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OUR NEIGHBORS | Fishermen thrive on nationally recognized KSU team

Drew Easterday and Will Andrie have formed a bond and a sense of camaraderie through fishing.

Along with their teammates, they spend many of their Saturdays at a lake, enjoying one another’s company, all while participating in one of their favorite activities.

The roommates are members of the Kansas State University fishing team, a nationally recognized, 40-plus member club team.

Easterday, a senior from Overland Park, and Andrie, a junior from Waco, Texas, are both studying marketing at K-State while serving as treasurer and vice president of the fishing team, respectively.

“Camaraderie is great, but also you get the opportunity to take an officer position in a club affiliated with the university so that looks great of course on your resume,” Andrie said.

After deciding to go to K-State, Easterday joined the fishing program because he wanted to get back into the sport. He said he enjoyed participating in tournaments during his middle school years.

He met a friend, Cole Miller, with whom he had fished in middle school. Miller eventually became his team partner and is roommates with Easterday and Andrie.

Andrie said he wanted to attend K-State because of its renowned fishing program, where he has flourished.

Andrie and Zach Vielhauer won the 2018 Bassmaster Classic College Bracket in South Carolina.

In addition, Andrie and Gaige Blanton placed ninth out of 200 teams at the Bassmaster College National Championship this year. They competed at Tennessee’s Lake Chickamuaga. Andrie and his partner also finished seventh out of 250 teams at Bull Shoals in Arkansas.

To qualify to fish at national events in the spring, pairs compete against each other during fall tournaments. The top three teams from K-State get to fish at national tournaments.

K-State competes against teams such as Alabama, Michigan and Clemson.

Easterday participated in a few national tournaments as well.

The team is in the swing of the fall season. They had a tournament at Wilson Lake in central Kansas this past weekend.

Members practice in other lakes across the state, too, including Milford and Perry lakes.

They arrive at the lake around 7 a.m. and fish for bass. The team fishes on eight or nine boats until 3 p.m.

“We just have the craziest, like fun times,” Easterday said. “Like whenever we go to these tournaments, it’s just a fun time, like lots of laughs, just hanging around, talking fishing and talking outdoors.”

At the end of the day, the team weighs the fish. The five biggest fish from each team are counted to determine the winning teams, Andrie said.

“They mark your weight, and of course, the heaviest weight wins,” Andrie said.

Before joining the collegiate team, both fishermen learned the craft from their fathers, beginning when they were children.

“My dad just took me one day,” Easterday said. “Was super young. From the minute I started, I loved it. I don’t know. It’s just something about it; it’s like can’t even explain when you go out fishing ... (I) just love it.”

As a kid, seeing his first bobber sink into the water lit a fire for Andrie.

“It was just excitement, and until this day, that fire has still not gone out,” he said. “It’s just, you want to learn more, how to catch more fish.”

Easterday also works for K-State Athletics in the licensing department. But, other than that, Easterday said he sleeps, breathes and eats fishing.

He said he likes to talk about and watch videos about fishing.

Andrie and Easterday are also football fanatics. They love to tailgate and catch the Wildcats on Saturdays when they aren’t fishing.

They also enjoy watching NFL football on Sundays; Easterday specifically cheers on the Chiefs, while Andrie is a Cowboys fan since his grandpa played for them.

In the future, both Easterday and Andrie want to stay active in fishing on some level; Andrie wants to fish professionally after college.

“I really wanted to have a career possibly to do it professionally,” he said. “And in this day and age, college fishing now is the gateway to the pros.”

Easterday hopes to work with a marketing firm locally, but he said he’ll also continue to fish.

Richardson, Zhang to serve inaugural residencies at new Prairie Studies Institute

An internationally recognized artist and an acclaimed photojournalist will be the first residents of a new institute.

The Prairie Studies Institute is a collaboration of the Beach Museum of Art at K-State and the Volland Foundation.

The institute was created to connect visual and performing artists, writers, musicians, scientists and historians to generate unexpected conversations and perspectives about the prairie’s ecosystems, natural history and cultural richness, said Linda Duke, director of the Beach Museum of Art.

“Beginning this fall, the Prairie Studies Institute will offer a biennial program to engage the community and build connections through a variety of activities, such as artist and scholar residencies, talks, readings, performances, exhibitions and more,” Duke said.

The first pair of Prairie Studies Institute residents are artist Zhang Hongtu and photojournalist Jim Richardson. Through public programs, Zhang and Richardson will discuss their interest in the tallgrass prairie in terms of history, ecology, agriculture and culture.

Recent landscapes by Zhang, who is based in New York and has had exhibitions in Asia, Europe and America, contemplate the impact of human activity on nature and native animals.

