The Iowa Journal in 2010 – what we’ve covered so far

The first 3 months of 2010 have been good ones at The Iowa Journal.

What have we covered on your statewide network?

  • Crime Victims
  • Nature Heritage discussion
  • Iowa Vision and future
  • Tax Credits
  • Unemployment
  • Flood Potential
  • Refugees/Immigrants
  • Mental Health
  • Healthcare – Obama
  • Innovations in Education

Interested? Click on the TIJ and the show # for a link to the show page on IPTV.org.

Below is a longer look at each topic.

Crime Victims TIJ #315 aired on 1.7.10.  Produced by Judy Blank. The criminal court system deals with those who commit a crime. Who helps the crime victims? On the next Iowa Journal, a look at crime victim’s services and the victim justice rights movement in Iowa.

Each year, thousands of Iowans are “branded” by a description they never sought – or never thought they would receive. They also learned first hand, the ins and outs of a judicial system that they previously had not experienced.

There is also a state program that pays compensation to victims who incurred medical expenses or loss of income due to a crime. The costs and challenges are many, as seen in a visit with a central Iowa woman about a violent domestic assault.

Nature Heritage discussion TIJ #316 aired 1.14.10.  Sara Frasher was the producer. TIJ explores Iowa’s role in the preservation and conservation of the state’s and the nation’s natural heritage.

On this edition we take a look back to October 2009 with an encore presentation of a thought-provoking discussion about Iowa’s ecology.  We invited some people with expertise and experience to join us and asked them how Iowa can maintain and protect the natural world we inherited, a world that sustains us all.

Vision for Iowa TIJ #317 originally aired 1.28.10. Judy Blank and Paul Yeager worked on this show. Iowa faces recession, unemployment and out-migration of young people. What does the future hold for those who stay in the state?

With state revenue projections down and unemployment up Iowa’s elected officials and government leaders are trying to find ways to sustain necessary state services that Iowans depend upon. The governor has ordered more than one budget cut and asked employees to take days off without pay.

Still looking for solutions, the General Assembly’s Web site has posed a question to the public.  What are your suggestions for improving state government?  Since February of 2009 more than 500 have responded.  So, just what solutions can come from the private sector?  We asked four Iowans their vision for Iowa’s future, how to overcome challenging socioeconomic concerns and who can help harness the state’s power.

Tax Credits TIJ #318 aired 2.4.10. Nancy Crowfoot produced the show. Governor Culver has called for major reforms in Iowa’s tax credits. How will any changes affect Iowa’s business climate? And how do such incentives affect the state budget and the ability to pay for the services Iowans depend upon?

On October 28th, a group of international filmmakers filed a lawsuit against the Iowa Department of Economic Development.  The filmmakers had to postpone making a movie in Iowa because the state’s film tax-credit program has been put on hold. So once again, the state’s most visible and recent effort to prime the pump and attract a new business and jobs ran into problems. Encouraging private business while still raising enough revenue to take care of the public’s business is a tricky balancing act.

Unemployment TIJ #319 originated 2.11.10 and was produced by Paul Yeager. This show looks at those who are unemployed and underemployed in Iowa. What services and support are there for them?

While economists may say the recession is over, those still looking for work may disagree. In January, national unemployment stood at just under 10 percent… a slight dip from the previous month…. while in Iowa the latest unemployment figures from December put the percentage of unemployed in this state at 6 point 6 percent. But the numbers can be misleading.

In one Iowa county, as many as one out of every nine people over the age of 16,  or 11 point 1 percent of the residents are currently looking for a job. Losing one’s job creates not only a financial strain on any family but also an emotional one. We visited with a family who is living the day-to-day live without an income and what is next for that family. Also, another unemployed woman who is taking this opportunity to work for herself.

Flood Potential TIJ #320 Airdate: 2.18.10 as produced by Nancy Crowfoot. The Iowa Journal looks at the potential for 2010 floods similar to those of 2008.

