Category Archives: Featured

Poster winners spread fire prevention messages

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

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

Caution on the road: Deer-vehicle crashes increase in fall

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

“The deer population has stabilized over the last five years, so areas that have had deer likely still have them,” said Levi Jaster, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism big game coordinator. “Young animals are dispersing to find new areas and breeding season is approaching. More animals moving means more of them are going to be crossing roads, so be extra cautious and reduce speed, especially in areas with good deer habitat.”

Student art show adds autumn colors to Lyndon Fall Fest

Hailey Houser’s fall apples painting won best of show.

The Lyndon student art show has become a traditional feature of the community’s annual Fall Fest, highlighting the talents of local young artists. Students in Hannah Wilson’s art classes at Lyndon schools entered fall-themed media in this year’s exhibition on display at city hall. Awards were given in three places and honorable mention in five class categories. Hailey Houser’s painting of fall apples was recognized as best of show.

Art 2 – First place, Cheyenne Campbell

Winners from the Fall Fest Art Show were:

  • 7th grade – First place, Aubrie Edington; second place, Brayden Marcotte; third place, Tara Green; honorable mention, Ethan Kneisler and Sarah Burrell.
  • 8th grade – First place, Mia Fischer; second place, Jada Seyler-Harting; third place, Darian Massey; honorable mention, Addyson Easter.
  • Art 1 – First place, Abby Criqui; second place, Katelyn McCoy; third place, Ethan Edington; honorable mention, Audrey Womack.
  • Art 2 – First place, Cheyenne Campbell; second place, Sydney Gross; third place, Nicole Hughes; honorable mention, Shayla Huffmeier.
  • Art 3/4 – First place, Gretchen Newberry; second place, Emma Kate Unruh; third place, David Moore; honorable mention, Noah Lozano.
  • Best of Show, Hailey Houser.

All aboard: Embark on historical journey at Osage City Santa Fe Depot

Unique open air waiting porch projects from the southwest elevation of the depot.

By Paul Schmidt

The unique train depot in Osage City, Kan., was constructed 1911-1912, typical of Santa Fe depots built in the Spanish Mission style during the time period. It was built by Stivers Harvey contractors, of Kansas City, for about $13,000.

The depot is beautifully detailed in dark red brick against light creme concrete walls to recall stucco. The parapet features original Santa Fe Railroad identification complete with cross and lettering.

The Osage City Santa Fe Depot is located at 508 Market St., where it was built parallel to the now Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks that dissect the town from southwest to northeast.

It is one of two such Spanish Mission style Santa Fe depots left, with the other one located in central Texas at Coleman.

National 4-H Week: Stylin’ 4-Hers show off fashion sense, sewing abilities

Participants in the 4-H Style Revue held at the 2017 Osage County Fair, front from left, Amanda Malone, North Osage; Allie Kneisler, Lyndon Leaders; Chloe Cannon, North Osage; Brealyn McNally, Melvern Jr. Highline; Cole Thompson, Willing Workers; Soloman Shultz, Clover Wrangler, back, Josie Thompson, Willing Workers; Jerra Butterfield, Willing Workers; Trista Anderson, Willing Workers; Lily Shultz, Clover Wrangler; Keira Shultz, Clover Wrangler; Addyson Easter, Vassar Blue Ribbon; Isaac Shultz, Clover Wrangler.

Participants in the local 4-H clothing project hosted a public fashion revue July 1, 2017, at the Osage County Fair.

The clothing project is made up of two areas: clothing construction, in which the 4-H member sew their own clothes, and clothing buymanship, in which the 4-H member purchases an outfit.  With a theme of “4-H Clover Review”, 15 4-H members participated.

