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Long-time Marshalltown publisher to retire

Successor named

With more than three decades at the helm of The Times-Republican and Marshalltown Newspaper, LLC., publisher Mike Schlesinger has announced he will retire June 30.

Abigail Pelzer will serve as his successor as publisher of The Times-Republican and Marshalltown Newspaper, LLC., and will manage all operations. Pelzer is the former managing editor of The Times-Republican and has served as editor of the Newton Daily News since July 2014.

“Working for an institution like the Times-Republican that has been around this community more than 160 years has truly been an honor and a privilege,” Schlesinger said.

Schlesinger headed The Times-Republican for nearly 33 years. In 1977, he began working in the advertising department with Ogden Newspapers, parent company of The Times-Republican, in Fort Dodge. He later became the advertising director before moving to Marshalltown in 1985. Among his many honors, Schlesinger was named Master Editor-Publisher by the Iowa Newspaper Association in 2011.

Several changes have occurred at The Times-Republican under Schlesinger’s leadership. In 1985, The Times-Republican purchased the PennySaver. The Times-Republican began printing additional newspapers throughout Central Iowa in 1987. He also oversaw the replacement of the press and the addition of color as a daily feature throughout the newspaper in 1988.

Several area weekly newspapers were added to the roster in 1994, including The Tama News-Herald, Toledo Chronicle, Traer Star-Clipper, Dysart Reporter and Tama County Shopper. In 1995, the Times-Republican expanded to a seven-day newspaper and added its Sunday edition. And in 2000, the company purchased two additional papers — the Gladbrook Northern Sun-Print and the Reinbeck Courier.

Throughout his time in Marshalltown, Schlesinger has been active in the community as a member of several organizations and serving on various boards, including the Marshalltown Chamber of Commerce, The Chamber Ambassadors, The MCC Foundation, MMSC Hospital Board of Trustees, MEDIC, MEGA-10, NIOT, Marshalltown Rotary Club, Trinity Lutheran Church, Imagine 2011, Vision Marshalltown, Marshall County Crime Stoppers, The Iowa Newspaper Association, The National Newspaper Association and Elmwood Country Club.

Schlesinger, along with his wife Julie, have two married children, Sara (Erik) Whittaker of Iowa City and Andrew (Dawn) Schlesinger and two grandchildren, Owen and Anna, all of Marion. The Schlesingers plan to continue to live in Marshalltown.

“My wife and I plan on spending more time with our family and doing some traveling but will always call Marshalltown home,” he said

Pelzer will be joining the staff on May 7 as the company transitions with Schlesinger’s retirement.

“It’s an honor to be named publisher following the impressive career of Mike Schlesinger, who I consider my greatest mentor,” Pelzer said.

Pelzer is an award-winning journalist with 15 years of newspaper experience, including five years as the managing editor at the Marshalltown Times-Republican and two years as the news editor of The Messenger in Fort Dodge. She also previously worked as a reporter in Iowa City and Marengo.

Like Schlesinger, Pelzer has been an active volunteer in her community. She has been a member of several organizations and boards including Newton Rotary Club, Young Professionals of Jasper County, United Way of Jasper County, Newton YMCA, Newton Fest and Jasper County Crime Stoppers.

Pelzer and her family will be relocating to Marshalltown in the coming months.

“I am thrilled to be returning to Marshalltown in a position to uphold the T-R’s longstanding reputation of excellence. Rejoining Ogden Newspapers feels like returning home,” she said.

As part of the transition, Randy Cutright, circulation director for the Times-Republican, will assume oversight of commercial printing operations The T-R prints 65 newspapers located in 28 counties throughout Iowa.

Cutright has been the circulation director for The Times-Republican since 2010. Prior to joining The Times-Republican, he was the owner and publisher of Fisher Outlook in Fisher, Ill. He also previously worked at newspapers in Illinois, including Mattoon, Pontiac and Champaign. Cutright and his wife Stephanie of Marshalltown have four adult children and one grandson.