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OCEM extends countywide burn ban through Thursday, March 4, 2021

Update: OCEM rescinded this burn ban at 8 a.m. Friday, March 5, 2021.


A county-wide burn ban issued yesterday afternoon, March 3, 2021, will be extended today, Thursday, March 4. During the ban, no outside burning is permitted and all burn permits are suspended. The ban will expire at 8 a.m. tomorrow, unless it is extended at that time.

Osage County Emergency Management issued the ban due to forecast very high fire danger for today. National Weather Service Topeka has forecast a sunny day today with highs near 70 and southeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Very high fire danger means fire control would be very difficult and require extended effort.

For more information about the burn ban, contact Osage County Emergency Management at 785-828-3323 or the Osage County Sheriff’s Office at 785-828-3121.

Extension webinar to explore irrigation systems for homeowners

The Frontier Extension District next webinar in a horticulture series will cover irrigation systems for homeowners, at 7 p.m. March 4, 2021.

The speaker for the evening will be K-State professor and Extension landscape management specialist, Dr. Cathie Lavis. During the webinar, viewers will learn about irrigation system options, whether for traditional gardens, flower beds, or even container gardens. Lavis will also discuss the pros and cons of each system, tools you might need, and installation of those systems.

The meetings in the horticulture webinar series are open and free to the public. The Zoom meetings consist of a 45-minute presentation with the opportunity to ask the speaker questions at the end.

To register for the meeting, contact Ryan Schaub, horticulture agent, Frontier District Garnett office, 785-448-6826 or email [email protected].

Historical reenactment at Overbrook to celebrate Santa Fe Trail bicentennial

As part of the bicentennial celebration of the establishment of the Santa Fe Trail, the Osage County Historical Society will host Gary Hicks in a reenactment presentation on Alexander Majors, 2 p.m. March 6, 2021, at the community room of Overbrook Public Library.

Alexander Majors is best remembered as the co-founder of the famed Pony Express with William H. Russell and William B. Waddell, but prior to that he was transporting freight along the Santa Fe Trail by 1848.

Hicks will address the life of Majors and the numerous contributions he made to the western expansion movement of our nation in the 1800s. Drawing from his in-depth research of the life and times of Alexander Majors, Hicks will also present a close look at Majors’ partners Russell and Waddell, and the time preceding the Civil War.

As Alexander Majors, Hicks will explore the nation’s desire in the 1850s for a faster overland mail service to California on the west coast. Hicks will offer his personal perspective (through Majors) how pre-Civil War politics may have influenced the creation of the Pony Express.

Health Advisory: Safety tips issued during Flint Hills burning season

Kansas range fire. Flint Hills Smoke Management photo.

Smoke modeling tool to be activated March 1

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 reduces impacts.

KDHE will activate the Kansas smoke modeling tool March 1, 2021, 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. There are approximately 2.1 million acres burned on average 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.

Osage City historical downtown property shares in statewide preservation grants

The Star Block, at 520 Market Street, Osage City, center of photo, was once an early day doctor’s office, operated by Dr. Roup for a year or so sometime around the early 1890s. Photo thanks to the Osage County Historical Society.

OSAGE CITY, Kan. – An Osage City property will receive a historic preservation project grant as part of 2021 round of Heritage Trust Fund grant program.

The Star Block, a portion of the downtown in Osage City on Market Street, will receive $90,000 of the total of $1,168,492 awarded for 15 historic preservation projects across the state.

HTF grants reimburse expenses for projects that preserve or restore qualifying historic properties. The funded projects represent a diverse collection of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places or the Register of Historic Kansas Places. All awards are contingent upon available funding.

“Kansas has a unique and rich history, and with these awards, we can continue to celebrate and learn about that history for generations to come,” Governor Laura Kelly said in announcing the grants.

ECKAAA nutrition program joins nationwide ‘March for Meals’ celebration

East Central Kansas Area Agency on Aging Nutrition Program has announced it will participate in the 19th annual March for Meals – a month-long, nationwide celebration of Meal on Wheels and senior neighbors who rely on this essential service. ECKAAA Nutrition Program’s celebration will include various activities throughout the month of March.

