Category Archives: Featured

Eat Well to Be Well: Take a look inside a health-promoting refrigerator

Before reading any further, get up, open your refrigerator and take a look inside.

What did you see? A peek inside your refrigerator can be a revealing look at how well your health goals are being met. Is it clean, well-organized and stocked with plenty of healthy foods? Or is it more of a disarray of takeout containers and old produce rotting in a drawer, while soda, juice, creamy dressings, and packages of hot dogs grab your attention first?

If it’s the latter, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there and it only goes to show, there’s always room for improvement. When trying to be healthy by losing excess weight or managing a health condition, it begins by placing healthy eating within reach whenever you open the refrigerator door. Besides, your chances of eating a nutrient-rich diet are only as good as your food supply.

Here’s a look at smart tips to makeover the inside of your refrigerator for successful healthy eating:

Lion Joann Pouch named as Melvin Jones Fellow

Lion JoAnne Pouch receives the Melvin Jones Fellowship from Past District Governor (2018-2019) Patrick Laham, at a surprise gathering. Courtesy photo.

Lion JoAnne Pouch, of Lyndon, Kan., has been named a Melvin Jones Fellow by Lions Clubs International Foundation in recognition of her commitment to serving the world and her community. Named for the founder of Lions Clubs International, Melvin Jones, the fellowship is one of the foundation’s highest recognitions, honoring the commitment to humanitarian service.

Pouch is a member of the Lyndon Lions Club. She recently received a commemorative plaque and lapel pin acknowledging her dedication to the foundation’s humanitarian goals. As a Melvin Jones Fellow, Pouch becomes a part of the growing network of individuals who are committed to improving the quality of life for people locally and in communities around the world. The Lyndon Lions club has been in operation since chartered in 1953.

Pouch received the award from the district’s most recent Past District Governor (2018-2019) Patrick Laham, of the Augusta Lions Club. Pouch was joined at her surprise celebration by local Lyndon Lions and many district and state Lions dignitaries.

The Melvin Jones Fellowship is a recognition presented to those who donate $1,000 to Lions Clubs International Foundation or to people for whom a donation was made by others. It is the backbone of the foundation, providing 75 percent of its revenue. Contributions can be made by individuals, including non-Lions, clubs or districts.

This award was given to Pouch for her years of service to her community and years of dedication and hard work. She has been the club secretary continuously since 2005 and sometimes acted as club president or treasurer at the same time. She has spearheaded many community events, including pancake breakfasts, teacher luncheons at the high school, chili suppers, spaghetti suppers, taking tickets at the high school football games, and many other activities.

Working together to learn

By Bella Reeser
Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club

The Melvern Jr. Highline and Lyndon Leaders 4-H clubs teamed up for a joint cooking class on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, at the Frontier District Office, in Lyndon. In this class members from both clubs not only worked on their cooking skills, but also on their team building and life skills. 4-Hers created bread bowls with broccoli cheddar soup inside. Thank you to the Extension office for providing our 4-Hers this great opportunity.

Participants of a recent joint 4-H club cooking class were, front from left, Bella Reeser, Gradey McNally, Amelia Arb, Charley Bean, Ellie Sowers, Colt Sowers, and Levi Arb, back, Ella Reed, Paige Gebhardt, Morgan Young, Braelyn McNally, Allie Reeser, Kendall Young Allie Kneisler, Savannah Davis, and Extension agent Chelsea Richmond. Courtesy photo.

Annual Frontier Extension awards recognize dedication of local volunteers

Peggy and Gary DeForeest, Frontier Extension District Appreciation Award winners of Osage County. Courtesy photo.

The Frontier Extension District gives awards annually to show appreciation to persons in Franklin, Anderson, and Osage counties who have made important contributions to the district’s programs. The 2019 Frontier Extension District Appreciation Awards were presented in November at the district’s annual board dinner, at Princeton, Kan.

Recognized as the 2019 Frontier Extension District Appreciation Award winners of Osage County were Peggy and Gary DeForeest, of rural Scranton.

In 1986, Peggy began working as the office professional in the Osage County Extension Office. She became a district office professional when the Frontier Extension District was created in 2010, and she specialized as the district’s bookkeeper.

As the first impression of the local Extension, Peggy was always quick to welcome everyone who called or entered the office in Lyndon with a friendly greeting. Customers soon found that she was very knowledgeable and would go the extra mile to help respond to their needs. Peggy was a jack of all trades and master of them all. Her strengths included her initiative and creativity, ability to problem solve, her attention to customer requests, and willingness to try something new. She always supported 4-Hers and over her career worked with nearly 100 fairs in Osage County.

Peggy retired in June 2018, having served 32 years as an office professional with Osage County and the Frontier Extension District.

Gary was always there to support Extension in many ways. As an industrial arts teacher and gifted carpenter, he used his skills to build several shelving units and publication racks for the local offices, and frequently judged woodworking and electricity at local fairs. He always donated his judging fee back to the 4-Hers. Gary is currently a registered 4-H volunteer and a 4-H woodworking project leader for the Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club. Through his leadership, the woodworking project continues to grow, and the woodworking projects that the 4-Hers complete are remarkable.

Hidden History: Legislating the dogs of Dogtown

Founded in 1869, Osage City built its foundation on the industry of mining veins of coal that ran under the earth. As the town grew, small communities of people of many nationalities sprang off of the main townsite, such as Craig on the southwest side and Dogtown on the northeast. The name Dogtown has been thought by some to be a derogatory reference to citizens who inhabited that area of town, but instead it referred to the large population of dogs that originated in that neighborhood.

Early in Osage City’s history, Dogtown earned its moniker due to a man named John “Jack” Kidd, who had many dogs. When Jack heard of the gold being found in the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1874, he left coal mining for the potential of more profitable mining. When he left, though, his dogs stayed behind.

As the town increased in size, Jack’s dogs, joined by more brought in by other citizens, also grew in numbers. After many years of a rapidly growing dog population, in 1889 the city hired a “dog policeman” by the name of George Russ. George was a well-liked man of color, who had worked in the local mines.

When George assumed his position, there were an estimated 1,000 dogs within the city limits of Osage City. Dog owners were expected to pay a tax of $1.50 for male dogs or $3 per females. George was given the authority to shoot any dog without taxes paid, no excuses.

By July of his first year, George had killed approximately 120 dogs, and only $62 had been paid from city pet owners. By the middle of his second year, George had dispatched 140 dogs, and only collected $66 in tax. George’s progress on curbing the growing population of rogue dogs was halted, however, when he was found to be violation of prohibition laws against selling “fire water,” which led to his prompt resignation.

Osage County communities share holiday cheer

The Christmas season has arrived in Osage County and the city of Burlingame joined other communities across the county in greeting the season Saturday. Osage County Fire District No. 6 volunteers decorated trucks for the evening’s annual lighted Christmas parade, the finale of the town’s daylong festivities.

Photos courtesy of Osage County Fire District No. 6.

Melvern celebrates community Thanksgiving

Melvern community members enjoy a Thanksgiving meal at the community center. Photo by Natalie Melton.

The Melvern community celebrated Thanksgiving early with its annual free community dinner on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2019, at the Melvern Community Center. Joining with other local volunteers, members of Melvern Pride and Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club helped guests with serving, carrying trays, filling drinks, and cleaning tables.

MdCV FFA members attend national convention in Indianapolis

MdCV FFA members at Churchill Downs, front from left, Tristen Duncan, Wyatt Lingenfelter, Braden Reed, Sadie McGowin, Brice Marsh, back, Chisolm Woodson, Frank Warner, Bayleigh Lacey, Kaelin Criqui, Koby Vanderpool, Izzy Toman, and Cole Lacey. Courtesy photo.

Some of the Marais des Cygnes FFA members had the privilege to attend the National FFA Convention and Expo, Oct. 27-30, 2019, in Indianapolis, Ind. Members selected to attend were Koby Vanderpool, Frank Warner, Tristen Duncan, Kaelin Criqui, Bayleigh Lacey, Chisolm Woodson, Braden Reed, Brice Marsh, Cole Lacey, Izzy Toman, Wyatt Lingenfelter, and Sadie McGowin, with advisor Danny Rice and Terry Rice.

