Charlie Becker, CEO of Camp Courageous for the past 44-years, will be providing a program to the public, sponsored by the Brooklyn Ruritan Club, on Sept. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Brooklyn Ruritan Building (north of the school’s ball diamonds).
Charlie plans to give the audience an update on Camp Courageous, a year-round recreational, respite, and travel program for individuals with disabilities. Annually, the Camp serves nearly 10,000 campers, many from the area. The Camp is run on donations, without government support or anyone being paid to raise money for the camp. The Brooklyn Ruritan Club and the area have been supporting the camp for decades through volunteering, the donation of needed items, and financial support.
In addition, Charlie will be giving a program on his latest trips to Ukraine, where he and his son, Chad, an emergency room doctor serving the Des Moines and Grinnell areas, have done medical mission work since the invasion. Their first trip was to Liev, Ukraine, about a month after invasion began, and their most recent trip was a couple months ago to the Odesa area of Ukraine and up to the front lines. It will bring the current situation to life, and make it personal for those in attendance.
The Brooklyn Ruritan Club is part of a national organization dedicated to community service with the purpose of making their area a better place to live and work. The slogan of Ruritan is Fellowship, Goodwill, and Community Service. Club membership represents a cross section of the community which the club serves and is available to all persons interested in their community.
Exterior of the First National Bank in Brooklyn. The 115-year-old building is currently undergoing a complete transformation by the non-profit ground, Brooklyn Community Development.
Story and photos by Carol Carpenter Hanson, Historian Brooklyn Historical Society
The Brooklyn community will welcome another restored historic building this fall when the newly renovated First National Bank Building opens on lower Jackson Street this fall. The 115-year-old building is currently undergoing a complete transformation by the non-profit group, Brooklyn Community Development.
Located adjacent to the Michael J. Manatt Community Center at the Northeast corner of Jackson and Front Streets, the renovated spaces of the former bank will be used for smaller gatherings and events, including business meetings, family events, anniversary and birthday parties and class reunions.
Laura Manatt, general manager of the MJM Community Center, said the renovation project received a $100,000 Iowa Economic Authority Catalyst Grant to initiate the work, which is expected to cost around $500,000. Funding is still being collected to complete the project.
Brooklyn’s First National Bank was established in 1884, with charter members including William Manatt and T.J. Holmes. Its first building in this location was destroyed in the 1886 town fire. It was replaced by a brick building the following year.
The current building was created to house the bank in 1908 at a cost of $16,000. Two large granite columns framed the front door entrance, and it was Brooklyn’s most distinguished and notable business building. The First National Bank was the town’s premier bank, and by 1919, with resources over $1.5 million, it was Poweshiek County’s second largest bank.
But all that came crashing down during the Great Depression years. By 1924 many banks had closed nationwide, and on a November morning in 1925, the local board of directors closed First National and turned it over to a federal bank examiner. On that day there was a “run” on the bank, as many Brooklynites lined up at the door to withdraw their savings, and 40 new accounts were opened across the street at the Poweshiek County Savings Bank.
In the ensuing 99 years, the building has housed a number of businesses, including the Rural Electric Association, insurance agencies run by Harley Burch, Ed Montgomery and Jack Hall, and a beauty shop operated by Rosemary Thompson.
PART II of Brooklyn’s First National Bank Building renovation
The renovation of Brooklyn’s old First National Bank Building, to be opened this fall, will add another historic gem to the town’s active business district. Three years ago, the Brooklyn Community Development group completed a beautiful refurbishing of the old Brooklyn Opera House, and the current bank building project is a continuation of that venture. The Opera House was built in 1911, and the bank building in 1908.
Laura Manatt, vice-president of the Brooklyn Community Development organization, has directed the ambitious undertaking with the intention of retaining the vintage character of the bank building as much as possible. The heavy doors into the bank’s large, walk-in vault have been kept intact. Some room partitions were removed to expand the first-floor room, and two arched doorways were constructed leading into the back hallway to reflect the original six arched windows that surround the entire main floor. A new circular window over the back entry was designed to replicate the original round window over the front door.
The heavy wooden ceiling beams, door trim, and ceiling cove moldings have been cleaned and stained. A wooden panel casing on the north wall is being built and outfitted with teller window bars, and a large, camouflaged TV screen will be added for meeting use.
An original wall mural near the ceiling had been water-damaged beyond repair, as had the wooden flooring, which has been replaced with dark-stained white oak hardwood. A beverage bar will be installed, and a wine bar will be housed in the refurbished vault room. The existing bathroom has been enlarged and refitted.
Modern glass blocks were removed, and old brick was matched when patching was needed. The original doors have been restored for use wherever possible, and the original door hardware has been salvaged.
A handicapped-accessible exterior back entry ramp was created; it also provides access to the Community Center kitchen for catered events.
On the lower level, a new wider staircase was built to replace the original steep and narrow steps. Ceiling joists were raised, and pipes moved to provide more head space, and a guest bathroom was installed.
Nick Doyle, the project superintendent, and Matt Brown, head carpenter, were both involved with the Brooklyn Opera House renovation in 2020; they welcomed the opportunity to return to Brooklyn for the bank project. Brown ranked the high reward and fulfillment from this work on the same level as the work he completed in a 2022 restoration project at the Iowa State Capitol building. Doyle and Brown are employed by Neumann Bros. in Des Moines and have been commuting to Brooklyn since embarking on the bank building project in December of 2022.
To donate to this restoration, make checks payable to Brooklyn Community Development, PO Box 328, Brooklyn, IA 50112 or drop off at First State Bank, Brooklyn.
The Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting three speaking seminars covering a variety of topics over the course of the fall. The first of the series will dive into Digital
Marketing and feature tips and tricks for managing your social platforms as well as more
information on organic and paid marketing strategies! Bite Sized Learning is sponsored by
Bayer Crop Science and Grinnell College.
Bite Sized Learning kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 31, with speaker Olivia Mason, co-founder and owner of Brandout Social. This course is great for anyone looking to freshen up their social media pages, stay on top of the new trends and hear strategies for exploring the paid advertising side of social media. This event will be held from 8:30 - 9:30 a.m. at the Drake
Community Library Community Room and a breakfast spread and coffee from HyVee will be
Budgets for continuing education can be tight for small and new businesses so for this fall, tickets are a pay-what-you-can structure, starting at $10 per session. Tickets must be purchased beforehand on the Chamber website at www.grinnellchamber.org/en/events/bite_sized_learning/ or by calling the Chamber office at 641-236-6555.
Save the date for the two remaining sessions of Bite Sized Learning, diving into topics regarding human resources/workplace culture as well as credit card fees. These sessions will be held Thursday, Sept. 7 and Thursday, Sept. 28 from 8:30 - 9:30 a.m. at the Drake Community Library, with breakfast from HyVee.
For more information, please visit the Chamber website at www.grinnellchamber.org or call the Chamber office at 641-236-6555.
Read 2 Lead Board members, from left: Jess Kite, Megan Farrell, Lisha Marsh and Jill Harris. Not pictured: Lindsey Altenhofen, Lisa Cirks, Nikki Harter, Jamie McClenathan, Renee Menary, Jennifer Palmer, Lindsey Starrett, Karen Veerhusen-Langerud. Submitted photo.
The Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation announced last week that Read 2 Lead will receive the 2023 “Leave It Better Than You Found It” award, which annually honors individuals, groups or organizations that make a difference in Grinnell and surrounding communities.
CDAF President and CEO Julie Gosselink said Read 2 Lead was selected for the award because of the organization’s efforts to increase childhood literacy efforts and awareness in the community this past year. “Read 2 Lead is fully dedicated to helping children and families in our community be successful now and into the future, which is in the spirit of the “Leave It Better” recognition,” Gosselink said.
