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Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club plays and works at Melvern Park

By Allie Reeser
Club Reporter

At 5:03 p.m. Sunday, March 3, 2024, at the Melvern Community Center, the March Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club meeting was called to order by President Gradey McNally. The club began the meeting with The Pledge of Allegiance and 4-H Pledge led by Gradey. Secretary Bella Reeser called the roll; members and parents were to answer with, ‘Would you rather be able to slide down a rainbow or jump on a cloud?’ There were eight members and six adults present.

Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club members stain picnic tables at the Melvern fairgrounds.

Bella read the minutes from the previous meeting; they were approved as read. In correspondence, Bella shared a Christmas card from Extension Agent Jo Hetrick-Anstaett, and a letter from the Osage County Fair Association. A motion was made to table the letter until new business.

Treasurer Braelyn McNally read the treasurer’s report; it was approved as read. Braelyn stated that Reporter Allie Reeser had submitted one article to the newspaper. There was no historian’s report.

In council report, Braelyn gave the following updates: Blue & Gold will be on March 12; Regional Club Days on March 23, in Paola; beef weigh-in 4-6 p.m. March 27 at Osage City Fairgrounds; small animal weigh-in 4-6 p.m. May 7 at Osage City Fairgrounds; drop/add date for projects is May 1; Zbooks/Record Books-Be working on these all year; Discovery Days-June 5-7; 4-H Camp- June; Osage City Fair-July 24-27, 2024; Overbrook Fair, Aug. 6-9, 2024; PT testing will be 5-7 p.m. July 9, at Osage City Fairgrounds; pin applications-these have been updated this year; a $75 scholarship will be awarded for out of county event; and we will have a fair photographer at the Osage City fair.

In the leader’s report, Leader Caleb McNally reminded club members that the Blue & Gold pick-up will be on March 12; please make arrangements. Leader Lisa Reeser asked each club member who participated in District Club Days to please stand and share what they did at District Club Days and what ribbon they received. Lisa also reminded club members and parents to read the Club Meeting Notes paper. There was no old business.

In new business, a motion was made and seconded to donate $50 to the Osage County Fair Association to help provide awards at the fair. The next item in new business was the Melvern Easter Egg Hunt; a motion was made and seconded to hold our annual Melvern Easter Egg Hunt at 1 p.m. March 30.

In Songs, Song Leader Koral Bruening led the club in singing, “Everything is Awesome.” At 5:26 p.m., it was moved and seconded to adjourn the meeting. Members enjoyed snacks provided by the McNally Family. For recreation, club members enjoyed playing at Melvern Park.

The Melvern Jr. Highline’s next club meeting will be 5 p.m. Sunday, April 7, 2024, at Melvern Community Center.

U.S. 75 multi-bridge repair project to begin Monday in Osage County

The Kansas Department of Transportation plans to begin a multi-bridge repair project on U.S.  Highway 75 in Osage County, Monday, March 18, conditions permitting. The project includes resurfacing and patching work on the bridges over 325th Street, 333rd Street, 341st Street and Frog Creek.

The structures are located within a four-mile corridor of U.S. 75 between state Highway 276 and the Coffey County line.

Three bridges will be worked on concurrently, beginning with those over 325th, 333rd and 341st streets. The Frog Creek bridge repairs will begin when 341st Street is complete.

Each bridge that is being actively worked on will be reduced to one lane. Temporary traffic signals will direct traffic across the bridge. A 12-foot width restriction will be in place.

Both lanes of U.S. 75 will be open in the areas between the bridges. The 341st Street on- and off- ramps will also remain open. Speed will be reduced to 55 mph through the entire project corridor.

Work will take place during daylight hours Monday through Friday, and Saturdays as needed.

Wildcat Construction Co., of Wichita, Kan., is the prime contractor on the $937,000 project, which is expected to be completed in October.

KDOT urges all motorists to be alert and obey the warning signs when approaching and driving through a highway work zone.

Learn fall prevention tips while lunching at Osage City Library

A “Lunch and Learn” event will teach people about fall prevention, coming up March 28, 2024, at Osage City Public Library, Osage City.

Speaker Jesica Schaub, PT, DPT, ATC will discuss fall prevention tips, home modifications, and assistive devices. Lunch will be served 12-1:30 p.m.; reservations are requested due to limited seating. Call 785-242-7200 for reservations.

The Osage City Public Library is at 515 Main St., Osage City. The Lunch and Learn event is hosted by East Central Kansas Area Agency on Aging and SERC Physical Therapy.

Thanks to everyone for the great prom shop in 2024

Well that’s a “wrap” for the seventh annual Help House Prom Shop. A total of 138 dresses were given out . We would like to thank everyone who came in to shop with us this year. A huge thanks to those who help make it happen by giving so much of their time, and the effort it takes to put it together and help all of the gals find the perfect dress. We wish we could be there to see all of you on your special night.

We all wish you a magical night.

Thanks to the Crew:

  • Lee Ann Smiley
  • Corinne Dubois
  • Carol Grady
  • Donna Young
  • Connie Bonczkowski
  • Cindy Hueffmeier Ledgard for loaning us The Hideout to hold the event a couple of years and providing a space for storage.
  • Jan Henneberg Newman
  • Dannie Smiley for helping us move to our new location this year
  • Bob Grady and Carol for “building “ our awesome dressing rooms and fixing all the racks to make them taller to accommodate the long dresses. And providing a trailer for the move.

A very special thank you to the Burlingame school board and superintendent for donating the use of the space for the Prom Shop this year. It allowed us to give the appearance of a professional shop giving all that came the best experience possible.

So much fun was had by all.

Side note. Think of all the dollars saved for the dress recipients. If you were to value the average cost of a dress at $300 x 138 – that is $41,400. Some dresses had new tags with a price of $600.

