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Category Archives: Outdoors

Frontier Extension: Learn more about raising backyard poultry

Frontier Extension District will host an educational meeting about raising poultry, “Backyard Poultry 101,” at 7 p.m. March 30, 2023, at Garnett Community Building, Anderson County Fairgrounds, Garnett, Kan.

Dr. Scott Beyer, Kansas State Extension Poultry Nutrition and Management Specialist, will highlight many aspects of owning and raising poultry. He will discuss having a bio-security plan to protect birds from the highly pathogenic avian flu. Other topics will include poultry housing and management, selecting the best breeds for production, getting the most eggs from your flock, molting a flock, and vaccinations and health care.

With the demand for poultry products on the rise, it is a real treat to be able to grow your own broilers or eat fresh eggs. Fresh eggs are tastier than those purchased  from the grocery store and they are also great when used for baking.

For more information about the Backyard Poultry 101 meeting, contact Rod Schaub, Frontier Extension agent, at 785-828-4438 or email rschaub@ksu.edu.

Stream advisory rescinded for Marais des Cygnes River near Osawatomie

Water safe for people and animals

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has rescinded a stream advisory for the Marais des Cygnes River located near Osawatomie, Kan., that was issued Feb. 13, 2022. Water samples show no health risk associated with this stream. Water contact in the stream is now deemed safe. Anyone who lives or has activities near the river can have contact with the water, including children and pets.

KDHE issues stream advisory for Marais des Cygnes River near Osawatomie

Residents and animals should not enter the water at this time

TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued a stream advisory for the Marais des Cygnes River near Osawatomie, Kan. The stream advisory is a result of an ongoing inflow and infiltration issue near the city of Osawatomie’s wastewater treatment plant.

The advisory has been issued because potential elevated bacteria and contaminants may be present in the Marais des Cygnes River near the city. Anyone who lives or has activities near this stream is advised to not enter the water or allow children or pets to enter.

KDHE will rescind the advisory once flows recede and subsequent bacteria testing indicates secondary contact, such as wading, has been deemed safe.

For more information, contact Andrew Burkhart, City of Osawatomie, at 785-760-7237.

Information thanks to KDHE.

Governor Kelly orders state office buildings in Shawnee County closed Thursday, Friday

TOPEKA, Kan. – Due to safety concerns regarding the winter storm projected for the state on Thursday, Dec. 22, and dangerously cold temperatures on Friday, Dec. 23, Governor Laura Kelly has issued a declaration of inclement weather for Shawnee County, ordering state office buildings in Shawnee County to be closed Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, 2022.

“Due to the potential for hazardous road conditions, precipitation, and dangerously cold temperatures, we are closing state office buildings in Shawnee County on Thursday and Friday,” Kelly said. “Please exercise extreme caution if traveling for the holiday weekend, give road crews enough space to do their jobs safely, and stay safe and warm.”

The declaration takes effect at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21, and remains in effect until 11:59 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23.  Ambient temperatures at 6 a.m. Thursday are expected to be 4 degrees with wind chills hitting -20 to -30 degrees. Additionally, with wind guests up to 40-45 mph, blizzard-like conditions are expected. Travel through midday Friday will be hazardous.

This declaration applies to all non-essential state employees in executive branch agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction, who work in offices located in Shawnee County. During the period of inclement weather, essential employees are required to report to work as normal. Benefits-eligible non-essential employees should record inclement weather leave during the period of inclement weather. Remote work is not being required.

This declaration does not include employees in the Board of Regents, Regents Institutions, the Judicial Branch, nor the Legislative Branch of Government. Their designated representative will make a separate declaration for those employees if appropriate.

To ensure consistent leadership during potentially dangerous road conditions, Secretary Lorenz will remain in her current role as Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary until midnight on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. Calvin Reed will assume his role as KDOT acting secretary Sunday, Dec. 25.

Appointing authorities in offices located outside Shawnee County have the option to declare inclement weather for those counties.

Better watch out: First day of winter brings blizzard with dangerous wind chills

The National Weather Service is warning that a major winter storm will move across Kansas beginning Wednesday night, Dec. 21, 2022. A winter storm warning will be in effect from 6 p.m. Wednesday to midnight Thursday, while a wind chill warning will be in effect from midnight tonight to noon Friday. All of Kansas, including northeast Kansas, is in the path of the storm, which is expected to produce near blizzard-like conditions.