Read 2 Lead was established in 2019 by several local individual efforts around children’s literacy. Its mission is to support the early childhood language and literacy development of youth in Poweshiek County through the provision of books and programs that foster an inquisitive mind and a love of reading.
Megan Farrell, a board member of Read 2 Lead who was one of the members present to accept the $5,000 award and traveling trophy said, “We were ecstatic to learn that we had been nominated and chosen by the Ahrens Foundation as the recipient of this award. This is an incredible honor that brings an awesome sense of community support as we continue the great work of getting the right books into little hands, as early as possible.”
Farrell continued, “In the past year, we have expanded our programs to engage and encourage families in reading together throughout the county, increasing the number of children we serve annually by an additional 200. Therefore, it is with such gratitude that we accept this award.”
Read 2 Lead is the official Poweshiek County sponsor and financial champion of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. Dolly Parton's Imagination Library provides age-appropriate, high-quality books to any Poweshiek County child each month from birth to age 5. To date, nearly 350 children are registered in the local area. Another hallmark program of Read 2 Lead is Books for MICA. This program works to provide children's books and a parent educator library for the families that utilize MICA. It is also through the Books for MICA program that Grinnell-Newburg High School students in the Life Responsibilities class make quilts and help choose preschool books and a stuffy given as literacy care packages for these children.
Over the last few years Read 2 Lead has increased their program offerings to include the Raising-A-Reader program, which works with the UnityPoint OB department, Poweshiek County Public Health, and local clinics to support families in their reading journey from birth on. They also added the Kindergarten Kickoff program which provides graduating preschool students a goodie bag of books and items that promote the great pastime of reading, outdoor play, imagination, and fun.
Read 2 Lead’s first major fundraising event "Back 2 School Bash" in August of last year helped to sustain and expand all of these programs to allow for additional children to participate in Poweshiek County.
The “Leave It Better Than You Found It” award commemorates the Aug. 18 birthday of the late benefactor Claude Ahrens. The program was initiated in August 1994 at the dedication of the Ahrens/Paschall Memorial Park and is funded by the Ahrens Foundation. In a 1993 speech to the National Recreation and Parks Association, Ahrens challenged those in attendance to follow the sage advice of his father John, “to leave the world a better place than you found it.” Colleagues of Ahrens decided to encourage area residents to do the same and the effort was founded. To date, more than 300 area individuals, groups and organizations have been honored by the annual program.
The Poweshiek County Historical and Genealogical Society meeting and program is slated for Thursday, Sept. 7 at 1:30 p.m.
The program will be presented by Bob Hamilton of Montezuma who will speak about his memories while managing Diamond Life (the former Poweshiek County Home).
Refreshments will be provided.
The Poweshiek County Historical and Genealogical Society is located at 200 South Third St., Montezuma. The lower level is handicapped accessible on the south side.
If you have questions, call 641-623-3322. Please leave a message because the office is only staffed on Monday and Thursday.
The United States Air Force Heartland of American Band to perform at Grinnell's Central Park on Sept. 1
Raptor, the commercial music ensemble of the United States Air Force Heartland of America Band, will perform high-energy music from a variety of genres on Friday, Sept. 1 at Grinnell’s Central Park. Showtime is 7 p.m.
Their dynamic stage presence that enables them to tell the Air Force story to audiences of all ages.
From rock & roll classics and patriotic favorites, to the chart-topping hits of today, Raptor showcases the Air Force’s excellence, precision, and innovation in every performance. They are committed to inspiring our American public and honoring our nation’s veterans through the incredible power of music.
In addition to enhancing community relations and supporting the USAF recruiting mission, Raptor deploys to support our service members and collaborate with embassies, sharing American culture while building lasting international partnerships. No matter the venue, these talented Airmen musicians proudly represent the more than 660,000 Air Force professionals around the world who relentlessly protect and defend the freedoms we cherish.
