MM Fall 2018

Page 1

The art of T’ai Chi

1956 state champs

Muscatine Film Festival

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Page 8

Page 16

ISSN 2475-7128

Oct/Nov/Dec 2018

Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Your Mercy Doctor Will See You Now Mercy Family Medicine of Muscatine offers care for every member of your family with sameday appointments, convenient hours, a location with laboratory and radiology services available and a welcoming bilingual staff. Call us and make Mercy your Dustaff Persaud, medical home. Ed. D, MBA, PA-C



In this issue Over the Edge. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Save the Date. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Art of T’ai Chi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 State 6-on-6 Champs . . . . . . 8 SSAB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 The Muskie Way. . . . . . . . . . . 14 Film Fest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 On the covers Peggy Schmelzer shot the beautiful outdoor photos on both our front and back covers. Peggy took the windmill picture near the Mississippi River levee. She said it was the right time and place with the geese and the light. The photo won the “sunset category” at the Mercer County Fair in Aledo, Ill. She took the deer photo on backroads while returning home from Galesburg, Ill. She took several photos before the doe saw her. Peggy’s photography won five blue ribbons at the Muscatine County Fair in West Liberty, and she had one photo make it to display at the Iowa State Fair this year – her first year to submit entries. There were 3,201 entries submitted, and 859 were displayed.

Muscatine MAGAZINE

Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry 100 W. 2nd St. • Muscatine, Iowa 52761-4027 563-263-8895 Fax: 563-263-7662 Muscatine Magazine is published quarterly by:

Editor’s Corner The different pace of summer is now in the rearview mirror as we settle into a more regimented time of year. Vacations are over. The hours of daylight are shorter, cooler and wetter. The children are back in school. But my routine will soon be greatly changed. I regret to inform you, the readers of Muscatine Magazine, I am stepping down as editor. In 2010, Dawnese Openshaw and Mike Shield started Muscatine Magazine. When Dawnese moved away two years later, Janet Morrow became editor and publisher. She was marketing and membership director at GMCCI, and she sold the magazine to the organization while remaining editor. She moved away about 1 ½ years ago, and I stepped in part time as the magazine editor. What has remained consistent about the magazine from its beginning is the designer. Mike Shield has created the beautiful look of this magazine. Mike has great ideas, and I have enjoyed working with him. Life will remain busy for me with children in high school and elementary school, and I plan to spend more time with my mom. It will be good to be home and tend to family matters, but don’t be surprised if at some point I take up something else in the public eye. I sure have enjoyed being in the center of things at GMCCI. It’s been a pleasure finding compelling stories to tell and meeting a lot of interesting people in the process. Thank you for reading!

We Make Home Financing Easy! Dawn Sturms Dodds (563) 262-3152

Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry 100 W. 2nd St. • Muscatine, Iowa 52761-4027 Email:

Downtown Muscatine 301 Iowa Avenue NMLS #1007051

ISSN 2475-7128

Dana Miller

Editor: Kathy Kuhl, GMCCI

(563) 262-3139

Creative Director: Mike Shield, Shield Design Contributors: Jessica Hubbard, Mary Mason-Wheeler, Peggy Schmelzer and John Wojtecki

— Kathy Kuhl, Editor

Downtown Muscatine 301 Iowa Avenue NMLS #1411707

For advertising info: Contact Kathy Kuhl at (563) 263-8895 or Muscatine Magazine is a quarterly publication focused on Muscatine, Iowa, and the surrounding area. The publisher reserves the right to refuse and/or edit any materials submitted for publication. Published articles and advertising do not constitute endorsement. ©2018

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Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018 1