Total snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches, with wind gusts as high as 45 mph are expected. NWS warns that dangerously cold wind chills should be expected, with wind chills as low as 40 below zero. The wind chill warning is in effect until 12 p.m. Friday.

All of Osage County will be covered by the storm, including the towns of Burlingame, Carbondale, Lyndon, Melvern,  Olivet, Overbrook, Osage City, Quenemo, Scranton and Vassar. The northeast Kansas alert covers Republic, Washington, Marshall, Nemaha, Brown, Cloud, Clay, Riley, Pottawatomie, Jackson, Jefferson, Ottawa, Dickinson, Geary, Morris, Wabaunsee, Shawnee, Douglas, Lyon, Osage, Franklin, Coffey, and Anderson counties.

NWS advises that all people in the storm’s area should plan on slippery road conditions. Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility with near blizzard conditions at times. The hazardous conditions will impact the morning or evening commutes. The dangerously cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes.

For those who must travel, NWS advises to keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. Avoid outside activities if possible. When outside, make sure to wear appropriate clothing, a hat, and gloves.

The latest road conditions can be obtained by calling 511. See Osage County’s latest weather updates at Worldwide Steel Building’s Weather Report on Osage County News.

Qualifiers represent Osage County at Kansas 4-H State Shotgun Match

From left, Osage County 4-Hers Kiera McNellis, Austin Eichem, and Dylon Harris competed at state sporting clays shoot Oct 9.

Three members of the Osage County shooting sports program participated in the Kansas 4-H State Shotgun Match, Oct. 8-9, 2022. Participants were Kiera McNellis, of the Clover Wranglers 4-H Club, and Dylon Harris and Austin Eichem, both of the North Osage 4-H Club. All three members qualified for the state shoot by shooting and scoring high enough at a regional trap and skeet shoot held in August.

Nearly 200 4-Hers from across the state shot trap and skeet Saturday, Oct. 8, at Ark Valley Gun Club in Sedgwick, Kan., and then many returned to shoot sporting clays the next day at Shady Creek Sporting Clays, in Belle Plaine, Kan.

Eichem placed 29th overall for the weekend in the junior, 10-13-year-old division. McNellis placed 96th in the senior, 14-18-year-old division, for skeet. Harris placed 16th in senior trap, 20th in senior skeet, 12th in senior sporting clays, and 13th overall in the senior division for the weekend.

Following the event, Harris was invited to apply to be a member of the 2023 Kansas Shotgun Team at the National 4-H Shooting Sports Competition, in Grand Island Neb., next summer. Team selection will be announced in November.

Dylon Harris to retire from 4-H archery with 6th-place finish at state match

Harris also qualified and participated in the state 4-H archery match, which was held Sept. 24, at Smoky Valley Shooting Sports facility, Lindsborg, Kan. He competes in the senior, open/compound bow division.  He finished in 6th place overall at the event.

This sixth place finish wrapped up Harris’ 4-H archery career as he prepares to age out of the program.  He joined 4-H in 2011, started the shooting sports project in 2012, and made his first appearance at the state archery match in 2015. Harris finished 5th, 10th, 4th, 4th respectively from 2018-2021 at the state matches, earning an invitation to be part of the Kansas National archery team each year. In 2021, only being able to attend nationals once per discipline, Harris finally accepted the team invite. In June 2022 he was one of four compound archery team members for Kansas who brought home the national championship title with their impressive scores for the week.  Harris placed 9th at the national shoot in the individual scoring.  

State transportation project invests $1.85 million into Osage City’s Flint Hills Trail

OSAGE CITY, Kan. – Osage City’s portion of the Flint Hills Nature Trail will be paved or surfaced after the Kansas Department of Transportation accepted a bid for constructing 2.5 miles of pedestrian and bicycle paths through town.

KDOT announced approved bids for state highway construction and maintenance projects from the Oct. 19, 2022, letting in Topeka, which included the Osage City rail-trail project.

The pedestrian and bicycle paths will mostly follow the Missouri Pacific Railroad right of way through town, with a detour to city streets at Fifth Street and Ninth Street. The route is along the old railway right of way from Osage City’s west city limit to Fifth Street, south to Holliday Street, east to Eighth Street, north to Lakin Street, east to Ninth Street, north to Missouri Pacific Railroad right of way, and east to the east city limit.

Bettis Asphalt & Construction Inc., Topeka, bid $1,847,358.60 for constructing the pedestrian and bicycle paths. KDOT’s project number is Osage‑70 TE‑0481‑01.

