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The upside of Manhattan is easy to find

By Corene Brisendine

Casey Wiske loves everything about living and working in Manhattan.

Wiske grew up on a farm just outside of Zeandale, where her parents still live today.

After graduating high school in 2008, she married her husband, William, and began a career in customer service. Two years ago, Wiske was hired by the city to work customer service in City Hall, and said she wouldn’t want to do anything else.

“When I got this job, I didn’t think it was going to be so extensive. We do taxi licenses, merchant guards, pet licenses, parking permits, and water bills—of course, the most important,” she said. “I didn’t realize it was going to be that fun.”

Although she meets many of the residents in Manhattan, she didn’t realize people would remember her. She said the other day she was shopping and a man who had recently come in recognized her and said, “Hi.”

William also works for the city in the public works department. He worked with her at D and I Plumbing, Heating and Air, Inc. making service calls similar to what he is doing now, but his present job provides him more of what he likes—being outside and interacting with members of the community.

“He would be outdoors even if it was snowing,” she said.

Wiske said her husband, who is from Medicine Lodge, came to Manahttan to attend Kansas State University. But after one semester he “decided it wasn’t for him.” She said she has never wanted to take any classes from the university because “it’s just so big.”

Although they don’t have any children, yet, that is on Wiske’s To-Do list. Until then, she and her husband take care of their two Labradors. She has had Rifle, a black Lab, for five years, and they recently acquired Benelli, a six-month-old yellow lab, for her husband to train as a hunting dog. 

Wiske said she enjoys taking the dogs to Pet Poolooza, an end-of-summer event that gives animals access to the city’s pools, most.

“They love the water,” she said. “I look forward to that even now because they love it, and it’s so cool.”

Wiske said her and her husband used to live in Manhattan, but just bought a house in Wamego. With two large dogs and a yearning to return to life on a farm, they found a place on an acre of land.

Although they live in Wamego, she still likes Manhattan’s small-town atmosphere.

“It’s small, but it’s big enough that you can do your own thing and people don’t necessarily—like a small town—always talk about you,” she said. “But it’s small enough everyone knows, hey, the library used to be here.”

She said she remembers when Wal-Mart was where Hobby Lobby is now, and when the Dairy Queen on Anderson Avenue used to be a Hardee’s. She also remembers playing volleyball in the auditorium at City Hall. When she started working there, one of her coworkers came up to her and said, “I know you from somewhere.” After a while, they discovered that Wiske used to play volleyball with her daughter. Along with volleyball, she also played softball in City Park for the Wildcat Softball League. So, even though she went to school in Wamego, she still made friends in Manhattan while participating in sports.

Besides shopping, Wiske said she likes to drive around Manhattan visiting friends and looking at Christmas lights. She said they have been spending a lot of time at the local hardware and Do-It-Yourself stores in an effort to fix up their new home, but that doesn’t discourage her love of shopping.

Wiske said she hopes to have a couple of kids and continue to work in customer service at City Hall. While she thinks she will probably move up at some point, she hopes she will still interact with the community at work.

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