More than 80 local people have offered to rappel down the side of the Laurel Building – a drop of 94 feet – to raise money for three local non-profit organizations. This exciting fundraising effort is nearing the $100,000 mark according to Lindsey Phillips, one of its coordinators. “Our goal was $75,000. The public has been really responsive,” she said. Over The Edge is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 19 with rappelling starting at 9 a.m. Bands, food, drink, bounce houses (during a 3-5 p.m. Kids Zone) and raffles will complement the main event of watching the “Edgers.” After the main event, there will be live entertainment from 6 p.m. to midnight. The party will be on the 200 block of Iowa Avenue. There will also be a kickoff party from 5-9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18 in the same location. The Chamber Ambassadors Network and Young Professionals Network are hosting the event as a Business After Hours. The fundraising efforts of Over The Edge Muscatine will benefit the three nonprofits sponsoring it: the Chamber Ambassadors Network, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Special Olympics. Each “Edger” is expected to raise $1,000 by asking friends and coworkers for sponsorship. At press time, Phillips said there are 81 Edgers, but there is a capacity for 92 with the time allotted for the event. Each rappel is estimated to take six minutes. The list of Edgers represents more than 30 businesses, organizations and medical offices in town. On the day of the event, each Edger will check in, attend a training session on how to rappel and scale down the side of the building. 2 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018

The idea of hosting this event came during a Chamber Ambassadors Network executive committee meeting, Phillips said. “We were looking for a way to fundraise that was unique and fun. Other Big Brothers/Big Sisters chapters had done this, I told them, and everyone said ‘Let’s do this.’” Phillips, who is also the director of Muscatine Big Brothers/Big Sisters, further explained why all three groups joined in.

“There was some expense in doing this, so it made sense to have more sponsors. I offered Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and the Special Olympics is at the (Muscatine Community) Y with us. Jason Miller, their director, agreed to join in.” Anyone interested in donating to Over The Edge Muscatine can go to to give. There is a “donate” button to click, and you have the option of scrolling through the name of Edgers to help one reach his or her goal or you can give to the event’s general fund. n

Save the Dates Holiday Open House Sunday, Nov.11 Shop at participating downtown stores to enjoy this festive event with fun drawings, refreshments and oneday-only holiday discounts.

Christmas with the Symphony Saturday, Dec. 1 Join the local symphony orchestra to hear holiday favorites and help two local nonprofits. Admission cost is one non-perishable food item or a monetary donation to go to the Salvation Army and Muscatine Food Bank. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. at Central Middle School Auditorium, 901 Cedar St.

Holiday Stroll Friday, Dec. 7 Bundle up and stroll downtown Second Street to mix and mingle! Hear live seasonal music. See the holiday lights, the parade and displays/performances in storefronts. Taste hot cocoa and other treats. It’s a Muscatine tradition!

Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018 3

Flowing like a river with the

art of T’ai Chi

Pagel teaches ancient exercise to varied groups Story and photos by Jessica Hubbard As Caleen Pagel and I sit outside in the warm afternoon sun, we’re discussing the art of T’ai Chi as we watch the Mississippi River running its course through Muscatine. Pagel said, “Life is like the course of a river; you sometimes go along with it, sometimes you have to flow around obstacles, and yet, at other times, you have to push through as it rages around you.” Pagel feels this metaphor is a good way to think about how a person moves throughout the day. This is where T’ai Chi comes in; it is a practice that can enable its practitioners to flow, work around, and push through daily routines with a sense of calm and relaxed focus.

4 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018

T’ai Chi Chuan got its start in China around the 13th century. Initially based in the martial arts, it was created as a practice to incorporate meditation and martial arts defense movements. An exercise intended to combine mental focus, strength, and a connection with the natural world, it made an appearance in western culture right around the 1960s according to Overview of T’ai Chi by Jill Johnson, Jill, MS, PT, GCS, and Tricia Yu, MA. Pagel first came across T’ai Chi while she was working as a licensed physical therapist at Muscatine Physical Therapy Services in 2002. One of her patients inquired about the idea of implementing T’ai Chi into her recovery process. The question piqued Pagel’s interest and she attended a T’ai Chi


