Dean Borg

Correspondent

Dean Borg is an Iowa City based correspondent for Iowa Public Radio. He joined IPR in 2000, but his broadcast news career began at WOI Radio as an Iowa State University student.  Later in Cedar Rapids, he led a 32-person news, sports, weather and farm radio and television staff for The WMT Stations. His experience includes daily coverage of the Iowa General Assembly, news and documentary reports from South Vietnam and the Paris Peace Talks, moderating nationally televised presidential candidate debates, and interviewing every President since John F. Kennedy.

He holds journalism and political science degrees from Iowa State and The University of Iowa. ISU conferred its Distinguished Achievement Citation to him, the highest award given to alumni.  He is also the winner of lifetime achievement awards from The Iowa Broadcast News Association and the Northwest Broadcast News Association.

Dean's favorite public radio program is Car Talk.

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Iowa Sweet Corn Planting!

Apr 15, 2016
Michael Leland/IPR

Iowa’s sweet corn season is underway! That planting, that is.

Dean Rebal’s roadside stand at his farmhouse adjacent to Highway 1 north of Iowa City won’t be opening until mid-July.  But, on Thursday, Rebal began moving his planter across the twenty-acres where he’ll be growing this year’s sweet corn crop. He usually sells some nine-thousand dozen ears of sweet corn. Last year, Rebal’s selling season began July 17th and he sold the final ears for the season on September 16th.

By refusing to schedule a hearing for President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland, U.S. Senator Charles Grassley has started a conversation about the importance and composition of the United States Supreme Court. E.J. Dionne, a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post, says the controversy is an example of how the court has become increasingly politicized. 

Dean Borg/IPR

Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources is giving University of Iowa a unique air quality permit that will provide the UI flexibility in using renewable fuels as an alternative to coal.

The ‘Plant-wide Applicability Permit’ enables the UI to average air quality across the 437 emission sources on the campus, instead of reporting individually.

DNR Director Charles Gipp says the permit -- one-of-a-kind in Iowa -- allows the UI to try new, renewable energy sources without violating air quality standards.

King and Bertrand campaign websites

Iowa’s Fourth District Congressman is questioning the motives driving the Republican challenging him in the June primary.

Steve King is seeking an eighth term in Congress, and until this year, has never been challenged by another Republican in seeking re-election.

This year, Sioux City State Senator Rick Bertrand is challenging King, and is receiving financial backing from Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter in June’s Republican primary election.

Dean Borg/IPR

As Iowa legislators search the state’s budget for money to fund water quality projects, an Iowa environmentalist believes it may be on grocery store shelves.

Ralph Rosenberg, Executive Director of the Iowa Environmental Council, estimates a five-cent tax on plastic bottles containing water and other beverages could bring the needed money to the state.

“We’ve heard it may raise as much as $20 to 25 million a year,” Rosenberg told reporters Friday, following taping of an Iowa Press program on water quality at Iowa Public Television.

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Iowa officials say a new pork processing plant coming to North Iowa will boost the state’s hog industry. Officials announcing a pork processing plant soon to be built near Interstate 35 in the Mason City-Clear Lake area were celebrating the anticipated two-thousand jobs this week.

But Iowa’s Pork Producers Association sees extra capacity.  It says the state’s existing 16-pork processing plants will be straining later this year to accommodate expected large marketings.

Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey also welcomes more capacity.

Today is the deadline for candidates seeking statewide or legislative offices to file nomination papers with Iowa’s Secretary of State.

One of the candidates filing nomination papers late this week was Democrat Patty Judge, who filed her papers Thursday.  

She’s already held the Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Agriculture offices, and served in the State Senate. 

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, is still saying he will not hold confirmation hearings, now that President Obama has selected a Supreme Court nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Linn County’s Supervisors are considering possibly raising the minimum wage in the region including Iowa’s second largest city, and have formed a study committee. Supervisors’ Chairman Ben Rogers says Linn County will thoroughly study increasing the Cedar Rapids area minimum wage.

“Many of us feel, like providers and community groups, felt that Johnson County rushed their discussion and implementation of the minimum wage,” he says.

Linn’s study committee includes small and large businesses, and hasn’t met yet.  Rogers says it could even recommend wage increase exemptions.

