Archive for  January 26th 2018

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FORT MADISON, Iowa- The Sheaffer Pen Museum has opened a new collection of pens for public viewing that is considered rare, and unique. The museum excepted a gift of 160 Targa model pens, made in Fort Madison by the Sheaffer Pen Company.

The Sheaffer Pen plant closed in 2008, another company now uses that building. In 2011 the Sheaffer Pen Museum opened in downtown Ft. Madison. The Museum displays collections of pens made by Sheaffer, as well as machines and other displays from the plant.

“The company was inaugurated May the 16th in 1913, said Judy Burgin, Board Member of the Sheaffer Pen Museum. “Prior to that W.A. Sheaffer was a jeweler, he bought a jewelry store here in town, in it’s backroom he thought there had to be a better way to produce a pen.”

While the plant closed in 2008, many new for years, the end was coming. Burgin said the cause of the closure was no mystery.

“Primarily would be the fact that people are not writing like they used to write,” said Burgin. “They’re using their iPad, computers, their phones, even those of us who are older or doing that now.”

In December the Sheaffer Museum accepted a special collection of 160 Targa Pens, made by Sheaffer. Pen collector Bill Sexauer, who lives in Washington State donated the collection to the museum.

“He was Mr. Targa himself,” said Burgin. “Over a period of time he amassed this collection, he made a point you would like to donate this collection to the Sheaffer pen Museum.”

Schaefer was like working for your family it was a wonderful place to work,” said Bernie McCauley. “I had opportunities, I traveled all over the world for Schaefer whether it be Europe, South America, Asia, I had wonderful experiences and both personal and educational.”

“It’s a history of Fort Madison and the amazing impact of the Sheaffer Family had on Fort Madison and on the economy,” said Burgin.

If you would like information about the Sheaffer Pen Museum, check out their Facebook Page.



DES MOINES, Iowa — There’s a problem at the Iowa State Capitol,  “Simply put this is a spending problem,” said Republican State Senator Charles Schneider.  What Senator Schneider says was once a $927 million surplus at the end of fiscal year 2013, has run dry.  It has forced the Senate Appropriations Committee to discuss a bill proposing cuts of $52 million in spending before the end of this fiscal year in July.  “That’s not political spin that’s just math and at the end of the day tax payers expect us to balance the budget,” Schneider said.  The discussion seemed very political as yes votes to pass it to the Senate floor came from all thirteen republicans with all eight Senate democrats voting no.  The bill included $19 million in cuts to the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.  It also includes nearly $10 million in cuts to the Department of Human Services despite hefty mid-year cuts from the same organizations a year ago.  Democrats like Senator Nate Boulton are fed up.  “The real problem, tax credit exemptions and giveaways to large corporations have over extended Iowa’s budget and now we are cutting things we value most as Iowans to make ends meet. That is not going to deliver Iowa’s future,” said Boulton.

No cuts will be made to K-12 education or the state medicaid.  Iowa State Patrol troopers are protected but democrats are worried that these cuts offer little direction and leave Iowans vulnerable with nothing else off limits.  Boulton said, “Last year children lost access to hearing aids because of the cuts in public health, yet we do not see any protections for anything here.  So if we go through the process we have to know what it means, we have to know what these cuts mean before passing it along.”

While Governor Kim Reynolds proposed a $35 million spending cut Senator Schneider and those in favor say the $52 million allows a buffer that will prevent another chopping block down the road.  “When revenues come in lower than what were originally projected we are required to make cuts and just like any family would sit and think about their spending if there were a job loss, we have to take that same approach as legislators,” said Schneider.

Despite the large cuts slated for DHS, Senator Schneider said it should not impact child protective services where workers visit homes to make child welfare checks.  The bill now moves to the Senate where it could be voted on early next week.