HIGH 5 for wellness

1. Sit up straight 2. Take a breath 3. Hydration 4. Nourish yourself 5. Move

continuing education weekend at the Sinsinawa Mound Center in Wisconsin just past Dubuque, Iowa. From that time, Pagel was hooked. She took what she learned back to Muscatine and began practicing Yang Style short form T’ai Chi with her patient. Shortly thereafter, another friend or colleague would ask to join in, and before she knew it, Pagel had a steady group attending the free sessions she was providing. Originally from Harlan, Iowa, Pagel attended the University of Iowa and lived in Charles City and Dubuque, Iowa. She saw herself as someone who didn’t stay in one place for long. She liked the idea of new experiences and moving around. Then, she met her husband Pat, fell in love and settled with him in his native Muscatine along with two stepsons and a son she and Pat have together. She’s been here for the last 30 years. Pagel feels that offering her knowledge of T’ai Chi is a way in which she can give


back to the community she calls home. Currently, all the sessions she leads are free of charge. She has provided free demos and sessions for places such as Gilda’s Club and Jefferson Elementary School. For the last 6 years, she has provided a weekly cool down T’ai Chi session for the Muscatine High School girls’ cross country and track teams. She says it’s beautiful to watch. “The girls are relaxed. All their movements are synchronized, and they are focused and in the moment,” she said. MHS girls’ cross country and track coach, Tim Armstrong, feels Pagel’s introduction of T’ai Chi to the girls has been an asset to the team as a whole. “It’s really relaxing, as there can be lots of outside noises that can distract the girls during practices and meets,” Armstrong said. “T’ai Chi helps them stay focused and learn to tune out those noises that might otherwise disrupt their concentration.”

Pagel began providing free T’ai Chi sessions for the public at Weed Park once a week, and now holds the sessions on Wednesdays by the first gazebo after the main entrance into Discovery Park. She starts promptly at 12:15, and the sessions last about 20-25 minutes to allow time for those who want to attend over a lunch hour. If it rains, and during the colder months, the sessions are moved to Faith United Church of Christ, 3307 Mulberry Ave. There is no charge, and no special equipment is required. Pagel says anyone can show up and join in even if they’ve never tried T’ai Chi before. She feels confident that anyone, no matter their age or physical fitness level, can benefit from T’ai Chi. Even taking five minutes each day to practice what she calls the “high five” (see sidebar) will allow for better focus, more relaxed breathing, and an overall feeling of wellness. n

Life is like the course of a river; you sometimes go along with it, sometimes you have to flow around obstacles, and yet, at other times, you have to push through as it rages around you.


– Caleen Pagel

Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018 5

Local Theater MHS presents “The Matchmaker” The Muscatine High School Drama Department will present the Thornton Wilder comedy “The Matchmaker” on Friday, Nov. 9 and Saturday, Nov. 10 at the MHS Auditorium, 2705 Cedar St. Show time is 7 p.m. for both dates. “The Matchmaker” is the story of a miserly widower – Horace Vandergelder – who decides it is time to remarry. He employs a matchmaker – the clever Dolly Levi – to help him find a suitable bride. Dolly ends up entangled in the shenanigans of his store clerks, his niece and her intended, a hat-maker and her assistant, and the head waiter at an expensive restaurant, where the characters all meet up and chaos ensues. Will anyone get what their heart desires? Hilarious complications bring surprises in this play that inspired the musical “Hello, Dolly!” Admission to performances is $6 general admission, and tickets are sold at the door. MHS students are admitted free with an an activity pass, and Muscatine district employees who bring their MCSD ID are entitled to two free tickets.

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MCC presents “The Humans” The Muscatine Community College Theatre Department will present “The Humans” at the college’s Little Theater (located in Strahan Hall), 152 Colorado St. on Friday, Nov. 16; Saturday, Nov. 17; and Sunday, Nov. 18. The Friday and Saturday performances are at 7 p.m., and Sunday’s show is at 2 p.m. Filled with equal parts humor and hurt,”The Humans” is a Tony-award winning play from playwright Stephen Karam that tells the story of the quintessential family reunion: a group of people who love each other but still bicker. Tickets are general admission and will be sold at the door: $10 for the general public and free for all local students and MCC students, faculty, and staff (with valid school ID). n

