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Access to the Johnny Kaw statue remains blocked off Thursday morning at City Park. When completed in the summer, there will be a pedestrian plaza in front of the statue with sunflower paving and educational panels showcasing the legend of Johnny Kaw. Fences also block access to City Park’s playground and splash park because of repairs. Officials planned for surfacing repairs on the playground to go into next week, and the splash park will be closed until May 13 for repainting.


Local
K-State performances, 'West Side Story,' and more

Several talented K-State musicians and thespians will take the stage this weekend as the semester wraps up on campus.

The K-State Concert Band and University Band will take the McCain Auditorium stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

The Concert Band, directed by graduate staff, exposes students to traditional “core” literature and some of the finest new music for concert band.

Concert Band provides an excellent experience for many music majors and nonmajors as well as a valuable podium time for graduate teaching assistants.

The University Band is a nonauditioned ensemble that meets during spring semesters. It not only provides a quality ensemble experience for students from all majors on campus, but a valuable opportunity for music education majors to perform on secondary instruments.

Music education majors who are taking independent study in conducting also frequently have opportunities to rehearse the band on a weekly basis and conduct the band in concert.

K-State Theatre is wrapping up its series in Chapman Theatre in Nichols Hall with “The Government Inspector” by Nikolai Gogal, adapted by David Mackay.

When the locals in a small Russian hamlet learn that an undercover government inspector is coming for a surprise visit, an unfortunate case of mistaken identity sends the whole village spiraling into a world of panic, corruption and greed.

The show is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. For tickets, visit ksu.universitytickets.com.

K-State Choirs presents the sixth-annual Rhapsody scholarship benefit event at 7:30 p.m. Friday in McCain Auditorium.

This year, the concert will feature the K-State Grand Chorus in a complete performance of Mozart’s “Requiem” with orchestra along with other classics of choral literature.

Over the past five years, Rhapsody his raised more than $150,000 toward choral scholarship and performance opportunities for K-State students.

Here’s a look at other area events.

THURSDAY

Lecture: “Heroes for Hard Times: American Art During the 1930s and 1940s” by Lara Kuykendall, associate professor of art history at Ball State University, 6 p.m.

Beach Museum of Art.

DaniLeigh, 7 p.m.

Known for her song “Lil Bebe,” her latest album dropped in November 2018.

Bosco Student Plaza.

Landshark Music Series: Jimmy Lewin and the Kingtones, 7 p.m.

Coco Bolos.

Columbian Theatre presents Wedding Murder Mystery, 7:30 p.m. through Saturday.

For information and tickets, visit columbiantheatre.com.

Columbian Theatre.

Source & Summit featuring Lamar Hunt, Jr., 8 p.m.

Hunt Jr., a businessman, entrepreneur, sports promoter, musician, philanthropist, and co-owner of the Kansas City Chiefs NFL team.

St. Isidore’s Catholic Student Center.

FRIDAY

Preschool Playdate, 10 a.m.

Hands On at the Library, 3 p.m. Teens can volunteer at the library. Sign up at the website.

For a complete list of storytimes and events, visit mhklibrary.org.

Manhattan Public Library.

Opening Reception for “An Endless Line,” 5-8 p.m.

Strecker Nelson West Gallery.

Trivia, 5-8 p.m.

HyVee Market Grille.

UPC Film: “Instructions Not Included,” 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The 7 p.m. Saturday will be closed captioned.

Cost: Free for K-State students, $3 for adults, $1 off for military ID and children under 12.

K-State Student Union Forum Hall.

Manhattan Arts Center presents “West Side Story,” 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

One of the most memorable musicals and greatest love stories of all time, West Side Story takes Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to the streets in this groundbreaking Broadway musical that is one of the theatre’s finest accomplishments.

Directed by Penny Cullers.

For tickets, visit manahttanarts.org or call 785-537-4420.

Manhattan Arts Center.

K-State After Hours: Game Night, 8-11 p.m.

K-State Student Union Courtyard.

Ned LeDoux, 9 p.m.

Cost: $25. For ticket info, visit mcgrawsmanhattan.com.

RC McGraws.

SATURDAY

Earl Project at the Manhattan Arts Center. Also May 12.

The Earl Project is a community project with veterans/soldiers, family members and survivors that promotes wellness and creativity through burn-out art workshops, using fire, collage, photocopy, and bleach color burn-out on fabric to tell their story, usually in abstract ways. Participants take home work and also contribute to a community war stories cloth scroll inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry.

