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Le Chic formal wear

Hy-Vee’s Jim Simmons

Ss. Mary & Mathias

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ISSN 2475-7128

April/May/June 2018

Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry


In this issue Resource Navigators . . . . . . . 2 Le Chic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Hy-Vee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Ss. Mary & Mathias. . . . . . . .10 Running Friends . . . . . . . . . .14 Things to Do . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Art Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 On the covers Spring is in the air! Front and back covers feature images captured by local photographer Tammy Cook Slater.

Muscatine

Editor’s Corner What does the word “community� mean to you? Businessdictionary.com, lists one meaning of  “community� as: a self-organized network of people with a common agenda, cause, or interest, who collaborate by sharing ideas, information, and other resources. I like to call this definition a “special interest community.�  Alternately en.oxforddictionaries.com gives this as one definition: a particular area or place considered with its inhabitants. This definition considers a neighborhood, town or larger area as a community. Let’s call this a “geographic community.�  Everyone has layers of community in his or her life, some overlapping and some discrete. (I see some people in only one place while there are others I see many places I go.) Schools, churches, organizations, businesses and political parties are all special interest communities. And then, there is geographic community, which includes people one may not make a special effort to be with, but they are there: neighbors and the people one sees out at stores, restaurants and parks. All communities share unity in common; it’s built right into the word! 

100 W. 2nd St. • Muscatine, Iowa 52761-4027 563-263-8895 Fax: 563-263-7662

Muscatine Magazine often focuses on some smaller communities within Muscatine. This issue looks at the running community, the Catholic school community, and a collaboration between two communities: the public schools and hospital. They have stories to tell, and we tell them in the spirit of giving “snapshots� of the whole town, whose complex story really can’t be told any other way when our articles range from 400 to 1,100 words.  

Muscatine Magazine is published quarterly by:

Muscatine is a community, but it is also many communities.Â

MAGAZINE

Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry

K h Kuhl, K hl Editor Edi — Kathy

Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry 100 W. 2nd St. • Muscatine, Iowa 52761-4027 Email: chamber@muscatine.com ISSN 2475-7128 Editor: Kathy Kuhl, GMCCI Creative Director: Mike Shield, Shield Design Contributors: Tammy Cook Slater, Eric Field, Andrea Grubaugh For advertising info: Contact Kathy Kuhl at (563) 263-8895 or kkuhl@muscatine.com 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. Š2018

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Resource Navigators Deya Leza (left) and Allison Thomas.

Connecting the dots Resource Navigators find services to help students cope, succeed By Kathy Kuhl It’s a connect-the-dots kind of challenge, drawing lines to link school children and their families with basic services they may need: medical, food or housing. Children’s stress cues are often behavioral, ranging from a student causing disruption to being suddenly withdrawn or otherwise not their usual self. When teachers and other school staff witness behavioral challenges and changes in children, they turn to the school nurses, counselors and also to Resource Navigators Deya Leza and Allison Thomas. These women connect the dots. Leza and Thomas are employed by UnityPoint Health - Trinity Muscatine, but they work in the schools. Leza serves in this position at West Middle School and McKinley, Mulberry and Franklin elementary schools, and Thomas takes the same helm at Central Middle School and Madison, Colorado and Grant. They share the job at Jefferson Elementary.

2 Muscatine Magazine • Spring 2018

Leza and Thomas are there specifically to refer students and sometimes whole families to outside services like the food pantry, homeless shelter, psychiatric and psychological counseling offices, and places that offer or locate affordable housing, insurance, or medical care, to name a few.

How the positions were created A new collaboration between the Muscatine Community School District and Trinity Muscatine created these positions starting with the 2017-18 school year. They are funded through a State of Iowa At-Risk Grant. In spring 2017, Superintendent Jerry Riibe approached Christy Roby Williams, director of public health at Trinity Muscatine, about how the hospital and school could collaborate to give school children the mental health and general support they need. “Some people may say, ‘Is this really the schools’ responsibility?’ In a perfect

world, maybe not, but we have to deal with our reality,” Riibe said. “Children and parents can have a lot of stressors,” he said. ”A lot of problems that start in the living room show up in the classroom.” Assistant Superintendent Mike McGrory said the need was there, and it has become more obvious because of what the Resource Navigators have accomplished this year. “There were needs that were not being met that were and are increasing in our district,” McGrory said. “We probably need to look at bringing in more counselors, especially at elementary schools. Our Resource Navigators have made a lot of connections and created interest among possible providers of these services.”