6 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018

Obsessed with Service Since 1956

DEWITT 800-246-8681

MUSCATINE 866-660-9640




The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday evenings until 7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated. will have first opportunity to purchase ornaments. Some items will be handpicked for silent action which will close at 4:00 p.m. on November 18th. Remaining ornaments will continue to be sold through December 16th. The “Heartfelt & Handmade” Ornament Competition is back! Artists, crafters, and craftsmen are invited to compete by donating ornaments which will be exhibited and sold or auctioned. A panel of judges will award prizes with first place receiving $100, second receiving $50, and third receiving $25. Any material or combination of materials may be used so long as the participant crafted the ornament. All ornaments must be received by the Muscatine Art Center no later than 5 p.m. on November 10th. All ornaments will go on view on Sunday, November 18th and remain on view through December 16th. The competition will open with a special event on Sunday, November 18th. All ornaments are sold on first-come, first-served basis, and event attendees

New this year is a “Pop Up” shop featuring the works of local artists. While the temporary shop will sell goods through the end of the year, the best selection will be available during the special event on opening day, November 18th. The familyfriendly event will feature refreshments, musical entertainment, and the special exhibition, “Gerberich’s Gadgetry: Re-Tooled.” n

Heartfelt & Handmade Ornament Competition Sunday, November 18th • 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

$15 in advance for adults; $20 for adults at the door; $5 for children 16 & under; ornament contributors receive complimentary tickets Silent Auction Highlight: Bid on a set of two tickets to see Kristin Chenoweth at Hancher’s New Year’s Eve Gala!

Check out our meeting spaces! 408 E. 2nd St. – Downtown Muscatine Monday - Friday: 10am - 9pm Saturday: 10am - 5pm Sunday: Noon - 5pm 563.263.3065 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018 7

Above: Glenda, at right, seated with sister Carolyn and their beloved girls basketball coach at Maynard High School, Mel Kupferschmid. This photo first appeared in the Oelwein Daily Register. Inset: Recently, Glenda’s nephew Brian Borland, who authored Maynard 8 Miles, visited her Muscatine home. Here, they pose with her two high school state championship trophies and a copy of his book.

Former state 6-on-6 basketball champ among us

Book tells of Glenda’s glory days, and a movie’s in the making! By Kathy Kuhl A Muscatine resident for 22 years, Glenda Thielbert keeps a full social calendar. As she is out and about, she brings copies of a book almost everywhere she goes, selling them upon request. The book tells the story of 6-on-6 girls’ basketball in Iowa, and more specifically, how the Nicholson sisters – Glenda and her older sister Carolyn – were part of the state champion team from Maynard, Iowa in 1956.

Her nephew, Brian Borland, wrote and self-published Maynard 8 Miles, and the screenplay is now in the hands of Angelo Pizzo, famous for telling inspirational sports stories in movies like “Rudy” (1993) and “Hoosiers” (1986).

she would like to portray her in the upcoming movie.

The screenwriter met Brian and members from the championship team – including Glenda – in September 2017 in Maynard. Brian estimated the screenplay is within a couple of months from completion.

The book idea didn’t exist until 2006. Until then, Borland knew nothing about the Nicholson sisters’ amazing basketball careers.

Glenda laughed when asked who

“I’m sure I don’t know!” she said.

A story that had to be told

He was visiting his parents when he overheard them talking about going to Maynard’s 50th anniversary celebration

All photos from the book Maynard 8 Miles, with the exception of the current photo of Glenda and Brian, taken by Kathy Kuhl. 8 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018 8 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018

of their state win. Brian then learned his mom and Aunt Glenda had anchored the 1956 team that beat Garrison 62-51. It was in front of a beyond-capacity crowd at the 15,000-seat Veterans Memorial Stadium (now Community Choice Credit Union Center) in Des Moines. Borland had known his father, Glenn, had been a basketball star at the University of Wisconsin, but he was amazed to learn of his mother’s athletic achievements and kept asking questions.

Glenda had told her children – but not many other people – about her high school basketball career.

Brian said Carolyn insisted it wasn’t a big deal.

Get your copy!

“The story kept getting better and better,” he said.

“Mom didn’t like to talk about her high school basketball career,” Brian said of Carolyn, who died in 2009 of lung cancer. “I think it’s because she was very modest.”

The book Maynard 8 Miles is available through The paperback sells for around $20, and the Kindle edition is $9.99.

