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Melvern Jr. Highline meets in February to share love and compassion

By Allie Reeser
Club Reporter

At 4:54 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, at the Melvern Community Center, the February Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club meeting was called to order by Treasurer Braelyn McNally. The club began the meeting with The Pledge of Allegiance and 4-H Pledge led by Braelyn. Secretary Bella Reeser called the roll; members and parents were to answer with, “Would you rather have chocolates or flowers for Valentine’s Day?” There were six members, three adults, and one Extension agent present.

Bella read the minutes from the previous meeting; they were approved as read. There was no correspondence. Braelyn read the treasurer’s report; it was approved as read. Reporter Allie Reeser stated she submitted one article to the newspaper. There was no historian’s report. There was no council report.

In leader’s report, leader Caleb McNally reminded club members about the Blue & Gold sales that start immediately and will need to be turned in to the Extension office by Feb. 26. Caleb also reminded club members about District Club Days that will be Feb. 24, at West Franklin-Pomona school; registration will be open until Feb. 9. Leader Lisa Reeser reminded club members and parents to please read their club meeting notes paper. There was no old business.  In new business, a motion was made and seconded to purchase varnish to varnish the picnic tables at the Melvern Fairgrounds at the March club meeting.

In program, club members created Valentine’s cards for the Mayes House. In songs, song leader Koral Bruening led the club in singing “Bear Hunt.” At 5:11 p.m., it was moved and seconded to adjourn the meeting.

Melvern Jr. Highline’s next club meeting will be 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at Melvern Community Center. Members enjoyed snacks provided by the Bruening family. For recreation, members and parents enjoyed finishing their pictures for the Mayes House.

Photo: Melvern Jr. Highline’s Valentine’s Day cards for the Mayes House.

LTE: February is for love … and discussions about healthy relationships

Dear Editor,

February. For many it’s the month of love; a remembrance and celebration of that someone special in our life. However, for the sake of our youth, perhaps we first should start discussing how we define love, respect and personal boundaries. Even better, what if February served as a yearly reminder to educate children about the dynamics of healthy relationships and how they can get help when someone is being mistreated?

The silent and unacceptable truth is one in three U.S. teens will experience some form of physical, sexual, or emotional harm in a relationship before turning 18, while one in 10 high school students have already suffered physical abuse over the past year.  In response to such alarming facts, SOS continues to initiate meaningful dialogue with local schools, and the communities we serve, to better understand the fears and challenges our constituents face. These conversations give our advocates a welcome opportunity to help teens understand the most common triggers and red flags of abusive partners, as well as how to formulate strategies to protect themselves.

Because domestic and dating behaviors are often passed down from generation to generation, impressionable youth are more likely to engage in healthy or abusive relationships based on their home life or daily environment. When there is an absence of positive influences and strong role models, the vicious cycle of interpersonal violence is far more likely to repeat.

Before the advent of smart phones and the internet, signs of personal abuse were primarily relegated to physical harm. But now in this post-tech world where social interactions are increasingly conducted over electronic devices and digital applications, traces of emotional and psychological abuse are much more prevalent, if not devastating, by giving abusers far greater access to their victims than ever before. In this light, one of the most important discussions parents can have with their children is regarding the risks of being online. Unfortunately, the generational gap in technology usage has allowed many unhealthy relationships or behaviors to remain hidden from adults.

And while these mediums can be extremely educational and beneficial to society when used properly, the digital world is also full of devious schemes, perverse material, and hateful exchanges that can wreak havoc on an adolescent’s privacy, self-esteem, and sense of well-being. The ugly side of social media can take teens down a path that leads to emotional trauma, criminal charges, and suicidal thoughts, especially when there is a lack of oversight and resources to help them navigate these numerous dangers to fully comprehend the consequences of their actions.

Even something as simple as sharing pictures, locations, and text messages with a dating partner or a group of friends can jeopardize an individual’s safety or reputation; whether unknowingly obtained by online predators, or spitefully used against them after a relationship or friendship ends. While many of these ploys and pitfalls are unlikely to cease anytime soon, together we can empower teens to make the right choices for the sake of their future.

Healthy relationships aren’t limited to being honest, trustworthy, respectful, compassionate, and fun. They’re a reflection and testament to who we are as individuals and a community as a whole.  Only by continuously having open conversations about these critical issues, our experiences and expectations, can we give our youth the best opportunity to succeed and remain safe from avoidable harm.

Here are a few more disturbing statistics* to not only remind everyone about the importance of having these critical discussions every February, but every time we’re with those we care about:

  • 80 percent of teens say they know someone who has been controlled by a partner.
  • 29 percent of teens say they have been physically abused by a partner and 54 percent report other forms of abuse.
  • Only 37 percent of parents are aware their child is being abused.
  • 27 percent of teenagers report that they have had a partner track them by using social media.


Danielle Armitage
SOS Outreach Prevention Coordinator, Emporia

*Statistics from:New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence,; and Love is Respect,

St. David’s concert highlights Emporia Welsh celebration

The 136th St. David’s Concert will be 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 3, 2024, at the Emporia Presbyterian Church West Campus, 1702 W. 15th Ave. Being one of the oldest continuous celebrations in Kansas, the free Welsh concert is sponsored by the St. David’s Society of Kansas.

Always the heart of the concert, the St. David’s Chorus will open with the traditional song “We’ll Keep a Welcome”. Several other numbers will include songs with choruses sung in Welsh.

Eluned Jones will return to direct the St. David’s Choir and concert. Being originally from Wales, “The Land of Song,” her musical talent comes naturally. Eluned will be one of the special solo numbers.

The St. David’s Society is excited to include a variety of artists sharing their talents.

Opening remarks will be given by the St. David’s President Linda Orear. Rev. Gary Goozen and Rev. Phyllis Stutzman will give the invocation and benediction, respectively. The concert will close with the singing of “God Be With You”.

St. David’s Society officers for 2024-25 year are President Mi’Chielle Cooper, Vice President Jennifer Baldwin, Secretary Deb Childears, and Treasurer Rhonda Gordon.

Following the concert, a reception featuring bara brith and tea will be served in the fellowship hall. An elevator is available in the vestibule.

For anyone interested in singing with the choir, rehearsal will be Saturday, March 2. For more information, contact Susan at 620-794-3917.

Celebrate area’s Welsh heritage with tea at Lebo

All are invited to attend a Welsh tea at 1:30-3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at the Lebo United Methodist Church  fellowship hall, 201 W. Fourth St., Lebo, Kan.

For 35 years, the Welsh Tea has celebrated the Welsh who came to Lebo, Arvonia, Reading, Emporia, Osage City, and surrounding towns.

Norma Jones, Jean Rowley, and Paula Evans host this free informal tea so others may celebrate and enjoy Welsh cakes, tea, spiced apple juice, or coffee in a setting of daffodils and Welsh memorabilia. The Arvonia Preservation Society provides Welsh cakes and assists with the event. All are invited to attend this fun event.

KDOT to start work on new section of the Flint Hills Trail in Franklin County

The week of March 4, 2024, the Kansas Department of Transportation expects to start work on a Transportation Alternatives project that will add a new section to the Flint Hills Trail State Park, in Franklin County. The new 2.3-mile section, located west of Ottawa, Kan., extends west from Louisiana Terrace to Iowa Road.

Project activity includes constructing the 10-foot-wide multi-use trail and a pedestrian bridge over the BNSF Railway and improving three existing bridges. The 3.4-mile signed county road detour will be deactivated when work on the new section is finished.

The Transportation Alternatives Program covers on and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects for improving non-driver access to public transportation and enhanced mobility, and Safe Routes to School sidewalk improvements. Upon completion of the Franklin County project, the Flint Hills Trail will have 93 miles of continuous traversable trail for bicyclists and pedestrians from Osawatomie to Council Grove.

