Over the past 12 years Robyn Hacker’s education journey has provided life experiences few people see by the age of 31. She has seen how difficult life can be for people who struggle with addiction and/or mental illness.
She recently located in Denver, CO, where she accepted a position with the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She will be an addictions psychologist at the Center of Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation.
Click to read her full story.
Burke High School Coach Gary Graner was among 11 inductees when Omaha Public Schools held its 12th annual Athletic Hall of Fame induction dinner on Nov. 18, 2017. Graner, a Manning native, played football, basketball and baseball and was awarded all-state basketball honors his senior year, graduating in 1974.
He played college basketball at the University of South Dakota from 1974-1978, graduating with a history degree, a teaching certificate and coaching endorsement.
Graner taught and coached at Omaha Burke High School for 33 years. When he joined Burke High School in the fall of 1978, he started as an assistant to John Johnette. In 1988, Graner became Burke High School’s second head boys’ basketball coach holding that position for the next 18 years. In those 18 years, his teams qualified for the State Tournament eight times and finished as State Runners-up twice, 1993 and 2000.
Graner loved challenging his athletes to not only excel on the basketball court but also in the classroom and daily life. The teams he coached played an exciting brand of basketball, which brought the community out in force. That excitement and success generated by his teams’ hard-nosed play, along with the promotion of youth basketball through summer basketball camps and clinics, resulted in Graner being honored with Burke High School’s Community Leader Award in 2000.
Regarding his award, Graner stated, “I was very humbled and honored to receive this award and extremely thankful to be able to work with and alongside so many talented players and coaches.”
Graner and his wife, Jessica (Zerwas) also a Manning native, have been married 41 years and all of their children: Matt, Steve, Michelle, and Alli live in the Omaha area.
Harvey Dales recently began his ninth term as Manning City Mayor. Elected in 2000, he has served ever since with the exception of one two-year term. Dales did not, however, originally set out to hold public office.
Click here to read Harvey’s full story.
Family, friends, classmates and teammates gathered at Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU), Mitchell, S.D., Sept. 29 as the university athletic department dedicated its offices to the memory of former DWU athlete Barry Kusel.
Kusel was a four-year starter and letter winner in football, playing offensive and defensive end. He distinguished himself as one of the best ends in the South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference. For his efforts, he won All-Conference honors in 1967 and 1968 and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletic All-District XII honors in 1968. Kusel was also an outstanding track performer. His most memorable victory came in 1967 when he set a school record in the half mile, becoming the first DWU runner in history to break the two-minute barrier by winning the SDIC half-mile championships with a time of 1:57.04.
“Barry was a prime example of the core values of Dakota Wesleyan, and it’s apparent he touched the lives of many during his time at DWU,” Director of Athletics Jon Hart said. “It is an honor and privilege to work in a facility and space dedicated to him.”
In remembrance of Kusel, there is now a plaque that hangs in the DWU athletic offices. The plaque reads, “This gift is given in memory of Barry Kusel ’69 and his teammates. Many former athletes are equally deserving to be recognized; however, as a team captain and member of the DWU Athletic Hall of Fame, it is fitting that Barry’s name be chosen as the representative from his era of former student-athletes. Barry personified leadership on the football field, on the track and in the campus community.”
Dawn Rohe Meyer began her career in public service in 2007 when she was hired as Manning City Clerk. In 2011 she was assumed the responsibilities of Manning City Administrator/City Clerk.
Meyer was honored by the Iowa League of Cities in September 2016 with the Rhonda Wood Smith Award recognizing exemplary work of young city officials. One year later, September 2017, she was elected to serve on the League of Cities Executive Board.
Meyer was integral in the process of gaining Main Street Iowa and Great Places designations for Manning. She has written numerous successful grant applications to benefit local projects. Additionally, she was immersed in the 2014 revitalization of 14 Main Street Manning buildings and she has led efforts to consolidate municipal offices into one building, as well as leadership of said utilities under one municipal utility board.
Meyer is married to husband Jason, and has a daughter, Kaui.
It’s a dream come true for floral designer Kristina (Muhlbauer) Lupardus. She is now the owner of Manning’s only flower shop. Her purchase of Lori’s Flowers from Kelly Sybesma was effective Oct. 14.
