In the spirit of the day, let’s look ahead to 2017 in the Manhattan area, and what we hope happens: Let’s hope there are no disasters or catastrophes. Seems silly, but remember that we’ve had floods and tornadoes, not to mention horrible crimes. Bad things happen, and they will certainly happen this coming year. It’s wise to prepare for them — build yourself a shelter from the storm, metaphorically — but we hope that our luck holds out.
We hope the state government takes a turn toward pragmatism. We hope that the Legislature takes its time to come up with practical solutions to real problems, rather than governing from some ideological viewpoint. We think that’s a real possibility this year, and it’s important to remember that Manhattan is heavily dependent on the state government remaining solvent.
We hope the ongoing debate about the Manhattan High School mascot also takes a turn toward the practical and pragmatic. The school board voted to retain the Indian as the mascot, but also kept the door open a crack by creating a committee to study it further. As we have previously said in this space, we hope the participants on the committee see it as a chance to work together, rather than as a chance to fight the same fight over again.
We hope local elections produce more solid leaders willing to serve, and willing to govern from a common-sense viewpoint. Positions on the City Commission and the Manhattan-Ogden School Board will be up for grabs. We like the way the commission has worked together, and if we’re fortunate, that kind of approach will continue. The school board election could be divisive if the mascot issue boils up again, but hopefully that will be handled appropriately.
We hope the Riley County Commission hits the reset button. Squabbling over pay is not a good way to start. Incoming commissioner Marvin Rodriguez has threatened to make the transition to his term rocky. Let’s just hope that won’t play out.
We hope a study funded by the Chamber of Commerce and by taxpayers produces a solid vision of Manhattan’s future. It calls for coordinating planning among the various entities in the area, including K-State and Fort Riley, and calls for a vision for economic and community development. That could be tremendously valuable, or it could be a waste of time and money. We hope many of you participate, and we hope all good ideas are carefully considered.
There’s a lot more: We hope the incoming Trump administration surprises us with pragmatism; we hope the K-State basketball and football seasons go well; we hope new ownership at local businesses such as GTM and the McCall Pattern Co. lead to growth in jobs. And so forth.
Mostly, though, we hope that all of you find love and peace and happiness. We write a lot in this space about contentious public issues, and that’s as it should be. Those are important matters to all of us. But what matters most is what happens inside your own hearts and homes and families. And so, as 2016 fades out and 2017 comes into view, we hope that you can live the life that you want, and find the happiness you deserve, and give that love back to the people around you who matter most.
Happy New Year.