The spacious main hall of the new shelter house features a custom-made chandelier made from an old pulley used in an elevator. It is a prime example of the creativity of the city workers and the pride they take in their projects. The hall houses a complete kitchen (shown in the distance).
Faithful volunteers enable operation of Manning's Hausbarn-Heritage Park. In the tour photo above Nancy Stammer leads a group through the park. With the retirement of Freda and LeRoy Dammann, Tiffany Nichols now handles sales and operations; Elizabeth Leo handles the parks tourism and marketing. The Dammanns were honored for their years of dedication to park operation on April 11. The Park is now open for the season.
When John Ohde was honored in Des Moines March 27, his step-daughter, Sydney, and wife, Jackie were on hand.
As John Ohde, Manning’s Public Works Superintendent, inches toward retirement at the end of 2019, some of his many contributions to the community were recently recognized.
On March 27, Ohde was honored by the Iowa Park and Recreation Association at its spring conference for his contributions and commitment to municipal parks and recreation in Iowa and presented with the T. Ray Frame Parks Maintenance Award.
His nomination, submitted by Cory Arp, reflected on only a few of the many projects he has completed for the city during his 40 years. It stated, in part, “Under John’s strong and straight forward leadership of Public Works, many parks and rec projects dreamed of by community members were built and maintained by John and his department.”
Some of the projects he was instrumental in included: the old high school remodeling project with its gymnasium, indoor pool, hot tub, weight room renovation, and family changing room; construction of the Trestle Park shelter house and the concrete IOWA sculpture. The idea behind Manning’s current project, the zero entry outdoor pool with slides and splash pad, was completely initiated by Ohde.
“It’s impossible to guess how much the citizens of Manning have benefited from John Ohde and his ‘let’s get this done attitude.’ It is obvious how much love he has for his hometown.”
Cory Arp, Manning Parks and Rec Director
Members of Manning’s Historic Preservation Commission were in Des Moines April 11 to accept the Loren Horton Community History Award for outstanding local history project presented by Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg.
Shown are IKM-Manning students, front, Caleb Duff, Lucas Kluver, Elijah Riessen and Dylan Spies, standing back, instructor Judy Jacobsen, Senator Mark Segebart, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Mayor Harvey Dales, Gov. Kim Reynolds, Commissions Cory Arp, Pam Kusel and Lue Baker.
The awarded project is a coloring book the commission produced last fall featuring several of Manning’s historic buildings on Main Street, the railroad trestle, water tower churches and the Hausbarn-Heritage Park and Leet-Hassler Farm, along with brief narratives. Production of the book involved students in the high school’s multi-media class who helped to convert colored photos to line drawings.
“We’re pleased that we could work with the students and engage them in a real-world experience,’ said Commissioner Pam Kusel.
With local businesses providing sponsorship and a Refresh Manning grant, the commission is able to make the books available free of charge at several Manning locations, such as the Hausbarn-Heritage Park, public library, Boulders Hotel and restaurants.
With every appearance of a real disaster, Manning Fire & Rescue, Manning Regional Healthcare Center, Manning Ambulance, and the Templeton Fire Department participated in a disaster drill March 22.
The drill took place on the east edge of Manning at Aspinwall Coop’s anhydrous station and simulated an ag-related accident. In the scenario a vehicle went off the road striking anhydrous controls causing a release. The fumes affected track runners and caused another vehicle accident. Some of the Coop staff was affected as well.
The drill was orchestrated by Jerry Eslick, an instructor with the West Des Moines Fire Department who also operates Professional Rescue Innovations.
Manning Fire Chief Bob Barsby said Eslick monitored movements at the scene and provided instruction and pointers to firefighters.
The Manning MOMs group hosted a new event Feb. 18 which spurred creativity. After collecting cardboard boxes following the holidays, children were invited to use the cardboard, plus craft supplies, and let their imagines go wild. The free event drew approximately 70 kids and adults and provided a great opportunity for parents and child to work together. The Cardboard Creations event generated a large variety of projects: forts, several cars and guns, tanks, jewelry boxes, a boat and even a house. A Thrivent action team provided a wide variety of markers, pipe cleaners, and colorful tape. Organizer Jen Morris said the MOMs were very pleased with the response. MOM representatives, above, Morris, Rebecca Conner, Linda Muhlbauer and Suzanne Polzien are shown with youth volunteers who assisted the little creators.
Where do you get 10 foot letters? In Manning, you construct them. Manning's city crew members back away from few things. When something is needed, they find a way to do it. During winter 2016, forms for the IOWA sculpture were constructed in the city maintenance building and concrete was poured.
City Administrator Dawn Meyer said, “The design point behind the sculpture, which was recommended by the Iowa State design students, was that not many visitors would take a photo in front a Manning sign, unless specifically tied to Manning; however, Iowa would relate to people from Iowa and especially out of state, creating another tourist attraction.”