Waldo Jaquith / Flickr

Iowa’s Master Gardeners will be stocking community food banks this summer.

Iowa State University Master Gardner coordinator Denny Schrock says it’s expanding existing programs already producing nearly 15-tons of fresh produce.augmenting healthy diets for more than a third of a million Iowans said to be food insecure. And Shrock says the desired foods are surprising.

"They want more zucchini. So, we’ve green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers,  carrots, potatoes, melons, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes are going to be part of the home demonstration gardens.”   

PeteLinforth/Pixabay.com

Johnson County’s experiment setting a county minimum wage above the state’s $7.25 an hour produced another version last night.

Tiffin’s city council gave first reading to an ordinance setting wage minimums at $9 an hour.

The only ‘no’ vote came from council-woman Jo Kahler.

“I do not feel we have any business telling businesses what they should pay in wages,” she said in an interview on Tuesday.

Until Tiffin gives final approval to its own $9 ordinance, the Johnson County supervisors’ $8.20 an hour prevails.

Johnson County’s new ordinance incrementally raising the State’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by this time next year continues getting pushback.  Several communities are opting out, and last week a member of Iowa’s Board of Regents, objecting to increasing University of Iowa costs, said Johnson County is out-of-step with the rest of Iowa.

Tonight, the City Council in Tiffin takes up the issue.

Tiffin’s Council was considering keeping wages for workers under 18-years old at the state law amount, $7.25 an hour.

Des Moines Public Schools

The University of Iowa is announcing a plan that credits Iowa high school students for such things as good grades and community service with eventual scholarship money.

The UI is partnering with 99 Iowa school districts in a pilot program that accumulates up to 12-hundred dollars in what’s called a “micro-scholarship”.                                                      

The UI’s vice president for Student Services, Tom Rocklin, says such things as a “B”-grade in math courses earns $25, $75 for a year’s perfect attendance, and $100 for four-years of a foreign language.

Michael Leland/IPR

Iowa continues to grow as the nation’s leading wind energy state.

Governor Terry Branstad today is citing U.S. Energy Information Administration statistics showing 31-percent of all electricity generated in the state comes from wind power.

The data shows Iowa is the first and only state crossing the 30-percent mark in wind power.

South Dakota is second, generating 25-percent, and Kansas third with nearly 24-percent of total power generated coming from wind turbines.

A member of Iowa’s Board of Regents says Johnson County’s raising of the minimum wage is “out of step with the rest of Iowa”.

Johnson County is incrementally raising the wages to at least $10.10 an hour by 2017, action taken by the County Board of Supervisors.

At today’s Regents meeting in Ames, Regent Larry McKibben of Marshalltown said he’ll oppose extending that to the University of Iowa campus.

“I’m working hard to reduce debt of families and children, and we can’t be an outlier vis-a-vis the other two universities, and I want an answer to that,” he said.

Dean Borg/IPR

U.S. Senator Charles Grassley told a town hall meeting Tuesday in Marengo that President Obama should defer to the next President in appointing a Supreme Court Justice to replace Antonin Scalia.

“I’m pretty clear that this should carry over to the next election,” Grassley told the town hall meeting in Marengo’s public library.

Grassley, who chairs the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, has a key role in determining the Senate’s consideration of any nominee President Barack Obama would nominate to fill the vacancy left by Scalia’s death on February 13th.

William Patrick Butler/Flickr

Former Democratic Gov. Chet Culver is now in the struggle surrounding the current Governor, Republican Terry Branstad’s plan for converting Iowa’s Medicaid program to private management. Culver is conducting several public forums this month.  In Coralville Tuesday, he listened for two hours to the fears of parents and others receiving Medicaid services about the move away from state management of the program.  He told the roughly 30 people attending the forum that privatizing Medicaid isn’t a partisan political issue.

Daniel Orth/Flickr

A Cedar Rapids church is stockpiling bottled water to help Flint, Michigan families deal with that city’s lead-contaminated municipal water supply.  Bottled water cases are being stacked at Mt Zion Baptist Church where Damian Epps is the Senior Pastor.

“My plan is to leave next Monday, on the 15th, and hopefully we can have more than 100,000 bottles of water,” he says. “Take a team of people there and at least spend a day-and-a-half or so passing out water, but also assessing their plight.”

