Project Awards and Year Member Awards
A number of area 4-H’ers received Project and Year Member Awards. Year Member honors recognize members who have met the minimum expectations of 4-H. Project Award honors recognize members who have demonstrated project learning within the project area. 4-H’ers receiving Project Awards and Year Member Awards are, front row, from left: Lauren Janicki, Grace Schalmo, William Manatt, and Slane McCue. Back row: Erika Janicki, Thea Larsson, Kirsten Lee, Dasha LaRue, Lucy Turley, Gracie Kaufman, Molly Turley, and William Schalmo. Not pictured: Desirae Roberts, Ellen Cook, Vivian Cook, Gabriella Cushman.
The Poweshiek County 4-H Program held its annual awards banquet on Sunday, Nov. 7 at the Montezuma United Methodist Church. The following 4-H’ers were recognized at the banquet.
4 Bar H
Desirae Roberts – Year Member, AH HA Moment, Outstanding Member, Overall Record Book, Beef, Woodworking
Deep River Helping Hands
Ellen Cook – Beef, Sheep, Year Member, Overall Record Book; Vivian Cook – Beef, Sheep, Year Member, Overall Record Book.
William Manatt - Clothing & Fashion, Science, Engineering & Technology, Photography, Food & Nutrition, AH HA Moment, Year Member, Overall Record Book.
Ava Seney – Child Development, Woodworking.
Gabriella Cushman – Photography, Year Member, Outstanding Member
Mighty Golden Clovers
Erika Janicki – Visual Arts, Food and Nutrition, Year Member, AH HA Moment, Outstanding Member; Lauren Janicki – Year Member, Woodworking; Gracie Kaufman – Community Service, Ah Ha Moment, Overall Record Book, Outstanding Member, Animal Science, Poultry, Photography, Horse and Pony; Dasha LaRue – Visual Arts, Year Member, Dog, Horse & Pony; Thea Larsson – Danforth Award, Overall Record Book, Year Member, Project Research; Kirsten Lee – Year Member, Outstanding Member, Overall Record Book, Personal Development and Citizenship, Pets and Animal Science; Slane McCue – Year Member, AH HA Moment, Family Consumer Science, Digital Storytelling; Grace Schalmo – Horticulture, Poultry, Swine, Family Consumer Science, Photography, Shooting Sports; William Schalmo - Music, Swine, Food and Nutrition, Horticulture, Photography, Woodworking, Poultry, Shooting Sports; Lucy Turley – Overall Record Book, Year Member, Community Service, Communication Arts, Music, Visual Arts; Molly Turley – Danforth Award, Outstanding Member, Year Member, Overall Record Book, Achievement, Community Service; Citizenship, Leadership, Visual Arts, Leadership-Project Area, Communication Arts.
Make A Difference Award – Sawyer Tindle, Deep River Helping Hands; Maggie Dayton, Mighty Golden Clovers.
Club Service Award – Deep River Helping Hands & Mighty Golden Clovers.
Pride Club Award – Deep River Helping Hands & Mighty Golden Clovers.
Leadership Recognition – Amber Heishman, Poweshiek Pioneers – Five years as a volunteer leader.
Friend of 4-H – Montezuma School District
Outstanding Member honors recognize 4-H’ers who have demonstrated leadership skills and have shown personal growth through 4-H. Receiving Outstanding Member honors are, from left: Thea Larsson, Gracie Kaufman, Kirsten Lee, Molly Turley, and Erika Janicki, Not pictured: Desirae Roberts, Gabriella Cushman.
Overall Record Book
Overall Record Book honors recognize 4-H’ers who have maintained excellent record over all their project areas. Area 4-H’ers receiving Overall Record Book honors are, from left: Gracie Kaufman, Kirsten Lee, Thea Larsson, William Manatt, Lucy Turley, and Molly Turley. Not pictured: Desirae Roberts, Ellen Cook, Vivian Cook.
AH HA Moment Award
AH HA Moment Award honors went to, from left: Erika Janicki, Slane McCue, William Manatt, and Gracie Kaufman. Not pictured: Desirae Roberts.
Community Service Award
4-H’ers receiving Community Service Awards included, from left: Lucy Turley, Gracie Kaufman, and Molly Turley, who was also recognized with a Citizenship Award.
Molly Turley, a member of the Mighty Golden Clovers 4-H Club, was recognized with the Citizenship, Leadership and Achievement Award honors at the banquet.