Thanks again to everyone.

Raylene Quaney, Help House

OCEM continues burn ban through Tuesday

Update: Osage County Emergency Management has issued a burn ban today, March 12, 2024, due to increased wind speeds and low relative humidity values. The ban is in place until 8 a.m. tomorrow, March 13. During a burn ban, no outside burning is allowed and all county burn permits are suspended. National Weather Service at Topeka forecasts a high temperature near 76 today, with south wind 10 to 15 mph and gusts as high as 25 mph.

Willing Workers help the Easter Bunny stockpile eggs for Osage City’s hunt

Willing Workers 4-H Club stuff eggs for the annual hunting season, front from left, Clara Thielen, Emmit Ford, Mason Newman, Kassie Thielen, Ruby Stucky, and James Ford, back, Leila Wilcoxson, Izzy Ford, Claire Newman, Paige Thielen, Avery Talkington.

By Lena Stucky
Club Reporter

The Willing Workers 4-H Club has been hard at work stuffing more than 2,000 eggs for the annual Easter Egg hunt, which will be March 24, 2024, at the Osage City ball fields. At 1:30 p.m., the Easter Bunny will be escorted in by the Osage County Sheriff’s Office for pictures, and at 2 p.m. the hunt will begin.

We have had many local businesses donate some great prizes for this event.

Lyndon schools to host motivational speaker for family night

USD 421 is hosting a family night, 6-7 p.m. March 19, 2024, in the school auditorium, with special guest Reggie Dabbs, a youth motivational speaker.

The Lyndon SITE council and LEMS Principal Allison Smith are inviting all agencies in Osage County to come and set up a table, and share with families the resources they provide. Agencies can have tables set up from 5:30-6 p.m. and if possible 7-7:30 p.m., to allow a half hour before and a half hour after the speaker for families to view tables.

Agencies that are interested should contact Smith at 785-828-4622 or

Health advisory: KDHE offers safety tips for prescribed fire season in Flint Hills

TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas Department of Health and Environment is reminding Kansans that March and April are when large areas of the state’s rangelands are burned by prescribed fire, especially within the Flint Hills.

Prescribed fire is a tool used by landowners and managers to help preserve the tallgrass prairie ecosystem, control invasive species, reduce woody encroachment from species such as Eastern Red Cedar and provide better forage for cattle. Prescribed burning also reduces the risk of wildfires and is effective in managing rangeland resources. Smoke from the burns can influence the air quality of downwind areas. The use of smoke management techniques is vital to reduce the air quality and health impacts.

KDHE will activate the Kansas smoke modeling tool in early March, prior to widespread burning in the Flint Hills. The computer models use fire data and current weather conditions to predict the potential contribution of smoke and air quality impacts to downwind areas. There are approximately 2.2 million acres burned on average in the Flint Hills of Kansas and Oklahoma each year.

“We are entering the 14th year that we have been able to provide this important tool for the prescribed fire community,” Jayson Prentice, meteorologist at the KDHE Bureau of Air, said. “We continue to encourage ranchers and land managers to utilize smoke modeling resources, such as the smoke modeling tool to mitigate potential air quality impacts.”

Prescribed burns release large amounts of particulate matter and other pollutants that can form ground-level ozone. Particulate matter and ozone can cause health problems, even in healthy individuals. Common health problems include: burning eyes, runny nose, coughing and illnesses such as bronchitis. People with respiratory conditions, cardiovascular diseases, children and the elderly are more vulnerable to experience symptoms.

KDOT to host open house for upcoming U.S. 75 bridge projects in Osage County

The Kansas Department of Transportation will host an open house to provide information on three projects scheduled over the next four years to improve several bridges along U.S. Highway 75 in Osage County. The public is invited to attend the meeting 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at Marais des Cygnes Valley High School, 508 N.E. Main St., Melvern, Kan.

Attendees will be able to review the upcoming bridge improvements and speak one-on-one with project staff. There will be no formal presentation and attendees can come and go at any time during the meeting. Information presented at the meeting will be available online beginning March 20 at

The first project is scheduled for this year and will resurface and patch the U.S. 75 bridges over 333rd Street, 325th Street, 341st Street, and Frog Creek. Temporary traffic signals will direct U.S. 75 traffic through the work zone for the duration of the project.

In 2025, KDOT will redeck the U.S. 75 bridges over the BNSF railroad and the Marais des Cygnes River. This project is expected to last two construction seasons and will require U.S. 75 traffic to be detoured to state Highway 31.

Another project scheduled to start no earlier than 2027 will replace the U.S. 75 bridges over Frog Creek and 341st Street. This project will also require U.S. 75 traffic to be detoured to K-31.

For more information about the open house, contact Kate Craft at

Prom Shop to open one more weekend for spring occasions formalwear

There is one shopping weekend left to find that perfect gown for an upcoming formal affair – whether prom, graduation, Easter, or college formal – at no cost from Help House’s seventh annual Prom Shop.

Racks of fancy dresses and beautiful gowns are in stock at the Help House-sponsored seventh annual Prom Shop.

In February, Help House hosted the Prom Shop for two weekends. The event was so well received it will be open one last weekend, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 9, and 1-4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at the Allen County Community College building, 100 Bloomquist Drive, Burlingame, Kan.

More than 90 gowns have been given out so far, and there are more than 350 dresses to choose from, full length and short, in addition to seven beautiful wedding gowns. There is no charge for the gowns.

This will be the last weekend the Prom Shop will be open this year. Everyone is encouraged to bring their friends and have fun while you shopping for a gown for prom or any other occasion.

KDHE rescinds boil water advisory for Quenemo water supply

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, March 1, 2024. The advisory was issued Feb. 28 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.

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.

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