Category Archives: Outdoors

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.

Burn ban continues across Osage County, Jan. 8, 2020

Osage County Emergency Management has extended a burn ban from yesterday due to continuing very high fire danger conditions across the Osage County, Kan., area. No outside burning is allowed today, Jan. 8, 2020, and all burn permits are suspended. The ban will be in effect until 8 a.m. Jan. 9, and could be extended at that time depending on weather conditions.

The rangeland fire danger index will be in the very high category this afternoon, with the National Weather Service forecasting windy and sunny weather with a high near 55 and an east wind 10 to 15 mph becoming south 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph in the afternoon. The wind is expected to continue into the evening, with a south wind at 20 to 25 mph and gusts as high as 35 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.

Burn ban, Jan. 7, 2020: Very high fire danger forecast

Osage County Emergency Management issued a burn ban today, Jan. 7, 2020, for Osage County, Kan., due to very high fire danger. No outside burning is allowed, and all burn permits are suspended. The ban will be in effect until 8 a.m. Jan. 8, and could be extended at that time depending on weather conditions.

The rangeland fire danger index will be in the very high category this afternoon; sunny skies are forecast with a high near 54. Southwest winds are expected at 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 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.

Corps waives day use fees at recreation areas on Veterans Day

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced it will waive day use fees at its more than 2,850 USACE-operated recreation areas nationwide in observance of Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2019.

The waiver covers fees for boat launch ramps and swimming beaches. The waiver does not apply to camping and camping-related services, or fees for specialized facilities, such as group picnic shelters, and events. Other agencies that manage recreation areas on USACE lands are encouraged, but not required, to offer the waiver in the areas that they manage.

USACE began the Veterans Day fee waiver in 2006 as a way to honor the men and women who have served our nation and the armed forces.

Agencies warn of seasonal increase in vehicle-deer crashes

TOPEKA – Mating season and the quest for more secure habitat have deer on the move this time of year, increasing the chances of deer-vehicle collisions.

Typically, the greatest number of deer-vehicle crashes are in mid-November when the rut, or mating season, peaks. In addition to the rut, deer are also on the move in mid-fall seeking new food sources and shelter as crops are harvested and leaves fall from trees and shrubs, leaving them less secure than in their summer habitats.

“Wet weather this year may cause some deer to cross roads in new places and the additional vegetation growth could make deer harder to see until they are in the road,” said Levi Jaster, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism big game coordinator. “The approaching breeding season increases deer movement, and the cooler weather, along with young deer dispersing to find new home ranges, mean more deer may be crossing the roads.”

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, 10,734 (16.5 percent) of the 64,933 vehicle crashes reported in 2018 were deer-related (crashes in which a deer and vehicle actually collided, or the presence of a deer was a contributing circumstance). Although crashes involving deer occur throughout the year in every Kansas county, the highest number of crashes typically occur where there are the most vehicles. Sedgwick County had 418 deer-vehicle crashes reported in 2018, the most of any county, while Butler County followed with 384 reported deer-vehicle crashes.

“In addition to potentially causing human injuries and loss of life, deer collisions often cause significant vehicle damage that can lead to large expenses for the vehicle owner if not properly insured,” said Shawn Steward, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Kansas. “Of the animal strikes reported by AAA Insurance policy holders during the five year period between 2014 and 2018, the average cost per claim was nearly $4,300.”

Growing vegetables, growing minds

Receiving a check of $10,000 from the Bayer Fund are Kim Dayhoff and Linda Carson, Brian Garrett, Bayer Fund representative, USD 456 Supt. Joe Sample, and MdCV Elementary School Principal Twila Wollenberg; not pictured, Barb Roberts.

While young minds are growing every day at Marais des Cygnes Valley Elementary School, students will soon be growing their own vegetables, due to a grant from a major agriculture products company.

On Oct. 3, 2019, the school was presented a $10,000 grant from the Bayer Fund, formerly the Monsanto Fund, a philanthropic arm of Bayer. The grant, written by USD 456 faculty Kim Dayhoff, Linda Carson and Barb Roberts, will fund a project called “Growing Food for Growing Minds” that includes three vertical aeroponic growing towers. The tower gardens, with two at the elementary school and one at MdCV Junior-Senior High School, are designed to provide year-round gardening of vegetables for all students and staff to enjoy. A portion of the funds will be used to purchase Chromebooks for the elementary students, and for field trips for the students to an apple orchard and pumpkin patch.

