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Marsha Jensen observes local photographer Luke Townsend’s new exhibit, “Two Weeks, Two Cases,” at the Manhattan Arts Center on Friday evening. The photo gallery chronicles the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Manhattan area. The exhibition, along with another from Katharina Bossmann, will be on display through March 20.

Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce names Citizen, Volunteer of the Year award winners

The Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce is celebrating the recipients of the organization’s annual Citizen and Volunteer of the Year awards, as well as a brand-new award dedicated to young professionals.

The chamber named Neil Horton as the 2020 Lud Fiser Citizen of the Year during its annual meeting Friday. Horton served as chair of the Advance MHK initiative that helped secure support to pass a citywide economic development sales tax in November.

During the meeting, Horton said being named the recipient of this award came as “quite a shock.”

“Community involvement is not hard in Manhattan, because it’s a great place,” Horton said. “You want to get involved; there’s so many opportunities. … It doesn’t really matter what your interests are, there’s somebody out there who’s working to serve that interest.”

Horton, the vice-president and CEO of Bayer Construction in Manhattan, is the 52nd recipient of the award and was recognized for his work on several initiatives over the past year, including his service on the business advocacy committee and economic development committee.

The citizen of the year award is named after former Manhattan Chamber president Lud Fiser, who served from 1948 to 1975, and was a key player in community developments such as CiCo Park and Manhattan Industrial Park.

The C. Clyde Jones Volunteer of the Year award went to Lucy Williams for her lengthy service to the chamber’s business advocacy committee and the public affairs committee which came before it. Larie Schoap, 2020 Chamber of Commerce Chair, said Williams “has been instrumental in helping to shape the Chamber’s public policies for a number of years.”

Williams watched a livestream of the meeting from her home, but during the meeting, chamber officials played a video where she was surprised with the award. Williams is a finance professional, and currently the vice-president and trust officer of The Trust Company in Manhattan.

She is the 32nd recipient of the C. Clyde Jones Volunteer of the Year award, named after a 60-year Manhattan resident who served as the first dean of Kansas State University’s College of Business.

For the first time, the Chamber also recognized the Young Professional of the Year, giving the award to Jeff Sackrider. Schoap said Sackrider, a customer sales consultant with communications firm WTC, “actively pursues new sales opportunities, assists current clients, and represents WTC at Manhattan Chamber and other community events.”

Sackrider said he “got ambushed” at his office two weeks ago when he found out he won this award, and that he has never been more surprised in his entire life.

“The things I’m being acknowledged for … are things I saw (my parents) do all my life, and that’s just being actively engaged in the community,” Sackrider said. “I’m so proud that I get to be part of this community and give back.”

WTC provides voice, internet, and video service to Wamego, Manhattan and surrounding areas.

Schoap said Sackrider has been part of a team effort resulting in more than 800 new business clients to the company’s fiber optic network.

RCPD investigating shots fired incidents over the weekend

Riley County police are investigating three incidents of shots fired into the air that happened over the weekend to the east of K-State’s campus.

The incidents occurred around midnight Saturday around the 800 block of Thurston Street and two separate parties between the 600 and 1000 blocks of Bertrand Street between 11 p.m. Saturday and 1 a.m. Sunday.

The Riley County Police Department said it doesn’t know if the incidents are related, and officers reported no injuries.

If you have any information, contact RCPD at 785-537-2112 or Crime Stoppers at 785-539-7777. Using the Crime Stoppers service allows you to remain anonymous and could qualify you for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

Geary County deputies investigate after shooting in possible road rage incident

The Geary County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a possible road rage incident that resulted in a man shooting a woman Sunday.

Emergency officials transported Tina Borawski to Ascension Via Christi Hospital for treatment of a single gunshot wound; she was the only person in her vehicle. Officials deemed her injury as non-life threatening.

Deputies responded to the incident at 11:32 a.m. to I-70 near mile marker 311.

The sheriff’s office provided a description of the man involved in the incident: A white man between 25 and 37 years old, possibly with a goatee, and shaggy strawberry blonde hair that appeared to be un-kempt. He was driving a four-door white vehicle.

If you have any information, call the Sheriff’s Office at 785-238-2261 or dispatch at 785-762-5912.

Looser coronavirus restrictions coming to Riley County this week

Looser coronavirus regulations are coming to Riley County sometime this week.

Although officials did not indicate what the new rules will look like, county spokeswoman Alice Massimi said officials anticipated revisiting the rule limiting the size of group gatherings. Currently, public gatherings are limited to 50 people, unless a person acquires a permit from the health department.

Riley County Health Department Director Julie Gibbs issued the latest health regulations on Nov. 23; it mandated mask-wearing in all public spaces in the county.

These health rules issued by Gibbs are meant to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

As roughly 10% of the county has already been vaccinated, officials began looking at loosening restrictions as Riley County’s rate of positive tests continues to decline. From Feb. 7-13, the county recorded a 2.6% rate of positive tests, a decrease of 2.2 percentage points from the week prior. The two-week average was 3.71%. Officials said this was the third consecutive week Riley County has seen a rate decrease.

Gibbs said 4,885 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine with 2,130 being fully vaccinated.

These numbers do not include people vaccinated through private entities like Dillons.

Riley County confirms 10 new COVID-19 cases

Riley County on Monday recorded 10 new cases of the coronavirus since Friday, the exact same increase from Wednesday to Friday last week.

The total number of cases since the pandemic began last March is 6,168. Of those, 134 are active, and 6,001 people had recovered as of Wednesday.

Two positive patients were receiving care at Ascension Via Christi hospital in Manhattan; one was in the intensive care unit Monday.

The Riley County Health Department aims to complete Phase 2 of the state’s vaccination plan and move into Phase 3 in early March. Phase 3 includes people under age 65 with severe health conditions.

The Riley County Health Department (RCHD) will continue vaccinating those aged 65 and older Tuesday and Wednesday. Staff will administer boosters Thursday and Friday to those vaccinated with the first dose.

Next week, RCHD will begin releasing coronavirus data only on Mondays and Wednesdays as staff continues to focus on vaccination clinics. Additionally, RCHD will hold Facebook Live updates as needed.

Since Friday, Kansas’ recorded 883 new cases, 32 hospitalizations and 29 deaths, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). Kansas’ total Monday was 291,715 cases, 9,103 hospitalizations and 4,643 deaths, according to KDHE. The state has recorded 951,784 negative tests so far.

Geary County recorded an increase of 42 confirmed cases from Friday to Monday. Geary County’s total Monday was 2,989. Pottawatomie County had a total of 2,989 cases Monday. Pottawatomie County recorded an increase of 12 cases from Friday to Monday.