William H. Danforth “I Dare You” Leadership Award
The William H. Danforth “I Dare You” Leadership Award recognizes 4-H’ers who have an in-depth knowledge of the 4-H program. The goal is to challenge youth to develop their skills for future life endeavors and most importantly service to others. Recipients of this award will receive a scholarship for the second semester of their first year of college. The 2021 recipients are, from left: Thea Larsson and Molly Turley.
The BGM Drama Department presented, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” for two shows in the school auditorium on Friday, Nov. 12 and again on Saturday, Nov. 13.
The production was a faithful adaptation of Washington Irving's “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” which follows the sometimes comic, melancholy and frightening misadventures of Sleepy Hollow's new school master, Ichabod Crane, as he tries to fit into the enchanted village and win the love of Katrina Van Tassel. To succeed, he must compete for Katrina's favor with the wild and handsome Brom Van Brunt, and must also survive the chief spirit of a haunted land known as “The Headless Horseman." Will Ichabod win Katrina's love? Will Ichabod outwit Brom, and survive the hauntings of "The Headless Horseman?”
On opening night, the BGM Drama Department members answered these questions. In fact, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” cast featured an array of talented young actors, who were very excited to bring the story of Washington Irving's “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” to the stage. The Cast of Characters in the adaptation by award winning playwright Mark Scharf included: (1) Washington Irving, (2) Abraham “Brom” Van Brunt, (3) Issac, friend of Brom, (4) Jacob, friend of Brom, (5) Frans, acquaintance of Brom, (6) Ichabod Crane, (7) Katrina, (8) Balthus Van Tassel, (9) Dirk Van Houton, (10) Mrs. Van Tassel, (11) Mrs. Van Houton, (12) Mrs. Van Ripper, (13) the Women of Sleepy Hollow and enthusiastic residents of Sleepy Hollow.
“All Cast Members worked diligently to bring Washington Irving’s story to the stage,” noted Beth Byers, play director. “It is delightful to work with such talented young actors and watch them grow over the course of the play season."
Brooklyn Ruritan Club honors Veterans, celebrates 100th birthday of Francis Gallagher American Legion Post 294
Brooklyn’s Don Brannian, standing, shakes hands while visiting with World War II Veteran Dale Watts, a long-time Montezuma resident and former business owner, during a meet and greet at the Veterans event hosted by the Brooklyn Ruritan Club on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at the Michael J. Manatt Community Center. At left is Dale’s son, Brian, standing, and Veteran Dennis Latcham, both of Montezuma, who are listening in.
Veterans and their guests came from Brooklyn, Montezuma, Deep River, Grinnell, Oskaloosa, Newton, Pella and even South Dakota to celebrate Veterans Day and the 100th year birthday of Brooklyn’s Francis Gallagher American Legion Post 294.
The local American Legion Post turned 100 in 2020. The celebration was postponed a year due to Covid.
Hosted by the Brooklyn Ruritan Club, the event was held on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at the Michael J. Manatt Community Center.
Ruritan Club members prepared and served a traditional Thanksgiving meal of ham, turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and rolls.
Veterans organizations in attendance were recognized and Francis Gallagher Post 294 Commander Ron Brown cut the 100-year birthday cake, which was served to all guests.
Stanley Walford, a World War II Veteran, received a 75-year membership certificate to the Francis Gallagher American Legion Post 294. Walford spoke of his time in the war, touching on Cpl. Harold “Pie” Keller, the Brooklyn Marine and one of six soldiers who placed the American Flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Kay Keller Maurer, the daughter of Keller, was in attendance and became emotional a couple times during Walford’s speech. A memorial to Cpl. Harold “Pie” Keller is slated to be erected at the Brooklyn Flag Display in 2022.
Ray “Bubba” Sorenson II, the Freedom Rock founder and artist, was the guest speaker. He shared the story of how the original Freedom Rock, an approximately 60-ton, 12-foot tall boulder that sits on private property in the countryside along Highway 25 in Adair County, closest to the small town of Menlo, was started. Sorenson has painted the rock every Memorial Day since 1999. He also shared about the 99-county Freedom Rock Tour, which he just finished in September. Poweshiek County’s Freedom Rock is located on southeast corner of the Poweshiek County Courthouse Square in Montezuma.
Others speakers included Jim Foels, president of the Ruritan Club; Roger Van Ersvelde, who honored the 13 American Soldiers killed in Afghanistan in August; and Randy Johnson, Department of Iowa Vice Commander with the American Legion, who spoke on getting involved in a Veteran’s organization. The event also included the posting and retiring of colors by legion members, a prayer led by Legion Chaplain Rodney Horrigan, the singing of “America,” led by Don Lastovka and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Kayden Heishman, a BGM student.