Grand and reserve champions were: Senior boys buymanship, grand, Isaac Shultz, Clover Wrangler, reserve, Isaac Shultz, Clover Wrangler; junior boys buymanship – grand, Solomon Shultz, Clover Wrangler, reserve,  Brody Thompson, Clover Wrangler; senior girls buymanship, grand, Lily Shultz, Clover Wrangler, reserve, Josie Thompson; junior girls buymanship, grand, Addyson Easter, Vasser Blue Ribbon, reserve, Jerra Butterfield, Willing Workers; construction, grand, Jerra Butterfield, Willing Workers, reserve, Chloe Cannon, North Osage.

National 4-H Week: Former 4-Her honored as Osage County’s 4-H Alumni

Presenting the 4-H Alumni Award to Devin Ramsey, holding award, are, from left, Savannah Bean, Morgan Woodbury, Maddy Montgomery, Devin Ramsey, Casten Wirth, and Dalton Hook.

Osage County 4-H has recognized former 4-Her Devin Ramsey as the 4-H Alumni of the Year.

Devin, who was nominated by Vassar Blue Ribbon 4-H Club, was a member of the Carbondale Rustler 4-H Club for 12 years. Devin’s favorite project was the dog project, and since she has been out of 4-H she has been a dog project leader for Osage County, and helps the superintendent at the fairs.

The 4-H Alumni award is given as a way to thank former 4-Hers for giving back to their home county’s 4-H clubs. Ramsey was recognized for the award during the 2016 Osage County 4-H’s achievement night.

National 4-H Week: 4-H clubs rely on a little help from their friends

Awarding a Friend of the 4-H Award to Robyn Williams, right, are local 4-H members, from left, Garret Croucher, Dalton Hook, Morgan Woodbury, Gracie Croucher and Tracy Wilk.

4-H members and clubs are supported throughout the year by numerous individuals and businesses. Without such support, the 4-H program would cease to continue helping young people make a difference in the communities, learn life skills and develop leadership skills. To recognize the individuals who provide support, the organization annually gives out Friend of 4-H awards. Three people from Osage County were honored by Frontier Extension District 4-H clubs as Friends of 4-H, Chris Reno, Kelly Vandruff, and Robyn Williams.

Reno was nominated by Vassar Blue Ribbon 4-H Club, due to his graciousness in allowing the club to use his store front window for the past year and half. This has given the club the opportunity to promote Osage County 4-H and the club’s projects.

Vandruff was nominated by Burlingame 4-H Club, because she is always willing to help out with the club’s activities and community service projects. She also has offered fun and new ideas for the club to try.

Williams, of Edward Jones Investments, was nominated by Willing Workers 4-H Club. She has provided a generous cash award to the top two showmen in both age divisions of the Osage County Fair round robin showmanship contest since 2002. Whenever possible, Williams has attended the contest to personally present the award to the winners.

National 4-H Week: Hook family continues support for 4-H through generations

Osage County’s 4-H Family of the Year, the Don and Jenise Hook family, front from left, Melissa Bean, Charleigh Bean, Jenise Hook, Savannah Bean, Savannah Bean, back, Tyler Bean, Dalton Hook, Don Hook, and Adam Bean.

Don and Jenise Hook and their family were named as Osage County’s 4-H Family of the Year for 2017, continuing a rich tradition of 4-H in their family. Don’s and Jenise’s mothers were active members of 4-H in the 1950s, they both were active in 4-H as youth, and their four children, Adam, Tyler, Jamie, and Dalton, also continued in 4-H. The Hooks now have two daughters-in-law, one who was also a 4-H member.

Vassar Blue Ribbon 4-H Club recognized the family’s continuous support to the local club, Frontier Extension District and the Kansas 4-H organization.

It was less than 10 years ago that the Vassar Blue Ribbon membership was surviving on a mere handful of members. The Hooks maintained a positive presence and leadership, kept their children engaged, and plugged forward. Today the club stands strong with 25-plus members and a slew of supportive parents. Fast forward to today, you will see the Hooks hosting meetings, leading committees, assisting families, and consistently supporting the greater 4-H community.

The Hook and Bean family’s combined years of 4-H participation totals 62 years. The Hooks’ granddaughter, Savannah Bean, represents the family’s fourth generation to participate in 4-H.