Willing Workers 4-H Club starts off new 4-H year willingly working

Sweeping the playground at Osage City Elementary School are Willing Workers, from left, Lelia Wilcoxson, Kassie Thielen, Claire Newman, Lena Stucky, and Paige Thielen. Courtesy photo.

By Avery Thielen
Club Reporter

The Willing Workers 4-H Club jumpstarted its 4-H year by celebrating National 4-H Week and 48 Hours of 4-H, and initiating the officers who will serve in a leadership role this year. The club has always been open to help their community. On Oct. 2, 2022, the Willing Workers 4-H club journeyed out to clean the school playground and paint windows. After asking for ideas for National 4-H week, the club thought that cleaning the Osage City Elementary School playground would be a great way to help the community.

The club used brooms and leaf blowers to clean up mulch, dirt and trash, making the playground look much cleaner. After cleaning, the club went to Market Street to paint windows and glass doors, saying “Join 4-H.”

Willing Workers 4-H Club thanks the businesses that allowed us to paint their windows.

Gov. Kelly issues emergency declaration for risk of wildland fires

TOPEKA, Kan. – Gov. Laura Kelly issued a declaration of a State of Disaster Emergency starting at 8 a.m. today, Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, due to a high risk of wildland fires over the weekend with the primary threat being on Sunday.

The declaration authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties that meet certain criteria. There is a threat for fires for the majority of the state with dry conditions with low relative humidity, gusting winds, and an abundance of dry grass and other flammable vegetation.

“As we have seen in past years, wildland fires can cause widespread destruction and present a very real threat to life and property,” Kelly said. “Outdoor burning of any kind is strongly discouraged, whether getting rid of unwanted brush or enjoying a backyard barbecue. It only takes a spark to start a fire that can quickly get out of control.”

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management State Emergency Operations Center will be staffed on Saturday and Sunday to monitor the situation and assist counties with requests for state assistance.

Kansas Forest Service will have aviation assets on standby along with ground resources.

“Critical fire weather returns to Kansas earlier than normal this year,” Rodney Redinger, Kansas Forest Service Assistant Fire Management Officer said. “With harvest and hunting in full swing, there is an increased chance for human caused ignition sources. On Sunday, fires will ignite easily and be extremely hard to contain, especially in the western portions of the state. Vegetation barriers that normally slow or stop fires will carry fire easily due to the drought and low humidity. Please be aware of the conditions and take every precaution necessary to prevent any fires this weekend.”

Highly pathogenic avian influenza confirmed in Shawnee County

KDA advises poultry owners to be vigilant

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Agriculture has identified a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a backyard flock in Shawnee County. This is the third confirmed case of HPAI in Kansas this fall; there were six cases in March and April for a total of nine counties across the state affected so far in 2022.

“The widespread nature of the positive premises in Kansas is proof that all counties are susceptible to HPAI because the risk is from the wild birds traveling across the state,” said Dr. Justin Smith, Kansas Animal Health Commissioner. “If you have not yet taken steps to protect your backyard flocks, now is the time to take this threat seriously.”

This confirmed case is in a non-commercial mixed species flock, and KDA is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on a joint incident response. KDA officials quarantined the affected premises, and birds on the property have been depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease.

KDA asks anyone who owns poultry in the following area on the north side of Topeka to contact the KDA phone bank at 833-765-2006 or email them at KDA.HPAI@ks.gov to work with state and local officials to prevent further spread of the disease. Poultry owners can also self-report birds at https://fs22.formsite.com/KansasDeptAg/zlb9fcr9oc/index.html. Reporting area: Contact KDA or report online if your home or farm sits in the area from 21st Street (to the south) to 94th Street (to the north), and Highway 4 (to the east) and Humphrey Road (to the west). The area includes the north half of Topeka and the towns of Elmont and Menoken. It does not include Silver Lake, Meriden or Hoyt.

KDA advises owners of backyard poultry flocks to be particularly vigilant in protecting their birds. Analysis of this outbreak of HPAI has shown that the spread has been primarily from wild migratory waterfowl, which makes free-range backyard flocks at high risk because of the potential of exposure to the wild birds.

Anyone involved with poultry production from the small backyard chicken owner to the large commercial producer should review their biosecurity activities to assure the health of their birds.

Anshutz claims top medal at West Franklin golf tournament

SFTHS girls golf team, from left, Shelby Garrison,  Addison Alvarez, Taylor Long, and Bailey Anshutz, at Lamont Hill Golf Course. Photo by Mary Burgett.

