Category Archives: Featured

Poisonings and medicine mishaps can happen anywhere, anytime

March 17-23 is National Poison Prevention Week

TOPEKA, Kan. – Nearly 60 percent of the human poison exposures reported to the Kansas Poison Control Center involved medications or pharmaceuticals. While most over-the-counter and prescription medicines can be helpful when taken as directed, when not taken properly, medicines can be harmful, and in some cases deadly. Medication errors can occur at any age, which is why during the March 17-23 National Poison Prevention Week, Safe Kids Kansas asks everyone to be aware of proper medicine safety.

“Any medication, prescription or over-the-counter, can be poisonous when used in the wrong way, by the wrong person, or in the wrong amount,” said Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas state director. “Be sure to read labels carefully and follow directions. If you have questions, contact your doctor, pharmacist or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 for information.”

It’s important for everyone to save the Poison Help line in your phone, said Stefanie Baines, education coordinator for the Poison Control Center at the University of Kansas Health System. “Calling 1-800-222-1222 is the fastest way to get an answer from an expert. It is far better than going online to find help, and you can call any time with questions, not just during emergencies,” Baines said.

By taking a few precautions, you can help keep your loved ones and yourself safe from poison emergencies.

Corps braces for more levee breaches as Missouri River flood heads downstream

KANSAS CITY, MO – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District declared a flood emergency along the Missouri River last week due to concerns resulting from heavy rainfall, saturated and snow-covered soils across the basin, and increased releases from upstream dams. The resulting effects pushed river stages into minor, moderate, and major flood stage at various locations along the Missouri River from Rulo, Neb., to St. Louis, Mo.

The Kansas City District Emergency Operations Center is currently operating at a level 2 partial activation, during which the Corps collects, evaluates, interprets and disseminates flooding information both internally and externally. The Corps continues to closely monitor the situation and reiterates that during this flood event that the public remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings.

The Corps is currently providing direct and technical assistance to local levee owners and operators and has dispatched liaison teams to work with both the Kansas Department of Emergency Management and the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency. The assistance includes providing sandbags and sandbag filling machines.

Four non-federal levees have breached in the Kansas City District’s area of responsibility. River stages are currently rebounding in and around Rulo, Neb., and St. Joseph, Mo. The water levels are dangerously high and present great risk to people, property and levee systems.

The flood crest will move downstream, expected to impact non-federal levees systems more than federal levees along the Missouri River.

Severe Weather Awareness Week: Prepare your family for severe weather

Safe Kids Kansas offers safety tips for severe weather

TOPEKA, Kan. – While the threat of severe weather in Kansas is year-round, March 3-9, 2019, is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Kansas, and a good opportunity to discuss the importance of emergency preparedness with your family. In 2018, the National Weather Service reported about 45 tornadoes statewide. Kansas also experiences numerous other high impact weather events, including blizzards, severe thunderstorms, and floods.

“When severe weather strikes, you often have only a few minutes to respond and seek shelter,” said Cherie Sage, state director for Safe Kids Kansas. “It is essential for you and your family to be prepared in an emergency.”

Safe Kids Kansas recommends becoming familiar with the type of weather you could encounter, prepare an emergency disaster kit, and practice an emergency plan frequently with your entire family.

Many people do not understand the difference between a watch and a warning. When conditions are favorable for severe weather to develop, a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch is issued. Information from weather radar, spotters and other sources is used to issue severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings for areas where severe weather is imminent. Severe weather warnings are passed to local media and broadcast over weather alert radios. These warnings are also relayed to local emergency management and public safety officials, who then activate the local warning systems to alert communities.

Thunderstorms are very dangerous and can become tornadic quickly, so shelter is advised for those warnings as well. Getting to a safe shelter in advance of a storm is especially important for families with children or individuals with a disability.

Safe Kids Kansas recommends assembling an emergency disaster kit in advance. If you determine you need to take shelter, be sure every family member puts on hard-soled footwear and take your emergency disaster kit with you. An emergency disaster kit should contain:

  • non-perishable food items and water
  • manual can opener if your kit contains canned food
  • blankets or sleeping bags
  • change of clothing for each family member
  • first-aid kit
  • prescription medications
  • sun block
  • flashlight and batteries
  • NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio
  • set of car and house keys
  • whistle to signal for help
  • highway map that marks the counties to follow the storm
  • identification and a credit card or cash
  • any specific items needed for children such as diapers or formula

KDHE issues health advisory, safety tips in preparation for Flint Hills burning season

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is reminding Kansans that March and April are a time when large areas of the state’s Flint Hills rangeland are burned. These burns help preserve the tallgrass prairie, control invasive species such as Eastern Red Cedar and sumac, and provide better forage for cattle. Prescribed burning minimizes 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 impacts.