Runners, bikers to ‘Rush the Rails’ Saturday

FLINT HILLS NATURE TRAIL, Kan. – Where locomotives once chugged across the eastern-Kansas prairie, hikers, joggers and bicyclists can trek the same route today along the currently completed 95 miles of the Flint Hills Nature Trail. On Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, the first Rush the Rails event will fill the trail with riders and bikers, with a planned relay race, bike rides and festivities along the completed portions of trail.

Starting at Osawatomie in the east to Council Grove in the west, four and eight-person relay teams will set out at 7:30 a.m. from John Brown Park, in Osawatomie, and run the entire 96-mile route (a short detour adds an extra mile to the 95-mile trail). Bikers can choose from three distances: the full 96 miles starting at Osawatomie (7 a.m.), 54 miles from Pomona State Park (8:30 a.m.), or 25 from Admire (10:30 a.m.), with all running and cycling events ending in Council Grove.

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

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

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

MdCV FFA members keep busy as fall arrives

MdCV Adopt-A-Highway crew, front, Ethan Cannon, Gannon Schimmel, Tristen Duncan, Grace Bradely, Isabella Toman, Makayla Baker, Alaina Marsh, Chloe Volkman, Josey Weimer, Sadie McGowin, Koby Vanderpool, Alexis Hidalgo, back, Colby Vogeler, Dalton Hook, Frank Warner, Kaelin Criqui, H.B. Booth, Jevan Gregg, Kali Holt, Noah Criqui, Steven Clower, Haylee Miles, Bayleigh Lacey, Brice Marsh, Sarah Green.

Marais des Cygnes Valley FFA members have been active as the new school year gets underway, with some attending the Greenhand Conference at Ottawa, joining a large group that cleaned the highway south of Melvern, and attending the Kansas State Fair. Here’s an update on the busy group’s recent activities:

Greenhand Conference

On Sept. 13, 2017, Marais des Cygnes Valley FFA members Tony Cannon, Brice Marsh, Sadie McGowin, Izzy Toman, and Colby Vogeler attended the annual Greenhand Conference, at the Ottawa Municipal Auditorium, Ottawa, Kan.

The conference is for first-year FFA members. Students participate in workshops that are presented by the East Central District officers, along with help from two Kansas State officers. Greenhands took a test over FFA history and information they learned in class. They participated in activities that included leadership building, official dress, career development events, and supervised agricultural experience programs.

Missouri man pleads guilty to Osage City bank robbery

Bank surveillance photo shows Hunter Prewitt as he was robbing Landmark National Bank, Osage City.

WICHITA, Kan. – A Missouri man pleaded guilty Monday to robbing a bank in Osage City, Kan., according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Hunter Lee Prewitt, 28, of Mountain Grove, Mo., pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery. He admitted he robbed the Landmark National Bank at 106 S. Sixth St., in Osage City, on Jan. 25, 2017.

Prewitt gave a teller a note saying: “This a robbery. Give me all one hundreds, fifties and twenties.”

He left the bank with cash and drove away in a white pickup truck.

Starting with a description of the truck, investigators obtained video surveillance photos and followed Prewitt’s movements including a stop at a gas station in Osage City before the robbery and a pawn shop in Lyndon, Kan.

The Missouri Highway Patrol used that information to identify a 2003 Ford F-150 pickup registered to Prewitt. A crime intelligence analyst with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation conducted a search of law enforcement tag readers and he found more information on Prewitt and the truck. Prewitt was arrested Feb. 14, 2017, outside of Springfield, Mo.

Sentencing is set for Dec. 18. Bank robbery carries a penalty of up to 20 years in a federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.

Spend some time social networking – at the family dinner table

Every year on the last Monday in September, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse works with organizations across the country to celebrate the positive influence parents have on their kids. Family Day is a national effort to promote family dinners as an effective way to reduce youth substance use and other risky behaviors. Research at Columbia University consistently found that the more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink, or use illegal drugs.

