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Nickolas Oatley / Staff photo by Nickolas Oatley  

Ken Jeong performs stand-up comedy at K-State’s McCain Auditorium on Sunday evening. Jeong is perhaps most famous for his roles in the movie “The Hangover” and the TV show “Community.”

Pott County GOP to elect commission chair Altenhofen's replacement Nov. 7

Republican precinct officials from Pottawatomie County’s third commissioner district will meet Nov. 7 to elect a successor to Travis Altenhofen.

The meeting, open to the public, will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the commissioners’ room (Sunflower Room) of the public works building at Westmoreland, according to Nancy McCarter, Pott County election officer.

Altenhofen, who represents District 3 and is currently Pott County Commission chairman, resigned last week, citing added responsibilities in his new position as chief financial officer of Manko Window Systems, Manhattan.

Altenhofen’s resignation is effective Jan. 10, and the person elected next Thursday will fill the final year of his unexpired four-year term.

Any registered Republican in the county may nominate and second a candidate for the commission seat. From those nominees, the 15 precinct committee members will elect Altenhofen’s replacement by majority vote, according to McCarter.

Candidates must reside within the third commissioner district, which includes 16 of the county’s 23 townships: Belvue, St. Marys, Emmett, St. Clere, Center, Union, Lincoln, Vienna, Sherman, Grant, Mill Creek, Lone Tree, Clear Creek, Spring Creek, Shannon and Blue Valley.

The 15 precinct committee members in the third commissioner district are Norman Stutzman, Lynn Schwandt, Robert Reves, Dennis Schwant, Greg Moats, John McCarty, Jr., Gary Burgess, Patricia Schwandt, Jessica McAtarian, Ramona Tessendorf, Lesa Reves, Ireta Schwant, Shannon Awerkamp, Sarah McCarthy and Betty Abitz.

K-State cancer researchers receive $2M grant

Officials announced Tuesday that K-State and University of Texas Medical Branch cancer researchers received $2 million in funding from the National Science Foundation’s Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation program.

The K-State researchers — including project leader Stefan Bossman, university distinguished professor of chemistry; Christopher Culbertson, professor of chemistry and associate dean for research in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Bala Natarajan, professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering — will use the funding as part of studies on new treatments for glioblastoma and other cancers.

Glioblastoma is the most common and most aggressive kind of adult brain tumor, and patients typically survive less than 16 months once diagnosed. Bossman said his team’s work approaches treatments with the understanding that the tumors interact with their surrounding and alter gene expression patterns, which enable them to adapt and escape treatment. The research will focus recognizing and treating for those adaptations, which will permit earlier disease diagnoses and better methods of attacking the tumor cells.

However, Bossman expects that the study results will ultimately apply to other diseases with epigenetic drivers, such as cancers, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, obesity and metabolic syndrome.

“It is difficult for one researcher to have all of the expertise necessary to make rapid progress on such a difficult problem, so we are excited to have recruited an interdisciplinary team from multiple institutions with the broad breadth of expertise to tackle this terrible disease,” Culbertson said in a statement. “We hope that a better understanding of how the disease develops will lead to not only novel methods for earlier detection but also to effective treatment options as current treatments are for the most part only palliative in nature.”

Bundle up for a cold Halloween as temperatures expected to dip

If you still haven’t bought candy for Halloween on Thursday, you might consider just handing out cups of hot chocolate.

An arctic front over much of the central United States is plunging temperatures dozens of degrees below averages for late October. Cold air and some winter weather are expected over the next week as the front creeps slowly over the Great Plains.

K-State climatologist Mary Knapp said cold weather isn’t too unusual in late October and early November, although the 30-year average high and low for Halloween are 64 and 38, respectively.

“We may be lucky to get (38) for a high,” Knapp said, with the Tuesday’s weather outlook pointing to a high of 37 and low of 23 Thursday.

The National Weather Service in Topeka issued a winter weather advisory for much of the area warning of mixed precipitation, with up to 2 inches of snow and light ice accumulation, between midnight and 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Knapp said the possible snow and ice come as the result of the cool arctic air meeting moisture that was already over much of the central U.S. As that boundary moves over the area, she expects less than 1/5 of an inch of ice, though she cautioned Wednesday morning commuters to drive cautiously.