Lupardus is among the many young Manning alumni who are returning to Manning to raise their families. Following her graduation in 2004, she attended DMACC Ankeny with non-specific plans for her future. She took a part-time job at Flowerama and quickly signed up to study horticulture.
“After I took the job at the flower shop, I knew that was what I wanted to do,” she said.
Four years later she graduated with a degree in horticulture and entrepreneurship. She worked at Flowerama all through college, and after meeting her husband, Jeremy, moved to Norwalk for two years. During that time, she worked as a floral designer for HyVee Floral in West Des Moines.
The couple settled in Manning seven years ago and started their family consisting of four sons. Lupardus made the decision to remain home with her boys while they were young. She cared for her children, operated a home daycare and still found time to work with flowers. When the opportunity came along to purchase the flower shop, it was the opportunity she had hoped for.
Matt Campbell of Tulsa OK, has joined Hall Estill, a leading Oklahoma law firm, with offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Denver, and Nashville.
“Matt is a very talented attorney and will be a great addition to our tax practice,” said Mike Cooke, managing partner for Hall Estill. “He has shown a deep commitment to his clients and brings extensive experience to our already strong tax team.”
Campbell earned his J.D, with distinction, from the University of Iowa College of Law and received his LL.M in Taxation from the Georgetown University Law Center.
A 20-year attorney, Campbell has experience in private practice and in a Fortune 500 Corporate Tax department. His practice at Hall Estill will concentrate on tax and international tax law, as well as corporate services, specifically in the mergers and acquisitions serving clients nationwide.
Ben Puck, MHS 1977, Kathy Puck, 1978, Jeremy Puck, 2000
The story of Puck Custom Enterprises (PCE), its success and growth is an amazing one. The 38-year-old business stepped into the manufacturing arena in June 2010 when it erected a 15,000 sq-ft. plant. Owned and operated by Ben and Kathy Puck and their children Jeremy, Mary, Nancy and Danny, the business has seen tremendous success with growth that has necessitated five building expansions.
Click to read the full story.
Manning’s law enforcement now rests in the hands of Sam Hansen, a seasoned officer, as well as a Manning native. A Carroll County deputy for the past 12 years, Hansen has helped the Manning Police Department for several years and has handled the duties of chief on a part-time basis since June 2015.
Following the election of a new sheriff in November 2016, Hansen was told he could no longer serve both departments. Hansen chose Manning and became full-time police chief April 8.
Following his 1995 graduation from MHS, he attended Iowa Lakes Community College at Estherville and earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice. He worked for one year at Woodward Academy as a juvenile sex offender counselor before joining the Audubon County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He completed ILEA training and worked for Audubon County for seven years, while occasionally helping the Audubon Police Department. He moved to the Carroll Sheriff’s Department in 2005. Hansen began assisting Manning in early 2000, and was filling in more and more as time passed.
He and his wife, Amy chose to construct their home in Manning in 2008. The couple has two children; Miranda and Marshall.
“I went to school here, grew up here. There’s something about the community; I just love it here. I wanted my kids to experience the same things; small school and more opportunities,” Hansen said. “Manning is home.”
Simpson College’s men’s head basketball coach Brad Bjorkgren has been inducted into the IHSAA Basketball Hall of Fame. An online Simpson posting stated “When Director of Athletics Brian Niemuth hired Bjorkgren to be Simpson's men's head basketball coach in the spring of 2015, he knew was getting a great coach. He didn't know he was getting a hall of famer.”
Fresh off his second season as men's head basketball coach for the Storm, Bjorkgren was inducted into the Iowa High School Athletic Association's Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2017 for his remarkable career at Urbandale High School.
A 1983 graduate of Simpson College, Bjorkgren spent 27 years as the boy’s head coach at Urbandale, going 398-213 with nine Central Iowa Metropolitan League (CIML) Championships and seven appearances in the Class 4A State Tournament.
"This is a great honor, one I wasn't expecting," Bjorkgren said. "To be mentioned among the other remarkable players and coaches being inducted is one of the highlights of my coaching career. This wouldn't be possible if not for the great student-athletes I had the pleasure of coaching and the great people who coached alongside me."
