2022 3rd Quarter Year in Review

The Iowa Department of Transportation announced that Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission had been awarded a $480,000 Public Transit Infrastructure Grant. The grant will improve the newly-acquired SEIBUS Mount Pleasant facility at 1405 N. Broadway in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.The project is for a major renovation of an existing facility in Mt. Pleasant. The property consists of two buildings: an 8,600 sq. ft. steel warehouse and 3,200 sq. ft. steel front office/storage facility.

Mount Pleasant Utilities Manager Jack Hedgecock introduced his successor. August 25 the transition to Nate Lucas began.  Hedgecock continued to work with the new general manager for a period of time before retiring from the position in the 4th quarter.

A familiar face returned to the Mount Pleasant School Board to fill vacancy on the board.  Melinda Huisinga was appointed to finish out the term of Willy Amos as the Director for District Two.  Amos had to give up the seat when he moved to another residence in the school district.

Fair Queens were crowned in July….the 2022 Lee County Fair Queen was Hailey Tweedy and the Henry County Fair Queen was Chevy Mills.

The 2022 Old Threshers Miss Sweet 16 is Josie Gilmore. Josie is the daughter of Julie and Jeff Gilmore of Mount Pleasant. First Runner-Up is Natalie McCormick, the daughter of Lea and Colin McCormick. Second Runner-Up is Addison Bentler, the daughter of Don and Tonya Bentler and Miss Volunteer is Megan Borders.

Mother Nature cooperated and played a part in a recording setting year for attendance at the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mount Pleasant.  The after the Reunion ended CEO and Administrator Terry McWilliams said that preliminary numbers indicated a little over 37,000 people bought tickets to the annual event. That’s a new attendance record for the last 10 years. McWilliams said Saturday set a record for one day tickets sales, Sunday was in the top three or four, Friday’s attendance was up and Thursday was about the same as past years.  Russell Dickerson’s concert on Sunday night brought in the biggest crowd to the grandstand. But McWilliams was not disappointed with the attendance to the concerts on the other three nights.

August 30 The first of five Mount Pleasant Community Visioning projects was dedicated in Saunders Park.  The Saunders Park Plaza features a history of Mount Pleasant recognizing founder Presley Saunders.  And a plaque recognizing the significant financial contribution to the project in memory of Scott and Amy Lowe. Members of the Lowe family, friends and community members were there for the celebration that included food and music organized by the Chamber and volunteers. Mayor Steve Brimhall spoke and after shared that this project is only the start and there is more to come as many partners work to improve the look of the town.


Iowa Wesleyan University reported a 4% over all increase in enrollment from last year.  This includes the new, online and transfer undergraduate students.  And while the first year freshmen numbers were down the retention rate for sophomores and juniors is the second highest it’s been in fifteen years.


Mt. Pleasant resident and business owner Ted Wiley became Grand Master of Masons in Iowa. The Grand Master is the supreme executive authority of Iowa Masonry. First initiated in 2000, Wiley has served the Mount Pleasant Lodge as Worshipful Master. His service to Iowa Masonry includes serving as Junior Grand Deacon and Junior Grand Warden. He has been a member of many Masonic committees and is equally generous with his service to the Mount Pleasant community. He is active on many community boards, foundations and committees. Wiley is the President of Jean C. Wiley and Sons Inc. Building Contractors.


The news was not good for two area health care facilities in the third quarter. Blessing  Health in Keokuk informed employees that the facility will not remain open past Oct. 1 in any capacity. The decision was made based on consistent low demand for inpatient and emergency room care. Blessing leaders said the level of inpatient and emergency care demand does not support the investment required to operate a hospital of 49-beds and an emergency room around the clock, seven days a week. And then….

In an effort to recover from over $40 million dollars in operating losses, Southeast Iowa Regional Medical Center in West Burlington closed its’ skilled care unit. Bed capacity is also being limited in the acute care, cardiovascular health and intensive care units.  Hospital officials said the measures were made to make up for staff shortages as the hospital seeks to scale back the use of travel staff, which costs much more. About half of those losses were because of the use of traveling staff.