Auditions for the Grinnell Community Theatre production of Frankenstein are slated for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 25 & 26, from 6 - 8 p.m. in the Loft Theatre at the Grinnell Arts Center, 926 Broad St!
Roles available for four men and four women. If you are unable to make these times, please contact director Jeff Carter at 641-714-6063 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Grinnell Ag Appreciation Day featured tractor, a 1972 John Deere 4020 owned by Darryl Hull of Grinnell. Darryl will head line the Larry VanErsvelde Tractor Parade at this year's event, slated for Aug. 31.
The Grinnell Lions Ag Appreciation Day is slated for Thursday, Aug. 31 from 3 – 7 p.m., in and around Central Park in Grinnell.
Ag Day will offer food, fun, exhibits, activities for kids, a guest speaker, music, various makes and models of tractors on display, hayrack rides, a tractor parade and just good family-friendly fun.
A farm family will be awarded the Jim Urfer Spirit of Farming Award and an agribusiness will also be recognized. Al Maly with the Grinnell Lions will present the awards.
Ashley Wolfe, Grinnell High School Agricultural Education instructor and FFA advisor, is this year’s guest speaker.
The Grinnell FFA will be hosting a petting zoo while the HLV/BGM FFA will be offering a kidde tractor obstacle course and the Montezuma FFA is hosting a scavenger hunt.
The featured tractor, a 1972 John Deere 4020 is owned by Darryl Hull of Grinnell.
The event will end with the Larry VanErsvelde Tractor Parade, which starts rolling at 6:35 p.m.
“Please encourage any and all tractor owners to bring them to Ag Day,” noted Maly. “New, old, show quality or right from the field. The bigger the tractor parade, the better.”
• 12 – 3 p.m. – Tractor registration
• 3 – 6:35 p.m. - Exhibitor displays open. A number of local and area businesses and organizations will have displays at the Ag Day event
• 3 – 7 p.m. – Dairy Barn on the Moove food trailer
• 3:30 – 5:45 p.m. – Hayrack rides
• 4 – 5:50 p.m. – Route 66 to provide the tunes; Petting Zoo, Pedal Tractor Obstacle and Obstacle Course hosted by local FFA Chapters
• 5:50 p.m. – Cub Scout Pack 347 will Present the Colors and lead the Pledge of Allegiance
• 5:55 p.m. – 2023 Miss Agriculture – Olivia Latcham
• 6 p.m. – Featured speaker – Ashley Wolfe, Grinnell High School Agricultural Education instructor and FFA advisor is the guest speaker.
• 6:15 – 6:20 p.m. – Presentation of Lions Club donations to area FFA Chapters
• 6:15 - 6:30 p.m. – Spirit of Farming and Ag Business Awards
• 6:30 p.m. – Tractor parade announced
• 6:35 p.m. – The Larry VanErsvelde Tractor Parade will wrap up the evening led by Darryl Hull on his featured 1972 John Deere 4020 tractor. The parade starts on 4th Avenue west to Broad Street, north on Broad Street, west on 5th Avenue, south on Main Street, east on 4th Avenue, south on Broad Street and will finish at 1stStreet.
Twins, Lisa (Wyatt) Nordin, left, Laura (Wyatt) Carlson, right, are shown with one of the more than 470 Barbie Dolls they and their family have donated to the Ronald McDonald House in Des Moines to be auctioned off. The twins and their family have donated the Barbie Dolls as a way to say thank you to the Ronald McDonald House for being there in 1985 after the twins were born eight-weeks premature.
By J.O. Parker
The popular Barbie movie has a much deeper meaning for twin sisters, Lisa (Wyatt) Nordin of Grinnell and Laura (Wyatt) Carlson of Champlin, Minn. and the Wyatt family.
The twins, who were born eight weeks premature on March 14, 1985, along with their mother, Sue, and an aunt, Linda Tish, recently donated more than 470 Barbie Dolls to benefit the Ronald McDonald House in Des Moines.
