Category Archives: Featured

Commissioners exempt Osage County from governor’s statewide mask mandate

County health department reports 120 active cases

LYNDON, Kan. – In a social media post this afternoon, the Osage County Health Department announced that Osage County commissioners had exempted the county from Gov. Laura Kelly’s statewide emergency order issued last week requiring Kansans to wear face masks in most public situations. Kelly had issued the order due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases statewide, saying Kansas is facing a crisis with recent “worrying” spikes in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, and stretching the healthcare system’s ability to handle the influx of patients.

Kelly’s order noted that “wearing a face covering in public is the easiest and most effective way to protect each other, ease the burden on our overburdened healthcare system, and help keep our businesses open and our economy running …”

Kelly’s order gave county commissioners until this week to decide to comply with the order, adopt their own order, or exempt the county from the order.

In a resolution approved at today’s meeting of the Osage County Commission, and posted on Osage County’s website, county commissioners ordered Osage County exempt from the governor’s order, citing three reasons:

“Enforcement of the governor’s executive order mandating masks would be difficult, if not impossible and would be an unreasonable strain on county resources such as PPE and local law enforcement.

“Broad ranging recommendations on safety precautions to fight the potential spread of COVID-19 better serve the public’s overall interests than governmental mandates.

“Opting out of the governor’s statewide executive order gives Osage County flexibility going forward to make recommendations or mandates, if necessary, that best protect the health and safety of Osage County, Kansas.”

While opting out of the governor’s mask order, the commissioners adopted a mask protocol for the county, signed by Osage County Health Director Jackie Patterson, and Fred Diver, commissioner and county board of health chairman.

The county’s mask protocol does not mandate the use of masks, “but recognizes the significance of utilizing them in order to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 in the population. Therefore, masks are not mandated, but are strongly recommended in Osage County whenever in any public space indoors, or outside when at least six feet social distancing cannot be maintained.”

The Osage County Board of Health’s protocol also echoes the commissioners’ reluctance to enforce a mask mandate. “While we recognize the significance of face coverings in mitigating the transmission of COVID-19, we find a mandate inherently unenforceable at the county level,” the health board protocol says.

Thanksgiving holiday traffic watch: Choose to arrive safely

For the next week, the Osage County Sheriff’s Office will join many other law enforcement agencies across the state, including the Kansas Highway Patrol, in the Kansas Thanksgiving Safe Arrival traffic enforcement campaign. A grant from Kansas Department of Transportation supports overtime enforcement efforts during the campaign.

While all Kansas traffic laws will be enforced, this extra provision will aggressively target impaired drivers. The campaign begins today, Nov. 20, 2020, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 29.

According to KDOT, the day before Thanksgiving sees more impairment-related crashes than any other day of the year. Those who choose to drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs are a danger to all they share the road with, including their passengers, other motorists and passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Impaired driving crashes tend to be more severe. On average, across Kansas, three persons are injured every day, and one person is killed every four days in alcohol or drug-related crashes. Vehicle occupants in alcohol or other drug-related crashes are over 2.5 times more likely to be injured or killed than those involved in crashes when alcohol or other drugs were not a factor.

Each week across Kansas, more than 250 drivers are arrested for choosing to drive impaired or driving under the influence. A DUI conviction will result in jail time, the suspension or revocation of driver’s license, a fine of $500 to $2,500, participation in an alcohol or other drug treatment program and, where alcohol is cited as a contributing factor, the purchase and installation of an ignition interlock device by the offender. This device prevents the vehicle from starting if alcohol is present in the driver’s breath. All of this is in addition to thousands of dollars more for bail, court costs, and attorney fees.

Keep in mind that if you are going to be drinking, any amount at all, don’t take the risk and try to drive. Take the safe route and arrange to ride with a non-drinking acquaintance before you go out.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both is a choice you make. Make the choice for safe arrival during Thanksgiving holiday week.

Sheriff’s office announces promotions, honors employees for longevity

Recognized for promotions and length of service by Osage County Sheriff Chris Wells and undersheriff Scott Brenner were from left, Brett Lewis, Robert Brenner, John Knapp, Brenner, Wells, Derrick Feliciano, and Gerry Nitcher, and not pictured, Jeff Johnson. Osage County News photo.