Building true connections Angie Johnson, executive director at Trinity Muscatine, shared the numbers


that are informing Trinity Muscatine where it may offer to collaborate with and support local services in the future. Here are the numbers that show the usage of the Resource Navigators’ services as of February: • 1,451 contacts, whether with an individual student or a family • 22 agencies contacted • 47 home visits • 115 referrals from teachers or other school personnel Thomas and Leza do more with referrals than hand off a name and phone number. “They scout out information in advance,” explained Johnson. “If a student’s family needs the food pantry, our Resource Navigators will know the hours of operation, for example.” Thomas said she and Leza have made a point of making contacts with social service agencies before they call with a crisis. “We’ve met in person with people at these offices so when we need their services, they know us,” Thomas said. “We figure this opens doors for everyone.” Leza and Thomas also link children’s cases to siblings at other schools when the case might affect the whole family. When the cause for referral is weighty enough, Muscatine High School siblings are also included. Sometimes, the Resource Navigators also have conversations with parents.

Taking on the big issues Thomas said homelessness and mental health are the two biggest issues with which she and Leza deal. “Not on-the-street homelessness, but lacking a stable home,” she explained. “Affordable housing is an issue when almost half our district’s families qualify for free lunches. And when a family can’t afford rent, kids can bounce between relative’s and friend’s homes.” — Continued on page 21 Muscatine Magazine • Spring 2018 3


Business Profile

The right dress with a

personal touch Le Chic’s selection, service draw formalwear seekers from near and far By Andrea Grub Grubaugh Even in the middle midd of winter, many high school girls in Muscatine are most likely alrea already thinking about their prom in th the spring. The right dress makes a b big difference, and they may not h have to look any farther than downtown d to find it. Heather and SStacy DeLong – who were already owners of River City All Stars Dance Studio at Muscatine M Mall – opened Le Chic Prom & Page Pageant Boutique in June 2012. The for formalwear shop is currently located loca at 331 E. 2nd St. Operating a d dance studio put Heather in a p position to meet and help many pa pageant girls over the years, which she says inspired her opening Le C Chic. “There was never anywhere to get a pageant pagea dress in town,” Heather ex explained. “We always had to trav travel out of town, and our shopping shopp experiences at these places pl weren’t that gre great, making the traveling all the more frustrating.”

44 Muscatine M Mu Mus Muscatine usc us cat ca atine at iin ne M Ma Magazine Magazine ag gaz ga a az ziine in ne n e •• Spring Spr Spring p ing pr g2 20 2018 2018 01 18 8

So, she set out to create a shop of her own – not only to provide dresses for local girls, but also to provide an excellent one-on-one experience with her customers. Outside of the prom season (January to April), the store is only open by appointment, giving the customers Heather’s undivided attention. “We’ve worked with pageant girls for years,” Heather said. “We’re able to answer questions and help girls find a dress that works for them, even if they come in not knowing what they want, or if they come in wanting a specific dress they saw on TV, only to discover it doesn’t work for them in person. “We have many different choices here that anyone is welcome to search for,” she said. Dresses by designers such as Sherri Hill, Mac Duggle and Jovanni all can be found at Le Chic. The sizes sold at the shop range from 0 to 18, though dresses up to size 24 can be ordered. Accessories and shoes are also sold, and even young men can stop by and rent a tuxedo to match their prom date.

Stacy DeLong helps Claire Smith of Vinton, Iowa, gather extra fabric from a dress she tries on for her prom at Vinton-Shellsburg High School. Smith bought a different dress at Le Chic for the occasion.


