Author: Rhonda Zellweger

Rhonda is a retired public employee from Syracuse, New York; mom to two grown daughters; and a lifelong community volunteer. She was traveling in her camper after retirement when she discovered Kansas, then fell hard for the Flint Hills community. She bought a house in Manhattan, parked her camper, and KMAN taught the old dog new tricks. Being a reporter has only deepened her love of her new hometown. But, she thinks SU Basketball is the best. Go, ORANGE! contact her at: rhonda@1350kman.com

Elected officials are required to review districts to ensure equal population rates. Riley County residents comprise three districts, each represented by a commissioner. The districts were contiguous to each other years ago. County Clerk Rich Vargo explains. Vargo says the districts must be less than a 5% variation in population, and the current districts are within that range. However, District 1 (John Ford’s district) has current population of 21,683, which is 30.13% of the county population. District 2 (Greg McKinley’s district) has 24,981 and District 3 (Kathryn Focke’s district) has 25,295 residents; which is 34.72% and 35.15% respectively. The County Commissioners…

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K-State students are very involved with the community, and the Hope Ranch Therapeutic Riding Center in Manhattan had some special guests Saturday. Program Coordinator and Barn Manager Tre Holmes talks about the students. He said Saturday was about honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s. Day of Service but noted that K-State students are often at the ranch volunteering. Holmes says riding lessons at the ranch are available for all ages and abilities.  When asked if the horses help with physical or emotional needs, Holmes responded:  He says therapy horses can help people cope with feelings, learn trust, gain confidence, overcome fears…

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K-State’s Riley County Extension Office is volunteering for the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) again this year. They are offering free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals starting Thursday, January 26th at the Manhattan Public Library. Extension Agent Director Gary Fike just returned from this year’s training and says there are a lot of changes this year which are going to negatively affect refunds.   Last year, VITA volunteers filed 724 returns. This year they’re prepared to file returns for active duty military and reserves.   The free service is by appointment only. Call 785- 565-6426 or email…

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It was standing room only as the new non-profit organization, SERVE, officially launched in Manhattan on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  SERVE President Jurdene Coleman says the organization’s intention is to “incubate more candidates for local office.”   Coleman says running for office can be intimidating and lonely. Their members and future candidates can be registered to a major party or unaffiliated. It’s about providing support to potential candidates with the heart to serve their community.  The organization has a list of ways someone can serve the community, without running for office. Coleman suggests a person who isn’t ready to run, could gain experience…

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An open public meeting was well attended Saturday morning in Riley County Commissioners’ Chambers. The board was tasked with deciding if an annexation to the City of Manhattan would hinder growth or development to the area or any incorporated city in the county. The nearly 79 acre tract of land is located between the airport and the Random Woods neighborhood. Midwest Concrete Materials, the City of Ogden, and Random Woods property owners testified. A residential property owner asked for better communication. Vice-Chair John Ford agreed. Another resident asked how the annexation will benefit the county. Ford responded Commission Chair Kathryn…

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebrations begin Monday morning in Manhattan. The Douglass School, located at 900 Yuma Street will host a Prayer Breakfast on January 16th, starting at 9 a.m. K-State Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Dr. Rana Johnson will be the keynote speaker. Volunteer organization HandsOn K-State will host a Day of Service on Saturday, January 21st. The event kicks off at 9 a.m. at several locations, and encourages the community to go out and volunteer. A wreath laying ceremony is planned for 1:30 p.m. on Friday, January 27th at the bust of Dr. King…

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RCPD jailed a Manhattan man for an alleged offender registration violation Friday afternoon. 23-year-old Kendrick Lavell Collins, Jr. of Riverchase is charged with one count of Aggravated Violation of the Offender Registration Act, and two counts of Violation of the Offender Registration Act – 1st Conviction. Court documents show an arrest for Indecent Liberties with a child at least 14 years of age, but younger than 16; along with a charge of Lewd Fondling in a February 2022 incident. In September of 2022, Collins Jr. pled guilty to Attempted Indecent Liberties with a child, a Class 7 Felony. He was…

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Another suspect has been arrested and jailed in connection to the February 2022 shooting death of a Fort Riley soldier in Aggieville. Riley County Police say 24-year-old Jordan Guy Prather, of Junction City, is charged with first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault. According to court documents, the murder charge is related to the shooting death of 21-year-old Joshua Wardi. The three counts of aggravated assault list Donovon Bastien, Jared Musgrave, and Tyrece White as victims. Prather was jailed just after 3 a.m. Saturday and is being held on $500,000 bond. A co-defendant, Tremelle Montgomery, was charged soon after…

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There’s no shortage of young professionals in Riley, Pottawatomie, and Geary Counties. But the Junction City, Manhattan, and Wamego Chambers of Commerce took on the challenge of choosing 15 professionals to recognize for making a difference in their communities.  They must first be nominated to be considered for the recognition; be at least 18 but less than 40 years of age; and work in the Greater Manhattan area. About 100 nominations were made. Each nominee was asked to complete an application which outlined achievements in their profession, and the work they’ve performed for the community. Jason Smith, President and CEO…

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The Riley County Police Department celebrated Captain Josh Kyle Friday, with a couple hundred of his closest friends. Kyle followed his father’s and grandfather’s paths. He is now retired after serving the community for 31 years. County Commissioner and Law Board member John Ford spoke to KMAN about Kyle’s service to the community. Ford agreed that the community would benefit when asked if Kyle should run for a political office. Kyle, who was a finalist for the RCPD director position earlier this year tells KMAN he is not interested in pursuing public office at this time, but will instead seek…

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