KDHE will activate the Kansas smoke modeling tool on March 1, 2019, 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 to downwind air quality problems. On average there are approximately 2.3 million acres burned in the Flint Hills of Kansas and Oklahoma each year.

“We encourage ranchers and land managers to take advantage of this smoke modeling resource to spread out their burns more effectively and mitigate potential air quality impacts,” said Douglas Watson, meteorologist at the KDHE Bureau of Air. “For burns to be safe and effective, weather and rangeland conditions must be ideal. Many landowners will burn at the same time when such conditions are met. Air pollutants from the burns can affect persons in the Flint Hills and can be carried long distances to more populated areas.”

Prescribed burns release large amounts of particulate matter and substances that can form 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. Individuals with respiratory issues, pre-existing heart or lung diseases, children and elderly may experience worse symptoms.

Steps to protect your health on days when smoke is present in your community include:

  • Healthy people should limit or avoid strenuous outdoor exercise.
  • People with respiratory or heart related illnesses should remain indoors.
  • Help keep indoor air clean by closing doors and windows and running air conditioners with air filters.
  • Keep hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Contact your doctor if you have symptoms such as chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath or severe fatigue.

For more information about burning in the Flint Hills, the Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan, the April burn restrictions, and the smoke modeling tool, see www.ksfire.org.

Hidden History: Melvern doctor breaks restraints of public service

By Wendi Bevitt

In 1885, Osage County elected its first candidate of African descent to a county office. Quintus M. Hutcherson was born into slavery in Tennessee in 1850. He was a newcomer to the county, having escaped the deteriorating conditions in the south after the end of post-Civil War Reconstruction, the time during which political and social transformation of the southern states was being overseen the newly rejoined federal government.

Reconstruction concluded with the Compromise of 1877, which removed federal troops from the south and allowed any gains made during Reconstruction to be undone, particularly leading to deteriorating conditions for those of African descent.

The outspoken, and Republican, Dr. Hutcherson eventually made many enemies in his hometown of Clarksville, Tennessee, and finding that residence there was neither safe nor pleasant, moved his family west.

Quintus and his wife settled in Melvern, Kansas, the only family of color at that time in town. While he settled in the area and took up farming, Quintus had been trained as a doctor. Formal training for African Americans at this time could only be obtained at certain medical universities. Eclectic physicians, a persuasion similar to modern day chiropractors, however, did not necessarily require formal schooling. It is uncertain which category Quintus’s medical experience was in, but it was not requirement for the public office. It would assist him, though, in besting his opposition.

The Republicans of Osage County were eager to back a candidate that would gather the African-American vote. Quintus was agreeable but hesitant, “I am not in any hurry for an office, although if I could get it, I would take it and do the best I could.”

The Republicans knew the potential for a winning African-American candidate was there. In 1871, shortly after people of color were given the right to vote with the 15th Amendment, a much-esteemed man of African descent from Burlingame, Kansas, Moses Turner, had run for the office of county clerk and narrowly missing being elected. So when nominations for county offices were made, the party discarded their previous candidate and heartily threw their backing behind Dr. Hutcherson.

Lyndon 7th-grader Cole claims countywide spelling championship

Osage County’s top spellers for 2019 show their certificates as participants in the countywide spelling bee held at Melvern on Feb. 12, 2019.

MELVERN, Kan. – While many people are waiting for spring flowers, a “daffodil” tripped up the runner-up winner of the Osage County Spelling Bee, held Feb. 12, 2019, at Marais des Cygnes Valley High School gymnasium.

Samantha Cole, student at Lyndon Middle School, became the county’s champion speller for 2019, after remembering the “Alamo” in the 13th and championship round.

The bee turned suspenseful in the ninth round as two seventh-graders remained – Samantha and Osage City Middle Schooler Emery Camarena took turns at correct spellings: apricot, diagnosis; adios, popularity. Then with Samantha correctly spelling “boutique”, Emery stumbled on “daffodil”. The misspelling set up Samantha to correctly spell one final word to claim the championship: Alamo.

