Music will also be provided June 19 by Aged Spirits, a Templeton group (shown above). The band plays classic rock and blues. It has been performing for the past 15 years.
The Flying Buffaloes, an alt-country/rock band based out of East Nashville, TN, performs regularly along Nashville's neon strip. The group quickly earned the reputation of being one of the most hard-working and energetic bands in Music City. The Buffaloes will play in the Hausbarn courtyard starting at 9:00 pm at the All-School Reunion June 18. The public is welcome to join school alumni and enjoy the music. The reunion festivities begin at 5:00 pm.
Brad Morgan, country music artist and songwriter, was born and raised on a farm near Manning. While currently residing in Nashville, TN, he continues to build on the success he has had in Iowa and the Midwest Region. Brad has an easy going sound while presenting a fun and energetic performance. Brad and his band will headline the entertainment when Manning will Party on the Bricks June 19.
The party will be held on Manning’s brick Main Street between Third and Fourth Streets. Music entertainment will be on the Third Street corner and food and beer stand will be on the Fourth Street corner. Gates open at 6:00 pm. Aged Spirits will perform from 6:30 to 8:30. Brad and his band will play from 9:00 pm to midnight.
Other weekend activities
Manning’s annual Kinderfest will be held in the city park on Saturday, June 19. The festivities will kick off with a 5k road race (form below) in the morning. Following the 11:00 am parade down Main Street, game booths, face painting, inflatables and kiddie cart rides will begin in the park. Numerous food trucks are being invited to set around the park.
WATCH THIS SPACE FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS.
Readers were told they could look forward to reading about another facet of the business in spring 2021. That story now appears.
Family greenhouse growing nutritional food
Projects continue to bloom at the Ben and Kathy Puck farm as the couple and their children continue to share ideas and work together to bring them to fruition.
Most recently the family has constructed a large greenhouse on the farm. It’s part of the several facets of Red Barn Solutions.
“One of our big passions, in addition to making things, is regenerative agriculture,” said Nancy. “What we mean by regenerative is regenerating the soil. We’re really focusing on soil health so that you can grow nutrient-dense crops. This model greenhouse lets us farm in the soil all the time; not pots. Here we can build our soil health, and we can focus on trying to grow nutrient-dense food. Dad and Dan are working on that in the fields. They are putting in cover crops, rotationally grazing cattle.”
“We’re just getting started. Everything will be literally new in 60 days, so we just have to wait for the cycles of the plant life to take its turn; annuals, bi-annuals and perennials,” said Ben. “The end goal is to have fresher food that is more nutrient-dense.”
He defined nutrient density saying: “If you get a carrot from a hydroponic farm it doesn’t have hardly any carotene in it. It doesn’t have as many vitamins or minerals. There is nothing supporting that carrot except genetics, and genetics does not make important minerals that our bodies need,” he explained. “So, we grow them in nutrient-dense soils because the nematodes and earthworms will bring nutrients to that plant, and we can improve their environment and they are going to improve the quality of our food. You can’t get one without the other.”
They plan to produce food for the whole family and hope they can sell some excess.
Right now, they are in the very early stages of the project.
“If we can prove its possible to grow a more nutrient-dense food here in the greenhouse, and we can also grow it out in the fields, maybe we can find a niche market of consumers interested in our nutritionally-dense and locally sourced food. “If not, we’ve got the open market to sell to,” he said. “We’re just trying to live a little longer and eat better.”
Nancy added, “We’re taking control of our food; of what we eat and how nutrient-dense it is. All of the studies are saying that it is very difficult to eat enough fruits and vegetables because we would have to eat twice as much as my grandparents ate to get the same nutrition. Our food isn’t what is needs to be and all the studies say that.”
A couple years ago the family listened to microbiologists talk about soil and it changed how they look at everything. They said if they can improve their soil, they can improve the nutrient-density of their food.