Carolyn was her best friend, but Glenda had to guess why she had stayed silent about her youthful athletic stardom. “I think it was modesty and a lack of confidence in herself, alone,” Glenda said, explaining they shared a team mentality. “In my thinking, if we needed a basket, Carolyn would get it. In hers, I would get it.” Yet during that 1955-56 season, they were the first (and only) 6-on-6 players in the same season from the same team to exceed 1,000 points each.

However, she has sold many books, adding that the prospect of a movie makes people more interested than they might be otherwise.

Uncovering the history Brian said that upon writing the book, he envisioned a movie all along.

Like the Maynard 8 Miles Facebook page to monitor when the story makes it to the big screen.

Carolyn was 5-foot-4, so people who knew her as an adult living in Madison, Wis., didn’t think about basketball based on her appearance. Conversely, for 6-foot-tall Glenda, “People assume I played. I make light of it, but Brian’s opened my eyes and everyone else’s on why the story of 6-on-6 should be told.”

The Nicholson children pose in front of their house at around the time they started playing basketball on a hoop in their barn. From left: Carolyn, 7 ½; Betty, 9 ½; Lou Ann, 11; Glenda, 6; and Jim, 4.

His main reason for writing the book was to honor his parents; it also tells the story of his father’s notable basketball career at Oelwein High School and University of Wisconsin. Another reason was to showcase how 6-on-6 girls’ basketball thrived before Title IX. Introduced in the 1920s, the game’s popularity peaked in the 1950s with crowds exceeding those at boys’ games. It ended in 1993 to align with 5-on-5 women’s college basketball. “I challenge anyone to find a more successful popular high school girls’ sporting event since then. They had their own organization, their own rules. People outside of Iowa don’t believe it.”

For the Oelwein Daily Register in 1956, the Nicholson sisters pose with a sign to signify their goal for individual points for the year. They both succeeded, but Carolyn downplayed it in favor of team goals. Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018 9 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018 9

Why the wild popularity? In Maynard 8 Miles, Brian’s sources speculate it is because it was a fast-paced game. Glenda said that in Maynard, “People would come for the girls’ game and leave when the boys started.” The Nicholson girls caught 6-on-6 fever as they started hearing about girls’ basketball in other communities. They were already competing against each other using the basketball hoop in their barn. “Dad was on the school board. We were all over his case to get girls’ basketball going at our school,” Glenda said. A Maynard team was established in 1951 after the Fish family moved into the district with four girls, making enough to field a team. Talent and training eventually made them state champions.

Glenda attended and earned her bachelor’s degree in physical education. She made All-American status twice as a defensive player. (Neither 6-on6 nor Amateur Athletic Union rules had individuals play both offense and defense.) In the summer of 1959, she helped the United States women’s basketball team win first place at the Pan American Games in Chicago.

Mediapolis, and West Delaware (Manchester). “Our children said it was the worst childhood ever. They’d go into the school and see me and go out on the street and see their father,” Glenda laughed. At West Delaware Schools, she later became a school counselor after

Below: At the 50th anniversary of their 1956 6-on-6 state championship, the ladies from the Maynard High School team took center court for a celebration. Reunited with Coach Kupferschmid, Glenda and Carolyn posed with him.

‘Is this all there is to this?’ At the end of the 1956 state championship, Glenda remembers saying the above words to Carolyn. “We’d watched previous state championships, and the teams piled onto the middle of the court. We just walked off, businesslike. There was no hoopla,” she recalled. “We didn’t know what was waiting for us back home,” Glenda said, referring to a receiving line of cars and pedestrians along Maynard’s roads that welcomed them as heroes. “Yeah, there was the hoopla!” Brian laughed. Glenda repeated a trip to the state championship in 1957. Maynard again competed against Garrison. Carolyn had graduated and came to support her sister and team. Maynard lost that game 46-47.

Glenda’s life between Maynard and Muscatine Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant offered basketball scholarships to Carolyn, then Glenda. Carolyn declined, wanting to stay near home.