ECKAAA Nutrition program serves six counties in Kansas including Anderson, Coffey, Franklin, Linn, Miami, and Osage. In those counties there are 24 nutrition sites. The program delivers meals to these sites three to five days a week; the number of meals that goes out daily is about 700, not including frozen meals delivered for weekends. The program serves the most vulnerable population in this area, who depend on the meals to remain healthy and independent at home, now even more so amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual March for Meals celebration commemorates the historic day in March of 1972 when President Nixon signed into law a measure that amended the Older Americans Act of 1965 to include a national nutrition program for seniors 60 years and older. Since 2002, community-based Meals on Wheels programs from across the country have joined forces for the annual awareness campaign to celebrate this successful public-private partnership and garner the support needed to fill the gap between the seniors served and those still in need.

“The pandemic has introduced many of us to the newfound and harsh realities of food insecurity and social isolation – something that far too many seniors experience as their daily norm,” said Ellie Hollander, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “More than ever, we must rally around our essential community-based programs that serve as lifelines to a growing number of people in need, to enable their own long-term vitality. Even when we make it through this unprecedented time in our nation’s history, there will still be millions of vulnerable older adults who will rely on that familiar knock on the door that provides peace of mind and hope beyond the meal itself. Please join us in celebrating the power and importance of Meals on Wheels this March and always.”

For more information on how to volunteer, contribute or speak out for the seniors in your community this March, visit ECKAAA at to find local senior nutrition sites, or learn more about supporting the Meals on Wheels program through volunteering or monetary donations.

To see the local nutrition sites’ daily menu, click here: Osage County Nutrition Sites Daily Menu

Horticulture experts present webinar on vegetable, flower gardening, house plant care

The third webinar of the Frontier Extension District’s horticulture series “Vegetable and Flower Gardening and Care of House Plants” will be 7 p.m. March 11, 2021.

This webinar will discuss outdoor container gardens, starting vegetable seeds, soil preparation, soil amendments, and plant care. Those with house plants will learn about potting media, plant placement within the home, watering, fertilization, and when and how to transplant house plants.

COVID-19 has affected us all, and the presenters will discuss how it has affected the horticulture industry.

This webinar’s presenters will be horticulture experts Lyle Turner and Shawn Turner, of Turner Flowers and Country Store, Ottawa, Kan.

The meetings in the horticulture webinar series are open and free to the public. These Zoom meetings will consist of a 45-minute presentation with the opportunity to ask the speaker questions at the end. For more information or to register for the meeting, call Ryan Schaub, Extension horticulture agent, Frontier District Garnett office, at 785-448-6826, or email [email protected].

Osage County Community Foundation accepting 2021 grant applications

Click to download an OCCF grant application.The Osage County Community Foundation is accepting applications for grants for spring of 2021. The application period opened Jan. 2, and will continue until Feb. 28, 2021. Applications are accepted from any non-profit organizations based in Osage County. Grant funds are generally to be used towards non-operating expenses.

To obtain an application, see and click on the online forms tab, then the Osage County Community Foundation link. Applications are due by Feb. 28.

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. The foundation also accepts donations to continue its charitable work in support of Osage County organizations.

Applications can be mailed to Osage County Community Foundation, PO Box 24, Osage City, KS 66523. For more information, contact Perry Thompson at 785-528-3006 or any foundation board member: Joe Humerickhouse, Casey Mussatto, Janet Steinle, Jodi Stark, or Mike Pitts.

Emergency management issues burn ban for Osage County, Feb. 23, 2021

Update: This countywide burn ban has been rescinded, effective at 8 a.m. Feb. 24, 2021.


Osage County Emergency Management has issued a burn ban for all of Osage County, Kan., as of 8 a.m. Feb. 23, 2021. The ban will remain in effect for the next 24 hours and could be extended depending on weather conditions. The ban prohibits all outside burning, and suspends all burn permits.

The burn ban is due to forecast very high fire danger for today, which means fire control would be very difficult and require extended effort, an outdoor burning is not recommended.

National Weather Service at Topeka has forecast today will be sunny, with a high near 69. South winds will be around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Tonight, south winds at 10 to 15 mph will turn northwest after midnight, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

For more information about the county burn ban, contact OCEM Director Bryce Romine at 785-828-3323.

Update: Boil water advisory rescinded for city of Overbrook

Update Feb. 23, 2021: OVERBROOK, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment rescinded a boil water advisory for the city of Overbrook public water supply system this morning, Feb. 23, 2021. The advisory was issued Feb. 16 because of a waterline break resulting in a loss of pressure in the distribution system.

Laboratory testing samples collected from Overbrook indicate no evidence of bacteriological contamination and all other conditions that placed the system at risk of contamination are deemed by KDHE officials to be resolved.

