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Overbrook City Lake no longer under algae warning; enjoy fall at local lakes

Summer might be over, but with fair weather, Overbrook City Lake and Friesen Fishing Lake continue to offer residents and visitors peaceful spots for reflection, walking or fishing. Benches installed in 2015 have been placed on the fishing dock, with one honoring the late Max Friesen for his many years of service. Photo thanks to city of Overbrook.

The city of Overbrook was notified that results of testing for blue-green algae from the week of Sept. 11, 2017, has allowed the Overbrook City Lake to be downgraded from warning to watch status by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The lake was put under warning for blue green algae the week of Sept. 1. The lake was not closed, but officials recommended avoiding contact with the water, and rinsing any fish caught with clean water.

Despite the lake’s former-warning status, the city’s lakes were still open for fishing and other activities. According to Overbrook City Clerk Jim Koger, 100 children participated in the Steve Cross Memorial Children’s Fishing Derby Saturday at the Children’s Fishing Pond, at Jones Park. He noted that due to great support from the community and national sponsors, each of the children were given a new fishing rod and reel.

Two other lakes in Osage County remain under warning for blue-green algae, Melvern Outlet River Pond and Melvern Outlet Swim Pond.

If a lake is under a public health warning for blue-green algae, activities such as boating and fishing may be safe. However, direct contact with water, such as wading, skiing and swimming, is strongly discouraged for people, pets and livestock.

Five Kansas lakes under public health warning due to blue-green algae

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism, has issued a public health warning for five lakes due to a harmful algal bloom.

If a lake is under a public health warning for blue-green algae, activities such as boating and fishing may be safe. However, direct contact with water, such as wading, skiing and swimming, is strongly discouraged for people, pets and livestock. The lakes currently under a watch or warning status are:

  • Warning: Keith Sebelius Reservoir, Norton County
  • Warning: Kirwin Lake, Phillips County
  • Warning: Marion County Lake, Marion County
  • Warning: Marion Reservoir, Marion County
  • Warning: Sam’s Pond, Syracuse, Hamilton County
  • Watch: Webster Lake, Rooks County

Lakes under a warning are not closed. Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities are open for business. If swim beaches are closed, it will be specifically noted. Drinking water and showers at parks are safe and not affected by algae blooms. Boating and fishing are safe on lakes under a warning, but contact with the water should be avoided. It is safe to eat fish caught during a harmful blue-green algae outbreak, as long as the fish is rinsed with clean water. Only the fillet portion should be consumed, and all other parts should be discarded. Hands should also be washed with clean water after handling fish taken from an affected lake. Zoned lakes may have portions fully open for all recreation even if other portions are under a warning.

Zebra mussels continue infestation of Kansas lakes

Two more lakes found to have invasive mollusks

050814-zebraTOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has confirmed the presence of invasive zebra mussels in Wellington Lake in Sumner County earlier this month. Wellington city staff discovered the invasive, sharp-shelled mollusks as they replaced buoy lines. KDWPT staff subsequently found well-established populations of zebra mussels of various ages in the old and new parts of the lake.

In May, KDWPT confirmed the presence of invasive zebra mussels in Paola City Lake, or Lake Miola, in Miami County. On May 23, an angler snagged an old fishing rod near the boat ramp with live adult zebra mussels attached and reported it to the local KDWPT game warden. KDWPT aquatic nuisance species staff subsequently found more zebra mussels of various ages in several parts of the lake. The population appears to be well-established.

Wellington Lake covers approximately 675 surface acres, and is managed by the city of Wellington. Lake Miola covers approximately 220 acres and is managed by the city of Paola.

KDWPT manages both lakes’ fisheries as part of the department’s Community Fisheries Assistance Program (CFAP).

Both lakes offer outdoor activities such as boating, skiing, swimming, fishing, camping and hiking. Jessica Howell, KDWPT aquatic nuisance species coordinator, reminds lake visitors that everyone using the lakes plays a key role in stemming the spread of mussels to uninfested lakes.

“This situation shows how important it is for boaters, anglers, swimmers and skiers to be aware of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) and to take precautions to prevent their spread,” Howell said.  

