Hidden History: Early trekkers cross Kansas, pulling cart, pushing for better U.S. roads

Smith and Miller were photographed with their cart, the “Fordlet”, and featured in the Hoisington Distpatch, Nov. 25, 1915. By Wendi Bevitt With the invention of the automobile, America More »

Osage County’s top spellers compete at Lyndon

Schools from across the county sent their best spellers to Lyndon to compete in the countywide spelling bee Feb. 2, 2018. Competitors, from left, were Riley Patterson, Madison Cormode, More »

Soil Conservation Award: Sturdy Farms honored as stewards of the land

Honored for preserving soil on their Osage County family farm are the Sturdys, from left, Candi, Clint, Sandy, Darrell, Lori and Rod. By Rod Schaub Frontier Extension District On More »

Hidden History: Family builds fence wire empire from Melvern headquarters

By Wendi Bevitt If only for a moment in time, Melvern was famous, made that way by the ingenuity of the Warner family and the farm equipment empire they More »

Burn ban Sunday: Outside burning prohibited in Osage County

All burn permits in Osage County are suspended for today, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, due to very high fire danger. This is a no burn day with no outside burning allowed in Osage County. The permit suspension will be in effect until 8 a.m. Feb. 19, 2018, but is expected to be extended due to the forecast of high fire danger on Monday.

According to Osage County Emergency management, the rangeland fire danger index will be in the very high category today due to high winds. Very high fire danger means fire control will be very difficult and require extended effort. Outdoor burning is not recommended.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for 9 a.m.-6 p.m. today. Sustained winds of 30 to 35 mph are expected with gusts up to 45 to 50 mph.

For more information about the burn ban, contact Bryce Romine, Osage County emergency management director, at 785-828-3323.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Romance of producing calves

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“That heifer’s going to do it when she gets doggone good and ready.”

All’s havoc around the barnyard – stewing, checking, helping, pouting about the 40 first calf heifers ready to drop.

Actually another two beat the clock, had healthy babies in the winter pasture before being brought to headquarters.

Now, it’s mostly watch and wait. “That ‘659’ looks like she needs to be gotten in.”

After a few days, the girls learn the routine, walk down the barn lane without resistance. Then, it’s not too tough to sort off the one wanted.

But sure enough middle of the night call, “692” decided it was time. Out in the lot, 10 above, wind blowing snow, she dropped one, fortunately it’s alive. Tiny, wet, shivering baby with a first-time momma who has no clue what’s happened.

Cowman’s job is helping cattle in distress. But, in the cold shrill, getting heifer and newborn under cover becomes more complicated. Big stout cow foreman carries the calf, but momma isn’t smart enough to follow.

So baby in the barn, come back, rouse heifer every way thinkable to get her there, too.

Help Wanted: Frontier Extension seeks 4-H Program Assistant

The Frontier Extension District is accepting applications for a full-time 4-H Program Assistant in the Garnett office. Significant experience in a youth development organization is required. Applicants must also have the ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing, have access to a personal vehicle and maintain a valid, Kansas Driver’s License. Some overnight travel and evening and weekend work may be required. For information on how to apply and a position description, go to http://www.frontierdistrict.ksu.edu or call 785-828-4438. Applications must be received by Feb. 28, 2018. Position start date is April 1, 2018.

Burn ban Friday: Outside burning prohibited in Osage County

All burn permits in Osage County are suspended for today, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, due to high fire danger. This is a no burn day with no outside burning allowed in Osage County. The permit suspension will be in effect until 8 a.m. Feb. 17, 2018, but is expected to be extended due to the forecast of high fire danger through Saturday and Sunday.

According to Osage County Emergency management, the rangeland fire danger index will be in the high category today due to gusty winds. High fire danger means fire control will be very difficult and require extended effort. Outdoor burning is not recommended.

For more information about the burn ban, contact Bryce Romine, Osage County emergency management director, at 785-828-3323.

