Durrie Bouscaren


Durrie Bouscaren is a general assignment reporter, based in Des Moines. She covers breaking stories, economic news, and reports from the Statehouse during the legislative session. 

Bouscaren joined IPR in March of 2013 as a one-woman bureau in Cedar Rapids. Her passion for public radio began in high school, when she would listen to BBC World Service newscasts in the middle of the night. While attending Syracuse University, she reported and produced local news for member station WAER, and received a statewide Associated Press Broadcasters Association award for a report on Syracuse’s Southern Sudanese community. Bouscaren also covered Syracuse and small towns  throughout Central New York as a stringer for WRVO Public Media. Her work has aired on NPR's All Things Considered, WBEZ's Front and Center and KQED's The California Report

Bouscaren's favorite public radio program is Planet Money.


4:54 am
Tue October 22, 2013

As cities mull over bond ratings, debate gets ugly in Coralville

The Iowa City suburb has seen significant growth in recent years.
Dean Borg Iowa Public Radio

Most cities and towns are selling bonds to borrow money. But Iowa Public Radio’s Dean Borg  reports some Iowa cities have a big advantage in the cost of borrowing.    

Coralville’s spending on city development has conservative political groups up in arms, and at least one national organization has turned its sights to the November mayoral and city council elections. Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports. 

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5:01 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Farmers carry mixed feelings over wind energy transmission line

In O'Brien County, Jay Hofland has agreed to sell part of his farm to Clean Line for a converter station, which would become the beginning of a high voltage, direct current transmission line traversing the state.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

One of the companies banking on Iowa’s wind energy industry is Clean Line Energy Partners, a Houston-based operation with plans to build five large-scale high voltage transmission lines in the country. As Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports, one of those lines would traverse Iowa, and it starts in the northwest corner of the state. 

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3:51 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

In shutdown's aftermath, medical research could see delays

Dr. Sue O'Dorisio shows an image of a patient's brain after treatment with an imaging agent.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

Researchers operating on federal grants have welcomed the end of the partial government shutdown. As federal employees return to work, IPR’s Durrie Bouscaren considers some of the lasting implications for medical research in Iowa. 

At the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Doctor Sue O’Dorisio is working on a drug for children with brain cancer. She pulls up an MRI image from a young woman who participated in one of her clinical trials—a tumor sits at the base of her brain.

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4:59 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Budget cuts, uncertainty force residential care facility to close

Activities Director Rich Keenan goes through old photographs from the 32 years he's worked at the Abbe Center.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

One week before the Abbe Center’s scheduled closing, Brandie Anderson came to pack up a van with her mother’s belongings, destined for the nearby Penn Center.

“It was just nice to know she was here, I think this was the safest place for her. My mom just wasn’t a number or a resident, she was a person here,” Anderson said.  

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6:58 am
Wed September 25, 2013

State Education Report Finds Some Iowa Schools Falling Short

Credit Iowa Department of Education

As the Iowa Department of Education releases its annual State Report Card, officials say they should be graded differently.

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Science and Technology
6:18 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

University of Iowa researchers behind Voyager I's big announcement

University of Iowa's Bill Kurth shows graphs of data from Voyager after the NASA announcement.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio News

NASA has announced the Voyager I spacecraft, launched in 1977, has gone where no human-made vessel has gone before—interstellar space. And that discovery was made at the University of Iowa.

Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren caught up with the UI scientist who first realized Voyager had made it.

The frequencies showing that Voyager had left the outer reaches of the solar system were detected by a plasma wave instrument on board Voyager I, built at the University of Iowa in the 1970s. Research scientists including UI’s Bill Kurth regularly monitor the data.

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7:28 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Cedar Rapids becomes Iowa's largest Blue Zone city

Credit Blue Zones Project

After a six-month planning period, Cedar Rapids is kicking off the wellness initiative known as the Blue Zones Project. So far, Cedar Rapids is the largest Iowa community selected as a demonstration site for the program.

