Nearly two years after the Manhattan-Ogden school board approved a wolf as a secondary mascot at Manhattan High School, the school does not have any concrete plans to dress a student in a costume.
“We don’t have anybody identified to dress up in a wolf costume right now,” principal Michael Dorst said in August. He said he needed to meet with student leadership to discuss the matter.
After the school board meeting Wednesday, Dorst said progress on the issue has been slow because he has been pressed for time.
“The only way I could explain why nothing has been done is because I’m at capacity for my time, and I haven’t been able to reach the three leadership teams and pull them together,” Dorst said. “I would just ask for your patience, because this has been since November of 2017, and I’m still in my second month. I’m just asking for patience.”
Dorst said he’d spoken with student council representatives, and he’s hoping to get leaders from the school’s spirit club and cheerleading team in the same room to talk about the secondary mascot.
“I’d be talking with them about what was charged to the student body back in 2017,” Dorst said. “Do the students at Manhattan High School desire to have a rally image and have that (Kansas State High School Activities Association)-approved rally image on the sideline during athletic events?”
When asked if that meant he was restarting the process, Dorst declined to answer, saying only that he was not the principal two years ago.
Since he has become principal, Dorst said, “I’ve met with people, I just haven’t met with all of them together. I just want to make sure that if I ask the question, when I ask the question, it’s done correctly and it’s done right.”
Dorst said no students or parents have asked him about the secondary mascot issue while he’s been principal.
In December 2017, the school board voted 4-3 to accept the high school student council’s recommendation that the school adopt the wolf as a secondary mascot. That vote came after the school board decided to keep the Indian as the school’s official mascot while charging a committee with a variety of tasks, including exploring options for a secondary mascot.
Four school board members who voted on December 2017 are still on the board. Curt Herrman and Darrell Edie voted against the wolf. Dave Colburn and Leah Fliter voted for it.
During the fall 2017 semester, the school’s student council held a student body vote on three options related to the secondary mascot: wolf, bison and no mascot. While the “no mascot” option garnered a 37% plurality, the student council opted to recommend the wolf anyway, which outpolled the bison, as a 63% majority of students voted in favor of a mascot.
Last year, former principal Greg Hoyt said he was hopeful the school would have a physical mascot in place sometime that school year, but there were two issues delaying that move. Woodrow Wilson Elementary also has a wolf mascot, and it had recently purchased a costume, so the high school wanted to explore finding a wolf costume that wouldn’t be too similar, Hoyt said.
The other issue was balancing the secondary wolf mascot with the Indian name and imagery that the school was still keeping.
Riley County police said there is no threat to the public after a man was shot near Redbud Estates Wednesday.
Officers responded to a report of a man being shot in the 2500 block of Farm Bureau Road at 4:50 p.m. They found a 20-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound when they arrived, and emergency responders took him to Ascension Via Christi Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
Officers identified the 20-year-old as a victim of aggravated robbery and aggravated battery and a 57-year-old man as the victim of aggravated assault. Police listed two men as suspects in the case, one who both police and the victims were able to identify and the other who was unknown.
Police have not made any arrests in connection with the incident. The investigation is ongoing.
Police ask that anyone with information about the incident contact RCPD or the Manhattan Riley County Crime Stoppers. Anonymous information provided to Crime Stoppers at 785-539-7777 could result in a cash reward up to $1,000.
The Manhattan-Ogden school district’s crackdown on lighting, wall decorations and non-district furniture is intended to keep schools in compliance with fire and health regulations. However, the new enforcement policy has some teachers concerned, the teachers’ union representative told school board members Wednesday.
USD 383 recently updated its facilities manual to enforce more strictly fire and health code regulations, which prohibit items like lighting inserts and covers, after the school district had received several write-ups during building inspections.
Fire codes prohibit hanging items from walls, ceilings and doors in classrooms, so district administrators have cracked down on things like curtains and student work on the walls. Similarly, string lights and lamps are considered a fire risk, so teachers now have to take those items home.
The district also must ensure that classrooms and other spaces are adequately lit, so lighting covers are no longer allowed.
District officials also prohibited non-cleanable furniture — such as fluffy couches, beanbags and chairs — because of bedbug and lice concerns. The school pays $5,000 to $10,000 each time a school needs to be treated for bedbugs, and pest control companies don’t provide any warranties for the service, as reinfestation is common.
That policy is being phased in, though, to allow teachers to take home bigger furniture over breaks throughout the rest of the year.
“I know there are quite a few folks who are unhappy, but it’s for the betterment of our students and our staff,” said Matt Davis, director of maintenance.
But Erin Meyer-Gambrel, Manhattan-Ogden NEA president and a teacher at Bergman Elementary, said the new enforcement policies haven’t been consistent across schools. She said some teachers have been instructed to take home non-porous personal furniture like bookshelves or yoga balls that they provide for student use.
“Being the person who people contact and to be that voice and pulse of what’s going on, I’m concerned about climate,” Meyer-Gambrel said. “I’m concerned about schools. I’m concerned for my colleagues, not for myself. I don’t want this to be something that’s about me, because it’s not about me, but when you’re getting these phone calls and you’re getting these text messages and emails, it’s people who are wondering why they’re staying when the joy is gone. And it’s only the beginning of October. That’s concerning to me.”
Board member Jurdene Coleman asked Meyer-Gambrel if she thought the change in climate was because of the changes in building policies.
