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KDOT schedules more blasting for K-31 realignment project

Update: The schedule for blasting along state Highway 31 has been revised to occur daily for up to three weeks. Beginning Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, one blast will occur between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily, Monday to Friday, weather permitting. Blasting is not scheduled to happen on weekends. Drivers should expect up to a 15-minute delay.


Additional blasting work along the state Highway 31 reconstruction project in Osage County has been scheduled. Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, through Friday, Sept. 24, one blast will occur every other day between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., weather permitting. No blasting will take place on weekends. Drivers should expect up to a 15-minute delay.

The controlled blasts are scheduled to be conducted as part of the realignment of the section of K-31 east of Osage City. KDOT previously announced blasting areas will be closed for up to 15 minutes at a time while blasts take place. Flaggers will stop traffic around the blasting area three minutes prior to a blast. Traffic will be released as soon as the all clear signal is given. Audible sirens will also be sounded before and after the blast: three short sirens one minute prior to the blast and one long siren after the area is all clear.

K-68 eastbound traffic detoured at Ottawa this weekend

Starting Friday afternoon, Sept. 17, 2021, and continuing through next Monday morning, the eastbound lanes of state Highway 68 will be closed from Eisenhower Road to Main Street at Ottawa. The closure coincides with a local event and bridge construction work on K-68.

Eastbound traffic only will be detoured on Eisenhower Road and Interstate 35. Westbound traffic will remain on K-68 with a width restriction of 11.6 feet.

For more information, contact KDOT Area Engineer Donna Schmit at 785-433-6107 or Public Affairs Manager Priscilla Petersen at 620-902-6433.

Osage County to receive funds for off-system bridge reconstruction

TOPEKA – Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and Secretary of Transportation Julie Lorenz have announced that Osage County is one of 13 counties that will receive a combined total of $7.5 million through the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Off-System Bridge Improvement Program.

State funding for the 13 projects will be supplemented by a minimum 20 percent match from each recipient. KDOT received 87 applications requesting $46.4 million as part of the Off-System Bridge Improvement Program.

Osage County’s awarded amount will be $857,021.60, for bridge construction located 1/2 mile south and 4.3 miles east of Vassar.

In Kansas, there are more than 19,300 locally owned bridges, of which 1,230 are in “poor” condition and an additional 3,844 are either unable to carry legal loads or accommodate modern truck sizes. Off-system bridges are located on roadways not otherwise eligible for federal aid.

Sheriff investigates hazing incidents at Burlingame High School

Osage County Sheriff Chris Wells has announced his office is investigating multiple accusations of hazing incidents involving students at Burlingame High School, and the public’s assistance is sought in the investigation.

The sheriff has requested any members of the public who have information about the ongoing investigation to contact the sheriff’s office at 785-828-3121, 877-OSCRIME, or email [email protected].

From your closet to the Prom Closet

The 2021 Prom Closet was held in Burlingame and featured more than 75 dresses. Dress donations are welcomed for the next prom store in 2022. Courtesy photo.

Help House welcomes dresses for next year’s prom store

Help House’s Prom Closet was a success for about 20 girls who went home with free prom dresses. Due to the benefit the event provides local prom goers, Help House has tentatively scheduled another Prom Closet for February 2022.

The prom store works with donations of women’s and girls’ dresses, especially those suitable for prom or formal celebrations. Perhaps someone moving out and going to college might find they have prom dresses they don’t plan to wear again hanging in the closet? Help House would welcome them to add to the collection for the Prom Shop next year. They must be clean with no stains and in good shape.

For more information, contact Help House at 785-828-4888.

Deadline near for Osage County Community Foundation fall quarter grants

Osage County Community Foundation is currently in its June to September grant period, and applications are accepted for this round until Sept. 30, 2021.

Click to download an OCCF grant application.The foundation awards grants for long term projects that allow communities to benefit for many years to come. Through its grant making opportunities, the foundation works to bring together the financial resources of individuals, families, and businesses to support nonprofit organizations and others in our community. Any organization or group based in Osage County can apply for grants, but preference is given to those that are not directly tax supported or agencies that have taxing authority.

For more information about the grant application process or donating to the Osage County Community Foundation, contact Perry Thompson at 785-528-3006, or contact one of the foundation’s board members, Joe Humerickhouse, Casey Mussatto, Janet Steinle, Jodi Stark, or Mike Pitts. A grant application is available here. Completed applications can be mailed to Osage County Community Foundation, PO Box 24, Osage City, KS 66523.

Community Covenant Church celebrates fall with fun for entire family

Community Covenant Church will host a fall festival 4-8 p.m. Sept. 18, 2021, at the church at 334 N. Topeka St., Osage City, Kan. The event promises something for everyone, and families are invited to enjoy vendors and booths set up with crafts, baked goods, and more. There will be games including cornhole and basketball shootout tournaments, and bounces houses will be available for kids, along with face painting and pumpkin painting.

The day concludes with a chili cookoff and chili feed. Contact the church for chili cookoff information, or see www.facebook.com/occomcov. Send entry form to: Community Covenant Church, PO Box 126, Osage City, KS 66523.

Vassar woman dies in two-car collision on K-268 Friday

VASSAR, Kan. – A Vassar woman was killed and another driver was seriously injured in a two-car accident Friday afternoon on state Highway 268, two miles east of U.S. Highway 75.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported Patti J. Croy, 65, Vassar, Kan., was driving a 2013 Kia Sorento westbound on K-268 about 12:40 p.m. Sept. 10, 2021, when her vehicle left the roadway for an unknown reason. Croy overcorrected and the vehicle crossed the center line and collided with a 2010 GMC Acadia driven by Trisha M. Ellis, 52, Superior, Wis.

Croy died at the accident scene, and Ellis was transported with suspected serious injuries to Stormont Vail Hospital, Topeka, Kan. Both drivers were the sole occupants in their vehicles and both were wearing seatbelts during the accident that occurred near Berryton Road, about two miles east of the U.S. Highway 75 roundabout.

The Osage County Sheriff’s Office announced on social media K-268 was closed between Berryton Road and California Road from about 1 to 3:30 p.m. while the accident scene was cleared.

Sheriff reports on local narcotics arrests

Osage County Sheriff Chris Wells has released the following reports regarding recent drug related arrests in Osage County.

At 2:45 p.m. Sept. 7, 2021, an Osage County Sheriff’s deputy conducted a traffic stop at East 245th Street and state Highway 268 for a traffic violation. During the stop, a K-9 was deployed, and narcotics were located. The driver of the vehicle, Tammy M. Petersen, 40, Vassar, Kan., was arrested on charges of suspicion of possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.


At 2:24 p.m. Sept. 6, 2021, an Osage County Sheriff’s deputy attempted to conduct a traffic stop on K-268 for a traffic violation. The vehicle failed to stop, and a pursuit was initiated. During the pursuit, drug paraphernalia was thrown from the vehicle. The vehicle came to a stop at K-268 and South Croco Road. The driver of the vehicle, Samantha E. Dunbar, 41, of Osage City, Kan., was arrested on charges of suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, interference with law enforcement, fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement, driving while license is revoked, and registration violation.


At 10:49 a.m. Sept. 6, 2021, an Osage County Sheriff’s Deputy patrolling Turkey Point Campground, at Melvern Lake, was notified by a citizen of suspicious activity occurring within the campground. The deputy responded to the area and contacted two individuals. Both subjects were found to be in possession of illegal narcotics and had warrants for their arrests.

Jessica S. Down, 41, Lebo, Kan., was arrested on charges of suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, felony interference with law enforcement, and a warrant.

Ryan C. Pinks, 45, Bonner Springs, Kan., was arrested on charges of suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and a warrant.


At 3:43 p.m. Sept. 2, 2021, an Osage County Sheriff’s deputy conducted a traffic stop at Third Street and Maple Street, in Quenemo, Kan., for a traffic violation. During the stop, narcotics were located. The driver, Richard W. Traver, 58, Quenemo, was arrested on charges of suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, and possession of paraphernalia.


At 5:02 p.m. Aug. 24, 2021, an Osage County Sheriff’s deputy conducted a traffic stop near Martin and Lakin Streets, in Osage City, Kan. During the stop, illegal narcotics were located. The driver of the vehicle, Cole D. Zimmerman, 37, Alta Vista, Kan., was arrested on charges of suspicion of possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.


At 1:44 p.m. Aug. 23, 2021, an Osage County Sheriff’s deputy conducted a traffic stop at milepost 158 on Interstate 35 for a traffic violation. During the stop, illegal narcotics were located in the possession of a passenger in the vehicle. The passenger, Stephanie D. Bell, 48, El Dorado, Kan., was arrested on charges of suspicion of possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Carbondale plans grand opening ceremony for new library

Members of the Carbondale community form a human chain on Aug. 29, 2021, to move books and materials from the old library to the new one, in preparation for the library’s grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 11. Courtesy photo.

The Carbondale City Library will hold a grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the new building’s construction. The ceremony will be 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at 302 Main St., Carbondale.

The new 6,000-square-feet building features seating for more than 100 people, study areas, group meeting rooms, and a multi-purpose room, including a kitchen for future classes.

The ceremony will include remarks from Board of Trustees President Lonnie Hinck, Library Director Heather Garrison, and elected officials. Refreshments will follow with a craft activity for children.

Additionally, the library will be closed Aug. 28-Sept. 10, 2021, to migrate the collection into the new building and install all new technology.

State marriage licenses to be offline for a week; couples encouraged to apply early

TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas courts are telling couples who need marriage licenses in September to apply for them now.

The usual advice courts give to couples is to allow two weeks from the time the application is filed for the license to be delivered. But a database courts use to process licenses will be offline for a week in September for system upgrades. Couples can expect some delays as a result.

Courts use a database managed by the Office of Vital Statistics to record marriage license application data. The database will be offline from Sept. 8-13, 2021, so no data can be entered.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, if a couple applies for a marriage license by Aug. 31, the couple will have a license in hand by Sept. 7.

Applications submitted after Aug. 31 will be processed after Sept. 14, when the database comes back online. There is a three-day waiting period required by statute, and courts begin processing the application after the waiting period ends.

Couples can apply for a marriage license throughout this period, but the applications cannot be processed while the Office of Vital Statistics database is offline. The online marriage license application is accessible through the Kansas judicial branch website at kscourts.org/marriage.

Local school supplies collections help students prepare for new year

Help House has reported that school supply donations were overwhelming in a very good way this year. Collection boxes had been placed in several churches throughout Osage County along with some businesses.

“We have never ever had so much donated before,” said Raylene Quaney, Help House volunteer. “We really felt the best way to share would be to distribute to all of the schools in the county instead of just our clients benefiting as we have done in the past.”

Becky and Craig Lohmeyer-Siljenberg at Osage Produce show some of the school supplies donated by their customers.

At one of the collection sites, Osage Garden and Produce, owners Craig and Becky Lohmeyer-Siljenberg accepted donations from their customers as part of their “give back” program. Customers dropped off school supplies or left a cash donation, and the Siljenbergs added to that as a gift from their business.

Through the school supply donation program, Help House also was able to provide supplies for students in preschool through eighth grade all around Osage County.

Lyndon Lions: Serving up a new school year

Lions Club servers at Lyndon Schools included, from left, Barb Schattak, Carol Roush, Alyssa Morford, Lori Neilson, Tory Neilson and Pam Bilyeu. Courtesy photo.

On Aug. 16, 2021, the Lyndon Lions Club served lunch to 48 teachers and staff members of USD 421 Lyndon, in the Lyndon school cafeteria. Everyone enjoyed pulled pork, potato salad, pasta salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw, and cookies.

The Lions’ efforts provided a big “shout out” to teachers and staff who work to educate local students.

Lyndon Leaders relax at pool party after busy summer

Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club members at the Osage County Fair. Courtesy photo.

By Morgan Young, Club Reporter

The Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club has had a busy summer! For the meeting in June, the club had a farm tour, where they visited five different members’ farms to see and learn about their livestock projects, including goats, hogs, sheep and beef. The tour ended with a brief meeting and potluck dinner.

July 3, 2021, the club joined in on the Independence Day festivities in Lyndon by participating in the parade and serving BBQ at the park.

The following week, club members were busy preparing for the Osage County Fair, in Osage City. Lyndon Leaders had a bunch of members participate in livestock and projects in the building. It was a successful fair for the club; many ribbons and awards were received.

The club celebrated the completion of the first county fair of the year at a swim party on July 21.

Lyndon Leaders are looking forward to selling mums again this year. If you would like to buy some, please contact a member as soon as possible. Orders are due by Aug. 20.

Sheriff reports on area narcotics arrests

Osage County Sheriff Chris Wells released the following reports regarding recent arrests in Osage County, Kan.

Around 2:10 p.m. Aug. 17, 2021, an Osage County Sheriff’s deputy conducted a traffic stop at 8th and Market Streets, in Osage City, Kan., for a traffic violation. During the stop, narcotics were located. The driver of the vehicle, Michael B. McGuire, 42, Osage City, was taken into custody on charges of suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and traffic in contraband in a correctional institution.


At 2:35 p.m. Aug. 16, 2021, an Osage County Sheriff’s deputy conducted a traffic stop in the 4900 block of state Highway 268. During the stop, illegal narcotics were located. The driver of the vehicle, Harley J. Maley, 20, Topeka, was taken into custody and booked into jail on charges of suspicion of possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana.


After a lengthy narcotics investigation, Osage County Sheriff’s Office investigators and deputies conducted a narcotics search warrant the morning of Aug. 11, 2021, at a residence in the 7000 block of East 205th Street, in Osage County, Kan. Debra M. Hutchison, 59, Vassar, Kan., was taken into custody on charges of suspicion of distribution of methamphetamine and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Osage County Sheriff Chris Wells thanked the community for playing an important role in this investigation. “Remember, if you see something, say something!” Wells said.


At 11:12 a.m. Aug. 9, 2021, an Osage County Sheriff’s deputy conducted a traffic stop at Fifth and Maple Streets in Quenemo, Kan., for a traffic violation. During the stop, narcotics were located. The driver of the vehicle, Billy J. Adams, 47, Ottawa, Kan., was taken into custody on charges of suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.


At 9:24 p.m. Aug. 8, 2021, an Osage County Sheriff’s deputy conducted a traffic stop at Market Street and Topeka Avenue in Osage City, Kan., for a traffic violation. During the stop, the K-9 officer located narcotics. The driver of the vehicle, Michael B. McGuire, 41, Osage City, was taken into custody on charges of suspicion of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia, and operating a vehicle without a valid license. A passenger in the vehicle, Lisa M. Mueller, 36, Admire, Kan., was taken into custody on charges of suspicion of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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