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Nickolas Oatley / Staff photos by Nickolas Oatley  

Carrie Chai helps her son, Warren Chai, 8, put labels on bake sale goods Friday at Manhattan Catholic Schools in preparation for Buttons and Bows. The annual craft fair is from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday in three buildings — the Manhattan Catholic Schools grade school, junior high and Seven Dolors Parish Center.


Nickolas Oatley / Staff photo by Nickolas Oatley 

Makayla Machin, 12, puts labels on cookies Friday for Manhattan Catholic Schools’ bake sale, which will take place at Buttons and Bows on Saturday.


Crime
RCPD arrests man who escaped from custody Saturday

Riley County police on Thursday arrested a Manhattan man who escaped from their custody last weekend.

Officers arrested Cory Ryan Calkins, 33, in the 1000 block of Garden Way at 4:35 p.m.

He is charged with aggravated escape from custody; aggravated burglary; possession of marijuana; two counts of possession of opiates, opium, narcotics or certain stimulants; two counts of use or possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia into the human body; interference with a law enforcement officer and two counts of theft of property or services.

The charges stem from three different cases.

He is confined in the Riley County Jail on a $44,000 bond.

Calkins was initially apprehended on Saturday on offenses of aggravated burglary, possession of meth, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Officials said he escaped while being transported to the jail.


News
featured
SCHOOL NOTEBOOK | FIT Closet inundated with donations, but still needs items

Tracee Emery said she felt close to tears when she looked at the empty bins and shelves of clothing at the USD 383 FIT Closet.

As the winter months start creeping in, several of the hundreds of families who use the Manhattan-Ogden school district’s free clothing and personal supply closet had picked up much of the closet’s existing stock of winterwear and hygiene items.

“I believe that lots of our families came in to shop for winter clothes and simply depleted our winter supply,” said Emery, the program’s coordinator. “I don’t know how true this might be, but sometimes it’s not easy to see the need if you don’t have the need, and donations also had dropped off quite a bit over the last few months.”

Emery said that in her four years volunteering at the FIT Closet and as program coordinator for the past 17 months, she had never seen the closet so empty, so she put out a plea for donations on social media.

The response was overwhelming. Since Wednesday evening, Emery’s Facebook post was shared hundreds of times and seen by thousands of people. More than 50 people donated items Thursday, and a mountain of clothes and boxes of Amazon Wishlist items awaited volunteers Friday morning. Emery said people in Alabama have sent in items, and others in Oklahoma were sending checks.

In any case, Emery said the closet still needs items for the winter months.

“Right now, we’re trying to go through the flood of donations,” Emery said. “The need will continue, and we need children’s winter clothes. We do take used clothes in excellent condition, and we’re looking particularly for children’s winter shoes, and things you would be warm in walking to school.”

Emery said the closet is focused on winter clothing and personal hygiene items right now, but people with spring or summer clothing should hold onto those items and donate them closer to those seasons, as the closet has limited space.

The closet and its free supplies are open to families who have a child in the school district and meet free or reduced lunch income eligibility. Closet hours for shoppers and donors are 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, with additional hours 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and 3 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday. More information is available at fitcloset.org and the organization’s Facebook page.

MATC named

a top US

community college

Manhattan Area Technical College has been named one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges.

The nonpartisan Aspen Institute College Excellence Program picked MATC based on the college’s strong and improving student outcomes. MATC is now eligible to compete for the institute’s 2021 Aspen Prize, a $1 million award given to just a few colleges each year to recognize high achievement and performance. Ten finalists for that award will be announced in May.

MATC president Jim Genandt said being named one of the top 150 colleges was a testament to the dedication and passion of the institution’s faculty and staff.

“Manhattan should be very proud of MATC and the constant return on investment connected to workforce education and economic development produced through the College,” Genandt said, “and we want to thank the many regional employers and community leaders for their advocacy for technical education and MATC.”

Tracz presented with honorary

doctorate

K-State director of bands and professor of music Frank Tracz received an honorary doctorate from Doane University at the wind ensemble concert on Oct. 23.

Tracz, who has traveled across the world as a clinician and speaker, has regularly worked with Doane University in Crete, Nebraska, over the past 27 years, including as the university’s artist-in-residence in 2014. He also has worked with dozens of Nebraska high schools and conducted the Nebraska All-State Band and the Nebraska Intercollegiate Band.

Several Doane representatives were in attendance at the concert to present the award to Tracz, including Eugene Klingler, emeritus Doane University Board trustee and a former Manhattan mayor.

Donations, grants

The Manhattan-Ogden school board accepted $42,549.84 in donations and grants at its Wednesday meeting.

Manhattan Town Center donated $600 to Marlatt Elementary for school use.

Pi Beta Phi donated $500 to Marlatt for books that students will be able to keep.

Riley County Raising Riley granted $12,040 to College Hill Early Learning Center for reduced fees for families and donated $4,000 to Eugene Field Early Learning Center for behavioral and mental health personnel.

The Woodrow Wilson Elementary PTO donated $804.14 to the school for class fields trips.