Osage County’s spelling champion for 2019 is Samantha Cole, right, with Emery Camarena, runner-up. Photo by Lisa Reeser, MdCVMS.

With her win, Samantha will represent Osage County and runner-up Emery will serve as alternate at the upcoming statewide spelling bee.

Other participants in the countywide bee included Taneal Stevenson, Rowan Humphreys, and Codi Meyers, alternate, from Burlingame Middle School; Tristan Spangler, Elisabeth Molt, and Owen Lattimer, alternate, Carbondale Attendance Center; Madison Boley, Lyndon Middle School; Levi Hill, Evie Stephens, and Kate Wilt, alternate, Marais des Cygnes Valley Middle School; and Bryce Linebarger and Jeffrey Snodgress, alternate, Osage City Middle School. All were championship spellers or runners-up at their respective school spelling bees.

Words misspelled at the county bee were garage, hundredth, errand, tattle, protein, rehearse, stucco, bevel, daffodil.

The statewide spelling bee, organized by the Kansas Press Association, will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 9, 2019, at De Mattias Fine Arts Center, Newman University, 3100 McCormick, Wichita, Kan. The first-place winner of the state spelling bee and an escort will be awarded a trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee May 26-June 1, 2019.

Girl Scouts share warmth during Soup-a-Thon; help fill local food pantry

Osage City Girl Scout Troop 30149 participated in the Help House Soup-a-Thon during the month of January. With the community’s help, the Scouts collected and donated 230 cans of soup and 35 boxes of crackers on Feb. 4, 2019. They also received a tour of the site and learned more about the mission of Help House.  

With the help of friends, Lyndon Leaders create place for friends

Euclid Lodge 101 and Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club members welcome all to sit and enjoy the new bench on Lyndon’s main street. Courtesy photo.

By Lara Shoup

A couple years after establishing their club, the Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club wanted to help their community in a big way. They set out to improve an area of Lyndon, and were able to secure an empty lot, near the corner of Sixth and Topeka Avenue.

Improvements began in the summer of 2016, which included trimming overgrown bushes. They could see the project was going to require a lot more time, materials, and work, so they recruited help from a local Catholic Youth Missions Program, in the summer of 2017, to work alongside the club.

The site dramatically changed in the matter of weeks, as they tore out existing grass, installed pavers donated by Lyndon State Bank and Doug Shoup, dirt donated by Wildcat Feeds, landscape rock for the flowerbeds donated by T-Bones Trucking, and a fresh coat of paint to match the restored Phillips 66 stripes across the street.

The next phase of the venture included filling the flowerbeds with plants and a bench for people to come sit and enjoy. To club members’ surprise, they were contacted by the Euclid Lodge 101, of Lyndon, as they asked how they could help contribute. The Masons agreed to donate the bench, which was installed in Dec. 31, 2018. Club members were thrilled with the lodge members’ willingness to help, along with all the other people who gave their time and donations to make the project a reality.

The club hopes to install new landscaping to complete the endeavor this spring. Club members are excited for accommodating weather so they can finally see the completion of their mission, which started from a small goal almost three years ago.

Thank you: The Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club would like to sincerely thank everyone, again, who helped make the project possible, and they hope it will be an enjoyable new place for all passersby.

Limericks and posters make kids dig deep into soil conservation

Winners of the Osage County Conservation District’s poster, essay and limerick contest were honored guests at the district’s annual meeting Jan. 28, 2019, when they received their awards.

Each year the Osage County Conservation District sponsors a poster, essay and limerick contest, with a different theme each year determined by the National Association of Conservation Districts. This year’s theme was “Life in the Soil: Dig Deeper”.

“Congratulations to all the winners,” said Lori Kuykendall, Osage County Conservation District manager. “We appreciate the teachers and students taking time to enter the contest.”

Information about the competition is given to the schools in late October, with entries due before Christmas break. A total of 350 entries were received. There were no essays submitted this year.

This year’s winners are:

Osage County’s 2018 Young Farmer: Balding recognized for hard work on the farm

Jace Balding: Young farmer of the year.

By Lori Kuykendall
Osage County Conservation District

This year’s Osage County Young Farmer awardee is Jace Balding, of rural Osage City. Balding grew up near Reading with his brother and two sisters. He got an early start with farming and ranching, with his father doing custom cattle work and managing grassland. His grandfather had some row crop land that Jace also helped with.