Patricia White, a frequent customer of Le Chic, said great selection is the reason she keeps coming back to the store. “You don’t just have basic dresses here,” she explained. “You’re able to find something unique, and they have nearly every color, pattern and design you could think of.” But it isn’t just high school couples and young pageant stars that have benefited from Le Chic. Several Miss America, Miss World, and Miss USA contestants have been dressed by Le Chic, allowing the shop’s dresses to shine onscreen. “We ship dresses all around the country, and we’ve had people come from all over to look through our store, not just from Muscatine or the Quad Cities. We even had a customer come down here all the way from the Canadian border!” As happy as Heather is providing dresses for her customers, she’s even happier to provide them for charity. Along with sponsoring various local pageants such as Miss Muscatine, Le Chic has been part of Runway Red, a benefit for the local Gilda’s Club, which supports cancer survivors and their loved ones. She has also donated numerous dresses to Gown Town, an annual drive sponsored by Z 102.9 FMCedar Rapids that provides free prom dresses, no questions asked. As DeLong says, “For us, the most important thing is just providing a great experience, and to help someone find their perfect dress.” From pageant dresses that sparkle to prom looks you’ll always remember, Le Chic has it – complete with DeLongs’ personal touch. For girls who still need an outfit for their big night, Le Chic is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5 -7 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (4 p.m. on Saturdays) for the remainder of the prom season. No appointment is required. Q

Muscatine Magazine • Spring 2018 5


It’s about more than groceries to the leadership team at Hy-Vee, 2400 2nd Ave. Store Director Jim Simmons (center) and his assistant directors Steve Graham and Emily Bockelman make sure the shelves are stocked, the customers are happy and the needs of many local non-profits are met.

Jim Simmons personifies ‘helpful smile’ with store that offers constant helping hand By Kathy Kuhl It’s a large building at 67,500 square feet, and the foot traffic is fairly consistent seven days a week. At the two entrances, there are almost always fundraisers or the occasional awareness-raiser. Every year at the regularly scheduled times, Boy Scouts sell popcorn, Girl Scouts sell cookies, the Salvation Army volunteers ring the bell to fill the kettle, and the Humane Society sells its candy-covered apples. The description of activities at this building – only touching the surface of all the not-for-profit ventures that take place on its grounds – may make it sound like a community center. However, if you’re a Muscatine resident who spends any time here, it has probably dawned on you that this is your friendly local Hy-Vee grocery store.

Making charity a priority

Going into his fifth year at the HyVee Store at 2400 2nd Ave., Director Jim Simmons takes community very seriously, arranging with non-profits to be at the doors at least a couple of days per week. 6 Muscatine Magazine • Spring 2018

“I’m big into helping kids and feeding people,” he said. In 2017, these priorities translated (along with smaller donations to many other organizations) into Hy-Vee giving in-kind donations totaling more than $450,000 to three organizations who provide meals: the Muscatine Center for Social Action (MCSA), the Salvation Army, and Loaves and Fishes. Another big donation was coordinated between

Jim is a true community leader with a great heart. — Charla Schafer, Director of Muscatine Center for Social Action

Simmons and Muscatine Hy-Vee Mainstreet (510 E. 6th St.) Director Matt Schweizer, giving $50,000 to help fund the new Kids Adventure Center at the Muscatine Community Y. Simmons has taken Hy-Vee’s longtime slogan of a “helpful smile in every aisle” much further by bringing out the best in his employees and customers to help where help is needed in Muscatine.

Simmons explains his Hy-Vee store’s fundraising success like this: “I have the best customers in the world. They give to everything when help is needed.” He and his two assistant directors, Steve Graham (operations manager) and Emily Bockelman (perishables manager), said while store decisions are locally driven, including on charitable giving, corporate Hy-Vee has a charitable philosophy. “Our fundraisers for The Wounded Warrior Project, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, Hy-Vee Homefront and recently, hurricane relief are corporatedriven,” Simmons said. “To give back to community is Hy-Vee all over.” Other efforts are completely local. MCSA Director Charla Schafer recalled a dramatically effective fundraiser that Simmons organized for her organization. “He arranged for the parking lot firework sales last summer to go to us,” she said. “Jim was in the forefront of making it happen: set-up, tear-down, labor (from MCSA) and supplies.” In 13 days leading up to July 4th, they raised $15,000.


Schafer said that Simmons has been a golden member of the MCSA board, stepping up for the organization time and again. “Jim is a true community leader with a great heart,” she said.

Enjoying a fast-paced industry While actively helping charities every day (including serving on several other boards), Simmons oversees 20 departments at Hy-Vee Store 1437 with 400 total employees, 101 of them full-time.

He, Bockelman and Graham start each day by “walking the store,” making sure they cover all areas to ensure customers’ needs are being met. Everything flows from there, and no two days are the same. That’s why I love my job,” Simmons said. “I need variety. I’d be bored without it.” He also likes a fast pace. “If we could have Christmas every week, we would!”

Simmons started as Muscatine Hy-Vee store director in 2014 – right after a big renovation. He has been with Hy-Vee for 32 years and points out that several employees have more years of service. A native of Parnell, Mo. (near Kansas City), he worked in Hy-Vee stores in Maryville, Mo.; Omaha, Neb.; Brookings, S.D. (assistant director); and Red Oak and Sioux City, Iowa (director at both). He said he was glad to come back to a smaller community with his wife Tina. (Their children, Mitch and Kyley, are grown.) “At the larger stores, it’s just harder to get to know your customers,” he said.

Changing, staying ahead of trends

Since Simmons began in Muscatine, he said, there haven’t been major, visible changes in the store. “We’ve added

charcuterie, and expanded offerings in the bakery and Hickory House.” But there is one recent big change that is not visible: online shopping. “We’ve always offered delivery for people who need it; now we offer it for people who want it,” he said, explaining that online orders can be picked up by the customer or delivered – free for $100 or more or with a $4.95 fee for smaller orders. Orders can be placed at www.hy-vee.com/groceries. The store still accepts call-in orders from elderly customers, a practice that predates the online business. Simmons said marketing will drive HyVee’s biggest changes in the next two years. At the corporate level, it started at the beginning of 2018 with the “mega ad.” But the latest, local effort has Simmons fired up. — Continued on next page

Hy-Vee marketing goes livestream with Tony Tone His is a voice many local people have heard. Now his face may become familiar, too. Tony “Tone” Loconsole, spent years on nearby morning radio programs, first at KBEA-FM in the Quad Cities and more recently for 93.1 KMCS-FM in Muscatine. His career now has taken a twist that puts him in front of a mic and a camera. But it’s not television; it’s livestream, and it’s for Hy-Vee. Loconsole made store announcements for the Muscatine Hy-Vee at 2400 2nd Ave. for four years, and more recently, a conversation between him, producer Chad Yocom and store director Jim Simmons led to the creation of “HyVee Today with Tony Tone.” The show is a Media Tree production, with the help of Executive Producer Yocom and Associate Producer Ryan Broderson. “This is about community first, and it’s unique to Muscatine,” Loconsole said. The show, staged behind the chef’s preparation area, began February 5. It airs at 8:30-9:15 or 9:30 weekday mornings, and it can be viewed (livestream or afterward) via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Roku. A smartphone app is in development.

The show is all about interviews. During the show’s first week, pictured above, Loconsole paired up for conversation with Muscatine High School Activities Director Mike Morgan and MHS senior basketball standout and University of Iowa recruit Joe Wieskamp.

Simmons added, “We’re the first Hy-Vee store doing a regular livestream show.” So far, Loconsole has hosted and interviewed people ranging from Governor Kim Reynolds to Muscatine High School (MHS) Principal Dr. Jared Smith to Big Brothers/Big Sisters Director Lindsey Philips. Loconsole has other tasks as the new marketing merchandising manager. He also promotes Hy-Vee’s weekly sales through social media and creates, manages and promotes the store’s events. He is out in the store like every other employee – sometimes bagging orders. On the first “Hy-Vee Today” show, he observed how slow he is at this task compared to Simmons. “Well, I’ve got 30 years on you!” Simmons said. Q Muscatine Magazine • Spring 2018 7


Hy-Vee

Continued from previous page —

On Feb. 5, the store launched a livestreaming webcast called “Hy-Vee Today with Tony Tone.” The show airs Mondays through Fridays, running from 8:309:15 or 9:30 a.m. (See sidebar story for viewing options.) The idea was generated locally, and none of Hy-Vee’s other 234 stores have done anything like it. “This will serve Muscatine and the surrounding area,” said former radio personality Tony “Tone” Loconsole, now the store’s marketing manager. “We’ll highlight the good things that happen with non-profits. There hasn’t really been a good place to disseminate information about community events.” “We’ll invite people from the Y, schools, the Muskie boosters – a lot of nonprofits,” Simmons said. “It’s going to be crazy good.” Bockelman said the show reflects the forward-thinking philosophy of the store. “Hy-Vee’s not afraid to try selling new things or trying new approaches,” she said. “We try to stay ahead of trends.”

