Henry County IAGenWeb


Highlights and Headlines of 1981

[Excerpts from “Mt. Pleasant News”, January 2, 1982]

January 2 – Emily Jo Carrick was born to Mr. and Mrs. David Carrick, Mt. Pleasant and was the first baby born in Henry County in 1981.

January 6 – Harold McLeran, Mt. Pleasant attorney, received a plaque in recognition of his 14 years as secretary of the Henry County Conservation Commission. Gary Wiegel was named to succeed him. Don Shaw of Winfield is president of the board.

January 7 – Mt. Pleasant City Council signed an agreement with HUD to obtain funds for the downtown renovation project and later received a grant of $453,000.

January 13 – Miss Henry County pageant was planned by the Mt. Pleasant Jaycees. Lisa Grilliot was the winner. She later competed in the Miss Iowa pageant and was third runner-up.

January 15 – David Loving, acting superintendent at the Mental Health Institute , was to become administrator of corrections at Clarinda effective February 2. John Thalacker superintendent of the medium security prison, was named acting superintendent and retrained the prison post.

January 19 – Mt. Pleasant Kiwanis club celebrated its 50th year in existence. It received its charter January 23, 1931. Charter members participating in the celebration were E.A. Hayes, A.M. Patterson and Dr. Frank V. Coles.

January 29 – Governor Robert Ray called for expansion of the MSU in Mt. Pleasant by “flip-flopping” prison and mental health buildings on the MHI campus.

February 3 – The Henry County Master Corn Growers trophy was awarded to Herbert Hult for a yield of 193.09 bushels an acre. Craig Remick was named the winner of the county Master Soybean Grower trophy for a yield of 62.66 bushels.

February 4 – The Mt. Pleasant city budget, which will not require a tax increase, was approved by the City Council. The budget askings totaled $1,497,956.

March 4 – It was announced that Henry County taxpayers will be paying higher taxes in 1981 and 1982 – 88 cents for each $1,000 of assessed valuation.

March 11 – Announced that the downtown improvement project would start in July. Businessmen pledged over $2 million for renovation of their buildings; new fronts were constructed and other remodeling was done. It was completed in December: new brick sidewalks, curbs and gutters, turn-of-the-century street lights and shrubs were installed and the renovation received high acclaim. After completion, an open house was held. Mayor Edd King and others thanked Stan Hill, director of public works, for his work. Ron Kaska placed the last brick.

March 17 – Tom Reavely announced his resignation as city attorney, having joined a Des Moines law firm. William Dowell, assistant city attorney, later was appointed to succeed Reavely.

March 26 – Glen Seberg, Route 5 Mt. Pleasant, was one of five Iowans named as a Master Farmer. He raises hogs, cattle and crops.

April 9 – Edward N. Smith, 84, New London civic leader, died. He was president of Geode Industries and was associated with his own insurance company for 60 years. He worked at the New London State Bank for 42 years.

April 19 – The Mt. Pleasant school board decided that the Pleasant Lawn sixth grade would move to Mt. Pleasant for the 1981-82 school year, but that in accordance with the wishes of parents, the Salem sixth graders would remain at Salem. Two-thirds of the Pleasant Lawn sixth graders favored the move. The Pleasant Lawn sixth grade classroom will be used as a library.

April 12 – Arline Kerr retired after 45 years of work at the Mental Health Institute. She was a food supervisor.

April 13 – The new addition to the Henry County Health Center was opened for public use and an open house was held in May. The hospital observed its 60th anniversary on the same occasion. Further interior remodeling of older sections of the hospital will continue.

April 13 – Todd Boldt and Tom McDowell were named by the Bob Tribby American Legion Post 58 to attend Boys State.

April 14 – Diana Lee and Jon Proenneke were awarded 1981 Junior Achievement scholarships.

April 20 – Cynthia Danielson, 30, Mt. Pleasant, was appointed a part-time Henry County magistrate judge, succeeding Roger Galer who has served in that capacity several years, and Robert Hansen was reappointed to a similar post.

May 1 – Heatilator Fireplaces, a division of Vega Industries, was sold to HON Industries. HON is headquartered in Muscatine and is the parent company of five other furniture divisions.

May 4 – Will Hunsaker, MPCHS senior, was awarded a $500 scholarship by the Mt. Pleasant Rotary club. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Neil Hunsaker.

May 6 – The Mt. Pleasant education Association presented the 1981 Joan Morrison Friend of Education award to Mrs. Dave (Marilyn) McCoid. She teaches energy classes during a two-day overnight encampment each year with 70 sixth grade girls in attendance. She was described as “a concerned parent” and a willing volunteer in the Mt. Pleasant school system at all levels.

May 7 – The proposal to keep the MHI appeared brighter after a legislative subcommittee dropped plans to expand the prison here into the main MHI building.

May 8 – Scott Maddix, 21, Mt. Pleasant, son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Maddix, was killed when the small airplane in which he was a passenger, crashed near the Des Moines River four miles northwest of Ottumwa.

May 15 – Dean Beckman and Lee Ann Hunting won the top awards at the MPCHS annual honors assembly. Beckman won the Iowa State Bar, the Legion outstanding senior boy, outstanding instrumental student and the scholastic award. Miss Hunting won the Legion outstanding senior girl award. Scott Brown received the Legion outstanding music student award.

June 1 – Tammy Clark was named the Henry County beef queen.

June 7 – Rev. Alton Koch delivered his last sermon as pastor of the Faith Lutheran Church. In his 42 years as pastor, he never delivered the same sermon twice.

June – The T.T.T. Society, founded in Mt. Pleasant, celebrated its 70th Anniversary. Mt. Pleasant’s Mary Swaney, the only living founder, joined in the celebration.

June 17 – Mt. Pleasant City Council accepted the bid of the McComas-Lacina Construction Company of Iowa City of $372,892 for the curb and gutter work and the installation of the new brick sidewalks in the downtown business area.

June 25 – Hy-Vee is planning on building a new store in Mt. Pleasant, east of the present store. Construction is to start in the summer of 1982.

July 3 – Mr. and Mrs. Alton Eggenberger, Mt. Pleasant, were named as the 1981 senior citizen king and queen of the Fourth of July celebration.

July 11 – Harold McLeran observed his 50th year as an attorney here, still practicing at the age of 78.

July 14 – Michael Keefe resigned as junior high assistant principal to return to California to become an elementary principal at Oakdale. John Roederer, who was principal at the WACO middle school, later was named to succeed him.

July 14 – The newly constructed Beavers Jack and Jill Market opened at the corner of Taft and Lincoln Streets. Max Beavers formerly operated Beavers Market on North Adams.

July 15 – Debbie Miller showed the grand market steer at the Henry County Fair. The grand champion heifer was shown by Tammy Clark.

July 17 – Mt. Pleasant City Council gave the go ahead to the updating of the waste water treatment plant and improving the sanitary sewer system, but phased out part of the proposed project, cutting the estimated cost from $4,955, 900 to $4,337,000. The City applied for state and federal funds and later was informed there were no available funds.

July 21 – City plans for a $4 million sewer renovation project were cancelled because state and federal agencies withdrew the funding. The project was three years in planning.

July – Top floor of the Emerson Clothing store building was removed (north side of the square). Becker’s Jewelry moved here from its former location at the northeast corner of the square. The Panther Drug exterior was sandblasted and renovated. Trailblazer Ltd. was opened and the building in which it is located on South Jefferson was renovated and an new roof installed.

August 10 – The Mt. Pleasant City Council took steps towards improving the municipal airport, including the lengthening of the runway by 1,000 feet.

August 10 – Monte Seager, 20, Mt. Pleasant, was indicted by the Henry County grand jury on two counts of murder in connection with the October 28, 1978, shooting deaths of Clementine Beavers and her daughter, Karol, in their residence here. He was also indicted for first degree burglary. He is serving 55 years in the Ft. Madison penitentiary on other charges, including second degree murder in the death of Susan Wheelock, on April 14, 1979. Trial date in the Beavers murder were set and changed several times. The latest date is April 13, 1982. Seager pleaded innocent to the charge August 24.

August 11 – Residents in the New London area will receive service from the Henry County Health Center Ambulance Service effective September 1.

August 15 – Bill Sater, longtime blacksmith here, received another award – a lifetime membership in the Iowa Blacksmith and Welders Association.

August 19 – A tentative equalization order by the State Revenue Department raised the valuation of agricultural property in Henry County by 7 percent. The other three classes of property were not affected.

August 19 – Kjersti Hauge, 16,Bergen, Norway, will attend MPCHS in 1981-82 under the Youth For Understanding program. She is living with Mike and Marilyn Vincent.

August 21 – Wendell Smith retired as postmaster here after 27 years of service. Bill Griest has been serving as acting postmaster.

August 30 - Sergeant Derrell W. “Red” Goddard, 64, longtime member in charge of the National Guard unit here and drill master of the MPCHS marching band, died. The band played at his funeral.

September 2 – Mrs. Herman Elgar was grand marshal for the Old Threshers Reunion parade. The five-day reunion again set records in attendance. There were 3,200 camping units on the grounds. Carol Dorman of Mt. Union was named Miss Sweet Sixteen.

September 3-6 – Old Threshers and Settlers Reunion headliner’s: Johnny Cash; Conway Twitty, Mel McDaniel and Hank Williams’ Original Drifting Cowboys; Slim Whitman, T.G. Sheppard and Dottsy; and Moe Bandy, Rex Allen Jr. and Margo Smith.

September 17 – The Mt. Pleasant Education Association members asked for an 8.3 percent increase, which would raise the base from $12,000 to $13,000.

September 21 – Edward Conwell was elected president of the Mt. Pleasant School board. He succeeded Louise McCormick, who did not seek re-election.

September 22 – Mike Byrum was elected president of the Henry County Farm Bureau.

October 1 – The Henry County jobless rate was down in August and the long range outlook by the Iowa Job Services was gloomy. The August jobless rate was 4.6.