Dean Borg/IPR

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s half-hour rally in the University of Iowa Field House Tuesday night was frequently interrupted by chirping whistles and protest placards.  Each time, Tump paused, frequently yelling, “Get ‘em out!”

Trump opened the rally by parading members of the UI’s football and wrestling squads across the stage. He also pledged allegiance to Iowa by supporting ethanol and keeping Iowa’s presidential preference caucuses first in the nation.

Dean Borg/IPR

Texas Senator Ted Cruz isn’t backing away from advocating eliminating the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) for mandating a specified amount of ethanol that must be incorporated into the nation’s motor fuels.

Cruz defends his views even though Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says Iowans should rebuff the  Texas Senator’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination because of Iowa’s stake in producing corn-based ethanol.

Linn County’s Board of Supervisors is exploring increasing the minimum wage.  The county is home to Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second largest city.   The minimum wage next door in Johnson County is already 95-cents higher than the state’s $7.25 an hour, and will go to ten dollars an hour two years from now.

Linn Supervisors Board chairman, Ben Rogers, says a possible increase in the county will be studied carefully and methodically.

hillaryclinton.com file photo

Former President Bill Clinton stopped by the New Bo City Market in Cedar Rapids during the noon lunch hour today.  It’s where Hillary Clinton, who is campaigning to be the next president, held a rally on Monday.

After handshaking and picturing taking, the former President went on to the nearby Czech and Slovak Museum to promote her candidacy.  He arrived about an hour later than scheduled but that didn’t seem to bother the estimated 500 people waiting.  Clinton spent most of the 50-minutes appearance listing Hillary’s achievements.

Dean Borg/IPR

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio spoke at an early morning rally at a Cedar Rapids hotel today, telling those in attendance that President Barack Obama views the U-S Constitution as an annoyance.

Rubio was referring to President Obama’s executive action on Tuesday, tightening firearm sales restrictions. After the rally, Rubio elaborated for reporters.

Amy Mayer/IPR

The president of Iowa’s Board of Regents is predicting policy changes that will further limit the manner in which contracts are awarded by the three state universities. Bruce Rastetter's comments come after Iowa State University and the University of Iowa both awarded contracts to individuals with Republican ties without taking bids on the work. 

Rastetter says that the individuals getting the state work are capable and qualified, but without taking bids on the work, "the optics are not pretty." 

Dean Borg/IPR

In a rally repeatedly punctuated by cheering and standing ovations, Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spent more than an hour Sunday addressing a more than a thousand supporters on the Cornell College campus in Mount Vernon.

Before coming into the gymnasium main event, Sanders met in a side room with 19 military veterans and veterans’ advocates. He apologized to those at the rally for being a few minutes late.

Amy Mayer/IPR

The American Association of University Professors says its investigation of Iowa Board of Regents’ process in hiring University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld disserved the people of Iowa.

The AAUP, also a labor union, concludes the Board of Regents designed the presidential search process to prevent any meaningful faculty role in the process, acting in bad faith to other candidates. The report calls it an illusion of an honest search, manipulating to a pre-ordained result.

Clay Masters / IPR

A new poll suggests Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz is gaining support among likely Iowa caucus-goers.  Quinnipiac University poll results released Tuesday show Cruz passing retire neurosurgeon Ben Carson to claim second place behind Donald Trump.  The same poll had Cruz with 10-percent support a month ago.  It now gives him 23-percent.  That’s a statistical tie with Trump’s 25-percent showing.

Rachel Knickmeyer/Flickr

If you receive a parking violation in Cedar Rapids during the next month, it could benefit a needy family or a homeless person. Cedar Rapids is now dismissing parking fines in exchange for gifts to homeless shelters and family service centers.

Downtown Parking Board Director, Doug Neumann, says the gifts should match the fine.

University of Iowa photo

Football fans attending this Saturday’s University of Iowa Hawkeye football game with Purdue will encounter security changes.            

The UI’s interim security director, David Visin, says items that had been permitted to be carried into the stadium are now prohibited.

Michael Leland/IPR file photo

Corn and soybean crops in southwest Iowa are lagging behind the rest of the state because of too much rain falling too often throughout the growing season. But, Iowa State University agronomist Aaron Sauegling says yields are better than expected.  He has been monitoring fourteen counties in extreme southwest Iowa.

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