A Quilt of Valor presentation was given by the Ruritan Club with this year’s quilt being presented to Korean War Veteran Gene Osborn. The quilt was made by Kristin Kasal.
A quilt, which was made by Judy Wacha, a veteran, and quilted by Jane Bazen, was presented to Rusty Clayton of the Ruritan Club for his dedication to the Veterans.
“I and very humbled and appreciate Judy’s kindness,” noted Clayton.
In addition, a Henry Repeating Arms 22 caliber Golden Boy Rifle was raffled off with the gun being won by Brooklyn’s Don Brannian. Proceeds from the gun raffle, which raised approximately $2,800, will go toward the Harold “Pie” Keller Memorial.
“The Brooklyn Ruritan Club is proud of our Veterans and feel that they are an important part of our free nation,” added Clayton. “By hosting a special Thanksgiving meal for our Veterans and their families it is a small token of appreciation for their sacrifices. It is very rewarding to all of us as an organization and the community we live in.”
“I’m glad everyone showed up and helped us celebrate 100 years of the Francis Gallagher American Legion Post 294 in Brooklyn,” noted Commander Brown, a U.S. Army Combat Veteran who served during the Viet Nam War. “All the veterans that were there were very honored that the Ruritans provided the supper for them.”
Montezuma School Board member Stacie Cameron, center, accepts the Poweshiek County Friend of 4-H award from 4-H County Council members, from left, Thea Larsson, Ella Stephens, Molly Turley, Hailey Heishman, Anna Johnson and Brooke Conover, during the annual 4-H Awards Day on Sunday, Nov. 7 at the Montezuma Methodist Church. The Montezuma Clover Kids and Montezuma Nature Club nominated the school for the honor.
By J.O. Parker
The Montezuma Community Schools is the recipient of the 2021 Poweshiek County Friend of 4-H award. School board member Stacie Cameron was on hand to receive the honor on behalf of the district at the annual 4-H Awards Day held at the Montezuma Methodist Church on Sunday, Nov. 7.
The Montezuma Clover Kids and Montezuma Nature Club nominated the school for the honor.
This award recognizes adult volunteers who make a significant contribution (time or money) to the Poweshiek County 4-H program countywide. The recipient can be a business, family or individual. Nominee should have helped 4-H beyond the club level.
“The Montezuma School District has been very supportive of the programs that Poweshiek County 4-H and Outreach has offered,” wrote about the nominators. “They have been very generous with providing us with the opportunity to serve youth not only in the Montezuma area but with youth attending workshops. Not only have they provided facilities for programming, but they have also provided transportation for field trips and for other opportunities.”
“I was honored to accept the Friend of 4-H award on behalf of the Montezuma Community School District,” said Cameron, who serves on the school board. “We understand that learning doesn’t end when students leave our classrooms and that it takes the community working together to help prepare our young people for the future. We are blessed to have such a strong 4-H program in our community that does exactly that and we are honored to be able to partner with them as they work to teach such valuable life skills.”
A spokesperson with the Poweshiek County Extension 4-H and Outreach programs said, “we would like to acknowledge their sincere contributions and their support for the youth we serve and programs that we host.”
“Montezuma Community Schools is both honored and excited to accept the Poweshiek County Friend of 4-H award. We appreciate the partnership that Poweshiek County 4-H and extension has developed with the school,” noted Montezuma Superintendent Nathan Wood. “I can attest to the lifelong skills that I obtained through my own experiences as a 4-H member, many of which have contributed to my own personal and professional growth. As a school, we look forward to continuing our partnership to support the youth of the community.”
SHE Counts and More - Rachel Bly
In October, GPCF celebrates the GIVERS in our community! Our first Spirit of Giving awardee is Rachel Bly who was nominated for her volunteer efforts with SHE Counts, the Poweshiek County Democrats, TTT, and the League of Women Voters, to name a few. Rachel is a tireless cheerleader for so many causes and she makes everything she touches better. She truly leads by example when giving of her time and expertise. Also, how can you not love to hear Rachel's laugh when attending an event? Thank you, Rachel! Your Spirit of Giving shows in everything you do!
