Category Archives: Outdoors

Overbrook City Lake added to Kansas lakes blue-green algae watch list

TOPEKA, Kan. – Three Osage County lakes are on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s public health watch list due to blue-green algae, with Overbrook City Lake added to the list today. KDHE, in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, also issued a public health warning today for Milford Lake Zone C.

On the state’s blue-green algae watch list in Osage County are Melvern Outlet Swim Pond, Melvern Outlet Pond, and Overbrook City Lake.

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

  • Water may be unsafe for humans and animals.
  • Avoid areas of algae accumulation and do not let people or pets eat 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.

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.

Chronic wasting disease confirmed in captive cervid herd in Osage County

First positive case in eastern Kansas

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Agriculture has confirmed a case of Chronic Wasting Disease in a captive cervid herd in Osage County, Kan., and is working with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to mitigate risk to the captive cervid industry as well as the local wild deer population in the area.

Though CWD has been detected in wild deer populations in many western Kansas counties, this is the first documented positive case in eastern Kansas and the first in a captive herd since 2001.

CWD is an infectious, degenerative disease of animals in the family cervidae (elk, deer, and moose) that impacts the animal’s brain cells, ultimately causing death. Only animals in the family cervidae are susceptible to CWD. Currently, there is no evidence that CWD poses a threat to humans.

The CWD-infected animal was born and raised on the premises in Osage County, where it was tested after being euthanized in late June. The affected premises have been placed under quarantine, and tracing and surveillance are underway on all animals that have moved into or out of this captive cervid herd in the last five years.

KDWPT will conduct additional surveillance of CWD in Osage County as part of the agency’s annual testing of wild deer taken during hunting seasons, and through a three-year, statewide research project set to begin this fall. KDWPT will use the data collected to develop CWD risk assessment maps and future surveillance, prevention, management, and regulatory efforts.

Owners of captive cervid herds in Kansas are encouraged to participate in KDA’s CWD Herd Certification Program. This program provides increased oversight via annual inventory reconciliation, identification of all cervids over one year of age on the premises, and CWD testing for all animal mortalities. Though certification is voluntary, only operations that have been CWD-certified for at least five years may legally move animals interstate. The infected Osage County animal was in a CWD-certified herd that had not received any animals from any operations that did not have equal or greater certification status.

Human bone found near rural Osage County fishing spot; identity, age unknown

The location a human bone was found Tuesday was near 205th Street and Lewelling Road near the west end of Pomona Lake. Image from Google Maps.

Osage County Sheriff Laurie Dunn has reported that a human bone was found Tuesday in rural Osage County near a popular fishing spot on U.S. Army Corps of Engineer property along Dragoon Creek.

In a press release today, June 18, 2020, Dunn said the sheriff’s office responded at 12:30 p.m. June 16 to a report of a bone found near 205th Street and Lewelling Road, approximately 1.5 miles west of U.S. Highway 75.

The sheriff said the bone had been viewed by the coroner’s office and a forensic anthropologist and was determined to be human.

The area was secured overnight for a more detailed search. The sheriff’s office was assisted at by Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Mission Township Fire Department dive team, Missouri Search and Rescue K-9, and a cadaver dog from the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office. Nothing else was found on land or in the water, the sheriff reported, and the area was released at 7:30 p.m. June 17.

The sheriff said the exact age of the bone is yet to be determined, and it is not known where the bone may have come from due to flooding last year.

Dunn said the forensic anthropologist gave a timeframe of 60 to 90 days to determine more specifics about the bone.

Cook’n’ show cancelled, so car buffs cruise Osage County

Local auto enthusiasts lined up cars of all makes and models, Saturday, May 9, 2020, at Jones Park, Osage City,  where they departed on a cruise around Osage County. 

By Jeanette Swartz

Since the Cruis’n & Cook’n Car Show was cancelled in April due to the pandemic, this past Saturday afternoon, May 9, 2020, brought a group of approximately 40 auto enthusiasts to Osage City, Kan. Friends from Osage City, Reading, Wakarusa, Burlington, Ottawa, Pomona, Emporia, Topeka, Carbondale and Lyndon lined up at the football stadium parking lot and cruised through downtown Osage City, then traveled on to Melvern and Pomona lakes through the state parks.

We are not sure who had more fun, the cruisers or the campers. The campers enjoyed seeing the participants cruise through the campsites at both lakes. There were smiles on everyone’s faces and it was nice to get out and enjoy the afternoon.

The cruise continued through Overbook, Scranton, Burlingame and back to Osage City.

We are not sure how many miles we actually cruised going through the lakes, a few small towns and the countryside, but it was an enjoyable three-hour tour (and nobody broke down or ran out of gas!)