Blue Zones Director Mary Lawyer says the kickoff marks the beginning of a new phase.

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5:05 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Biomaterials to breathe new life into vacant Cryovac plant

The building sits at 1125 Wilson Ave. SW, and is assessed for $2,4325,633
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

A young company from upstate New York, that manufactures packaging materials with agricultural waste is moving into an empty facility in Cedar Rapids. Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports.

The old Cryovac building on the Southwest side of Cedar Rapids has been vacant for almost five years, ever since parent company Sealed Air closed the 250-person food packaging division. The announcement came  about six months after the 2008 flood.

But now, new life is coming into the building—in the form of fungus.

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8:38 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Civil rights pioneers share memories in Davenport

A rally in Davenport marked the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. 5th District Alderman Sheilia Burrage sits on the far right.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

In August of 1963, about two-thousand Iowans who couldn’t make it to the March on Washington gathered in Davenport. Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports from city that became a hub for the Civil Rights Movement in Iowa.

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4:28 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Wasendorf's auditor barred from practice

Russell Wasendorf Sr., former CEO of Peregrine Financial Group, outside PFG's now-closed offices in rural Cedar Falls.
courtesy photo

The federal commission that regulates the U.S. futures trading industry has permanently barred the accountant who audited Russell Wasendorf’s Peregrine Financial Group in Cedar Falls and did not discover his fraud scheme. Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports.

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10:19 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Art carries meaning for new Cedar Rapids ampitheatre

Artist Tom Latka surveys the piece, "Crystal Impressions." His wife and co-designer, Jean, says they built the piece to signify the city's transition after the 2008 flood.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

"Crystal Impressions" will stand at the entrance to the new Cedar Rapids amphitheater along the Cedar River. The floodable, concrete amphitheater incorporates earthen berms and flood walls to protect some of the city's west side.

Husband-and-wife duo Tom and Jean Latka created the piece in their Pueblo, Colorado studio.

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4:48 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Cedar Rapids job fair focuses on veterans

Employers chat at the "Hiring our Heroes" job fair in Cedar Rapids.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

Nationally, unemployment rates for veterans are in decline, but the highest rates of joblessness are suffered by soldiers most recently returned from deployment.

Back home, finding a job can be a challenge--whether it be finding the right words for a resume, or getting re-certified for the civilian equivalent of a military job.

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5:43 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Congolese refugee community to grow in Iowa

Nkingi Boaz (on left) sings with a choir at the 9th Annual Gatumba Massacre Memorial in Des Moines.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

Human rights groups are expecting thousands of refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to soon be resettled in the United States. Years of war and ethnically-motivated violence have led to a humanitarian crisis, forcing hundreds of thousands to leave their homes.

Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren checks in with a group of Congolese that arrived in Iowa years ago.

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5:30 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Big Ideas Group ties innovation, community in Cedar Rapids

Student McKenna Cole stands with poplar trees used in her experiment to treat wastewater.
Shawn Cornally Big Ideas Group

A small group of teachers in Cedar Rapids is trying a new way to inspire students to learn, by getting them out of the classroom and working on projects with community mentors. As Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports, the Big Ideas Group is wrapping up a summer pilot program, and will become an option for students across the district this Fall.

To get an idea of how this works, take 12th grader McKenna Cole, who—at a weekly meeting, explains to her fellow students why she’s working with a wastewater treatment plant to test how poplar trees can filter water.

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12:11 am
Tue July 16, 2013

DOMA ruling may have come too late, for Sioux City couple

Brian Mathers calls his husband in Mexico from his living room in Sioux City. Brian and Isidro have been separated for more than a year by immigration laws that did not recognize their marriage.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio/NPR

Now that the Supreme Court has struck down a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, same sex couples can apply for their foreign-born spouses  to join them in the United States. It’s estimated there are more than 28,500 gay and lesbian binational couples in the country. For years, many have been separated by immigration laws that didn’t recognize their marriage.

Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
3:55 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

After DOMA Ruling, Binational Gay Couples Face New Issues

Brian Mathers calls his husband, Isidro, in Mexico from his living room in Sioux City, Iowa. Brian and Isidro have been separated for more than a year by immigration laws that did not recognize their marriage.
Durrie Bouscaren NPR

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 5:13 pm

Now that the Supreme Court struck down a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, same-sex couples can apply for their foreign-born husbands, wives and fiancees to join them in the United States.

There are an estimated 28,000 gay and lesbian binational couples in the country, and for years many have been separated by immigration laws that didn't recognize their marriage.

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6:00 am
Fri June 28, 2013

The Geese of Cedar Rapids: A Love Story

Every year, parks employees round up hundreds of Canada Geese in Cedar Rapids. But no matter how far they're taken, they always seem to come back.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

In Cedar Rapids, Canada geese are a constant sight in parks, rivers, and pretty much everywhere else. For years the city has tried to control the waterfowl, most recently by implementing a no-feeding ordinance in public parks. Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports from the front lines.

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3:42 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Understanding Iowa's restructuring plan for victims of domestic violence

A map divides Iowa into 6 regions, each with designated service providers.
Iowa Attorney General's Crime Victim Assistance Division

Doing more with less has been the operating theme for many social service providers experiencing federal budget cuts. In Iowa, organizations that help victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault are seeing a major overhaul of how they provide their services; the changes will begin to go into effect July 1. Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports.

27-year-old Shay clearly remembers the time she woke her son up at 5-am, packed what she could, and boarded a bus in Chicago, destined for Cedar Rapids.

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9:39 am
Wed June 12, 2013

5 years later, Iowans learning to live with floods

Donnarae MacCann stands by a wall of sandbags surrounding her home on Normandy Drive, in Iowa City.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

It has been five years since the floods of 2008. Now, a week after another round of flooding in Eastern Iowa, IPR’s Durrie Bouscaren looks at how many Iowans are adapting to changing times.

More than a thousand runners participated in “Run the Flood,” an annual race through Cedar Rapids to commemorate the anniversary of a flood that would change the landscape of many Iowa cities and towns. Carmen Covington says she participates every year.

“It was shocking,” Covington said. “It was sad to see everything I had known my entire life to be destroyed under so much water,”

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12:52 am
Sat June 8, 2013

Body found, suspected to be that of Kathlynn Shepard

Kathlynn Shepard, in a 2012 school photo.
Credit LifeTouch, via the Dayton Leader

A body found in the Des Moines River is suspected to be that of abducted 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard, according to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. An autopsy will be conducted this morning to confirm identification.

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1:12 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

MidAmerican Energy concludes feasibility study; says no new plant for Iowa

Credit John Marshall / Flikr

MidAmerican Energy says it will not build a nuclear power plant in Iowa, based on results of a ratepayer-funded feasibility study completed months earlier than expected.  

Based on results of the study, MidAmerican Energy announced it would not pursue building a large-scale power plant until nearer the end of the decade; it will decide then what kind of plant will be built.

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10:30 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Spring 2013 Iowa Floods

Water gushes out of the Coralville Reservoir and into the Iowa River which is now at a moderate flood stage 24.74 feet. Major flood stage is at 25 feet. The record flood level for the Iowa River in Iowa City was set in 2008 at 31.53 feet.
Credit Photo by Dean Borg



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7:16 am
Wed May 29, 2013

University of Iowa prepping for floods

Two students walk up to Mayflower Residence Hall Tuesday evening.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

With the severity of upcoming rainfall uncertain, the University of Iowa is taking some of the most significant measures since 2008 to protect the campus against potential flooding.

Personnel at the University of Iowa are sandbagging and constructing temporary flood barriers around some campus buildings. And 84 students will need to move out of Mayflower Residence Hall, the same dormitory that was flooded in 2008.

