City’s priority right now shouldn’t be parking garage

As I sit here reading The Manhattan Mercury, I am trying to figure out why is building a garage next to the Rally House at the northwest corner of Laramie so important in a city where most families are struggling to keep a roof over their families head, pay their gas & light bill and to put food on the table for their families. $13.8 million is a lot of money for the City of Manhattan to be spending when businesses are worried about making enough money to pay their bills and what staff they have left. To top it off the City Commissioners continue to tax the citizens of Manhattan by increasing the water and sewer rates. Why are our City Commissioners putting more financial burden on the citizens of Manhattan. A few months ago the commissioners were worried because the city did have enough money in its coffers because they were not making enough from the sale tax. If our city commissioners cared about the citizens of Manhattan they would use the money being spent on building a garage and help our small businesses and families that are struggling during this pandemic. This is the time the citizens of Manhattan should be calling out our city commissioners in reference to what is their priority when it comes to struggling businesses and struggling families in the City of Manhattan? I look forward to your feedback Manhattan.

God Bless You,

Lewis O. Smith Sr.,

Pastor, Manhattan First Free Methodist Church

Optimist tree sales benefit community

The Manhattan Optimist Club is continuing its annual tradition of selling Christmas trees and holiday decorations. All proceeds benefit local area youth and community projects. These projects include Optimist Ball Park which is used practically year-round by Optimist supported fast pitch softball

teams, the K-State fast pitch club team and the Optimist T-Ball program. Other youth activities supported by the funds generated from our Christmas tree sales include Kid Wrestling, the Gold Orchestra, Pops Choir, Boys and Girls State, the Ogden Friendship House, Youth of the Month, Camp for

Stars, Hoop Holler and Shoot, the Chili Crawl, and the Early Expressions Kids Art Fair.

Please understand that when you buy a tree from the Optimist Tree Lot every last dime stays in the Manhattan community and is invested in these types of programs that benefit our young people. In a very real sense, if you have lived in Manhattan for an extended period of time you have somehow or another directly benefited from the funds raised at our tree lot.

In fact, this marks the 62 nd year that the Tree Lot tradition has been a part of Manhattan’s Christmas season. Please experience it either for the first time, or once again, in 2020. We have a large selection of trees with several varieties of firs, including the very popular Fraser firs, and scotch pines from which to choose. We have an especially large number of very tall trees (nine feet and above). Our friendly, knowledgeable and always optimistic volunteers will help you pick out a tree to remember.

They will also package your tree for easy transport and carry it to your vehicle.

In addition, we have everything you need to trim your tree including tree stands, ornaments and lights. If you do not need a tree and you would still like to contribute to our efforts, we have garland, wreaths and door swags. We also carry outside ornamental lighting and replacement bulbs.

The lot is located at Optimist Park. Take Seth Child to Amherst. Turn east on Amherst toward Little Apple Toyota-Honda and then go left to 317 Plymate Lane. Hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and 4 to 9 p.m. on weekdays. Our volunteer staff will observe social distancing and wear masks. We encourage our customers to do the same.

Please shop the Optimist Tree Lot this holiday season and help us to support positive activities for our local youth. Your satisfaction is absolutely guaranteed.

Bruce Bidwell, Jim Franke,

Optimist Tree Lot co-chairs

Pott Co. courthouse decked out for the season

Historic Pottawatomie County Courthouse once again is lit for the holidays through a collaborative effort from the State Historical Society, the county commissioners, the Administrative Department, Public Works Maintenance and generous donations from a local business, Westmoreland Area Chamber, Citizens for Courthouse Conservation and citizens of Westmoreland and Pottawatomie County.

A photo is on Facebook. But to truly appreciate the awesomeness of your Pottawatomie County Courthouse, drive to Westmoreland during the holidays and make it an evening to visit other communities in our large, diverse, growing county.

Dorothy Campbell,


Elections workers deserve our thanks

On Nov. 16, just before the Riley County clerk (Rich Vargo) asked the county commissioners to approve the 2020 general election canvass, he informed them that elections office employees had been working 60 to 80 hours per week over the previous several weeks to insure a proper election. Each commissioner dutifully thanked the staff for their service. I’m sure most Riley Countians will agree that they deserve our gratitude for having executed an orderly, safe, efficient and honest election during a raging pandemic in a year of record-breaking voter participation.

What I’m not sure of is why our county clerk should have to defy his own party leaders to make mail-in ballots available to all voters. What I don’t get is why our honest elections-employees are ridiculed as “deep-state operatives” for faithfully performing their duties? How did Kansans delude themselves into accepting Chris Kobach accusations that massive voting-fraud has been countenanced by conservative, Republican Secretaries of State and dozens of Republican County Clerks and their honest employees like those in Riley County? How do those same people make themselves believe that their neighbors’ sons and daughters who grow up and go off to K-State or some other school to get a degree in journalism somehow morph into “Enemies of the American People”? And how can we possibly preserve our democracy for our grandchildren in a country where half of our population is so willing to believe such obvious lies?

Carl Reed,

1418 Leavenworth St.

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