KDOT awarded the construction contract of $4.9 million to Dondlinger & Sons Construction Co. Inc., of Wichita, Kan. Persons with questions may contact construction manager Ian Stringham at 785-433-6116 or public affairs manager Priscilla Petersen at 620-902-6433.

Willing Workers roll out the dough learning to make homemade tortillas

By Lena Stucky
Club Reporter

On Jan. 27, 2024, some of the Willing Workers 4-H’ers got together for their monthly food meeting. This month we were taught by the Ford family how to make homemade tortillas. We went step by step through the instructions and after mixing our ingredients, kneading our dough, and cooking the tortillas on a stove, we were done! Finally, after cleaning up our mess, we ate some of our tortillas with butter on top. And it was another successful foods meeting for the Willing Workers 4-H Club.

MdCV names 2024 Queen of Courts royalty at home game against Cair Paravel

2024 Marais des Cygnes Valley High School Queen of Courts royalty and attendants were, front from left, kindergarten attendants Kilynn Nettleton and Aydan Rea, middle, Skye Wade, Aydin Deeter, Queen Kelsey Rice, Izzy Steggs, and Akyra Traver, back, Madison Cormode, Landon Reed, Trae Walker, Mason Rose, King DJ Johnson, Sam Goddard, Ty Calderwood, and Joey Del Perceo. Photo thanks to Lisa Reeser.

Marais des Cygnes Valley High School celebrated its basketball royalty during halftime of the boys varsity basketball game, Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, against Cair Paravel High School. Announced at the game as the 2024 MdCV Queen of Courts royalty were senior candidates Queen Kelsey Rice and King DJ Johnson.

MdCV varsity boys lost their game against Cair Paravel High School by a score of 40-55, while the MdCV varsity girls won their game 54-32.

The royalty candidates and attendants were recognized for their scholarship and involvement in school and community activities. Crowning the new king and queen were the MdCV 2023 King Joe Del Percio and Queen Madison Cormode.

Boil water advisory rescinded for Quenemo water users

Update: TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has rescinded a boil water advisory for the city of Quenemo public water supply system, effective today Feb. 8, 2024. The advisory was issued Feb. 6 because of a line break that resulted in a loss of pressure in the system. Laboratory testing samples collected from the city of Quenemo indicate no evidence of bacteriological contamination, and all other conditions that placed the system at risk of contamination are deemed by KDHE officials to be resolved.

Lyndon Lions’ dictionaries open the world of words for local third-graders

Lyndon Lions present dictionaries to the LEMS third grade class. Courtesy photo.

During a visit to Lyndon Elementary School Feb. 1, 2024, the Lyndon Lions Club presented the third grade class and their teachers, Mrs. Woodruff and Mr. Bledsoe, with dictionaries to call their own. Lions District Governor Pam Bilyeu, Lyndon Lions President Barb Schattak, and member Lion Kathleen Burden presented the dictionaries to each student.

The Dictionary Project is sponsored by the Lydon Lions Club as part of its Reading Alert Program. The mission of the Dictionary Project is to ensure that everyone will be able to enjoy the benefits of owning a dictionary. By providing students with this tool, Dictionary Project sponsors, such as Lions Clubs, assist teachers in helping students become active readers, good writers, creative thinkers and resourceful learners. The dictionaries help students learn to use the English language effectively and assist them with their education, opening up to them all of the opportunities a good education offers, having a positive impact on the lives of children in their communities.

The Lyndon Lions Club supports the idea that a dictionary is an essential tool for a quality education, and a child cannot do his or her best work without one.