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12:00 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Odd jobs, student loans, and the Class of 2013

Credit JR Erspamer / Flikr

Days before Commencement at the University of Iowa, the music school’s Brass Quintet practices an old favorite.

From graduation ceremony to graduation ceremony, the tune never changes. But what is changing, is how graduates are mapping their careers afterward. Tuba player and PhD candidate Blaine Cunningham explains.

“Being a musician, sometimes we need to be creative with our jobs. I play with an orchestra, I teach at a couple colleges, I’m a freelance musician so I play a lot of gigs in the community, I teach private lessons,” he says.

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6:40 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Dayton pulls together in search for Kathlynn Shepard

12-year-old Dezirea Hughes, who escaped the abduction and alerted authorities, sits with her family.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

The search for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard in northern central Iowa has gripped the small community of Dayton as investigations into the abduction continue. The community has rallied together. While some help with the search, others are focused on helping each other cope.

Fewer than one thousand people live here in rural Dayton, but the population swelled as volunteers poured in to help search for the 15-year-old abducted as she walked home from the bus stop on Monday.  

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5:50 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Update: Blood Evidence Uncovered in Dayton

15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard, in a 2012 school portrait.
Credit LifeTouch, via the Dayton Leader

Investigators in Dayton say blood evidence found in a hog confinement has tested positive as belonging to Kathlynn Shepard. The 15-year-old has been missing since she and another teen were abducted Monday—the younger girl escaped.

The blood was found at the hog confinement where the girls were taken following their abduction, and on the body of abductor Michael Klunder. An autopsy on Klunder ruled his death a suicide by hanging.

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11:38 am
Thu May 23, 2013

12-year-old who escaped Dayton abduction speaks out

12-year-old Dezirea Hughes sits with her family in a friend's living room.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

7-th grader Dezirea Hughes of Dayton has identified herself as the 12-year-old who escaped an abduction Monday afternoon as she and her friend, Kathlynn Shepard, walked home from the bus stop. Shepard is still missing, and search crews continue to look for her in the surrounding area.

With her daughter back, Hughes’ mother, Jeanette Andrews, says life in the small community of Dayton will change.

"I didn’t believe the phone call. I thought I heard her say a man took me, I wasn’t sure if that’s what I really heard."

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
8:59 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Dayton community holds vigil for missing teen

Members of the Dayton community in north-central Iowa gathered Wednesday evening for a vigil in honor of 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard, who is still missing.
Credit Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

Investigators continue to search the area surrounding Dayton, Iowa for Kathlynn Shepard, a teenager abducted earlier this week as she walked home from the bus stop.  A twelve-year-old who was taken with her escaped shortly after the kidnapping and is, except for scratches on her arms and legs, unharmed. 

The events have rocked Dayton, a small town of fewer than 1,000 residents. A local church held a vigil last night for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard, who has been missing since Monday afternoon.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
8:04 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Search continues for missing Iowa teen Kathlynn Shepard

Kathlynn Shepard, 15, has been missing since Monday.

State troopers narrowed their search Wednesday morning for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard. She was abducted Monday while walking home from the bus stop in Dayton, Iowa with a younger girl who escaped soon afterwards. Their suspected abductor was found dead later that day. Despite the efforts search party of more than 300 members of law enforcement and volunteers from the area, Shepard has not been found.

Special Agent Bill Keitzman with the Iowa DCI says Wednesday’s search focuses on a smaller area.

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Arts and Culture
7:33 am
Sat May 18, 2013

Madeleine Albright visits Cedar Rapids

Madeleine Albright tells the story of her swearing-in ceremony to become the first female secretary of state.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

As she led reporters around displays of the pins she wore during her career, it was as if Madeleine Albright were introducing old friends at a family reunion.

With each pin came a memory for the former Secretary of State; crucial diplomatic decisions, casual moments in the White House, and tense meetings with international heads of state… including Kim Jong-Il. 

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