His first visit to Kansas, made in 2018 for an exhibition of his work at the Beach Museum of Art, inspired the artist to work on a new series of artworks featuring bison and prairie.

Richardson, who lives in Lindsborg, has published photographic essays in National Geographic for almost three decades.

A major part of his work focuses on the people and land of the prairie, as well as agriculture and food production in the Midwest and abroad.

Richardson’s work was featured in a 2016 Beach Museum of Art exhibition.

He has received several honors for his distinguished career, including an honorary doctorate from K-State in 2017.

The following events, all open to the public, are part of Richardson and Zhang’s residency with the Prairie Studies Institute:

• Richardson and Zhang will have a conversation about the “Hungry Heartland” exhibition at the Volland Store Gallery at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Volland Store, which is near Alma.

• “Zhang Hongtu: New Yorker on the Prairie” will be a presentation by Zhang on his current work in progress, a new series on bison and prairie. The event will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Beach Museum of Art. A reception will follow the presentation.

• “Public Conversation: The Anthropocene Prairie,” with Zhang, Richardson and Dennis Dimick, a noted journalist, photographer, presenter and educator, will be at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, in 101 Thompson Hall, which is adjacent to the Beach Museum of Art on the K-State campus.

Related to this event will be Dimick’s Henry C. Gardiner Global Food Systems Lecture, “Living in the Human Age,” at 7 p.m. Oct. 14 in K-State’s McCain Auditorium.

County sets public hearing date for proposed Keats sewer facility

Riley County commissioners Monday set a public hearing date to discuss instituting a sewer benefit district for Keats residents.

The hearing is Oct. 21 and will give residents a chance to share their opinions.

The measure is intended to fund a sanitary sewer collection and conveyance system, which would discharge into the Manhattan sewer system. The estimated cost of the project is $2.68 million.

The district would use special assessments based on equal shares per connection to existing residences and parcels deemed buildable by county regulations.

Residents submitted a petition for the measure to the county’s public works department, officials said.

Public works addressed “blowing wastewater” at Riverchase mobile homes in the Carson sewer benefit district over the weekend, creating a temporary fix. A permanent repair is expected by the end of the week, said Leon Hobson, director of public works and county engineer.

Hobson said the cost to fix the issue will be a “fairly major expense.” He did not indicate a specific price.

Additionally, the commission entered into a short executive session to talk about pending litigation issues. No formal action was taken during or after the session.

In other action Monday, commissioners:

  • Approved sending four bids to county officials for review for a 4x4 cab and chassis truck from Briggs and Laird Noller and McPherson’s Midway Motors. Briggs offered a bid of $59,984.50 while Laird Noller gave two bids: $51,516 and $53,450. Midway Motors’ bid was $46,725.
  • Learned about new exhibits at Riley County Museum, including one on Richard Dean Rogers, former Manhattan mayor and judge.
  • Approved sendings two bids for review about a small steel wheeled roller from Manhattan’s Foley Equipment and Topeka’s Murphy Tractor and Equipment. Foley’s bid was $38,247 while Murphy offered a $39,995 bid.
  • Approved sending three bids for review for a tandem axle dump truck from Salina’s Freightliner Truck Center and Roberts Truck Center as well as Summit Truck Group of Kansas City. Freightliner’s bid came in at $152,571. Roberts offered a $158,418 bid. Summit gave a bid for $156,796.

RCPD arrests student, investigates false Snapchat threat at Manhattan High

Riley County police on Monday arrested a student at Manhattan High School West for his alleged involvement in a fight.

Officers arrested Charles Jones, 16, of Manhattan on offenses of disorderly conduct and battery. Police responded to a physical altercation at the school around 12:10 p.m. and arrested Jones at 12:45 p.m.

No other students have been arrested.

Around 12:30 p.m., officials briefly placed the school under “secure campus mode,” meaning no one could enter or leave the building during that time.

Police released Jones to his parents after being processed for the charges.

The incident is unrelated to another ongoing investigation into an apparently false threat at MHS, according to RCPD and Manhattan-Ogden school district officials.

MHS Principal Michael Dorst said Monday morning that school officials had become aware of a report of a threat made on Snapchat, but upon investigation, found that report was false and there had been no threat.

“When we and RCPD looked into the post and the validity of the post, everything about the post was false,” Dorst said.

Dorst declined to give any further information, citing the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act. He said Riley County police and high school and district officials are now investigating the source of the post and who produced it.

Last month, Riley County police officers arrested two Manhattan High students after they had allegedly threatened two other students with a gun in a Snapchat video.

The teenagers were charged with counts of aggravated criminal threat and criminal use of a weapon.