October 5 - Louis A. Haselmayer will retire from the presidency of Iowa Wesleyan College, effective June 30, 1982. The board of trustees voted him a title of professor emeritus of English to provide continuing relationship to the college. He has been a faculty member or president for 30 years.

October 7 – Four members of a five-man citizens’ committee which evaluated operations of the Mt. Pleasant municipal utilities recommended it be sold to another utility. The City Council decided that an outside consulting firm should be hired to study the utility plant operations.

October 8 – Lisa Lampe was named the 1981 MPCHS Homecoming Queen.

October 8 – Dean Davis, 18, Iowa Wesleyan student from Oak Park, Illinois, was fatally injured in a car-semi trailer accident at the intersection of the Maple Leaf extension and Highway 218. The traffic death was the only one within the city limits of Mt. Pleasant in 1981.

October 12 – David Scurr, warden of the Ft. Madison state prison, was named superintendent of the Medium Security Unit and the MHI here and John Thalacker will become his assistant.

October 14 – Henry County Health Center board of trustees proposed that the hospital operate the Henry County Care Facility. The Henry County Board of Supervisors did not accept this proposal. Maurice and Dorothy Garmoe had resigned as administrators of the facility. The Board of Supervisors later hired Dale and Harriett Waters as administrators of the facility.

October 16 – Denise Keltner, 21, Mediapolis, was named the 1981 Iowa Wesleyan Homecoming Queen and Adam Lockard, 22, Waukon, the Big Wheel.

October 17 – Two brothers, Gary and Michael Anderson, both 30, were found shot to death in their rented farm home a mile north of Mt. Pleasant. Autopsies disclosed the deaths occurred October 15th. A week after the bodies were found, three men were arrested by division of criminal investigation agents, and other authorities and charged with first degree murder.

October 22 – Glenwood Tolson, a 45-year resident of Mt. Pleasant, received the 1981 Outstanding Citizen award by the Chamber of Commerce. It was pointed out that Tolson does many things for the community, with many of his good deeds going unnoticed. He worked for the Henry County Bank 30 years and operates his own business. Marvin Day became the new Chamber president.

October 25 – A contract which calls for a $500 per year increase in the teachers base salary was ratified by members of the MPEA, a 6.7 percent pay hike. It was later approved by the school board.

November 3 – Edd King was re-elected mayor of Mt. Pleasant. He was unopposed. Fred Wohlleber was elected council member for War IV, succeeding Dick Fields, who did not seek re-election. Other Henry County mayors elected or re-elected: C.A. Williams Jr., New London; Ronnie DeYarman, Olds: Dennis Sammons, Rome; Russell McDowell, Salem; Roberta Boitscha, Hillsboro; Kenneth Miller, Wayland; Lewis Venghaus, Mt. Union; Lester Hill, Coppock. There was no mayoral election held in Winfield.

November 10 – Joe McMillan was honored for 22 years of service on the Mt. Pleasant Utilities board of trustees.

November 19 – Rama Challen was honored at an annual dinner sponsored by the Henry County Chapter of the American Red Cross, in appreciation of 25 years of service. Caralee Beames received a certificate of appreciation for her work as treasurer of the county unit.

November 23 – Dr. Frank V. Coles, 78, prominent Mt. Pleasant dentist, died. He had been in practice for over 50 years.

November – Residents of Westwood, a housing community west of Mt. Pleasant on Highway 34, voted to incorporate, becoming Iowa’s 956th city. Incorporation and city status was achieved in 1982.

December 1 – WACO voters again turned down a school bond issue. This one was for a wrap-around addition to the high school at Olds for grades 7-12 and elimination of the middle school at Wayland.

December 5 – Roy Craig, member of the Mt. Pleasant American Legion post, was selected as Legionnaire of the month by the nationally circulated America Legion magazine.

December 16 – Fire Chief Bill Sater retired after serving the Mt. Pleasant fire department 40 years. Dwight Shellabarger was named to succeed Sater.

December 19 – The Mt. Pleasant United Way fund reached and surpassed its goal of $19,600.

Miscellaneous news of buildings and businesses in 1981:

Building permits were issued for the four Greenway apartment units in the city-owned Rolling Acres Phase 2 subdivision and for two complexes at the Mapleleaf Care Center; for the addition of a dentist’s office on North Main for Drs. Steve and Mary Wettach; and for the renovation of the former Shell station at Washington and Jackson for a new service station and convenience store called the Mustang Market.

Open for business: The All American Sweet Shop, Space Invaders, Happy Fingers, Tanya’s Flowers, Dream Drive-In, Bob’s Auto Shop and Bev’s Balloons.

Relocating at other sites: Leyden’s Radiator Shop, Jim Miller Insurance, Byrum Realty and American Family Insurance.

Steele Lumber was purchased by Standard of Beaverdale and renamed Mt. Pleasant Standard Lumber.

Heatilator Fireplace, Inc., a division of Vega Industries, was sold to Hon Industries of Muscatine.
Transcribed and contributed for Henry County IAGenWeb by Pat Ryan White, March 2021.

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