July is County Fair time in Iowa with the big Iowa State Fair wrapping it all up in August. Fair time was extra special for Henry County this year. There were some big changes for this year’s fair. The biggest change was the schedule itself…this year the fair started on Wednesday and ran thru the weekend to Monday. The fair board has also worked hard to provide community members with a wide variety of events and activities. But the most exciting thing to happen was the crowning of the Henry County Fair Queen as the State Fair Queen. 17 year old Kelsey Smith, of rural Mt. Pleasant, was chosen out of 102 contestants who participated in this year’s competition. Southeast Iowa was well represented on the State Fair court. Second runner-up was Megan Pretz, 18, of Louisa County, Megan Black, 19, of Jefferson County, was given the Personality Plus Award.
In fair news from Lee County….17 year old Taylor Holtkamp was crowned during opening ceremonies of the Lee County Fair in Donnellson. 14 year old Sarah Tweedy, was selected as the Junior Queen and assisted the Queen with her duties throughout the fair. Also during opening ceremonies, Brenda Mohrfeld was recognized for her service over the last 15 years at the Lee County Fair manager. Lindsey Lampe is the new manager.
Another young lady from Mt. Pleasant made her hometown proud….Allie Liechty, the daughter of Julie and Tim Liechty was crowned Miss Congeniality during the 2013 Knoxville Nationals Queen contest.
Unfortunately, a tragedy marked the third quarter for city of Mt. Pleasant. On July 19 seven year old Jazmine Roth –Hines drowned at the Mt. Pleasant Family Aquatic Center.
During the third quarter of 2013 two area companies celebrated milestones. Both Access Energy Cooperative based in Mt. Pleasant and Farmers and Merchants Mutual Telephone Company of Wayland marked 75 years serving Henry County and Southeast Iowa.
Access Energy Cooperative plays an instrumental role in business and community development in southeast Iowa. This year marks their 75 year of operation and service to their members and to the region. In recognition of their leadership and collaboration, Access Energy Cooperative was presented with an Impact Award for site development. Two recent projects of note include the development of the new Wayland Industrial Park East, a 60-acre park with variable lot sizes; and the Iowa Fertilizer Company, a $1.4 billion project located on a 500-acre site near the Mississippi River in Lee County.
Ever since Mt. Pleasant began work on improving Washington Street in 2012, Terry McWilliams had been considering the possibility of changing the route of the Old Threshers Harvest Parade and thinking how great it would look rolling down the main thoroughfare thru town. So this year the annual parade left the fairgrounds using Walnut Street, took left at Washington and rolled on thru town. It took a lot of coordination with the city and there are some things to tweak for 2014 but overall everyone thought it was a good idea
The 2013 Old Threshers saw changes again this year but one of the highlights of the reunion was a visit from the US Agriculture Secretary. Tom Vilsack hosted a town hall meeting on the Old Threshers grounds. The secretary chose the 2013 Reunion as a time to discuss the need for need for Congressional passage of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill for rural America.
On a Sunday afternoon in September hundreds of interested community members turned out to tour the brand new HCHC surgery department. Visitors saw the two new operating rooms plus the endoscopy suite. Nurses showed off the amenities in the 10 new pre-op/recovery rooms. The addition is part of a multi-phased facilities master plan for the health center. Phase one thru three of the plan included a $15.8 million dollar capital improvement project to modernize the energy plant which is completed, enhance the surgery department and improve the specialty clinics, now finished and improving the outpatient services area which is currently underway.
It was almost too close to call, but one measure of the New London School bond issue passed. New London school district voters were asked to vote yes or no on three measures. Measure E was for $515,00 to provide funds to improve, renovate, repair, remodel, furnish and equip the existing Clark Elementary and the middle school/high school buildings including but not limited to academic area improvements and building security improvements. This is the only one of the three that received the super majority needed to pass. At first it appeared that the votes fell short but then the absentee ballots were added and that gave the measure 60.1% approval. The measure authorizes the New London school board to issue $515,000 in general obligation bonds. The funds will be used for renovating the family and consumer science areas and media center at the high school/middle school and improving the food service line at Clark Elementary. Renovations will also improve the security at both buildings. New London voters also passed the physical plant and equipment levy. And elected Shane Mettler and incumbent Lindsay Porter to the board.
In other school election results from Tuesday:
Lyle Murray, Regina Erickson and Brad Holtkamp were all re-elected to the Mt. Pleasant School board. Joy Sparrow and incumbent Robin Therme were elected to the Winfield Mt. Union board. Tim Graber was re-elected to the WACO school board along with Tom Gerot and Barb Shelman. Shelman was a write-in candidate for director district 4. The Southeastern Community College bonded levy for physical plant purposes also passed.
Bob Stull’s last Mt. Pleasant Utilities board meeting was celebrated with a special resolution and cake. Stull served as a utilities trustee from January of 2002 until yesterday. Board Chair Dan McCabe read the resolution that described Stull as forthright, diligent and hard working. The resolution expressed the utilities gratitude for Stull’s long, meritorious and distinguished service. The experience and knowledge Stull brought to the board was also recognized. Michelle Rosell replaced Stull on the board.
Each year Preservation Iowa seeks to honor individuals, organizations, projects, and programs whose work demonstrates a commitment to excellence in historic preservation. In doing so, they hope to inspire others to take action to preserve, protect, and promote Iowa’s places that matter. The Hayes Award, created just this year, honors an individual who has dedicated time and effort to Preservation Iowa over the long term and who has shown exemplary commitment and service to the organization and its preservation education and advocacy mission. The first recipient of this award is the woman for whom it is named, Martha Hayes.
At the September meeting, the Mt. Pleasant School Board did something new and different….two students were added to the board. Noah Brown and Ellie Conrad were selected based on the recommendation of High School Principal Todd Liechty. According to Wells very few school districts in the state encourage students participation by adding them to the school board.
The Grand Avenue reconstruction project began with the new year but was pretty much finished by the end of September. Installation of new Lighting on the new street would have to wait until the end of the year. And as soon as Old Threshers was over, crews began work on revamping Central Park. This project would be completed in the 4th quarter leaving only seeding until spring.