The students went through an application process and earn points to be able to attend.

Throughout the trip, they enjoyed many restaurants that were special to the areas they stopped. The trip started early Sunday morning when they began their journey to St. Louis, Mo, where they visited the Gateway Arch and Museum. They then traveled on to Louisville, Ky. On Monday, they visited Louisville Slugger, the home of the Louisville Slugger Baseball Bat, and Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.

Heading out the next day from Louisville to Indianapolis, they stopped at Blue Springs Caverns, billed as the largest underground navigable river in North America, taking a boat tour down in the cavern.

On the last leg of the journey, they finally made it to Indianapolis, where they visited the Indianapolis 500 track and museum.

On Wednesday, members attended the opening session of the 92nd National FFA Convention and Expo and Career Show. There were more than 65,000 members and guests in attendance at the conference.

Bixby School students reunite, reminisce about the day the school burned down

Bixby School students and teacher, 1949-1950. Courtesy photo.

By Ardis Ann Diehl

Twelve students comprised the student body of the one-room Bixby School during the term of 1949-1950, along with their teacher, Clara E. Christesen. After 70 years, six of those students met Nov. 6, 2019, at Lamont Hill Restaurant for dinner and an enjoyable evening of talking about times at Bixby – mostly everyone’s memories of the day of the fire.

‘Twas an eventful day in March 1950 – Bixby schoolhouse burned to the ground. Embers from the burning trash in the furnace had floated up the chimney and out onto the wood roof. Of course, it was a typical day of Kansas wind which contributed to the rapid spread of the blaze.

I remember sitting at my small desk, looking up between the spaces in the ceiling boards and seeing flames in the attic and hearing the crackling sound. At the same time, the teacher was cranking the “four longs” general ring on the party line telephone and shouting, “Bixby schoolhouse is on fire!”

None of the patrons who picked up the call acknowledged they had heard it – they all headed to the school in a rush. So the teacher kept calling the alarm, thinking no one had heard, all the while we 12 students were still sitting in our seats.

We all got out and were safe. Older students went back into the burning building and rescued some of the rows of runners of desks, coats from the cloak room, and yes, the lunch pails with our not-yet-eaten lunches. The neighborhood men arrived and the upright walnut piano (weighing enough to take four men and a horse to move) was saved, along with the heavy teacher’s desk.

One of the horses in the horse barn spooked and ran two and a half miles home at full gallop. Students, teacher, parents, and community folks stood at the far edge of the school grounds and watched the fire entirely consume the District No. 53 education building.

One month of the eight-month term of school was left that spring. We finished the year at Lone Elm School on Highway 68 and had the typical last day of school picnic. The teacher and all of the students of the last school year of Bixby School are shown in a photo taken that day, April 22, 1950.

Those attending the reunion dinner, along with their spouses, were Donna Miller Young and Marvin, of Quenemo; Leo Williams and Gloria, Osage City; Garry Niehoff and Lila, Topeka; Jim Niehoff and Diane, Baldwin City; Carolyn Burkdoll McMillin and Gerald, Lyndon; and Ardis Ann Diehl and Clyde, Lyndon.

Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club dedicates picnic table in memory of Casten-Downing

Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H members dedicated this picnic table, created in memory of Jill Casten-Downing, located in Melvern City Park; front from left, Joycelynn, Chelsea Green, Harper Melton, Bella Reeser, Gentry McNally, Gradey McNally, Tanner Totty, and Landon Roy; back, Anna Arb, Amelia Arb, Allie Reeser, Justin Brinkley, Levi Arb, Ella Reed, Tara Green, Natalie Green, and Braelyn McNally.

By Bella Reeser, Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club Reporter

In June 2019, it was proposed at a Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H club meeting to create a memorial to Jill Casten-Downing, a former club member. 4-H parent Eric Melton volunteered his time in undertaking the task of creating a picnic table in memory of Jill. With generous support from Lyndon Building Materials in supplying materials, Hastings Awards for supplying the plaque, and Eric Melton his time and talents, the project was completed in just a few short months.

It all came together on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, when the Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club met with the Casten family at the Melvern City Park. Here they dedicated this picnic table in memory of Jill Casten-Downing and all her involvement in the Melvern community.

All this wouldn’t have been made possible without Lyndon Building Materials, Hastings Awards, and Eric Melton.

Osage City third-grader’s artwork to be featured in KDHE calendar

KDHE Secretary Lee Norman, Bureau Director Julie Coleman, and Deputy Secretary Leo Henning, present a framed copy of Sawyer Serna’s winning artwork to her.

TOPEKA, Kan. – An Osage City Elementary School third-grader was among 13 winners of the 2020 Keep It Clean Kansas Calendar competition named at a reception Nov. 6, 2019, in Topeka. Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman and the Bureau of Waste Management team recognized Sawyer Serna, Osage City Elementary School, Osage City, as one of the winners of this year’s contest, the 21st anniversary of the Keep It Clean Kansas calendar.

Sawyer’s artwork depicted wildlife enjoying a Kansas sunrise over a green pasture, and urged fellow Kansans to “Keep Kansas Clean”.

Osage County’s unofficial election results, Nov. 5, 2019

Unofficial election results Tuesday in Osage County showed several races decided, while many city council seats and school board positions remained to be determined by write-in ballots. Write-in ballots were to be tallied late Tuesday night.

In Osage City, Becky Brewer will be the city’s mayor with 371 votes, running unopposed. Also running unopposed, all of Osage City’s city council candidates won in their respective wards, Denise Lauber, 85 votes, Sharon Larson, 37 votes, Cathryn Houghton, 125 votes, and Dale Schwieger, 115 votes.

Mayor races in Carbondale, Melvern, Olivet, and Quenemo will be decided by write-in votes. In Overbrook, all three open council seats will be decided by write-in votes.

Tallies for two city council seats in Quenemo are setting with Fred Sweetwood at 51 votes, and John Wilson, 28 votes, and 60 write-ins outstanding.

In Scranton, a four-way race for three seats on the Scranton City Council showed Tim Nedeau with 93 votes, Amy Jo Miner, 90, Michael J. Meenen, 87, and Brenda Lester, 54.

Here are results of other highlighted races in the county:

Burlingame City Council
(two seats)

  • Sheila Curtis, 126
  • Leslie D. Holman, 125
  • Amanda Kohlman, 137
  • Larry Robinson, 55

Burlingame Mayor

  • Vikki DeMars, 147

Carbondale City Council

  • Larry L. Hinck, 114

Lyndon Mayor

  • Gene Hirt, 34
  • Steve Morrison, 178

Lyndon City Council
(two seats)

  • Lyn Atchison, 135
  • Doug Harty, 100
  • Bill Patterson, 98

Melvern City Council

  • Russ Vest, 17
  • Write-in, 83

School board races were also decided across the county:

USD 420 Position 1A

  • Tyler Parsons, 240
  • David L. Williams, 297

USD 420 2B

  • Kelli Bowin, 396
  • Brian E. Poertner, 151

USD 420 3C

  • PJ Heptinstall, 268
  • Brent A. Johnson, 269

USD 420 7

  • Kat Bellinger, 347
  • Robert Shaffer, 184

USD 421 1A

  • Eric Ratzloff, 294

USD 421 2A

  • David Brecheisen, 186
  • Doug Shoup, 171

USD 421 3A

  • Chris Cole, 313

USD 421 4A

  • Joe Isch, 287

USD 434 1

  • Jason Supple, 579

USD 434 2

  • Justin Ramsdell, 578

USD 434 3

  • Liz Maisberger-Clark, 554

USD 434

  • Madison Swisher Sowers, 583

USD 454 1

  • Melissa Droege, 245

USD 454 7

  • Donna Young, 205

USD 456 1

  • Gregory D. McCurdy, 196

USD 456 2

  • Beth Weimer, 194

USD 456 3

  • Michael R. Ragan, 210

USD 456 7

  • Joe Arb, 196

Extension Council Member

  • Nina J. Flax, 1,468
  • Brett A. Karr, 1,334

City of Burlingame Question

  • Yes, 104
  • No, 64

Constitutional Amendment

  • Yes, 1,043
  • No, 1,003

Osage County Commission will canvass the votes Nov. 15, 2019, at the commissioner’s meeting room at the Osage County Courthouse. Results are unofficial until canvassed.