Osage County Sheriff Chris Wells announced the promotion of several longtime employees and also recognized two employees for their years of service, last Thursday at the sheriff’s office, in Lyndon.

The following were promoted or recognized:

Bret Lewis has been promoted to the rank of communications director. Lewis will oversee the Osage County Sheriff’s Office communications center. He has been employed with the Osage County Sheriff’s Office since 1998 and has held the rank of communications officer.

Robert Brenner has been promoted to investigator and will be assigned to the criminal investigations unit and will oversee the registered offender unit. Brenner has been employed by the Osage County Sheriff’s Office since 2006 and has served as correctional officer and patrol deputy.

John Knapp has been promoted to the rank of sergeant and will oversee the patrol division of the sheriff’s office. Knapp has been employed with the Osage County Sheriff’s Office since 2005 and has held the ranks of lake patrol deputy and patrol deputy.

Derrick Feliciano has been promoted to sergeant and will oversee the patrol division and the school resource officer program of the sheriff’s office. Feliciano has been employed with the Osage County Sheriff’s Office since 2001 and has served as patrol deputy, school resource officer and investigator. Prior to joining the sheriff’s office, he was employed by the Mulvane Police Department and Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority, and is a U.S. Air Force veteran.

Former undersheriff Jeff Johnson has been promoted to the rank of sergeant and will oversee the criminal and narcotic investigation units. Having been employed with the Osage County Sheriff’s Office since 1995, in addition to undersheriff, Johnson has served as patrol deputy, patrol sergeant and investigator. Johnson is also a U.S. Air Force Veteran. He was also recognized for his 25 years of service to the Osage County Sheriff’s Office.

Sergeant Gerry Nitcher was recognized for 30 years of service to the Osage County Sheriff’s Office. Nitcher currently oversees the Osage County Jail operations.

Sheriff Wells wished the promotees the best in their new positions.

“These employees show a great amount of confidence and leadership to assist in leading the sheriff’s office into a new era of respect, integrity, and professionalism,” Wells said.

Wells also congratulated Johnson and Nitcher on the milestones in their service careers.

“We applaud the determination and effort that you both have demonstrated during your time with the sheriff’s office,” Wells said. “We look forward to seeing all the great things we know you both will accomplish in the upcoming years.”

Osage City’s Market Street enjoys a ‘Holly Jolly Celebration’

Happy raffle winners gathered for a group photo in front of Osage County Senior Center Saturday. Not pictured, other raffle winners who didn’t need to be present to win in this year’s raffle. Courtesy photo.

Osage City didn’t let the COVID-19 pandemic dampen its holiday spirit, as the town celebrated in “holly jolly” style to open the holiday season Saturday during Christmas on Market Street 2020.

Santa rode into town on a fire truck for his annual visit, and kids were able to have virtual visits with him to share their Christmas wishes. The downtown decorations and lights were switched on and the nighttime parade featured some “holly jolly” decked floats.

Organized by the Osage City Chamber of Commerce, the Christmas on Market Street was deemed a success, despite cancellation of some of the annual event’s popular activities due to COVID-19. Everyone hopes next year’s event will be back with normalcy.

The 2020 Christmas on Market Street parade winners, retail poker run, window decorating, and gun raffle are listed below, along with individual placings in the annual Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk.

Osage City celebrates 150th anniversary with special pictorial postmark

A special and unique souvenir commemorating the 150th Anniversary of Osage City, Kan, will be available at Christmas on Market Street, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020.

Local postal service will be available 9-11 a.m. at the Osage County Senior Center, 604 Market St., to provide the special postmark. This location will be set up as the temporary postal retail station.

For holiday greeting cards, bring sufficient first-class mail postage envelopes to have the commemorative Osage City 150th anniversary pictorial postmark applied on the envelope. Individuals can also personally present an addressed or unaddressed envelope, postal card or other items with sufficient first-class mail postage to the postal clerk at the temporary retail station. Stamped envelopes will be available for purchase either by cash or check. The clerk will apply the commemorative pictorial postmark and hand the item back to the individual.

If an individual is unable to attend Saturday, the Postal Service provides mail-back service. The individual can mail pre-stamped envelopes and cards to the Osage City Post Office, 123 S. Sixth St., Osage City, KS 66523, and they will apply the pictorial postmark. To qualify for this service, mail-in requests must be postmarked no later than 30 days following the actual pictorial postmark date.

Information thanks to the Osage City Chamber of Commerce.

Christmas is here: Osage City opens holiday season with ‘Holly Jolly Celebration’

It seems like it was just Halloween, but this Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, it will be Christmas at Osage City, as the town celebrates Christmas on Market Street. Social distancing and masks will be encouraged for the fun and festive holiday event with this year’s theme of “Holly Jolly Celebration.”

In addition to shopping for gifts, activities will be held throughout the day including biscuits and gravy to go at the senior center, lunch, virtual visits with Santa, 10th Annual Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk, 150th Anniversary Pictorial Postmark, senior center sewing projects, in-store activities, local stores’ gift exhibition, gingerbread house building, barn quilt ornaments, photo booth, farm fun time, bake sale, non-perishable food, gloves, coats, hats and blankets collection drive, raffle drawings, Kansas City Chief’s Wolf mascot, free retail poker run, axe throw, emergency services showcase, child passenger seat check, story time, quarter bingo, and the traditional lighted Christmas parade.

Santa will arrive on a fire truck, but with the need of social distancing, he regrets that he will not get to have the children sit beside him and give him their wish list this year; however, he will have virtual visits 10 a.m. to noon and 2-4 p.m. at the senior center. Children can plan to come to the senior center for a virtual visit with Santa in his workshop and tell him what they want for Christmas. Santa will leave his workshop to ride in the parade and wave to the children along the parade route.

A toy expo at McCoy’s will feature some of the season’s hot toys and electronics with demos and giveaways.

The Christmas on Market Street raffle will have nice items to be given away, and raffle tickets are available up to the time of the drawing. The tickets are being sold at many Osage City businesses including AuBurn Pharmacy, Branded Designs, Canine Country Clips, Furniture Loft, Hair Designs by Diane, Harmon Dental, Marilynn’s Restaurant, McCoy’s RadioShack, Osage City Public Library, Osage Hardware, Ramblin’ Rose, Ridge Iron Grill, Subway, and the senior center the day of the event. The raffle drawing will be held at Sixth and Market. The Chamber encourages everyone to attend the drawing but winners do not need to be present to win.

There will be an additional raffle this year in conjunction with the regular raffle, with Peterson Assisted Living donating a Ruger 10/22 rifle to be given away at the same time as the regular raffle drawing. Gun raffle tickets may be purchased at AG Choice, Bank of Osage City, Barber John, Haskins Oil, NAPA, ORBIS, Osage Hardware, Salt Creek Fitness, and at the senior center on Saturday.

See the schedule of events below:

Sure it’s fall, but Smoke in the Spring finally got here

Tebo Creek BBQ, of Belton, Mo., accepts their grand championship award from Smoke in the Spring organizer Corey Linton. Courtesy photo.

OSAGE CITY, Kan. – It took its sweet time, but spring finally arrived in Osage City – on Halloween. For 93 barbecue teams from 10 states and Canada, and in despite of an ongoing worldwide pandemic, last Saturday’s spring-like weather provided the perfect atmosphere for cooking up some championship smoked meats.

Many of the teams closed out their season this year with Osage City’s Smoke in the Spring State BBQ Championship, which was postponed from the spring due to COVID-19 conditions at that time.

Facing the fierce year-end competition, Tebo Creek BBQ, of Belton, Mo., relied on a 180-scored chicken entry to give the team the Smoke in the Spring Grand Championship and $5,000 prize that went along with it. Tebo Creek, with head cook Greg Hastie, also placed second in pork, 10th in ribs, and 20th in brisket to tally their winning score of 706.2744 for the four main categories.

A score of 180 represents a perfect score given by a table of six judges, who score each entry based on appearance, taste and tenderness. A score of 180 indicates the judges scored a nine or excellent, the highest score that can be given, in each of the judging criteria.

In a social media post, Hastie noted it had been his first ever 180 in chicken. “We credit the REAL Man Meat BBQ sweet and smoky and Kansas City style for the win,” Hastie said.

He also praised Smoke in the Spring and organizer Corey Linton for holding the contest this year.