“It’s still quite a bit of ice, and you don’t really need a lot of it,” Knapp said. Local soil temperatures are still fairly warm, but she said black ice will still pose a danger, especially in the dark when drivers might not be able to tell puddles from glazed streets.

No snow is expected Thursday, with sunny and clear conditions throughout the day and Halloween night. Knapp said it has snowed on Halloween in Manhattan twice in 100 years of snowfall records, and in 1941, the area saw an Oct. 31 record of 2 inches of snow.

The National Weather Service forecasts temperatures to slowly rebound to average highs around 60, albeit slowly, over the next two weeks.

Consider wearing a purple parka to the Sunflower Showdown in Lawrence on Saturday — temperatures will reach a somewhat warmer high of 45.

OUR NEIGHBORS | Professor shares culture through cooking classes

Location doesn’t have to limit your menu.

Vaishali Sharda teaches cooking classes at UFM Community Learning Center, specializing in Indian dishes. As she’s explored different types of food, she’s found ways to adapt recipes and share strategies with her students.

“Something so simple can transform into something super good,” she said.

Sharda, 40, recently became an assistant professor in the department of biological and agricultural engineering. She had already started teaching cooking classes at UFM early this year. Sharda grew up in India and moved to Auburn, Alabama, in 2006 for grad school with her husband, Ajay, and then-infant daughter, Anvesha, now 14. Following a stint at Washington State University, they moved to Manhattan in 2013 and have had son Vihaan, 5.

When in Auburn, Sharda found she had few options when it came to eating dishes from her native country.

“I started cooking more out of necessity than anything,” she said.

A church group there took international graduate students shopping, but they only took them to Walmart, Sharda said. It took some time for her to discover other options that could provide a wider variety of ingredients, especially international ones. Sharda said having limited options forced her to be more creative.

“I used tofu instead of paneer (an Indian cheese) because it was the closest replacement,” she said. “It pushed me into creating recipes that didn’t depend on the grocery store.”

During her time at Auburn, Sharda also started attending cooking classes at the university. In addition to learning some American recipes, she learned some Thai dishes and also about making sushi.

In Manhattan, she likes to shop at Asian Market and said Dillons and Aldi also offer good options for international ingredients.

Sharda started publishing a blog on her explorations in various cuisines last year at kitchendocs.com. She’s written about Indian recipes but also dishes like ravioli in white sauce, roasted red pepper gouda soup and watermelon salsa. Her favorite ingredient to cook with is lentils.

Kayla Savage, education coordinator at UFM, said Sharda brings this creativity to how she teaches as well. Savage said Sharda is passionate and knowledgeable about cooking and about Indian food and is able to make it approachable for all of her students regardless of their experience level.

“She’s organized, creative, and thoughtful in her approach to sharing the love she has for Indian food, for cooking, and for the cultural sharing with that,” Savage said.

Sharda said she enjoys being able to share cooking advice as well as her culture in the classes. She explains the health benefits of popular Indian ingredients like turmeric and some of the differences between regional cuisines in India.

“Each part of the country has different cuisine, and it’s based on what’s grown locally,” Sharda said.

Sharda is from northern India, which she said she said uses lots of fruits and vegetables. She loved visiting farmers markets while living in Washington because they had so many fresh fruits and vegetables and she said she’s gotten to know local farmers at the farmers market in Manhattan too.

Sharda also likes to garden to get even more fresh ingredients. She grows lots of common ones like tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. She grows okra, but picks it at a time when it’s smaller and more tender, as is preferred in Indian recipes. She also grows Indian squashes and a variety of herbs.

Sharda said she thinks some people have difficulty eating enough vegetables because they get tired of eating them the same way.

She said she hopes teaching her students another option for how to prepare them can make them appetizing. Flavoring them with a sauce made with masala spices, tomato, onion and garlic can make them more versatile and more flavorful.

“Having those options in cooking makes it not boring anymore,” Sharda said. “It can make it so much more appealing.”