The first job on the farm Balding remembers doing is feeding cattle. “I have fed a lot of cattle!” he said.

Balding also ran the swather and rake as a kid. His dad did all the baling, though. Once, when he was 10 years old, he was allowed to run the combine.

“It was a lot of fun until my mom found out,” Balding said.

Balding was active in 4-H as a kid. The goal of 4-H is to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills through hands on learning projects. Balding’s family had a sheep herd and bottle calves, and learned many life skills by caring for and showing these animals.

In 1999, when he was in high school, he went to work for Ron and Pat Fredrickson on the weekends and during the summer. In 2005, he earned his associate degree from Butler Community College in farm and ranch management. He went to work for the Fredricksons full time after his graduation. The Fredricksons were awarded the 1999 Banker Soil Conservation Award, 2010 Grassland Award, and the 2012 Banker Water Quality Award. Balding helped with a lot of the work that allowed them to receive those awards.

2018 Kansas Bankers Award: Pearson family dedicated to improving land, clean water

The Pearson family: 2018 Kansas Bankers Award winners for Osage County.

By Rod Schaub
Frontier Extension District Agent

Pearson Farms has been selected as the winner of the 2018 Kansas Bankers Association’s Soil Conservation Award, which recognizes farmers and ranchers that have improved their land through conservation practices that conserve their soil.

This year’s winners are Fred and Pat Pearson and their family, of Osage City. The family includes son Clark and his wife, Bobbi, and Max, their son; son Jim and his wife, Dawn, and their children, Paige and Peyton; and son Jeff, who is not involved in the farming operation.

The Pearson family has farmed in the Osage City area for more than 145 years. Fred’s great-grandfather settled northwest of Osage City in 1874. His first job after immigrating from Sweden was working in the coal mines, and soon afterwards he started farming. Paige, a senior at Kansas State University, and brother Peyton, a college freshman, plan to be the sixth generation of Pearsons to farm in Osage County.

Fred was born and raised on a farm near Miller. He attended Kansas State University from 1959 to 1963, where he studied ag education. He met Pat during college. Pat grew up on a farm near Manhattan.

“My father wanted someone in the family to farm, and he was pleased to find out that Fred and I planned to marry,” Pat said. Fred and Pat were married in 1963.

From 1963 to 1968, Fred taught vocational agriculture at Burlingame, and Pat taught grade school at Osage City. Pat retired from teaching to take care of her grandchildren and help as needed around the farm.

The first ground Fred and Pat bought was in 1966. The land was very poor and needed a lot of conservation work and trees and brush controlled. In 1966, Fred and his father, Earl, started the Miller Elevator. The elevator has grown over time and they currently have three locations, Miller, Hartford and Neosho Rapids. The young couple purchased 240 acres and moved to their current home in 1969.

The Pearson Family farm consists of crop farming, mainly corn, soybeans and wheat, the elevator business, and cattle, mainly stockers, and also a cowherd. All this takes coordination of effort and the family divides the work to get the job done. Jim and a hired man plant crops, run the combine, bale the hay, care for the cattle and repair fences. Clark works the elevator, keeps up on crop variety selections, herbicide and insecticide use, and does most of the crop scouting. Bobbi and Dawn have off the farm jobs to help supplement the family income. They both grew up on good family farms, understand farm life, and are a great help around the farm. Fred started slowing down in 2014 and now helps where needed.

Help House News: Start stocking up now for Souper Bowl Sunday

By Raylene Quaney

Now that we are into a new year it is time for Help House’s annual Souper Bowl Soup-A-Thon. We encourage churches, school organizations, youth groups, civic organizations, businesses to get involved. See which group can collect the most number of items to be donated to the Help House Food Pantry. We suggest organizations collect cans of soup and boxes of crackers, each counts as one item. Set a basket or tub out in your entryway, by your front door, or ask members to bring an item or two when they attend a game or a meeting. Send your members out into their neighborhoods to collect.

The winners will receive one of three awards, a silver, bronze or gold ladle, which is returned the next year to be passed along to the next winners, along with recognition in Help House’s newsletter. So start collecting now, and the contest will end on Feb. 3, 2019, Super Bowl Sunday. Soup and crackers collections can be brought to Help House the following week to be counted and entered into the contest.