“We always love going to Smoke In The Spring,” Hastie said. “This contest year in and year out attracts 100 plus of the best teams in the country to this small town, Osage City, Kan., and is always the best run contest we attend. Corey Linton has such a passion for competition BBQ and the pride and effort he puts in to organizing is second to none. Thanks to Corey, his family and staff for what you do.”

Other overall top-five prize winners were: Triple H BBQ, Bill Heyen, Gillespie, Ill., second place; BYO Grill, Mark Cooper, St. Louis, Mo., third; High I Que, Randy Vanslyke, Gardner, Kan., fourth; and Boom Chicka Cow Cow, Justin McCabe, Overland Park, Kan., fifth.

Next year’s Smoke in the Spring has been scheduled for April 9-10, 2021.

Santa Fe Trail girls golf qualifies as team to compete in state tournament

Freshman Buessing claims state medal

Santa Fe Trail Girls Golf Team placed 3rd the KSHSAA 3-2-1A Regional Divisional Tournament Oct. 12, 2020, qualifying the team for the 3-2-1A State Golf Tournament, held Oct. 19-20, at Cheney, Kan.

Santa Fe Trail High School freshman Braean Buessing claimed the title of Regional 1st Place Individual Medalist. While SFTHS has had other girls qualify for state golf as individuals over the years, this was the first year the school had a regional individual medalist.

Osage County unofficial results of the Nov. 3, 2020, general election

The following results represent tallies reported by the Osage County Election Office on election evening, Nov. 3, 2020, and are unofficial until canvassed by the Osage County Commissioners on Monday, Nov. 9. These results represent Osage County votes only and do not include all write-in votes and provisional ballots.

Osage County relaxes quarantine rules for mask wearers

The rate of COVID-19 infection in Osage County has increased to about two per day during the month of October, and as of today, Oct. 23, 2020, Kansas Department of Health and Environment confirmed that one percent of Osage County’s population has been infected by the disease since March. In its Friday report, KDHE showed Osage County has had 160 confirmed infections since the pandemic began.

While Kansas continues to be designated as a red zone by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which means 100 new cases per 100,000 people per week, Osage County has taken steps to relax its quarantine rules regarding the use of masks.

In July, the Osage County Commission chose to exempt the county from Gov. Laura Kelly’s mask order and other measures, and instead has been managing the emergency locally under guidelines of the local board of health.

Earlier this week, the Osage County Health Department issued new guidelines for the county regulating when quarantine is ordered for people in contact with someone who has been confirmed as COVID-19 infected. In a public notice, the department said people in Osage County who are determined to be in close contact of a person who has a confirmed positive test for COVID-19 may be exempted from quarantine if the positive individual and the close contact were wearing masks at the time of the exposure.

The notice said data collected in Osage County by the health department has noted that no individuals who have been quarantined due to close contact with a confirmed positive case have tested positive for COVID-19, with the exception of household contacts.

The notice outlined the effect of quarantine on people’s lives: “Quarantines greatly affect the livelihood, mental health, and well-being of our citizens. In particular, our youth and families have been adversely affected by quarantines that have forced some schools to close, parents to stay home from work, and important social and sporting events to be cancelled. Without data that supports the need for these quarantines, it is in the best interest of our citizens to review our process.

“When both parties wear a properly fitting mask that has at least two layers (as in school settings currently), data shows that the risk for a close contact to contract COVID-19 is minimal. Osage County is not implementing a mask mandate, but rather asking that when citizens are out in public, especially at any event in which there are many people (such as school, sports activities, riding public transit, or attending social events), that they wear a mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is mainly aimed at schools, where students and staff already wear masks and where quarantines have already caused significant disruption to important life activities. However, this will also benefit anyone else attending any public gathering, attending work, or other social events Osage County.”

The notice said there might still be a need to quarantine an individual due to high risk circumstances even when both parties were wearing a mask.

As of today, KDHE reports that Osage County has had 160 confirmed COVID-19 cases since March 23. OCHD reports there are currently 18 people in the county with active infections, with one of those in the hospital, and 62 people quarantined as of Thursday. Two people from Osage County have been reported as dying from the disease. KDHE reports that 2,543 negative test results have been recorded in the county.