Anglers encouraged to use caution on ice covered lakes

Warmer temperatures will begin causing weak spots on frozen waters 

PRATT – A recent cold-spell had many Kansas lakes covered in thick ice, creating ideal conditions for ice fishing, but even with very cold temperatures, ice anglers must be vigilant. Now that temperatures are warming, extreme caution must be used in avoiding weak spots on lakes and reservoirs.

If you have an itch to drop a line this winter, keep these following common-sense ice safety rules in mind:

Spring rains fill local ponds and lakes

As pond-filling rains ended Tuesday afternoon, Dragoon Creek at U.S. 75 looked more like the Dragoon River, with rapid flow pouring into Pomona Lake. Rain gauges showed 2 to 4 inches fell across Osage County Monday and Tuesday. With another inch or so added overnight Wednesday, Pomona Lake’s elevation was 977.62 feet Thursday; normal pool elevation is 974.

Outdoors: Frozen lakes require extreme caution

PRATT – After nighttime temperatures in the single-digits and daytime highs in the teens and twenties, most Kansas water bodies are covered with a sheet of ice. While beautiful and perhaps alluring to anglers and explorers, a frozen lake can be deadly and deserves respect and caution.

Corps urges waterfowl hunters to be safe on area lakes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urges hunters to be safe and take precautions this winter when hunting at any of the district’s 18 lakes throughout Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska.

Most waterfowl hunters do not think of themselves as “boaters.” The boat is just a mode of transportation to reach their favorite hunting spot; as a consequence, they do not consider the safety precautions that are important for a safe and enjoyable hunting trip. Packing boats beyond capacity with decoys, guns, dogs, gear, and their buddies creates a very dangerous safety hazard. 

Corps to reopen area lakes’ operations

Pomona, Melvern lakes’ federal facilities to be open by Friday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District is reopening operations following the shutdown of the federal government for lack of fiscal 2014 funding legislation which began on October 1. This includes visitor centers, boat ramps and similar facilities that are typically open this time of year at all 18 of the district’s lake projects. The following camping areas will be reopened by Friday, October 18:

Pomona Lake, Kan. – Outlet, 110 Mile, Cedar, and Wolf Creek Group Camp; Melvern Lake, Kan. – Outlet and Sundance parks;

Federal recreation areas closed at Melvern and Pomona lakes

KANSAS CITY – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District has closed USACE-operated campgrounds and day-use parks due to the shutdown of the federal government for lack of fiscal 2014 funding legislation. The closure includes federal facilities at Melvern and Pomona lakes.

Affected recreation areas will remain closed until after the shutdown is lifted. This includes all visitor facilities, campgrounds, boat ramps and similar facilities at all 18 lake projects in the Kansas City District.

Zebra mussels found in two more Kansas lakes

Glen Elder Reservoir and Lake Wabaunsee have the invasive species

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Glen Elder Reservoir (Waconda Lake), in Mitchell County, and Lake Wabaunsee, in Wabaunsee County. Zebra mussels are bean-sized mollusks with striped, sharp-edged, two-part shells. Twenty-one Kansas lakes have now been confirmed to have zebra mussels.

“These latest discoveries show how important it is for the public to be aware of the dangers of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) and to take precautions to prevent their spread,” said Jessica Howell, KDWPT aquatic nuisance species coordinator.

Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Lindsay, 90, Osage City: Oct. 17, 1927 – Jan. 13, 2018

OSAGE CITY, Kan. – Jacqueline M. “Jackie” Lindsay, 90, passed away Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 at Osage Nursing Center, Osage City, Kan. Jacqueline Marie Curley was born Oct. 17, 1927, in Osage City, the daughter of James and Emma (Martin) Curley.

She graduated from Osage City High School in 1945.

She was joined in marriage to Duane R. Lindsay on June 19, 1947, in Osage City. He preceded her in death in 2007 after 59 years of marriage.

Dean Croucher, 82, Osage City: Sept. 15, 1935 – Jan. 14, 2018

OSAGE CITY, Kan. – Dean Croucher, 82, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, at his home in Osage City, Kan. He was born on Sept. 15, 1935, in Burlingame, Kan., the son of Arthur and Emma Jones Croucher.

