News – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Category Archives: News

KHS virtual program features Osage County’s famous paleontologist Barnum Brown

T. Rex portrayed at the Journey Museum and Learning Center, Rapid City, S.D. File photo.

In the dust of the Gilded Age Bone Wars, two men emerged with a mission to fill the empty halls of the American Museum of Natural History. Kansas-born paleontologist Barnum Brown was one of these men. Brown helped bring dinosaurs into popular culture through a life of fossil hunting, and, when he unearthed the first T. Rex fossil, he forever changed the world of paleontology.

The Kansas Historical Society’s Virtual Museum After Hours program for this month, which will be online 6:30-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, has a unique connection to Osage County, centering on the contributions of paleontologist Brown. Brown first became interested in fossils as a child growing up outside of Carbondale, Kan.

In the program “In The Monster’s Bones: How the Discovery of T. Rex Changed Our Culture,” David K. Randall reveals how a monster of a bygone era ignited a new understanding of our planet and our place within it.

KHS is offering two ways to view the program, through You Tube or Zoom.

Young Lyndon auctioneer wins auctioneers association newcomer scholarship

An up and coming auctioneer from Lyndon was named as the recipient of the Kansas Auctioneers Association’s New Auctioneer Scholarship. Cole Pitts, Lyndon, Kan., was presented the award at the association’s annual winter convention, held Jan. 20-22, 2023, at Salina, Kan. Pitts also competed in the association’s rookie contest, in which he took second place.

Pitts received a $175 scholarship toward auctioneer school. He is a junior at Osage City High School, and started in the auction business with Wischropp Auctions and continues to work with them.

Elvan Schrock, of Haven, Kan., was named as champion of the rookie competition. The association also held its first ringman championship competition during this year’s convention, with JB Robison Jr., Owasso, Okla., winning the championship.

The Kansas Auctioneers Association is a trade association whose members abide by its constitution and strict code of ethics. The association is dedicated to the promotion, advancement, protection of the auction profession.

MdCV spellers compete for school title; Mady Rose heads to county bee

MdCV Schools’ spelling bee contestants, front from left, Brayden Traver, Mady Todd, Abi Hines, and Koltyn Sturgeon, middle, Meka Freeman, Greyson Stephens, Landon Roy, Sammi Spillman, Carolyn Penner, Ryne Cormode, and runner-up Hailey Fine, back, Chase Vogeler, Josh Ulupano, MdCV’s 2023 spelling champion Mady Rose, Jordyn Duncan, alternate Emily Criqui, Harper Melton, Landon Traver, and Bella Anderson. Lisa Reeser photo.

On Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, Marais des Cygnes Valley Schools held its annual local spelling bee. Each class from grades fourth to eighth was represented by four of their best spellers. It was a hard battle, but after 10 rounds, it was down to three final spellers, Emily Criqui, seventh grade, Hailey Fine, fifth grade, and Mady Rose, eighth grade. After four additional rounds of head to head competition of these remarkable spellers, Mady Rose ended victorious spelling the word “Chicago” correctly.

Mady and Hailey will represent MdCV, with Emily as the alternate, at the Osage County Spelling Bee, which will be held at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, at Lyndon High School.

On Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, Marais des Cygnes Valley Schools held its annual local spelling bee. Each class from grades fourth to eighth was represented by four of the best spellers. It was a hard battle, but after 10 rounds, it was down to three final spellers, Emily Criqui, seventh grade, Hailey Fine, fifth grade, and Mady Rose, eighth grade. After four additional rounds of head to head competition of these remarkable spellers, Mady Rose ended victorious spelling the word “Chicago” correctly.

Mady and Hailey will represent MdCV, with Emily as the alternate, at the Osage County Spelling Bee, which will be held at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, at Lyndon High School.

John Brown and early town of Lane topic of Franklin County Historical Society meeting

John Brown, ca. 1856-1858. Photo courtesy Franklin County Historical Society.

OTTAWA, Kan. -The Pottawatomie Massacre was over in a matter of hours, but its effects rippled throughout the world long after. Grady Atwater, site administrator for the John Brown State Historic Site, will present “John Brown and Lane, Kansas,” as part of the 86th annual meeting of the members of the Franklin County Historical Society, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023. This year’s meeting will be available both in person at the FCHS Archives and Research Center, 2011 E. Logan St., Ottawa, Kan., and online via Zoom and Facebook Live.