Caring for customers

At this Hy-Vee, it’s a shared vocation to make sure no one gets left behind. “If the community thrives, we as a store thrive,” Graham noted. This idea goes beyond enlightened self-interest to actually caring for customers. Although Simmons said the store focuses charity on groups, always, Graham remembers times that Simmons has taken aside longtime individual customers seeing hard times. He has given them items like milk, bread and ground beef. When elderly customers haven’t made it to the store for a while, managers make phone calls. “We’ll send a balloon to someone at the hospital, just a little something to let them know we’re thinking of them,” Simmons said. “That’s just how we roll.” Q 8 Muscatine Magazine • Spring 2018

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One grade at a time SsMMCS gradually adds middle school grades By Eric Field All the signs were there for Ben Nietzel. About four years ago, the Saints Mary and Matthias Catholic School (SsMMCS) principal saw an alignment of the right conditions to reintroduce middle school to a system that was preschool through fifth grade since the late 1990s. An alumnus himself, Nietzel had always hoped to do this. SsMMCS started looking at changes when the Muscatine Community School District was discussing converting Central and West middle schools into a fifth/sixth grade school and a seventh/ eighth grade school. Although the idea never came to fruition, Nietzel wanted to come up with a strategy to keep SsMMCS’s enrollment from dropping. “We were concerned about losing fifth graders at the time,” Nietzel explained. “Our fifth grade parents would have had to enroll their children at another school for sixth grade and yet another school for seventh grade.” Facing this possible change in the Muscatine Community School District prompted SsMMCS to add middle school back to its building. Nietzel said expansion costs were low. “The parish had already built the Mazzuchelli Center for faithbased education classes

SsMMCS seventh grader Diego Vitale hits the books in Wil Touchet’s class. He said he feels he gets a better education by attending the private school.

10 Muscatine Magazine • Spring 2018

(in 2010). We could use these extra classrooms during school hours to accommodate an increase in students,” he added. Because there weren’t brick-and-mortar costs, the school could focus funding and attention on salaries for new teachers and classroom materials for more advanced grades. In fall 2016, SsMMCS opened its doors for the first sixth-grade class and added one teacher. For the 2017-18 academic year, the school added seventh grade and three teachers. No teachers will be added in fall 2018 when the building adds eighth grade. Currently, there are 13 sixth graders and 20 seventh graders. Seventh grader Jonny Joseph – a member of the flagship middle school class, likes his school even if it’s not easy. “Mr T. (Touchet) can be a tough teacher, but in the end, we’re successful.” Makenna Kopf, also in seventh grade, appreciates being at a parochial

school at this level. “We’re able to express our faith,” she said. Nietzel noted that Superintendent Jerry Riibe and the Muscatine Community School District have been “fantastic” in a collaboration for all middle schoolers in Muscatine. SsMMCS middle school students are allowed to participate in extracurricular programs at West and Central, which helps build a community for students who will all eventually be under the same roof at Muscatine High School. “We do our best to provide for the middle school students and give them opportunities to be successful,” Nietzel said.Q


The original St. Mathias School, 1888.

St. Mathias School, 1913.

A brief history of Catholic education in Muscatine Catholic education in Muscatine dates back to the mid-nineteenth century.

The Walton Pioneer Papers say that Father Philip Laurent began St. Mathias Parochial School in 1852, and a school addition was built to the church the next year. The parish built a separate school in 1858, and by 1866 the number of pupils was at least 300. St. Mary’s Catholic Church erected its first school in 1879-1880. At first, St. Mary’s School served elementary students. It later expanded to 11th grade, then to 12th, graduating its first high school class in 1926.



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In 1950 a committee formed to combine the schools. The school was incorporated as Muscatine Catholic High School in 1953. It was built at 2407 Cedar St. at a cost of $450,000. Catholic kids in grades 1-8 attended the schools on the church campuses.

For the 1968-69 school year grades 1-6 took over what was by then known as Hayes Catholic School, and the church campus schools were shuttered. A funding shortage meant no more Catholic instruction for grades 7-12; the older students entered the public schools.