The Ogden Friendship House United Methodist Church donated $500 to Ogden Elementary for school use.

The Lee Elementary PTO donated $9,209.70 to the school for the purchase of 30 iPads and covers.

Keystone Learning Services donated $2,250 to the district for the MTS Symposium.

The Amanda Arnold Elementary PTO donated $3,929 to the school for technology supplies.

Manhattan Cross Country Club donated $1,131 to Lee Elementary, $1,006 to Marlatt Elementary, $806 to Frank Bergman Elementary, $756 each to Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt elementaries, $656 to Bluemont Elementary and $606 to Northview Elementary.


News
Pott County sheriff to take position on commission

Greg Riat will soon swap his sheriff’s badge for a seat on the Pottawatomie County Commission.

The county’s Republican party elected Riat, rural Belvue, on Thursday to fill the unexpired term of District 3 Commissioner Travis Altenhofen, who resigned recently due to added responsibilities at his workplace.

The election, attended by about 80 persons, was held in the Sunflower Room at Westmoreland, during a special delegate convention convened by the Pott County Republican Party Central Committee.

One of four candidates nominated for the position, Riat will assume the commission seat Jan. 10, when Altenhofen officially steps down.

Others nominated for the post were Norman Stutzman, Belvue; Terry Force, Wheaton; and Armon Bosse, Jr., Onaga.

Riat was elected on the first ballot, garnering an eight-vote majority of the 15 Republican precinct committee men and women in the third commissioner district, which comprises 16 townships in the eastern and northern portions of the county.

“What an honor,” Riat said following the election. “I have loved serving the county as sheriff and there’s a lot of pride that comes with helping to make things better.

“I am conservative and I will handle your money very carefully, I promise you that,” Riat went on. “There are things we can do to make things better and I promise I will try and work hard for you.”

During pre-election questioning by precinct delegates, Riat said he favored preserving the Pott County Courthouse, finding a resolution to the Belvue Bridge and holding commission meetings quarterly in other communities in the county.

“It’s silly to build a new building,” Riat said. “I think we can preserve that courthouse. Why would you tear it down and build new for more money?”

He also proposed installing traffic-controlled stoplights at each end of the Belvue Bridge and making the span one-way to solve the issue of large farm equipment meeting in the middle of the narrow 18-foot deck.

“That might cost $1 million instead of $18 million for a new bridge,” he said, noting that the basic structure of the bridge is still in good condition.

Riat, a fifth-generation farmer in the Belvue area, started with the Pott County Sheriff’s Department in 1989, and was first elected sheriff in 2000. He is currently in the third year of his fifth four-year term as sheriff.

Election to the commission precludes Riat from finishing the final year of his term as sheriff, and he said he intends to resign the office sometime after his election as commissioner is certified by the governor and secretary of state.

Following Riat’s resignation, the Pott County Republican Central Committee will have 21 days to select a new sheriff to fill his unexpired term by a vote of all Republican precinct committee men and women in the county, according to Nancy McCarter, county election officer.

Two persons have expressed interest in the sheriff’s position — Pott County Undersheriff Shane Jager and Wamego Police Chief Michael Baker.


Crime
KBI: 2018 rape reports level in Riley County

Reports of rape in Riley County remained about the same from 2017 to 2018, increasing nearly 4% from 53 to 55, according to a recent Kansas Bureau of Investigation report.

The report, which includes data on domestic violence, rape, stalking, sodomy and sexual battery incidents, is based on information reported to the KBI from local and county law enforcement agencies.

KBI received 1,349 rape reports last year, an 8.9% increase from 2017. The victim knew the suspect in more than 81% of these cases.

The crime of rape in Kansas happened evenly throughout the week, occurring 17.5% of the time on Mondays, the most frequent day. Most rapes occurred between midnight and 2 a.m.

Of the incidents reported, the average victim was a white woman less than 25 years old and the average offender was a white man between the ages of 15 and 29.

Law enforcement authorities said the crime of rape has been historically underreported, but officials with the Riley County Police Department said in October that they hope its new investigation policy regarding sexual assault will change that trend.

They said the policy is supposed to give more control to victims by giving them different levels of reporting the incidents, which can range from an information-only report to a full investigation. Officials said they would not refer a case for prosecution unless the victim consents.

The KBI report defines rape as knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse with a victim who does not consent, is unable to give consent, is manipulated to give consent or is under the age of 14.

Domestic violence

Reports of domestic violence incidents, meanwhile, increased about 12% in Riley County in 2018.

Riley County saw 545 incidents in 2018 and 486 incidents in 2017. The average victim was a white woman between the ages of 20 and 34, and the average offender was a white man between the ages of 20 and 34, oftentimes a significant other or former significant other.

Most incidents occurred on Saturday and Sunday between 10 a.m. and noon or midnight and 2 a.m.

The number of protection orders from abuse and stalking filed through Riley County District Court decreased in 2018. According to the report, protection from abuse filings were down from 183 to 147 and protection from stalking filings decreased from 174 to 169.

The KBI defines domestic violence as “any verbal and/or physical abuse ranging from simple assault to murder.”