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LTE: Help House needs help stocking winter food pantry

Dear Editor:

Help House is experiencing the rise in food cost as everyone is. Harvesters, where we purchase most of the food for the emergency food pantry is not receiving the quantity of donated foods that they were just a couple of years ago, leading to a “trickle down” effect.

The foods Harvesters was receiving from their suppliers that Help House could order for “free” is down by about two thirds. This helped to fill the shelves without breaking our monthly food budget of approximately $2,500 a month.

We ordered from those options as much as possible. We started seeing a decline in those options a couple of years ago. That coupled with the increase in families needing assistance to put food on their tables is creating a need to make the public aware of the situation. Your monthly financial support and donations of non-perishable shelf stable foods are even more important at this time.

For the deer hunters, there is a program called “Hunters Feeding the Hungry”. If you harvest a deer or two and your family is not able to use all the meat, Lazy J Custom Meats at 1039 Laing St., Osage City, will help facilitate your donation of what you can’t use to Help House. The deer must be processed in a locker plant, but through this program USDA does not require it to receive the USDA inspection stamp. If anyone has beef, pork, chicken, or turkey, they would like to donate it must be processed in a plant that does receive the USDA stamp, such as Santa Fe Trail Meats, Overbrook.

Other pantry needs would be for any shelf stable nonperishable foods, such as canned meats, fruits, veggies, cereals, peanut butter, crackers, pancake mix, soups, canned fruits, vegetables, pastas, instant potatoes, toilet paper, laundry and bath soap, toiletries, diapers (size  4 and 5).

If your church or organization would like to collect food items to be donated, it would be welcomed.

We also have a volunteer, Ted Hazelton, who is available to present a short 20 minute program on Help House to any club, church, or civic organization in Osage County. Just call the office during our business hours to schedule: 4-7 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

For more information, call 785-828-4994, email, or visit Secure donations may be made on the “Donate” link there.

Thank you for your financial support and prayers for this ministry.

Raylene Quaney

Lyndon Lions to stride for diabetes awareness

LYNDON, Kan. – Members of the Lyndon Lions Club, along with their friends and families, will walk in the 5k Strides: Lions for Diabetes Awareness event, scheduled during Lyndon’s annual fall festival, Oct. 7, 2023.

The walk will begin at 10 a.m. on the Osage County Courthouse lawn and travel to the finish line at the same place the walk started. Total distance covered will be three miles. Health screenings and information from local companies will be available to the public free of charge along the walk.

“There’s still time to gather your family, friends and neighbors to walk in the Strides event,” said Lyndon Lions Club President Barb Schattak. “This is an enjoyable way for the community to join together in the fight against diabetes.”

Lyndon Mayor Steve Morrison recently proclaimed the day of the walk as Lyndon Lions Club Community Event Day for Diabetes. See proclamation here.

Registration will be at the Lions booth on the courthouse lawn starting at 9:30 a.m.: entry is $5, payable on the day of the event.

Lions all over the world organize Strides events in their communities to heighten awareness of diabetes and its complications and to provide information on preventing and managing the disease. These events promote regular, healthy exercise and include participants of all ages.

For more information about the walk and run, contact Schattak at 785-221-7994 or For more information about Lions Clubs International, see

MdCV hosts Marmaton Valley for 2023 homecoming Friday

Senior homecoming candidates, Olivia Lacey, Haylea Bethell, Corey Criss, and Deken Colyer. Lisa Reeser photo.

Marais des Cygnes Valley High School Homecoming will be Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. The Trojans face the Marmaton Valley Wildcats for this year’s homecoming game. Crowning ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m.; kick-off for the football game will be 7 p.m.

Freshman attendants are Landon Traver and Mady Rose; sophomore attendants are Kadence Masenthin and Hunter Masenthin; and junior attendants are Trey DeCavele and Izzy Steggs.

Senior homecoming queen candidates are Olivia Lacey and Haylea Bethell, and senior homecoming king candidates are Corey Criss and Deken Colyer.

Wilks celebrate 40th wedding anniversary

Ken and Sally (Kuykendall) Wilk, of Osage City, Kan., will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary with a card shower and family.