Volunteers make the difference

During the Help House annual board meeting in November a number of volunteers were recognized for their dedication. John Neill received volunteer of the year award after giving 340.75 hours of his time to serve others at Help House in 2018. Additional awards were given to those donating over 200 hours, including Lance Jones, with 220.5 hours, and Raylene Quaney, 286 hours. Those with more than 100 hours were Joetta Asbury, Patty Colson, Carolyn Hamman, Joan Hazelton, Ted Hazelton, Ann Hladky, Lisa May, and Bev Russo-Willard. As we have said many times we could not open our doors without our amazing volunteers. Collectively, 6,128 hours were given during 2018 by more than 115 volunteers.

Boutique offers prom dresses for all

All area girls are invited to the 12th annual Prom Boutique, hosted by ECKAN Osage City, 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, at the Santa Fe Depot, 504 Market St., Osage City. The free event offers a prom dress to any girl who needs one. So far, more than 300 dresses have been donated to “make dreams come true” for prom night. The beautiful new and gently used formal dresses are offered at no cost.

The event includes refreshments, fun, music, door prizes, and free samples, such as makeup, hair styles and nail services.

Organizers are currently looking for volunteers to help with makeup and quick alterations. Also needed are shoes and jewelry accessories.

Hosts for the annual event are Ecumenical Christian Action Team, Osage City, and ECKAN. For more information or to donate items, contact ECKAN Osage City at 530 Holliday St., Osage City, Kan., or call 785-528-5184.

Hidden History: The Kid, The Pimp, and the Osage City lawman

By Wendi Bevitt

Osage County had a crime problem. It was the summer of 1883, and hardly a town in the county was untouched by some sort of criminal activity. The economic and population boom brought by the railroads and the coal mines had also brought a surge of individuals looking to make a profit via unsavory means.

Burglars, also known as “sneak thieves”, frequently broke into residences, and horse thieves were plentiful. Citizens were encouraged to protect themselves, which led to the formation of vigilance committees or posses to protect towns and retrieve stolen goods.

Town streets at night were hazardous for pedestrians. The dark was cover for those who wanted to disappear into its shadow. People of questionable character would gather on both sides of the sidewalk, singing, whistling and swearing at passersby. Street walkers and prostitutes were common. Respectable women, in particular, were afraid to walk on the streets at night for fear of being harassed.

Frequent lawbreakers became infamous in the county papers. Johnson, “The Pimp”, and his one woman employee wandered from town to town searching for clients, frequenting the streets and local establishments to the point of annoyance. He and others of the same profession would also take up residences at vacated properties for seclusion.

When Pimp Johnson set up a tent along Salt Creek as his headquarters, a public outcry went out to push them into the creek, promising the support of the community for the people following through with disposing of the couple.

Another character known as “The Kid” was a gentleman gambler that dressed in the highest style, from his matching clothes to his fine gloves. The Kid, like Pimp Johnson, would patronize the saloons and other establishments that allowed gambling. The Kid’s amiable nature gave him a certain leeway with the authorities, and when he and his friends were locked up, they would sing, dance and cause such a commotion that houses neighboring the jail would be kept awake until the wee hours of the night.

While most of the county’s towns were affected by this crime wave and used their best attempts at law enforcement, Osage City’s law officer stood out as an example of the quintessential lawman of the time. Marshal Jack Williams worked hard to control the undesirable element within the Osage City limits.

Marshal Williams assumed the office of Osage City marshal in 1880. He was fair, just, and a strict enforcer of the law. Williams wasn’t frightened by angry mobs or other men of money and influence that tried to affect his pursuit of enforcing the law and keeping the peace.

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

All of us at Osage County News wish you a Merry Christmas and happy and healthy New Year! May you spend the holidays filled with the spirit of the season, and share goodwill with all those in your life.

Osage County Community Foundation opens grant application window

The Osage County Community Foundation is accepting applications for its next round of grants until Jan. 31, 2019. The foundation makes grants for innovative and creative projects and programs that are responsive to changing community needs in the areas of health, social service, education, recreation and cultural affairs.

“Any organization based in Osage County can apply, but preference is given to those that are not directly tax supported or have taxing authority,” said Perry Thompson, the foundation’s president.

Grants do not exceed $1,000, and operational expenses are not funded.

The foundation also continues to seek donations to continue its charitable work in supporting Osage County organizations.

“For the foundation to continue on this path, we must continue to raise money,” Thompson said.

He asked that Osage County citizens consider the foundation during financial planning, noting contributions are tax-exempt.