Sign up at theearlproject.org.

Walk & Talk: Spring Bird Migration with Ted Cable, 8-10 a.m.

During the walk, guests will have the opportunity to learn from local expert Ted Cable about the wonderful birds of spring in the Manhattan area. Cable is an author, award-winning professor and internationally recognized expert in natural resource interpretation.

Pre-registration is required by 5 p.m. Friday. Prices are $3 for FHDC members, $4 for non-members and free for children under two years old.

For information, visit flinthillsdiscovery.org/walkandtalk, call 785-587-2726 or visit 315 S. 3rd St. in Manhattan.

Kansas Fish Wizard Tour: A fundraiser for the Native Stone Scenic Byway and the Volland Store, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

For information, visit thevollandstore.com.

Kid’s Craft Corner: Cinco De Mayo, 10 a.m.

Canvas & Cork: Modern Pineapple, 6 p.m.

Mother/Daughter Tea Party, 2 p.m. Sunday.

For information and to register, visit straightuppstudio.com.

Straight Upp Creative Studio.

UPC Concert: T-Pain, 7 p.m.

Tickets are free for K-State students, $15 for military, $20 for non-students. Applicable taxes and fees apply.

Bramlage Coliseum.

Student Recital: K-State organ and piano students, 7:30 p.m.

All Faiths Chapel.

SUNDAY

Jazz Brunch, 10 a.m.-noon.

Bluestem Bistro.

Student Recital: K-State saxophone studio, 2 p.m.

Also Hunter Strong, percussion, 6 p.m.

Kirmser Hall, McCain Auditorium.


Education
USD 383 approves longer days, shorter school year

Manhattan-Ogden School Board members on Wednesday adjusted the 2019-20 calendar year for longer, but fewer, days.

The board unanimously approved the first reading of shortening the school year, so the construction managers can have more time to work on bond-related projects in the summer of 2020.

With the new calendar, the first day of school for students will be Aug. 14 and the last day will be May 13, 2020. Schools will have slightly longer days, with most schools getting out between five and 16 minutes later than this school year. Assistant Superintendent Eric Reid said in doing so, the construction teams can get into the schools sooner to work on projects without the students, and will have a little longer in the summer to work and get things completed before students return in August 2020.

All elementary schools will start at 8:40 a.m., but would get out between 3:55 p.m. and 4:10 p.m. Anthony and Eisenhower middle schools will start at 7:42 a.m. and end at 2:56 p.m., 16 minutes later than this school year. Both campuses at Manhattan High School will still start at 7:40 a.m. but will get out at 3:05 p.m., 15 minutes later than this year.

The board will give final approval at a future meeting, pending any final negotiation changes.

The board also approved $929,400 in expenses for third-party inspections at the construction sites for the bond, through Olsson Associates, which are required by the city and codes department.

Board members also decided to waive the current policy which requires board approval for purchases more than $10,000. For bond-related projects only, which Reid said could help speed some processes along, the construction managers will be allowed to purchase without approval from the board up to $20,000. Superintendent Marvin Wade can execute the contracts on behalf of the district.

Reid said they will still keep the board up-to-date on all the happenings of the project, but if something comes in at $12,000, it could slow the process if the construction teams have to wait two weeks for a board meeting.


Courtesy photo  

1st Lt. Rebecca Jeffrey and Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Anderson from 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, compete Saturday in the international Festivus CrossFit Games, held in Zurich, Switzerland. The team captured first place in the novice category.


Education
USD 383 approves transgender student protections

The Manhattan-Ogden School Board voted 6-1 Wednesday to approve transgender student guidelines for the district after nearly an hour and a half of public comment.

Board member Darell Edie voted against the guidelines.

Since December, the board has been discussing adopting specific transgender guidelines to put protections in place for those students. These would be in addition to guidelines set in place to protect students of other protected classes in regards to race, ethnicity and more.

USD 383 based the guidelines on the Topeka school district’s rules, which have been in place for almost a decade. Students will have the right to be addressed by the name and pronoun that aligns with their identity, defines terms like “transgender” and “gender expression,” and allows students to use the restroom that “corresponds to their gender identity consistently asserted at school.”

A total of 21 people spoke to the board expressing support or concern regarding the guidelines.

Sue Gerth and her daughter, Bree Gerth, said they are happy to have the policies in place now. Bree is a transgender woman who graduated in 2000. She said she came out many years after graduating, but said it might have been beneficial when she was attending.