They were married on the family farm near Osage City, Sept. 24, 1983.

Their three children, Luke and Ellie (Wilk) Minnix, Scott City, Kan., Kurtis Wilk, Indianapolis, Ind., and Tracy Wilk, Omaha, Neb., along with their granddaughter, will join them in celebration.

Cards of congratulations can reach them at their home in Osage City, KS 66523.

Sacred Heart Altar Society to host women’s retreat in Emporia

The Sacred Heart Altar Society, in Emporia, Kan., is sponsoring a women’s retreat. The society is inviting all women to attend the retreat 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in the Sacred Heart Parish Hall, 102 Exchange St., Emporia. The theme of the event is “Pig Wallows & Stardust.” A free will donation lunch will be provided. For reservations, RSVP to Paula Roper by Oct. 9 at 620-343-4088 or

Bow-angler breaks 40-year state record for spotted gar

BIG HILL RESERVOIR, Kan. – A lucky bow-angler from Parsons, Kan., has officially broken a 40-year state record for spotted gar in Kansas. Michael Starr Jr. was fishing at Big Hill Reservoir, Labette County, in late July when he successfully reeled in a 34.5-inch spotted gar weighing 7.98 pounds.

Michael Starr Jr. shows his state record catch, a 34.5-inch, 7.98-pound spotted gar. KDWP photo.

The previous Kansas state record for spotted gar was held by bow-angler Charles Harbert, of Arma, when he caught a 33.5-inch, 7.75-lb spotted gar from the Chetopa Dam in 1983.

Spotted gar derive the name from trademark dark, round spots on the top and sides of its head. Most are less than 30 inches long, but like other gar species, it’s covered with a tough armor of thick, heavy scales. There are three native species of gar in Kansas. The spotted gar is the smallest and can be found in the southeastern part of the state.

How state records are set

Trophy catches such as these end up as a Kansas State Record if:

  • The fish is a species recognized on the current list of Kansas state record fish.
  • The fish is caught by a licensed angler using legal means.
  • The fish is identified by a Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks district fisheries biologist or regional fisheries supervisor.
  • The fish is weighed on a certified scale prior to being frozen.
  • The fish is photographed, in color, and a state record application is filled out.
  • The mandatory 30-day waiting period has passed.

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas named first runner-up at national competition

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – 2023 Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2023, Daija Coleman, recently attended the Ms. Wheelchair America event, where she was named as first runner-up for the national title. Coleman joined  17 other women vying for the opportunity to represent women who are wheelchair mobile in the United States.

Ms. Wheelchair America 2024 first runner-up, Daija Coleman, of Atchison, Kan.

The annual event was held Aug. 28-Sept. 3, 2023, hosted in Grand Rapids, Mich., at the Amway Grand Plaza. After an intense week of competition, networking, and empowerment, Coleman came away with the honor of being named first runner up in the pageant. She also gained memories, new leadership and advocacy tools, and a new sisterhood from across the nation.

Coleman, of Atchison, Kan., is the 19th woman to represent Kansas at the national competition since the creation of the Ms. Wheelchair Kansas organization in 2004. Coleman was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Kansas in March of 2023. Since receiving her title, she has worked to fulfill the Ms. Wheelchair Kansas mission, which is to educate, advocate, and empower all people on a state level. She has traveled and met Kansans of all ages, speaking to groups and participating in local events.

While at the national event, Coleman participated in two personal interview sessions, in which she was scored based on her accomplishments, self-perception, communication, and projection skills. She also gave a speech on her chosen platform, “Why Not Us? Why Not Now? Be an Advocate in Your Community,” and heard from speakers on a variety of topics related to leadership and advocacy.

Fall turkey season suspended in Kansas due to population declines

PRATT, Kan. – Beginning this fall, Kansas will have no fall turkey hunting season due to declining populations at state and regional levels. The decision was arrived at by members of the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission after hearing recommendations from staff over the course of four public meetings.

“We’ve documented consistent declines in turkey populations over the last 15 years largely due to reduced production levels,” said Kent Fricke, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks small game biologist. “These trends are not unique to Kansas. States across the Midwest and Southeast have experienced similar patterns in turkey populations.”