Kindergarten was later added, and the school stopped offering sixth grade when the district went to a middle school system. Preschool grades (Guardian Angel) were added in the late 1990s.

The school was renamed for its two churches as Ss. Mary & Mathias Catholic School in 2009, five years before St. Mary’s Church was declared structurally unsound and was demolished. The school and the parish retain the name even though the St. Mary’s building is gone. Q

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Fun on the Run Running Friends cover the miles, build friendships

By Kathy Kuhl “Keep Running! Keep Smiling!” It’s the sign-off on the email that goes out to almost 200 Muscatine Running Friends (MRF) each week. It also demonstrates the group’s lightheartedness and its commitment to fun through fitness. “The whole idea is to keep moving. You don’t have to be fast to join us,” said MRF founder Teri Lyon. MRF is the group of color-coordinated runners you may see along the streets of Muscatine. The group runs in all kinds of weather year-round. Members come in all shapes, sizes, and ability levels but the comradery is their bond. “We just enjoy our time together. We get some exercise and fresh air,” said Nancy Shell, one of the original MRF members who has completed 51 marathons since joining. For more than 10 years, the group has met at the Muscatine Community Y for a 5- to 7-mile run Wednesday evenings and Saturday/Sunday mornings. The members coordinate to share rides to out-of-town races. Some actually run to get to local races, a practice they call “migrations.” Lyon started the group in October 2006 when she was asked by a friend to do her first full marathon two months later. “I thought, ‘I don’t know if I’ll be ready,’” Lyon said.

12 Muscatine Magazine • Spring 2018


But she did it and has run 50 marathons since. Longtime marathoner Bill Ryan agreed to train them. “He was so fit I didn’t know if he’d take us on, but he did,” Lyon said. Word got out about their training runs. Some loyal members have included: Paula Gillespie, Terry Hartsock, Steve and Becky Hammann, Terry Curry, Charles Potter, Kenny Osborn, Nancy Foxen, Becky Eserhaut, Tony Carl, Daphne Donald, Stacey Eberhard, Angela Karkosh and Jean Pfeiffer. MRF has covered many, many miles. In 2011, 18 members ran every street in Muscatine (406 miles) including neighborhoods outside the bypass. Members collectively reached 100,000 miles in 2012. All members are challenged to add one mile more per year. Runners/walkers can turn in mileage monthly via email to Shell. The group has just-for-fun events such as Easter egg hunts, birthday celebrations, and holiday parties. A well-known MRF tradition is the Jingle Jog. For one of their Saturday morning runs in December, members wear Santa Claus hats/shirts, sing Christmas carols and distribute candy canes. It started in 2007 on a route that included Fareway,

the post office, Westside Store, and Hy-Vee Mainstreet. More recently the runners have gone to Blain’s Farm & Fleet, Hy-Vee, Walmart, ALDI, Menards, McDonald's and sometimes the Muscatine Mall. In addition to having fun and keeping fit the group has also undertaken several community projects.

The whole idea is to keep moving. You don’t have to be fast to join us. — Teri Lyon, MRF Founder

MRF coordinated and executed a big community cleanup in 2013 called Dash for Trash, sponsored by 17 businesses and non-profits. Runners gathered trash into bags and a truck came and hauled it away. In 2015, the MRF adopted the gazebo area at the Muscatine Arboretum. Each month the members maintain the area by weeding, mulching, and planting. Next year they plan to stain the gazebo.

and toys for children to “Toytime.” The runners helped raise money for numerous causes as they participated in events such as the Relay for Life and Race for the Cure. Several members contributed to purchase 36 signs for the Muscatine Trail system. It all sounds fun but the fellowship forged among the runners has helped carry them through hard times, too. Lyon lost her husband, Jeff, to brain cancer on June 5, 2016. “He was so brave. He was very supportive of the running group. If I was having a bad day, he’d shove me out the door to run because he knew I would feel better after a run.” The group banded together to stay strong during this time. At the 2016 Healthy Living Festival, the Jeff Lyon Memorial Run allowed runners/walkers to cover one, three or five miles along the Mississippi riverfront path. Shell also told how Lyon helped her. “She took me in when I got really sick,” she said. “At times like that, it feels like a ‘Running Family’ instead of ‘Running Friends.’” To be added to the mailing list for the Muscatine Running Friends, email Nancy Shell at shellnancy_2000@yahoo.com or Teri Lyon at lyonden@machlink.com. Q

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So what is the Muscatine Running Club? It is a group more than a “club,” said Dell Wagner. There are no meetings or officers. Muscatine Running Club helps with area road races: set-up and teardown, riding/ driving the lead vehicle, distributing refreshments, tabulating results and handing out awards. The group also looks at race scheduling to minimize overlap among local events. MRC’s email list has 1,300 people, but three people oversee the group: Wagner, Peggy Bailey and John Sayles.