Agencies warn of seasonal increase in vehicle-deer crashes

TOPEKA – Mating season and the quest for more secure habitat have deer on the move this time of year, increasing the chances of deer-vehicle collisions.

Typically, the greatest number of deer-vehicle crashes are in mid-November when the rut, or mating season, peaks. In addition to the rut, deer are also on the move in mid-fall seeking new food sources and shelter as crops are harvested and leaves fall from trees and shrubs, leaving them less secure than in their summer habitats.

“Wet weather this year may cause some deer to cross roads in new places and the additional vegetation growth could make deer harder to see until they are in the road,” said Levi Jaster, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism big game coordinator. “The approaching breeding season increases deer movement, and the cooler weather, along with young deer dispersing to find new home ranges, mean more deer may be crossing the roads.”

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, 10,734 (16.5 percent) of the 64,933 vehicle crashes reported in 2018 were deer-related (crashes in which a deer and vehicle actually collided, or the presence of a deer was a contributing circumstance). Although crashes involving deer occur throughout the year in every Kansas county, the highest number of crashes typically occur where there are the most vehicles. Sedgwick County had 418 deer-vehicle crashes reported in 2018, the most of any county, while Butler County followed with 384 reported deer-vehicle crashes.

“In addition to potentially causing human injuries and loss of life, deer collisions often cause significant vehicle damage that can lead to large expenses for the vehicle owner if not properly insured,” said Shawn Steward, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Kansas. “Of the animal strikes reported by AAA Insurance policy holders during the five year period between 2014 and 2018, the average cost per claim was nearly $4,300.”

Osage City golf girls compete against Kansas’ top teams at state tournament

Osage City High School Girls Golf Team at State, from left, Laci Davenport, Hayden Serna, Carleigh Gardner, Josie Thompson, Lauren Phillips, and Jenna Hastert.

The Osage City High School Girls Golf Team qualified for State Golf for the second year in a row. The 3-2-1A state tournament was held Oct. 21-22, 2019, at the Salina Municipal Golf Course.

Laci Davenport receives a medal for placing 11th at the State Golf Tournament.

Conditions that Monday were extremely challenging, with high winds and gusts up to 57 mph. The team tied for 6th place with Thomas More Prep, Hays, with a score of 405. The Lady Indians ended up in 7th place, shutting them out for the second round. However, OCHS golfers Laci Davenport and Hayden Serna qualified as individuals to compete again on Tuesday.

Laci ended up with an 11th place medal and a combined score of 176. Hayden placed 38th with a 204.

Congratulations to the OCHS Lady Indians for a successful season.

Hidden History: Spiritualists reach final earthly destination at Ridgeway Cemetery

Hidden in Ridgeway Cemetery along the backroads of northern Osage County is a queer monument of stone. This grouping of stones is not any ordinary memorial, but rather a remembrance to a belief system held by former resident Hiram K. Reilly and other area individuals.

Hiram K. Reilly was born in 1839, the son of Hiram and Elizabeth Reilly. The entire family moved to the Ridgeway area around 1865. Hiram Sr. suffered from debilitating chronic asthma, which prompted his daughter to eventually reach out in 1871 for assistance from James R. Newton, a well-known spiritualist healer in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dr. Newton wrote Hiram Sr. a magnetized letter, which Hiram Sr. credited with curing him. Magnetized letters were a method used by Spiritualists in which they would think about the disease and its location within the patient, which they believed infused the letter with spiritual magnetism and connect the healer to the patient. When the patient received this letter, they were instructed to wear it on the part of the body afflicted as long as the paper lasted to maintain a continuous connection between doctor and patient until their healing.