Dean had grown up in Burlingame and lived in Osage City most of his life. Dean graduated from Osage City High School in 1953. He worked as an environmental manager for nursing homes in Osage City. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve and was a member of the Eagles, in Osage City. 

Food safety specialist: Plan ahead to avoid holiday waste

Photo courtesy of USDA-FSIS.

By Pat Melgares

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Holiday food gatherings can be a joyous time for family and friends to get together, but oftentimes lots and lots of food leads to lots and lots of food waste.

Karen Blakeslee, coordinator of the Rapid Response Center in Kansas State University’s Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, said a bit of planning and attention to food safety principles can help to decrease the amount of food wasted during the holidays and year-round.

“From my own experience, I’ll sometimes go to the grocery store without a list,” Blakeslee said. “That’s not very smart on my part because then I end up buying things that I probably don’t need to buy.”

She’s not alone. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization reports that a third of the food produced in the world is lost or wasted. That amounts to about $1 trillion per year in wasted food in developed and developing countries.

Yep, one trillion dollars.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also notes that of the 136 million tons of material that goes to U.S. landfills each year, about 22 percent of that is food waste. That’s 30 million tons.

“That’s really kind of mind-boggling,” Blakeslee said. “Composting and recycling have gone up, which is great. But there’s still a lot of food going down the drain.”

So, Blakeslee notes, it’s important that every consumer do their part to avoid food waste.

“It starts with planning at home,” she said. “Figure out what meals you’re going to make during the week. I know schedules are busy, but figure out what meals you know you are going to be able to eat at home. Shop for those items and try not to deviate from that. It will help you control your spending as well as how much you’re buying.”

Osage City opens Christmas season with annual Market Street celebration

Sawyer Serna, daughter of Joe and Tammy Serna, was the honored guest at Osage City’s Christmas on Market Street parade on Saturday evening, Nov. 25, 2017. Sawyer, assisted by Santa Claus, switched on the downtown Christmas lights, signaling the start of the parade and Christmas season in Osage City.

Osage City Chamber of Commerce sponsored the the annual event that opens the Christmas shopping season, with numerous events and activities held downtown during the day.

Parade participants included: Color guard by Boy Scout Troop 106 Osage City; Osage City Police Department; Kansas Highway Patrol; Osage County Fire District No. 2, Osage City, with passengers on one truck including coloring contest winners; Osage County Emergency Medical Services; Twin Lakes Cruisers Car Club; Osage Family Care, second place float; Osage County Girl Scouts; Osage City High School band, cheerleaders and dance team; Flint Hills Beverage; State Farm Insurance; Osage City Public Library, fourth place; Osage City Golf Course; Osage City taxi service; Harmon Dental; Theel’s; Bunting Ranch; J.P. Tree Service, third place float; Willing Workers 4-H Club, first place float; Branded Graphics; Osage City Kiwanis Club; and Santa Claus with special reindeer.

Vernon L. Weimer, 84, Topeka: July 6, 1933 – Nov. 16, 2017

TOPEKA, Kan. – Vernon L. Weimer, 84, passed away on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, at Stormont-Vail Hospital, Topeka, Kan. He was born on July 6, 1933, in Olivet, Kan., the son of Louis and Dorothy Taylor Weimer.

Vernon spent his life in the Olivet, Melvern and Carbondale, Kan., communities. Vernon graduated from Olivet High School. He served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War at the rank of sergeant. He was a heavy equipment operator during the building of Pomona and Council Grove lakes. He worked at the Santa Fe Railway as a wheel crane operator, retiring in 1994 after 31 years of service. Vernon was a member of the American Legion Post 317, in Melvern. He enjoyed boating, camping and traveling.

Cold water safety and hunter safety go hand-in-hand

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With cooler weather upon us, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District emphasizes safety while enjoying seasonal recreation opportunities.