Though far fewer turkey hunters participate in the fall season than in the spring in Kansas, wildlife biologists said it remained an important component of overall harvest.

“The estimated statewide fall harvest of turkey was less than 500 birds in 2022,” said Fricke. “While this is a small proportion of the statewide population, fall harvest is an additive source of mortality for turkeys, especially when hens are harvested.”

Zion Lutheran Church celebrates its heritage with annual Germanfest

Zion Lutheran Church, Vassar, Kan., will celebrate its German heritage with a special event planned by members 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023. The community event is open to the public.

Members of Zion Lutheran Church from left to right, Toni Wendling, Donna Silver and Larry Wendling dressed in authentic German attire for the church’s Germanfest celebration. Courtesy photo.

German bierocks, potato salad and strudel will be featured menu items during the event. Live polka music by “The Alpen Spielers” will be provided during the day with a beer garden touting authentic German beer. Hand-crafted items will be offered for sale by local vendors. Also, a children’s area with German themed activities will be available.

There is no admission charge at the celebration, which is held on the square block area to the west of Zion Lutheran Church in Vassar.

The church was formally organized almost 130 years ago in 1893 as “Die deutsche evangelishche lutherische Germeinde ungeaenderter Augsburgischer Knfession zu Vassar, Osage County, Kansas,” translated to English, “The German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of the unaltered Augsburg Confession.”

However, the beginnings of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church were in 1884. Several Lutheran families in the area of the not yet organized town of Vassar, which was platted in 1886, requested that the Lutheran minister Rev. F. Pennekamp from St. John’s Lutheran Church, in Topeka, Kan., come to preach God’s Word and baptize their children.

Osage County students named to SNHU president’s list

Southern New Hampshire University has announced two students from Osage County were named to the university’s Summer 2023 President’s List.

Tyler Smith, of Lyndon, Kan., and Sunie Thompson, of Osage City, Kan., were named to the list, which recognizes full-time undergraduate students who have earned a minimum grade-point average of 3.700 and above.

SNHU is a private, nonprofit institution which offers undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs for traditional-aged students and working adults, online and on its campus in Manchester, N.H.

Kansas man pleads guilty to felony charge for actions during Jan. 6 insurrection

Defendant obstructed police in the Capitol Crypt

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Kansas man pleaded guilty Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, to a felony offense related to his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election.

Christopher Kuehne, 50, of Olathe, Kan., pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to a felony offense of obstruction of law enforcement during a civil disorder before U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly. Kelly scheduled Kuehne to be sentenced on Feb. 23, 2024.

According to court documents, Kuehne, associated with the Kansas City chapter of the Proud Boys, made plans with other members of the group to attend a rally in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021. Prior to his arrival, Kuehne sent a message to others in the group regarding a potential confrontation with Antifa and BLM, stating, “Be prepared not only to beat down but when you do action of violence so utterly massive that we send a message.”

Kuehne traveled to Arlington, Va., on Jan. 4, 2021, with other members of the Proud Boys chapter. On Jan. 6, Kuehne met with a larger group of Proud Boys at the Washington Monument. Kuehne, wearing a ballistic helmet and carrying protective gloves, then made his way to the U.S. Capitol, shouting, among other things, “Whose streets? Our streets!”

Gov. Kelly directs flags at half-staff in remembrance of 9/11 anniversary

TOPEKA – In accordance with Executive Order #20-30, Gov. Laura Kelly has directed flags throughout Kansas be lowered to half-staff on all state buildings, grounds, and facilities from sunup to sundown Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, to honor those who lost who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

“Twenty-two years after an act of terrorism took the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans, injured thousands more, and scarred so many of us, we continue to say, ‘Never Forget,’” Kelly said. “But the extreme tragedy of that day is only half the story. We also remember that our country’s brave first responders went above and beyond the call of duty to save lives – even as they lost more than 400 of their own. They did that 22 years ago, and they continue to do so to this day. On behalf of the State of Kansas, thank you for your service and your sacrifice.”