Bjorkgren, a 1978 Manning graduate, is the son of Norma Bjorkgren of Manning.
It brings a father pride when his daughter decides she wants to return home and join him in business, and that’s the case for Todd Stadtlander and daughter Kara. Working with Dad at Manning Insurance and Real Estate wasn’t an immediate choice for Kara, but after three years of city life, working for a large company, she was ready.
Kara always thought she might come back some day.
Now home, she said, “It’s a good fit, and I’m excited about the opportunity. Manning is a great community and a lot of progressive things are happening.”
She was a member of Manning’s first IKM-Manning graduating class in 2009. She attended Central College where she majored in business management and minored in Spanish. Following graduation in 2013, she worked for American Equity in Des Moines, IA, where she serviced annuities. She was with the company until December 2016.
“I really enjoy insurance,” she said. “I helped Dad during summers, and I completed an internship in Pierre, SD.”
Kara and boyfriend Doug Havick, an IT consultant, have now settled in Manning and plan to web in May 12, 2018.
Holly Stessman’s official title is Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at Creighton University Medical School, Omaha, NE. It’s a position she has worked hard to attain. Within her lab she mentors others as they explore the genetic links that underlie both autism and cancer.
Click here to read about Holly and her husband Brian.
Now living in Akron, IA, Kevin Linder and is wife Amy dreamt of opening a school of performing arts for several years. They had their eye on a 1918 church and made an offer in 2010, but were unsuccessful. Then in 2015, after resigning teaching positions, the couple got a phone call and the former First Church of Christ at 451 Iowa Street became their property. It now houses the Birdie and Carol Harris School of Performing Arts honoring Amy’s mother and grandmother.
“It wasn’t about our timing, it was all in God’s timing,” said Amy. The main floor of the building seats approximately 200 for performances. On the lower level are two studios; one for Amy’s vocal lessons and one for Kevin’s instrumental lessons. They have inter-generational classes with parents or grandparents coming with their children. The Web site for the school is BCHSPA.com
Since graduation from Manning High School in 1981, Manning native Rhonda Mohr has spent 30 years in service to her Lord. She has worked as teacher, principal and Director of Christian Education and Family Life Minister for the Lutheran Church.
Rhonda returned to her home church, Zion Lutheran Manning, Nov. 13, 2016 where she was installed by Iowa District West President Steve Turner as Assistant to the President for Youth, Education and Family Life for Iowa District West of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
Rhonda served as a Lutheran teacher in Texas, Louisiana, and Iowa after earning a Director of Christian Education certificate and teaching degree from Concordia University, Seward, NE. She served St. John, Cypress, TX from 1996-2000 when she was called to serve as principal at Zion Lutheran School, Denison, IA. During that time she earned her Master’s in Education from Concordia. In the fall of 2006 she was called back to St. John at Cypress to serve as Family Life Minister. She has held that position for the past 10 years.
Pastor Jonathan Conner of Zion Manning stated, “Rhonda loves to support and encourage people in their walk with the Lord and will have many opportunities to do so in her work through Iowa District West.”
She began her work for Iowa District West on Nov. 2, 2016 in Fort Dodge, IA.
Recording the travel adventures of Eric Foutch is a story that has been sought by many publishers. The Manning News Journal was lucky enough to score an interview through the relationship of a writer on the newspaper staff.
Click here to read about Eric’s adventures.
Teresa Clipperton Wickland returned to Manning to become owner of a popular Main Street bar/restaurant March 18. With a strong history in the food industry, Wickland is happy to be running her own business, BrickHaus Brews at 301 Main Street.
“This has been a passion of mine. I’ve always worked within the food industry, and I love people. I am so excited, it’s just a dream come true. Every time I come into town it feels like home,” she said. “I could get all choked up about it, but there’s just no doubt that I’m doing the right thing. We’ve been busy every night which has been awesome. All the compliments and support from people is really nice. It makes all the hard work worth it.”
Brickhaus Brews is open Tuesday through Saturday at 4:00 pm; kitchen opens at 5:00 pm.