Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 8, 2016

Commencement means transition time — not only in schools

By Bill Gray

By BILL GRAY

Mt. Pleasant News

It’s always most apparent in May. Iowa Wesleyan College sets the tone in Henry County Saturday with the first of a series of graduations for students. Mt. Pleasant, New London, WACO and Winfield-Mt. Union high school commencements follow, along with other area ceremonies.

Meanwhile, our communities are going through transitions of other sorts. Like those graduating seniors, local residents approach the changes that transition brings with mixed feelings.

While for some of you it’s a stretch to believe I can remember this far back, but I recall there were some of my classmates actually fearful of the future after high school. I was not one of those persons – not so much because I thought I had my life’s direction sorted out, but that I thought life had to get better than high school.

Big Man on Campus I was not. Therefore, not a whole lot to regret losing.

Those who had comfortable circles of friends, comfortable routines and a modicum of, shall we say, celebrity at the high school level sometimes sense that could end forever. Yet when I look at folks I’ve observed over the years since a transition, those who were able to embrace the changes and react to them are the better for it – without exception.

And I’ll just get this whole transition analogy right to the heart of community change: If you find ways to embrace the construction at Washington and Grand streets, you WILL be better off, too! For example: Aren’t some of our other east-west residential streets aside from Washington looking nice – like Monroe, Madison and Henry? Do you now know where Bell Street is where you didn’t before?

Could be good to know come Old Threshers time!

Other transitions are tougher to handle, of course. It’s a fact that very few high school graduating classes are able to reunite at 100 percent – no matter how good the band might be you hire for the reunion dance. Some of your high school friends will be leaving for college, the military or job opportunities – yet as you set out on your own post-graduate adventures, new friendships will be there to be made.

Let’s try to relate that to a transition like that involving the merger of two long-time stalwart Mt. Pleasant Industries, Alaniz and Metrogroup. Some ways of doing business for both firms has changed. There have been some jobs changed or eliminated.

Yet the merged company already has set its goals high to increase its standing as one of the largest employers in southeast Iowa. There also is excitement and anticipation within the company from those who see the possibilities to improve based on the pooling of merged resources.

Then there is the type of transition represented by Nypro Kanaak. The local plastic molding industry is proceeding with construction of a rail spur – an investment that is a strong indicator that this firm will be a long-term part of the Henry County community.

It’s sort of like how you Panther grads are going to feel this fall when Mt. Pleasant finally brin