IPR News Stories

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Even as wind energy production has grown in recent years to be a large part of the country’s energy portfolio, a chill around federal funding for renewable energy has researchers increasingly turning to industry partners to bring the next generation of innovation to the marketplace.

 

Joyce Russell/IPR

The Iowa Public Information Board, which oversees openness in Iowa government, is itself embroiled in a struggle over a secret meeting it held this summer.      

The nine-member board voted Thursday not to release a recording of the meeting, which disappointed some advocates for transparency in government.  

The controversy stems from a controversial open records case the board is handling. 

Interested parties want the Burlington Police Department to release body camera video from a 2015 fatal police shooting. 

ACLU of Iowa

The ACLU of Iowa is filing a lawsuit to challenge the Iowa Department of Human Services’ ban on Medicaid coverage for transition-related medical care for transgender Iowans. The civil rights group says the ban is based on outdated assumptions about the nature of transgender health care.

The lawsuit is being filed on behalf of two clients – EerieAnna Good of the Quad Cities and Carol Ann Beal of northwest Iowa. Beal says she began taking hormone therapy when she was 14 and has lived as a woman since. She says she joined the suit because someone needed to be a trailblazer.

IPR/Pat Blank

The nonprofit organization Joppa continues to receive tiny houses for its proposed community village for the homeless in Des Moines. Earlier this month, three of the shelters built by Drake University alumni, students and volunteers were donated. Three more are on their way to the capital city from the University of Northern Iowa.

UNI Senior Baily Abbott says he jumped at the chance to get hands-on experience helping build the houses.

Wartburg College

After 166 years of offering only undergraduate degrees in the liberal arts, Wartburg College is beginning a master’s program in 2018. The first graduate-level degree for the school in Waverly will be in music therapy.

Image courtesy of North End Update

Every Friday at 4PM, North End Update's live Facebook show shares good news about an area of Waterloo that normally is portrayed in a negative light. Upon tuning in, you hear their signature "Boomshakalaka!"

Joshalyn “Rocki” Johnson and Cheryl “Chaveevah” Banks Ferguson are the duo behind the show. 

Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers

Students at Grinnell College are looking to expand the reach of the nation’s only independent undergraduate student workers union. They want the labor organization representing dining hall workers to cover all student workers on campus.

The Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers has negotiated contracts for undergraduate dining hall workers since the spring of 2015. In that time, it says wages have increased 12 percent. A spokesman for the union, Carter Howe, says now is the time to represent all student workers on Grinnell’s campus.

Joyce Russell/IPR

The Kim Reynolds administration is closing the books on the fiscal year that ended in June, and, as predicted, revenues fell short of what was needed to cover all the spending the legislature approved.  

But the shortfall wasn’t as bad as feared, and the governor won’t be calling lawmakers back into special session.  

At the end of June, the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency estimated that tax receipts had fallen more than $100 million short, far more than the governor could cover with emergency funds.  

Jasper County Sheriff's Department photo

The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday evening in a case that looks at how far a person’s right to privacy extends during a warrantless search by law enforcement.

In October 2015, Bion Ingram was driving a car that wasn’t his. When he was pulled over by a Jasper County Sheriff’s deputy, the deputy noticed the registration did not correspond to the car’s license plate.

cathy glasson
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Democrat Cathy Glasson officially announced her run for governor of Iowa Tuesday in Cedar Rapids.

Glasson says her campaign will focus on three main ideas: a $15 minimum wage, single-payer healthcare and the expansion of union rights.

"We’re fighting for an Iowa that cares about all people again, that realizes when any of us are left behind, none of us can move forward," Glasson told supporters.  

Alliant Energy photo

Several hundred utility workers from Iowa have been among the army of workers trying to restore power to millions of people cut off after Hurricane Irma swept through Florida and Georgia this month.  Mid-American Energy sent 250 employees and contractors, including 150 tree trimmers.

Twenty-six vehicles from Iowa’s Association of Electric Cooperatives are there along with 46 linemen. And Alliant Energy dispatched 200 workers and equipment from Iowa and Wisconsin.

iowa city
Kris / flickr

An Iowa City man charged with shooting three people on the city’s downtown pedestrian mall will claim a "stand your ground" defense at trial.

Lamar Wilson is accused of killing one person and injuring two others in an August shooting that police have said was not random.

Wilson’s attorneys submitted court documents Monday stating he intends to rely on self-defense, defense of others, defense against a forcible felony, defense of property, and the right to "stand your ground".

Greater Des Moines Partnership

A national business publication is naming Des Moines the nation’s top market for minor league sports. The city topped a list of 219 metro areas for the honor.

Sports Business Journal will have Des Moines as its cover story in the September 18 issue. The city is being recognized for the success of four minor league teams.

The Iowa Wild hockey franchise is heading into its fifth season and is selling more season tickets than ever.

The Iowa Cubs averaged more than 7,700 fans a game this past summer.

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

As farmers prepare to start the harvest, they have a fresh commitment from one of the leading importers of corn and dried distiller's grains.

A delegation from Taiwan recently visited Iowa and promised to buy 197 million bushels of corn and a half-million tons of dried distiller's grains.