For more information, contact Overbrook City Hall at 785-665-7328 or KDHE at 785-296-5514. For consumer information, see KDHE’s PWS Consumer Information at

Annual St. David’s Welsh Concert to be presented virtually for 2021

The 133rd St. David’s Concert will come to the audience this year. As people can’t congregate because of COVID-19, there will be a virtual concert presentation at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 7, 2021, which will be viewed through Facebook or

The National Anthem of the United States will be sung by Dylan Evans, accompanied by Travis Carmichael. This will be followed by the Welsh National Anthem. The Rev. Phyllis Struzman will give the invocation. The concert opens with the traditional and nostalgic “We’ll Keep a Welcome”, followed by a welcome by St. David’s Society President Jann Briggs.

While the St. David’s Choir will be missing, numerous society members, choir members and Welsh friends will be sharing a variety of talents. Some recordings of the choir may be played. Gwenith Closs-Colgrove, the director of the Great Plains Welsh Heritage Center in Wymore, Neb., and winner of the adult solo voice competition in the North American Festival of Wales, will vocalize a new arrangement of “Calon Lan”. Sally Conard will be bringing “Ash Grove” to life with the ringing of the bells. Kendra Briggs, violinist, will be accompanied by Jann Briggs as they perform “It is Well With My Soul”. Dr. Eluned Jones of Brookings, S.D., will perform two pieces. The Lebo United Methodist Preschool will sing “Prynhown Da” (“Good Morning”) in Welsh and English. These and other musical pieces will be interspersed with readings, historical clips and scenes.

The memorial hymn “Babel” will be a reminder of those we have lost.

The St. David’s Concert program would not be complete without a rousing rendition of the hymn, “Cwm Rhondda” (“Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah”) by the viewing audience. The closing will be the traditional, “God Be With You”.

The benediction will be given by Paula Jones Evans in the historic former Calvinistic Methodist Church, in Arvonia, Kan.

St. David’s Society of the State of Kansas sponsors the concert and it can be viewed on St. David’s Society of Kansas Facebook page or youtube.

Prom fashions on display for limited showing in Burlingame

Happy prom goer admires her new gown. Courtesy photo.

The Prom Shop will open for a limited time in Burlingame, featuring a wide selection of beautiful gowns, donated for anyone living in Osage County. All are offered free. The shop will be located at The Hideout, 137 W. Santa Fe Ave., Burlingame, on the following dates:

  • 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18
  • 4-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19
  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20

Selection of dresses and gowns include short, high-lows, and floor length, in sizes from 2 to 22. Masks must be worn. Shopping will be by appointment; for more information, see Register early for best selection.


Gov. Kelly declares emergency weather conditions, urges citizens to conserve energy

TOPEKA, Kan. – Due to extreme winter storm conditions and stress on utility and natural gas providers, Gov. Laura Kelly issued a state of disaster emergency Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, and urged all citizens and households to cooperate in a conservation effort. Earlier today, Osage County Emergency Management issued a warning for citizens to be alert for possible rolling power outages. The warning said utility companies could shut down portions of the area to lessen the strain on the power grid, and advised blackouts will range from 30 to 60 minutes.

Area citizens were warned to plan ahead and be ready; check with neighbors for possible alternate heat sources; make sure pets have adequate shelter.

The outages could continue for the next 48 hours, OCEM’s advisory said.

The governor’s order noted the state has experienced bitter winter temperatures and below zero wind chills for more than a week, which has put stress on utility and natural gas providers across the state. The declaration authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties that meet certain criteria.

“As the extreme cold temperatures continue to affect the region, we are urging Kansans to conserve energy in order to help ensure a continued supply of natural gas and electricity and keep their own personal costs down,” Kelly said.

Because sub-zero temperatures cause increased energy demand and natural gas supply constraints, utilities are currently experiencing wholesale natural gas prices anywhere from 10 to 100 times higher than normal. Those costs will eventually flow through to consumers, and increase monthly natural gas and electric bills.