On Sept. 30, KDHE reported Osage County had tallied 114 cases. From July through September, the county added about one new case a day. But from Oct. 1 to today’s total of 160, cases increased at a rate of two per day. Osage County’s population is 15,949.

Statewide there have been 76,230 positive cases, 975 people have died, and 3,584 people have been hospitalized due to the virus.

Junior high Lady Trojans, Lady Indians ‘Pink Out’ for breast cancer awareness

MdCV JH volleyball team sports their “Pink Out” shirts and masks, donated to the team by TiFi Totty, a mom and breast cancer survivor; front from left, Mady Rose, Emily Criqui (manager) and Braelyn McNally; middle, Eden Hockett, Lexi Totty, Kadence Masenthin, Catayah Thompson, Cobie Cormode, Grace Spillman, Akyra Traver, Trista DeCavele, and Ella Reed; back, Allison Reeser, Destiny Moore, and Clare Hockett. Lisa Reeser photo.

During an inspirational night shared by all in attendance, Oct. 6, 2020, the Marais des Cygnes Valley Junior High Lady Trojans volleyball team competed at home against the Lyndon Junior High Lady Tigers.

Though the night would appear to be a night of school rivals, in actuality it was a night of two teams competing with one goal. Both the Lady Trojans and Tigers, along with their towns’ crowds, sported pink attire. At intermission between games, the teams lined up to share inspirational quotes and announce totals of funds they collected for their charities while bringing awareness to breast cancer.

District governor leads induction ceremony for new Lyndon Lions members

At the Lyndon Lions Club annual picnic Sept. 21, 2020, six new members joined the club. District 17N Governor Chris Bauer inducted the new members into the club.

All members brought a dish to share with each other and the club provided hamburgers and buns.

Lions Club members at the annual picnic and new member induction were, from left, District Gov. Chris Bauer, Gary and Barb Schattak, Tory and Lori Neilson, Carol and Danny Roush, Alyssa and Logan Morford, and Big Lion President Pam Bilyeu.

Eat Well to Be Well: Fill your plate with fall produce to enhance heart health

As temperatures drop and winds pick up, heading into fall is a sure sign change is on its way. One healthy change you’ll see in your grocery store is the switch from summer produce to fall fruits, vegetables, and nuts packed with important heart healthy nutrients.

Heart disease is the number one ranked cause of death in the United States, with more than 30 million adults diagnosed with this chronic condition. The umbrella term heart disease, often used interchangeably with the term cardiovascular disease, includes a range of conditions affecting your heart. These conditions include hypertension, arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, and heart defects you’re born with among others. Heart disease results in developing narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to heart attack, chest pain (agina) or stroke.

One of the most effective ways to help prevent and combat this leading cause of death is to choose foods supporting heart health. Fruits and vegetables, along with other healthy plant-based foods, lead the way as some of the most nutrient-packed foods to bring home from the grocery store.

Research supports this – a July 2020 study in JAMA Internal Medicine analyzing more than 415,000 people found those who consumed a high-protein diet relying heavily on plant-based protein sources could reduce their risk for death from heart disease by at least 10 percent. Modifying the choices you make for protein appears to influence your risk of heart disease. That’s because foods such as vegetables, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds, not only are a source of plant-based protein, they also have nutrients such as phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering properties.

To make the best heart healthy choices for this season, here are fall foods to consider:

Osage County Places: Vassar schoolhouse, still serving as center of its community

In 1913, the town of Vassar moved ahead with its plans for a new school and requests for bids were sent out to the surrounding area. Merchant and aspiring architect Clarence Silven, of Osage City, submitted the plans chosen for the school, competing against firms from Ottawa and Topeka. Clarence also created successful plans for Osage City’s Swedish Lutheran church and the high school at Reading.

Frank Cargey, of Baldwin, was selected for the carpentry work and A. M. Duty, of Melvern, was chosen to do the concrete and brick work. As bricks emerged as a building material for schoolhouses, the sturdy material made it the style of choice. Vassar’s second school was torn down and much of the material was reused for the new building. Total cost for the new Vassar school was $3,299.

Serving as a school until 1977 with its last class of 12 students, the schoolhouse is now Vassar’s community center.

Hidden History: Vassar schoolhouse stands as monument to one-room education

Student photo of Vassar School 1939-40. Wendi Bevitt collection.