Wagner guides people who are interested in coordinating new races and meets them again before successive years of the same event. “It’s 90 percent easier the second time around,” he said.

Bailey operates the website. It publishes a list of upcoming races – providing links to some race forms – and also race results and photos and videos.

He also provides race day support, explaining rules, routes, giving the start commands and afterwards, announcing awards. He has a voice that needs no amplification until the group exceeds 400, he joked.

The Muscatine Running Club sponsors one local race: the Watermelon Stampede, a 5k/10k race the third Saturday in August.

Sayles does timing at the races.

The group also tracks individual runners’ local race results to annually award the “Grand Prix” to top runners by gender and age divisions. Q

See the group’s website at: www.machlink. com/~muscatinerunningclub Muscatine Magazine • Spring 2018 13


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Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018 2017 15


Things to Do MHS presents Curtains The Muscatine High School (MHS) Theater Department will present Curtains! as its spring musical Thursday, April 26 to Saturday, April 28. Curtains! is a murder-mysterycomedy-whodunit, with music by Kander and Ebb. It is based on the book by Rupert Holmes. Performances will be at 7 p.m. in the MHS Auditorium all three days. There will also be a 2 p.m. Saturday show.   Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (60+) and students (K-12). Tickets are available at the door day of the show. They are also available for preorder (which gives the buyer reserved seating) using a ticket order form at www.muskiedrama.wordpress.com.

Farmer’s Market opens The Muscatine Farmer’s Market will be open again soon! Opening date is Saturday, May 5 at the parking lot at 3rd and Sycamore, where all Saturday market sessions are from 7:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday afternoon markets will begin on May 8 at the Muscatine Mall parking lot (far northwest corner) from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Fare ranges from plants to garden-fresh veggies and fruit to baked goods and crafts.

Group creates path to heighten experience of pollinators Picture yourself - on a bike or on foot – meandering through a prairie. Colorful flowers lend their scent to the air, and the pollinators who help them propagate are busy doing their important work. This is the experience that members of the Muscatine Pollinator Project want you to have, right on the bike/pedestrian path. By April 21, there will be a new segment of trail dedicated to their vision. “It’s one thing to see a prairie off in the distance and observe swallowtails (butterflies) swooping, but to see the smaller pollinators like bees and ants, you have to weave your way right through it,” said Ron Knopik, a wildlife refuge specialist with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Wapello. Knopik is also a member of the Muscatine Pollinator Project along with Dave Cooney. “We hope that by being up close, people get an appreciation for monarchs and other pollinators who are vital to our ecosystem,” Cooney added.

On April 21 (which, not coincidentally, is Earth Day), the group will hold a ribbon-cutting at the entrance of a new one-mile loop of the path that goes around Muscatine’s Recycling Center & Transfer Station, 1000 S. Houser St. Look for more details like time of day on the Muscatine Magazine Facebook page. Along the path, the Pollinator group has done a controlled burn of eight acres then seeded the area with native plants attractive to bees, butterflies and other pollinators. What will be on view for bike riders, walkers and runners is the early development of a prairie. Knopik said the plants take 3 to 5 years to get fully established. He said the mix of plants varies in bloom time, color and height, creating a varied habitat that will foster a range of insects and birds to pollinate. People coming through will also be able to read about what is around them, as signage will be installed in time for the ribbon cutting. Signs will give information on plants, animals and the prehistory and history of the area. The Melon City Bike Club helped fund the trail’s signage, and additional funding is being sought.