10 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018

The next winter, she toured the country playing against a Russian team. At practice in New York City, she separated her shoulder. It was her only injury in 11 years of play. She missed the opening game at Madison Square Garden, catching the team in Denver to finish the tour. While in college Glenda met a police officer named Eugene Thielbert whom she married. He remained in law enforcement throughout his career. They had a son, Mitchell, and a daughter, Lori. Glenda taught physical education in three Iowa school districts: Turkey Valley (Alpha, Lawler and Wacoma),

Above: After graduation from Maynard High School, Carolyn still supported the team and her sister. Here, she hugs Glenda at the 1957 girls’ state basketball tournament. earning a master’s degree in secondary guidance and counseling from the University of Northern Iowa in 1972.

Life in Muscatine Retiring in 1996, they moved to Muscatine. Their daughter, Lori, lived here at the time, and they liked its proximity to their son, Mitchell, in Bettendorf and Eugene’s hometown of Burlington. In retirement, Glenda said Eugene enjoyed yardwork, woodworking, his

children, grandchild and cats. He died in 2008. Glenda has since moved to a condominium. She has also found a companion in Matt Fox, who enjoys being on-the-go like her. Glenda is involved in American Legion Post 27 Auxiliary and Friends of the Old the Barn. She’s slowing down on baking, she said, but is known as “the pie lady” among people who have bought her pies to raise funds for Relay for Life. John Beckey has a pie arrangement with her: He gives Relay for Life “a good donation,” and she brings 10 pies per year to Beckey Insurance. “She makes every kind – so good – like your mom or grandmother would: apple, blueberry, banana cream, pecan,” he said. John said he has known Glenda for almost 20 years. “We went to the same place on Friday nights for years,” he said. “Over food and drinks, we became friends.” Chris Meltzer has been friends with Glenda for three years. “We met when my friend and I got to the (Missipi) Brew late and couldn’t find a seat. Glenda said, ‘Would you two like to sit with us?’ And it all started from there,” she said. Chris just started reading Maynard 8 Miles. “I’m from the East Coast, so 6-on-6 is new to me,” she said. “I’m dying to see the movie!” n

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Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018 11


Not your “run of the mill” plate mill Montpelier plant’s R&D focus translates to top quality ranking, sustainability By John Wojtecki Driving past cornfields, contented cows munching on feed, and fields of flowers, motorists might be surprised upon cresting a hill and suddenly spotting a conglomeration of huge modern metal buildings. The campus in southeastern Muscatine County was IPSCO Steel, but SSAB – another multi-national steel producer – purchased the location 10 years ago. “We make high-quality steel coil and plate in a wide range of sizes. We’re known by our customers for the outstanding quality of our products,” said Andy Bramstedt, general manager of SSAB Iowa.

“Our steel is used to build everything from heavy machinery and ships to rail cars and bridges. It is also used to create the wind towers that are vital to powering Iowa,” he said. SSAB’s global headquarters are in Stockholm, Sweden, and other production locations include Sweden, Finland and Mobile, Ala. SSAB employs more than 500 people at the Iowa facility which has three buildings: the mill, administrative offices, and the research and development facility.

R&D’s role in continuous improvement The R&D facility serves the North American division of SSAB. It was built in 2010

12 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018

after SSAB bought the mill and land associated with the facility. The R&D facility is dedicated to a continuous improvement approach for the plate mill. “The mission of the SSAB Americas R&D facility is to lead and support product developments, improve our production processes, and provide internal and external customer technical support,”

said Rick Bodnar, R&D director for SSAB Americas. “We support SSAB’s overall focus to provide lighter, stronger and more durable steel products to meet our customers’ continuously evolving requirements.” One accomplishment of which the R&D employees are particularly proud is earning the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) designation for the SSAB Iowa facility. The R&D focus has elevated SSAB Americas to a No. 1 ranking in quality among domestic steel plate producers according to Jacobson Steel Customer Satisfaction Report. The company has held this honor since 2013. SSAB Iowa’s metallurgy research sources include an on-site library assembled by R&D employees. It features more than 3,000 books for continued research and sustained top quality. Each year, R&D hires interns who focus on projects. The interns have attended such universities as Iowa State and Virginia Tech.