“I don’t think any educator would look anyone in the face and say it’s not stressful the first two months of school,” Meyer-Gambrel said. “However, that stress is compounded when policies are changing, communication is not as transparent as it could be, and balls are sometimes getting dropped in that communication pattern.”
Superintendent Marvin Wade said he probably already knew the answer to question, but he asked Meyer-Gambrel if she thought there was an appearance of insensitivity in making decisions without consulting with staff.
“Yes,” was Meyers-Gambrel’s only response.
Board members instructed district administration to come up with a plan to make sure the policies are consistent and uniform across buildings.
During the meeting’s public comment period, two students from Bergman Elementary told the board that they were concerned with another change in policy enforcement that removed their class pet rabbit from the classroom.
They said a previous interpretation of the board’s policy on animals allowed the rabbit as an instructional pet, as it provided for the students’ social-emotional needs.
The girls said they started a petition for the principal to reconsider the policy, and that it received 221 signatures. However, the principal declined that petition, they said.
They’re creepy, kooky and spooky.
As the last dead leaf of autumn falls from the Addams Family Tree, all is right with the morbid, macabre world of Gomez, Morticia, Fester, Grandma, Wednesday, Pugsley and Lurch. They’ve gathered in the family graveyard to celebrate life and death, but Wednesday is dreaming of love with Lucas Beineke, an ordinary boy from Ohio.
The Manhattan Arts Center presents the Broadway musical, “The Addams Family,” again this weekend.
With music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, this MAC production is brought to life by director Penny Cullers.
Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, as well as Oct. 11-13. For tickets and information, visit manahttanarts.org.
Ease on down the road, the yellow brick road (or just Highway 24) to another Broadway show happening this weekend in Wamego as part of OZtober Fest. For tickets and information, visit columbiantheatre.com.
The longtime favorite, “The Wizard of Oz,” returns to the Columbian Stage again this weekend. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Also this weekend are puppet shows, live music and entertainment, booths, vendors and more. For a complete list of events and activities, visit visitwamego.com.
Here’s a look at other area events.
Jazz Night on the Patios, 6:30 p.m.
Liquid Art Winery.
Open Mic Comedy Night hosted by Mary Renee, 9 p.m. Thursday.
Auntie Mae’s Parlor.
PreK Dance Party, 10 a.m. Also 11 a.m. Saturday.
For a complete list of storytimes and events, visit mhklibrary.org.
Manhattan Public Library.
Tallgrass Tales: Corn by Gail Gibbons, 10:30 a.m.
Youth ages 2-6 will enjoy a different story at each session and then participate in a simple activity designed to connect with the themes of the story.
Flint Hills Discovery Center.
Happy Hour Yoga, 5 p.m.
Take any evening yoga, spin, or barre class and receive $1 off any Public Hall cocktail.
Orange Sky Yoga and Public Hall.
Paint & Sip: Simply Meant to Be, 6:30 p.m.
Also Mermaid at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Make a Splash at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and Four Seasons at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Kids Kanvas: Kitty, 10 a.m. Saturday.
For information and to register, visit uncorkedinspiration.com.
UPC Film: “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” 7 and 9:30 p.m. Also Saturday.
All films are closed captioned.
Cost: Free for K-State students, $1 for non-students.
K-State Student Union Wildcat Chambers.
K-State After Hours: DIY to the Max, 8-10 p.m.
K-State Student Union Courtyard.
Downtown Farmers Market, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. in Dillard’s parking lot.
Also 4-7 p.m. in the Via Christi parking lot.
Featuring homegrown vegetables, local meat, home baked goodies, local arts and crafts and much more.
First Saturday Cars and Coffee, 9-11 a.m.
Also National Teacher Appreciation Day, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free admission for teachers with school ID.
Midwest Dream Car Collection.
Stop-Motion Studio: Family Edition, 1-5 p.m.
Bring a few family photos and turn them into a stop-motion short. MAC provides iPads with the Stop Motion Studio Pro app or you may bring your own.
Cost: $45, up to four people, limited to five families.
Manhattan Arts Center.
Volland Store Cellar and Barn Tours, 1-5 p.m. Also Sunday.
Tour barns around the Flint Hills on a guided bus tour.
Also Tallgrass Tales: Stories from the Flint Hills featuring filmmaker Mark Feiden, 2 p.m. potluck lunch at 12:30 p.m. Soup, beverages, and table service provided.
For information, visit thevollandstore.com.
12th Annual Stroll Off, a Multicultural Greek Dance Showcase, 6 p.m.
K-State Student Union Forum Hall.
Jazz Brunch, 10 a.m.-noon.
Wonder Workshop’s Underground Railroad Tour, 1-4 p.m.
Journey back in time to Underground Railroad sites in Riley and Wabaunsee counties.
Cost: $25. To reserve a spot, call 785-776-1234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
League of Women Voters Candidates Forum, 1:30-5 p.m.
Manhattan Public Library.
Open Trail Days at Prairiewood, 1 p.m.-dusk.
No pets. Campfire at 7 p.m. at the Blue Sage Barn.
Also featuring Autumn Seed Collecting at 5 p.m.
Courtney Masterson, ecologist and owner of Native Lands LLC, will be leading a seed collecting activity on Prairiewood’s Preserve.
Cost: Free. No RSVP needed. Family Friendly.
Check-in at the Blue Sage Gallery, 1484 Wildcat Creek Road.
Rocky Ford School House: Open House, 2-4 p.m.
Rocky Ford School House.