IPR News Stories

Joyce Russell/IPR

Families of loved ones who have suffered and died from mental illness gathered in the statehouse rotunda today to see Governor Reynolds sign two mental health bills into law.     

One comprehensive bill creates a new system of care facilities statewide for those in crisis. 

“We must identify the gaps in our system and this bill does that,” Reynolds says.

Under the bill, the state’s regional mental health districts will be required to offer new access centers for short-term crisis care. Community teams will offer individual treatment in the home and community.  

Meant to fund the federal government through early September, the $1.3 trillion bill signed by President Donald Trump last week also includes money and changes for ag-related programs beyond the “grain-glitch” fix.

Amy Mayer / IPR

Big cities in the Midwest are gaining ground on the rural communities that, for many decades, have thrived on the edges of urban development.

Since 1980, the amount of land being farmed or grazed in the U.S. has dropped 13 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Much of it now flaunts housing subdivisions, big-box stores and computer-server farms.

Outward growth from metropolitan areas can strain courts, schools and traffic. It also can change the cultural and regional identity of once-rural communities — something visible on the outskirts of two metro areas connected by Interstate 35 and an agricultural heritage: Des Moines, Iowa, and Kansas City, Missouri.

Penn State via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/pennstatelive/

A Cedar Rapids official wants Iowa’s medical marijuana law expanded. The statement comes after the state’s second largest city was passed over for a dispensary.

PxHere

Psychiatrists would have clearer guidelines for reporting potentially dangerous patients to police, under a comprehensive mental health bill the governor will sign tomorrow. 

The bill tries to balance the desires of law enforcement with confidentiality concerns and the professional judgment of mental health professionals.    

Dean Borg/IPR

Former Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett is asking a district court judge to restore his candidacy for governor.  A three-judge panel Tuesday ruled decided Corbett’s nomination papers were eight signatures short of what is needed to put him on the Republican June primary election ballot.

Corbett contends his nomination papers had more than enough valid signatures, and that what he calls the “Republican establishment” backing incumbent Gov. Reynolds is blocking his candidacy.

gavel
SalFalko / Flickr

A Johnson County judge has found Lamar Wilson was not justified in shooting three people on Iowa City’s crowded Pedestrian Mall last summer.

Wilson claimed he fired his gun in self-defense, and asked the judge to grant him immunity from criminal charges in an early test of Iowa’s “stand your ground” law, which was passed in 2017.

iowa capitol
John Pemble/IPR

A bill to allow cheaper health plans that don’t comply with the federal Affordable Care Act passed the Iowa Senate Tuesday and is heading to the governor’s desk.

Supporters say the new plans—offered through a Farm Bureau partnership with Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield—would be a cheaper health care option for people who can’t pay the increasing price of insurance under the ACA.

“This bill is about getting those folks insured,” says Sen. Dan Zumbach, R-Ryan. “It’s a great investment.”

Vaping360 via flickr creative commons / http://vaping360.com/cbd-oil-cannabidiol-hemp-oil/

Five Iowa cities could soon have medical marijuana dispensaries after the state picked its preferred distributors Tuesday. Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Waterloo, Davenport and the Des Moines suburb of Windsor Heights are each slated to get a medical marijuana dispensary, if the companies accept the licenses by 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 28.

Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

Wrestling is a big deal in Iowa. If you walk into any bar in the Hawkeye State during its high school wrestling tournament, chances are the event is blaring on every TV in sight.

Kate Payne

When the U.S. men’s team won Olympic gold in curling for the first time this year, people all over the country paid attention. Since the historic win a month ago, one curling club in Iowa says interest in the sport is exploding. 

Katherine Perkins/IPR

This program originally aired 9-19-16.

Just off of 2nd Avenue in Cedar Rapids sits an unassuming little carriage house. In a tiny studio apartment that used to be the hayloft, is where the most iconic American painting was created. Artist Grant Wood lived as well as worked in the space from 1924 - 1935, and he created all of his masterpieces there, including "American Gothic," "Young Corn," and "Woman with Plants."

Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe toured the studio with Katherine Kunau, associate curator of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

Seth Sawyers via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/sidewalk_flying/

Gun control supporters in Iowa say they’ll continue to push for policy changes. Organizers hope to harness the energy from the marches that took place this past weekend.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Iowa Public Radio’s Bob Dorr was honored in the Iowa legislature today for his long career in music and broadcasting in Iowa.

The Iowa House and Senate passed resolutions praising Dorr as an Iowa icon, and thanking him for his dedication to the cultural landscape and history of the state.

Dorr’s broadcasting career spans 45 years.  His music shows began airing from Cedar Falls public radio station KUNI, and expanded when it became part of Iowa Public Radio, where his show still air.

supreme court
John Pemble/IPR file photo

The Iowa Supreme Court has made it possible for people who plead guilty to a crime to later claim innocence and challenge their conviction.

In a 4-3 opinion issued Friday, the court overturned its previous interpretation of Iowa law concerning post-conviction relief for those who plead guilty.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Gov. Reynolds Monday clarified that more than one employee came forward with allegations of sexual harassment before she fired the director of a state housing agency on Saturday.  

Reynolds said credible allegations against Iowa Finance Authority Director David Jamison were enough to dismiss him without further investigation.   

Speaking at her weekly news conference, Reynolds described the quick action that was taken after agency employees reported the harassment to Reynolds’ chief of staff Friday night.   

John Pemble/IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds has bill on her desk that approves mid-year cuts of more than $35 million to the state’s $7.2 billion budget. IPR’s Joyce Russell previews the week ahead at the legislature including what to expect from what the legislature has handed the governor.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Last year Rep. Matt Windschitl authored a bill greatly expanding gun rights in Iowa.  It includes making it legal to carry a concealed pistol in the Capitol with a permit, and a stand your ground provision allowing people to use deadly force if they feel threatened.

For Staying Power, CSAs Could Use A Niche Product

Mar 23, 2018

U.S. consumers’ hunger for fresh, local and organic foods has fed a marketplace that’s so big, little guys are — once again — having to evolve and specialize.

It’s especially true with community-supported agriculture programs (CSAs), which had been growing for years, but are starting to wane in the face of the rise of meal-kit companies and an oversaturated market.

Iowa General Assembly Website

Advocates for public schools tried to stop a bill in the Iowa House today that may expand for-profit online education in the state.  

The bill lifts the cap on the number of school districts that can open-enroll students from all over the state, and then turn over the state per-pupil funding to for-profit companies for full-time online instruction.  

Currently, two Iowa school districts, CAM in southwest Iowa and Clayton Ridge in northeast Iowa, contract with for-profit companies for full-time online classes.      

chelgren
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Iowa Senate Republicans have reignited the “school choice” debate with a new proposal to use some public money for private school education.

The bill would give about $4,000 of state money for each student enrolling in a private school, which is 60 percent of the per-pupil funding for public school students. Current private and homeschool students would not be eligible for the “education savings grants."

Republicans on a Senate panel advanced the bill Thursday to the full Appropriations Committee.

IPR Images

An effort to repeal Iowa’s nearly 40-year old bottle deposit law this year has apparently come to an end after action in the Iowa Senate.    

A bill backed by the Iowa Grocery Industry Association and the Iowa Beverage Association to replace the bottle law with a statewide recycling program did not clear a three-member panel.

The bill’s manager, Sen. Randy Feenstra (R-Hull), announced an alternative effort to modernize the law instead.  

“We are not repealing the bottle bill,” Feenstra said.     

Shiranai via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/shiraneeyo/

Johnson County officials are moving forward with a plan to symbolically raise the local minimum wage. The change would just be a recommendation because of state laws limiting local control of the issue.

Joyce Russell/IPR

A school safety bill requiring all districts to be prepared for active shooters and other emergencies is making its way through the Iowa legislature, as lawmakers grapple with the tragedy of school shootings across the country.  

An eastern Iowa lawmaker was overcome with emotion during debate in the Iowa House. 

Winnebago Industries

Towable RVs now account for well more than half of the revenue at Forest City-based Winnebago Industries. Second quarter profits and revenue are up substantially for the recreational vehicle manufacturer from a year ago.

The quarter ended Feb. 24 is the first full quarter since Winnebago bought Indiana-based towable RV maker Grand Design. The results show revenue up more than 26 percent from the second quarter 2017 and an increase in profits of more than 37 percent. Winnebago CEO Michael Happe says the company is grabbing a bigger slice of the towable market.

university of iowa
Vladimir Kulikov / Wikimedia Commons

The Iowa House today approved cuts to the Regents universities that go beyond what the chamber had proposed earlier this year to address a state revenue shortfall in the fiscal year that ends June 30th.   To reach agreement with the Iowa Senate, the House voted to cut Regents funding by nearly $11 million, split between the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.   The universities will have to absorb that in the three months left in the fiscal year.  Democrats resisted but were unable to stop the cuts from being approved.  Chris Hall, D-Sioux City, questioned Pat Grassley, R-Cedar Fa

Paul Allen / https://www.paulallen.com/uss-juneau-wreck-located-famous-for-sullivan-brothers/

Explorers have found the remains of the World War II battleship that carried Iowa’s five Sullivan Brothers. The wreckage of the USS Juneau now lies on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Soloman Islands. 

Wikimedia Commons

A bill to repeal Iowa’s bottle deposit law and replace it with a statewide recycling program failed to clear a Republican-dominated three member panel in the Iowa House today.  

A separate House bill to expand the law by adding more containers is also dead for the year. But the Senate is still considering a total repeal.    

Rep. Guy Vander Linden (R-Oskaloosa) called today’s hearing even though he knew the bill to repeal the bottle deposit law did not have the support to advance.      

Jeff Bryant via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeff-m-bryant/

Wildlife scientists want southern Iowans to help monitor deer for chronic wasting disease. CWD is now in three counties in the state but conservationists are hopeful early intervention can slow its spread.

ivanka
O. Kay Henderson / Radio Iowa

Ivanka Trump—an advisor to President Trump—visited a high-tech job training center in Waukee Monday.

Trump and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds toured the Waukee Innovation and Learning Center to hear from high school students about work they’re doing with local businesses.

The visit was part of a White House effort to promote its infrastructure plan, which includes workforce development initiatives.

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