Santa Fe Trail girls golfers on par for successful 2023 season

SFTHS golfers at West Franklin tournament on Sept. 6, included Braegan Buessing, Bailey Anshutz, Ashley Masters, Taylor Long and Shelby Garrison. Courtesy photo.

Santa Fe Trail High School girls golf team has been driving through regional tournaments, beginning their competition Aug. 24, 2023, at the Jeff West 9-Hole Invitational at Village Greens Golf Course, and placing fourth out of seven teams. SFTHS competitors in the tournament were Bailey Anshutz, Braegan Buessing, Addison Alvarez, Ashley Masters, Shelby Garrison, and Katrina Drury.

SFTHS golfers in the top 10 individual medalists were Anshutz, who shot 45 for 6th, and Braegan Buessing, who shot 44 for 3rd.

On Aug. 28, SFTHS competed in the Ottawa Open at Ottawa Great Life; competing were Bailey Anshutz, Braegan Buessing, Ashley Masters, Shelby Garrison, Taylor Long, Claire Greenfield.

Out of 53 competitors, SFTHS had two top 10 individual medalists., Buessing, with a score of 42, took 6th, and, and Anshutz took 3rd, shooting 39.

Aug. 31, SFTHS hosted a 2-person JV Scramble with Gardner and Osage City, which provided competition experience with new friendship opportunities. SFT girls took second place.

The Lady Charger golf team participated Sept. 6, in the West Franklin 9-Hole Golf Tournament, held at LaMont Hill Golf Course. SFTHS placed 2nd as a team out of nine teams. Earning congratulations for the win were Braegan Buessing, Bailey Anshutz, Ashley Masters, Taylor Long and Shelby Garrison.

SFTHS’s individual medalists in the tournament included Anshutz in 4th place, shooting 46, and Buessing at 2nd place with a 44.

Labor Day warning: Drive sober or get pulled over

If you feel different, you drive different. Drive high, get a DUI.

Summer may be coming to an end, but there’s no end in sight to law enforcement’s crackdown on impaired driving. This Labor Day holiday, the Kansas Department of Transportation urges drivers to think twice before driving drunk or high.

Enforcement for the national impaired driving campaign, “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI,” is running now through Sept. 5, 2023. KDOT is working to reduce sobering statistics involving driving drunk or high.

During August and September of 2021 in Kansas, there were 19 total fatal crashes of impaired driving, according to KDOT stats.

“It doesn’t matter what term you use,” said Gary Herman, KDOT Behavioral Safety Manager. “If you feel different, you drive different – an impaired person should never get behind the wheel.”

Nationally, about 37 people die in drunk-driving crashes each day – that’s one person every 39 minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2021, 13,384 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths – a 14 percent increase from 2020.

“The bottom line is that no matter what the substance is, if you are impaired, you should not be driving,” Herman said. “The consequences are real and cannot be undone. Play it safe.”

Like drunk driving, drug-impaired driving is illegal nationwide. NHTSA states that drugs can impair a driver’s coordination, judgment and reaction times, make drivers more aggressive and reckless, and cause extreme drowsiness, dizziness and other side effects.

If convicted for impaired driving, drivers face stiff penalties, hefty financial consequences, and jail time. Bottom line – don’t drive impaired. Designate a sober driver, take public transportation, or stay home.

For more information about impaired driving, see

Back to school safe driving reminders

While the school bus is one of the safest modes of transportation, illegal school bus passing is a significant threat to children and their caretakers.

Statistics and facts about illegal school bus passing: It is illegal for vehicle drivers to pass a school bus while the school bus stop-arm is extended, and the red lights are flashing. Failing to do so could result in injury or death to child pedestrians or their caretakers. Vehicle drivers must always come to a complete stop when a school bus stop-arm is extended, and the red lights are flashing.

From 2011 to 2020, there were 1,009 fatal school-transportation-related crashes, and 1,125 people of all ages were killed in those crashes – an average of 113 fatalities per year.

In the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services 2022 Stop Arm survey, 79,859 school bus drivers reported that 51,593 vehicles passed their buses illegally on a single day during the 2020-21 school year. Throughout a 180-day school year, these sample results point to more than 41.8 million violations per year among America’s motoring public.

