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Pooches & pools: Dogs splish splash at Pet Poolooza

Wagging tails and lolling tongues descended upon the City Park Pool on Sunday for a day filled with splishing and splashing.

Dog owners from around the area took the plunge and brought their canines to Pet Poolooza, an annual event sponsored by T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter.

Pet Poolooza allows dogs to swim freely and enjoy the water for an afternoon at the end of the summer pool season. Canines jumped in the pool, played fetch with their owners and simply basked in the sun.

“I think people love getting out at the end of summer, and just taking their dogs with them for a fun day at the pool,” said Hannah Shoemaker, volunteer coordinator at the animal shelter. “It’s once a year, not a chance they get a lot. And I think people are loving that opportunity.”

Although it’s been an ongoing event for 13 years, this is the first year at this location, Shoemaker said. CiCo Park pool hosted the event before.

“It’s been a lot more room for people,” Shoemaker said of City Park waterpark. “We have a lot more pool space, so I think we’ve had a lot more participants this year.”

Along with pooches and their owners, T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter employees and local veterinarians and other animal rescue groups attended the free event.

Melissa Kirkwood, community relations officer at Manhattan Parks and Recreation, said this event is beneficial for the Little Apple.

“It’s really a community event that we really want to involve pets and their owners, because that is a part of wellness for us at the parks and recreation,” Kirkwood said.

“Pets are your family, and they also do give you a lot of exercise, and there’s a lot of exercise going on here today.”

Darren Guyton attended the event with his dog Cirocco, an airedale. Guyton said Pet Poolooza is an opportunity for Cirocco to socialize with other dogs and people.

“She really loves people, and she really loves other dogs, and she really wants to approach them,” he said.

Maggie Davie brought her Weimaraner, Bubba, to the pool.

“This is really for me,” she said. “He’s not a swimmer, but every once in awhile, we do what I want to do.”

Davie said she thinks this is a great event for pet owners and canines.

“This is one of the best things we do in Manhattan,” she said.

City commission candidate Hatesohl raises $2,650 toward campaign

Both current Manhattan mayor Michael Dodson and city commissioner Wynn Butler donated funds toward city commission candidate Mark Hatesohl prior to the general election Nov. 5. Butler donated $500, and Dodson donated $200 to Hatesohl.

Dodson said he donated to Hatesohl because they are friends.

“I’ve known him for a long time, and he’s a friend,” Dodson said. “He’s only one of the candidates that I really know.”

Additionally, Kaleb James, who is also seeking office, received a donation of $500 from Butler.

Butler was not available for comment at press time.

Other candidates running include current city commissioner Linda Morse, Aaron Estabrook, Maureen Sheahan, Mary Renee Shirk, Sarah Siders and Vincent Tracey.

All of the candidates except Morse started with a balance of $0. Morse had a starting balance of $2,513.96. Candidates were allowed to raise and collect funds from Jan. 1 to July 25.

During that time, Hatesohl collected $2,650, the most funds out of all the candidates running. Hatesohl received donations over $200 from various individuals and entities: Kent Glasscock ($250), Neil Horton ($250), Bayer Construction Co., Inc ($225), Tarkio CD Disposal LLC ($225) and Sandra Kearns ($200).

Hatesohl also received a donation from William Jorns in the amount of $300 after the July 25 date, collecting it July 29. Hatesohl had to submit a last-minute contribution report. Hatesohl spent $2,213.48 over the time period.

He has $436.52 on hand.

James collected $650 and spent $200. James has $450 in funds.

Morse received $1,700, receiving donations over $200 from Betty Banner ($500), Glasscock ($250) and Jayme Morris Hardeman ($250). Morse spent $428.40. She has $3,785.56.

Tracey collected $100 from Riley County Commisssioner Marvin Rodriguez.

Tracey also donated $1,000 to the campaign. He received a total of $1,100 and spent $167.09.

He has $932.91 on hand.

Sheahan collected $600, receiving funds over $200 from Carol Sevin ($200). Sheahan also personally donated to her own campaign ($200). She spent $252.13 and now has $347.87.

Shirk donated $500 toward her campaign, raising a total of $500. She did not spend any money.

Siders received a total of $546.80, collecting donations over $200 from Glasscock ($250) and Rebecca Robinson ($200). Siders spent $118.75 and now has $428.05.

Estabrook signed an affidavit of exemption, said Susan Boller, county elections supervisor. Boller said Estabrook is not collecting over $1,000 toward his campaign, which exempts him from receipt and expenditure reports.

USD 383 school board candidates are not required to disclose reports until December 2020, Boller said. As of June 3, USD 383 candidates include: Kristen B. Brighton, Joseph Dasenbrock, Curt Herrman, Darell Edie and Brandy Santos.

