Manson: Saving lives

Volunteer fire department earns respect

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Manson Public Library director Laura Koons enjoys the newly remodeled Young Adult section. New shelving, lights and comfortable furniture complete the area.

MANSON — The Manson Fire Department has seen a year of growth. Fire Chief John Colshan said they have four new members, which brings the all-volunteer department up to 32.

He’s proud of the crew. He said that of the firefighters, 26 have earned their Firefighter I or Firefighter II certification.

Support in the community is strong for the department, he said. The department holds fundraisers during the year, including a monthly pancake breakfast and a spring gun raffle.

“We use the money to buy equipment that makes our job easier,” he said.

Examples include a chain saw and rotary saw designed for firefighter use and a compressor used to fill up the department’s SCBA breathing tanks.

In conjunction with a grant from the Calhoun County Community Foundation, Colshan said the department is also purchasing an explosion-proof filling chamber to go with the compressor.

The department also received a $75,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant last year.

“We were able to purchase 13 air packs, 26 bottles and 30 face pieces,” he said.

While Colshan is proud of his department, he said the biggest source of pride for his crew are the two lives they saved last year.

“We’ve been involved in two successful grain rescues,” he said. “One in Twin Lakes and one with a 12 year-old girl.”

They were able to use rescue gear donated by Pro-Coop and credit training from PRI Rescue Innovations.

“It’s a really good feeling,” he said.

Manson library

Manson Public Library Director Laura Koons is pretty proud of the newly remodeled young adult section.

“We have new furniture, new lighting and new charging stations for devices.”

It is a comfortable area. There’s plenty of light, the couch and chair are comfortable, the lettering above the shelf colorful and there’s a great selection of books to read.

The charging stations are a hit with every age group.

“I think everyone is taking advantage of that,” Koons said. “Not just the young adults.”

The year has also seen several popular programs that included a chance for library patrons to hear from, and visit with, a Holocaust survivor. The first program featured survivor Beatrice Karp.

“It was a video teleconference,” Koons said. “There was a question and answer session afterwards.”

On Feb. 23, Holocaust survivor Kitty Williams will share her story at the library as the second person in the series. Her presentation starts at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

The social contact the library offers is important .

“I have one who comes,” Koons said. “She said she looks forward to it very much. It’s her bright spot of the week.”


Manson has several new businesses. One of those is Iowa Sweets, started by Sandy Sweeney. She hand crafts hard candy treats into spoon or button shapes. They can be stirred into coffee or other warm beverages.

She was inspired to make the low calorie treats by a friend with diabetes. Sweeney uses Isomalt, a sweetener that gives the same texture and appearance as sugar.

“You can use the lemon spoon in tea, coffee or water,” she said. “The French vanilla spoon in coffee, cappuccino, tea or hot chocolate.”

The buttons can be added to beverages or simply eaten like any other hard candy.

While Sweeney lives in Manson, her products are available to anyone with an internet connection, at