"This represents roughly 20 percent of the US export of corn," says Atalissa farmer Mark Heckman, who met with the Taiwanese visitors and serves on the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. "From a distiller's grains purchasers (perspective), they're number 1 now that China is not in this market."

desks
alamosbasement/flickr

Iowa has submitted a new school accountability plan to the federal government as part of replacing the No Child Left Behind Act.

Iowa’s proposed plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act—passed in 2015—includes state-specific academic goals and methods of supporting struggling schools.

WIKICOMMONS / EPA

An attempt to toughen environmental standards for confined animal feeding operations has failed as the state’s Environmental Protection Commission says it lacks the jurisdiction to reform the current permitting process.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and the D.C.-based Food & Water Watch filed the request. They want the EPC to create stricter rules and complain the current permit process’s scoring system, known at the master matrix, offers no meaningful evaluation of environmental or community protections. 

Rob Dillard / Iowa Public Radio

Grand View University on the east side of Des Moines is launching an effort to better connect with the school’s surrounding neighborhoods. The project is the result of dozens of meetings with community leaders over the past year.

The initiative is being called the Views Forward Project. Grand View will work with four of the Capital City’s oldest neighborhoods – Highland Park, Union Park, Capitol Park and Martin Luther King, Jr., Park. The pastor at Union Park Baptist Church, Wes Foster, says the ultimate goal is east side pride.

Many conservatives pundits and lawmakers were incensed that President Donald Trump appeared to make a deal with Democrats to enshrine into law the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that shields many undocumented immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as children. To make matters worse for immigration hawks, Trump is also not requiring funding to build a wall along the Mexican border as a condition of the possible deal.

Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs

Last month at the Iowa State Fair, a two-foot-tall bell was forged to honor past, present, and future members of the military. Some of the metal used to create the Spirit of Iowa Tribute Bell came from commemorative coins, service dog tags, and other artifacts from members of the military and their families.  

Next month, the bell begins traveling to cities throughout the state.  Executive director for the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs Jodi Tymeson says the bell will be lent to anyone who wants to display it to honor Iowa veterans.  

Liesl Eathington, Iowa State University

Research out of Iowa State University shows Iowa is losing its most highly educated workers because there aren’t enough jobs for them here. The situation, however, is slowly changing.

$1.25 million.

That’s the size of the bill that could have shuttered the only public hospital in rural Pemiscot County, Missouri in August 2013.

$750,000 for payroll. $500,000 for a bond payment. $1.25 million total. One August day in 2013, the hospital’s CEO Kerry Noble had to face facts: The money just wasn’t there. It took an emergency bailout from a local bank to keep their doors open. For now.

doctors office
Jennifer Morrow / flickr

Organizations that help Iowans sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act are dealing with new funding cuts.

Late Wednesday night, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced various grant reductions for ACA navigators. Some cuts are as high as 90 percent.

Genesis Health in the Quad Cities is facing a 90 percent cut to is ACA navigator grant.

You may have noticed during this pledge drive that we had some new music beds that we used as we were taking a minute to talk about how wonderful it feels to support Iowa Public Radio financially. If you heard any of those and thought, "huh, I like that, wonder what song it is," we've got your back. 

Joyce Russell/IPR

State officials will be keeping a close watch over a new state-run family planning program under an initiative unveiled at a statehouse committee this week.  

The Department of Human Services will be gathering data to determine how services are affected now that Planned Parenthood clinics aren’t included.    

The new state program provides family planning services including contraception at clinics around the state, but only those that don’t offer abortions.  

Martin St-Amant / Wikimedia Commons

For her newest book, author and traveler Lori Erickson went in search of places where she felt something special. In her new memoir, she visits holy sites all over the world and says that Holy Rover: Journeys in Search of Mystery, Miracles, and God is similar to what "St. Augustine might have written if he was born a Lutheran in Iowa."

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, she talks with Charity Nebbe about her travels.

WIKICOMMONS / Kepper66

A central Iowa police chief says he’s “very fearful” that ending an Obama-era immigration policy will diminish public safety in his community, so he's urging Congress to pass legislation that allows people who were eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to continuing living and working in the US. 

Clay Masters / IPR

City officials in Des Moines and surrounding suburbs met Wednesday to discuss a plan to regionalize how water is produced for customers in the state’s largest metro. West Des Moines Mayor Steve Gaer says it would be more cost effective for the central Iowa cities to work on producing water together instead of a bunch of separate facilities.

“It’s incumbent then on [the cities] as their own utility to go ahead and handle the water from that point to the residents,” Gaer says.

Grand View University

A five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education is coming to Grand View University in Des Moines to train English Language Learner instructors. Grand View will be working with six school districts across the state.

Dean Borg/IPR

The U. S. Department of Agriculture’s latest estimate for corn and soybean yields was disappointing for Iowa farmers, and concerning for Iowa’s cash-strapped state government budget.

Grain traders and market analysts had been expecting the yield estimates to be lowered because of persistent dry weather.  But, USDA increased projected fall harvest for corn and soybeans Tuesday by about one-half bushel per acre. That sent grains markets sliding.

doug ommen
Joyce Russell / IPR

Iowa’s insurance commissioner says he is now "less optimistic" about winning federal approval for a plan to stabilize the state’s individual health insurance market.

The state of Iowa submitted a "stopgap" plan to federal agencies in August. It would change the distribution of insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen told lawmakers Tuesday he was hoping to know by now whether the plan would be approved.

Pages