Fort Riley celebrates Month of the Military Child

Capt. Lawson Bartlett holds his daughter on April 12, 2017, as he and over 300 fellow troops were welcomed back home on post at Fort Riley. (Staff photo by Brady Bauman)

April is Month of the Military Child and Fort Riley kicked off the month-long celebration with a parade March 30 and a proclamation signing April 3. Many family-friendly events are planned throughout the month at Fort Riley, including:

  • April 6, Midnight Sports from 8 to 10:30 p.m.; call 785-239-9222
  • April 7, Family Movie at Barlow Theater at 11 a.m.
  • April 8, Kids-fest at Riley’s Conference Center from noon to 3 p.m.
  • April 14, Family Pool Party at Eyster Pool from 5 to 8 p.m.
  • April 21, Family Bowling at Custer Hill Bowling Center from 11 a.m.
    to 2 p.m.
  • April 27-28, Operation Megaphone Lock-In from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.; call
    785-239-9885
  • April 28, Family Field Trip to Spin City from 9 a.m. to noon

For complete details about these events and many others, visit https://riley.armymwr.com.

Since 1986, the Department of Defense has recognized April as Month of the Military as a way to honor the commitment and sacrifice made by military children, who typically experience frequent moves and parents with busy training schedules and frequent deployments.

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Chinese scientist sentenced in theft of Junction City biotech company

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A Chinese national who lived in Manhattan was sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiring to steal proprietary rice seeds developed in the U.S. and giving them to visitors from China.

Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday that 51-year-old Weiqiang Zhang was sentenced for two counts of conspiracy and one count of interstate transportation of stolen property. He was convicted in February 2017.

Zhang was a rice breeder for Ventria Bioscience in Junction City, which developed genetically engineered rice for therapeutic and medical fields.

Prosecutors said Zhang stored hundreds of seeds from Ventria at his home. In 2013, Zhang toured facilities in the Midwest with officials from a crop research institute in China. Federal officials found Ventria seeds in the visitors’ luggage as they prepared to return to China.

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Board of Education approved land transfer agreement

(Image courtesy of Manhattan-Ogden USD 383) 

The Manhattan-USD 383 Board of Education gave final approval to the land transfer agreement between the district and David Nelson and Leon H. Borck.  

Assistant Superintendent Eric Reid presented the agreement to the board during the March 28 meeting.  In the presentation, Reid said they would be trading the land they owned near Elbo Creek Rd with a property closer to the infrastructure of Blue Township.  The board gave preliminary approval to the agreement during this meeting.

During Wednesday night’s meeting the board made the agreement official with their final approval.  Reid spoke to the board saying he received mostly positive feedback to the agreement.  He did however bring up one phone call from a citizen who said the transfer was a mistake saying the Elbo property was better to the proposed property because it was closer to housing.  Reid said one of the reasons the land was considered was because of its closer proximity to the township.

The new property would be considered for the future site of a new elementary school.  Reid said the Elbo property was located on a creek, making construction harder.  He also brought up a major roadblock with the proposed property with the roads North of the site.  However, Reid said they have contracts in place with Pottawatomie county to pave Junietta and Moody roads.

The board approved the transfer agreement unanimously.

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USD 475 picks Hutton Construction for new high school

The USD 475 Board of Education approved the selection of Hutton Construction as its Construction Manager At Risk for construction of the new Junction City High School Monday, as well as performance against the District Master Plan for facilities and maintenance repairs and construction through 2023.

According to a press release from the school district Wednesday, construction of the new high school and associated facilities was approved by voters during a November 2017 special bond election and is valued at $105 million dollars. The District Master Plan for facilities is valued at an additional $17 million through 2023.

Hutton Construction, based out of Wichita, scored higher than four other competitors during the source selection process conducted by the district in accordance with the State of Kansas Construction Procurement Act.

David Wild, Chief Operations Officer for USD 475, explained that the act limits competition to no more than five offerors.

“The Board approved issuance of Request for Proposals to five qualified firms during its early March meeting. Proposals were received on March 20th and interviews held on the 27th,” Wild said.

The Procurement Act requires that offerors submit price proposals to the Kansas Department of Administration with quality proposals sent to the district for independent evaluation. Upon receipt of District evaluations, the state released its pricing evaluations which identified the best value CMAR selection.

The Board of Education appointed seven personnel, including three board members, to serve on the selection committee. Members conducted reviews of written proposals as well as independently scored proposals and offeror interviews. Wild stated that the panel acknowledged the high quality represented by each offeror and, during deliberations, came to consensus on a competitive range consisting of three offerors.

“There were three points separating the top three offers,” Wild stated. “The panel agreed to accept any of the top three firms and submitted its evaluations to the State with the understanding that the State analyses of fee structures would be the final determinant of which firm was to be selected.”

The results of the selection process were presented to the Board on Monday evening. Wild concluded the discussion noting that the Hutton proposal came in four-tenths of a percent above the next best value offer but with a price $1.1 million lower than its competitor.

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Pott County expresses desire to add ambulance station

The Pottawatomie County Commission has expressed interest in establishing a fifth ambulance station.

It would serve the southwest portion of the county, according to County Administrator Robert Reece, who appeared before the commission Monday morning.

According to a report in the Manhattan Mercury Tuesday, such talks are occurring amid Riley County recently stating that it planned to discontinue ambulance coverage in the area.

Reece said he and the EMS department would begin moving forward by putting together cost figures for the prospective station, concluding that more research is still needed in trying to generate run and call volumes for the past three years.

Pott County currently operates ambulance stations at Wamego, Westmoreland, St. Mary’s and Onaga.

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RCPD Daily Activity 4/03/18

Officers responded to the report of an injury accident in the 100 block of Bluemont Ave. in Manhattan on April 2, 2018 at approximately 2:45 PM. When officers arrived on scene they found a pedestrian, Dale Budden, 71, of Manhattan had been struck by a 2011 Chevy Silverado Pickup driven by Stanley Fegter, 79, of Manhattan. Budden was transported to Via Christi for treatment of his injuries.
Officers filed a report for theft by deception in the 500 block of N 3rd Pl. in Manhattan on April 2, 2018 at approximately 4:10 PM. Officers listed Kale Drewelow, 19, of Fort Riley, Kansas, as the victim when he reported a known suspect took his 2013 Dodge Charger and items from the vehicle. The total loss associated with this case is approximately $11,500.00 The vehicle was later recovered.
 Angella Kilbourn, 38, of Mullinville, Kansas, was arrested while at the Riley County Police Department on April 2, 2018 at approximately 6:50 PM. Kilbourn was arrested on a Riley County District Court warrant for probation violation. Kilbourn was issued no bond causing her to remain confined at the time of this report.
  Jason Leonard, 42, of Manhattan, was arrested while at the Riley County Police Department on April 2, 2018 at approximately 11:30 PM. Leonard was arrested on a Manhattan Municipal Court warrant for failure to appear. Leaonard was issued no bond, causing him to remain confined at the time of this report.

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RCPD Daily Activity 4/03/18

Officers responded to the report of an injury accident in the 100 block of Bluemont Ave. in Manhattan on April 2, 2018 at approximately 2:45 PM. When officers arrived on scene they found a pedestrian, Dale Budden, 71, of Manhattan had been struck by a 2011 Chevy Silverado Pickup driven by Stanley Fegter, 79, of Manhattan. Budden was transported to Via Christi for treatment of his injuries.
Officers filed a report for theft by deception in the 500 block of N 3rd Pl. in Manhattan on April 2, 2018 at approximately 4:10 PM. Officers listed Kale Drewelow, 19, of Fort Riley, Kansas, as the victim when he reported a known suspect took his 2013 Dodge Charger and items from the vehicle. The total loss associated with this case is approximately $11,500.00 The vehicle was later recovered.
 Angella Kilbourn, 38, of Mullinville, Kansas, was arrested while at the Riley County Police Department on April 2, 2018 at approximately 6:50 PM. Kilbourn was arrested on a Riley County District Court warrant for probation violation. Kilbourn was issued no bond causing her to remain confined at the time of this report.
  Jason Leonard, 42, of Manhattan, was arrested while at the Riley County Police Department on April 2, 2018 at approximately 11:30 PM. Leonard was arrested on a Manhattan Municipal Court warrant for failure to appear. Leaonard was issued no bond, causing him to remain confined at the time of this report.

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Aguirre sentenced to life in prison for murder of son, girlfriend

Aguirre

And Ogden man was sentenced to life in prison with a 25-year minimum for first-degree murder Monday.

The Manhattan Mercury reported Monday 30-year-old Luis Aguirre was sentenced inside the Riley County District Courthouse for the murder of his son and additional 61 months for the voluntary manslaughter of his ex-girlfriend.

The two died on Sept. 21, 2009.

Aguirre was found guilty of murder during a 2012 trial, but the Kansas Supreme Court reversed that verdict after ruling police violated his rights during interrogation.

In September 2016, Aguirre’s defense waived his right to a speedy trial.

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Colorado man pleads guilty to robbing Manhattan bank

Police block off the entrance of Sunflower Bank in Manhattan on Aug. 26, 2015. (File photo)

A Colorado man pleaded guilty Monday to robbing a bank in Manhattan, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister.

Kenneth Wayne Fisher, Jr., 42, formerly of Colorado Springs, Colo., pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery. Fisher admitted that on Aug. 26, 2015, he robbed Sunflower State Bank at 2710 Anderson Ave. in Manhattan. He gave a teller a note saying, “Give me the money and no tricks.”

A few months after the Manhattan robbery, Fisher was arrested in California. He was extradited to Arkansas to face charges of robbing a bank in Bentonville, Ark., on Aug. 28, 2015. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to more than eight years for the Arkansas robbery.

Sentencing in this case is set for July 9. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison. McAllister commended the Riley County Police Department, the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Maag for their work on the case.

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K-State Polytechnic to offer tuition help to aspiring pilots

SALINA — Kansas State University has partnered with an airline to help students who want to be pilots with tuition and job placement.

The Wichita Eagle reports that the university’s Polytechnic Campus in Salina has partnered with Piedmont Airlines and its cadet program.

Piedmont’s cadet program will provide the benefits to select students enrolled at the school’s professional pilot program and who have their Certified Flight Instructor rating.

Accepted students will be eligible to receive tuition reimbursement once they have completed 500 hours of flight time.

Ben Jaffee is the senior assistant chief flight instructor at the university. He says students are eligible for graduation as well as their Airline Transport Pilot rating after completing 1,000 hours of flight time.

Piedmont officials plan to meet with prospective students on April 17.

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