Frontier Extension District school to promote safe and effective prescribed grassland burns

Speakers to share guidelines for planning and conducting burns, and having necessary tools

By Carol Engle
Frontier Extension District Communications and Marketing Manager

OTTAWA, Kan. – K-State Research and Extension Frontier District will host a school to teach attendees how to plan and conduct a safe and effective prescribed burn of grasslands. Tools needed for burns will also be discussed. The school will be held 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, at the Neosho County Community College, Ottawa Campus, 900 E. Logan St., Ottawa, Kan. A chili lunch will be available with a donation appreciated to cover costs. Registration is requested by Friday, Feb. 23, to Rod Schaub, Frontier Extension agricultural agent, at 785-828-4438 or

Presenters for the school will include Ethan Walker, NRCS range specialist, David Kraft, Kansas Grazing Land Coalition, Justin Harbit, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, and Nathan Griesemer, National Weather Service. Topics will include reasons to burn, weather conditions for burning, equipment needed and planning for and conducting a burn, fire behavior, hazards and precautions, liability and CRP rules.

Judge Kimball to retire March 1

District Magistrate Judge Kevin Kimball

TOPEKA, Kan. – District Magistrate Judge Kevin Kimball will retire March 1 after serving 18 years in the 4th Judicial District. The 4th Judicial District is composed of Franklin, Osage, Coffey, and Anderson counties.

Kimball was appointed district magistrate judge in 2005 after serving 25 years in law enforcement with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

“As a public servant, helping the community was a top priority,” Kimball said. “Becoming a judge was a natural extension to continue in that spirit of helping the community.”

During his time as a district magistrate judge, Kimball started a truancy court in the Franklin County District Court. It was later replicated in all courts in the 4th Judicial District.

“I have always tried my utmost to treat all litigants appearing before me with respect and dignity,” Kimball said. “I would always let them be heard and be a great listener, and hopefully make a fair and impartial decision.”

Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club welcomes in New Year with bowling party

Melvern Junior Highline 4-H Club members go bowling to celebrate the New Year, front from left, Gentry McNally, Koral Bruening, Paden McNally, Killian Bruening, and Khloe Miller, back, Bella Reeser, Allie Reeser, and Braelyn McNally. The club’s next meeting will be 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, at Melvern Community Center.

By Allie Reeser
Club Reporter

At 5:33 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, at Fusion Alley, Ottawa, Kan., the January Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club meeting was called to order by Treasurer Braelyn McNally. The club began the meeting with The Pledge of Allegiance and 4-H Pledge, led by Braelyn. Secretary Bella Reeser called the roll; members and parents were to answer with, ‘Would you rather fly or breathe under water?’ There were eight members and five adults present.

Bella read the minutes from the previous meeting; they were approved as read. In correspondence, Bella read letters from Don and Ann Becker and Lisa Litch. Braelyn read the treasurer’s report; it was approved as read. Reporter Allie Reeser stated she submitted three article to the newspaper. There was no historian’s report. In council report, council member Braelyn reminded club members about the Blue & Gold sales that start immediately, and will need to be turned in to the Extension office by Feb. 26. Braelyn also let club members know about District Club Days that will be Feb. 24 at West Franklin-Pomona school; registration will open up on Jan. 29.

In leader’s report, Leader Lisa Reeser reminded club members and parents to please read their club meeting notes paper. There was no old or new business.

In songs, the club sang, “This is the song that gets stuck in your head”. At 5:48 p.m., it was moved and seconded to adjourn the meeting. Members enjoyed snacks provided by the club. For recreation and program, members and parents enjoyed bowling at Fusion Alley.

Melvern Jr. Highline’s next club meeting will be 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, at the Melvern Community Center.

MdCV to celebrate Queen of Courts during Friday’s home games

MdCV’s Queen of Courts senior candidates, from left, Kelsey Rice, Mason Rose, Aydin Deeter, and not pictured, DU Johnson. Lisa Reeser photo.

Marais des Cygnes Valley High School’s Queen of Courts ceremony will be during half-time of the varsity boys basketball game Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, at Melvern. Senior candidates for the Queen of Courts royalty include Kelsey Rice, Mason Rose, Aydin Deeter, and DU Johnson. Freshman attendants are Trae Walker, Skye Wade, and Landon Reed, sophomore attendants are Akyra Traver and Ty Calderwood, and junior attendants are Sam Goddard and Isabella Steggs.