Atwater holds a Master of Arts in History from Emporia State University and wrote his master’s thesis on John Brown, titled “John Brown, Religion and Violence, Motivation in American History.” Atwater also writes “History and Heritage,” a weekly column in the Miami County Republic. During his program, Atwater will present the story of John Brown’s raid against proslavery settlers near present-day Lane and establish the event’s national and international historic importance.

The Jan. 29 meeting will open at 2 p.m. with a review of 2022 and preview of 2023, with a short intermission before Atwater’s presentation, which will begin at 2:30 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. Online attendees may participate via Zoom (registration required) or watch via Facebook Live (no registration required). For more information, see, call 785-242-1232 or e-mail

Boys State of Kansas taking registrations for 2023 session

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The American Legion Boys State of Kansas is taking registrations for its 2023 session. The event is scheduled to be held Sunday, June 4, through Saturday, June 10, at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan. This will be the program’s 31st consecutive session at KSU and 85th overall.

Traditionally, Kansas Boys State is for individuals who will complete their junior year of high school in the spring just prior to the start of each session. However, the ALBSK program will again expand the pool of registrants for this year’s session to include those who will complete their sophomore year of high school this spring.

The American Legion Boys State of Kansas program provides a relevant, interactive, problem-solving experience in leadership and teamwork that develops self-identity, promotes mutual respect and instills civic responsibility to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to community, state and nation. Boys State is a “learning by doing” political exercise that simulates elections, political parties and government at the state, county and local levels, providing opportunities to lead under pressure, showcasing character and working effectively within a team. It’s also an opportunity to gain pride and respect for government, and the price paid by members of the military to preserve democracy.

The cost to attend the Boys State of Kansas program is $350; however, in many instances, sponsors pay the majority of the fees, with the delegate or his family paying $50. Those wishing to attend the program should visit to register. The deadline to register to guarantee a spot in the 2023 program is Sunday, April 30; registrations are accepted after that date on a space-available basis.

Potential sponsors, such as American Legion posts, civic organizations, businesses, clubs and interested individuals can visit For more information, contact ALBSK at or 785-550-6492.

Human Trafficking Prevention Month: SOS advises vigilance, report suspicious behavior

EMPORIA, Kan. – January is Human Trafficking Prevention month – during this month SOS, Emporia, Kan., is joining the Department of Homeland Security and other organizations and government agencies to educate the public and give them the knowledge to help prevent trafficking. Human trafficking is defined by Kansas Law, KSA 21-5426(a) in part as, “The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjecting the person to involuntary servitude or forced labor.” Trafficking can include sex trafficking, forced labor, and domestic servitude.

Misconceptions about trafficking are common, and people often think about kidnapping and complex sex trafficking schemes when they think of trafficking, but the reality is that it is more common for a victim to be trafficked by someone they know and trust. According to data by Polaris, an organization that works to prevent trafficking, of the cases of trafficking reported in 2020, 58 percent of trafficking recruiters were someone close to the victim. This is particularly true for sex trafficking, where in 2020 42 percent of recruiters were a member of the victim’s family and 39 percent an intimate partner or marriage proposition. Together that is 81 percent of the recruiters for sex trafficking being close to the victim.

However, friends and family are also the most likely way for a victim of trafficking to connect to help. There are behaviors to watch for in teens , such as withdrawing from family and friends, receiving pornography or inappropriate photos or messages, being overly obsessed with being online, hiding their device screens from others, receiving expensive gifts from a friend that the parents or family doesn’t know, or becoming upset when they don’t have wi-fi access or cell service. It’s important to create a safe and non-judgmental space, and to work on building strong supportive relationships with teens.

SOS works with schools and parents to try to help kids stay safer online, and friends and family play an important role in keeping teens safe from trafficking. Parents can help keep their kids safe from trafficking by building and maintaining healthy relationships, talking to children early and often about relationships and healthy sexual development, knowing the signs of trafficking and staying educated on trafficking, and especially by being vigilant about online safety.

Agencies have learned that the pandemic did not decrease trafficking, but rather pushed it even further online. Numbers for trafficking stayed steady overall in 2020, for example, but online recruitment increased a significant 22 percent according to Polaris. Trafficking recruitment transferred from places like schools and foster homes to make the internet the top recruiting location for all forms of trafficking. Facebook and Instagram alone saw a 120 percent increase as points of recruitment, so it’s important to help children and teens know how to stay safe online.

SOS encourages everyone to remain vigilant of their surroundings, to engage in open, honest conversations with their children, and to report any suspicious behavior to authorities. Anyone who suspects human trafficking should contact law enforcement immediately.

For more information, contact SOS at 620-343-8799 or 24 hours a day at 800-825-1295, or see

Kahler files motion in Osage County District Court to overturn death sentence

James Kraig Kahler is led out of the Osage County Courthouse to the county jail after his sentencing, Oct. 11, 2011. File photo.

LYNDON, Kan. – A man condemned to death for murdering his wife, two daughters, and grandmother-in-law at a Burlingame, Kan., home in 2009, has made a possible last ditch effort to reduce or overturn his sentence.

James Kraig Kahler, convicted of the quadruple capital murder and sentenced by an Osage County jury in 2011, filed a civil lawsuit Jan. 19, 2023, against the state of Kansas in Osage County District Court. In the filing, Kahler and his attorney, Julia S. Spainhour, of the Kansas Capital Habeas Office, Topeka, Kan., seek a motion for the court receive evidence on his claims for relief and vacate and set aside his convictions and death sentence.

The motion relies on a state law that allows a prisoner to claim the right to be released on grounds that a sentence was imposed in violation of the constitution or laws of the United States or Kansas, or the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or other grounds. KSA 60-1507 provides prisoners a filing time limit of one year from the last time an appellate court exercised jurisdiction.

Kahler has previously appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court, which affirmed his conviction and sentence. March 23, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its judgement affirming the Kansas court’s decision. The Kansas Supreme Court subsequently mandated Osage County District Court to execute judgment of the court, with that filing made May 5, 2022, and which set the one-year clock for Kahler to file the current motion.

The motion outlines 14 grounds that allege substantial violations of Kahler’s constitutional and statutory rights to receive effective assistance of counsel and due process of the law, to enjoy equal protection of the laws, to demand witnesses to testify on his behalf and to effectively confront the witnesses against him, to receive a fair trial conducted by an unbiased judge, and to have his evidence heard and decided by an impartial jury. Kahler also alleges the state of Kansas has violated his constitutional right to be free from cruel or unusual punishment.

In a separate motion to appoint counsel and set a status conference, Kahler, who is currently incarcerated under special management status in El Dorado Correctional Facility, El Dorado, Kan., asks for a one-year period to investigate and gather evidence to support his motion.

Following a two-week trial in August 2011, an Osage County jury convicted Kahler, then 48, of killing his wife, Karen Kahler, 44, his daughters, Emily, 18, and Lauren, 16; and Karen’s grandmother, Dorothy Wight, 89, on Nov. 28, 2009, in Wight’s Burlingame home. In addition to capital murder, Kahler was convicted of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated burglary. During the Oct. 11, 2011, sentencing hearing, then-Osage County Chief Judge Phillip Fromme affirmed the jury’s verdict of the death sentence.

After an almost 12-hour manhunt following the killings, a Shawnee County deputy found Kahler the next morning sitting in a roadside ditch along Auburn Road. The murder weapon was never found.

The current motion might not be Kahler’s last chance to attempt to overturn his death sentence. Although he has exhausted his direct appeals, and his capital murder convictions and death sentence have been affirmed, further appeals are possible. If Kahler’s motion is granted, he will also retain the right to appeal the court’s final decision.

Sheriff locates person of interest in Santa Fe Trail High School burglary

Update: Jan. 24, 2023, the Osage County Sheriff’s Office reported Dalton R. Quimby has been located, and charges against him for the burglary of Santa Fe Trail High School have been submitted to the county attorney’s office.


Marais des Cygnes Valley High School names Queen of Courts candidates

Marais des Cygnes Valley High School will crown the Queen of Courts in a ceremony during half-time of the varsity boys game Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, when the Trojans take on Cair Paravel. Varsity game time is 7 p.m. Senior candidates for the court are, from left, Joe Del Percio, Madison Cormode, Kyla Vogeler, and Isaac Hockett. Freshman attendants are Jayden McClintic and Gracen Clower, sophomore attendants are Dallen Flatin and Evie Stephens, and junior attendants are Mason Rose and Olivia Lacey. Photo by Lisa Reeser.

Osage City Library plans Valentine’s Day surprises for local seniors

The Osage City Library will be delivering some love to all the senior living centers for Valentine’s Day. Those who would like to participate can purchase or make homemade valentines, write a note, and sign them. The library’s goal is to make sure each resident receives at least five or six valentines each. Between 750 to 900 valentines are needed.

AARP will be back at the Osage City Library in March to provide tax assistance to anyone free of charge, with a focus on taxpayers who are older than 50 and have low to moderate income. Sign up will begin Feb. 13, 2023.

Of interest to adult patrons: The library has monthly adult bingo and adult book club.