Brian Garrett, Bayer Fund representative, was on hand to present the grant check to USD 456 Superintendent Joe Sample and MdCV Elementary Principal Twila Wollenberg.

Army Corps of Engineers waives fees on National Public Lands Day, Sept. 28

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will waive day use fees normally charged at boat launch ramps and swimming beaches at recreation areas nationwide in recognition of National Public Lands Day on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019.

The waiver does not apply to camping and camping-related services, or fees for specialized facilities such as group picnic shelters. Other agencies and partners that manage recreation areas located on USACE lands are encouraged, but not required, to comply with this waiver of day use fees in the areas they manage.

In addition, volunteers who participate in one of USACE’s National Public Lands Day activities will be issued a fee-free coupon if the volunteer site is participating in the coupon program. Volunteers should check with their local USACE project for more information. The fee-free coupon is valid for one year from date of issue and may be used for one day of entrance or day use fees at any participating federal agency’s park, forest or recreation area that charges either of these types of fees.

USACE has been involved with National Public Lands Day since its inception in 1994 and has consistently been one of the event’s largest providers of sites and volunteers. USACE manages more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states. With 90 percent of these projects located within 50 miles of metropolitan areas, USACE sites provide a wide range of outdoor recreation opportunities close to home.

Flood warning issued for Salt Creek near Lyndon to begin Labor Day holiday

Labor Day weather forecast graphic from NWS Topeka.

The National Weather Service in Topeka has issued a flood warning for Salt Creek near Lyndon. The warning is in effect this morning, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, until late tonight.

At 9:31 a.m. Friday, the stage was 7.4 feet; flood stage is 10 feet. Minor flooding is forecast, with the creek expected to rise above flood stage by this afternoon and continue to rise to near 10.2 feet late this afternoon. The river is forecast to fall below flood stage by this evening.

At flood stage, minor low land flooding begins in farm field just west of the U.S. Highway 75 bridge at the south edge of Lyndon.

Learn the ins and outs of tree planting

Have you ever wondered when the best time to plant a tree is? Or how to properly prune a tree, but didn’t know who to ask? Frontier Extension District and Lyndon Library will host a public meeting on tree planting and maintenance at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17, 2019, at the library.

The presentation will cover when to plant trees and selecting trees from the nursery. Selection is all about planting the right tree in the right place. With the tough growing conditions that Kansas offers, selecting the right tree is often one of our biggest challenges.

Also covered will be mulching and its purpose, and the importance of pruning and how and when to do it.

The meeting will be at the Lyndon Library, 127 E. Sixth St., Lyndon, Kan.

Local Master Gardener program set for new year; apply now

The Frontier Extension District is now taking applications for the Master Gardner training this winter. The Master Gardener program is for people who enjoy working in the garden, flower bed or your lawn, and enjoy people, learning new things, and helping out in their community.

In the program, participants learn about plant biology, soils, flowers, trees and shrubs, lawn care, fruits, vegetables, indoor plants, insects, diseases and pesticides. The educational information can benefit participants and their neighborhoods.

The training will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m. every other Saturday starting Jan. 11, 2020, running until March 21. Lunch will be provided by current district Master Gardeners.

Blast back to the past at Going Retro vintage car and camper show

“Lil Dot,” a vintage Scotty camper owned by Dave and Julie McBee, was named the best renovated at the 2018 Going Retro show. Photo thanks to Friends of Pomona State Park.

Coming this weekend, it’ll be a blast from the past at Pomona State Park during the sixth annual Going Retro Car, Motorcycle and Vintage Trailer Show. The annual show, which is free except for the cost a park permit, features vintage campers, recreational vehicles, and all types of motorized vehicles.

The show gets underway 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, with 55 campers already signed up for exhibit. In addition, the car show attracted about 125 exhibitors last year, and a good weather forecast for Saturday is expected to bring out a fleet of classics. Motorcycles were added to the show this year. Visitors can walk around and inside of many of the travel trailers to see how campers in yesteryear “roughed it” in the great outdoors. Spectators can cast their ballot for favorites in each category, cars, motorcycles and campers.

The show is a family-friendly event in the great outdoors. Visitors are invited to dress in their favorite vintage outfits for the car and camper show, and the 7 p.m. sock hop.

The event is on the east side of Pomona State Park at the Osage, Four Winds and Cedar Winds campgrounds. Signs will guide to all activities. Food vendors and concessions will be on site. The state park charges a $5 vehicle fee for a day permit, $3.75 for seniors, for those who don’t have a vehicle permit.

The show is hosted by Friends of Pomona State Park, which uses the funds from the show and concessions to make improvements in the park.

Algae blooms affect lakes statewide

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, has issued public health advisories for Kansas lakes, including two in Osage County.

Warnings include:

  • Big Eleven Lake, Wyandotte County (unchanged)
  • Jerry Ivey Pond, Saline County (unchanged)
  • Marion County Lake, Marion County (unchanged)
  • Gathering Pond near Milford (Hatchery Supply Pond), Geary County (unchanged)
  • South Lake, Johnson County (unchanged)
  • Lebo Kids’ Pond, Coffee County (unchanged))
  • Westlake in Gage Park, Shawnee County (upgrade from 7/25)
  • Melvern Outlet Pond, Osage County (new)
  • Melvern Swim Pond, Osage County (new)

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

  • 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.

Blooming algae closes Melvern Outlet Park River Pond and swim beach

MELVERN, KS – The U.S Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District announced Thursday a hazardous algae bloom at the Outlet Park River Pond and Outlet Park swim beach downstream of Melvern Lake. Kansas Department of Environment and Health has confirmed that cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae with low levels of the toxin microcystin, have been identified in the two ponds below Melvern Dam.

Hot and sunny weather conditions combined with high nutrient levels create ideal conditions for harmful algae bloom growth. Swimming is not allowed in the Outlet Park River Pond and all wading and contact with algae is discouraged. The Outlet Park Swim Beach is currently closed to all public use.  The primary risks for this scenario are for pets that may come in contact with the algae accumulated near shore and floating on the water surface.

Blue-green algae blooms are unpredictable. They can develop rapidly and may float or drift around the lake, requiring visitors to exercise their best judgment. If there is scum, a paint-like surface or the water is bright green, avoid all water contact and keep pets away.

Pet owners need to be particularly mindful of the presence of blue-green algae. Dogs are highly susceptible to algae toxins and frequently ingest concentrated toxins from shoreline areas. Pets that swim in or drink water affected by a harmful algal bloom, or eat dried algae along the shore, may become seriously ill or even die.

The present algae bloom is isolated to the Outlet Park River Pond and Outlet Park Swim Beach located below Melvern Lake Dam. Boat ramps and lake activities are not affected. Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities are open for business. Drinking water and showers at parks are safe and not affected by algae blooms. Boating and fishing are safe under current conditions. It is safe to eat fish caught during a harmful blue-green algae outbreak, as long as the fish is rinsed with clean water. Consume only the fillet portion and discard all other parts. Hands should also be washed with clean water after handling fish taken from an affected lake.

Melvern Jr. Highline 4-Hers enjoy summer camp at Rock Springs

By Bella Reeser, Club Reporter

From June 17-20, 2019, nine members of the Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club received an experience of a lifetime when they attend Rock Springs 4-H Camp. Club members were able to enjoy four days of beautiful weather at camp, participating in archery, rock climbing, swimming, sling shots, crawdad fishing, learning about nature, horseback riding, canoeing, team building, and so much more. With these wonderful experiences the club members are excited to go back next year.

Area swimmers keep busy with summer meets

On Saturday, June 29, 2019, at Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka, Kan., the annual Sunflower State Swimming Games were held. Swimmers from all over the state came to compete in different strokes and distances. Two local swimmers, Martir Ramos and Austin Vest, both members of the Lyndon Swim Team, were competitors at these games and came out successful. Martir placed first in the 200 Individual Medley, third in the 50 Breaststroke, and fourth in the 100 Breaststroke. Austin placed third in the 50 Backstroke and fifth in the 100 Breaststroke. Both boys will finish their summer strong swimming for the Lyndon swim team.


Lyndon hosts annual meet

At the beginning of every summer, swimmers from around Osage and Coffey counties begin practicing and preparing for a summer full of swimming and competing. These area teams, consisting of members from Overbrook, Osage City, Lyndon, Lebo, and Burlington, gather together every Saturday to compete in 80 different events challenging the swimmers in their different strokes and distances.

On July 6, at the Lyndon City Pool, hundreds of swimmers and spectators gathered there to enjoy a morning full of competition.

Lyndon recreation workers who made the Lyndon swim meet possible included, front from left, Cheyanne Kline, Abby Criqui, Aubrey Beyer, and Dalton Fitch, back, Josey Weimer, Mackenzie Hull, Stephen Steggs, Brooke Addleman, Shyann Huffmier, Nicole Baker, and Kyle Baker.

