BySophia Schillinger and Sabine Martin /IowaWatch and the Cedar Falls Tiger Hi-Line |
Guidelines for what’s safe to eat when it comes to the fish we catch vary in each state. Also, despite fish sampling by the states, knowing where to fish is hard because fish from only a few waterways where people fish are tested each year, an IowaWatch/CedarFalls Tiger Hi-Line/Science in the Media investigation showed.
Some students graduating from an Iowa college or university this month will have to pay off debts that could be close to $100,000. Other loans facing college students are far lower and a lot of students have avoided debt. But for many, taking out loans remains necessary in order to go to college, an IowaWatch College Media journalism project showed. “I don’t wanna’ be in debt, but I made the decision to come to school and I think for most students, when they make that decision, it’s kind of already married to the decision to take students loans as well,” Nick Hodges, finishing his senior year in communication studies and writing at Coe College, said. Hodges, 28, from Crawfordsville, Indiana, was one of several students interviewed at eight Iowa college campuses this spring for the IowaWatch project.
Small towns around Iowa have been fighting to support themselves as rural populations continue to decline, while state government has been investing more in larger cities where the population is growing.
Several Iowa school districts have taken on debt the last 17 years, with one district owing as much as $35,448 per student, to handle student enrollment increases but also repairs to aging buildings. The question they face is: how to manage that debt?
Normally, Story County soybean farmer Kevin Larson said, he would resolve a dispute with a neighbor privately. Instead, he went to the Iowa Pesticide Bureau in 2017, just like a lot of other Iowans did.
Public health researchers disagree on the impact fine silica dust has on the long-term health of residents living near silica sand mining communities like the tiny Mississippi River town of Clayton, which is in the Iowa county by the same name, and in southwest Wisconsin.
Workloads for eight state investigators who determine whether herbicides are applied properly in Iowa have more than doubled the past two years, with no plans in sight for adding staffers. The workload increase — from 110 misuse reports in the 2016 crop year to 249 in the 2018 crop year — coincides with the introduction by agrochemical companies of dicamba-based herbicides to kill weeds in farm fields. In spite of this, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Pesticide Bureau has not added staff investigators and completing cases is taking longer, spilling over into the next crop year. Cases taken on in the 2018 crop year, which ran from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept.
Many Iowans nearing retirement age are driving an increase in older workers who keep their job to cover high health care costs their life savings cannot cover. Story includes a podcast of an IowaWatch Connection radio report on the problem.
Problems the Iowa State Auditor’s office identified in a 2012 audit and subsequent reports and recommendations for investigating Iowa’s pesticide use violations still linger years later. The Iowa Legislature has not changed state law on some fees the state Department of Agriculture Land Stewardship Pesticide Bureau charges licensed pesticide distributors and applicators, an IowaWatch review of public records shows. In other instances, applicators do not take continuing education classes in the same year they apply. Explanations exist for some of the concerns. For example, applicators take continuing education after harvest and before the next spring’s planting season during what is called the crop year, which runs Oct.
A federal judge has struck down as unconstitutional a 2012 Iowa law that banned undercover recording at agricultural production facilities in the state, saying the law’s primary aim is curbing speech critical of practices at those facilities. IowaWatch was part of a friend of the court filing in this case.