Archive for  May 2019

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Wet weather is making things interesting for a Des Moines muralist.

Ben Schuh is the man behind the “Greater Des Moines” mural on the corner of 5th Street and Locust Street. The project’s finish date is just over a month away, but all this rain is forcing Schuh to get creative with his timeline.

“Anytime I work on an outdoor project I try to assess the weather,” Schuh said. “This particular project has to be done by June 20th so everything is critical in terms of planning. The initial transfer, that you see behind me, got done [Friday] night because weather did cooperate. [Saturday] we’re not painting because it’s about to start raining, but it’s one of those things. Mother Nature is going to be there and it’s how you approach it, and whether or not it gives you a hurdle is up to you.”

Schuh worked until 1 a.m. Friday night to finish his first sketch on the building’s wall, ensuring the paint would be dried and cured before rain hit the metro once again.

He estimates the mural will take over 130 hours to officially complete. Schuh is also the mastermind behind the Exile Brewery Mural and says this one is five times the size. It’s big reveal on June 20th is a birthday present for the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines.

After months of planning, Schuh released a preview of the mural on Instagram this week.

 

“Every public art project in Des Moines, in my opinion, has the ability to connect people with art that might not otherwise have access to it. For me, the exciting part about this is going to be the proximity to residents. There is a neighborhood building right here next door and I’ve been talking to residents and making it clear that this is their project as well,” Schuh said. “I think the biggest thing is sometimes people might look at something and think ‘well there’s just another piece of artwork,’ but if they look at it and think ‘there’s another piece of artwork for me, I think that’s something that Des Moines does really well.”

Schuh says the Papa John Sculpture Park is one of his biggest inspirations. This mural will be focused on Des Moines and some of the projects that the Community Foundation has impacted.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Heritage Carousel opened for the season in Des Moines’ Union Park.

The Heritage Carousel has been a staple in Union Park for 21 years.

One of the most nostalgic things about the carousel is the price. It is the same now as it was 21 years ago — it only costs 50 cents for a child to ride. Rides are just a dollar for adults.

“It’s a blast. I recognize kids from year to year. There are new kids, kids who have had their birthday party. It’s almost as fun to watch the adults come and ride,” said Jackie Cacciatore, executive director of the Heritage Carousel Foundation.

It also has a new sales counter to better display their goods.

The carousel will be open all summer each day except Monday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Friday was a soggy move out day for freshmen students at Drake University.

“We just got soaked while moving everything out. We live on the fourth floor, so we were walking a long time on the cat walk,” student Becca Dwyer said.

It was either move in the rain or wait for it to stop. Those who waited were sent into a mad dash. The rain stopped around 1 p.m. with an official move out deadline at 3:45 p.m.

Some only had a short time to pull off all the work.

“It made it a little interesting. We were getting a late start. Seems like we have a lot more moving out than when we moved in,” parent Amy Halleran said.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Multiple lightning strikes overnight kept firefighters busy.

At 4th Street and Seneca Avenue in Des Moines lightning hit a “no parking” sign Thursday night. It ruptured a natural gas line and ignited a nearby tree.

The gas fed the fire, making it impossible to put out until MidAmerican Energy could shut off the gas line.

Lightning is also blamed for a fire at an apartment building in the Sherman Hill neighborhood.

Firefighters say the strike hit the second floor and started two different apartments on fire.

“It was scary. We didn’t necessarily see flames shooting out of windows but in that second window there you could see that there was a gentleman in the room while the firefighters were in the other room,” neighbor Liz Johnson said. “We didn’t see any flames coming out of the building until we saw firefighters come through the rooms and break open the wall, so it seemed like that was the source of most of the flames.”

It took crews several hours to put the fire out. No one was hurt or permanently displaced.

PLEASANT HILL, Iowa– A Southeast Polk High School substitute teacher is out of a job after attempting to discipline a student.

Whether Lois Johnson will be reinstated is in the hands of the school board.

“She is South East Polk,” parent Kim Turnbaugh said.

Johnson is a longtime educator who kept teaching as substitute after retirement. She was suspended over claims of violating district policy. A group of students say she took a disruptive classmate by the arm to guide him back to his seat.

Many are frustrated by the suspension.

“I want her reinstated she was my teacher and my daughter’s teacher three generations there is no way this can happen,” Turnbaugh said.

Thousands followed Turnbaugh lead and signed a petition to reinstate Johnson. Many of those supporters attended Thursday’s school board meeting to voice concern.

During public comment, the board tried to cut Johnson’s attorney Frank Smith short. Smith says his client didn’t break the rules and the district didn’t follow policy.

According to South East Polk School District, an employee can use minor reasonable physical contact to maintain order and control. And all matters must be addressed to the teacher or employee first.

“She was not given her chance and her due process, and I think that is completely wrong,” Turnbaugh said.

Ultimately, it’s up to the school board to decide whether Johnson will keep her job

Frank Smith says Lois just wants her job back.

The school district wouldn’t comment on Lois’ suspension but did say they are committed to supporting a professional work environment where employees are valued and respected.

DES MOINES, Iowa–  Thursday night there were widespread reports of hail. Some viewers reported seeing roughly dime- shaped hail rain down in parts of the Metro. Des Moines Police are reporting traffic light outages across the area. Water was pooling near Ingersol and MLK Parkway, and police report heavy street flooding along Merle Hay Road. Homeowners are also in the dark, at one point Mid-American Energy reported more that 10,000 outages. That includes at the Kenny Chesney concert at Wells Fargo Arena. The concert was delayed for about a half hour.