The majority of the park elements will be located on the former Ag Center property which was gifted to the city by West Central Iowa Cooperative. Meyer said, “We’re trying to be very careful not to encroach on the railroad’s property. The historic trestle is intended to be more of a backdrop, not in the park."
The Trestle Park currently connects to the city trail system and a depot-style shelter house has been under construction this winter. The city crew was able to get the building enclosed before snow flew and is now working inside. (seen in photo below)
A committee is working to develop an outdoor learning environment which has a broad meaning, including everything; plants, insects, fishery, erosion, a pollinator garden, a water table where kids can play with the water. Other ideas call for a prairie area, bat houses, bluebird houses, observatory area and blinds, signage to identify trees and birds. It may include river access to get kayaks into the river and kids down to the river for education purposes.
During the month of January Manning Regional Healthcare Center (MRHC) staff and patients had an opportunity to become acquainted with Dr. Thang Luong, a physician who will be joining the MRHC staff Sept, 1. Luong completed an internship at the Manning hospital seeing patients with Dr. Doug McLaws.
Rhonda Facile, AGP’s senior accounting clerk and Brian Petersen, compliance coordinator recently took delivery of $17,350 in Chamber Bucks from Denise Doyel, Manning Chamber of Commerce treasurer. Petersen said 41 AGP employees will each receive $400 for achieving another accident free year at the Manning plant. An additional $950 was to be awarded during the company’s recent Christmas party.
Doyel stated, “This is incredible. I’m sure it would be easier for them to give cash awards, but the Chamber Bucks support local shopping, and I know Manning businesses appreciate the support of AGP.”
Facile estimates that AGP has been using Chamber Bucks to reward employees for at least 20 years.
Pieces of a historic bar which operated on Manning Main Street for over 50 years are now resting in the home of Chris and Erica Heck in Earlham, IA.
Since 1993 the 18-ft. cherry wood back bar and 22-ft. mahogany front bar were owned by Ralph Dobler who purchased them at auction when JD’s Bar closed its doors at 407 Main Street.
The bar holds memories for Manning’s Rick Lohrmann who tended bar for a while when he was in his 20s.
“When Jim (McLaughlin) first bought the bar from Chub Heithoff back in ‘81, I worked for him for a time helping tend bar and got to know a lot of the old boys. Knowing Ralph had the bar, I would always ask him, ‘why don’t you sell me that bar’?” said Lohrmann.
Then, one night in 2016, Dobler and Lohrmann were having a beer and Dobler was asked again about the bar and said he didn’t want to sell it. Lohrmann said one thing led to another and a deal was made that night.
“We laugh about it today because he thinks he sold it too cheap and I think I paid too much,” Lohrmann said.
His intended use for the bar was to place it in a new home his daughter Erica and her husband were building in Earlham. Lohrmann hauled it down to the home builder, J Thompson Builders, who had his craftsmen modernize and resize it so the front and back bar are 14-ft. long.
When they cut the bar down, they removed part of the center and retained the two ends. On one end where patrons often stood the name Bennie is carved in it. Lohrmann is confident it was carved by Bennie Otto. A metal plate on the bar reads: National Wood Works in Sioux City.
Lohrmann has attempted to capture some of the history of the bar. He knows the building was originally a harness shop, and Speed Pfoltner was the first to remodel the space, converting it to a tavern in 1940.
It became Herb Kuhl’s Blue Moon Tavern in 1946, and Johnny Kisgen and Linus Heithoff operated it as Johnny & Chub’s Place in 1948. Heithoff became sole owner in 1962 and ran Chub’s Place, and 1981 it became JD’s Bar, owned by Jim McLaughlin.
“It’s a part of history and a conversation piece,” said Lohrmann. “When I see that thing I think about a lot of the guys I used to know, like Charlie Stuhr, Harold Reinke, and Buzz Hargens. All those guys would come in and play cards and it was just a fun time.”
In an effort to showcase Manning’s history the Manning Historic Preservation Commission printed a coloring book late in 2017. The 24-page book showcases three Manning locations listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They include the north Manning Water Tower, the Leet-Hassler Farm at the Hausbarn-Heritage Park, and Manning’s Main Street District with 22 historic buildings.
The books were made possible with the help of Manning’s high school media class which converted photographs into line drawings, and funding from a local grant and a number of businesses who placed ads in the back of the book. Each drawing has a caption sharing some history about the building.
The books were delivered to Boulder’s Inn & Suites, the Manning Library, Hausbarn-Heritage Park, and local restaurants to be given to visitors and youngsters. The book was published with children in mind; however, adults are also enjoying the book as well.
After receiving one of the books, Paula Mohr, Ph.D., an architectural historian and certified local government coordinator with the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, responded with complementary remarks. She shared the idea with historic preservation commissions throughout the state, some of which have contact the commission to obtain books.
To further showcase Manning’s historic locations a sign now greets people on Main Street welcoming them to Manning’s Historic Main Street. Soon, street signs along Main Street will be given toppers designating the historic district.
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.
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.”
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 lessions and one for Kevin’s instrumental lessons. They have intergenerational 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.