A year of court maneuvers and legal complications began in January in the case of the two teens charged in the death of Fairfield High School Spanish teacher Nohema Graber. The prosecution and the lawyers for Willard Miller and Jeremey Goodale would spend all of 2022 going back and forth without a trial taking place for either teenager.
The morning of January 9, 2022 the Henry County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a house on fire on Cornell Drive outside of Mount Pleasant. But the investigation by the Sheriff’s Office and the Mount Pleasant Police Department determined James Ollom of Mount Pleasant, intentionally set fire to the inside of the residence after a family disturbance. He was charged with Arson in the First Degree and three counts of Attempted Murder.
Numerous area fire departments were called out the evening of January 23 to a fire on Merrimac Road. The Wayland Fire Department arrived first on scene to find two structures owned by Eichelberger Farms fully engulfed. The buildings along with sows and pigs were lost. Wayland Fire Chief Matt Leichty did not know yet this morning what started the fire. He did say no one was injured fighting the blaze.
On the afternoon of January 28 HCHC CEO Robb Gardner announced in a letter to hospital staff, EMS and volunteers that he would be resigning his position as CEO effective June 30. Matt Wenzel, President and CEO of Great River selected Teresa Colgan, chief clinical officer at Southeast Iowa Regional Medical Center, to become the next HCHC CEO and also serve as Great River Health’s regional clinical integration officer. At the time Gardner said he would be taking time to consider his next career move. By the end of 2022 he and his wife had moved to the Des Moines area after it was announced in September that Gardner had been hired by the Iowa Hospital Association as Chief of Staff.
February 16 the Mount Pleasant School District Music Program saw the power of community during a fundraising event on KILJ Radio. $52,157 was raised in just three hours thanks to support from individuals, families, organizations and businesses. The goal was $30,000 for new uniforms and formal wear. The radio a thon overshot that goal so the Music Boosters could then purchase a much needed trailer for the program and have additional funds for the support of music k thru 12.
Iowa Wesleyan University was once again recognized for academic excellence by U.S. News & World Report for 2022 Best Online Programs. The national ranking placed Iowa Wesleyan in the top 210 for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, third in Iowa. In addition, Iowa Wesleyan was ranked highest in Iowa for Best Online Bachelor’s Program in Business. This recognition came shortly before the annual Founders Day celebration on February 17, 2022, Iowa Wesleyan University commemorated 180 years since its founding. The local university hosted a Presidential Roundtable Session featuring two previous presidents, William N. Johnston, Ed.D., and Steven E. Titus, J.D., Ph.D., their spouses, and current president, Christine Plunkett M.B.A., along with her husband, John Watson.
On February 28, at 5:07pm Des Moines County Sheriff’s deputies along with the Mediapolis Fire Department responded to an address in rural Mediapolis after receiving a 911 call from a man asking for help. Sheriff deputies and fire personnel arrived and found a man who had fallen through the ice while fishing. After pulling this subject to safety it was learned that a second man had also fallen through the ice and was still under the water. Mediapolis Fire Department utilized their training and equipment to begin searching for this second subject. At 6:35pm the second subject was pulled from the water. The two were identified as brothers, Patrick and Michael Vaughn from Davenport Iowa Patrick Vaughn was pronounced deceased at Southeast Iowa Medical Center upon arrival.
March 9 the Midwest Old Threshers Association hosted the Chamber’s Alive After 5 event in order to announce that Leroy Van Dyke with Jimmy Fortune and the Malpass Brothers, The Bellamy Brothers, Maddie & Tae and Russell Dickerson would be the 2022 Reunion entertainment on the KILJ stage.
The Mount Pleasant School Board met in special session Monday night and approved several personnel items including hiring a new Middle School principal. Mark Adams would replace Nathan Lange, who’s resignation was effective at the end of the school year. Adams came to Mount Pleasant from his position with the Van Buren County Community School District as the 7 thru 12 principal. The board also voted to hire Mount Pleasant High School graduate Brandon Ridinger as the new Director of Technology.
At the end of the quarter the Henry Supervisors passed the first reading of an amendment to the County’s Voting Precinct Ordinance. All of Henry County was previously in the same House and Senate Districts but the map approved by legislation due the 2020 census resulted in splitting up the county. Salem Township, Tippecanoe Township and Center Township including the cities within them are in State House District 87 and Senate District 44. Jackson Township, Baltimore Township, New London Township Trenton township, Marion Township, Canaan Township, Scott Township, Wayne Township, Jefferson Township including the cities within them are in State House District 95 and Senate District 48. Due to these changes many of Henry County residents would see their polling places change as well.