Durrie Bouscaren

Reporter

Durrie Bouscaren was a general assignment reporter with Iowa Public Radio from March 2013 through July 2014.

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Tom Vance / Central Iowa Shelter & Services

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.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

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? 

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio News

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.

Peter Eyerhalde / Iowa State University

Lead shot used by deer hunters in the Upper Midwest is getting into the digestive tracts of bald eagles, according to a two-year study by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Researchers found 36 percent of leftover deer carcasses in a four-state national wildlife refuge contained lead fragments, which scavenging eagles use as a food source. 

Candidate Profile: Robert Cramer

May 27, 2014

Read this candidate profile of 3rd District Candidate Robert Cramer. He was interviewed as part of IPR's 2014 Primary Voter Guide series.

Iowa GOP

Read this candidate profile of 3rd District Candidate Brad Zaun.  He was interviewed as part of IPR's 2014 Primary Voter Guide series.

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.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

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.         

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

On a Saturday morning in Mason City, city officials give a group tour of eight homes once flooded in 2008, in the hopes that someone will come to buy one. and move it out of the floodplain.

It can cost thousands of dollars to pay a contractor to move a two-story, historic house, and turnout is minimal. But a handful of former residents show up to walk through their homes one last time.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

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.

City of West Des Moines

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.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

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.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

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. 

Joyce Russell / Iowa Public Radio

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.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

Emergency Rooms are often the catch-all of the medical world, where patients can receive care at any hour, regardless of their ability to pay.

But physicians and hospital administrators say it’s an expensive and disjointed way for people to receive care, particularly when patients visit the ER multiple times a year.

A pilot program to manage care for ER ‘super users’ in Cedar Rapids is now in its third year—and administrators say it saves St. Luke’s Hospital about a million dollars annually.

Coordinating Care for Multiple Diagnoses

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

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.  

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad / Photo by John Pemble

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.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

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."

Nick Oza / The Arizona Republic

In the emergency room, the last thing you want to think about is what your bill is going to look like. But, weeks later you will receive a bill in the mail; and you might experience some sticker shock.

Today on River to River, we seek to answer your hospital billing questions. Questions like: why does an aspirin cost upwards of $15, when I can get a generic bottle at the drug store at 2 cents a pop?

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

No matter how you slice it, medical care is expensive—especially in an emergency.

Martha Norbeck shuffles through paperwork as she looks back over her itemized hospital bill from a bike accident five months ago.

“Just to have the guy come to the ER to do my stitches was $460, the six stitches was $846… so that was $140 a stitch or something?” Norbeck muses. 

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A young man who came to Iowa in 1999 as a refugee from South Sudan, has been trapped in his home country since violence broke out in December. 

As a teenager, Joseph Yassin immigrated to Des Moines with his family, all war refugees from South Sudan.

Soon after he graduated from Iowa State University in 2011, Yassin returned to the newly independent country to work for an international development agency.

Data provided by the Office of State Court Administration, Des Moines

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.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

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.  

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

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.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

  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.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

Construction on the University of Iowa campus has uncovered the foundations of homes dating back to Iowa City’s earliest settlers.

Archeologists are now racing against the clock to dig out what they can at the Hubbard Park site, as Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports. 

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

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. 

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

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.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

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.  

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