The Barbie Dolls are being auctioned off in lots during an on-going auction to benefit the Ronald McDonald House.
“I hope they can get enough money to buy another van at the Ronald McDonald House” said Lisa of the auction.
The twins mother, Sue, and her husband, Larry, learned in September 1984 that they were expecting their first child.
“I had terrible morning sickness, more like all day sickness,” recalled Sue. “My doctor did an ultrasound, and much to our surprise, I was pregnant with twins.”
Sue said the news came as a shock, since the girl’s father is a twin himself.
At the time, Sue was working at a local bank while pregnant with the twins. Her job required standing for long hours every day.
“I finally determined in February of 1985, that I needed to leave my job and go on bed rest for the duration of the pregnancy,” Sue said. “I was considered a “high risk” pregnancy, and our hometown hospital at that time was not considered prepared for us, so my care was transferred to an OB/GYN in Des Moines at Iowa Methodist Medical Center.”
The original due date for the twins was May 5, 1985.
“On March 14, 1985, while on the phone with my husband, who was in Florida for a convention, my water broke,” noted Sue. “I told him what happened, and that I would be fine, but he needed to get on the next plane home, because the twins were coming now!”
Luckily, Sue said, her parents, William and Lucille Tish, long-time owners of Tish TV, lived nearby, and they were able to drive her to the hospital to deliver the babies.
“We rushed to Des Moines and IMMC,” recalled Sue. “Dr. Rebecca Shaw did a vertical c-section to quickly remove the babies, while standing on a step stool to be able to reach them.”
Lisa was born first and weighed 4-pounds, 7 ounces and Laura was born two minutes later, weighing 4-pound, 3 ounces.
The babies were both taken immediately to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at Blanks Children’s Hospital and were put on oxygen/nitrogen mix and into an incubator. They spent nearly six weeks at Blanks.
Sue said her family and many wonderful friends from Grinnell Christian Church, took turns driving her daily from Grinnell to Des Moines, so that she could see and hold the girls and give them milk.
“I spent my whole day there with the fantastic nurses, and other mothers seeing their babies in the NICU,” said Sue.
Sue said she can’t remember who told her about the Ronald McDonald House, but when she learned that it was just down the street and within walking distance to Blanks, she couldn’t say no.
Sue and her mother checked in as soon as possible and from then on, were able to walk daily to see the girls and hold and feed them.
“The Ronald McDonald House was a true blessing, with a comfortable room, as well as food, games and TV,” Sue said. “I no longer had to worry about the stress of commuting two hours every day and could spend more time with my babies.”
When Lisa and Laura were under age 5, Sue and and the twin’s aunt, Linda Tish, decided to start purchasing Barbie Dolls to save them with the hope to give back to the Ronald McDonald House. Many of the dolls were purchased through a Barbie collector’s catalog with the oldest being from 1989 and the newest being in the early 2020s.
Lisa and Laura, now 38, grew up to become healthy, young women, who are now married and have successful careers. Lisa works for a psychologist in Grinnell and Laura works for a lawyer in Minnesota.
They are both looking forward to giving back through this auction and hopefully making a difference for others who utilize the Ronald McDonald House in Des Moines.
“It means so much,” said Lisa of the Ronald McDonald House. “We are so grateful that they were there for our family.”
To look at the auction offerings, visit https://live.classy.org/.../b0d23e51-b42d-4351-8ccf...
One of the Wyatt sisters in the NICU in March 1985.
One of the Wyatt sisters in the NICU in March 1985.
From left, the twins father, Larry Wyatt, is shown with Lisa (Wyatt) Nordin, Maggie Siwinski, RMH Volunteer Coordinator, and Maria Herera, RMH Special Events Coordinator, when they came to Grinnell to pick up the Barbie Doll donation.
The Wyatt kitchen in Grinnell was filled with plastic tubs of Barbie Dolls to be donated to the Ronald McDonald House in Des Moines. An on-going auction is underway to raise money for the RMH to hopefully purchase a second van.