Police investigating multiple weekend car burglaries

Police are warning people to take caution after a string of vehicle burglaries over the weekend.

There were six reported thefts from vehicles from Friday to Sunday, five of which had an estimated loss of $500 or more. Many of them occurred in parking lots of hotels.

Riley County Police Department spokeswoman Hali Rowland said police don’t know yet if the thefts are connected nor do they have suspect descriptions as the investigations are ongoing.

On Friday morning, a 26-year-old woman reported that someone entered her 2019 Subaru Crosstec and took a Glock 42 pistol and pocket knife at 509 Pierre St. Estimated total loss is $560.

On Saturday morning, a 53-year-old man and a 53-year-old woman reported someone damaged their Mercedes coupe and took miscellaneous items from the car in the parking lot at the Hilton Garden Inn. Estimated total loss is $500.

Another man also told officers that someone damaged his Honda Accord and took a Smith and Wesson Shield 9 mm with a magazine at the hotel. Estimated total loss is $850.

On Sunday morning, a 60-year-old woman reported that someone damaged the window of her 2017 GMC Yukon and took a Macbook Pro inside the vehicle at the Hampton Inn. Estimated loss is $2,800. A 23-year-old man also reported that someone damaged the window on his 2016 Jeep Patriot and took clothing and bags full of miscellaneous items outside Fairfield Inn. Estimated total loss is $1,330.

Police did not name the victims.

According to a crime update presented at the July Riley County Law Enforcement Agency meeting, the trend of motor vehicle thefts has generally risen since 2014 in Riley County.

While some of the vehicles were forcibly entered, police have been advising citizens of methods to help protect themselves from these crimes, including locking their cars, taking their keys and items inside with them and hiding valuables out-of-sight.

“It’s one of those situations where people, unless it happens to them, don’t realize how dangerous it is to leave items inside a vehicle,” Rowland said. “We always caution people to take their valuable items inside with them to prevent this kind of theft.”

Police ask that anyone with information contact RCPD or the Manhattan Riley County Crime Stoppers. Using the Crime Stoppers service allows users to remain anonymous and could qualify them for a cash reward up to $1,000.

Johnstone touches lives through ministry, service

Sandy Nelson said she loves the faith that Rev. Jonalu Johnstone brings to the Little Apple.

“She has faith in me and my work, which is uplifting,” said Nelson, who works with Johnstone at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Manhattan.

Johnstone, 63, a transplant from Oklahoma City, has been the developmental minister at UUFM since 2015.

“One of the things that I love about ministry is that every day looks different. You know you might be sitting in the hospital with somebody one day, and the next day you might be doing a rally about immigration,” Johnstone said. “The next day you might be preaching, the next day you might be leading an adult religion education class around Unitarian Universalist’s values.”

Johnstone has more than 25 years of ministerial experience. But prior to becoming a minister and reverend, Johnstone was an educator.

“I was a teacher before, and then I was working in mental health centers actually,” Johnstone said. “And I knew I needed to do something different.”

She originally was involved with a lay-led Unitarian Universalist fellowship in Cumberland, Maryland. “Lay-led” means there’s no professional minister.

“And because it was a lay-led congregation, different people had the opportunity to preach,” she said. “And people there said to me, ‘You could be a minister.’ And I feel like those folks called me to ministry and set a path for me.”

Johnstone attended Harvard Divinity School and became ordained in 1993. In her current position, she preaches often but appreciates the variety of work her job allows her.

She is also an activist for the LGBTQ community. Johnstone grew up in Virginia in the 1950s and 1960s, which lead her to activism in fighting for racial equality.

“So that was a really formative influence for me,” she said. “There’s just so many ways that we look at, you know, kind of the world as it is, and the world as it should be and find ways that we’re just not where we want to be. And I think that it’s important to be addressing those, whether it’s in small ways, like we need to do a better job with sidewalks, to in big ways, like we need to end the systemic racism that exists in our culture.”

Susanne Glymour, who works with Johnstone at Inter Belief MHK, said Johnstone has enthusiasm and passion for bringing the community of Manhattan together.

“She really, really cares a great deal about having the community be a place that really is safe and feels safe for everyone who’s sharing this space,” Glymour said.

Inter Belief MHK is an ad-hoc group of local community members from different faiths and even those who do not have a specific faith.

Additionally, Glymour said the reverend listens to the thoughts and voices from all people.

“She really, I believe, understands the importance of dialogue and conversation, especially with people with whom she might personally disagree, or who really come from a different perspective,” Glymour said.

Johnstone was involved in the anti-discrimination ordinance established in Manhattan. As a reverend and minister, Johnstone teaches “about loving alike, though thinking differently.”

In their spare time, Johnstone and her partner Jane Powell — who have been together for about 30 years — enjoy hiking and exploring the Konza Prairie. Johnstone also loves to sing and is a member of the Timeless A Cappella, a women’s singing ensemble in Manhattan.

Johnstone has lived in various places across the country but finds she is able to deepen relationships further here in Manhattan.

“There were things I really liked about being in Oklahoma City, but it was hard to really make connections,” she said.

False alarm at Hale Library gives K-State flashbacks to May 2018 fire

When the Manhattan Fire Department rushed onto K-State’s campus and settled next to Hale Library on Monday afternoon, the university community must have been on edge.

After a May 2018 attic fire burned through the ceiling in the historic portion of the library, construction crews are gradually bringing the library back online, and Monday’s reports of smoke turned out to be construction dust, fire officials said.

While last year’s fire was largely constrained to the ceiling, the subsequent firefighting efforts essentially flooded the building, ruining much of the library’s interior. Since then, construction workers have stripped the building of its dampened carpeting, drywall and other fixtures, and restoration specialists have directed their efforts to salvaging the library’s 1.5 million books by freeze-drying them.

As part of its multiyear library restoration plan, K-State announced earlier Monday that it plans to open the library’s first floor early this fall. The Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons will serve as a study space initially, with hundreds of seats, multiple printers and 14 group study rooms available to students.

The first floor will open with limited hours initially, but once staffing is in place, the study space will transition to being continuously open from Sunday to Friday afternoons, and 1-5 p.m. Saturdays. University officials said they would announce an opening date soon.

Per the university’s timeline, the second floor will open in the early spring semester, with project completion expected by the end of 2020.

Manhattan man sentenced to 25 years for attempted rape, drug charges

A Riley County judge sentenced a 19-year-old Manhattan man to about 25 years in prison for attempted rape and a number of other charges Monday afternoon at the Riley County Courthouse.

Judge Meryl Wilson sentenced Tommie Baggett to the maximum amount for all counts, including 77 months for the first count of attempted rape, and a total of 190 months of consecutive sentences for two counts of attempted rape and two counts of aggravated burglary. Baggett was also sentenced to 13 months each for three counts of aggravated battery, which will run concurrent to the first offense.

“This was an offense committed in a brutal fashion and attempted choking of the victim and therefore the aggravated sentence is appropriate,” Wilson said of the first attempted rape count.

Wilson also sentenced Baggett to 80 months for seperate felony and misdemeanor drug charges related to distributing marijuana, 74 of which will begin after the sexual assault sentences have been served. He will also be subject to a 24-month post release supervision period.

Because of Kansas sentencing guidelines, however, courts cannot impose consecutive sentences that total to more than double the base sentence in one case — in this instance, no more than 154 consecutive months on top of the original 77 months for attempted rape. This means the consecutive sentences in the sexual assault case must be modified to not exceed that number.

The sentences stem from two incidents in 2017 in which three women, all roommates, were attacked and sexually assaulted at their residence. At a trial in June, a jury acquitted Baggett of four other sexual assault-related crimes with a fourth victim, who alleged Baggett raped her after meeting up through a dating website.

The judge ordered Baggett to register as a sexual offender, as well as pay restitution of nearly $13,000 to the Kansas Crime Victims Compensation Board and the victims’ then-landlord to cover the losses incurred for reducing rent for a year and installing security measures.

Baggett may be subject to lifetime post-release supervision for these crimes, but Wilson said a later determination would be made on Aug. 26 as to whether it is constitutional because Baggett was a juvenile when he committed the acts.

Before Baggett’s sentences were doled out, two of the victims read statements about how the incidents affected them.

While the women were identified by initials in court, it is the Mecury’s policy to not name victims of sexual assault.

The first woman said she is thankful that she had a community and resources to support her but others in similar situations may not. She asked the judge to impose the maximum sentences to serve as an example.

“I refuse to shut up and be quiet as I was told to with hands crushing my neck,” she said. “...Let this potentially be one less phone call to a set of parents. Let this be one less individual who is forced upon and stripped of their sense of safety.”

The second woman said she has suffered physically and mentally ever since Baggett attacked her, and the incident would be something that would continue to affect her throughout her life. She also asked for the maximum sentence allowable as she said she believed Baggett’s actions would only escalate.

“Tommie, you were a stranger to me,” she said. “You came into my home and you took so many things from me. You took my home, my safety, made my room into a crime scene and my stuff into evidence… but I am a fighter and I’m here today continuing to fight and finally getting the justice that I, like so many others, deserve.”