Where you’ll see SSAB steel According to the company website, SSAB is the largest producer and supplier of heavy plate in North America, with a market share of 28 percent in 2017. Rails, rivers and roads bring SSAB’s products to customers, assuring a fast and economical delivery.

The steel produced at SSAB Iowa can be found in heavy machinery, ships, wind towers, rail cars and more. John Deere and Caterpillar are included in the list of customers. SSAB has supplied steel for two Quad City area bridges: the Mississippi River bridge on Interstate 280 and the Interstate 74 bridge currently under construction over the river. The I-74 bridge will feature steel plate produced at the local facility.

Sustainability and community responsibility Fittingly, the view from SSAB’s Iowa R&D facility is fields of wild flowers. A notable accomplishment of the facility is being the first electric arc furnace steel producer in North America to certify all environmental management systems to the ISO 14001 standard. This means the company has met 16 international standards that reduce negative impact to the environment, save on costs and improve efficiency. SSAB also won the American Metal Market Award for Steel Excellence in the category of Environmental Responsibility and Stewardship in 2015, 2017 and 2018. “Our facility is one of Iowa’s largest steel scrap recyclers. We consume approximately 1.4 million tons of scrap metal per year. This is material that otherwise would end up in a landfill,” Bramstedt said.


“SSAB is dedicated to environmental responsibility and stewardship. We are committed to operating with the least possible impact to our environment.” As one tours the mill, it is easy to see the effort to assure that all incoming steel is used. A significant quantity of water is used in the mill process; it is taken from the nearby Mississippi River. Filtration and cooling systems assure that water returned to the river is actually cleaner and the same temperature as it was when it was removed. Continual monitoring is documented on intake and outflows of water. Bramstedt noted that wind turbines demonstrate the full-circle nature of SSAB Iowa’s practices. The facility provides the steel for turbines and then uses the energy they harness to operate. Another effort SSAB makes to be a good corporate citizen is investing in the community. SSAB Iowa’s employees volunteer for Junior Achievement of the Heartland and United Way of Muscatine, and both the company and individual employees support these causes with monetary donations. SSAB Iowa keeps a daily focus on quality, safety, the environment and community. “We’ve been operating in Muscatine for more than 20 years and are proud to be part of this community,” Bramstedt said.


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Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018 13

THE MUSKIE WAY! Upgrades like new paint, carpeting and furniture transformed Muscatine Community Schools over the summer. One thing is consistent among all the buildings is there is a lot more purple! With the district’s 2018-19 school year, all students Pre K-12th grade will adopt the Muskie name and colors, uniting students across the district. In fall of 2015 the District Advisory Committee, comprised of teachers from all levels and buildings, began discussing, creating, and streamlining “The Muskie Way – putting students first.” This idea is at the heart of the district’s decision-making process. The district’s hope for students, as written to MCSD parents in an email, is “They will thrive in their new educational environments and take great pride in standing united with over 5,000 of their fellow Muskies.” n

14 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018 14 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018

Built for Better Communities. Bandag is proud to support Muscatine, where you will find our teammates hard at work and play. Being involved in the community is an important part of our business. It’s our passion. It’s our home.

MIFF founders Mike Ray and Chad Bishop look forward to two firsts for the event in 2018: a new location and a third day.

Local independent film fest keeps growing, gets new venue By Mary Mason-Wheeler A visit to the Snake Alley Film Festival in Burlington, Iowa in 2013 motivated Chad Bishop and Mike Ray to create Muscatine’s own festival dedicated to the art of filmmaking. The Muscatine Independent Film Festival (MIFF) was born that same year, and the two have not slowed down since. They can’t because it keeps growing. The festival was originally held on the campus of Muscatine Community College, where Bishop serves as media production specialist teaching film and broadcasting. Both founders say the festival presents an opportunity for them to showcase their own work and bring the art of independent film home to Muscatine.

16 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018

In MIFF’s first year, 10 movies were showcased. The number of films presented has steadily increased over the years with about 50 films accepted to be showcased in the 2017 MIFF, though close to 80 submissions were received. The films presented are not feature length films and typically run five to 20 minutes each. MIFF receives film submissions mostly from within the independent film community and through its association with – a website that brings together filmmakers and film festivals.

MIFF is open t Friday, Nov. 9 o the publ ic. to Sun day

COST: $ , Nov. 11 10

Ray said that attendance has remained fairly steady throughout the history as films that are submitted from farther away are not always represented by filmmakers when they are screened. The audience is typically comprised of the filmmakers, their friends, and local people with an interest in the topic. As the festival has grown, categories have been added. In past years categories have included (but are not limited to) Murder Mayhem and Student Films. These two categories have typically been presented on an evening separate from films in other categories because the Murder Mayhem films often have a precautionary TV-MA (mature) rating. This year, Bishop and Ray are also incorporating a section of documentaties which will be featured at the fest’s newly added third day. This includes “Norman Baker’s Crusade for Humanity,” which was locally written and produced. (See sidebar.) At each event the films are presented to an audience made up of film industry *Photos courtesy of Muscatine Independent Film Festival

peers, members of the community and a panel of judges. The judges are typically business and community leaders. After the Saturday evening presentation, MIFF holds an awards ceremony for participants including Best Actor, Best Student Production, Best Iowa Made Film, Best of Show, and more. Winners receive a trophy in recognition and a laurel they are encouraged to place on upcoming promotions of their film. Bishop explained, “MIFF is intended to be a showcase of regional, national, and even international independent film. The event strives to provide area artists with an audience for their creative efforts. MIFF also encourages arts and culture in our state, which helps to improve community wellness and economic growth.” Bishop and Ray are excited to partner with the Merrill Hotel & Conference

Center, 119 W. Mississippi Drive, for the 2018 festival. “We are hoping the location will provide a good opportunity for visitors from outside of Muscatine to visit the downtown area, the stores, the restaurants, the bars. It is a great location for us,” Ray said. Merrill Hotel Developer Andy MacLellan said the hotel is excited to partner with the festival. “We have experience with film festivals in other venues and are looking forward to partnering with (MIFF),” he said. “Hopefully we can help enlarge it moving forward.” The Merrill Hotel has unique capabilities and flexibility with over 12,000 square feet of space and 15-foot ceilings, plus the latest in audio-visual and connectivity capabilities.

MacLellan said, “We are excited to possibly even be able to screen multiple films at a time if needed.” Upon arriving at the venue, contributors will receive a VIP pass, shirt, and a few other gifts. They have the opportunity to walk a red carpet and be interviewed about their projects. For several years, red carpet interviews have been conducted by Muscatine native Laura Liegois. “Small independent films allow for numerous groups of people to express their talents and love for film making,” she said. As details are still being worked out, the best place to view a complete schedule of events is The website also offers trailers of some of the films to be shown at MIFF. n

Locally produced Norman Baker film to show at fest A locally produced film about a quirky historical figure in Muscatine will debut during the Muscatine Independent Film Festival (MIFF) on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Bishop created this film with Muscatine tourism in mind – and also wanting to help viewers keep an open mind about where a cure for cancer may be found.

“The Man in Purple” is a true story based on one of Muscatine’s most infamous former residents, Norman Baker, said Executive Producer Chad Bishop. Unlike many of the films at MIFF, “The Man in Purple” is feature length, with a run time of just over an hour.

Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice President of Community Development Jane Daufeldt. Max Churchill, who has portrayed Norman Baker many times over the years, also helped develop the film.

There are many community members who were involved in the development of this film, Bishop said. They include former Muscatine Mayor Evelyn Schauland, Marv Krieger of Krieger Auto Group, former CEO of UnityPoint Hospital Jim Hayes, and former Greater

Interviews with these local people are featured in a question-and-answer session at the end of the movie, and they are also a part of the documentary by the same crew, “Norman Baker’s Crusade for Humanity,” which will show at the festival on Sunday, Nov. 11.

“I believe telling this story will add intrigue and potential revenue to our community through tourism,” he said. “I also hope to focus awareness on alternative medicine and the current state of our quest to cure cancer.” Considering Muscatine’s storied past, Bishop might look again into local history for future projects. “We hope to bring other historic Muscatine figures to life in subsequent years, depending on the support and reception of this project.” n

Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2018 17

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