Hiram Sr. died in 1875, but believed that his nearly five years of healing was “a greater miracle than was ever performed by Jesus Christ.” Hiram Sr.’s story influenced nearly a dozen local people with his testimony of healing and promotion of spiritualism. Elizabeth Reilly died in 1891. Her stone in Ridgeway Cemetery reflects the family’s belief in spiritualism, depicting her spirit standing beside her physical body lying on her deathbed.

Growing vegetables, growing minds

Receiving a check of $10,000 from the Bayer Fund are Kim Dayhoff and Linda Carson, Brian Garrett, Bayer Fund representative, USD 456 Supt. Joe Sample, and MdCV Elementary School Principal Twila Wollenberg; not pictured, Barb Roberts.

While young minds are growing every day at Marais des Cygnes Valley Elementary School, students will soon be growing their own vegetables, due to a grant from a major agriculture products company.

On Oct. 3, 2019, the school was presented a $10,000 grant from the Bayer Fund, formerly the Monsanto Fund, a philanthropic arm of Bayer. The grant, written by USD 456 faculty Kim Dayhoff, Linda Carson and Barb Roberts, will fund a project called “Growing Food for Growing Minds” that includes three vertical aeroponic growing towers. The tower gardens, with two at the elementary school and one at MdCV Junior-Senior High School, are designed to provide year-round gardening of vegetables for all students and staff to enjoy. A portion of the funds will be used to purchase Chromebooks for the elementary students, and for field trips for the students to an apple orchard and pumpkin patch.

Brian Garrett, Bayer Fund representative, was on hand to present the grant check to USD 456 Superintendent Joe Sample and MdCV Elementary Principal Twila Wollenberg.

Fire prevention knowledge wins young artists a fire truck ride at Osage City

Osage County Fire District No. 2 rewarded this year’s fire prevention poster winners with a ride to school in a fire truck Oct. 8, 2019. Poster winners also received a smoke detector.

After delivering the students to school, OCFD No. 2 firefighters gave fire prevention presentations to Osage City Elementary School and preschool students. At the end of the school day firefighters and the Osage City Lions Club served ice cream to all students at USD420.

The 2019 OCFD No. 2 fire prevention poster winners were: First grade, Gabriella Lohmeyer, Jaxon Scott, Jenna Brenner; second grade, Kendyl Boss, Layton Buckman, Layne Martin; third grade, Brynlee Harmon, Lena Stucky, Elise Prim; fourth grade, Sophia Brabb, Hazel Phillips, Dailynn Weddle; fifth grade, Kyla Guadalupe, Alexandria Riley, Regan Farwell.

MdCV junior high volleyball girls finish season at Burlingame tournament

Lady Trojans junior high volleyball team, front from left, Colbie Cormode, Eden Hockett, Akyra Traver, Lexi Totty, Kadence Masenthin, Catayah Thompson, and Ella Reed, middle, Allie Reeser, Evie Stephens, Clare Hockett, and Destiny Moore, back, Head Coach Carrie Lingenfelter, Brianna Huffman, Emma Marsh, Brooke Spillman, Olivia Lacey, Haylea Bethell, Kelsey Rice, and Assistant Coach Lisa Reeser. Team members not pictured are Mel Mora, Trista DeCavele, Grace Spillman, and Lexi Hockett.

Marais des Cygnes Valley Junior High girls volleyball team ended its season Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019,in the junior high LCL Volleyball Tournament at Burlingame , with a record of 8-4. The lady Trojans finished their regular season league play with a third-place finish, and a second-place finish in the league tournament.

Republican women donate comfort items for local victims of abuse

Members of the Osage County Republican Women donated more than 600 household items to SOS Inc. in Lyndon, on Monday. The donated items included teen clothing, baby diapers, food, hygiene products and general household supplies.

Republican Women President Lois Butel, left, and project coordinator, Eunice Wedermyer, right, delivered the donations to Teresa Oliver, Osage County victim advocate, center, in two car loads.

SOS is a non-profit organization that assists adult and child victims of sexual and domestic violence, abuse or neglect in an effort to make their lives safer.

Kansas House honors Stephenson for his 100th birthday

Raymond “Lefty” Stephenson, of Scranton, center, was honored for his 100th birthday with a tribute from Kansas state representatives Ken Corbet, left, and Blaine Finch, not pictured; right is Raymond’s son, Terry.

An Osage County man achieved a major milestone in his life last week and was honored at the Kansas Statehouse for it. Raymond “Lefty” Stephenson, of Scranton, turned 100 years old on Sept. 22, 2019. As a tribute to Stephenson, two of Osage County’s state representatives, Ken Corbet and Blaine Finch, honored him with a tribute from the Kansas House on Thursday.

The official tribute document offered sincere congratulations to Stephenson from the representatives, Ron Ryckman, Kansas Speaker of the House, and the Chief Clerk of the House Susan W. Kannarr, and also summarized the World War II veteran’s service:

“’Lefty’ served 4 1/2 years in the Army 635th Tank Destroyer Unit, entering WWII during the Normandy invasion of Omaha Beach. He participated in 5 major battles, including the Battle of the Bulge, and mustered out with the rank of Buck Sergeant.

“Congratulations on this memorable achievement and best wishes for continued happiness,” the document reads.

When asked by spectators what he thought contributed to his long life, Stephenson said, “I didn’t smoke and I didn’t drink.”

Stephenson remains active politically as a member of the Republican Party, and he serves as a committeeman for the Scranton Precinct. He is known for his great sense of humor. He loves to go out to eat and tries to be as active as possible. He loves the Royals and Chiefs and teams of K-State and KU. He watches lots of sports, due in part to being a baseball player when he was younger. He played baseball for a farm team, as a left-handed pitcher and later as a center fielder, until he was 37, in Norton, Kan. He played baseball before, during and after his military career. He was recruited by the Brooklyn Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals after the war but wanted to stay home and continue to raise a family.

With Stephenson for the ceremony at the Kansas Statehouse on Sept. 26 were his daughter, Dana Webber, and son, Terry Stephenson, both of Scranton.

Hidden History: Mineral Springs gush healing waters at Carbondale-area sanitarium

A painting of the Mineral Springs Hotel, donated by the Jungmann family, hangs in the Osage County Historical Society museum, in Lyndon.

The Carbondale area was once home to Mineral Springs, a health resort that drew the attention of locals and others from far beyond the boundaries of the county that wanted to receive health benefits promoted by its proprietor. The resort, located about a mile north of the town, was founded by a man named Moses “M.D.” Merrill. Merrill’s Mineral Springs would go on to become a refuge for many seeking healing for more than 25 years.

M.D. Merrill purchased his land just north of modern-day Carbondale in 1859, a year after coal was discovered in the area. At the time, however, Merrill was living in Rock Island, Illinois, as a prosperous former land agent, newspaper editor, and railroad man. It wasn’t until 1884 that he moved to the north side of Carbondale and made use of springs located beneath his land. Local lore indicated that Merrill’s springs were located on an Indian camping spot, where they constructed dams across the beautiful stream flowing from the spring, calling this fount, “medicine water”. Merrill did not immediately realize the benefit that these waters held, however.

Within two years of his arrival, Merrill decided to find out the truth of the healing aspects of his springs and sought out the expert opinion of Dr. Albert Merrill, reportedly unrelated, of St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Merrill analyzed the water and reported that the water contained purgative salts that could be utilized in treating digestive disorders.

M.D. Merrill seized the opportunity to bring the healing waters to the public and started selling his water for curative purposes locally and shipping orders as far as New York. For a time, there were as many as 100 visitors per day to the springs coming in “vehicles of every description, from the barouche and road wagon to the typical Mexican burro, loaded with kegs, cans, big jugs, and little jugs to be filled with those marvelous waters”, as reported by the Carbondalian. The spring water was also sold and delivered at 15 cents a gallon by the Cooke Fuel Company, of Topeka, which also sold Osage County coal.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas