Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.
Year in Review: Iowa’s most overlooked stories
They are the stories that flew under the radar, that the mainstream media missed. They are stories that should have garnered headlines across the state, the issues that deserved more attention, and action, than they received.
There is no question that 2009 was an historic year for the Hawkeye State. From the Iowa Supreme Court decision in April legalizing same-sex marriage to Iowa’s U.S. senators becoming instrumental in the health care reform debate that raged in the nation’s capital to the Republicans with 2012 dreams looking for some caucus karma, there was no shortage of big stories in 2009.
But this isn’t about those stories. Quite the opposite, actually. This is about the stories that, for one reason or another, fell through the cracks, at least in Iowa. And while it’s far from an exhaustive list, it does show why a wide variety of media voices is important. More eyes on the hunt for the overlooked stories helps ensure they don’t remain overlooked forever.
Here are a few of Iowa’s most overlooked and under reported stories of 2009, as reported by The Iowa Independent.
Over the course of 2009, The Iowa Independent meticulously laid out the problems with Iowa’s rules governing coal ash, eventually leading to the state’s largest public universities deciding to implement groundwater testing at the coal ash disposal site they share.
Driving across a rural Iowa highway, anti-abortion signs are almost as common a sight as farmers spraying crops. Now there is a growing body of evidence linking the substances sprayed on fields to human reproductive health issues, including unintended abortions.
The psychological attachment farm families feel for their land and livestock is one of the lessons of the 1980s farm crisis — a time when farmer suicides and rural violence made front page news across the nation. Back then, Iowa and Nebraska, two states severely impacted by the farm crisis, developed crisis hotlines designed specifically to serve the needs of agricultural workers. Today, in the wake of natural disasters and in the midst of economic uncertainty, the hotlines are experiencing a spike in activity, likely helping to prevent more tragedies.
Research shows that minority homeowners in Des Moines are three times as likely to receive high-cost subprime mortgage loans from Wells Fargo & Co. as white homeowners.
More than 25 percent of funds raised by Rep. Tom Latham’s political action committee during the 2008 election cycle paid for trips to resorts around the country, including golf outings in West Virginia and a weekend getaway to Atlantic City, N.J.
A two-year study found that the Hawkeye State’s rural private drinking water wells “have several contaminant problems, some long-standing and some emerging.”And while nitrate and bacteria detections were expected despite efforts to address such contamination, the presence of arsenic was potentially worrisome.