Archive for  January 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.

Monte Morris returned to Iowa as a member of the NBA G-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The Vipers played the Iowa Wolves Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Steve Prohm and the Cyclones showed up to support the former Iowa State star.

Morris scored 21 points, had 7 rebounds, and 6 assists as his Vipers beat the Wolves, 124-114.

Wes Washpun, former Panther, had 12 points for Iowa.

RENWICK, Iowa  —  The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department says they found an abducted Nebraska woman thanks to social media.

The Sheriff’s Department says they were called around 2:30 am from the family of a woman they say had been abducted from Fremont, Nebraska.  The woman had used social media accounts to reach out for help.  Authorities were able to use the information in those posts to find the woman at an address in Renwick.  She told authorities she had managed to escape her captor.

The investigation lead police to file a Kidnapping 3rd Degree charge against 36-year-old Valentin Velez of LaVista, Nebraska.  He remains in custody in the Humboldt County Jail.

AMES, Iowa  —  “So, we’ve developed these graphene-based water sensors at Iowa State University,” said Michael Castellano, a professor of Agronomy at ISU. “They fit on a leaf, put them right on the leaf of a corn plant, and it tells you how much water is leaving the leaf. It gives you the vapor right at the leaf.”

Castellano has equity and managing interests in a start-up company EngeniousAg that sells sensors through an exclusive license from ISU.

“We’re creating wearable plant sensors that actually go on the plant, go into the plant, go into the soil, and go in the environment, as well, to make continuous or instantaneous measurements,” said Castellano.

The sensors are just like wearable human health sensors, but for plants. The sensors are brand new and they’re just becoming available commercially. Castellano says they will revolutionize the world of agriculture.

“This is going to have a tremendous impact on agriculture, because measurements that farmers used to take, mail to service labs, and wait for a week for results, now they can have the results in their hand instantaneously whenever they want,” said Castellano.

It’s all done through a smartphone.

“As you’ll notice, there’s no digital interface on the box the sensors hook up to,” said Castellano. “It hooks up through Bluetooth to your smartphone. Your smartphone has an app and it gives you all the data. It records the data automatically for your future use. You never lose it.”

There are a variety of different sensors that have been developed, and they are not expensive; some cost as little as $1 a piece.

EngeniousAg will have a booth next week at the Iowa Power Farming Show, Tuesday through Thursday, taking orders for the sensors.

IOWA  —  The family of former Slipknot member Paul Gray has reached an out of court settlement over his death.

Gray died of a drug overdose in 2010. Two years later, Polk County prosecutors charged Gray’s doctor with involuntary manslaughter. They said Dr. Daniel Baldi over-prescribed pain medication to the known drug user. None of the drugs Baldi prescribed contributed to Gray’s death, and he was acquitted of all charges.

The civil lawsuit continued, however, and was scheduled to go to trial next week. According to the Des Moines Register, the two sides reached a settlement over the weekend ending the lawsuit. Details of the settlement were not released.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa  —  Multiple fire crews worked to put out flames at a West Des Moines apartment complex on Monday.

At around 2:11 p.m., firefighters responded to the Olde English Village apartments located in the 1200 block of Office Park Road. Smoke and flames from the three-alarm fire could be seen from miles away.

Two dozen apartment units from two buildings had to be evacuated as flames destroyed the attic of one building.

No injuries were reported, but the cause of the fire is still unknown.

WAUKEE, Iowa  —  A settlement of almost $1 million has been reached between the Waukee School district and its former human resources director.

Terry Welker is one of three former employees who filed lawsuits against the district alleging they were wrongfully terminated for reporting the conduct of district CEO Eric Rose. Rose has admitted to using school property for private use and instructing district employees to pick up and drop off equipment at his house while on the clock. A criminal investigation found Rose could face charges, but the Dallas County Attorney decided against filing charges.

Welker’s job was eliminated in July when the district faced budget cuts.

The Des Moines Register reports the $985,000 settlement was unanimously approved by the board during a meeting on Monday night. The settlement includes four payments, with just over $205,000 going to Welker for payroll and compensatory damages.

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  Until several years ago, skimmers weren’t a big topic of conversation, but today it seems as if they can be found everywhere.

Thieves hook up these devices to ATMs or other places where devices normally scan debit cards. Then, information–and eventually cash–can be stolen. The process is complicated and high-tech, but critics say the punishment has not been strong enough to stop this. Now, there’s an effort to change that.

Patrick Dix is the Vice President of Public Relations from the SHAZAM Network, and he sat down with Political Director Dave Price to talk about plans to prevent against the theft.

INDIANOLA, Iowa  —  At the center of the government shutdown are Dreamers–people brought into America by their immigrant parents.

DACA is the program that allows them to stay in the U.S., but now it’s on the chopping block. Simpson College senior Cecilia Martinez and her friend Natalia Olivas are concerned when they think about the future.

“I sit there and I run thousands of scenarios through my head of what could happen if I were to end up back in Mexico. I have family there, yes, but I have no memories of that place, I have no memories of what life is like there,” Martinez said.

Martinez and Olivas both came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico with their parents. If Congress ends DACA, though, Martinez could get deported and not have the opportunity to finish the education she has dreamed of for years.

“If DACA is taken away and I am not able to renew or even apply for any other type of documentation, my social security will be taken away, so everything that comes with that like an ID, driver’s license, any taxes that I’m paying, you know, I can’t contribute anymore,” Martinez said.

Martinez said her parents have been working most of their lives to become U.S. citizens.

“It has taken over 20 years for them to even be able to get to that point, and they’ve been working and they’ve been applying since we got here. So it’s not like we’ve just been sitting around waiting for some handout, it has just been this is the situation we are in,” Martinez said.

Olivas says most people flee their home county to escape poverty and seek a better life in America.

“I’m just absolutely heartbroken. These are people that have been part of this country, as I have, I, too, feel like an American even though I wasn’t born here,” Olivas said.

But Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King has made it clear he believes people like Martinez, who aren’t documented, shouldn’t stay. King tweeted, “Democrats in #SchumerShutdown mode are punishing the military & have shut down the government in a foolish effort to force amnesty for illegals at the expense of Americans.”

It’s hurtful for these two women fighting for their American dream.

“Make sure that your heart is in the right place when you disagree, because it usually isn’t,” said Olivas.

Nearly 700,000 Dreamers currently exist nationwide, and they are waiting in limbo for Congress to decide on the future of DACA.