To fill retiring judge vacancy, 4th Judicial District begins nomination process

TOPEKA, Kan. – The 4th Judicial District Nominating Commission will convene by conference call at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, to set a schedule to fill the district magistrate judge vacancy created by District Magistrate Judge Kevin Kimball’s March 1 retirement.

The meeting is open to the public. To listen, call 1-845-361-8917 and enter conference code 3872788.

In the district magistrate judge appointment process, the nominating commission seeks nominations and then meets to interview nominees. Interviews are open to the public. The commission selects who is appointed to fill the district magistrate judge vacancy.

A nominee for Kimball’s magistrate judge position must be a resident of Franklin County at the time of taking office and while holding office; a graduate of a high school, a secondary school, or the equivalent; and either a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas or able to pass an examination given by the Supreme Court to become certified within 18 months.

After serving one year in office, a new judge must stand for a retention vote in the next general election to remain in the position. If retained, the incumbent will serve a four-year term.

The 4th Judicial District is composed of Anderson, Coffey, Franklin, and Osage counties. The 4th Judicial District Nominating Commission includes Justice Eric S. Rosen as nonvoting chair; Craig Cole, Garnett; Anthony Mersman, Greeley; Phyllis Gardner and Janet Walsh, both of Lyndon; Ianne Dickinson and Forrest Lowry, both of Ottawa; John Boyd, Pomona; and Timothy Johnson, Waverly.

Local ‘Women in Agriculture’ conference to offer knowledge, networking

OTTAWA, Kan. – Local women involved in any facet of agriculture are encouraged to attend a one-day “Women in Agriculture” conference Wednesday, March 20, 2024, at Ottawa Memorial Auditorium, 301 S. Hickory St., Ottawa, Kan.

The event will open at 9 a.m. and feature a keynote address on advocating for agriculture by Brandi Buzzard Frobose. Sessions throughout the day will include those focused on land lease basics and rental rates, mental health and agricultural stress, and crop insurance and livestock risk protection insurance. Lunch will be provided; there is no cost for lunch or registration.

“We hope this local conference will provide good information with reduced costs and travel for our clientele,” said Ryan Schaub, Frontier Extension crop production and farm management agent.

“Small groups tend to converse more,” said Rod Schaub, Frontier Extenstion livestock agent. “We want participants to share thoughts and ask questions so that everyone gets the most out of this program.”

While the meeting is named Women in Ag, it was created to help everyone, the agents said. The sponsors want attendees to take information home and put it to use in their day-to-day activities on the farm.

To register, contact the Frontier Extension District Garnett office at 785-448-6826.

Community Blood Center joins national blood emergency appeal in wake of winter storm

Due to recent winter weather and a spike in seasonal illnesses, the region is currently experiencing a blood emergency with dangerously low levels of types O-, O+, B-, and platelets.

Community Blood Center joined blood centers across the country in an emergency plea for blood donors following a holiday season of low donor turnout and recent winter weather that resulted in widespread cancellation of appointments and blood drives. Additionally, a recent spike in seasonal illnesses across the region are preventing many from donating.

Last year, blood collections in the region were the lowest they have been in six years, down by nearly 18,000 donations since 2021 alone. Additionally, CBC has seen a nearly 40 percent drop in donations in the last three weeks, further crippling the inventory that was already in short supply. There is currently only a one-day supply of types O-, O+, and B-, as well as a critical shortage of platelets. The Midwest is not alone; blood emergencies have been declared across the country, indicating that there is no national surplus of blood at this time.

“In the midst of the nation-wide blood emergency, and in the wake of recent winter storms, we are calling on all who are eligible to make an immediate blood or platelet donation,” said Chelsey Smith, Community Blood Center director of public relations. “After a year of record-low donations across our region, the current blood supply is dangerously low, and donors are needed to ensure patients in our community get the lifesaving treatment they need.”

