Durrie Bouscaren


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

Ways To Connect

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:

January 10 - Undocumented Immigrants at University

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

The holiday season is always a busy time for Iowa food pantries, but federal cuts have led to an increased need this year. As Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports, they’re expecting even harder times ahead.

As workers pack a van destined for a food pantry in North Liberty, food reservoir director Amanda Pieper walks the aisles of the distribution center that supplies 89 food pantries in Eastern Iowa.

"You see a lot of empty shelves… It's a good problem and a bad problem to have. It's good that it’s moving, bad that it’s not coming in."

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

If a second federal sequester happens in January, the US military is anticipating another $52 billion in defense spending cuts. In Iowa, the National Guard is finding ways to save money by reducing the amount of work that is performed by contractors. We get more from Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren, in the third and final installment of our series on military contracts.         

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

Yesterday, as part of our 3-part series on defense contracting in Iowa, we introduced you to a Cedar Rapids manufacturer with just 12 employees. But it’s the industrial giants who tend to pull in the most contracts for the Department of Defense. When times get tough, many are finding profits overseas. In our second installment, Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren heads to Iowa’s largest defense contractor—Rockwell Collins.               

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

As the Department of Defense scales back military spending abroad, domestic arms manufacturers are seeing drastic changes in their revenues. For the first installment of this three part series, Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren profiles one of Iowa’s smallest defense contractors—the creator of a critical component for M-1 tanks.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

After first gaining popularity in New Orleans, the Turducken—that’s a chicken stuffed inside a duck inside a turkey-- has made its way onto some of the more adventurous Thanksgiving tables in Iowa. For two restaurant owners in Oxford, it’s a way to share the cuisine of a city they left years ago. Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports.    

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

A former energy company CEO joined the Republican pool of Senate hopefuls Tuesday with a week-long statewide announcement tour. 

During a stop in Cedar Rapids, Mark Jacobs' message focused on economic growth. He said his experience as CEO of Houston-based Reliant Energy will help him address gridlock in Washington.

Like Enron, Reliant was federally indicted for manipulating energy prices to create and profit from the California Electricity Crisis in 2000. Jacobs joined the company two years later.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

James Yee spent nearly a year as a military chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was appalled by the conditions he saw there, including what he describes as humiliating interrogation methods which he says often targeted prisoners' religion.

On his way home in 2003, Yee was detained by the U.S. military and accused of spying. He was held in solitary confinement for 76 days before ultimately being released, cleared of all charges, and honorably discharged.

Stephen Matthew Milligan / Wikimedia Commons

$81-million Bond Referendum approved for court services in Polk County

Iowa City bars will remain 21-only after 10 p.m. 

Cedar Rapids approves Local Option Sales Tax for road repair

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

Even on a slow night in downtown Iowa City, ID-checker Jake Park has a system.

“For everyone 21 or older, you get a wristband. 18, 19, 20, they get an X on their hand,” Park said, a senior at the University of Iowa. At ten o’clock, everyone without a wristband has to leave.

Park says there haven’t been too many issues with underage patrons staying late—a ticket is $300 for the first offense.

“Plus the cops always stop in around 9:50 anyways, and hang out in the back. So everyone’s like oh, (expletive) time to go!”

Lakota Group

Plans for developing a regional medical district in the center of Cedar Rapids are beginning to come together. As Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports, area hospitals hope that by joining together, they can compete with other cities. 

The MedQuarter in Cedar Rapids includes two large hospitals, smaller clinics, and nearby businesses. As a Self Supporting Municipal Improvement District, or SSMID, the group can levy taxes to improve the area.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.  

Iowa Department of Education

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Shawn Cornally / Iowa BIG

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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,”