Stocker cattle health night set at Osage City

Frontier Extension District will host a meeting on “Stocker Cattle Health,” 6-8:30 p.m., Feb. 20, 2018, at the Osage City Community Building, 517 S. First St., Osage City.

A free brisket sandwich meal will be provided to those in attendance that have called in to RSVP. Contact the Frontier Extension office at 785-828-4438 to reserve a meal.

Topics to be covered include: “Economics of Parasite Control in Stocker Calves,” “Using Modified Live or Killed Vaccines, What to Do?” “Vaccine Handling, it May be More Important than You Thought,” and “ Wormers for Stocker Cattle.”

Two decades of Kansas consumer protection judgments now available online

TOPEKA – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced that his office has for the first time published online more than 20 years of judgments from the office’s Consumer Protection Division.

State law requires that the office maintain a public file of final judgments obtained by the attorney general’s office and rendered by a court under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. Until now, that file was available only by making a request to the attorney general’s office under the Kansas Open Records Act. The office now has published all judgments back to 1995 on the attorney general’s website in a searchable form. Partial records are available back to 1986. The office continues to work on adding older cases to the site.

“We are pleased to make these records of public interest available in an easy-to-search format,” Schmidt said. “Kansas consumers can now find out by searching this site whether a company or individual has faced a court judgment from an enforcement action brought by the attorney general’s office for violating, or being accused of violating, the Kansas Consumer Protection Act during the past two decades.”

Burn ban Thursday: Outside burning prohibited in Osage County

All burn permits in Osage County are suspended for today, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, due to very high fire danger. This is a no burn day with no outside burning allowed in Osage County. The permit suspension will be in effect until 8 a.m. Feb. 16, 2018, but could be extended.

According to Osage County Emergency management, the rangeland fire danger index will be in the very high category this afternoon. Very high fire danger means fire control will be very difficult and require extended effort. Outdoor burning is not recommended.

National Weather Service at Topeka forecasts it will be mostly cloudy today, with a high near 71. Southwest wind at 10 to 15 mph will be northwest in the afternoon, with winds gusting as high as 20 mph.

For more information about the burn ban, contact Bryce Romine, Osage County emergency management director, at 785-828-3323.

Osage County Jail Log, Feb. 5 – Feb. 10, 2018

The following individuals were booked into the Osage County Jail in connection with charges or warrants as listed by the arresting agency.

Emergency management cautions about burning during current dry spell

With dry conditions and little chance of measureable moisture in the near future, Osage County Emergency Management is reminding everyone to use extreme caution when conducting any type of outside burning.

“Please ensure that you have sufficient manpower, water, and equipment to control the fire, this is your responsibility,” said Bryce Romine, Osage County Emergency Management director. “You must monitor your fire until it is completely extinguished. We have had numerous out-of-control grass fires, burning without a permit, and burning on “no burn days.”

Anyone burning in Osage County is required to have a burn permit in all unincorporated areas. Unincorporated areas are those outside of city limits. Residents living inside city limits should check their city regulations regarding burning.

Burn permits can be obtained at the following locations:

  • City offices at Carbondale, Scranton, Osage City, Overbrook, Melvern, Burlingame and Quenemo.
  • Osage County Fire Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
  • Osage County Clerk’s Office, land development office, sheriff’s office, KSU Extension office at Lyndon, Osage County Emergency Management, and USDA Service Center in Lyndon.

Filings in the Osage County Courthouse, Jan. 29 – Feb. 2, 2018

The following information was compiled from records at the Osage County Courthouse, Jan. 29, 2018 through Feb. 2, 2018.

Hidden History: Early trekkers cross Kansas, pulling cart, pushing for better U.S. roads

Smith and Miller were photographed with their cart, the “Fordlet”, and featured in the Hoisington Distpatch, Nov. 25, 1915.

