Wildlife officers pull stolen vehicle from Osage State Fishing Lake, discover zebra mussels

When state wildlife officials pulled a decades-old stolen vehicle out of Osage County State Fishing Lake last Thursday, they also made a grim discovery: Zebra mussels. “We got it out of the More »


Washburn Rural eighth-graders dig up dirt on famous Carbondale dinosaur hunter

Teacher Cynthia Wilson and eighth-grader Madison Blanchette explain an exhibit to visitors to the science room museum. The minute you walk into Cynthia Wilson’s eighth-grade science room at Washburn Rural Middle School, More »


Farmwife’s heartfelt era climaxing with sale of Burlingame bridal shop

After 46 years, Audra Wilson is closing her Audra’s Country Bridal, now in Burlingame, after being in three Topeka locations. This farmer’s wife has fashioned, stitched and sold wedding gowns around the More »


Carbondale citizens begin to ‘raise the roof’ for new city library

Steering committee members of the “Let’s Raise the Roof” capital campaign for a new city library in Carbondale have launched an initiative to raise a total of $250,000 in private funds to match More »

A Cowboy’s Faith: Those weeds are delicacies

buchmanhead“They are the best dandelion growers in the country.”

None too few have made that evaluation driving past the ranch.

“Wow, they sure know how to grow the biggest, lushest, thickest dock in the world.”

That’s been said by those missing the yard, looking into fields just beyond.

Both remarks have some truth to them. As appreciated rains have come, weeds have far outgrown the grass.

Intent is always to get ahead of the problem by spraying herbicides. At least once in 46 years, the yard was sprayed early, and that did the trick for a while until seed blew in from somewhere.

Nothing’s been done this year, and the pretty yellow flowers quickly seed, spread and overtake grass.

Broadleaved dock weeds in the field can also be slowed down with chemical. That’s verified by application last week almost instantly putting wilt to the two-foot tall menaces. Just wish it’d been earlier, when planned.

While applying poison to living form isn’t appealing, that’s about the only control. Mowing both early green intruders does no good.

Seemingly impossible to dig all of the acres of dock, yet do admire the lawn dandelion pullers. However, they’re wasting their time, as experts claim plants grow right back unless the three-feet-deep taproot is completely removed.

Come to find out these fast growing green spring menaces have admirable traits. Both are recommended as eating delicacy, although that’s strictly hearsay.

Wildlife officers pull stolen vehicle from Osage State Fishing Lake, discover zebra mussels


When state wildlife officials pulled a decades-old stolen vehicle out of Osage County State Fishing Lake last Thursday, they also made a grim discovery: Zebra mussels.

“We got it out of the water, pulled it onto the shore, and saw obvious zebra mussels on it,” said Captain Dan Melson, of Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism law enforcement division, Friday. “It didn’t take long to confirm them.”

With the four mussels found on a late ‘80s Honda Civic that had been reported stolen more than 25 years ago, the discovery confirmed the infestation of the third major lake in Osage County with the invasive nuisance species.

According to Melson, Osage County game warden Lynn Koch discovered the vehicle submerged with its roof about five feet under the water surface last Sunday, April 23, while running sonar in the locally popular fishing lake.

“We have sonar in most of the boats,” Melson said. “We’ve asked game wardens to check locations where cars could be dumped in lakes.”

Melson said Koch located the vehicle on the east side of the lake, off the end of a fishing pier in an area that had been closed off to vehicle traffic about three years ago. He said the vehicle was reported stolen in the early 1990s from Topeka, and it had an expiration date of 1991 on its license tag decal. The windows were all intact and vehicle had little damage except for some items removed, the captain said.

Besides collecting a few zebra mussels and serving as fish habitat, the vehicle had apparently also been a nuisance to many fishermen over the years.

“It had plenty of hooks and sinkers on it,” Melson said.

Discovery of the vehicle left investigators with a cold 25-year-old car theft case with low priority for solving, but Melson said similar efforts in the past have solved missing persons cases.

“We had repeated this same sonar work six summers ago and discovered six vehicles – two had missing persons in them,” he said.

Friday, KDWPT released confirmation of the presence of zebra mussels in Osage State Fishing Lake. KDWPT reported the officers who discovered adult zebra mussels attached to the vehicle reported the find to KDWPT fisheries staff, who verified the discovery.