“Fall and winter months provide additional opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy our lakes,” said Zach Wallace, park ranger at Pomme de Terre Lake, near Hermitage, Mo. “It’s important to remember the dangers associated with colder seasons like hypothermia and hunting related activities. Accidents can happen and it’s vital all visitors take the appropriate steps to ensure a safe experience.”

Low water temperatures pose risks such as hypothermia. The human body cools 25 times faster in cold water than it does in air.

“You should expect the unexpected, dress for the weather and always wear a life jacket in or around water,” Wallace said.

With thousands of acres of public hunting land at 18 lakes throughout Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska, the Corps also encourages hunters to take precautions this winter.

“Public hunting can present a challenge,” said Wallace. “There is a chance others are hunting in the same location and could be camouflaged in a tree stand, blind or behind brush. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and follow state and federal rules.”

The Corps urges outdoor enthusiasts to consider these additional tips.

Charles McNelly, 89, Osage City: Feb. 3, 1928 – Nov. 2, 2017

OSAGE CITY, Kan. – Charles McNelly, 89, left today, Nov. 2, 2017, for an extended hunting and fishing trip. He was born Feb. 3, 1928.

Charlie was a veteran of WW II, and the Korean and Vietnam wars. He served in the U.S. Navy as a Seabee, the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. He was awarded the Purple Heart, Distinguished Service Cross and many other medals. He had also worked as a park ranger at Tuttle Creek and Pomona lakes. Charlie enjoyed rodeos, dancing, and spending time with his beloved wife, Chris McNelly, and family and friends.

Poster winners spread fire prevention messages

The 2017 Osage County Fire District No. 2 fire prevention poster winners were Angelica Ruiz-Pineda, Kaylee Theel, Grady Tincher, Kenzie Bellinger, Sophia Brabb, Jada Ruiz, Brynna Burd, Kalen Conner, Lillian Lohmeyer, Harrison Bailey, Allison Sloop, Quenten Stark, Dakota Boss, Isaac McCoy, Sadie Shoemaker.

Osage County Fire District No. 2 gave fire prevention poster winners a ride to school in fire trucks Friday Oct. 13, 2017. Around 8 a.m., a crowd of proud parents and fire department personnel gave a send off to the poster winners as they departed and transported to Osage City Elementary School. Throughout the day Friday, firefighters gave fire prevention presentations to students at Osage City Elementary School, Three Lakes Preschool at Osage City, and Osage City preschool.

Osage City fire department to host open firehouse

Kids lived their dreams of being firefighters during OCFD No. 2’s open house last year.

To wind up Fire Prevention Week, Osage County Fire District No. 2, based at Osage City, will host an open house Sunday and transport fire prevention poster winners to school in fire trucks Friday.

On Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, the fire district will host its annual open house, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the fire station. Local firefighters will offer fire prevention safety tips and fire truck rides. A LifeStar helicopter is scheduled to land and be available for inspection. Child safety seat technicians will be available to check child safety seats, and there will be door prizes, smoke detector batteries and food (while available).

Fire district personnel will meet poster winners early Friday morning at the station, from where they will head to school in fire trucks. During the day, firefighters will give fire prevention presentations to students at Osage City Elementary School, Three Lakes Pre-School, Osage City, and Osage City preschool.

The Osage County Fire District No. 2 station is at 911 Laing St., Osage City.

Back in Time: Whirlwind of land acquisition floods Marais des Cygnes Valley

Shown in a June 1975 photo of Melvern Lake, its then-new 12-story control tower is already a landmark on the water.

About 1972, Corps of Engineers attorneys obtained easement for the Melvern Reservoir in Osage County, Kan. The details involved in acquiring an easement for land to be flooded by the Melvern Reservoir in Osage County, Kan., is explained by a Corps of Engineers attorney, Ben Bonner, left, to sellers of the easement, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Evertson, of Topeka, Kan. The easement permitted flooding of 180 acres of the 350-acre tract owned by the couple. Exemplifying the speed of the process, the Evertsons received their check 10 days after signing the agreement.

Filings in the Osage County Courthouse, Sept. 11 – Sept. 15, 2017

The following information was compiled from records at the Osage County Courthouse, Sept. 11 through Sept. 15, 2017.

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