Melon City Criterium

Whether you’ll saddle up or just go to watch: Mark your calendar! Bicycle racers and enthusiasts will descend upon Weed Park for the 40th year in a row for the Melon City Criterium on Sunday, May 27. “Muscatine usually gets in excess of 400 riders each year,” said Greg Harper, a member of the Melon City Bike Club and owner of Harper’s Cycling & Fitness, both sponsors of the event. “It’s one of the larger continuous community events here.” Harper said that coordinating with Burlington and the Quad Cities to have their area races on successive days has helped draw biking enthusiasts from around the country. Weed Park is also a draw because its hills present a challenge and its main loop is one mile. Minnesota, Texas, California and Michigan are states that are usually well represented at the event, he said. Sign-ups started on Feb. 14 but will remain open until race day unless the maximum number of riders per race is met. Races include kids, women’s, men’s and professional categories.

16 Muscatine Magazine • Spring 2018

Pre-registration is available on www.usacycling.org. Go to the “events” tab, then “search events.” Under a photo of a bicyclist, it says “Miss our old map-based events search? Click here.” Click on the link, then click on Iowa when the U.S. map pops up. In the list of Iowa events, the “40th Annual Melon City Criterium” requires some scroll-down. Once you’ve clicked on the words, you can register online and print the flyer with the list of events.


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.

Pulled, Pressed and Screened: Important American Prints on view May 26 – July 22, 2018 Printmaking has captured the imagination of countless American artists. From the 1930s to the 1980s the printed image in American art went through profound changes. Regionalists and urban realists popularized black and white lithographs. Experimentation continued in the 1940s and 1950s with many artists working in intaglio. The 1960s brought the ‘Pop’ explosion of screenprints. Precision ruled in the 1970s with super realism. Painters and sculptors also took up the medium. Today’s artists, and especially printmakers, have a rich history and visual catalogue upon which to draw inspiration. Pulled, Pressed and Screened is an exhibition of 50 American prints by well-known artists such as Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Dorothy Dehner, Mauricio Lasansky, Romare Bearden and Robert

Clubs offer plant sale The Muscatine Garden Club, Muscatine County Master Gardeners and the Cedar Valley Day Lily and Iris Society will hold a plant sale to benefit the organizations on Saturday, June 12 at the parking lot of the Muscatine County Environmental Learning Center, 3300 Cedar St. The sale will include a variety of flowering perennials.

Romare Bearden, Tidings, 1973, photo screenprint on wove paper, Syracuse University Art Collection

Motherwell. Those contributing to printmaking and graphic arts represent varied American experiences and voices including immigrants to the United States, women and African-American artists.

Pulled, Pressed and Screened: Important American Prints is organized by the Syracuse University Art Galleries and drawn from the Syracuse University Art Collection holdings of more than 12,500 prints of which more than 7,500 are by American artists. Q

Island United Methodist celebrates 150 years Island United Methodist Church in Fruitland will mark its 150th year with a celebration on the weekend of June 16-17. The church, located at 2598 Stewart Rd., will have a catered dinner, an ice cream social, a historical reenactment of the church’s founding and a dedication of its outdoor sanctuary as part of the festivities. All past ministers have been invited. Before the celebration weekend, there will be a trivia night fundraiser on Saturday, April 14 to help fund it.

and distributes to those in need. The church also has members that serve on missions on a regular basis.

Island United Methodist Church is known for its Lighthouse Clothing Closet, which collects clothing

Watch for more details on the 150th celebration on the church’s Facebook page. Muscatine Magazine • Spring 2018 17

Photo by Marc Ryckaert Pho


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Connecting the dots Continued from page 3 –

Mental health supports, noted Leza, are more effective when started at a young age. “If other things are going on in a kid’s life, transitions become harder, so working with younger kids, we can help with those big transitions between elementary and middle school, middle and high school,” Leza said.

“Our hope is to give supports earlier to help kids succeed,” Thomas said. “When you catch them earlier, they’re less likely to lose interest in school.” Ultimately, she said, they hope their role will boost graduation rates. This early in the process, it can be difficult to measure how much they have helped. “It’s success if we keep them from homelessness if that was the original

issue. If we refer them to therapy, it takes a lot longer to know,” she said. Thomas added, “I love that the school district cares about its students on a holistic level. They really think progressively.” Riibe turned the compliment back to Thomas and Leza. “We couldn’t have asked for better people to take on this brand-new role.” Q

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We need writers! Muscatine Magazine needs writers, especially business writers. Please contact Kathy Kuhl at kkuhl@muscatine.com



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