Much of Iowa has seen excessive amounts of snowfall this winter– with the western part of the state at twice as much and the northwest corner about three times as much snow as usual.
The storms have nearly busted the snow-removal budgets of many communities.  And recovering from storm damage — from downed trees and power lines to collapsed rooftops – is estimated to cost millions of dollars statewide.
To help with storm recovery costs, Governor Chet Culver has asked President Obama to declare 27 Iowa counties federal disaster areas.  This aid is sought as Iowans still face more winter to come.

And with the current and future snow expected – there are concerns by many that when the snow of 2010 melts, they may have to relive the “floods of 2008”.

Refugees/Immigrants TIJ #321 Originated: 2.25.10. Producer: Judy Blank. Critical programs that brought some 30,000 refugees to Iowa over the past 35 years are ending. The Iowa Journal examines changes to refugee services, what that means to the state, the people who live here and those wanting to come.

In the last year’s time, more than 900 refugees have resettled in Iowa.  But the flow of new arrivals will soon slow as three Iowa agencies offering refugee services will reduce or eliminate those services.

This would end an era where Iowa stood out nationally in its commitment to helping refugees that dates back to 1975. That was the year when Governor Robert Ray established a task force to help resettle more than 1,000 refugees from Southeast Asia, following the Vietnam War. In the past 35 years some 30,000 refugees have been resettled in Iowa.

Since then, refugees from many countries have made Iowa their new home.  In recent years, according to the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services, the majority resettling here are Burmese, Bhutanese, Somali, Eritrean and Iraqi.
Our feature included a visit with a group of Iraqis and their struggles to settle in and one way they cope is through music.

Mental Health TIJ #322 Air date: 3.4.10. Producer: Nancy Crowfoot. Is there enough support in communities and from the state to help those living with mental illness?

Attention to mental illness in Iowa has focused on a recent rural Iowa murder trial where the defendant pled “not guilty by reason of insanity.”

But one high-profile criminal trial does not represent the scope of mental illness, or the diverse diagnoses that the National Institute of Mental Health say affects an estimated 13 million American adults — or approximately 1 in 17.

In Iowa, a minority are cared for in the four state mental health institutions.  Most are treated in their own community where experts say in most cases, is better for the individual and more economical for counties and the state.   A case in point can be seen in Fort Dodge.


This show also included a look at Ames High School basketball standout Harrison Barnes.

Healthcare TIJ #001 Airdate: 3.25.10. The Iowa Journal looks into how the new health care law will affect Iowans.

While there are still a lot of politics to be debated on health care reforms, the Iowa Journal wanted to move on to exactly what this new law will do for individual Iowans. This followed the coverage of President Obama’s speech in Iowa City earlier in the day.

Innovations in Education TIJ #323 Airdate: 4.1.10 as produced by Paul Yeager. Several Iowa schools are attempting to be innovative in their approaches to education. The Iowa Journal looks at two efforts going on now in Iowa.

In a month’s time most of the major headlines with the word “school” or education” in them, have not shed the system in good light.

For example, the Iowa Association of School Boards, which provides advice to Iowa school boards on things like finance and oversight, fired its executive director after she allegedly raised her own salary from $210,000 to $367,000.

The same day as that firing, the Iowa Department of Education released numbers showing an increase in the state high school drop-out rate to 48-hundred. Leading the state in drop-outs were the Ottumwa and Davenport school districts.

Getting kids to stay in school and inspiring them to actually like academics is not easy. But several school districts have found innovative ways to engage kids and prepare them for the future.

This feature was a look at the efforts in Sigourney and Van Meter.

Where else are you going to get coverage on topics like this?
Please remember your public television network covering issues important to all Iowans in all 99 counties.

What is coming up? Thanks for asking, Journal Monkey. Music in education, Beer, Food, Inc, childhood obesity, the Dalai Lama, economic roundtables, republicans debating to just name a few.

See you Thursday at 8p, Friday at 630p or on IPTV.org/IowaJournal

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