For a copy of the grant application, visit the document center on Osage City’s website, www.osagecity.org, and click on Osage County Community Foundation, or contact Thompson at 785-528-3006. Completed applications should be mailed to Osage County Community Foundation, PO Box 24, Osage City, KS 66523.

Corps cautions against hazards of winter recreation on the water

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District is urging caution for those recreating on or near water during cold weather. No matter the season, water safety is a year-round concern.

“We urge you to consider your safety and that of others when recreating at a lake or river this winter,” said Col. Douglas Guttormsen, commander of the Kansas City District. “Weather conditions in the heartland are unpredictable and directly affect the condition of ice on the water. Don’t risk it.”

Before heading outdoors, make a plan, pack accordingly and know the risks. Dress appropriately for the water temperature not the air temperature, because you could find yourself capsized, or thrown from a boat. Life jackets save lives and should be worn at all times by anyone in a boat, including those waterfowl hunting or fishing.

State asks residents to help safeguard antibiotics

Kansas ranked among the highest nationally, total number of antibiotic prescriptions

TOPEKA – Since 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recognized a threat to antibiotic resistance and has begun working with many partners across the state and nation to safeguard the effectiveness of antibiotics.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment Chief Health Officer, Dr. Greg Lakin, says health professionals, patients and their loved ones need to be informed and only prescribe or use antibiotics when appropriate.

“The general public, health care providers, health care facility administrators, veterinarians, food producers and policy makers can all play a part in ensuring that antibiotics are only used when truly needed and likely to be effective,” Lakin said.

In Kansas, a broad range of individuals, professionals and organizations are working together to adopt best practices to help stem the inappropriate use of antibiotics. A statewide advisory group is assisting KDHE in spearheading this effort.

According to data from the CDC, the total number of antibiotic prescriptions written in Kansas ranked among the highest nationally. In 2015, more than 900 antibiotic prescriptions were written per 1,000 individuals statewide.

Antibiotic awareness does not mean stopping the use of antibiotics; it means changing the way antibiotics are prescribed and used today – when necessary and appropriate.

Since the 1940s, antibiotics have been used to treat patients who have bacterial infections, greatly reducing the number of related illnesses and deaths. But now, more than 75 years later, antibiotics have been overused and misused to the point that the infectious organisms the antibiotics are designed to kill have adapted to them, making the drugs less effective, according to the CDC.

Governor issues state of disaster emergency declaration following winter storm

The National Weather Service’s snowfall total map shows Osage County received as much as six inches of snow north of Burlingame, and as little as 1.2 inches near Melvern Lake, during Sunday’s storm.

As Gov. Jeff Colyer issued a statewide disaster emergency declaration, Kansans began to work on recovery efforts in the wake of the winter storm that blew through Kansas Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. The governor’s declaration authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties.

While crews continued to clean roads and streets Monday, the governor and state officials advised holiday travelers to be prepared for conditions they might encounter.

“Here in Kansas we make it a priority to take care of our neighbors,” said Colyer. “We strongly recommend that you postpone travel plans, if possible, however, if you must be on the road, make sure your vehicle’s emergency kit is stocked, your gas tank is full and your cell phone and charger are with you and someone knows your travel plans. Also, be mindful of all emergency response personnel out on Kansas roadways and give them space to do their jobs to ensure their safety and that of our citizens.”

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management activated the State Emergency Operations center in Topeka to a partial level, to monitor the weather and coordinate any state emergency response operations that might be requested.

During the storm, the Kansas Department of Transportation reported multiple road closures due to visibility including I-70 eastbound and westbound from Salina to WaKeeney. For an updated list of road conditions go to the Kansas Department of Transportation web site at kandrive.org. Winter road conditions are accessible by dialing 511 from your mobile phone anywhere in Kansas; outside Kansas call 866-511-5368 (KDOT).

KDEM received reports of vehicles getting stuck in the snow and those individuals leaving their vehicles and walking in the storm. KDEM advises that the safest place for travelers is to remain in their vehicle. Road crews may not see pedestrians due to visibility issues. If stuck, KDEM advises to stay in your vehicle, but make sure your exhaust pipe is clear and not clogged with snow or ice debris or you run the risk of filling your vehicle is carbon monoxide. Run your car sparingly while you are waiting on help, and keep a window cracked. If stuck in the snow call the Kansas Highway Patrol by dialing *HP (47), or *KTA (582) while on the Kansas Turnpike.

