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Bison to be Oliver Brown Elementary Mascot

The Manhattan-Ogden School District’s newest elementary school now has a mascot and school colors.

The USD 383 Board of Education voted Wednesday, Jan. 20, to approve the bison as the mascot and a color scheme of brown and gold for Oliver Brown Elementary. Newly appointed board president Jurdene Coleman and board member Brandy Santos both preferred the owl as the school’s mascot.

Oliver Brown Elementary School is located in western Pottawatomie County.

“I’m gravely saddened that my owl didn’t make it,” Coleman said in jest. She acknowledged the community consensus was in favor of the bison as mascot, with 57% of the 1,600 survey responses choosing it.

Superintendent Marvin Wade told the board that the district still needs to hire a principal for Oliver Brown. He said they had 18 applicants for the job and will review the candidates and continue with the hiring process in the coming months.

Editor’s Note: This article in the Jan. 21 edition of The Manhattan Mercury.

County continues with covid vaccinations

All nursing homes in the county have been vaccinated for COVID-19 or have had the first round of the vaccine, Health Department Director Leslie Campbell told Pottawatomie County Commissioners at their Monday meeting. “We also did some critical workers, first responders and a lot of people in law enforcement,” she said. That means the county is moving on to Phase II of vaccinations. Phase II includes those 65 years or older with health issues, those in congregate settings and high contact critical workers. She noted on Friday, there were 1,600 65+ people on the sign up list and after that group the health department will move on to vaccinating K-12 teachers, childcare facility staff, public transportation, then critical infrastructure or businesses. “We are trying to exhaust our full supply each week,” Campbell said. “We receive 300 doses a week now, but don’t know how much we will get.” Commissioner Greg Riat asked if there had been any adverse reactions to the vaccine. “We’ve only had very few adverse reactions,” Campbell said. “Some have had fever afterwards and a sore arm for a couple of days. Sometimes there’s a little red spot where the vaccine was given.” Campbell also updated the commission on the covid numbers, noting there were 41 active cases as of last Friday. “Numbers down and fewer hospitalizations,” she said. Weixelman asked about numbers of vaccines. Campbell responded she preferred not to say, but there were people scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. They have administered 350. “Do the best you can but it won’t cover everything no matter how you do it. I appreciate your work, it’s challenging.” Commissioner Dee McKee said. Tax Collections County Treasurer Lisa Wright presented tax collections from Nov. 1, 2019. She said the county has collected $38,485,260 in taxes, and 2020 tax delinquent notices were sent out. EMS Update EMS Director Hal Bumgarner presented statistical numbers for the end of 2020, noting there was a drop in the call volume in the beginning of 2020. He discussed the mileage on all eight of the county’s ambulances. From July 2019 through January 2021, there has been a total of 966,805 miles put on the ambulances. Bumgarner said that the goal is to spread miles out through the county’s four stations to get around seven to 10 years out of the trucks. “We’re going to have an aging fleet but sharing miles performance, mileage, and age of trucks into a system where they’ll last eight to 10 years,” he said. Currently all four transits have under 200,000 miles. He asked the commission for permission order a new ambulance for 2021 noting that the new 2020 ambulance arrived a few weeks ago. “When we get ready to order a new truck for this year, it’ll be January 2022 before it’s ready to be picked up or at least December at the latest,” Bumgarner said. Bumgarner noted that the cost for a new ambulance is in the budget. “If you order one this month it won’t be 2022 till you get it?” Riat asked. “If I order it today, I could receive it in December.” The commission approved the purchase, with an understanding that an older ambulance was to be miled out before the new one is put into use. Pollinator Garden Shannon Blocker, County Extension Agent announced that the county had four individuals participate in the Extension Master Gardeners Program, consisting of 15 four hour training sessions. In return, they will donate 40 hours of volunteer service hours to the community. “We’ve never had a program in the past in the county,” Blocker said. As a result, she asked commissioners to approve putting in a pollinator demonstration garden which would consist of a 5x20 bed, desirable plants that are necessary for pollination, and weatherproof metal signage. There would also be a drip irrigation system installed. Blocker also asked if the commissioners would approve the costs of the seeds and expenses, the use of the water spigot and permission to install the bed. The requests were all approved. Attorney Contracts County Counselor John Watt presented an independent contractor agreement for the attorneys who serve the county on misdemeanor cases, juvenile offender cases, and child in need of care cases. He stated that one of the attorneys, Chris Etzel, was recently appointed as district judge. “He’ll be taking Gary Nafziger’s place and I have an agreement terminating his contract,” Watt said. Watt said that he had a conversation with Chief Judge Jeff Elder about filling Etzel’s position. “Judge Elder got a hold of Andy Vinduska,” Watt said. “Vinduska’s office is in Manhattan and he does criminal work.” Watt said that Elder asked Vinduska to fill Etzel’s position and that he said he would be willing to do that. Vinduska’s contract would take effect on Feb. 1 and run through the end of the year and would renew like the other contracts. The commissioners authorized and accepted the resignation of Etzel and the hire of Vinduska. 2021 Fund Transfer Commissioners approved the transfer of $1,518,550 from the General Fund to Equipment Reserve Fund which includes $355,000 to EMS Department and $900,000 to the Public Works Department. Nelson’s Ridge Subdivision Larson Construction’s bid of $127,986 for the Nelson’s Ridge Subdivision was accepted by the commissioners. Larson’s bid was the lowest one received but still came in over the engineers estimate of $120,100. Green Valley Rd. Administrator Chad Kinsley presented the contract for Highway 24 and Green Valley Road. The project cost totals $985,407.12. He stated that Rural Water One is wanting $169,000 for the water line portion of the project. After some discussion on the cost for the water lines, it was decided to stipulate in the contract that the cost is not to exceed $169,000. Communication with Manhattan The commissioners discussed having better communication with the City of Manhattan. The issue came to a head over a new facility building Manhattan wants to build in Pottawatomie County, the strain it would make on the road system, and that the city wants to annex the area. Commissioners felt they didn’t have enough advance notice of the building. “It’s mind boggling,” said Commissioner Pat Weixelman. “I went to the (Riley) County, (Pottawatomie) County, City meeting. “It was brought up how we should have known about it because it was discussed back in 2018. I never heard anything about this building. I was told we should read the newspapers, it’s been in the news papers. A lot of questions like this come up.” McKee noted the same problem with the school district. “They limit feedback to us,” she said. “It’s not adequate, we have a very big interest in what goes on.” After considerably discussion, the commissioners felt the best option was to have Kinsley attend a meeting there regularly, and also have a representative of Manhattan come to Pottawatomie County.



Red Cross Blood Donations

Feb. 3, 9 a.m. — 2:30 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 600 Lincoln; Feb. 9, 11 a.m. — 5 p.m., PLC Building (District Office), 1008 8th Street; Feb. 9, 12 p.m. — 6 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 600 Lincoln Ave; Feb. 10, 11 a.m. — 5:30 p.m., PLC Building (District Office), 1008 8th Street.