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Spy museum's newest: ax used on Trotsky, parts of Powers' U2

WASHINGTON — H. Keith Melton spent 40 years looking for the ice-climbing ax used in the bloody assassination of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. It had been sitting under a bed in Mexico City for decades.

Much easier was acquiring a mangled, basketball-size chunk of Gary Powers’ U2 spy plane shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960. It was a gift from a Soviet official.

The items are part of the world’s largest private collection of spy artifacts. Melton, a wealthy businessman from Boca Raton, Florida, is donating all of it to the International Spy Museum in Washington.

The museum announced Wednesday that more than 5,000 items Melton amassed during four decades of crisscrossing the globe will be the cornerstone of a new, larger facility slated to open next year in the nation’s capital.

It is a “magnificent gesture,” gushed Peter Earnest, the museum’s founding director, crediting Melton’s donation with tripling the museum’s current holdings of roughly 2,000 items.

There’s a victory flag that CIA-backed Cuban exiles never flew after the botched Bay of Pigs invasion in 1960.

There’s a 13-foot-long World War II spy submarine known as the “Sleeping Beauty.”

And there are escape-and-evasion devices, codes and cipher machines along with the disguises, secret writings, listening devices, clandestine radios, spy cameras and uniforms and clothes of the most famous spooks every employed by CIA, KGB, FBI and Britain’s MI6.

“It took nine people 17 days to pack the collection in an assembly line,” Melton told The Associated Press in an interview this month. “I had to breathe deeply several times as I saw all of the gadgets being packed up and leaving.”

Melton, a founding member of the museum’s board, said professional appraisers estimated his collection at more than $20 million. He said he’s paid “foolish” prices for some items and, at times, acquired things that he later learned were fakes.

“To me, the goal is not to see how many widgets I can get. It’s what can I learn. I love research. Every artifact I have is part of a detective search,” he said. “You travel into strange places in the world and sometimes pay too much money, but you end up fascinated with the variety of things that you see.”

McGregor and Wiedholz join the Shorelight Memory Care team, bring passion to community

Caledonia — Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, the residents of Shorelight Memory Care live in an amazing setting that is not just about the view; it is all about person-centered care that brings enjoyment to resident’s lives, shared Racine Dominican values, a dementia trained care team and a passion to help those experiencing memory loss.

It is a passion that Stephanie McGregor, Resident Services Director, and Lisa Wiedholz, Community Relations Director, both feel very strongly about and why they recently joined the team at Shorelight, located at the Siena Center at 5643 Erie Street.

“The return on investment is incredible.” said McGregor, who relocated from North Dakota to join the Shorelight team in February.

McGregor brings with her over 20 years of experience in senior care ranging from hospital, skilled nursing, assisted living, independent living and memory care.

“When you can make a connection with someone who is living with dementia, you cannot even describe the feeling.” said McGregor.

The team at Shorelight are able to connect with residents because of their philosophy of person-centered care, which means meeting residents where they are and accommodating their schedules.

Another aspect that makes Shorelight stand out is the specialized dementia training. Every team member that joins Shorelight attends a two-day training course in memory care to acclimate them to the Shorelight culture and philosophy. Also helpful is the comprehensive background that families complete prior to moving their loved one to Shorelight.

“It is really important to learn their life story.” said Wiedholz, who joined Shorelight in August. Wiedholz previously volunteered as a support group facilitator with the Alzheimer’s Association and was a “Powerful Tools for the Caregiver” trainer as well.

Both McGregor and Wiedholz have a passion for helping caregivers and loved ones find hope in a time of need; honoring the Racine Dominican values that drew them both to the Shorelight team.

The presence and influence of the sisters is prevalent at Shorelight. They live their legacy by providing one-on-one visits with residents, providing pet therapy, walking residents outdoors, doing rosary, playing bingo and anything else to enhance the lives of the residents.

To learn more about Shorelight, call 262-898-9100 or visit us at

Today in History

Today’s Highlight:

On September 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the poem “Defence of Fort McHenry” (later “The Star-Spangled Banner”) after witnessing the American flag flying over the Maryland fort following a night of British naval bombardment during the War of 1812.

On this date:

In 1829, the Treaty of Adrianople was signed, ending war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire.

In 1861, the first naval engagement of the Civil War took place as the USS Colorado attacked and sank the Confederate private schooner Judah off Pensacola, Florida.

In 1867, the first volume of “Das Kapital” by Karl Marx was published in Hamburg, Germany.

In 1901, President William McKinley died in Buffalo, New York, of gunshot wounds inflicted by an assassin; Vice President Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him.

In 1927, modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan died in Nice, France, when her scarf became entangled in a wheel of the sports car she was riding in.In 1941, Vermont passed a resolution enabling its servicemen to receive wartime bonuses by declaring the U.S. to be in a state of armed conflict, giving rise to headlines that Vermont had “declared war on Germany.”

In 1954, the Soviet Union detonated a 40-kiloton atomic test weapon.

In 1964, Pope Paul VI opened the third session of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, also known as “Vatican II.” (The session closed two months later.)

In 1975, Pope Paul VI declared Mother Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton the first U.S.-born saint.

In 1982, Princess Grace of Monaco, formerly actress Grace Kelly, died at age 52 of injuries from a car crash the day before; Lebanon’s president-elect, Bashir Gemayel, was killed by a bomb.

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, appeared together on radio and television to appeal for a “national crusade” against drug abuse.

In 1991, the government of South Africa, the African National Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party signed a national peace pact.

Ten years ago: Defense Secretary Robert Gates raised the possibility of cutting U.S. troop levels in Iraq to 100,000 by the end of 2008, well beyond the cuts President George W. Bush had approved. In Iraq, some 1,500 mourners called for revenge as they buried the leader of the Sunni revolt against al-Qaida, Adbul-Sattar Abu Risha, who had been assassinated in a bombing claimed by an al-Qaida front.

Five years ago: Fury over an anti-Muslim film ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad spread across the Muslim world, with deadly clashes near Western embassies in Tunisia and Sudan, an American fast-food restaurant set ablaze in Lebanon, and international peacekeepers attacked in the Sinai. A French gossip magazine’s publication of topless photos of Prince William’s wife, Kate, prompted an immediate lawsuit from the royal couple. (On Sept. 5, 2017, a French court ruled that photographers and gossip magazine executives had violated the privacy of the Duchess of Cambridge and fined two executives of gossip magazine Closer each the maximum of 45,000 euros ($53,500) for such an offense.)Thought for Today: “America has been called a melting pot, but it seems better to call it a mosaic, for in it each nation, people or race which has come to its shores has been privileged to keep its individuality, contributing at the same time its share to the unified pattern of a new nation.” — King Baudouin I of Belgium (1930-1993).


Basketball Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown is 77. Singer-actress Joey Heatherton is 73. Actor Sam Neill is 70. Actress Mary Crosby is 58. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is 52. Actor Dan Cortese is 50. Contemporary Christian singer Mark Hall is 48. Actor-writer-director-producer Tyler Perry is 48. Actor Ben Garant is 47. Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley is 46. Actor Andrew Lincoln is 44. Rapper Nas is 44. Actor Sebastian Sozzi is 35. Singer Alex Clare is 32. Actor-singer Logan Henderson is 28.