The generous monetary donations, canned and packaged food items from the cruisers were greatly appreciated, and which will be given back to the community through ECKAN, ECAT and the Warmth Fund.

Carbondale spring plant sale brings out May gardeners

Larry and Susan Raby, honored Carbondale supporters.

The 9th annual Carbondale flower and plant sale benefited a local equine rescue organization and the fire department, and also recognized a couple of longtime community supporters.

The sale was held at the Carbondale fire station Sunday, May 3, 2020. There were many choices of annual flowers, vegetables, hanging baskets, planters, and succulents, along with a truck full of compost from B&C Equine Rescue for gardens.

The event also recognized local volunteers Susan and Larry Raby. Susan organizes the Carbondale Community Garden, and she supports Carbondale in many ways with several organizations. Susan and Larry were recognized for their commitment to making Carbondale the best it can be.

Flint Hills Youth Baseball and Softball League cancels season

OSAGE CITY, Kan. – The Flint Hills Youth Baseball and Softball League towns of Appanoose, Auburn, Burlingame, Carbondale, Eskridge, Harveyville, Lyndon, Osage City, Overbrook, and Pomona have collectively decided to cancel their 2020 summer ball season. This is due to the current restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, contact Corey Linton, 2020 FHL president, at Osage City Parks and Recreation, 785-528-4610, or [email protected].

Osage City Golf Course to reopen clubhouse

The Osage City Golf Course will reopen its clubhouse for business on Saturday, April 18, 2020, after having closed in response to the pandemic.

From golf course management: “We will adhere to the restrictions set forth to keep everyone safe. You may not come into the clubhouse. Come to the west side door and we will serve your needs from there. The driving range will continue to be closed. Restrooms will be available but only one at a time may come in. You may rent a cart, but only one to a cart unless you are from the same family.”

Hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., weather permitting.

Call ahead for a tee time or if you have questions. Call clubhouse manager Janis Campbell at 785-219-2245 or the course at 785-528-3329.

Let’s all stay safe and play some golf.

Osage County burn ban extended until Friday

Update: April 9, 2020, the burn ban has been extended until 8 a.m. April 10, and could be extended depending on weather conditions. The National Weather Service has forecast dangerous fire conditions for this afternoon with wind gusts and low humidity levels.

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Osage County Emergency Management has issued a burn ban for all of Osage County effective at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, April 8, 2020, due to very high fire danger. No outside burning is allowed and all burn permits are suspended. This ban is in effect until further notice.

The rangeland fire danger index will be in the very high category today. Very high fire danger means that fire control will be very difficult and require extended effort.

National Weather Service has forecast dangerous fire weather conditions today due to strong wind and low humidity levels. While fuels have been recently “greening up”, the wind and low humidity will be reason to be extra cautious and not burn for the rest of today. NWS forecasts northwest gusty winds today up to around 35 mph, with relative humidity dropping as low as 15 percent in some areas. Ongoing fires may be difficult to control.

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

Official statement from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

Public visitation

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis and remains vigilant in implementing appropriate safety protocols to ensure public use areas remain safe and open to the public.

In counties with local stay at home mandates, KDWPT will work with local officials regarding any other restrictions. State parks, state fishing lakes and wildlife areas remain open.

License fees

KDWPT is not currently considering waiving fishing license fees. KDWPT is funded solely from the sale of licenses and permits, and that funding is crucial to keeping gates and facilities open and law enforcement in place.

“During this time of unprecedented changes, there is value in those things that can stay consistent,” said KDWPT Secretary Brad Loveless. “We’re committed to keeping Kansas’ state parks, state fishing lakes and wildlife areas open so that Kansans can continue to safely enjoy the outdoors. To achieve this, we must keep game wardens, public land managers, and park staff working in the field.”

KDHE and KDA recommend voluntary reduction in range burning

TOPEKA, Kan. – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic currently impacting all states, including Kansas, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Agriculture strongly encourage all land owners and managers to voluntarily reduce the number of acres that they intend to burn this spring.

“With the potential for this pandemic overwhelming the state’s medical facilities, any additional respiratory concerns that could be produced from breathing smoke from prescribed fire need to be mitigated,” said Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE Secretary.

Common health problems related to smoke can include burning eyes, runny nose, coughing and illnesses such as bronchitis. Individuals with respiratory issues, including COVID-19, pre-existing heart or lung diseases, children and the elderly may experience worse symptoms.

With resources of the county emergency response staff already being taxed with COVID-19 response, it is important to minimize responses that would come with prescribed fire activity.

USACE announces coronavirus precautions, closes visitor centers at area lakes

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced that due to health precautions regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), all Kansas City District visitor centers are now closed. In Osage County, visitor centers at Pomona and Melvern lakes will be closed.