LAMONT HILL, Kan. – “We have a champion!” said Santa Fe Trail High School girls golf coach Mary Vawter Burgett.

Burgett reported SFTHS golfer Bailey Anshutz claimed the tournament medal at the West Franklin Golf Tournament, played Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, at Lamont Hill Golf Course, Vassar.

Bailey, who shot 42, was 7 strokes under the second place winner, who had 49; third was won with 51, and fourth with 52.

SFTHS first year golfers Addison Alvarez and Shelby Garrison also competed and finished 14 and 9 strokes, respectively, ahead of the highest recorded individual scores for this meet. The team was assisted by temporary team manager Taylor Long.

Eleven schools competed in the West Franklin tournament.

Next for the SFTHS girls golf team is the school’s invitational, set for next Tuesday, Sept. 13, at Lamont Hill Golf Course, followed by the Osage City tournament Sept. 15.

Three Osage County lakes affected by blue-green algae for holiday weekend

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks have issued public health advisories for Kansas lakes due to blue-green algae, including three lakes in Osage County.

For the Labor Day weekend, Osage County lakes under a warning advisory are Carbondale City Lake (Strowbridge) and Melvern Outlet (River) Pond. Overbrook City Lake remains on a watch status.

A warning status indicates that conditions are unsafe for human and pet exposure. Contact with the waterbody should be avoided. A watch status means that blue-green algae have been detected and a harmful algal bloom is present or likely to develop. People are encouraged to avoid areas of algae accumulation and keep pets and livestock away from the water.

Harmful algal blooms can look like foam, scum or paint floating on the water and be colored blue, bright green, brown or red. Toxins from the algae can be absorbed by ingestion, inhalation of aerosols, and skin contact. Symptoms vary depending upon the type of exposure, but can include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and headache.

Blooms can develop rapidly; if the water appears suspicious or there is decaying algae on the shore, avoid contact and keep dogs away. If people or dogs come into contact with algae, rinse the area with clean, fresh water.

Lap the Lake ride features beauty of Melvern Lake and Osage Cuestas

Registration is open for the second annual Lap the Lake bicycle event that starts and ends at the Melvern Lake Marina and set for Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.

This year’s event includes a 51-mile and 6-mile ride, along with the original 27.5-mile course. The course options challenge all level riders, and allow riders to enjoy the beautiful Osage County backdrop and views of Melvern Lake along the way.

Prizes will be presented for overall male and female winners; there will also be a bib number raffle. Participants and volunteers receive a T-shirt. Sign up to ride or volunteer here https://register.chronotrack.com/r/66716.

Registration table opens at 7 a.m. Oct. 1, with the ride’s start and finish at Melvern Lake Marina; register by Sept. 7 to receive swag.

The courses include the Challenger Deep, 51 miles, $55, start 9 a.m.; Mariana Trench, 27.5 miles, $45, 9:30 a.m.; and Stayin’ Shallow, bike, run or walk, 6 miles, $25, 10 a.m. Participants must complete entire course to be eligible for a first-place prize.

State agencies issue blue-green algae advisories for area lakes

OSAGE COUNTY, Kan. – Three Osage County Lakes are under public health advisories for blue-green algae this week as the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks updated their list of affected Kansas lakes.

Carbondale City Lake (Strowbridge) was put under a warning advisory Aug. 11, 2022, and Overbrook City Lake was put under a watch advisory the same day. Melvern Outlet (River) Pond remained under a watch status this week.

A warning status indicates that conditions are unsafe for human and pet exposure. Contact with the waterbody should be avoided. A watch status means that blue-green algae have been detected and a harmful algal bloom is present or likely to develop. People are encouraged to avoid areas of algae accumulation and keep pets and livestock away from the water.

When a warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

  • Lake water is not safe to drink for pets or livestock.
  • Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans.
  • Water contact should be avoided.
  • Fish may be eaten if they are rinsed with clean water and only the fillet portion is consumed, while all other parts are discarded.
  • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
  • If lake water contacts skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.
  • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

During a watch status, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

  • Signage will be posted at all public access locations.
  • Water might be unsafe for humans and animals.
  • Avoid areas of algae accumulation and do not let people or pets ingest dried algae or drink contaminated water.
  • Swimming, wading, skiing and jet skiing are discouraged near visible blooms.
  • Boating and fishing are safe. However, inhalation of the spray may affect some individuals. Avoid direct contact with water, and wash with clean water after any contact.
  • Clean fish well with potable water and eat fillet portion only.

Frontier District archers help claim national shooting sports championship for Kansas

Kansas Compound Archery Team, from left, Barrett Pirtle, c0ach Brad Boulanger, Dylon Harris, Wylee Boulanger, Nathan Livingston. Keri Harris photo.

For the first time in 22 years, the state of Kansas is the home of the National 4-H Shooting Sports Sweepstake Championship team. Two Frontier District 4-Hers represented the state in the archery-compound discipline at the national contest, held June 26-July 1, 2022, in Grand Island, Neb., and also helped claim the first archery-compound national championship for the state of Kansas.

Dylon Harris, North Osage 4-H Club member, from Osage County, and Nathan Livingston, Rambling Ranchers 4-H Club member, Franklin County, both in the Frontier District, along with Wylee Boulanger and Barrett Pirtle, both of Greenwood County, represented Kansas as the Archery-Compound Team.

Brad Boulanger, Greenwood County, was selected as the Kansas Team Archery Coach for the National Team.

The Kansas Archery-Compound Team claimed first place in the FITA (World Archery Federation) and 3D competitions, was runner-up in the field division, and claimed the overall 1st place compound archery title, for the first time in the history of shooting sports, which began in 1980.

During the National 4-H Shooting Sports Championships, 4-Hers from across the nation competed in one of nine disciplines they had qualified for during state contests. Only 4-H senior participants (ages 14-18) are eligible to compete at nationals, and are selected based on their state finishes in the following disciplines: air pistol, air rifle, archery-compound, archery-recurve, hunting skills, muzzleloader, shotgun, small bore pistol and small bore rifle. 4-Hers are only able to compete in a discipline at the national level one time; but can compete in various disciplines if their state offers that discipline and they qualify for the event.

Girl Scouts to enjoy summer day on the prairie

Local Girl Scouts will spend a day on the prairie next week at Pioneer Bluffs, near Matfield Green, Kan. The day camp will be 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. July 27, 2022, at Pioneer Bluffs, 695 KS Highway 77, Matfield Green, and costs $5 per person.

Girl Scouts from 2nd grade to 12th grade will spend time on the prairie hiking on the nature trail, exploring a creek, making nature crafts, playing old fashioned games and with life size ranching toys, and learn about the history of ranching.

Lunch, snack and a patch will be provided.

For more information, contact Paula Roper at 620-343-4088 or paularoper@att.net, or see kansasgirlscouts.org.

Kansas Forest Service: Community should ready defenses against emerald ash borer

Osage County, prepare for emerald ash borer

Emerald ash borer was confirmed in Osage County in 2022, presenting new challenges for communities and residents as they care for their community forest resources.

The Kansas Forest Service is presenting a seminar 12:30-4 p.m. Thursday, July 21, 2022, at Carbondale City Building, 234 W. Main St., Carbondale, Kan., focusing on the identification of emerald ash borer and how to prepare for its arrival in the area. An open forum for participant networking will follow the program.

Registration for the free seminar is requested; registration is available through this link: Prepare for EAB.

Gravestone specialist teaches preservation techniques at Burlingame Cemetery

Participants in cemetery preservation workshop gather at Burlingame Cemetery. Photos by Wendi Bevitt.

Fifty people gathered at Burlingame Cemetery, June 8, 2022,  to learn how to preserve gravestones and monuments. Jonathan Appell, of Atlas Preservation, presented the free cemetery preservation seminar.

Participants reset a Civil War marker using a tripod lift.

For the past 20 years, Appell has worked to preserve gravestones and monuments across the United States, and is the leading preservationist in his field. With his work, Appell has developed simple and effective hands-on techniques and encouraged others to preserve America’s burying grounds. His workshop is part of a cross country tour to complete 48 gravestone preservation workshops in 48 states in 48 days, teaching people how to clean, repair and reset gravestones and monuments in their own backyards.

The Burlingame workshop was attended by individuals of varying backgrounds, representing a majority of the towns in Osage County, and communities from Kansas and Missouri. Several large monuments were leveled, many more cleaned, and one mended.

The event was video documented by Wade Fowler, also known as the Millennial Stone Cleaner, who plans to post the video to his YouTube channel at a future date. Also in attendance were social media personalities, Alicia Williams (aka Lady Taphos) and Amanda Brown (aka Healthy Headstones) who provided additional educational support at the event. The event was sponsored by the Osage County Historical Society and Buried Past Consulting.

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