KILJ news and Two Rivers Bank are pleased to bring you the news portion of our annual Year in Review….a look back at the old as we move forward into the new.
In October during Pork Month, the Iowa Pork Producers announced that Butch’s River Rock Café in Oakland Mills was the winner of the Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Contest. The restaurant received $500, a plaque and statewide publicity.
Jury selection in Henry County got underway at the end of October in the first degree murder retrial of Seth Techel. But two weeks later it ended the same way as the first trial….with a jury that couldn’t come up with a verdict. Techel was charged in May 2012 with the murder of his pregnant wife Lisa Caldwell Techel. Techel’s was first tried in February of this year, but a Wapello County jury could not come to a decision after a trial that lasted nearly five weeks. In the aftermath of the hung jury in Wapello County in February, district court judge Daniel Wilson moved the trial to Mt. Pleasant in the hope of finding a jury that could reach a verdict. National media focused attention on the trial putting Henry County in the national spotlight for a time.
The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council has named Mount Pleasant Middle School, Davenport Community School District, Hoover High School of the Des Moines Community School District, and Sioux Center High School as the recipients of a $50,000 district-matched award to implement a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) classroom in their schools. The recipients were chosen from a group of 23 applications submitted through a request for proposals released earlier this summer. Mount Pleasant Middle School is the only middle-level learning environment chosen to receive the award. The new classroom will replicate the University of Iowa’s Transform, Interact, Learn and Engage (TILE) classroom as a model in its learning environment to facilitate collaboration, peer instruction and activities enhanced through advanced technology. Their STEM classroom will serve as a prototype for a school redesign which may be duplicated in other classrooms in the following year.
This was the year for city elections. Alan Huisinga and Brant Knudson faced off in a battle for the Mt. Pleasant Council city seat previously held by Stan Curtis. Huisinga won the contest. The Salem race for mayor ended in a tie but Salem doesn’t have an ordinance that calls for a run-off election in case of a tie. So, according to Iowa code, the county supervisors must draw the name of the winner. Tuesday morning Gary See, chair of the Henry County Board of Supervisors drew Dan Patterson’s name to break the tie for mayor of Salem. The other name in the drawing was incumbent mayor Linda Ward. And by the way it was one absentee ballot that tied the race.
New London voters also had choices to make. Five candidates ran for three seats. The voters chose Dan Berner, Greg Malott and Frank Staley. In Rome, where many times the council was selected by write-in votes, there was a race for mayor and six residents ran for the five seats on the council. Jeremy Lanferman received 12 votes for mayor and Philip Moore 4. Elected to the council were Lester Garrison, Martha Garrison, Deb Sammons, Dennis Sammons and Maria Whetsler.
Here are some other results:
Salem elected Warren Barton and Jeremy Hunold to the council.
Olds..Michael Reschly Mayor, Raymond Meth and Matthew Slagel Council
Wayland…Brad Roth Mayor, Karole Miller, Melinda Ullery and Scott Shumaker Council
Coppock…Peter Lowe Mayor, Robert Schoolen, Tracie Sedlacek and Felicia Starr Council
Hillsboro Chad Brousseau, Gene Carter, Dwight Stanley Council
Mt. Pleasant…Steve Brimhall Mayor, Terry McWilliams, Debra Savage
Mt. Union..John Marek Jr Mayor, Ben Johnson and Jason Moats Council
Westwood…John Roederer Mayor, Tim Beavers, Jeff Baker, Gary Lane Council
Winfield… Ryan Kinneberg, Jan Walter and Ryan Reiss Council
November 11 Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack presented the Union Block revitalization project with a check for $40,000. Vilsack, whose husband Tom is the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, also toured the building located on the north side of the Mt. Pleasant square.
Iowa Wesleyan launched a new era of graduate education in the field of Strategic Leadership. On November 11, Wesleyan took the first step toward offering graduate programs by approving the launch of two eight-week graduate courses.
In November, the Henry County Supervisors received an offer on land located in the new Crossroads Business Park. By mid December a deal was struck with Endodonics Specialists.
A unique fundraiser for the Union Block revitalization project had folks talking during final quarter of the year. Several groups, couples and individuals worked hard to put on Dancing with the Stars, Mt. Pleasant Style. Paige Stater and her grandfather Dr. John Roederer bopped their way into first place thanks to all the generous donations received last week following the competition. The event was held November 17 and voting with donations continued thru the following week. Over $9,000 was raised for the Union Block revitalization project.
A house fire in St. Paul, Iowa on December 9th took the lives of Audie Crawford Ellard the second and his wife Karma. The home was fully engulfed when fire and rescue agencies arrived on scene. It was determined that both died of smoke inhalation. The cause of this fire may never be determined due to the very extensive damage done by the fire.
During the fourth quarter Mt. Pleasant Fellowship Cup Director Melisa Bract Wagner announced she had been re-assigned to a Methodist Church in Burlington. December 19 a new executive director Ken Brown began his duties with the local organization.
The HCHC facility remodel continued during the fourth quarter. Street light installation began on North Grand Avenue in Mt Pleasant. And traffic around Mt. Pleasant’s Central Park was disrupted while the park and portions of the surrounding streets were re-done. All the work was completed in the park except for final grading, seeding and landscaping. That will be done in the spring of 2014. Planning began for Mt. Pleasant’s next big street project that will also take place in the spring of the new year.