A press release said the Corps will continue to monitor the situation and will provide  timely updates regarding other potential facility closures at its lakes.

Kansas City District Visitor Center locations include Blue Springs, Clinton, Harlan County, Harry S. Truman, Hillsdale, Kanopolis, Long Branch, Longview, Melvern, Milford, Perry, Pomme de Terre, Pomona, Rathbun, Smithville, Stockton, Tuttle Creek, Wilson.

Severe weather and information show Thursday at Carbondale

Update March 12, 2020: The weather class has been cancelled.

Remnants were all that remained of the Harveyville United Methodist Church after a tornado ripped through the small Wabaunsee County town on Feb. 28, 2012. File photo.

The National Weather Service and Osage County Emergency Management will present a severe weather safety and information talk at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 12, 2020, at Carbondale City Hall, 234 Main St., Carbondale, Kan.

Every year, the National Weather Service in Topeka presents severe weather safety and information talks which are open to the general public. Presentations are typically around 90 minutes long and given by a meteorologist from the Topeka NWS office, focusing on severe storm safety, preparedness, and accurate identification of storm features.

In addition to attending a talk, anyone interested in becoming a weather spotter is encouraged to complete an online training class focused on the basics of convective weather and storm structure. See www.weather.gov/top/spottertalks for more information about the NWS weather talks and spotter training.

For more information about the weather talk in Carbondale, contact Bryce Romine, Osage County Emergency Management director, at [email protected] or 785-828-3323.

Osage County burn ban extended to Sunday, March 8, 2020

Osage County Emergency Management has extended a countywide burn ban for the fourth day in a row for today, Sunday, March 8, 2020, due to very high fire danger and a fire weather watch from 10 a.m. today through this evening.

This burn ban is in effect through 8 a.m. Monday, March 9, 2020. No outside burning is allowed and all county burn permits are suspended during this time.

The National Weather Service forecast for today is mostly sunny, with a high near 71. It will be windy all day, with a south wind 25 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 45 mph.

Osage County has been under a burn ban due to high or extreme fire conditions for five of the first eight days of March.

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.

Red flag warning: Osage County burn ban extended to Saturday, March 7, 2020

Osage County Emergency Management has extended a countywide burn ban for the third day, today, Saturday, March 7, 2020, after the National Weather Service has declared a red flag warning for this afternoon. No outside burning is allowed and all burn permits are suspended. This ban is in effect until 8 a.m. March 8, 2020, and will probably be extended due to forecast fire conditions.

NWS has forecast conditions that will cause extreme fire danger today, including low humidity and winds gusting to 35 mph. In addition, a red flag warning will be in effect from noon to 7 p.m. due to low relative humidity, extremely dry fuels, and strong gusty winds.

Under extreme fire danger conditions, any fires that develop can spread rapidly. A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly, and a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior. During a county burn ban no outside burning is allowed and all burn permits are suspended.

NWS forecasts that Saturday will be mostly sunny, with a high near 67, and breezy, with a south wind 15 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph.

OCEM indicated the weather forecast for Sunday, with a high near 68. Breezy, with a south wind 20 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph, would also extend the burn ban another day.

Osage County has been under a burn ban due to high or extreme fire conditions for four of the first seven days of March.

Osage County burn ban extended to Friday, March 6, 2020

Osage County Emergency Management has extended a burn ban from yesterday for all of Osage County for Friday, March 6, 2020, due to high to very high fire danger today. No outside burning is allowed and all burn permits are suspended. This ban is in effect until 8 a.m. March 7, 2020, and will probably be extended due to forecast fire conditions.

The rangeland fire danger index will be in the high to very high category today, with shifting winds expected to increase this afternoon. Very high fire danger means fire control will be very difficult and require extended effort.

National Weather Service forecasts Saturday will likely have high fire danger conditions, also, sunny and a high near 67, breezy with south wind 15 to 20 mph increasing to 20 to 25 mph and gusts as high as 35 mph.

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.

Red flag warning: Osage County burn ban, Thursday, March 5, 2020

Osage County Emergency Management has issued a burn ban for all of Osage County for Thursday, March 5, 2020, due to extreme fire danger this afternoon. In addition, a red flag warning is in effect from noon today until 6 p.m. No outside burning is allowed and all burn permits are suspended. This ban is in effect until 8 a.m. March 6, 2020, and could be extended depending on fire conditions.

The rangeland fire danger index will be in the extreme category today. Extreme fire danger means any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly.

National Weather Service has forecast that it will be sunny today across the area with a high near 61 degrees. It is expected to be breezy today with northwest wind 10 to 15 mph, increasing to 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon with gusts up to 35 mph.

The forecast indicates the burn ban could be extended as more dry and windy days are expected. NWS forecasts Friday will be sunny with a high near 58 and northwest winds at 5 to 10 mph.

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.

Osage County burn ban, Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Osage County Emergency Management has issued a burn ban for all of Osage County for Tuesday, March 3, 2020, due to very high fire danger. No outside burning is allowed and all burn permits are suspended. This ban is in effect until 8 a.m. March 4, 2020, and could be extended depending on fire conditions.

The rangeland fire danger index will be in the very high category today. Very high fire danger means that fire control will be very difficult and require extended effort.

National Weather Service has forecast that it will be sunny today across the area with a high near 64 degrees. It is expected to be breezy with a west wind 5 to 10 mph.

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.

Burn ban for Osage County, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020

Osage County Emergency Management has issued a burn ban for all of Osage County for Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, due to very high fire danger. No outside burning is allowed and all burn permits are suspended. This ban is in effect until 8 a.m. March 1, 2020, and could be extended depending on fire conditions.

The rangeland fire danger index will be in the very high category this afternoon. Very high fire danger means that fire control will be very difficult and require extended effort.

National Weather Service has forecast that it will be sunny today across the area with a high near 70 degrees. It is expected to be breezy with a south wind 5 to 10 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.

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.

Chase County buck surpasses state record non-typical whitetail

Brian Butcher, center, shows the rack of a whitetail buck he took in Chase County, now the Kansas record non-typical whitetail deer.

WICHITA, Kan. – Kansas bowhunter Brian Butcher, 38, harvested a whitetail buck in Chase County last October that he knew was something special. It wasn’t until the buck’s rack was measured by Boone and Crockett Club certified measurers on Jan. 3, 2020, that Butcher confirmed just how special the deer was. Butcher’s whitetail earned an unofficial net non-typical score of 321 3/8 inches. If accepted and verified by the Boone and Crockett Club – an internationally recognized non-profit conservation organization that maintains native North American big game records – the deer Butcher harvested would rank fourth in the world for non-typical whitetail deer. As for the Kansas record books, Butcher’s buck will be the largest non-typical whitetail ever taken, surpassing the current state record for a non-typical whitetail harvested with archery equipment by 57 2/8 inches.

“When I first saw it, I thought it had some branches or grass tangled up in its antlers,” said Butcher. “But when I looked at him with binoculars, I realized it was all antlers.”

Butcher released his arrow when the giant buck was just 25 yards from his treestand and the shot was true. After waiting only 5-10 minutes, Butcher tracked the deer to a spot 50 yards away.

“I had the most opposite feeling of ‘ground shrinkage’ possible,” Butcher said of the big whitetail with 67 scorable points. “I was in complete shock.”

After sharing photos of the buck with friend Brian Crowe, the duo got together and attempted to score the deer.

“We added it up five times because it didn’t make sense,” Butcher laughed. “We had it at 341 inches gross, and 316 inches net.”

According to Boone and Crockett guidelines, the rack could not be officially measured until it had dried for at least 60 days.

Storm warning: Winter blast to cover area Friday and Saturday

TOPEKA, Kan. – The National Weather Service at Topeka has issued a winter storm warning today through Saturday evening for Osage, Douglas, Franklin, Coffey, and Anderson counties, and including the cities of Lawrence, Osage City, Carbondale, Lyndon, Burlingame, Overbrook, Ottawa, Burlington, Lebo, and Garnett

The winter storm warning will be in effect from 6 p.m. this evening to 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020.

A heavy mix of precipitation is expected, with total snow accumulations of up to 3 to 5 inches and ice accumulations of up to one-tenth of an inch. Winds are expected to gust as high as 40 mph.

Drivers should plan on slippery road conditions and drive slower. Blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility.

Two waves of the storm are expected from this system. The first is expected to bring a mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain this afternoon and evening. There may be a lull overnight before the second wave brings more snow to the area Saturday morning and afternoon.

Anyone who must travel is advised to keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in their vehicle in case of an emergency. The latest road conditions can be obtained by calling 511.

Burn ban continues across Osage County, Jan. 9, 2020

With a National Weather Service wind advisory in effect, Osage County Emergency Management has extended a burn ban for the third day due to continuing high fire danger conditions across the Osage County, Kan., area. No outside burning is allowed today, Jan. 9, 2020, and all burn permits are suspended. The ban will be in effect until 8 a.m. Jan. 10, and could be extended at that time depending on weather conditions.

The rangeland fire danger continues due to the forecast windy conditions. Southwest winds at 20-30 mph are expected today with gusts up to 50 mph.

Very high fire danger means fire control will 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.

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