“Our food is out of food,” said Ben. “The soil is alive. In a spoonful of healthy soil, you have a billion microorganisms, and all of those things have a purpose. They are there for our benefit and they cycle things that are too small for us to see. When they are working properly all things show that the plant can be extremely healthy and when we eat that plant, we can be extremely healthy too. So, if we can all those little guys in the soil on our side, we can get have very healthy food.”
New plants sprouting
The family already has many beds with green plants sprouting from the soil. They include ginger, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, onions, radishes, watermelon and potatoes, just to name a few.
They plan to plant numerous tropical trees: oranges, limes, lemons, bananas, dragon fruit, avocadoes, and clementine’s.
“This is Ben and Kathy’s greenhouse. Red Barn built it for them. We all are going to farm it,” said Nancy. “This was just something we all realized we need to do.”
Inside the greenhouse it is a warm 88 degrees gathering sunlight from the south. Danny and Ben constructed the facility with a geothermal system.
The large airflow geothermal system allows the temperature to remain at approximately 50 degrees through the winter. A tile line wraps the building, and another goes to the top of a hill. They use the ground temperature to warm the air coming into in the greenhouse.
Danny constructed galvanized retaining walls on each side of the structure with a lower section down the center for tropical trees.
“For years we have been applying liquid manure to the ground, and I see nothing but good things happen to soil when you take care of it. This is just taking it to the next step,” said Ben. “And that’s the idea here… Let’s add to what Mother Nature has to offer and see if we can grow better food, because the food that we’re getting now isn’t grown here. It is all shipped in. Why?”
“What’s really in our hearts right now is producing some really good food,” said Nancy. “We are all spending our time the way we want to spend it.”
She added, “I think there is a lot of passion around here to grow our own food but people think they can’t afford to do that. I would love to lead a conversation about that. It’s not hard and it doesn’t take a lot of time, or money or anything else. It brings so much joy and so many rewards.”
“We’ve had this dream of running our own business together for a long time,” said Kris. “We’ve worked together and make a great team, so we know we can do this.”
Both women are Manning graduates, Kris in 1982 and Alisa, 2005,
When the pandemic hit and they found themselves without jobs, they talked about things they did and did not want to do. The decision to follow their dream has led to endless hours of conversation, lots of stress and even some tears.
The women credit City Administrator Dawn Meyer for her encouragement and assistance with an application to Manning’s Revolving Loan Fund.
They are planning to provide homemade ice cream, cookies, brownies, bars, shakes, malts, sundaes, cones and maybe something special now and then.
Kris said Alisa is the decorator. They have endless ideas. Alisa is considering decorated Christmas and Valentine cookies. She said, “We talked about ice cream pies and ice cream cakes, eventually.”
The ice cream will be scooped ice cream made by machine, and there are hundreds of flavors.
“It’s going to be scoop ice cream but not hard ice cream,” Kris explained. “Every eight minutes it will make a gallon and a half of ice cream; nine gallons in an hour. It makes it into a tub and put it in the freezer.”
Alisa added, “The ice cream machine will be Dad’s baby and he is going to develop the recipes.”
Jim, who has plenty to do in the kitchen at Cliff’s, will not have an active role in the business, but will help out when he can.
Jim’s hobby will, however, benefit the women with promotion of their business. He designed the business logo on his computer, and with his vinyl cutter he has made Sweet Treat t-shirts and will create designs for the window.
Kris smiles, stating, “Oh, he’s a jack of all trades.”
The couples seven grandkids are lining up for jobs. Austin, age eight, said his job will be taste testing and coming up with new flavors.
Inside the shoppe will be five tables with seating for 20 people. Tables will also be placed outside. The women hope to be open in May. Initial hours will be Tuesday-Saturday 1:00-9:00 pm.
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).
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 received the Loren Horton Community History Award for outstanding local history project presented by Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg.
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 IKM-Manning students and engage them in this 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.
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.
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.