Register Columnist Highlights Des Moines Public Schools Fashion Class, St. Vincent de Paul Partnership

December 28, 2014

Des Moines Register columnist Daniel Finney tells the story of an alliance between the Des Moines Public Schools’ fashion design and merchandise class and the Des Moines Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to “upcycle” donated clothing.

The class, St. Vincent de Paul’s retail staff and Rachel Link, an account manager with The Concept Works, are working together to organize an April 30-May 1 fashion show featuring a number of upcycled clothing items.

Click on “Young designers study fashion’s art, practicality” to see Finney’s take on upcycling and the fashion partnership.

# # # #


WHO-TV Features Puppy Jake Foundation Call for Dog Handlers

December 28, 2014

Nicole Jetter interview with Erik Wheater WHO-TV 12 27 14

DES MOINES — WHO-TV reporter Reed Chandler filed a Christmas Eve story about the Puppy Jake Foundation, starting, “A new puppy might just be the perfect Christmas gift for many, but it’s an even greater gift for those who have served our country, one local group says.”

Chandler’s story, which can be seen in its entirety here, notes, “‘What Puppy Jake Foundation does, is it raises service dogs for military veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome,’ said Dr. Nancy Peterson, a veterinary adviser for the foundation. It might sound a bit far-fetched, but Dr. Peterson points to numerous studies proving man’s best friend can do wonders for someone suffering from post-traumatic stress. ‘They are trying to be a safety net, essentially, between the veterans and the environment – the stimuli that can trigger their syndrome,’ she said. ‘Whether it be other people, noises in the environment, we do find that the veterans do a lot better when they have that kind of barrier there.’”

Four days later, the foundation’s dog trainer, Renee Jetter, was interviewed by weekend anchor Erik Wheater during a Saturday morning segment that included a seven-week-old black Labrador named Harold. The puppy is part of PJF’s latest class of puppy’s that have just begun more than 18 months of training before they are given to military veterans experiencing PTSD.

Ontario School Bus Association Annual Magazine Includes Woolson Article on Leadership

December 23, 2014

Eric Woolson, owner of The Concept Works, has written his first article for a Canadian publication with his article “The Drive to Lead Others” featured in the current issue of the Ontario School Bus Association’s annual magazine.

The story notes that the description of leadership and its traits varies greatly because there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to getting the most out of others because different situations and changing circumstances often call for different styles.

The Learning Post, Long-time Educational Products Store and Favorite of Teachers and Parents, Sold to New Owner

December 19, 2014

URBANDALE – The Learning Post, an educational products retailer that has been described as a “candy store for teachers,” has been sold to a former Kum & Go executive, owner Monti Miller said today.

The sale to Kym Howe of West Des Moines was completed Friday.

“The Learning Post was the dream and creation of my parents, Bernard and Darlene Miller. He was an elementary school principal and she was a teacher,” Miller said. “They opened the store in April 1977 in West Des Moines with the goal to bring the best quality and newest variety of educational products to central Iowa teachers and parents. It’s been a big hit with teachers and parents from the beginning and has a very loyal following of customers from across Iowa and even from other states. As we thought about selling, a top consideration was to find someone with the same passion and dedication as my parents. We’ve found that in Kym.”

The Learning Post, which moved to 2761 100th St., has nearly 12,000 square feet full of books, toys, games, classroom decoratives and other educational products. Monti Miller and his mother operated the business together after his father died in 1985 until her death in 2009. Miller and his wife, Carol, who has been with The Learning Post since it opened, are its current owners.

Howe’s professional career includes 17 years at Kum & Go, the West Des Moines-based convenience store chain that has more than 425 stores, where she held the position of senior vice president of information technology. She said she is looking forward to maintaining the Urbandale store and expanding The Learning Post’s internet presence to reach a broader audience of teachers and parents.

“No one had to convince me how much people love The Learning Post because I absolutely love it myself. I want to continue all those great things — the friendly atmosphere, innovative products and exceptional customer care that have resulted in such a devoted following — and build on those assets bring introducing some of my strengths as a businessperson,” Howe said. “One focus certainly will be to expand the reach of our online store as we move forward.”

She added, “Owning my own business has been a long-time dream and goal, and I can’t imagine a better fit than here at The Learning Post.”

# # # #

Kelly Sharp, Owner of Heart of Iowa Market Place, Makes Appearance on WOI-TV Morning Newscast

December 17, 2014

Kelly Sharp Sabrina Ahmed 12 17 14

WEST DES MOINES — Kelly Sharp, owner of the Heart of Iowa Market Place in historic Valley Junction, appeared on WOI-TV’s morning newscast today with anchor Sabrina Ahmed to talk about Christmas gift ideas.

The Heart of Iowa Market Place, located at 211 Fifth St., West Des Moines, is an iconic local store that specializes in “all things Iowa.”


Baxter “Thrilled” with Committee Assignments; Named to Economic Development, Environmental Protection and Judiciary Roles

December 9, 2014

GARNER – State Rep.-elect Terry Baxter has been appointed to the Economic Development, Environmental Protection and Judiciary committees and named vice chair of the House Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee in the upcoming session of the Iowa General Assembly.

“I couldn’t be happier with these assignments. In fact, I’m thrilled and looking forward to getting to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” Baxter said today. “I know it’s no small task for leaders to balance individual members’ interests and expertise with the big-picture needs and demands of the chamber and the public. The committees I’ll serve on have a direct impact on the lives of House District 8 and its residents.”

Baxter, a Republican whose party holds a 57-43 advantage in the House, said his work on the Judiciary Committee will give him an opportunity to work directly on legislation to protect older Iowans from financial abuse by caregivers. He expressed an interest last month to work on that issue with Rep. Chip Baltimore, a Boone Republican who has supported criminal penalties for people who commit financial abuses against elderly Iowans and intends to reintroduce legislation in the upcoming session.

During the campaign, Baxter pledged to devote energy to rural economic develop to boost employment opportunities and income in House District 8 — which includes all of Hancock, Wright and Kossuth counties — as well as the rest of the state. In his subcommittee vice chair role, Baxter will be deeply involved in creating and enacting the state’s economic development budget.

As an avid outdoorsman and supporter of Iowa agriculture, Baxter said he will feel “right at home discussing the challenges and opportunities we face as a state in caring for our land and water.”

“There are a number of competing interests and viewpoints. There are areas of common ground and times where people disagree. I want to exercise common sense to do what’s best for our district on all issues and the environment is no exception,” Baxter said.

# # # #

Changing of the Guard at Bill’s Toggery For Men Draws Coverage in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune

December 3, 2014

SHAKOPEE, Minn. — After 48 years in the family, Bill Wermerskirchen’s decision to retire and hand over the reins to his son, Billy, was the subject of a Star-Tribune feature story by reporter Liz Sawyer.

As Sawyer notes, “Since 1931, Bill’s Toggery has been largely a family affair, owned and operated by two — and soon to be three — generations of Wermer­skirchens. While big-box retailers across the country have put many independently owned clothing shops out of business during that time, Wermerskirchen’s store has survived through a mix of hard work, speedy and specialized customer service and a small-town charm that suburban fringe cities like Shakopee fight to preserve.”