Photos and information thanks to Lisa Reeser.

Mosquitoes interrupt summer: KDHE recommends bite prevention

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment recommends Kansans take preventive measures against mosquito bites, as floods throughout the state have caused an increase in mosquito populations. Mosquito surveillance in Reno, Sedgwick and Shawnee counties has shown an increase Culex species mosquitoes which can transmit West Nile virus and other viruses that can affect humans. This species of mosquitoes is most active at dawn and dusk.

“West Nile virus can be spread to people through bites from infected mosquitoes, but it is not contagious from person to person,” said KDHE Secretary Lee Norman MD. “Symptoms range from a slight headache and low-grade fever to swelling of the brain or brain tissue and, in rare cases, death.”

Since 2002 there have been 677 cases and 35 deaths in Kansans from West Nile virus. To date, there have been no cases of West Nile virus reported to KDHE in 2019. People who have had West Nile virus before are considered immune. Cases are most common from mid-July through late September.

KDHE has developed West Nile virus risk levels to help guide prevention efforts for both communities and individuals. These risk level reports will be posted weekly at www.kdheks.gov/epi/arboviral_disease.htm. All six regions of Kansas are currently at moderate risk level.

KDHE recommends the following precautions to protect against West Nile virus:

Stomach ache serious, yet common horse ailment from many causes requiring awareness

Colic in horses in simple terms means a bellyache. It is a much more complicated and serious issue, according to Dr. James Moore, University of Georgia veterinarian, Athens, Ga.

“Colic in horses is defined as abdominal pain, or most simply a stomach ache. But it is a clinical sign rather than a diagnosis,” Moore said.

The term colic encompasses all forms of gastrointestinal conditions which cause pain as well as other causes of abdominal aches.

“Most common forms of colic are gastrointestinal in nature and are most often related to colonic disturbance,” Moore clarified.

There are a variety of different causes of colic, some of which can prove fatal without surgical intervention.

“Colic surgery is usually an expensive procedure as it is major abdominal surgery, often with intensive aftercare,” the veterinarian said.

An indication of colic is when a horse frequently looks at and even nips at the flank.

Among domesticated horses, colic is the leading cause of premature death. “Incidence of colic in the general horse population is between 4 and 10 percent in their lifetime,” Moore said.

Numerous clinical signs are associated with colic. The most common include pawing repeatedly, kicking, looking at the flank, lying down, rolling, and curling the upper lip.

Other indications of colic are repeatedly raising a rear leg, kicking, sweating, arching the neck, and stretching out.

Additional apparent colic signs include straining to defecate, distention of the abdomen, loss of appetite, depression, and decreased bowel movements.

“It is uncommon for a horse with colic to exhibit all of these signs,” Moore said. “Although they are reliable indicators of pain, particular signs do not indicate which portion of the gastrointestinal tract is involved.”

A diagnosis can be made and appropriate treatment begun only after thoroughly examining the horse.

Girl Scouts plan a day of living on the prairie

Girl Scouts explore a cool creek on a warm day during a past campout. Courtesy photo.

Camp on the prairie with the Girl Scouts. Sleep in the loft of a barn built in 1915 at Pioneer Bluffs, a historic Flint Hills ranch.

At the Girl Scout Prairie Weekend, 10 a.m. July 20 to 11 a.m. July 21, 2019, at Pioneer Bluffs, scouts will enjoy exploring a creek, old-fashioned games, crafts, square dancing, and songs around the campfire.

Campers will cook supper, s’mores and breakfast over a fire. Scouts should bring a sack lunch for Saturday, but all other meals and snacks will be provided. Participants earn one hour of community service and an event patch by attending the camp.

Teeing off: Osage City golf course open to all

By Richard Burkdoll
Osage City Golf Course President

The question I get asked most is how is the golf course since Greatlife took over. The answer is the golf course is in great shape and is still Osage City Golf Course! Greatlife doesn’t run your golf course. A board of directors elected by the members of the golf course has run the course for many years. Elections are held each year in October for six of the members. The other three members come from each of the clubs – men’s, women’s, and couples.

The city of Osage City has always owned the course. Originally it was a semi-private course. The course is public, open for anyone to play, and has been for years. The agreement the city has with Greatlife allows Greatlife’s members to play here and our members to play any of their courses for free or for a reduced cost.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas