Year In Review 3rd Quarter News

Written by Theresa Rose on December 30, 2015

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The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation and Cookies Food Products are pleased to present Caroline Lehman of New London as an Iowan of the Day for the 2015 Iowa State Fair.
Lehman is best known for her work with the Dover Museum located in New London. In her role as curator, she works to create engaging exhibits that show people the value of history.
On a sad note, prominent Mt. Pleasant resident Glenwood Tolson passed away July 13 at the age of 99. Tolson is most remembered for his service to others especially thru Community Action.
It was announced at the July meeting of the New London School Board that Supt Stephen McAllister would retire at the end of the 2015-2016 school year.
Iowa Fertilizer Company was plagued by bomb threats thru out the third quarter of 2015. Company officials even went so far as to offer a reward for information about three bomb threats at the plant under construction near Wever. Each time a search was conducted but authorities never found anything related to a bomb.

In addressing the state’s human services needs, Gov Branstad signed major portions of a $1.9 billion spending package but rejected a bipartisan bid to keep open the mental health institute at Mount Pleasant and keep the Clarinda MHI operating until December,

After almost 20 years, an arrest has been made in a homicide investigation that remained an open case for the Johnson County Sheriff’s office. July 17 54-year-old Steven J. Klein of Mt. Pleasant was arrested for the murder of 34-year-old Susan Kersten. Kersten’s body was found in her car in a farm field southeast of Iowa City on Sept. 24, 1995. Klein was arrested at his job in Muscatine. Some local officials immediately recognized Klein’s arrest photo. Klein lived on North Hamlin Street in Mt. Pleasant and had recently been vocal about the condition of his neighbor’s property. June 24 he spoke during the Mt. Pleasant City Council meeting public forum. He and another resident were there to ask the city to do something about a neighbor’s dogs. At an earlier point in time Klein presented city officials with a petition signed by surrounding property owners asking that the residents at 502 N. Hamlin be asked to leave the neighborhood.
By August 1 Iowa State Penitentiary offenders were finally moved into the new prison at Ft. Madison at least two years after originally planned.
Early on a foggy Sunday morning in August two people were hit by a train and killed in Mt. Pleasant. August 30 Thomas Riley and Lelania Gillon both of Mt. Pleasant died in the accident that occurred at the Lincoln Street crossing.
Major announcements came from Iowa Wesleyan during the third quarter….August 10 the local college announced it would become Iowa Wesleyan University. The announcement followed a May vote by the board of trustees and a strategic planning process involving over 900 regional partners and a multitude of stakeholder groups. With President Steve Titus first state of the university address in September the school launched its new strategic plan…Wesleyan 2020 Igniting Our Passions.
Six of seven seats on the Mt. Pleasant School Board were open in the September 8 regular election. The candidates who filed papers by the 5 pm deadline Thursday, July 30 were as follows:
District 1 – David Christensen
District 3 – Karl Braun
District 4 – Chuck Andrew
District 5 – Joy Lynn Conwell
At-Large – (2 positions) – Jennifer Crull, David McCoid, Terry Jerrel

Christensen, Braun and Andrew were already on the board so they were seeking re-election. Joy Conwell is seeking the seat held by Brad Holtkamp. Holtkamp was not up for re-election but recently announced he would resign following the regular September school board meeting. That placed his seat on the ballot. Current school board members Ken Feldman and Lon Morrow are up for re-election but did not file papers to run again for their at-large seats. Current board president Regina Erikson represents District 2. Her term is up in 2017. Christensen was recently appointed to the seat held by Lyle Murray who resigned. Braun was elected to complete the term of Melody Yaley. Andrew ran in a special election and was elected to the board when he beat Heather Snavely who was originally appointed to the board to replace Michelle Skubal who also resigned. While it seems confusing, due to the circumstances surrounding their placement on the board all three are required to run in the regular election on September 8. Mt. Pleasant School Board re-organized and elected Dave McCoid president and Carl Braun Vice President. And the board added a second monthly meeting. The regular meeting time will also change to 6 pm. McCoid said the second meeting would focus on areas of concern. Board member Joy Conwell said a second monthly meeting would help due to the amount of work that needs to be done especially when it comes to finding a permanent superintendent and hiring a director of instruction.
One of the new school board’s first actions was to replace interim Supt Linda Brock with Dr. John Roederer.
Board Member Regina Erickson resigned after the second meeting of the new board and was replaced by Melinda Huisinga.
Mt. Pleasant resident, Chris Prellwitz, would replace Brian Roth on the Southeastern Community College Board of Trustees. Roth passed away September 8 within hours of being re-elected to the board for another four term. Since Prellwitz has been appointed she will serve two years until the next board elections in 2017. At that time her seat will be on the ballot. Chris served 16 years on the Mt. Pleasant School Board and eight years as a member of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union board.