Throughout the countryside, remnants of schools of a bygone era dot the landscape. The one-room schoolhouse was the core of not only its surrounding community’s education but also a social center supported by its citizens. Sometimes the only public building in the area was the town’s school. On the edge of Vassar, Kansas, the town’s one-room schoolhouse still serves as a center of the community.

The first schoolhouse for Vassar, District 68, was located on a farm northwest of the modern day town site. A second school was built in 1884 closer to the center of the school district, a half mile northeast of what would become the town in 1887. When Pete Peterson gave land to the community in 1912 to be used for stockyards and a depot, part of it was set aside for a new school.

In 1913, the town moved ahead with its plans for a new school and requests for bids were sent out to the surrounding area. Merchant and aspiring architect Clarence Silven, of Osage City, submitted the plans chosen for the school, competing against firms from Ottawa and Topeka. Clarence also created successful plans for Osage City’s Swedish Lutheran church and the high school at Reading.

Frank Cargey, of Baldwin, was selected for the carpentry work and A. M. Duty, of Melvern, was chosen to do the concrete and brick work. As bricks emerged as a building material for schoolhouses, the sturdy material made it the style of choice. Vassar’s second school was torn down and much of the material was reused for the new building. Total cost for the new Vassar school was $3,299.

The year the Vassar school was completed, 54 percent of teachers and 42 percent of pupils in the state were in one-room schoolhouses. One-room schools typically had two teachers that split the responsibilities of teaching the different age levels. Back then, schoolteachers’ professional lives only lasted on average about four years, but they were at the core of social improvements in their communities.

Frontier District and Osage County youth celebrate National 4-H Week: Oct. 4-10, 2020

FRONTIER EXTENSION DISTRICT, Kan. – Every year, National 4-H Week sees millions of youth, parents, volunteers and alumni come together to celebrate the many positive youth development opportunities offered by 4-H. The theme for this year’s National 4-H Week, Opportunity4All, is a campaign that was created by National 4-H Council to rally support for Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program and identify solutions to eliminate the opportunity gap that affects 55 million kids across America.

With so many children struggling to reach their full potential, 4-H believes that young people, in partnership with adults, can play a key role in creating a more promising and equitable future for youth, families and communities across the country. In 4-H, we believe every child should have an equal opportunity to succeed. We believe every child should have the skills they need to make a difference in the world.

Frontier Extension District and Osage County 4-H will observe National 4-H Week this year by highlighting some of the inspirational 4-H youth in our community who are working tirelessly to support each other and their communities.

“We believe youth perspectives are so important and a solution to eliminating the opportunity gap, because young people come with new ideas and new ways of seeing the world,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO of National 4-H Council.

By encouraging diverse voices and innovative actions, 4-H believes that solutions can be found to address the educational, economic and health issues that have created the opportunity gap.

“This year has shown us just how important teach life skills to our youth can be,” said Jessica Flory, Frontier Extension 4-H program assistant. “When our communities faced a global pandemic our 4-H youth and alumni were able to grow their own food, cook their own meals, fend for themselves when national institution failed.”

Shelby Harris, of North Osage 4-H Club, used her sewing skills to make around 50 masks for people in her community. She continues to help her mom make hundreds of masks for their community, helping people through this difficult time.

In Osage County, more than 180 4-H youth and 35 volunteers from the community are involved in 4‑H. Volunteers spark youth’s interest in many areas for hands-on learning. Some of those projects are rocketry, small engine, visual arts, ceramics, poultry, and bucket calves and many leadership roles for older members such as the new Ambassador program.

For more information on how to be involved in 4-H, visit Kansas4-H.org or 4-H.org. For more information about local 4-H clubs and programs, contact Janae McNally, 4-H Youth Development Agent, [email protected], or Jessica Flory, 4-H Program Assistant, [email protected], or Frontier Extension District at 785-828-4438.

Osage County swears in Wells as new sheriff

Officially taking office Sept. 30 were Osage County Sheriff Chris Wells, right, and Undersheriff Scott Brenner, left, after being sworn in by Judge Taylor Wine.

Osage County’s chief judge swore in a new sheriff and undersheriff Wednesday in front of a small crowd gathered on the Osage County Courthouse lawn, after a governor’s appointment made swiftly due to the former sheriff’s retirement effective Sept. 30, 2020.