Blood donors can give every 56 days, and up to six times a year. The Food and Drug Administration recently lifted several blood donor eligibility restrictions. To make an appointment at a blood center or to locate a local mobile drive, call 877-468-6844 or see

Upcoming local drives are scheduled to be held 2-6 p.m. at Lyndon and Osage City on the following dates:

  • Jan. 31, 2024, Lyndon State Bank, Lyndon
  • Feb. 8, 2024, Osage County Senior Center, Osage City
  • April 4, 2024, Osage County Senior Center, Osage City
  • May 30, 2024, Lyndon State Bank, Lyndon
  • June 6, 2024, Osage County Senior Center, Osage City

Area students earn university honors in fall semester

Osage County students on KSU honors list

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Students from Osage County were among more than 4,480 Kansas State University students who earned semester honors for their academic performance in the fall 2023 semester.

Students from Osage County earning semester honors for the fall 2023 semester from Kansas State University included Alexandra Crook and Robert Quaney, both of Burlingame; Max Black, Emma Gustin, and Karlyn Gustin, Carbondale; Ethan Edington, Darian Massey, and Zander Seth, Lyndon; Jerra Butterfield, Jenna Hastert, Devan McEwen, and Wyatt Orender, Osage City; Lane Anderson, Tate Anderson, Ethan Hageman, Jacob Hofman, and Ella Huizenga, Overbrook; and Mathew Anschutz, Vassar.

Students earning a grade point average for the semester of 3.75 or above on at least 12 graded credit hours receive semester honors along with commendations from their deans. The honors are also recorded on their permanent academic records.

Sergeant on SDSU’s fall 2023 dean’s list

BROOKINGS, S.D. – South Dakota State University has announced Sarah Sergeant, of Lebo, Kan., has been named to the dean’s list for the fall 2023 semester.

Sergeant is a student in SDSU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.

Overall, 3,475 students from 39 states and 24 foreign nations are on the list.

Smith named to SNHU dean’s list

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Tyler Smith, of Lyndon, Kan., has been named to Southern New Hampshire University’s Fall 2023 Dean’s List. The fall terms run from September to December.

Full-time undergraduate students who have earned a minimum grade-point average of 3.500 to 3.699 for the reporting term are named to the dean’s list. Full-time status is achieved by earning 12 credits over each 16-week term or paired eight-week terms.

Osage County students on GU’s fall 2023 president’s list

LAMONI, Iowa – The honor roll lists for Graceland University’s 2023 fall term have been announced. Students with a perfect 4.0 grade point average are named to the president’s list, which includes two students from Osage County, Samantha Daniels, of Overbrook, Kan., and Dylan Shaffer, Osage City, Kan.

Graceland University has campuses in Lamoni, Iowa, and Independence, Mo.

Boys State of Kansas opens applications for 2024 session

The American Legion Boys State of Kansas is accepting applications for its 2024 session. The event is set for June 2-8, 2024, at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan. This will be the program’s 32nd consecutive session at KSU and 86th overall.

Traditionally, Kansas Boys State is for individuals who will complete their junior year of high school in the spring just prior to the start of each session. However, the Boys State program will again expand the pool of applicants for this year’s session to include those who will complete their sophomore year of high school this spring.

The Boys State program provides an experience in leadership and teamwork that develops self-identity, promotes mutual respect, and instills civic responsibility. Boys State is a political exercise that simulates elections, political parties and government at the state, county and local levels, providing opportunities to lead under pressure, show character and work effectively within a team.

The cost to attend the Boys State of Kansas program is $375; however, in many instances, sponsors pay the majority of the fees, with the delegate paying $50. Those wishing to attend the 2024 session should visit to apply. The deadline to apply for the 2024 program is April 30; applications are accepted after that date, but on a space-available basis.

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