During the library’s after school program, 1,892 snacks were given to children, 18 years and younger, in the first semester of the school year. This is an increase of almost 480 from the same time span in 2021. Each snack is individually wrapped and the library provides a variety of choices. This program is supported from monetary donations as well as snack donations, and has been providing snacks after school for over four years. The library has also received a grant from Catholic Charities to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables to offer the youths who attend an after school program. After school activities are on Tuesdays and Thursdays for local youth. Lego Club is the second Wednesday of each month.

Help House kicks off annual Soup-a-Thon; Prom Shop scheduled for February

The competition will be fierce for Help House’s Soup-a-Thon ’23! Area churches and organizations are urged to begin collecting cans of soup and sleeves of crackers for Help House’s food pantry. The goal line will be reached on Feb. 15, 2023, by when competitors must deliver soup and crackers to Help House.

The church or organization that brings in the most cans of soup and sleeves of crackers will win the gold award. Silver and bronze winners will also be named.

Help House has also announced its upcoming Prom Shop, which will be open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday Feb. 18, and 1-5 p.m. Sunday Feb. 19, at 104 W. Santa Fe Ave., Burlingame. Many beautiful gowns have been donated and are available for any high school age girls living in Osage County, and all are free.

Help House offers a big thank you to Ted and Shirl Ammerman, of Royal Cleaners, Ottawa, who donated professional cleaning of all gowns.

For more information about either of these events, stop by Help House at 131 W. 15th St., Lyndon, Kan., see, call 785-828-4888, or email

Frontier Extension to host beef cattle update at Overbrook for the New Year

The Frontier Extension District will host public meeting to provide a beef cattle update, at 6 p.m. Jan. 19, 2023, at the Overbrook Livestock Commission Company, 305 First St., Overbrook, Kan. The evening will begin with a chili supper at 6 p.m. with presentations following.

Jaymelynn Farney, Southeast Area Extension beef systems specialist, will discuss making cost efficient selection of mineral for a cowherd and the importance of vitamin A, especially with droughty forages.

Cassandra Olds, K-State livestock entomologist, will update on ticks and the diseases they carry, including those that affect cattle and humans. If you like to eat red meat, knowing how to protect yourself from tick bites is important.

Bruno Pedreira, Southeast Area forage specialist, will talk about pasture management and how drought influences next year’s forage growth.

For more information, contact Rod Schaub, Frontier District Extension agent, at 785-828-4438 or

Photo shows person of interest in Thursday Santa Fe Trail school burglary

OSAGE COUNTY, Kan. – The Osage County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a burglary that occurred during the early morning hours of Jan. 12, 2023, at Santa Fe Trail High School, 15701 S. California Road, Carbondale. A surveillance camera captured a photo of a person of interest in this case.

Osage County Sheriff Chris Wells is asking anyone with information to contact the sheriff’s office at 785-828-3121 or, or to remain anonymous, contact Osage County Crime Stoppers at 877-OSCRIME.

Filings in the Osage County Courthouse, Dec. 30, 2022 – Jan. 5, 2023

The following information was compiled Dec. 30, 2022, to Jan. 5, 2023, from records at the Osage County Courthouse, Lyndon, Kan.

Blake Treinen, 2020 World Series Champion, hometown hero, comes home for Christmas

Blake Treinen, Osage City hero and World Series Champion pitcher, talks to the crowd gathered Dec. 23, 2022, at Osage County Senior Center, Osage City. Osage City Chamber of Commerce photo.

World Series Champion Blake Treinen and his family came back to the Osage City, Kan., area to be with family for the Christmas holiday, and the Osage City Chamber of Commerce hosted an open house in Blake’s honor. Everyone in the area was invited to the meet and greet and question and answer session, Dec. 23, 2022, at the Osage County Senior Center. A group of all ages braved the bitter cold to come listen to Blake’s experience as an Major League Baseball pitcher.

Along with question and answers, Blake gave a very informative journey of his trials and tribulations to reach his ultimate goal to play baseball with a major league team. His motivational speech reflecting upon his Christian faith and perseverance inspired everyone in the room.

Signs are installed on state Highway 31 on the north side, state Highway 170 on the south side, and  K-31 on the east side recognizing Osage City as Blake’s hometown.

Treinen, No. 49, pitches for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Osage City hero was American League Reliever of the Month and AL All Star when playing for the Oakland Athletics in 2018, then became a World Series Champion with the Dodgers in 2020, after having signed on as a pitcher with the team in 2019.

Vignery sworn in as Osage County Attorney

Osage County is starting the New Year with a new county attorney, following the resignation of former Osage County Attorney Jack Hobbs. Jan. 3, 2023, Osage County Chief Judge Taylor Wine gave the oath of office to Tonya Vignery as the new Osage County Attorney. Vignery was selected by the Osage County Republican Central Committee to replace Hobbs. Photo, from left, Osage County Attorney Tonya Vignery and Dana Webber, OCRCC chairman.



Information and photo thanks to OCRCC.

Happy holidays from the Willing Workers

Willing Workers’ Christmas parade float celebrated the theme of “Songs of Christmas” as they “jingled all the way” along Market Street in Osage City, front, Jaiton Bosse, Brody Thompson, and Kevin Whitmer, middle, Adalynn Wagner, Leila Wilcoxson, Kaiden Bosse, Clara Thielen, Hadley Bosse, Lena Stucky, Claire Newman, Mason Newman, and Jack Ferrer, back, Reece Wilcoxson, Avery Thielen, Paige Thielen, Elisa Wagner, and Kassie Thielen. Courtesy photo.

Club Reporter Avery Thielen

This holiday season the Willing Workers 4-H Club showed its holiday spirit in many ways to the community. During the Osage City winter parade on Nov. 12, 2022, the 4-Hers brought a colorful sled float to the street. Upon their arrival they won first place in the judging of the floats. The red sleigh was built from pallets and decorated with beautiful homemade snowflakes. On Dec. 11, the Willing Workers made sugar cookies and planned to go caroling to assisted living facilities to deliver the cookies. Due to the Osage City Schools closing, the 4-H club was unable to go caroling, but the cookies were still delivered for the residents to enjoy.

Willing Workers 4-H Club would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

Hidden History: Working for freedom in Osage County coal mines

Drawing of Kansas Exodusters by Solomon Eytinge, 1833-1905, Harper’s weekly, v. XXIII, No. 1181, August 16, 1879. Source Library of Congress.

After the conclusion of the Civil War there was a period of Reconstruction that attempted to graft the South back into the Union. The transition was disastrous, and at the forefront of other troubles with Reconstruction, individuals of African descent faced racial violence and the creation of the Black Codes (which mirrored previous laws governing slaves). Many chose to leave the south for a chance at a better life in Kansas in what was called the “Black Exodus.”

These migrants were dubbed Exodusters and started to arrive in Kansas as early as 1873. The most widely known Kansas Exoduster settlement at Nicodemus began in 1877, but black migration to Kansas didn’t begin in earnest until 1879.

Multiple Exoduster settlements were made in the state, and while Osage County received many Exodusters, it was not home to an “official” settlement. It was, however, the location of the only business enterprise of its kind in the state, solely owned and operated by Exodusters.

When the Exodusters arrived in Osage County in 1879-1880, many came to Osage City (the town of Burlingame, while welcoming to blacks during the Civil War, did not want the new arrivals).

Most Exoduster men in Kansas found labor positions, predominantly in agriculture. In Osage County, however, the coal resources were just beginning to be tapped in earnest and mining opportunities seemingly abounded. Osage City was an infant town that was booming with the coal industry. Within less than a decade, it boasted 77 new buildings, a great influx of new citizens, and ample opportunities for employment from local stone quarries to five coal shafts. And the coal jobs in the area paid well – double what was offered in the surrounding areas.

Osage City became a very appealing place to settle. But there was a problem. The established coal mines didn’t really want black miners. And so, a group of the earliest members of the Exodus created a mining colony that they called Liberia (named in honor of the colony in Africa established for freed slaves).

This community and mine were the only one of its kind in the state – fully owned and operated by men of African descent. There were two attempts at a Liberia settlement in Osage County. The first Liberia was located just south of the community of Dragoon (south of Burlingame), situated on lands purchased for one of the large coal companies.

The Liberia miners faced multiple hazards. The men were inexperienced and forged their own way with mining. In the over 60-foot-deep shaft, an accidental fall could be disastrous. Also, the community, while relatively close to Burlingame, had no easy access to the town to retrieve supplies. At the time Liberia was established in 1880, there was no safe bridge for regular foot or horse traffic, and crossing Dragoon Creek was accomplished by using the railroad bridge, which could prove deadly.

The first Liberia ended within a few short years and some of its members decided to return to the South, discouraged by lack of opportunities for people of color. When the settlement was disbanded, the buildings were sold and taken to the nearby community of Peterton and repurposed.

For those who remained, working at the Osage City mines was not an option for everyone, as there were only two mines at this time that allowed black men. Determination to make a Liberia mining settlement work led to another attempt in 1885, outside of Barclay, south of Osage City.

Powered by WordPress