This year, Family Day is celebrated on Monday, Sept. 25. However, every day can be family day. By engaging in simple activities, like sharing a meal, playing a game, or even asking children about their day, parents can make a difference in the life of their children. These everyday activities can create strong, healthy relationships that can prevent youth drug use. Why is it so important to act early? If your kids aren’t used to talking to you about their day when they are 8 or 10, it’s harder to start at 12 to 14.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Osage County Places: Melvern’s old bridge now only carries railroad buffs and walkers

View of Melvern’s Pine Street Bridge from Railroad Park; staghorn sumac in foreground.

The Pine Street Bridge, also known as Fifth Street Bridge, in Melvern, Kan., was constructed between May and August of 1909. It spans 148 feet and has a 15-foot wide wooden deck over a main double track line of the BNSF railroad.

It may have been constructed from materials from an earlier railroad bridge dating back to 1884. The only marking is the word “Cambria” stamped on some of the beams. This indicates it was manufactured by the Cambria Steel Co. of Johnstown, Penn.

The bridge was designed for vehicular traffic originally, but is now open only for pedestrian crossings.

The BNSF railroad was originally chartered as The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad in 1859. By the time this bridge was built over the double track, AT&SF had more than 9,000 miles of rail.

Melvern is a great town to safely view trains passing from this bridge or from a viewing stand in Railroad Park.

The Pine Street Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Association releases 4-H and open results for 2017 Osage County Fair, Osage City

Members of the Osage County Farm Bureau serve up cold watermelon at the 2017 Osage County Fair.

The Osage County Fair Association has released the results of 4-H and open exhibition at the 2017 Osage County Fair held June 28-July 1, 2017, at Osage City, Kan. Participants’ ribbon placings and 4-H club affiliation are listed as initials, with a key at the end.

Hidden History: Osage City opera house operator finds fame for others

An old postcard depicts the Grand Opera House at Osage City; from collections of Osage County Historical Society.

By Wendi Bevitt

At one time, Osage City had two opera houses. The Howe House opened in 1879, changing its name to the Osage City Opera House in 1883. Its rival, the Grand Opera House, opened within five years. Each could hold around 700 attendees.

These establishments brought in entertainment like prima donna sopranos, witty speakers, bands, lectures on the newest scientific discoveries like x-rays, and were the sites of community gatherings.

The Osage City Opera House brought in the big names, but also was a springboard for talent, not of a performer, but of a promoter – Melville “Mel” Raymond.

Raymond Melville

Mel Raymond’s parents, Melville and Mary Raymond, moved their family from Eureka, Kan., to Burlingame in the mid-1880s. Mr. Raymond established himself as a grocer, supplying various fruits, baking supplies, cigars, tobacco, stationary and confections to the community. He held a high standard for his goods, and his candy stock alone had, according to the Burlingame Enterprise, “never been equaled by variety or uniqueness It is absolutely pure, he sells no other kinds.” Mrs. Raymond, on the other hand, supported the community by holding a “little folks sewing class” at her home two times per week.

Mel worked as a clerk in his father’s store. The younger Melville, however, was called to a life in the entertainment business at a young age. Mel started by creating his own comedy troop with friend Fred Schenck, called the Schenck and Raymond Comedy Company. Their signature piece was called “Fun on a Steamboat” where Mel pushed the envelope by performing in blackface. The group performed the act at area opera houses, touring as far as Mel’s former home, Eureka.

After that last stop, he and co-star Mary “Pet” Lamb surprised everyone back in Osage County by getting married at the Gold Dust Hotel in nearby Fredonia, Kan.

However, with “the call of the amusement world loud in his ear,” he left to join Sells Brothers’ circus a few short months later, returning to Burlingame only after the group returned to winter quarters.

Afterwards Mel started working in opera house venues, managing the Osage City Opera House and eight others around 1891. He returned to circus life as a press and contracting agent, notably for the Ringling Brothers, but also for other minor companies. He gained the reputation for being spectacular in his methods of promotion.

On the path of totality, Osage County trekkers bask in moon’s shadow

Eclipse watchers at Benedictine College stadium look to the sky to try to see the eclipse through cloud cover.

While cloudy weather caused the solar eclipse to be elusive for people in Kansas, a busload of Osage Countians had fun traveling to Atchison, Kan., to try to view it from the moon’s shadow’s path.

As a special trip offered by Osage County General Transportation, the group of 10 riders and driver John Camarena headed out of Osage City early Aug. 21, 2017, to head to Benedictine College at Atchison.

Erin Auman and Sterling Hughs, owners of Eclipse Computer Solutions, Osage City, had proposed the trip to the county transportation service, in part because of the fun connection to the name of their business. Auman checked for places to view the eclipse from its path of totality, and found that Benedictine College was inviting people to the college’s stadium for the eclipse.

“It was all free,” she said of the college’s eclipse event. “They gave us free viewing glasses and everything.”

According to Auman, the trip was fun but the eclipse crew did not get to see the total eclipse because of cloud cover and light rain. She said that traffic was not heavy on the way to Atchison, but the bus got stuck in the predicted traffic jams for a while as they headed back to Osage City.

“That’s one reason I was glad we took the bus,” Auman said. “We didn’t have to worry about the traffic – only our driver did.”

Traveling on the trip were Bill and Peggy Rezac, Kathi Webster, Tara and Dave Azwell, Cindy Grissom, Shirley Ormsby, and Nancy Hinkle, Auman, Hughs, and Camarena.

Yesteryear’s campers fill sites in Pomona State Park during annual ‘going retro’ event

A 1958 Silver Streak Clipper owned by Roger and Debbie Bowles is completely original and everything works. The Clipper won the best original trailer award.

Visitors enjoying Pomona State Park on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, might have thought they had stepped back in time if they didn’t know the fourth annual Going Retro Car, Vintage Trailer and Antique Boat Show was going on.

With Pomona State Park “going retro” there were 79 cars, four boats, and 42 camping trailers on exhibit, including16 first-time trailer exhibitors. Friends of Pomona State Park were hosts of the event, which drew an estimated crowd of around 1,000 people.

Friday events were an afternoon owner’s tour of trailers, social gathering and a movie. Saturday evening there was a potluck among the trailer owners; then everyone in the park was invited for karaoke and a sock hop. Campground church was attended by several on Sunday.

The Going Retro events are sponsored by the Friends of Pomona State Park and Pomona State Park.

Awards presented:

Carbondale Brownies donate $250 to city’s library building fund

Presenting a donation to the Carbondale library building fund were, front from left, Kynlee Ard, Claire Greenfield, Elizabeth Molt; middle, Tyler Shreve, Reese Black, Ainsley Johnson, Olivia Kennedy, Brynna Perry, Macy Jo Berkley; back, Katy Black, Doreen Weekley, Heather Garrison, Aimee Craig, Alice Smith.

The Girl Scout Way is “to leave a place better than you found it.” Santa Fe Trail Brownie Troop 30145 put this into practice recently by presenting the Carbondale City Library with a check for $250 to help fund the new library building. The girls raised the money by selling nuts and candies last fall and Girl Scout Cookies this spring.

Katy Black, troop leader, said the troop is earning a philanthropy badge and donating to the new library building fund was a good fit.

Members of the troop explained why they wanted the library to be the recipient of their donation.

“We chose the library because some people don’t have enough money to buy books, but they can borrow them from the library to get an education,” said Reece Black.

“People will have a place to learn about lots of things, even spiders!” said Kynlee Ard.

Macy Jo Berkley is looking forward to having access to more Harry Potter books.

Overbrook Rotarians invite you to sit down, relax and read

Overbrook Rotarians Don Schultz, Vic Robbins and Marian Massoth worked last weekend to install an Overbrook Rotary bench on the northwest side of the Overbrook Public Library. The Overbrook Rotary is donating three benches to the library this year, one at each entrance along with this beautiful stone bench. 

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