OCPR Update: Tykes tee off for tee-ball; signup for lifeguard, WSI, swim lessons, football, yoga

OCPR-logo-redIn less than a month, Osage City Aquatic Center will be open for recreation and water safety training, and Osage City Parks and Recreation is gearing up for a summer full of fun. On OCPR’s upcoming schedule are tee-ball, youth football, lifeguard and water safety training, swim lessons, and yoga.

Margaret L. Morehead, 95, Osage City: Aug. 2, 1921 – April 25, 2017

OSAGE CITY, Kan. – Margaret L. Morehead, 95, a lifelong resident of Osage County, passed away Tuesday, April 25, 2017, at Vintage Park at Osage City, Osage City, Kan. Margaret Lucille Regenold was born Aug. 2, 1921, in Osage County, the daughter of William M. and Eva (Harrison) Regenold.

She graduated from Osage City High School in 1939, and attended business school in Topeka. She lived in Topeka and worked in the office at Morrell’s Meat Packing Plant until marrying Winston and moving back to the Osage area in December of 1945.

She was joined in marriage to Winston W. Morehead on Feb. 24, 1945, at her parents’ home on the Regenold family farm. He preceded her in death on Dec. 13, 1999.

Mah: Kansas can lead the world in public education

By Kansas State Board of Education Member Ann Mah

Kansas leads the world in the success of each student. That is more than a slogan. It is the vision of your State Board of Education for every Kansas child. Sound impossible? We don’t think so. It is our “moon shot” goal for Kansas. And, we have a plan to get there.

It starts with early childhood education. Too many Kansas children are unprepared to enter kindergarten. By increasing access to pre-K classes for at-risk students and all-day kindergarten for every child, the chances for success increase dramatically.

It continues with a game plan for every student. Sounds like a no-brainer, but too many students finish high school with no clue as to what comes next. Career Cruising is a tool the state board supports to help students, parents, and teachers focus on the best career options.

And after high school? We know that 71 percent of Kansas workers need some postsecondary training to meet our workforce needs, but less than 40 percent currently get that training. We can move that needle and attract good jobs to our state.

Now is not the time to pull back on public education. Without adequate funding, none of this happens for our children. Now is the time to tell your legislators that public schools matter and must be funded – not because it is easy, but because it is the right thing to do. Our children will compete with children around the world, and it is our job to help them be ready for success in life. We can do this!

John Douglas Fletcher, 87, Osage City: June 9, 1929 – April 25, 2017

OSAGE CITY, Kan. – John Douglas Fletcher, 87, of Osage City, Kan., passed away Tuesday, April 25, 2017, at his home. He was born June 9, 1929, in Kirksville, Mo., the son of John Dee and Rose Frances (White) Fletcher.

He graduated from high school in Independence, Kan., in 1948.

John was joined in marriage to Alice Marie Meyer on Jan. 12, 1958, in Independence.

He had worked for US Steel, U.S. Department of Interior, and U.S. Postal Service until his retirement in 1985. He had many hobbies and skills to do anything he put his mind to, especially gardening and woodworking.

USD 421 school board selects Coblentz as superintendent

LYNDON, Kan. –  USD 421 Board of Education has announced through its hired consulting firm that a contract for superintendent has been offered to Charles Coblentz, Leavenworth, Kan.

Coblentz currently is the superintendent in Easton, Kan., where he has worked in that position since 2006.

There were 27 applicants for the position, with the school board interviewing seven finalists before making a selection. Coblentz will assume the duties of superintendent beginning July 1, 2017.

Interviews for the last four finalists were conducted in a series of special board meetings last week.

The board hired McPherson & Jacobson LLC as consultants in the search process, and the firm will continue working with the board and new superintendent in helping to establish performance objectives for the position.

Connect with your community at ECKAN’s action awareness celebration

ECKAN will host a Community Connections Celebration for Community Action Awareness Month 1-3 p.m. Friday, May 5, 2017, at Osage City’s community building.

The event offers Osage County residents an opportunity to get information on services and goods available in the area. The celebration also allows agencies and service providers to connect with each other, and encourages public discussion on what is happening in our state and communities that affect those who live here. The event is free for all.

The Osage City Community Building is at 517 S. First St., Osage City.

As of this week, the following have indicated they will have representatives at the celebration: Catholic Charities, Crosswinds, Osage County Sheriff’s Office, Flint Hills Community Health Center, Help House, Resource Center for Independent Living, KanCare ombudsman, East Central Kansas Aging and Disability Resource Center, and Osage County News.

For more information, contact the ECKAN (East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation) Osage County Community Center at 785-528-5184 or 530 Holliday St. Osage City.

ORBIS Corporation leads the way in manufacturing excellence

Local packaging company makes investments in equipment, training


A large piece of new equipment was delivered to ORBIS Corporation’s Osage City plant in April.

OCONOMOWOC, Wis. – ORBIS Corporation, operating a local manufacturing plant in Osage City, is the North American leader in plastic reusable packaging. The plant serves food, beverage, retail and automotive industries with reusable totes, custom dunnage, pallets and bulk containers. ORBIS is family owned and has 11 manufacturing plants across North America.

At this injection-molding plant, ORBIS employs 70 people from the local Osage City area and recently invested in new presses, technology and automation to gain processing efficiency, add manufacturing flexibility, and better serve its customers. At this facility, hand-held totes, trays and bins are manufactured for use in the food, beverage and retail industries.

According to Todd Mathes, vice president of manufacturing for ORBIS, “What does this mean for our employees and community? ORBIS has the best people in the industry. Our employees want to grow, learn new skills and have an impact on this business.”

As the leader in the manufacture of plastic reusable packaging, ORBIS offers a variety of technical jobs at the Osage City plant in the areas of tooling, press operations, process technicians and quality assurance.

“We also recently upgraded our training program to include extensive, ongoing technical and operational education. I am confident that these programs will provide our employees with tremendous growth opportunities,” said Doug Miller, regional manufacturing director for ORBIS.

As part of Menasha Corporation, ORBIS offers very competitive compensation and benefits to attract local people from the community. These employees have the opportunity to bring innovation and new ideas to plant processes and technologies.

Filings in Osage County Courthouse April 17 – April 21, 2017

The following information was compiled from records at the Osage County Courthouse April 17 through April 21, 2017.

Help Wanted: Frontier Extension District seeks Extension Agent, Horticulture

KSUR&EExtension Agent, Horticulture opportunity in the Frontier District, office in Garnett Kansas. See www.ksre.ksu.edu/jobs for responsibilities, qualifications, and application procedure. Application deadline: 4/28/17. K-State Research and Extension is an EOE of individuals with disabilities and protected veterans. Background check required.

All ages invited to 12th annual Osage County Senior Resource Fair, May 10

042117-OsageCountySeniorR2Home Town Health Care invites everyone to the 2017 Osage County Senior Resource Fair, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, at the Osage County Senior Center, 604 Market St., Osage City, Kan.

For the 12th year, the one-day expo will promote positive attitudes about aging and encourage individuals to be active physically, mentally and financially. The resource fair is free for attendees and will feature face-to-face visits with vendors and providers of all types of services and products important for seniors.

At 10:30 a.m. the East Central Kansas Area Agency on Aging will present a break out session on senior issues. At noon during lunch, Osage County Sheriff Laurie Dunn will talk about ways to avoid being a victim of scams that target seniors.

In addition, there will be free and scheduled services and activities, including blood pressure and oxygen checks, VA information and assistance, SMP/Schick representatives, express toenail clinic, sheriff’s office unwanted or unused prescription drug collection, balance check, blood sugar check, and five-minute chair massage.

The event will finish with a drawing for door prizes donated by the vendors and providers.

Home Town Health Care is presenting the event in conjunction with the Osage County Senior Center. For more information, contact the senior center at 785-528-4906, or Jon Reed, of Home Town Health Care, at 620-342-2600.

April flowers help build new Carbondale library

By Sue Anderson

Susan Raby’s decorative baskets for entryways and patios will be featured at the Carbondale City Library plant sale. The sale is to raise money for a new library.

Susan Raby’s decorative flower baskets will be featured at the Carbondale City Library plant sale. The sale is to raise money for a new library.