The LINK - Chad Nath
Our next Spirit of Giving awardee is Chad Nath. Chad, the director of the LINK afterschool and mentoring program, was nominated for his compassion, kindness, and generous spirit. Of the many hats you might see Chad wearing around our community, he always turns up with a smile, endless patience, and a can-do attitude. His leadership in the LINK program for children, parents, and staff reaches far beyond the program's doors as he generously shares his time and resources to make our community better. Thank you, Chad! We appreciate your Spirit of Giving!
Brooklyn’s Center Ground - Carla Kriegel
Center Ground, a coffee shop located in Brooklyn, was nominated for the Spirit of Giving honor last month. Center Ground's owner, Carla Kriegel, is an amazing community partner who created the business to be a hub of activity. She hosts Brooklyn's youth group during the school year, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce meetings, book clubs, and private gatherings like graduation parties or wedding showers, among other things! Carla's daughter, Megan, notes that the establishment was opened a couple of years ago to bring the community together! Center Ground does that every day with their friendly staff and a bright, welcoming shop with lots of comfy seating and a variety of food and delicious caffeinated and un-caffeinated beverages!
A Passion for Music - Frank and Sherry Shults
Frank and Sherry Shults share their Spirit of Giving across the Grinnell community. They have turned their passion for music into a way to support local charitable causes through Shults and Co. musical performances and have given more than $100,000 in proceeds from their shows over the years. Frank also serves on several local nonprofit boards and Sherry has been involved in community theater productions. They lead by example with a commitment to sharing their time, talents and resources for the benefit of the entire community.
USDA Food Boxes - Bayer Crop Science
GPCF recognizes Bayer Crop Science for their generous Spirit of Giving working with the Grinnell Food Coalition to distribute over 7,000 USDA food boxes to area families. From logistics to warehouse space, snow-clearing to heavy-lifting, the Bayer team met every challenge with a can-do attitude and the team to get it done. Nearly 215,000 pounds of food was distributed during the six food box events in weather ranging from sub-zero temperatures to pouring rain. This would not have been possible without Bayer's enthusiastic support. Receiving the honor on behalf of the company was Steve Gant, left, Site Lead, and Matt Moyer, Production Manager, right. Thank you, Bayer Crop Science team, for your generous Spirit of Giving!
By J.O. Parker
The Grinnell Lady Tigers Volleyball team finished the season with a 17-19 record for the 2021 season. Three players have been recognized with all-conference honors.
Senior Makenna Smith received second team all-conference honors while juniors Gretta Dodd and Bailey Strovers received honorable mention honors.
Following are the Little Hawkeye all-conference honors:
Kenna Jackson, S, Dallas Center-Grimes, Senior
Brynn Bishop, L, Indianola, Sophomore
Lauren Blake, OH/S, Indianola, Senior
Abbi Brenizer, OH, Norwalk, Senior
Faith De Ronde, OH, Oskaloosa, Senior
Maleah Walker, OH, Oskaloosa, Junior
Avey Amelse, OH, Pella, Senior
Bailey Van Voorst, OH, Pella, Senior
Sarah Gritters, OH, Pella Christian, Senior
Natalie Harrill, L, Pella Christian, Senior
Audrey Anderson, L, Dallas Center-Grimes, Senior
Makenna Smith, OH, Grinnell, Senior
Kailey Peters, MH, Indianola, Junior
Camryn McKay, OH, Norwalk, Senior
Noelle Sutcliffe, OH, Norwalk Sophomore
Olivia Gordon, S, Oskaloosa, Senior
Lucy Roach, L, Oskaloosa, Junior
Jasmine Namminga, MH, Pella, Junior
Anna Vander Waal, S, Pella, Senior
Anna Cantrell, MH, Dallas Center-Grimes, Sophomore
Jillian Janssen, OPP/S, Dallas Center-Grimes, Junior
Gretta Dodd, MH, Grinnell, Junior
Bailey Strovers, MH, Grinnell, Junior
Lizzie Espenmiller-McGraw, RS, Indianola, Senior
Emma Kluver, MH, Indianola, Senior
Kadance Ahn, OH, Newton, Sophomore
Aurora Nehring, MH, Newton, Senior
Cate Backstrom, S, Norwalk, Senior
Ava Johnson, MH, Norwalk, Sophomore
Aubree Blanco, MH, Oskaloosa, Senior
Abygail Thompson, MH, Oskaloosa, Senior
Ella Corbin, MH, Pella, Senior
Meridith Rowe, RS, Pella, Senior
Chloe Huisman, S, Pella Christian, Freshman
Trinity Vos, MH, Pella Christian, Senior
The GHS-BGM 400 Free Relay team finished in fifth place at the 2021 North Central Conference Meet on Saturday, Oct. 23. They are, from left: Josie Smith, Della Pease, Shiloh Smith, and Sydney Miller.
By J.O. Parker
Grinnell’s Trista Thompson is having a breakout year on the diving board.
A junior on the GHS-BGM Swimming and Diving Team, Thompson finished the 2021 North Central Conference Meet on Saturday, Oct. 23 at the Marshalltown YMCA with the top meet score of 475.60 (11 dives) and a number one state ranking.
“This was not her highest score but Trista has the hardest dive list in the state and every chance she has to complete her list is a step closer to being ready for the state meet,” said GHS-BGM Swimming and Diving Coach Sarah Smith.
Deidre Freeman Huff, a 2006 GHS graduate and Team USA professional diver, has been working alongside Coach Smith with Thompson and the other divers on the GHS-BGM dive team.
In addition to Thompson, Mariah VanErsvelde, a GHS-BGM diver placed 6th at the meet with a score of 227.90.
In addition, Thompson, Sydney Miller and the GHS-BGM Coaching staff received special honors at the meet. Each year, the coaches nominate and vote for Athlete of the Year, Academic Excellence, and Coaching Staff of the Year, all three of which were handed out to GHS-BGM.
“Athlete of the Year went to Trista Thompson, Academic Excellence went to Sydney Miller (senior, swimmer/diver with the highest GPA on the team), and Coaching Staff of the Year went to GHS and Oskaloosa (who tied for this award),” said Coach Smith.
This is Thompson’s third year to dive for GHS-BGM.
“I have been working hard and perfecting my dives,” Thompson said of her success.
Last winter, Thompson joined a club diving team, Midwest Diving Academy, and she has been spending more time in the water and working on her dives.
“It has been a lot of hard work,” she said.
When asked what she enjoys the most about diving, Thompson said she really likes that not every day is the same.
“It is based off how hard I work,” she said. “It makes me want to get better and better.”
“Trista has come so far in the three seasons I’ve been coaching her,” said Freeman Huff. “I’m so glad she decided to come out for diving. She has worked extremely hard this past year in the off-season, especially considering she did not have access to a diving board closer than an hour away. She was traveling to Iowa City and Omaha multiple times a week just to find a facility and coaching that was open during the pandemic.”
Thompson said it was her mother, Paula, who encouraged her to get involved in a sport. With a background in gymnastics, Thompson said she considered cheerleading, but opted for diving instead.
“I decided on diving because I thought it would be the closest to gymnastics,” Thompson said.
Trista currently holds the GHS 6 and 11 dive records, which were held by Freeman Huff until this season.
A number of other swim and dive team members also enjoyed success at the 2021 North Central Conference Meet. Following is an overview:
• Fourth place overall as a team
• Athlete of the Year (Trista Thompson)
• Coaching Staff of the Year (GHS and Oskaloosa tied for the award)
• First and sixth in diving (Trista Thompson and Mariah VanErsvelde)
• Fifth in 100 Fly (Josie Smith)
• Fifth in the 400 Free Relay (Josie Smith, Della Pease, Shiloh Smith, Sydney Miller)
• Academic Excellence award (Sydney Miller)
• Continued time drops
“With all of the success, I do want to point out that this is a grueling meet,” said Coach Smith. “The swimmers and divers are tired, they are pushing their bodies to the max, and it is physically and mentally exhausting.”
Coach Smith said it has been a couple of years since GHS-BGM finished that high at this conference meet.
The second swimming event, the 200 Free, saw time drops from Della Pease (2 secs, 2:17.89, 9th place) and Josie Smith (1 sec, 2:17.04, 7th place).
A couple of swimmers were not at the meet due to All-State tryouts so Trista and Mariah stepped up and helped out. Trista dropped a second in the 50 Free with a PR of 31.91.
In the 100 Fly, Josie Smith was the only swimmer to get on the podium for an individual event. She placed 5th with a time of 1:09.94.
“Going into the last event, we knew that we were ahead of Vinton Shellsburg Union by only two points and that we had to beat both of their relays to keep that place,” said Coach Smith. “The "B" relay of Chloe Alger, Amanda Small, Claire Behrens, and Cora Miller did a great job of placing ahead the VSU "B" relay. Our "A" relay was seeded with a two seconds faster time than the VSU "A" relay. Josie Smith got the 400 Free "A" relay off to a fast start with a PR of 1:01.94 and the relay placed 5th ahead of VSU "A" and a trip to the podium.”