The Kansas National Guard has Stranded Motorists Assistance Response Teams in nine locations throughout the state. The SMART teams, which consist of two High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWVs) and four Guardsmen, are assisting local law enforcement with patrolling impacted roads and assisting with stranded motorists.

Following the storm, with the brunt moving through Kansas by Sunday evening, Westar Energy and Midwest Energy reported power outages across multiple counties in the western and northeastern portions of the state.  

Hidden History: Young man in early Bleeding Kansas turmoil finds final rest at Quenemo

By Wendi Bevitt

Civil War veteran Charles Howard Dickson is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery outside of Quenemo. If given a chance, no doubt Charles could tell you many different stories of the experiences in his life. However, the one he’d probably tell you first is the exciting tale of his involvement in the rescue of a man and mark the beginning of what was known as the Wakarusa War in Kansas.

Charles’ family moved to Kansas Territory in March 1855 with an immigrant aid company, intent on making Kansas a state free from slavery. The Dicksons settled on a claim in Douglas County, south of Lawrence.

While Charles and his father worked on making the claim ready for their homestead, they stayed in a tent on the claim. Charles’ mother and three siblings resided in Lawrence until the homestead was suitable. Charles’ father would be gone occasionally overnight, leaving the 16-year-old Charles to watch the claim. Threatening storms were the only thing that would make young Charles leave his post, when he would take refuge at the neighboring home of James Abbott and his family.

It was because of this situation that Charles was one of the few people involved in what was known as the “Branson Rescue” from beginning to end. Jacob Branson was a nearby free-state settler. Branson’s friend, Charles Dow, had been shot in mid-November over a land claim by Franklin Coleman, who was a pro-slavery advocate. Coleman fled to Westport, Missouri, seeking to secure an arrest warrant for Jacob Branson. The reason for the warrant was that Branson sought to kill Coleman for murdering his friend. However, it is more likely that the arrest was to silence Branson, the principal witness for the murder of Dow.

Not long after the murder, the local residents attended the Dow murder investigation, James Abbott among the attendees. While the older men were at the investigation, Charles Dickson was a guest at the Abbott home when a knock was heard at the door. A neighbor had arrived, announcing that Sheriff Jones of Westport was on his way with a group of men under cover of darkness to arrest Jacob Branson for the attempted murder of Franklin Coleman.

Mr. Abbott and some of the men who had attended the Dow murder investigation arrived at the Abbott home not long after and rushed to the Branson house to intercept the sheriff and his posse. They were unsuccessful and found themselves instead in hot pursuit with an attempt to rescue their friend.

The free-state group of about 10 or 11 men eventually met up with the posse and demanded that since Jones could not produce the warrant that he claimed to have, the sheriff release their friend. A long period of threats and “impressive language” was exchanged between the two parties, with the free-state group doubling in number by the end. Branson was reluctantly freed, with Sheriff Jones vowing to return to Kansas Territory with a mass of men in retaliation for this act.

KDHE advises food safety for happy holidays

Hotline open for calls of suspected foodborne illnesses

TOPEKA, Kan. – As we enter the busy holiday season, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is sharing important food safety practices by encouraging Kansans to follow some simple tips to avoid foodborne illnesses.

Clean your hands for 20 seconds with soapy water before touching any food. Wash hands and surfaces often during food preparation. Always serve food on clean plates and avoid reusing plates that previously held raw meat and poultry.

Separate raw and cooked foods to avoid cross contamination. Use a separate cutting board for cooked foods and raw foods and always wash them after use. Do not cut raw vegetables on the same cutting board as raw meat. Wash any utensil after preparing one food item before going on to the next item.

Cook using a food thermometer to make sure all food reaches a safe minimum internal temperature; turkey, stuffing, and casseroles should be 165 degrees F; veal, beef and lamb roasts should reach 145 F; and ham, pork, ground beef and egg dishes should be 160 F. When reheating, leftovers should be thoroughly heated to 165 F.

Chill leftovers within two hours of cooking. Keep track of how long items have been sitting on the table and discard anything that has been out longer than two hours. Keep hot foods hot at 140 F or hotter, and cold foods cold at 40 F or below. Never defrost food at room temperature. Thaw food in the refrigerator, in a cold-water bath or in the microwave.

Report suspected foodborne illnesses to KDHE by calling 877-427-7317. Often, calls from concerned citizens are how outbreaks are first detected.

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