Editor's note: The following are paid political letters.

Cheryl Arthur would build relationships in legislature

To the editor:

A good legislator needs to build relationships, listen to people, be informed and do what is best for the working families, their children and their community. Those are the qualities Cheryl Arthur brings to the table. Cheryl was a high school principal for ten years and before that she was a math and science teacher, and coached basketball and volleyball. She’s active in her church and volunteers in several community organizations. She understands the challenges of individuals who do not have access to health care. She understands that there is not enough funding for schools and the struggles that small businesses are facing. As a former governor, I know how hard it is to get anything accomplished in Topeka, but Cheryl will be able to work to make Medicaid expansion a reality for families that are in dire need of health care and work to build a strong economy and quality public education. Manhattan would be best represented with Cheryl Arthur as the next representative for House District 67. Vote for Cheryl. 


John Carlin

1208 Wyndham Heights Drive


Fang: We must fight pandemic together

To the editor:

We need to come together as a county and fight this pandemic as a team.

I have played basketball since the 3rd grade but being 4-foot-11, I was forced to be a pass-first point guard. Passing the ball didn’t always get the crowd up on their feet, but it won games. Team sports have played a fundamental role in my development as a leader — as an athlete, a local business owner, and now as a candidate for Riley County Commission, District 2.

Teams lose when there is a lack of fortitude to take on responsibility. Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL, but a single player doesn’t win Super Bowls. The team wins them. Coach Andy Reid made the brilliant call to go for it on 4th-and-1, which would eventually lead to the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Our community is hurting. People are sick, suffering from unemployment, and stressed from the uncertainty.

The outbreak in the Blue Valley USD 384 District Office is evidence that the rural portions of our county are not insulated from COVID-19. Seven people have tested positive in the district office so far, and we can only wait to see its impact on the surrounding areas. I have been meeting with county officials and leaders these last two months, and several have expressed disappointment in the County Commission for their lack of leadership when it comes to the mask mandate. To protect our community and save our local economy, they need help from the county government to implement responsible practices in their local jurisdictions.

There are some mask exemptions in which rural Riley County would fall under, i.e., farmers working in their fields. But for residents who are working in close quarters like the Blue Valley USD 384 District Office, the adoption of a mask ordinance, in conjunction with social distancing, could have likely prevented an outbreak.

Our hospital only has four ventilators for a population of 75,000 residents. With inadequate access to healthcare in Northern Riley County, it may take an ambulance up to 45 minutes to arrive, which can be the difference between life and death for COVID patients with severe complications. And we have not yet even addressed the financial burden of hospital bills on families if they receive a COVID diagnosis, on top of our already struggling economy.

So I must ask. Why is the County Commission willing to take risks with our lives? Why does the County Commission lack the courage to do what is right for our whole community? Why are they neglecting their responsibilities and expecting someone else to pick up their slack? We need courage, unity, and teamwork if we are going to keep our community healthy and our economy open.

I have been at the forefront of holding our County Commission accountable throughout this pandemic — from combatting blatant racism to advocating for equality and urging our leaders to implement a mask mandate to keep our community safe. These are the actions we need from our leaders. Riley County, we can do this together. Our future is here.

Fanny Fang, 

Candidate for Riley County Commission

Focke is experienced, knowledgeable

To the editor:

Please join us in supporting Kathryn Focke for Riley County Commission District 3.

We’ve known Kathryn for 20 years. She is an experienced and knowledgeable businesswoman who understands the importance of budgets, planning, and setting priorities. Most importantly, she is honest, hardworking, and cares about her community. These qualities will serve her well on the Riley County Commission.

In addition to Kathryn’s personal qualifications, we think many Riley Countians will agree that our county government sorely needs a compassionate, open-minded, female leader. Kathryn will support the health and safety of her constituents as the County grapples with the continuing burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s also keenly aware of the impact of the current health emergency on our local businesses. Kathryn will bring transparency to Commission meetings and will actively seek input from all Riley County residents.

Kathryn Focke will help lead Riley County to a brighter future. We urge you to vote for Kathryn for Riley County Commission District 3.

John and Leah Fliter

2825 Nevada St.

Mann stands for hate; vote Barnett for 1st District U.S. House

To the editor:

Four years ago, three white male Kansans, calling themselves “The Crusaders” were arrested by the FBI for domestic terrorism. They planned to blow up four explosive-filled vehicles at an apartment complex filled with Somalian refugees in Garden City, creating untold terror, havoc, and bloodshed. They each received 25-30 years for their hate.

Tracey Mann publicly supported this attempt at domestic terrorism. Mann falsely accused victims of this terrorist act of being terrorists.

During the Kansas primary campaign, Mann showed his racism by attacking his opponent's record of voting to resettle refugees from war-torn Somalia in Kansas to provide cheap labor for our economy. Yet Republicans made Mann their First District Congressional Candidate.

Anyone running such ads and praising domestic terrorism is unfit for public office.

For the past five election cycles, the candidates for the First Congressional District have been unconscionably and uncritically obedient to the unprincipled corrupt power that rules our nation’s capital.

Kansans as a whole and especially the people of the First District deserve better. They deserve a representative who will work to improve our quality of life and diversify our economy. Mann will not do that.

Kali Barnett offers a refreshing reversal of that tawdry history. We need to rebuild our nation after four years of white nationalism and corruption. It is time to elect a true Kansan who reflects the values that my Kansas parents taught me. I strongly encourage the people of Riley County to vote for the future and vote for Kali Barnett.

Christopher E. Renner

508 Valley Drive

Abortion: America's other pandemic

To the editor:

As we are months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have focused on this pandemic. But we have a greater pandemic that has been going on much longer.

The latest figures available from Guttmacher Institute show 862,320 innocent lives were ended by abortion in America in 2017. This is approximately FOUR times as many American lives that COVID-19 has ended at this point. The National Right to Life Committee has estimated these deaths from 1973-2019 to be 61,628,584 based on the Guttmacher Institute figures and CDC figures through 2015.

As John Grondelski wrote on Oct. 5 online at the National Catholic Register, it can be hard to get one’s head around these abortion deaths. He proceeds to breakdown the numbers to take the abstract to concrete.

“If 862,000 deaths were to occur in a single year, there would have to be one death every half minute (precisely, about every 37 seconds, but that’s abstract).”

“We’re very sensitive to how COVID is ravaging America. But by the time one death occurs from COVID, four have taken place from abortion and a fifth is underway.”

“Imagine there was not a single person — not one single person — in every one of these states: Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. To match the number of abortions in America since 1973 to our population, you could not have one single person in the 10 states between Washington, D.C. and Maine.”

“…on another scale: to match America’s abortion harvest since 1973 against the U.S. population, you could not have a single person living in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona. Nobody west of Utah.”

This is why we as Americans need to be talking about this national pandemic during this electoral season.

Karla Parsons,

3005 Shane Creek Lane


The following are not paid letters.

Coronavirus pandemic has similarities to polio

To the editor:

In the past few months there have been many media articles comparing COVID-19 to the flu pandemic of 1917. I believe that it would be more informative to compare COVID-19 to another virus for which there is no cure: polio. Both of these diseases are spread by contact between people and by dispersal of nasal & oral secretions through talk, singing, coughing, etc. Infected persons may be asymptomatic, with the virus growing in the nasal passages, which can be disbursed as noted, until there is enough to cause the patient to become obviously ill.

Some of your readers will recall the polio epidemic of the 1950s but many will only know that now they must get immunized in infancy from this virus. While the polio virus was known even in ancient Egypt, the outbreak in the 1950s was widespread and alarming. Many did not survive and some spent months in something called an iron lung, the precursor to our current ventilators. Some people thought they had a “mild case,” perhaps similar to our thinking today. Yet the long-term effects were unknown and came to light only as these persons entered their middle ages. The muscle atrophy which became evident in these folks became known as Post-Polio Syndrome. My own brother was one who had such a mild case of Polio as a 15 yr. old that it was not diagnosed until after he failed to recover from what seemed a mild case of the flu. Like many others, from the beginning of muscular atrophy in his 40s to his death 35 years later he lost strength and lung capacity. We already know that today some people, including young men & women, are not recovering as expected. What will the future hold for victims of COVID-19?

Polio was gradually gotten under control as the Salk & Sabin vaccines were developed and deployed. Yet, the Western Hemisphere was not declared polio-free until 1994, Africa in 2019 and it is still found in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

What we now know is the COVID-19 is a dangerous disease with no cure yet. There is still much we don’t know. It will take a significant length of time for vaccines, when developed, to be widely available. We also know that masks and social distancing are the most reliable, and inexpensive, to prevent the spread of this disease. I urge everyone to help stop the spread by following these practices.  

Betty Banner

618 Osage St.

Changed family visits can guard against COVID, still be happy

To the editor:

I read The Manhattan Mercury article: "Rethinking the holidays: Traditions, change are on the table" (Oct 16 issue). This year of 2020 quickly degenerated into a year of worldwide pandemic sickness, business and church closures, with other measures to mitigate the spread of this dreaded disease which although mortality is somewhat low, it has still killed over a million people worldwide and continues unabated. What I decided to do, is to "celebrate" or "give thanks" NOW, well a few days ago. In one instance, I drove over to Cawker City Kansas, to celebrate the 83rd birthday of my late dad's only living male first-cousin Tom W. In my view it is critical to visit, communicate or show such cherished people that they are cared-about, even in the best of times. I also visited another younger cousin at Hutchinson. It shouldn't take a deadly pandemic to wake people up to visit relatives — young or old. I visited a slightly weird sculpture which I saw as a kid: "The Garden of Eden" in Lucas, Kansas. Once, I thought it was bizarre, but as I matured, I realize it has artistic merit. It was done by Samuel P. Dinsmoor, who was a teacher, farmer, Civil War veteran, and an officer in the Masonic Lodge. I saw exhibits in small crowds; wearing my medical-mask. Family holiday-traditions CAN still exist, with "timing,” "vigorous hygiene" and "smaller groups.”

James Marples,

Esbon, Kansas

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