“I was very proud of this year’s team for beating Vinton-Shellsburg Union by two points to finish in 4th place,” added Coach Smith. “It took determination and focus for that to happen by everyone on the team.”
All photos submitted
In addition to the participating in the 400 Free Relay Team for GHS-BGM, Sydney Miller was the All-Academic Award Winner at the 2021 North Central Conference Meet on Saturday, Oct. 23 in Marshalltown.
Josie Smith finished in 5th place in the 100 fly at the North Central Conference Swimming and Diving Championship on Saturday, Oct. 23.
GHS-BGM diver Trista Thompson was named the number one state ranking after posting the top meet score of 475.60 (11 dives) at the North Central Conference Swimming and Diving Championship on Saturday, Oct. 23. Trista also received Athlete of the Year honors at the meet.
Trista Thompson, center, the number one diver in the state, is joined by her coaches, Sarah Smith, left, and Deidre Freeman Huff, diving coach.
Laura Manatt, third from left, general manager of the Brooklyn Opera House, is joined by her husband, Brian, second from left, along with state, county and local dignitaries at a ribbon cutting and grand opening on the opera house stage on Friday, Oct. 22. After years of neglect, termite and water damage, the opera house is once again a community centerpiece in the City of Brooklyn. Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg is left of Brian and Iowa Economic Director Deb Durham is right of Laura.
By J.O. Parker
On Friday afternoon, Oct. 22, Brian and Laura Manatt welcomed state, county and city dignitaries, community supporters, building contractors and others to join them on stage at the Brooklyn Opera House for a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at the newly renovated building.
It was the Manatts who spearheaded a drive to save the once dilapidated opera house, turning it into a shining star that has drawn praise from locals to state leaders.
“This opera house is truly a Cinderella story,” said Deb Durham, Iowa Economic Director, who was in attendance at the open house. “If you think of its rich history and the years of neglect, it did not age well. Because of leaders like Brian and Laura uniting the community around their vision of what the building could be, they began reaching out to various funding partners and the state was pleased to play a role in this beautiful restoration.”
The Manatts announced at a public gathering in early March of 2019 that they had been working with Des Moines-based Neumann Brothers since 2014 on a plan to renovate the opera house into a 250-seat multi-purpose facility.
The first musical event in the building was in October 2020 when Johnny Cash tribute artist Cliff Wright performed. Since then, the opera house has held movies, national and state musical performances such as George Ducas, the Nadas, Tyler Rich, local plays, a theatre youth camp, weddings and various meetings and events in connection with the Michael J. Manatt Community Center.
And on Saturday, Oct. 23 Iowan Maddie Poppe, American Idol winner, performed to a sold out crowd. Deep River’s own Tyler Richton and High Bank Boys opened the show.
“The community has rallied around it,” said Laura, who serves as general manager of the opera house. “Not only have they volunteered, they have donated and bought tickets to events. Every piece helps.”
Historic Preservations Jennifer James, who did the historical research on the opera house renovation, said one of the things that is most striking is how the Brooklyn community came together to make this project happen.
“From the beginning, the community got behind the building,” she said. “Neumann Brothers (and architect Matt Keller) made sure that the building was protected and better than it was.”
The project renovation cost $4 million, which was funded with community support and state and national grants.
“I’m proud of the Brooklyn Community and Poweshiek County for coming together and bringing this amazing building back to life,” said Dawn Driscoll, District 38 State Senator, who was in attendance.
“To see a group of Iowans come together to make a project like this happen is amazing,” said Iowa Lt. Governor Adam Gregg, who was in attendance. “Thank you for this investment.”
Since its opening, downtown Brooklyn has welcomed a new pharmacy, flower shop, hair studio, coffee house and a new owner at the local hardware store.
“The Opera house today has improved the community in so many ways, by helping keep business local by providing entertainment such as movies, activities and a place to hold events so people are staying in town and not going elsewhere,” noted Brooklyn Mayor Carl Tubbs.
“The opera house is a focal point of our downtown,” added Rusty Clayton, Brooklyn Ruritan and former owner of the local hardware store. “They (the Manatts) are working hard to bring culture to the rural area through plays, concerts and movies. It also provides a great event center for weddings, meetings and parties. Small town living with big city culture.”
“It’s nice to see it finally happen to such a beautiful old building on our Main Street,” added Tubbs.
“Anything is possible in rural Iowa,” said Lt. Gov. Gregg. “What a perfect example for other small towns that face similar challenges.”