By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT
Hays is a real-life "Pleasantville" for one local transplant.
The film takes place in an idyllic town during the 1950s. The setting shares many qualities with Hays, said Jessica Krogstad, communications and projects coordinator with the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce.
"If anyone has seen that movie, that's what it feels like. It's this feel-good place to live," Krogstad said. "It's a small town, but it's not so small where you can't live, play and do things."
Krogstad has served in two public roles in the community. Many people might consider her a new face, but she has lived in Hays since February 2011.
The Pelican Rapids, Minn., native moved from Fargo, N.D., because her husband, Kevin, took a pharmacy position with Hays Medical Center. Krogstad was unable to work for two years because she was rehabilitating injuries from a car wreck.
After she was cleared to work, Krogstad became the public relations coordinator for Hays Public Library in May. It was there she learned firsthand what Hays has to offer.
"It's not just your typical, you know, go to the library and check out an item," she said.
"They're really proactive in the community in providing not only resources but programming for people of all ages."
Krogstad joined the chamber in October. Advocating for local businesses is among her responsibilities.
"What I'm doing is trying to promote a healthy communication between different businesses who are chamber members," she said. "It's really making sure that we have a consistent voice and that we're sharing the wonderful things those businesses are doing with the rest of the community."
Promoting the chamber's events and helping organize the monthly newsletter are her other duties.
Krogstad is grateful for locals' support for businesses and their neighbors.
"I think that if Hays didn't support each other in that manner, it wouldn't be such a great place to live," she said.
The area's safety makes her feel at ease. The family-friendly environment is a key aspect of the city's quality of life.
"The favorite thing, for me in Hays, is in the summer time and fall watching kids play in the cul-de-sacs or in the street," she said.
Settling in Hays has been easy with such a welcoming community, she said. Krogstad teaches Pilates in her spare time at the Center for Health Improvement.
Coming from flood-prone Fargo, it has been an adjustment living in an area suffering from drought. A community member told her appreciating rain is a mark of a Kansas native.
"He said, 'You'll know when you have made it when after a rain you go out and take a drive and look at all the rain,' " she joked.