A giant ‘food dome’ is almost complete next to Central Iowa Shelter and Services in Des Moines. As Iowa public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports, the unusually shaped greenhouse will grow vegetables year round and supply the shelter’s kitchen.
Rodney Volkmar and a team from the Colorado-based company Growing Spaces are attaching triangular sheets of reflective insulation on a 30-foot, dome-shaped scaffolding. They expect to finish work by Friday.
Google, Facebook and Microsoft have all made large investments to build large data center facilities in the state of Iowa. All three have also received multi-million dollar tax exemptions, rebates, and grants to entice them to come. In Part One of Iowa Public Radio’s data center series, we talked about why our state appeals to these Silicon Valley titans. Today, reporter Durrie Bouscaren visits Council Bluffs to ask, what’s in it for our state?
Just south of downtown Des Moines, and tucked away from the families and bicyclists visiting Grey’s Lake, six people live under the Martin Luther King Bridge.
“It’s a lot scarier than people think,” says 52-year-old Bonnie Schroeder.
For the second time in two years, the city of Des Moines is evicting about 40 people who are homeless and living in camps within the city. Some have already packed up and moved on—others, including Schoeder, are appealing the city’s decision.
A Des Moines elementary school that was once on a list of the state’s lowest-achieving schools has been removed, after significant improvements to annual scores and disciplinary issues. As Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports, an arts education program at Findley Elementary will soon expand to four other schools in the district.
Administrators say math and reading scores at Findley Elementary have improved significantly. Students miss fewer days of school, and parents are more involved.
Legislators this year approved increased funding for a program that financially supports Iowans with disabilities who receive home-based care. The $6 million allocation to “buy down” the two-year waiting list is not a done deal. As Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports, advocates are concerned Governor Branstad will veto the funding, as he did last year.
In a small room stuffed with cubicles at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, a team of patient advocates answers phones, enters data, and determines who is eligible for financial assistance.
When a patient at Mercy is faced with a hospital bill they can’t pay, they come here. Team leader Karla Vaquerano-Serio says many times, it’s only a matter of helping a patient sign up for a federal program they didn’t realize they qualified for.
It's official: Microsoft is behind the 1.2-million square-foot data center coming to West Des Moines.
Officials announced Friday that Microsoft will build a four-phase, regional data center costing a total of $1,126,218,400. Formerly known as Project Alluvion, the 154-acre site will house servers and computer equipment to operate web portal services like the Cloud and XBox Live. Completion is expected in early 2021.
Mercy Medical Center is expanding its capacity to treat people for short term mental health emergencies on its Des Moines campus. The nearly $12 million project moves the behavioral health treatment center from a separate facility, to take up two floors of the hospital’s west building.
Dr. Sasha Khostravi directs the unit for children and teens. Often—he says—there aren’t enough psychiatric beds to meet demand. The average stay in the inpatient facility is three days.
Iowa inmate Rasberry Williams, 68, will be released on parole after serving nearly four decades of a life sentence for first-degree murder.
The Iowa Board of Parole issued the decision Wednesday after a 20-minute video interview with Williams and his supervisors at the North Central Correctional Facility in Rockwell City. In 1974, Williams shot and killed his neighbor, Lester Givhan, outside a Waterloo pool hall. Soon after, he turned himself into authorities, and maintained during trials afterwards that he acted in self-defense.
The City of Dubuque has reached an informal agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, over allegations the city discriminated against African Americans applying for housing assistance. The city has denied the HUD’s claims.
The embattled head of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services was fired today by Governor Branstad, after new evidence surfaced about confidential payments to laid-off state workers.
The former employees reached settlements with the state through mediation. Director Mike Carroll told a legislative committee and the governor that his agency did not approve extra payments to workers who agreed to keep their settlements confidential.
Governor Terry Branstad said Monday he would consider signing a bill with limited allowances for medical cannabis to be prescribed in Iowa. During an appearance on Iowa Public Radio’s River to River, Branstad said he did not want to create more problems or unintended consequences by signing marijuana legislation.
With street closures blocking off traffic in the heart of downtown Des Moines, workers from offices near the former Younkers building took to the skywalks to view the damage. Lori Jones says her earliest memory of the building was shopping for school supplies in the 60's.
"Younkers has been a fixture that whole time," Jones said. "It brings tears to my eyes."
Processing times for Iowa’s district courts vary throughout the state—often dependent on resources available for staff and court appearances.
In Johnson County, a significant portion of cases take longer. The county has long struggled with a jail too small to house all its inmates and an understaffed courthouse—multi-million dollar bond issues to expand the facilities have been repeatedly rejected by voters.
County Attorney Janet Lyness says for years, space constraints have slowed the system.
After speaking with at least half of the administrative law judges who rule cases for unemployment disputes, State Senator Bill Dotzler (D-Waterloo) says he’s gathered evidence that the head of Iowa Workforce Development has pressured judges to rule against employees hoping to receive unemployment insurance benefits.
Students at the University of Iowa called for the school to take a harsher stance against sexual assault, during an on-campus listening session with university officials Thursday. Female students discussed fears of walking home in the dark, or difficulties filing reports against perpetrators. Others drew comparisons between the university’s formal zero-tolerance policies on drugs and plagiarism, but not for sexual assault.
President Sally Mason used her opening remarks to discuss her own experience with sexual assault, as an undergraduate student in Kentucky.
A proposed casino in Cedar Rapids would generate $81 million in revenue, but cannibalize $59 million from existing casinos by 2017, according to an Iowa Gaming Market Analysis study made public last night.
Low propane supplies in the Midwest have driven up the cost of the fuel used by many rural families to heat their homes and businesses—to the point where Senator Chuck Grassley has requested an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.
Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren traveled to an area in Central Iowa that depends on propane, and came back with this story.
The 117-year old Brewer House is one of just a handful of historic homes remaining in Cedar Rapids. When it was purchased by a nearby hospital slated for expansion, the Brewer House seemed doomed. But Dawn Stephens and Greg Young had another plan in mind. Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports.
Dawn Stephens clutches a blanket as she introduces me to the Brewer House. Even though we’re inside, the heat hasn’t worked for years. In the foyer are remnants of the home’s past—the wood flooring that was replaced in the thirties, linoleum from the seventies.
A family-run microbrewery in Fairfield is on the brink of expanding their operation ten times over. As Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports, Shaktea Kombucha has built their brand around a fermented, flavored tea.
As Iowa and much of the Midwest continue to deal with dangerously low temperatures, people have been encouraged to stay home as schools close and organizations cancel activities. For those without a home, shelters have adjusted to care for those who may otherwise face life threatening conditions. Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports.
2013 has been a busy year for Iowa Public Radio's news team. Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with reporters and correspondents about some of the most meaningful and challenging stories they covered. It's a "reporter's notebook" edition of the show.
Here is a list of the full features heard on today's show: