Muscatine Magazine, Winter 2021

Page 1

ISSN 2475-7128 Jan/Feb/March 2021

Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry


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Editor’s Corner

In this issue All in the Family. . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Managing Mental Health. . 6 Community Foundation . . 11 Programming for All Ages . . 12 Art Center. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

The saying “It’s okay to not be okay” applies now more than ever before. During a season where days are shorter, nights are longer, and sunshine can seem like a rarity, it is wise to be mindful and proactive in taking care of your mental health. In the middle of an ongoing pandemic that is literally isolating people, we felt it was important to shed some light on this topic and reassure people there is hope. In this issue you will find ways you can proactively fend off depression, and if you or someone you know is struggling, there are many services available to help. If you find yourself surrounded by the dark cloud of depression, look for the silver lining and have the courage to keep on going. All clouds come to an end. Go for a walk, call a friend, start a hobby, or do something that brings you joy. Ultimately keep in mind, this too shall pass.

On the Cover This winter scene of the Pine Creek Grist Mill was taken by local photographer, Mark Washburn. It’s a lovely reminder that there is beauty to be found in every season!

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

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Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry 100 W. 2nd St. • Muscatine, Iowa 52761-4027 Email: ISSN 2475-7128 Editor: Rebecca Paulsen, GMCCI Creative Director: Mike Shield, Shield Design Contributors: Rebecca Paulsen, Mike Shield, GMCCI, Jim Elias, Jessica Hubbard, Virginia Cooper, Misty Urban

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For advertising info: Contact Rebecca Paulsen 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. ©2021 Minimum opening deposit $25; no minimum balance requirement thereafter, and no monthly fees. See bank for details.

Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2021 1

The entrepreneurial spirit has a history of running deep along family lines in Muscatine. Here’s a look at two families keeping the spirit alive.

Family Business:

A Labor of Love By Jessica Hubbard

For 31 years, Lupe and Ramiro Vazquez have watched as their children have grown into adults, raising their own children, nurturing and supporting each other all while conceptualizing and creating their local, family-owned businesses. The Vazquezs’, along with their children, Maritza and Alejandro, have found that through their family bond and love for one another, they have been able to build those businesses successfully from the ground up. Ramiro and Lupe, both first-born immigrants from Mexico, met in 1988 and married in 1989; the beginning of their story and how North Construction, Guadalajara, and The Coffee Belt came into existence. Ramiro had been working for a local contracting company when the idea of North Construction came about. When Ramiro decided to venture out on his own,

2 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2019

he started off taking small construction jobs, often helping out people he knew. Vazquez said, “Sometimes, I wasn’t even getting paid. I was taking the work to gain more experience.” In 2001 he was asked to help out with a basement rebuild. He imagined it would be a smaller project, similar to the ones he had been working on. When he arrived, he found that it was an entire basement that needed work. He wasn’t certain he was up for the task, but the customer assured him he trusted his work and would help support Ramiro during the process. Vazquez said while the build was taking place, the customer asked if his construction business had a name and if he had registered his business. Vazquez said he hadn’t really

thought about a name or even registering to create his own company. His client said he was happy to help him through the process, but that Vazquez needed to come up with a name. He thought about this for a while. Vazquez figured since he had moved up from the south to the north, it only made sense to name his company North Construction, LLC. While Ramiro was busy getting North Construction off the ground, Lupe was working full time for the school district in Muscatine. Busy with their jobs and raising a family, they would frequently meet for lunch at a small restaurant by the name of Guadalajara in downtown Muscatine. This was a chance for them to catch up and enjoy a meal together. Lupe said they ate there often enough that the owner of the restaurant recognized them when they would come in. One day he approached them with an offer: would they like to partner with him in the restaurant business? They could buy the restaurant, and he would stick around to help them get

started. Lupe’s immediate reaction was to say no. “We had absolutely no experience in the restaurant business.” Ramiro on the other hand thought they should go for it. Lupe says of Ramiro, “He’s been the catalyst for all our businesses. He’s a very hard worker with great determination and always keeps a positive attitude.” And with that, in 2009 they became the owners of Guadalajara. Deciding to go into the restaurant business full speed, Lupe went back to college to secure a degree in culinary arts. And, while the restaurant business wasn’t easy, the Vazquezs’ found the support within their family and the community to make the restaurant a success. Eventually they were able to buy several properties across the street to expand and move into a larger space. With the family hard at work running North Construction and Guadalajara, their daughter Maritza was finishing up her senior year of high school and planning for a mission trip to Costa Rica. This was the first of many trips that would eventually lead to the creation of The Coffee Belt. While in Costa Rica,

Maritza stayed in a coffee village. She hadn’t given much thought to coffee before that, let alone the idea of running her own coffee shop someday. Throughout her college career Maritza’s studies and travels eventually led to her degree in biblical theology with a minor in counseling. During her junior and senior years of college she acquired an internship with Calvary Baptist Church in Muscatine. Maritza and her now husband, Mario Martinez worked with at-risk youth providing support and guidance. Maritza recognized the need for a space where people could come together and talk, and with that, the idea of The Coffee Belt was born. Maritza said. “My faith has played a big role in the creation of my business.” She felt she had been called to create a safe and welcoming place for people

to gather. Together with the help of her husband, and family, The Coffee Belt opened to the public in 2017. Not only do all the family members have some role within the businesses; Ramiro and Lupe heading up North Construction, Alejandro, now owner of Guadalajara, and Maritza and Mario running The Coffee Belt, but they also strive to give back to the community. From serving on the library board, to being a Big Sister and a Big Brother, along with being a board member for the Muscatine Chamber, Trinity Hospital, and the United Way, their family continues to find ways to uplift their community. All three businesses have been born out of hard work, a sense of belonging in a town that provides unwavering support, and most of all, a love of family. n

Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2021 3

For the love of family tradition By Jim Elias

Crazy. Rewarding. Stressful. Love.

When asked to describe the family business in one word, Cord, Teresa, Mike ‘Boonie’, and Chance Kliest each give distinctly different answers. Or are they? After listening to his brother, mother, and father explain their one-word replies, Chance Kliest said: “That all describes love. It’s really the fulfillment we get from all the hard work we put in.” “and the connections we’ve made with so many wonderful people we’ve met,” adds Boonie. Connections really is the watchword for the Kliest family business. They currently operate four eating and drinking establishments Downtown Muscatine, but the drive to connect with people in the hospitality craft is truly a generational, family tradition. “I wish I could go back and work for Grandpa at The Cherry Top,” says Cord. The Cherry Top Drive-In is an institution on Muscatine’s South end and was owned by Boonie’s father for decades. Boonie remembers his dad would open the restaurant every morning and work

4 Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2021

through the lunch hour; come home in the afternoon for a quick nap and shower; then get back to The Cherry Top to handle the dinner rush. Boonie said the family restaurant tree has many branches. His grandmother owned the Muscatine Café, his uncle owned Ina Mae’s Steakhouse and The Elms, one aunt owned The Sand Mound, and another aunt owned The Wilton Café. Boonie himself opened his first place, Boonie’s Basement, in the late ‘70s. Today, Boonie’s On the Avenue is the flagship of the business. While Boonie and Teresa described how they have grown and evolved, Chance wraps up a phone call … “make sure you bring him desert when he’s done”. Chance explained a long-time, regular is coming into Boonie’s to celebrate his birthday so the younger Kliest made sure his staff would take good care of him. Their business truly is all about connections.

Skinny’s and Proof Social operate next door to one another at street-level in Muscatine’s Pearl Plaza. Wine Nuts, the family’s fourth place, is located on the second floor of Pearl Plaza and Proof Social.

“When we opened Boonie’s in 2013 it was a sports bar,” says the Mike. “Now it has evolved into a full-service restaurant. We have really great food and an atmosphere for the whole family.” He is proud of the fact that the place has become somewhat of a family tradition for customers, too. Boonie beams about customers he knows first met at his place, then got married, and now bring their kids in for a meal. Cord, who owns and operates Skinny’s Barbeque, feels the same as his dad. He tells of a customer -- in town for a 6-month-long business stay – who said about Skinny’s and Proof Social “this is the first place I’ll ever miss”. “The connections we make are crazy. It’s really great when short-term customers turn into long-term friendships,” says Cord.

These three businesses represent how the Kliests have evolved the business to continue offering something unique and special for customers. Boonie explains how when they opened Boonie’s On the Avenue, they were the first in town to offer multiple craft beers on tap. Next, Wine Nuts became a place to enjoy unique, regional wines in a casual, quiet setting. Now, Skinny’s Barbeque creates mouth-watering, Texas-style craft barbeque, while Proof Social delivers craft cocktails and 48 craft beers in a classic, comfortable space. For Boonie and sons Chance and Cord, their love for the business certainly appears to be genetic; Teresa came to the family business after a full-time career with The HON Company. She said once Boonie’s opened, she would work through her HON lunchbreak at the

restaurant then return for the evening shift. But like the men in her family, she too has come to love the people she meets. “The buzz and excitement of customers when you first open is fun,” says Teresa. She further explains how when everyone gets into the everyday-groove of business and puts everything they have into it, it’s then she finds the business really rewarding. Both Chance and Cord now have young sons of their own. Because family and the family business is so important to them all, Teresa and Boonie enjoy spending time with the grandkids on their days off from the business. With so much on their plate so much of the time, Boonie says you have to keep learning and evolving. Cord sums up the family and the family business best: “we all adapt differently so we depend on each other to make it all work.” n

Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2021 5

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Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2021 7

Asking for help is strength.


I’m not telling you it will be easy,

I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.


Mental Hea Surviving the Winter Blues in a Pandemic By Misty Urban As the days grow shorter and the temperatures plummet, many of us anticipate the “winter blues” setting in. We’ll want to sleep more, eat too many sugary or fatty foods, and find it hard to get off the couch. Some of us will experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of clinical depression linked to the changing seasons and which can influence mood, energy levels, appetite, and sleeping patterns. And with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic disrupting our new year, even as vaccinations are underway, mental health experts are gearing up for a double whammy of what Dr. Martin Klein, a clinical psychologist, is calling “pandemic affective disorder.” Combine requirements to social distance with the colder, darker winter 8 Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2021

months, and a lot of us are feeling the strain on our mental health. Joe Lilly, Director of Outpatient Behavioral Health for the Robert Young Center, a community mental health center incorporated into the UnityPoint Health system, reports seeing an increase in both immediate and long-term consequences of the pandemic on mental health in this area. “Acute mental health needs have been much higher,” Lilly confirms. “We’ve seen increased anxiety, depression, and increased substance use at an unhealthy level as a method to cope.”

Lilly predicts an increase in utilization of the Center’s services in the winter months. With financial or workforce instability, an interruption of our regular social habits, the inability to observe festive occasions like birthdays or weddings or to grieve the loss of loved ones among family and friends, it’s little wonder more adults are suffering from anxiety and depression. In addition, Lilly observes, there are impacts on children and adolescents trying to adjust to the different educational models due to COVID-19.

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alth Jill Holler, Student Services and Disability Services Coordinator at Muscatine Community College, confirms that she observed several students dealing with mental health issues during the fall semester. Levels of stress and anxiety seem higher, and “as we have gone virtual,” Holler adds, “I think it has been even more of a struggle for some.”

Logan Wilson, a counselor with McKinley Elementary School, reports that even young students are struggling with their mental health. “A lot of their activities and freedoms that they used to build and form relationships and friendships with others have been cancelled, their access to family members is limited, and their school days have been completely disrupted,” Wilson notes.

“The uncertainty in their lives in the last year has dramatically increased. The coping skills and strategies that they previously had are no longer working, or maybe not even available to them, such as traveling, seeing friends outside of school, or playing a sport.” Wilson, too, expects that these impacts will be greater in the new year if students can’t have the connectedness with family that they rely on. While many students

Wilson offers parents several strategies for maintaining mental health in their kids • Help your child understand their feelings. Have a conversation about identifying those feelings and how those feelings make their body feel. • Encourage your child to get as much exercise and time outdoors as possible. Go on walks together, play games inside or outside. Try push-up challenges or something similar.

• Spend a little extra quality time with your child —something low-key that doesn’t require much energy or planning. Your company and caring provide that personal contact and a sense of connection. • Establish healthy eating and sleeping habits and routines. Provide plenty of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.

Encourage your child to stick to a regular bedtime every day to reap the mental health benefits of daytime light. • Practice daily coping skills. Yoga, meditation, deep breathing, grounding, and stretching are all good strategies.

Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2021 9

report sadness at the loss of their regular activities, Wilson’s greatest concern is for those students who are falling behind academically. “I have seen a correlation between students struggling to understand and catch up in the classroom and the decrease in their self-esteem and self-worth,” she says. Though symptoms vary by person, there are patterns that signal your “winter blahs” may be turning into anxiety and depression. “If you’re seeing significant changes in your sleeping patterns, too much or not enough,” take note of that, Lilly says. Other flags are issues with appetite loss or overeating, an inability to concentrate or focus, and anxious thoughts or fears that don’t seem to go away. “If you notice you’re increasing your substance intake, whether alcohol or some other drug, those are all signs that you could use some support or help,” Lilly says. Wilson notes that similar indicators can signal depression in children. Parents should look out for changes in moods, sleeping and eating patterns, energy levels, loss of enjoyment, and more difficulty concentrating. Changes in a child’s language or demeanor, Wilson says, could be cause for concern. Carefree kids playing in the snow might be our image of winter childhood, but kids as young as kindergarten-age can suffer from SAD.

Help is out there The greater Muscatine area offers plenty of supports and services for those of us who need a hand maintaining our mental health.

10 Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2021

f you can’t get out, talk with somebody. “ IDon’t isolate – that will just spin you deeper. Don’t hibernate. That’s the worst thing you can do. Get outside. Take a walk. Stay in communication.

Laurie Edge is the Support and Education Coordinator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in the Greater Mississippi Valley, and one of the worst side effects of the pandemic that she’s observed is the increased number of youth at risk for suicide. “They can’t do the things they would normally do,” Edge says, and the isolation, restrictions, and upset of normal habits and routines are causing increased anxiety and depression among adolescents and young adults as well. Even before COVID, Edge notes, suicide was the second leading cause of death for the 10-34 age group. The data isn’t available yet for the months of COVID-19 lockdown, but when it is, Edge fears, “those numbers are going to be even higher.”

What Can We Do At Home?

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

referrals for inpatient or outpatient treatment, depending on the severity of need. The Center also offers integrated health home services (IHH), providing comprehensive mental health services and health care coordination to make sure people get connected to what they need. For those dealing with substance abuse, which often goes hand in hand with mental health issues, the Robert Young Center can connect them with New Horizons, a program in Muscatine that helps people free themselves from substance dependency.

1-800-273-8255 (TALK) Family Resources at Muscatine Community College Students can reach out to Student Services at 563-288-6001 to take part in free counseling. The Robert Young Center 1616 Cedar Street Robert Young Center Crisis Hotline: (309) 779-2999 Robert Young Center Acces: (309) 779-3000 The Robert Young Center works with UnityPoint-Trinity. Crisis evaluation services are provided through Trinity Muscatine’s emergency room to provide

“One of the biggest challenges that COVID has presented us,” Lilly says, “is that our routines have been thrown off. We’re not as consistent in a lot of our practices.” But, he adds, “mental health is part of our total health, and many of the activities that promote physical health have mental health effects, too.” A key component is physical exercise. “If you can, and your doctor advises it,” Lilly says, “engage in physical exercise for at least 30 minutes. This can boost the neurotransmitters in your brain to help you feel better.” Lilly adds that it’s advisable to limit alcohol intake, especially if we’re starting to feel depressed. “During the pandemic, a lot of us have taken steps to try to stop the spread, but any way we can connect

National Alliance on Mental Illness, Greater Mississippi Valley Local NAMI Services: 563-386-7477 Ext. 266 or email

to our loved ones or our other social and emotional supports” is important, Lilly notes, “just to be connected and not isolated.” But also, “our family can help identify changes in our mood and encourage us if we need to get help.” Edge notes that those at NAMI also stress the importance of staying connected. “If you can’t get out,” Edge says, “talk with somebody. Don’t isolate—that will just spin you deeper. Don’t hibernate. That’s the worst thing you can do. Get outside. Take a walk. Stay in communication.” If parents do notice changes in their child’s moods, appetites, or behavior, Wilson says, it’s important to be patient and understanding. “Don’t expect symptoms to go away immediately. Remember that low motivation, low energy, and low mood are part of SAD. It’s unlikely that your child will respond cheerfully to your efforts to help.” Take your child’s feelings seriously, but remind them that things will get better, even though that may seem impossible right now, Wilson says. And “don’t be afraid to ask for help!” While regular maintenance and reaching out for help when we need it are things we can do right now, the best thing we can do going forward, for our

NAMI Helpline 800-950-NAMI or in a crisis text “NAMI” to 741741 • NAMI GMV offers community programming, education, and support groups for children and adults with a mental health condition as well as their parents, families, caregivers, and loved ones. NAMI is geared toward education, with the belief that better support can be provided at home when family and friends understand what their loved one is dealing with. All of NAMI’s services are free. MCSC Drop-In Mental Health Clinic Currently virtual 312 Iowa Ave • (563) 200-2742 Staff there include trained Center therapists and peer counselors.

own mental health and that of our loved ones, is to end the stigma of mental illness. The biggest barrier to people asking for help, both Lilly and Edge agree, is the lingering stigma around conditions like depression and anxiety. “We need to change the language,” Edge says. “We need to talk about it not as mental illness but as mental health. A mental health condition is treatable.” Lilly adds, “We need to think about mental health as part of managing our total health, including physical health.” And this process of management is ongoing. “There are things we need to do all the time to stay healthy,” Lilly says. “We don’t just get mental health services and then we’re good. We always have to be monitoring how we’re doing, checking in with ourselves to make sure we’re in a good place. And then know there are services available in our own community that, when we’re not in a good spot, can help us get back on track.”

to normalize the conversation,” Leya explains. “It’s okay to reach out for help. As a school district, as a community, we’re here to get families and students what they need.” And if you are suffering, “you are not alone,” Edge emphasizes. “That is NAMI’s message. You are not alone, and there is hope. A lot of people are experiencing anxiety and expression right now. We need to open the door to those conversations so people can reach out, get help, and feel connected.” n

Deya Leza and Elyse Kress, school resource navigators for the Muscatine School District, agree. When they’re talking with families and students about their mental health, “we try

Michaela’s Hope

Muscatine Community School District

(563) 264-3863 Launched by Brian and Alma Brunson after they lost their daughter Micaela to suicide in 2016, Micaela’s Hope has engineered several campaigns meant to start a conversation around mental health and support those who are suffering. One effort includes the signs you might have seen posted around Muscatine. As a fund administered through the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, Micaela’s Hope supports youth mental health initiatives within and around the Muscatine school district.

Parents with children in the Muscatine school district can contact their child’s school counselor to get in touch with their school’s resource navigator when they’re not sure where to turn. In a joint effort with Trinity Muscatine Public Health, MCSD staffs four school resource navigators: one at the high school, one at the junior high school, and two shared among the elementary schools. Navigators point students and their families toward a wide variety of resources and use a collaboration of services. They use almost every local agency that works in mental health, and are always looking to expand their network of local providers and therapists. Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2021 11

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12 Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2021

208 West 2nd Street, Muscatine, Iowa •

Roots of Benevolence For a community to flourish you must first have benevolence, and the efforts of individuals such as C. Max Stanley and his wife Betty represent the benevolence that have contributed to Muscatine County’s prosperity.

Max Stanley was an international and community leader and citizen, whose vision of Muscatine as an emerging economic beacon clashed at times with a growing consensus around impending deterioration of rural vitality. Max founded Stanley Engineering Company (Stanley Consultants), a global leader in engineering; Home-O-Nized (HNI), a global manufacturer; and the Stanley Foundation (Stanley Center for Peace and Security), which was aimed at international peace. The latter two were started out of a heart of benevolence. Max and his brotherin-law, Clem Hansen, worried that soldiers returning to our community at the end of World War II would not have employment. To address this the two of them launched what would later become the manufacturing giant HNI to meet the needs of the homebound soldiers. It was not an easy road or one with clarity of success. This two-person idea led to a local workforce today of over 10,000 individuals. The Stanley Foundation represents Stanley’s focus on the importance of compassioned outreach and individual commitment to creating solutions. Max was urged at points to move the Stanley Foundation to premiere cities of political and financial influence, but opposed the idea, noting that, “… the Foundation would make a greater impression, especially on foreign diplomats, by being a solo voice from

the American Midlands ”Current leadership of Stanley Center for Peace and Security have recently affirmed their commitment to Max’s vision and our community.

During the early 1950s, Muscatine was experiencing an economic shift as the pearl button industry deteriorated. Attempting to counter this erosion, a volunteer industrial commission was developed, and Stanley was named chairman. A local fundraising drive financed a Development Corporation, and letters were sent promoting Muscatine to Fortune 500 companies. One letter piqued the interest of Monsanto and led to a new plant being developed in 1961. Begun with forty employees, the plant has a work force today of 425 full time employees and over 100 contractors on site. The Muscatine Health Center was another example of how Max and a collective of local community leaders improved the City’s foundational assets. In response to a shortage of doctors, a nonprofit organization was begun that brought physicians into the community; and was the precursor to the Unity Point Clinics, which today offers nearly 400 doctors and health care providers. Max and Betty Stanley were also lifelong supporters of arts and education and recognized the opportunity for advancement within the community. They funded the contemporary Stanley

Left: Max Stanley; Right: Betty and Max Stanley

Gallery, as part of the Muscatine Art Center, which today boast renowned, world-class art exhibitions and encourages local artistry. And, the list goes on… According to “Max, A Biography of C. Max Stanley,” the Stanleys modeled for their colleagues and neighbors the idea that, “Money earned was not solely for personal gain and certainly not for frivolous extravagances; wealth was to be shared with others or invested in worthy causes.” What would Muscatine and the lives of our neighbors look like today, if Max, Betty, and all the others that came before us had chosen not to believe in the vitality of our community; erasing the side rails in their minds of what we were and instead envisioning what we could be; taking action through problem-solving and intentionality of design for a future they believed the next generation deserved? The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine was built from a collection of those that cast similarities of Max and Betty Stanley; leaders, visionaries, and friends sharing their time, love, action, and small and large gifts to shape the future of our collective community. Call us today to discuss your inspired idea or charitable giving. n

The Community Foundation works with individuals, businesses and organizations to help meet their charitable goals by forming, managing and administering funds. These funds directly impact area residents by addressing important needs and/or enhancing the quality of life in Muscatine County. Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2021 13

P R O G R A M M I N G Due to Covid-19, please check with the individual organizations for the most up to date details on programming


Adventures at Home!

Camp in a Bag!

We are now offering “Adventures at Home!” a new program that will feature a oncea-month mailed activity packet for youth enrolled in first through third grade. The activities are easy and fun, yet educational, so youth will be able to do them alone or with their family.

Need a little extra something for your youth to do? “Camp In A Bag” is now offered year round! We offer 9 different themed bags including the following topics: Literature Day, STEM, Healthy Living, Civic Engagement/Community Involvement and Visual Arts! Each bag is set up to have the activities completed throughout a week, but they can be completed at any time and on any day of the week.

Each month’s mailing will feature handson activities that reinforce science, technology, engineering art, and math (STEAM) principles. In addition to written instructions, a YouTube video link will be included with each month’s packet to assist in guiding the activities. The program will run January 2021 to July 2021 and is being offered at $20 per youth. The activity packets will arrive in the mail around the 15th of each of month starting January 15, 2021.

We are offering the bags for two different age groups: 1st-3rd and 4th-6th grade. Each bag is $10 and contains a book, 6+ activities with instructions, some supplies and much more. Bags are available for pickup at the Muscatine County Extension office. Call 563-263-5701 or email to set up a time for pickup or should you have any questions. For more information on these exciting and new programs, visit our website at or call the office at 563-263-5701.

Iowa Concern is a program of the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The program began in 1985 as a tollfree number serving the agricultural community. Today, Iowa Concern serves both urban and rural Iowans. Iowa Concern services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week at no charge. Iowa Concern has access to an attorney for legal education, stress counselors, and information and referral services for a wide variety of topics. Access Iowa Concern Resources • Hotline - toll-free at 1-800-447-1985; language interpretation services available • Frequently asked questions (currently unavailable for updating) database of legal, finance, crisis and disaster, and personal health issues. • Live chat service that immediately connects you with a stress counselor where you can “talk” (type) one-on-one in a secure environment • Email an expert with your legal, finance, stress, or crisis/disaster questions.

Connect with Us!

Facebook: Web: Call: 563-263-5701 Visit our office: 1601 Plaza Place, Muscatine


All Programming is Virtual O Baby Lapsit Circle time and social time for the very youngest, ages birth to three plus parent or caregiver. Meet for songs, fingerplays, and stories, then adjourn to the children’s department for play and social time. Sparkplugs Aimed at 4 through 8-year-old’s, but

14 Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2021

everyone in the family is welcome to attend and participate. We start each program with a big, healthy snack. Adult Book Club Join your fellow book lovers for a book discussion of our monthly read. New titles are chosen every



AG E S !

MUSCATINE ART CENTER Classes for all ages are currently held in-person with limited seating. Preregistration is required for all classes, no exceptions. Masks Classes and all stud required for io & p particip rogram events are subject ants to change, please stay up-to-date by visiting, checking Facebook, or calling 563-263-8282.

artist each month with Miss Julie! Learn about the artist of the month and create a unique project in the style of the artist. Classes are appropriate for schoolaged children. Check the calendar for dates – classes start at 1:30 p.m.

Kids Classes

Adult Studio

Mini Masters (FREE! – Registration Required) Introduces children ages 2-7 to the world of art with stories and activities. Mini Masters is offered every Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. and Thursday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. Classes are also prerecorded and posted to our Muscatine Art Center Mini Masters Facebook page.

Red Barn Studio (Registration Required) Learn new techniques as artist Vada Baker gives step-by-step instructions on projects ranging from watercolors and acrylics to crafting and jewelry making. Classes meet several Sundays each month from 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. All supplies included in the class fee of $15 or $13.50 for members of Friends of the Muscatine Art Center.

Kids Saturday Workshops (FREE! – Registration Required) Celebrate a different

month ranging from local authors and best- sellers all from different genres. Tai Chi Practiced as a graceful form of exercise involving a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing.

First Thursday (Registration Required) Join Program Coordinator Katy Loos on the first

We can serve you multiple ways during Covid: In person check outs, curbside pick up, and remote delivery. Study and meeting rooms are gradually reopening, contact library for details. New Extended Hours: • Monday-Thursday 10am-9pm • Friday 10am-6pm, • Saturday 10am-2pm • Sunday 1pm-3pm.

Thursday of the month for a fun and easy DIY project, no experience necessary! Classes meet from 5:15-6:45 p.m. All supplies included in the class fee of $15 or $13.50 for members of Friends of the Muscatine Art Center.

Family Fun at Home! This January, try your hand at virtual bingo. Download a bingo sheet or pick one up during regular business hours. Complete your bingo card and enter it into a drawing to c. 1925, Gift of Frank Custer receive a basket of art supplies and a gift card to JoAnn’s. In February and March, pick up a “Valentine’s Day Party in a Bag” between February 1st – 14th and a “Spring Break in a Bag” between March 12th – 19th. Both kits feature activities families can do together at home.

For the most up to date information: Check our Facebook page and message us on Facebook. Call us at (563) 263-3065 to talk to the children’s department or reference desk Visit us on the web at

Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2021 15

Keeping Warm in Early America Whether in a sleigh, carriage, bed, church service, or just sitting home in the evening – pioneers in the 18th and 19th century America used ‘foot warmers’ to stay warm during cold winters. Foot warmers or bed warmers were made a variety of ways: The heat conductivity of soapstone made it popular for use as a foot warmer. The stone was so dense that it was able to retain and radiate heat very slowly, and could be repeatedly reheated without damage. The soapstone foot warmers were placed near the fire before bedtime and allowed to heat up. The stone could then be rubbed along the entire mattress to warm it up and then the stone was usually wrapped in a cloth and put at the foot of the bed for a continued slow release of heat throughout the night. Another common variation was called a ‘foot stove’, which consisted of a wooden frame with four turned corner posts, a perforated sheet iron box with a hinged door which would hold a tin container to store the hot coals. The tin doors were usually decorated with folk art designs (hearts, stars, circles, etc.), which radiated the heat.

The foot warmer fell out of fashion after the turn of the century, but regained popularity in the 1940s due to fuel oil rationing and coal shortages. Soapstone foot warmers are still being made today.

Lap Blankets

Lap blankets were used by riders of carriages, sleighs, and early stage coaches. They were often made from the hide and fur of an animal large enough to cover one’s ‘lap’ when seated. In the early 1800s, buffalo hides were plentiful and very warm. By the mid-late 1900s, horse hides were commonly used. All lap blankets featured the thick hide and hair/fur on the outside with a sewn layer of colorful wool and trim on the reverse side. These blankets kept travelers warm and able to bear the elements during transportation, where horse-drawn or other modes of transportation before heating or A/C technologies. Bowman Livery and Sale Stable was built by Frank Bowman at 219 East Mississippi Drive, Muscatine, in 1899.

“All manner of horse conveyances could be rented from Bowman, including a horse drawn hearse and some elegant carriages for bridal parties or mourners. Bowman also bought and fitted carriages and teams of horses for sale to private owners. When the automobile replace the buggy, the building became Bowman Brothers garage and served as a sales and repair place for Automobiles for many years. The building was demolished by Urban Renewal in 1975.” (source: Muscatine Journal) Source: History of Muscatine County Iowa, Volume I, 1911, pages 271-272

Soapstone Foot or Bed Warmer, c1890 Gift of the Mary Bishop Estate Brass Bed warmer with pierced holes and long handle, c1830 Wood and Tin Foot Stove, J. Green, Lancaster, PA Bowman Livery Carriage Blanket, Dense wool, c1900, Gift of Jim and Sandy Fuhlman “Daisy”- Horse hide winter lap blanket & matching mittens. For winter use in a sleigh or buggy to keep the passengers warm. Mason City Hide & Fur Co., c1900 Horse “Daisy” belonged to donor’s father William Hering, and was used on their family farm in Pleasant Prairie (1280 Verde Ave.). Horse pulled their buggy to the “Interurban” tracks that were close by their farm. Daisy was William’s favorite horse and when she died, he had her hide tanned and processed and made into a lap blanket and mittens. Gift of Eugene B. & Ann Hering Baxter

16 Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2021


The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Details about programs and exhibitions are posted on Visitors to the Muscatine Art Center are asked to wear a mask, sanitize their hands upon entering the building (hand sanitizer is provided), and maintain six feet of distance. Current hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Great Cover-Ups: Quilts of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries On view February 6 – April 4, 2021 Quilts tell stories deeper than the wadding and the pile of covers layered on a cold winter night. Not so long ago, quilts were considered among the most elaborate and treasured possessions in the typical American home. Adored for their intrinsic beauty as well as the utility of their warmth, quilts were folded away in ‘dowry chests’, given as wedding presents, packed to travel with immigrants, and passed from one generation to another. The quilts in this exhibition are all part of the Muscatine Art Center’s permanent collection. Visitors to the exhibition will be immersed in textures and patterns while the family history associated with each quilt is a journey into Muscatine’s past. The wonderfully whimsical and imaginative pattern names are also identified. Examples include Pineapple, Log Cabin, Windmill Blades, Flying

Geese, Carpenter’s Wheel, Grandmother’s Flower Garden, Calico Basket, Court House Steps, Friendship, Nine-Patch, Bear Paw, Lattice, Postage Stamp, Coin, and Sunbonnet Girl. From the most expensive fabrics to the most desperate attempts at gathering woolen patches, each quilt is celebrated as both a link to a specific family’s history and as a representative object from a moment in time. n

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Improving Lives Since 1913 This past year has been like no other. But throughout it all one thing remains constant – Stanley Consultants is here for Muscatine!

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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.

20 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2019

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Thank you for trusting us, then and now. 2500 Wiggins Road, Muscatine, IA 52761 For more information or request a tour of the Muscatine site call 563-262-7533 or email



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