“I can’t say if it would’ve changed if the policies were more inclusive then, if I would’ve come out sooner, but it wouldn’t have hurt,” Bree said. “Thank you for taking up this cause. I and many like like me appreciate it.”

Some people outright disagreed with the policy, mostly citing religion for their opposition, and some questioned the district’s decision to allow students to play for the sports team relating to their gender identity as opposed to the gender they were assigned at birth.

Valley Scharping, a former K-State student, said the district should respect the sex rather than the gender.

“I do not deny the existence of gender, but that does not mean the general rule should be thrown out for the exception,” he said. “We do not need to address going into the locker room, because it should not be gender versus sex. It should correspond with the sex.”

Several people who spoke were in support of parts of the guidelines, but not in favor of others, including language or the ideas themselves.

Autumn Caycedo, a physician, expressed opposition solely to the idea of letting transgender students play for the sports team that corresponds to their identity as opposed to how they were born. She said it would be unfair to her four girls.

“I was a product of Title IX,” she said. “I was able to be on the boy’s soccer team because there was no girls team in Pennsylvania. Now there are women everywhere, and it’s been wonderful to have this. … We need to evaluate for our daughters to compete fairly.”

Walter Shum, a researcher, said the guidelines were not complex enough, and asked the board to reconsider because he believes the policies are “overly simplistic.”

Craig Ackerman, a teacher in the district, said he supports the policy overall, but also had issues with the athletics component in regard to “the power of testosterone.”

“That’s why in the NCAA, they require athletes to be on a hormone treatment for a year before they play on their desired team for a year,” he said. “I know this question should be directed to KSHSAA as well, but when competing at high levels at athletics, I wonder if our guidelines should be more like the NCAA’s.”

Board members gave their reasons for their vote, all saying they wanted to do what they thought best for the students.

Edie said his reasoning for voting remains the same as why he voted against it before: He does not believe it is the best solution for the problems at hand.

“One group that has the belief system that oversees the other group is not correct in this community,” he said. “We have a big bond issue, maybe we can remodel some schools, maybe there’s something we can do about that, make it a better situation for those included.”

Board member Dave Colburn said he took offense when community member Nate Wilson said those who support the issue are evil because it is against Christianity.

“I’m not evil,” he said. “I understand there is religious opposition. I identify with a Christian church that supports LGBT and doesn’t see that those changing gender as ‘questioning God.’ There’s division within the religious community, and anybody who thinks they have it all figured out and calls us un-Christian needs to do some additional thinking.”

Board members agreed implementing these guidelines is not necessarily final, and they could be modified in the future if there’s anything that needs to be clarified or amended.

“There are lots of controls in place and there’s some tweaking that we can do,” President Curt Herrman said. “This makes it clear to the parents, staff and community that we support our students and gives clear guidelines how we’ll handle situations.”


Education
Local businesswoman files for school board

A local business owner has filed to run for a Manhattan-Ogden School Board position.

Kristin Brighton, co-owner of New Boston Creative Group, filed Wednesday with the Riley County Clerk’s Office.

She said in a press release that part of the reason she’s running is to help make decisions to prepare students for the future.

“So many of the jobs our children and youth will have in the future are not even created yet,” she said. “We need to make sure our students are learning to think critically, communicate clearly and effectively, and work both independently and in teams.”

Brighton graduated from Manhattan High and K-State. She has two students in the district. She has served as the chair of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce and has been on the board of directors since 2009.

Brighton said she wants to focus on recruiting new teachers into the profession.

“What’s going to happen to this country if we cannot come up with new tactics to recruit, retain and reward skilled teachers and paraprofessionals?” she asked. “It takes a very special person to be a teacher today.

“The demands are great, the paperwork is ridiculous and the burnout is real. We’ve got to figure out how to help teachers stay longer in the field and maintain their passion for work. This is a national crisis we must work to solve at the local level.”

Brighton said she’s also running because of her desire to push middle and high school courses to modernize.

“As a community, we’re getting ready to make a major investment in our buildings, but we can’t forget there are cultural, societal and environmental needs that must also be addressed to ensure a positive learning experience for all students and a healthy work environment for district staff,” she said.

There are four seats open in the November election for school board. President Curt Herrman, and board members Dave Colburn, Darell Edie and Leah Fliter all have terms expiring this year.

None of the four members have announced if they will seek reelection.