsement speech. 

Both men are firebrands and often at odds with establishment colleagues in their own party. But King, who is well-liked among evangelicals and the tea party in his state, says the senator will be able to appeal to libertarian, evangelical, and mainstream Republican voters.

Flickr / JOE GRATZ

The Iowa Supreme Court meets at Valley High School in West Des Moines tonight where it will consider whether an enhanced sentence is constitutional if the initial crime committed occurred when the offender was a minor.

In 2013, Donald Reed of Waterloo was given a 100-year prison sentence, with the possibility of parole after a third of the time served, for convictions on drug-related charges. This was an enhanced sentenced due to a previous drug offense he committed at age 17. 

Trump Visits Fort Dodge

Nov 13, 2015
Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took his campaign to Fort Dodge Thursday night, for his first Iowa appearance since being assigned a Secret Service detail. The real estate mogul spoke to a crowd of roughly 1,700 people at Central Iowa Community College.

Trump took some swipes at the media and its lukewarm reviews of his performance in the latest GOP debate, citing his favorable rankings in online polls.

Flickr / David Morris

Severe weather is moving rapidly from the southwest through Iowa this afternoon. The National Weather Service has issued tornado warnings, and severe weather has damaged buildings, trees, or knocked out power in several Iowa counties. 

ACLU / Whitney Curtis

A black, transgender woman has filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, saying staff at a West Des Moines hotel treated her hostilely because of her gender identity and race.

Flickr / Zachary Korb

Iowa ranks first in the nation when it comes to a citizen’s access to public information, but there is room for improvement.

Flickr / Steven Depolo

A new study aiming to improve the quality of life for dementia patients and their caretakers is looking for participants in Iowa. The goal is to create a detailed snapshot of dementia care in the U.S. 

Iowa Public Radio / Amy Mayer

Iowa hit a milestone in its avian influenza recovery this week by lifting the last quarantine on a commercial poultry farms affected by the virus. A Sac County turkey farm can now begin repopulation.

Commercial facilities hit by avian flu are required to wait three weeks after disinfection before they can repopulate. Seventy-two Iowa sites were affected by the 2015 bird flu outbreak, and more than 31 million birds were killed.

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