Customers can keep these costs down by reducing their natural gas and electric usage at this critical time. Here are some things each household can do to help in the conservation effort and slow down the increases in energy bills due to high usage:

  • Keep warm, not hot. When possible wear additional layers of clothing, consider turning down your thermostat and check your programmable settings.
  • Seal leaks around doors and windows. Apply weather stripping or caulk to seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors to stop air leaks and prevent energy loss. If that is not an option, cover windows with towels, sheets or plastic to help keep the warm air in your house.
  • Reduce the temperature on your water heater. Set the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or put it on the “warm” setting. If your home will be vacant for two days or more, set the dial to the pilot position for even more savings.
  • Close blinds and curtains. This helps keep warm air inside, especially if the sun is not shining.
  • Change or clean filters. A clean filter on your furnace can lower your energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent. Dirty filters cost more to use and overwork the equipment.
  • Hold off on doing chores. Doing laundry and washing dishes can both use natural gas to heat the water and your dryer. If you can, wait until the extreme cold weather passes to complete these activities. If you cannot wait, use the cold setting when possible.
  • Install foam gaskets on electrical switches and outlets. Electrical switches and outlets can account for up to 10 percent of your home’s energy loss.

For more information about local emergency conditions, contact Osage County Emergency Management, 785-828-3323, 131 W. 14th St., Lyndon, KS 66451.

Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club: Members prepare for sausage sales, virtual club days

By Bella Reeser, Club Reporter

On Feb. 7, 2021, the Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club held its monthly meeting at the Melvern Community Center, called to order at 3:07 p.m. by President Braelyn McNally. The club began the meeting with The Pledge of Allegiance and 4-H Pledge, led by Braelyn.

Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club meets monthly at Melvern Community Center. Bella Reeser photo.

Secretary Amelia Arb called roll; members and parents were to answer with their favorite cereal; there were nine members and four adults present. Amelia read the minutes from the last meeting; they were approved as read.

Treasurer’s report was read by Treasurer Harper Melton; it was approved as read. Reporter Bella Reeser stated she submitted two articles to the newspaper.

In historian report, Historian Allie Reeser shared 4-H memories from Raylen Phelon and Sharon (Combes) Thelon, both former MJH members.

In council report, Council Representative Justin Brinkley reported on Virtual District Club Days videos need to be submitted by noon March 1, and Blue & Gold orders are due March 1, as well.

In leader’s report, Lisa Reeser reminded members to read over the meeting notes sheet; gave congratulations to Justin Brinkley for being selected as a 4-H Ambassador; noted Virtual District Club Days is quickly approaching; and Blue & Gold orders are due soon. Janae McNally presented the club with samples of Blue & Gold sausage and bacon.

Bitter cold temperatures in Kansas require winter precautions to keep safe

Groundhog Day came and Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, meaning more winter headed our way. To underscore Phil’s prediction, Kansas has suffered a week of extreme winter temperatures, with temperatures for much of next week expected to range from sub-zero to teens or possible 20s.

“I know we’re all tired of staying indoors because of the coronavirus, but with temperatures like these, it’s a good idea to stay inside as much as possible and only go out if you really need to,” said Angee Morgan, Kansas Division of Emergency Management deputy director. “If you have to work outside, dress warm, don’t work alone and take frequent warming breaks. Now would be a good time to check your home and auto emergency kits to make sure they are up-to-date.”

“As Kansans we always do a good job of checking on our neighbors,” said Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly. “During bitter temperatures it is especially important to check on our elderly neighbors and family members who may be shut in either with a phone call or a visit. If you go to their home make sure and wear a mask and practice social distancing.”

Take some time before the temperature drops to ensure you are ready for the worst and have a plan in place.

Assemble an emergency kit for your home that includes a battery-operated radio, a flashlight and extra batteries, extra blankets and warm clothing, food that you can open and prepare easily and plenty of clean drinking water (at least one gallon per person per day), in case water supply lines are compromised.

Before you travel make sure your car or vehicle has at least a half a tank of gas during extreme cold situations so that you can stay warm if you become stranded. Keep an emergency supply kit in your car with these automobile extras: jumper cables, flares or reflective triangle, ice scraper, car cell phone charger, blanket, map, cat litter or sand (for better tire traction).

For a complete list of items for an emergency kit for home or vehicles, see

As temperatures drop, open cabinet doors under sinks on exterior walls of your home and turn faucets to a slow drip to help prevent pipes from freezing. Place rolled-up towels or blankets around drafty windows and doors to help keep the cold air outside and the warm air inside.

If you must use portable space heaters to warm your home, check that they have been tested and certified to the latest safety standards. Keep heat sources at least three feet from combustible items, like papers, blankets and curtains. Never leave a fireplace or portable heater unattended; turn off heaters and extinguish flames when you leave the room or go to bed. Never use appliances that weren’t designed to heat your home, such as cooking stoves and ovens, for that purpose.

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