The most dangerous part of the school bus ride is getting on and off the school bus.

Kansas ag department confirms West Nile virus cases in horses across state

Recommends horse vaccinations against possible fatal virus

MANHATTAN, Kansas — The Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health has received notification of multiple confirmed cases of West Nile virus in horses across the state over the past few weeks. Confirmed cases have been reported in Barber, Butler, Douglas and Pratt counties.

WNV is a preventable disease, with annual vaccinations that have proven highly effective. All of the confirmed cases of WNV in Kansas were in unvaccinated horses or horses with an unknown vaccination history and assumed to be unvaccinated. All horse owners should consult with their local veterinarians and make a vaccination plan for their horses.

WNV is a virus that can infect humans, horses, birds and other species. Horses infected with WNV can have symptoms that range from depression, loss of appetite and fever, to severe neurologic signs such as incoordination, weakness, inability to rise, and hypersensitivity to touch or sound. WNV can be fatal in horses. If you see symptoms of WNV in your horse, contact your veterinarian immediately.

The virus is carried and transmitted by mosquitoes; it is not directly contagious from horse to horse or from horse to human. WNV is a reportable disease in Kansas, which means veterinarians are required by law to report any confirmed cases to the state veterinarian.

Spring 2023, trail cameras prohibited on KDWP-managed lands

PRATT, Kan. – Over the past several years, staff with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks have fielded an ever-increasing amount of public concerns regarding the use of trail or game cameras on public lands. Concerns cited by the public commonly included the ethics of “fair chase,” issues of theft, and privacy concerns. After much deliberation – including seven public meetings held over the course of two years – Kansas Wildlife and Parks commissioners voted this year to prohibit trail cameras on KDWP lands and waters, including walk-in hunting access and IWIHA properties (private lands leased by KDWP for public hunting access).

“As the number of trail cameras on the landscape increased, so did the number of reports made by constituents citing camera theft and misuse,” said Ryan Stucky, KDWP Public Lands assistant director. “There were also concerns about trail camera users disturbing wildlife with frequent visits to check on those cameras.”

As a result, KDWP staff and commissioners agreed the regulation change, which is now in effect as of April 21, 2023, should state that no person shall place, maintain, or use a trail or game camera on department lands, or use any images or video from a trail or game camera including location, time, or date, for any purpose on KDWP lands and waters.

KDWP defines trail or game cameras as any remote motion-activated or infrared camera in which the shutter is activated by sound triggers, proximity sensation, radio transmitters, or a self-timer built into the trail or game camera.

Local Triple Threat team takes championship at MAYB nationals

Team members of the Kansas Triple Threat 9-10 girls Conklin basketball team, front, Allie Kneisler, Lyndon, Emery Speece, Osage City, Kayla Steinke, Olpe; back, Lily Skalsky, Olpe, Hattie Burgio, Burlington, Hannah Jenkins, Peabody, Kaelin Boss, Osage City, Jaylynn Weakley, Madison, and Madelyn Wilson, Chase County. Courtesy photo.

The local Kansas Triple Threat Conklin 9-10th girls  team took home first place in MAYB Division 1 National Championship, July 28-30, 2023, at Omaha, Neb. They went 6-0 that weekend.

Games played were: NE Lasers 15u – score 47-22; Sacred Hoops 15u – score 52-32; NE Mayhem – score 56-19; KS Lady PGU – score 52-42; IA Waukee Jam 2025 – score 45-42; MN Midwest All Starz 15u – score 44-24.

The team won the Division 2 Nationals two years ago, going 7-0, earned a silver medal 2nd place finish in Division 1 last year at 6-1, and headed back this year to win the Division 1 Nationals with a record of 6-0.

“I have been playing with this team since I was in 2nd grade,” said team member Kaelin Boss. “Since then we have always come together  as one big family.  It was such an honor to bounce back from getting second last year to getting first this year.”

“Being on this team means the world to me,” said Allie Kneisler. “We have become a family throughout the years we have played together.  This championship is what we have worked for from the beginning.”

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