You don’t need a green thumb to check out the annual Carbondale City Library flower sale this weekend at the city hall building, 234 Main St., Carbondale. Popular items at the sale are hanging baskets and various planters with flowers already in bloom and ready to take home. The sale is open noon-6 p.m. Friday, April 28, and 8 a.m. until all plants are sold Saturday, April 29.

Individual varieties of flowers are also for sale in addition to decorative grasses, tomato and pepper plants. All flowers and plants are Kansas grown and well suited for local climate conditions. Customers from many areas attend the flower sale knowing the quality of the plants, the reasonable prices and the fact that all proceeds are for a worthy purpose.

“The sale has always been to raise money to build a new library, always,” said Carbondale City Library Director Alice Smith.

Washburn Rural eighth-graders dig up dirt on famous Carbondale dinosaur hunter


Teacher Cynthia Wilson and eighth-grader Madison Blanchette explain an exhibit to visitors to the science room museum.

The minute you walk into Cynthia Wilson’s eighth-grade science room at Washburn Rural Middle School, you become mesmerized by the information presented in the classroom-turned-museum. Student-made exhibits allow visitors to follow the geological timeline, and explore Kansas as it was millions of years ago.

Billed as the Greatest Show on Earth, the students created the museum representing life and rock as time has progressed. Each turn at the 2017 geology museum will find interactive artwork, correspondence with experts in their fields, or interesting facts about Kansas and its past inhabitants. Tying Kansas geology to the world, Wilson provided students a bit of information about a man that grew up close by and made significant advancements in our knowledge of dinosaurs, Barnum Brown.

“The students took it from there and wanted to share their discoveries,” Ms. Wilson said.

Brown turned out to be one focus of the multi-year project, resulting in a student led request to the Kansas Department of Transportation to honor Brown with special roadside signs along U.S. 75 at Carbondale.


An artist’s diagram shows a proposed highway sign to be placed near Carbondale on U.S. 75.

Barnum Brown was born on Feb. 12, 1873, in Carbondale, Osage County, Kan., growing up on the family farm nearby. As a young man, Barnum preferred to spend his time studying the land around him. His formal education in geology at the University of Kansas led to a career collecting bones and fossils for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Barnum soon was referred to as “Mr. Bones” and brought many important finds to the museum.

Hajney to take oath as new Kansas attorney

TOPEKA, Kan. – Lonnie Jerome Hajney, of Carbondale, was one of the successful applicants in the February 2017 Kansas bar examination. Hajney and other successful applicants will be sworn in as Kansas attorneys in one of two ceremonies at 9 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. Friday, April 28, 2017, in the Supreme Court courtroom at the Kansas Judicial Center, 301 SW 10th Ave., Topeka.

Chief Justice Lawton Nuss will preside over the Supreme Court, and Judge Daniel Crabtree will represent the U.S. District Court. Douglas T. Shima, clerk of the Kansas Supreme Court, will administer the state oath, and Megan I. Garrett, deputy clerk for the U.S. District Court, will administer the federal oath. Kevin F. Mitchelson and Donald N. Peterson II, chair and vice chair of the Kansas Board of Law Examiners, respectively, will present the new attorneys to the court.

Southbound U.S. 75 bridge deck repair, overlay project to continue near Carbondale

A deck repair and overlay project will resume Thursday, April 27, 2017, on the southbound U.S. Highway 75 bridge, located a half mile south of the Carbondale exit, in Osage County. The project began in July 2016, and included removal of two inches of the existing bridge deck surface, patching, concrete overlay, and pavement markings. The project was scheduled for completion in September 2016, but was not completed and was suspended for the winter.

On Thursday, the southbound left lane of U.S. 75 over the bridge will be closed for the repair work. The contractor is expected to complete traffic control work today and place a concrete barrier on Wednesday.

Traffic will be directed through the work zone via signage, cones and a barrier. There will be a 16-foot lane width restriction and a 60 mph posted speed limit through the work zone round the clock throughout the project duration.

Osage County Jail Log, April 16 – April 22, 2017

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

Hensley: Lots of work left to do in Veto Session

By Kansas Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley

The Kansas Legislature reconvenes for Veto Session next Monday, May 1, and all of the major issues remain: a budget, a revenue package, and a school funding formula.

Shortly before leaving for break, the Senate passed a budget on a vote of 25-15. It’s not a perfect budget, but it is a solid start.

It does not include funding for Medicaid expansion, K-12 education, the highway fund, or the water plan. However, it begins to restore cuts to higher education and ensures the stability of the Children’s Initiatives Fund by not securitizing the tobacco settlement funds. It also gives state employees a pay increase and provides a rate increase to home and community based services, which helps elderly and disabled Kansans receive quality care in their homes.

The House and Senate budget committees are scheduled to begin meeting Thursday and Friday of this week. It is my hope the House committee will pass the Senate budget out for full House consideration as early as next week.

The Senate budget is $400 million short for Fiscal Year 2018 and nearly $500 million short for Fiscal Year 2019 without a revenue package. With a revenue package like House Bill 2178, which passed earlier this session, the budget would end up with a surplus of more than $200 million for each fiscal year. This makes it critical for the Legislature to reconsider a plan like HB 2178.

In addition to providing funding for the Senate budget, the Legislature must pass a school funding formula that provides constitutional levels of funding to K-12 schools. The Senate has not proposed a formula, and if something gets proposed during veto session, there will not be time to fully vet it. This is not how a formula should be passed. Instead, consideration should be given to what the House passes. They have worked all session to develop a formula, holding countless hearings and receiving buy-in from some education stakeholders.

Ultimately, though, none of these issues can be resolved without support from 27 Senators and 84 House members, the amount needed to override a veto from Governor Brownback.

No burn day: High winds, dry conditions cause very high fire danger

RED-FLAGDue to very high fire danger today, Monday, April 24, 2017, all burn permits for Osage County are suspended. A “no burn” day means no outside burning is allowed in the unincorporated areas of Osage County as declared by Osage County Emergency Management. Very high fire danger means that fire control will be difficult and require extended effort.

The National Weather Service at Topeka has forecast that it will be mostly sunny with a high near 76 today, and windy, with a south wind 15 to 20 mph increasing to 25 to 30 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph.

This burn ban is in effect until 8 a.m. Tuesday, April 25, 2017, but could be extended depending on weather conditions.

For more information, contact Bryce Romine, Osage County Emergency Management director at 785-828-3323.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Hazardous smoke essential tool

buchmanhead“Where there’s fire, there’s smoke.”

“When there’s wind, the smoke spreads.”

Known always, yet reported problematic much more in recent years.

City concerns come to forefront when ranchers strike matches clearing surplus pre-year pasture growth.

Government has come into action creating rulings such conditions must be met before burns begin. Still, Mother Nature always has the upper hand.

Moisture, humidity, temperature, wind all “just right,” lawmaker’s permission granted, everything can immediately go awry.

Numerous factors create “change” in well-planned blazes. Foremost is immediate transition in wind speed and direction.

Hazards are instantly created from what appeared safe now becoming uncontrollable.

Destructive fires in the southwest last month and a year ago best portray the most serious dilemma. Extent of losses rightly overrode the smoke issue, then. Yet, quickly forgotten when thousands of acres Flint Hills were aflame last week.

Smell and fog were in the air all around. Sky-covered haze and distinctive, derogatory aromas drifted. Robust gusts changing and moving distributed those tell-tale incinerator accompaniments. That’s beyond rural communities, the state’s largest cities and into neighboring states.

Smoke alarms sounded, so to speak, as good-doers miles away from ranchland shouted. “There’s smoke in the air. It’s hazardous to our people’s health.”

Corps to begin charging camping fee at Sun Dance Campground in May

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin charging a camping fee of $10 per night at Sun Dance Campground at Melvern Lake at the beginning of the 2017 recreation season. The campground had been the only free campground at Melvern Lake.

The fee will apply May 1 through Sept. 30, and is payable at the self-pay station at the entrance of the campground. Camping fees can be paid by check or cash. Campers are allowed to camp at the same location up to 14 consecutive days, after which campers must vacate the campground for a minimum of 24 hours prior to returning. The Corps reminded visitors that while the fee does not pertain to the winter months of Oct. 1-April 30, the camping time limit remains the same.

To avoid overcrowding sites, a maximum of two camping units is allowed per campsite (two tents, or one tent and one RV), and a maximum of two vehicles are allowed per campsite.

For more information, visit the Melvern Lake information center at the south end of Melvern Dam, or call 785-549-3318.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | news@osagecountyonline.com | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas