Today’s Mercury has an editorial piece by Bill Felber, otherwise known as the Second-in-Command-Big-Cheese on staff at a small town newspaper. Felber authors a rather lengthy column titled “The Four Personalities of Manhattan”. Felber lists the four “personalities” of Manhattan as 1) KSU student and their “coming of age” at the Faux Patty’s Day drunkfest and the Country Stampede drunkfest, 2) the Riley County Fair, 3) KSU football, and 4) the Aggieville sponsored New Years Ball Drop. Having been a resident of Manhattan nearly 40 of my 66 years, Felber needs to remove the blinders, open his eyes… and mind… as to what Manhattan’s real personalities are!!!
To define OUR community by the number of alcohol related activites and college football program is an injustice. Manhattan is a dynamic community with a myriad of diverse personalities. But, if the Gospel According to Felber limits the categories to four….
1.) KSU… Our community IS defined by the personality of a major university. Traits of that personality are traffic issues as students return, community supported beer bashes with vomit and urine in the streets, a phenomonal contingent of those from across the world furthering their education, world renowned scholars, great athletic programs that bring dollars and visitors to the community, and a staff of professionals that contribute significantly to civic involvement in our town.
2.) Ft. Riley… One of the most prevelant personalities of our community is the military contingent. Spend time in retail establishments, restaurants, one the street and you cannot miss the many dressed in their “work attire” of camo and combat boots. We are blessed to have those who are willing to give life and limb to protect what we hold so dear as part of our community. Manhattan also benefits from the many who retire from the military and remain here as solid citizens… great assets to our community.
3.) Medical… If anyone has lived here more than a handful of years, you will remember when anything beyond a stubbed toe or smashed finger required a trip to Topeka, Kansas City, or Wichita for medical attention. Today, Manhattan is blessed with the state-of-the-art Mercy Regional. We have cardiovascular surgeons. An orthopedic group in Manhattan has national recognition. From orthodonics to opthamology… from physical therapy to mental therapy… from oncology to urology… from obstetricians to dieticians… Manhattan has become a regional powerhouse, benefitting the citizens with the latest in medical technology.
4.) Agriculture… Yes, we have all the above and are still located in the Flint Hills of Kansas. In how many communities can you see a “rice-burner”, low-rider, blaring rap music running side by side with an aged farm truck loaded with wheat or soybeans? How many communites that benefit from the three personalities listed above can you drive less than five miles from the city and see herds of cattle, people on horseback, deer, buffalo, and even a camel or two? Agriculture plays a large part in the cirricula at KSU, was instrumental in Manhattan’s ability to vie for NBAF, is a major contributor to the economy that fires the region, and defines the history of our geographical region.
I’m sorry, Mr. Felber!! If you honestly believe the personality of OUR community is limited to the university focused events and activities you suggest in the editorial piece, you have not “defined” our community… you have insulted it!! You need to spend more time out IN the community and less time attempting to define it by the limited events that see print in your newspaper!!!!