Fourth Judicial District Chief Judge Taylor Wine presided over a brief ceremony Wednesday to swear in Chris Wells as the new Osage County Sheriff.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly had officially appointed Wells last Friday after the Osage County Republican Central Committee met Sept. 24 to make the nomination. Osage County Sheriff Laurie Dunn had announced her retirement at the Sept. 14 meeting of the Osage County Commissioners.

Wine also administered an oath of office to new Osage County Undersheriff Scott Brenner, who was appointed by Wells.

Chamber installs billboards, invites highway travelers to drive 7 minutes to Osage City

Osage City Chamber of Commerce sign committee members gathered at a new billboard Sept. 21, 2020, to celebrate the recent installation of the sign and completion of a long-term project, from left, Casey Mussatto, Joe Humerickhouse, Chamber director Jeanette Swartz, Jim Lohmeyer, and Dave Azwell.

After many years of trying to secure locations, developing designs, and getting bids and references, the Osage City Chamber of Commerce sign committee has replaced a billboard that used to direct people to Osage City from U.S. Highway 75.

In September, Thomas Signs, of Manhattan, erected the billboard about a half mile north of the U.S. 75 roundabout at state highways 31 and 268 on the west side of the highway.

The sign replaced a longtime billboard that used to sit near the location of the roundabout. The former billboard was removed due to the construction of the roundabout, which was completed in 2014.

The sign committee had previously erected an almost identical sign east of the roundabout on the north side of Highway 268. In addition, the Chamber has also installed an information sign at the intersection of state highways 31 and 170 on the west edge of Osage City, and three signs at the city’s limits that denote local amenities. The signs were design by Trevor Keeffe. The city of Osage City assisted with the sign project and the city crew helped prepare the sign sites and clear brush.

The new billboard on U.S. 75 encourages everyone to “Explore Osage City”, an “Outstanding Community”, and points out “Shopping, Recreation, Industry, Schools” are only “7 Minutes” west on Highway 31. The sign also denotes the city’s website, osagecity.com along with Osage City Schools’ mascot logo.

Leading Lyndon with community pride

The Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club purchased some mums and spent Tuesday evening planting them at Lyndon High School, Lyndon Carnegie Library, and the Lyndon City Hall. Photo thanks to Kristin Kneisler.

Wells selected as Republican committee’s nominee for Osage County Sheriff

Osage County Republican Central Committee met Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, to select a nominee for interim sheriff to fill the unexpired term of the current sheriff, Laurie Dunn, who has announced her retirement will be effective Sept. 30, 2020. By a vote by acclamation, Chris Wells was selected as the committee’s nominee for the sheriff’s position. The nomination will be sent to Gov. Laura Kelly for official appointment, after which Wells will be sworn in as Osage County Sheriff.

Wells won the Republican primary race for sheriff, defeating Dunn. The sheriff’s race will be finalized during the Nov. 3 general election.

Celebrate your family during Family Day

There is at least one thing that all parents can do to help their kids grow up healthy: get involved. Research shows that teens are less likely to drink, smoke or use drugs when they feel that their parents are actively involved in their lives. On the last Monday in September, Drug Free Osage County is inviting everyone to celebrate Family Day. Family Day was founded by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, to celebrate the positive influences that parents have on their kids.

Finding time to connect isn’t always easy. But, the simple, little things you do with your kids each day make a difference. Although our world is a little different right now, these activities still create strong, healthy relationships that can have a big impact on things like preventing future drug use. Supportive relationships with children are also linked to strong social skills, better judgment, self-confidence, improved school performance, increased self-control, and resilience.

Research done by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse has consistently found a relationship between children having frequent dinners with their parents and a decreased risk of their smoking, drinking or using other drugs. It is important for kids to know that there is someone who will listen and help them make good choices. It is also important to start early. If kids aren’t used to talking to you about their day when they are 8 or 10, it is harder to start at 12 or 14.

In addition to sharing a meal, play a game, go for a walk, work on a project, or even run an errand together. Ask your kids about their day, share a story, have a conversation. For tips, activities and ideas, visit www.casafamilyday.org. Make every day Family Day.

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