By Wendi Bevitt

With the invention of the automobile, America needed roads, good roads – which created a push for the creation of highways, namely a highway that would cross the entire country east to west. To draw attention to this need, and following a movement created by the government to See America First, people started taking up the challenge of traveling the completed and proposed parts of this highway. Two men that took up this challenge were Edward J. Smith, age 20, and Carl A. Miller, age 19, both of New York state.

The pair left New York City in July of 1915 and headed for California with $5 in their pockets, 250 pounds of gear, and a mandolin in their cart, which they called a “Fordlet”. America was to be their school, nature their books, and the people they met along the way their teachers. Their goal was to make the trip from NYC to California in seven months. By comparison, a motorist would expect to make the journey in 30 days, which would be at a rate of 18 miles per hour and six hours per day, costing $5 per day per person.

Smith and Miller as pictured in the Palladium Item, Richmond, Ind., Sept. 13, 1915.

Ed and Carl made up for their lack of funds for the trip by lecturing about their travels and selling photographs of themselves along the route, all while promoting their hope for a book on their travels. They kept an extensive scrapbook, tucking away the letters of recommendation from various government officials or people they encountered, as well as mementos of sights along the way. They stayed at local YMCAs, gracious individuals’ houses, or just slept under the stars.

In Ohio, they befriended a dog that joined the caravan and whom they named Frisco. It was also in this area of the country that the roads became less travel worthy. Ruts and mud were a foot deep. Ed Miller commented that “you could not take a step without lifting an abnormal portion of the county with you.”

Once the pair finally reached Kansas City, they shifted their travel from the proposed route of the Lincoln Highway to that of following the Santa Fe Trail. The old Santa Fe Trail closely follows modern day Highway 56 in Osage County. Some of the points that would have been seen at that time and can still be viewed today are Simmons Point Station in extreme western Douglas County, and McGee-Harris Station near Scranton.

Ed and Carl arrived in northeast Kansas right after Arthur Capper had declared Good Road Days for Kansas, so he was glad to meet with them when they made a detour from their Santa Fe Trail route to visit the capital city.

Pedestrian dies after being struck by car on icy I-35 in Osage County Saturday evening

One pedestrian was killed and another injured after being struck by a car on Interstate 35 Saturday evening, as icy roads caused many accidents in the area during a short time period.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, Robert Groh, 49, of Raymore, Mo., died after being hit by a 2001 Saturn driven by Taylor Walker, 24, Kalamazoo, Mich. KHP reported that about 5:45 p.m. Feb. 10, 2018, Walker was south bound on I-35 near mile 164.8 or 2.2 miles east of South Paulen Road, when the vehicle left the road due to ice and struck the two pedestrians and a 2005 Ford 2005 E150 parked in the median.

The Osage County Sheriff’s Office reported the two pedestrians were struck while assisting with a rollover accident that had occurred around 5:40 p.m. at that location.

Walker and his passenger, Jeffrey Butler, 47, of San Diego, Calif., were uninjured in the accident, but the other pedestrian, Adam Balentine, 35 Judsonia, Ark., was taken to Coffey County Hospital with possible injuries. Groh was transported to Ransom Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Osage County Sheriff’s Office reported responding to four accidents in the area on Saturday evening.

A Cowboy’s Faith: A well deserved retirement

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Missy is a good ole gal.”

Perhaps that’s insufficient credit for all the 27-year-old Appaloosa mare has done in a fulfilled lifetime.

Still, it’s appropriate description of the old girl now in well-deserved retirement. Like many folks, Missy really doesn’t know what to do with herself when there’s not a regular job.

Her profession was running patterned horse races along with grudgingly obliging other expectations of owner.

Now Missy’s a small horse, somewhat athletically built. She’s neat-headed, such others have even called her “cute.”

At 24, Missy truly was the best claiming highpoint speed horse awards in two major circuits. That was with a sometime gimp that x-rays and the best veterinarians demanded Missy be retired. No way, she’d have died from a broken heart.

Another year older, Missy’s lameness worsened not bearing weight on her right front leg much of the time. Yet, hook the trailer, start the pickup, Missy’s ears up, nickering, anxious to load.

At the shows, competition beware, Missy was there. That darn wince might be noticed occasionally at a walk. Yet, when name was called high-stepping-prance with a little rear the excited urge to run became most apparent to all.

Missy’s expulsion to the first barrel set any rider back in the saddle, hanging on for dear life. Only thing slowing the speedster down would be pilot error, sadly occurring too often. Crossing the finish line, time was always near the top, often fastest of any runners that day.

Then is when Missy gave in to the pain.

Lorn V. McNabb, 88, Topeka: June 24, 1929 – Feb. 6, 2018

TOPEKA, Kan. – Lorn V. McNabb, 88, passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, at Stormont-Vail Hospital, Topeka, Kan. He was born on June 24, 1929, in Melvern, Kan., the son of Lester and Clara Patterson McNabb.

Lorn grew up in Melvern, Kan., and graduated from Melvern High School in 1947. He had lived in Topeka for many years. Lorn served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. He worked for Goodyear Tire and Rubber, in Topeka, for 35 years. He was a member of Local No. 307, and a 65-year member of the Melvern Masonic Lodge No. 22.

With winter set in, warmth available at the senior center

Well, the long dreary winter days are upon us. Sometimes it just feels like winter will never end. Even though we have been lucky with few icy or snowy days it can still be gray and lonely. All of us at the Osage County Senior Center would like you to know that we are open every day between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., and we almost always have a pot of coffee brewing.

If you are retired or just find yourself at home with nothing to do please come on in and get to know us! Maybe you have a few friends who are in the same predicament – think about grabbing them and bringing them in, too. We have nice tables and chairs that are always ready for a card game or dominoes – or just a nice spot to gather around and have a lively gab session.

Tax season is quickly coming upon us. AARP representatives will be at the senior center 8 a.m.-3 p.m. March 1, 2018. AARP service has been very popular service in the past, so take advantage of it this year. There are limited spaces available; call the center to set up an appointment at 785-528-4906.

Kansas Supreme Court denies Kahler’s appeal of death sentence

James Kraig Kahler. File photo.

The Kansas Supreme Court issued an opinion today that James Kraig Kahler’s arguments in his appeal of his death sentence did not warrant overturning his convictions or death sentence.

According to a Supreme Court press release, the majority of the court affirmed Kahler’s Osage County District Court jury trial convictions of aggravated burglary and capital murder for fatally shooting his wife, Karen Kahler, his wife’s grandmother, Dorothy Wight, and his two teenage daughters, Emily and Lauren. The crimes occurred  Nov. 28, 2009, at Wight’s home at Burlingame, Kan.

Kahler was sentenced to death by District Court Judge Phillip Fromme in October 2011.

“The decision today affirms the conviction and death sentence based on an Osage County jury’s findings and moves this case forward one more step,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

Kraig Kahler had raised 10 issues on appeal, including allegations of misconduct by the prosecutor and trial judge, challenges to the instructions given to the jury, and an argument the death penalty is unconstitutional when applied to a person who has a severe mental illness at the time he or she committed a crime. None of Kahler’s arguments convinced the majority of the court to overturn his convictions or death sentence.

The majority held that the prosecutor did not commit an error by raising an objection during Kahler’s attorney’s closing argument. Although the majority found that the trial judge committed errors during the trial, the majority held that none of the errors affected the trial’s outcome and, therefore, the errors did not justify reversing either the guilty verdict or the death sentence. The majority also reaffirmed the constitutionality of a Kansas statute that eliminated the insanity defense, and instead permits a jury to consider evidence of a person’s mental disease or defect solely to determine whether the person possessed the requisite mental state for the crime. The majority also reaffirmed its prior decision that the Eighth Amendment does not categorically prohibit the execution of persons who were severely mentally ill when the person committed the murder. Lastly, the majority concluded there was sufficient evidence that Kahler’s crime was committed in an especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel manner to justify a death sentence.

Justice Dan Biles wrote a concurring opinion, agreeing that Kahler’s conviction and sentence should be affirmed, but disagreeing with the majority that certain comments by the trial judge to the jury should be characterized as judicial misconduct.

Justice Lee Johnson wrote a dissenting opinion, contending that the majority inadequately analyzed whether the statute removing mental disease or defect as a defense is constitutional in a death penalty case. Furthermore, the dissent agreed that the trial judge’s errors did not require reversal of Kahler’s guilty verdict, but they did warrant giving Kahler a new sentencing trial. The dissent rejected the majority’s conclusion that the Eighth Amendment allows for the execution of the mentally ill. The dissent also argued the death penalty violates the Kansas Constitution’s prohibition against cruel or unusual punishment.

Osage County Jail Log, Jan. 30, 2018 – Feb. 3, 2018

The following individuals were booked into the Osage County Jail in connection with charges or warrants as listed by the arresting agency.

Harley Merle Ard, 88, Topeka: Feb. 22, 1929 – Feb. 4, 2018

TOPEKA, Kan. – Harley Merle Ard, 88, of Topeka, Kan., passed away Feb. 4, 2018, at his home. He was born in Osage City, Kan., on Feb. 22, 1929, to Elmer and Marie Ard.

He grew up in Osage City and married Iva Jean Griffin, on Dec. 8, 1948. They have lived in the Osage County area most of their lives.

He worked at the Lyndon, Kan., broom factory for many years. He was employed at Ohse Meat Products when he moved to Topeka in 1967.

Filings in the Osage County Courthouse, Jan. 22 – Jan. 26, 2018

The following information was compiled from records at the Osage County Courthouse Jan. 22 through Jan. 26, 2018.

Finch: Legislature gets down to business

By State Rep. Blaine Finch, District 59, Franklin and Osage Counties

Greetings from the Kansas Statehouse. We are making the turn into February this week in the legislature and that means we are approaching the first set of deadlines that help keep our sessions shorter. Those deadlines for when individual legislators and committees may request bills ensure that we get ideas out on the table early. Monday, Feb. 5, will be the last day for committee bill introductions and earlier this week we saw the last day for individual members to introduce bills.

Once these initial deadlines have passed we should have a fairly good idea of the issues – other than school finance – that will be in play this session. Some committees have already started vetting those ideas and some fairly big topics are already beginning to bubble up. In the Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee we have already heard and passed out a bill that would stiffen penalties for those who have a prior DUI, drive drunk again in violation of their restrictions, and cause a death or great bodily injury. In the Judiciary Committee we have heard bills to improve reporting and data collection on civil asset forfeiture and improving the process so innocent owners can get their property back. In Utilities we will begin hearing and working legislation on rural broadband. Specifically, a bill to study how to make broadband internet more available to those Kansans who live and work outside the metropolitan areas in our state.

The biggest news in the statehouse this week was the changing of the guard in the governor’s office. Sam Brownback resigned to take a position in the Trump administration, and Jeff Colyer, a plastic surgeon and former state legislator from south Johnson County, moved from Lieutenant Governor to the top post. Now Gov. Colyer has promised a new tone and a more inclusive working style than his predecessor. I am hopeful that he will fulfill those promises. Our state faces some tough challenges and it will take a team effort to meet and conquer them.

Harold W. Meneley, 94, Quenemo: Aug. 5, 1923 – Feb. 2, 2018

QUENEMO, Kan. – Harold W. Meneley, 94, passed away on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, at Ottawa Retirement Village, Ottawa, Kan. He was born on Aug. 5, 1923, in Maxon, Kan., the son of J.C. and Eva Kimes Meneley.

Harold had lived most of his life in and around the Melvern and Quenemo, Kan., communities. Harold graduated from Melvern High School. He worked for Goodyear Tire and Rubber, in Topeka, Kan., until his retirement in 1983. He also farmed the family farm near Melvern, where he spent countless hours and loved so much. He was a member of the Quenemo Baptist Church.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas