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Category Archives: Outdoors

Friends of Pomona State Park gear up for camping season; elect 2021 officers

The Friends of Pomona State Park is getting ready for the 2021 camping season, having recently electing new officers: Darren White is chairman; Susan Jacob, secretary-treasurer; and Robert Stachowski is vice chair.

The Friends’ first meeting of the year will be at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 1, 2021, at the Southwind Shelter House, Pomona State Park. Other meetings scheduled for the year will be July 10, Aug. 7, Sept. 4, and Oct. 9.

FOPSP is a volunteer based non-profit organization that helps coordinate activities, educational opportunities, and conveniences for campers and visitors at Pomona State Park. Annual dues are $5 for individuals, $10 for family, or $25 for businesses. Anyone interested in joining the Friends can contact Stachowski at [email protected], or for more information, contact the park office at 785-828-4994.

Spring car show brings relief from year of pandemic

The Osage City Police Department and Osage County Sheriff Office selected Taurance Roberson, left front, of Platte City, Mo., to receive the “Thin Blue Line Award”. The thin blue line flag stands for the sacrifice law enforcement officers of the nation make each day. The Twin Lakes Cruisers used the opportunity to express appreciation, respect and thanks for law enforcement for their service to Osage City and Osage County. Twin Lakes Cruisers photo.

Approximately 210 entrants participated in the 17th Annual Cruis’n & Cook’n Auto  Show, Saturday, April 10, 2021, in downtown Osage City along Market Street. The show was deemed a success, though the morning started out somewhat concerning regarding the weather. Mother Nature kept the rain away, and even though the temperature was a bit cool, the sun was able to break through the clouds and gave us a nice day. Everyone seemed to be ready to get out and enjoy an event after a year of uncertainty with the pandemic. The Twin Lakes Cruisers had to cancel the car show last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the participants were pleased when they learned the car club had made the decision to go ahead and have the show this year.

Thank you
Twin Lakes Cruisers appreciate the downtown business district’s support and participation with the event. They also appreciate the spectator enthusiasm and attendance and are proud to organize an event that all ages can enjoy.

The Twin Lakes Cruisers announced the following entrants as winners of the show:

KDHE issues air quality health advisory due to prescribed burns

TOPEKA, Kan. – Prescribed burning within the Flint Hills region yesterday has contributed to elevated air pollutant levels for parts of Kansas this morning, April 14, 2021. Additional burning today will continue to impact air quality for the southern Flint Hills westward, including Wichita, the Red Hills region, and perhaps as far west as Liberal.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) will likely range from moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups, and even unhealthy at times for localized areas today through Thursday. The most significant impacts will occur during the evening, overnight and mornings hours. View the current air quality and AQI for specific areas on www.airnow.gov.

Burning within the Flint Hills occurs annually to 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 used in managing rangeland resources. Smoke from the burns can influence the air quality of downwind areas and can be carried long distances.

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:

  • 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 a doctor if showing symptoms such as chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath or severe fatigue.

KDHE and partners continue to implement the Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan to help mitigate air quality impacts that result from burning. The plan includes recommendations to minimize and disperse the smoke produced by burning. For more information about the burning in the Flint Hills and the Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan, see www.ksfire.org.

Burn ban in effect for Osage County, April 2, 2021; fire weather watch for NE Kansas

Osage County Sheriff Chris Wells issued a burn ban for all of Osage County effective yesterday afternoon, Thursday, April 1, 2021; it will remain in effect until rescinded. Northeast Kansas remains under a fire weather watch today through early Saturday due to low relative humidity values and high wind gusts.

The National Weather Service in Topeka issued a fire weather watch in effect Friday afternoon through Friday night. South winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph are forecast, with minimum relative humidity values between 20 and 25 percent. Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. A fire weather watch means that critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur. Outdoor burning is not recommended.

The Osage County burn ban suspends all locally issued burn permits and prohibits outdoor burning.

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

Osage County: Burn ban extended through Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Update: March 31, 2021 – OCEM has extended the burn ban for today and it will remain in effect until rescinded.

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Update: March 29, 2021 – The countywide burn ban issued today will remain in effect until rescinded due to very high fire danger predicted for Tuesday with low humidity and wind gusts to 35 mph. OCEM will evaluate conditions late Tuesday afternoon.

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Osage County Emergency Management has issued a burn ban as of 6 a.m. March 29, 2021, for all of Osage County, Kan. 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 extreme fire danger for today, which means fire control would be very difficult and require extended effort. In addition, National Weather Service at Topeka has issued a red flag warning and high wind advisory for today, with wind gusts as high as 60 mph possible.

Critical fire conditions are expected area wide Monday afternoon with a combination of minimum relative humidity at 16 to 22 percent and very strong south winds with gusts up to 55 mph. Winds are expected to shift quickly to the north tonight behind a cold front.

The red flag warning has been issued for the entire northeast Kansas area with the wind advisory covering much of the area, including Osage County, where wind gusts are expected to be in the 50-60 mph range Monday afternoon. Very high fire danger conditions are expected to extend into tonight and Tuesday.

The burn ban in Osage County could be extended depending on weather conditions forecast for Tuesday.

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

Extension webinar offers tips on controlling wildlife damage

The Frontier Extension District series of horticulture webinars concludes with information about wildlife damage control at 7 p.m. March 18, 2021.

The speaker for the evening will be K-State Extension Wildlife Specialist Drew Ricketts, who will discuss how to keep deer from killing shrubs or gardens, how to control moles, keeping pesky squirrels from eating bird food, keeping rabbits out of leafy garden plants, and even touch on raccoons and armadillos.

The horticulture webinars are open and free to the public, and include a 45-minute presentation with the opportunity to ask questions at the end. To register for the meeting, call Ryan Schaub, horticulture agent, Frontier Extension District Garnett office, at 785-448-6826 or email [email protected].

Burn ban rescinded March 11, 2021

Update: OCEM rescinded this burn ban at 8 a.m. Thursday, March 11, 2021.

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A burn ban remains in effect for Osage County for today, Wednesday, March 10, 2021. National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory and red flag warning for much of central and eastern Kansas for this afternoon.

Osage County Emergency Management extended the countywide burn ban that was first issued Sunday. All outdoor burning is prohibited and all burn permits are suspended during the burn ban.

The NWS red flag warning is in effect 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday; the warning covers most of central Kansas. The wind advisory covers all of northeast Kansas. Winds are forecast to be southwest at 25-35 mph, and gusting to 50 mph, before finally switching to the north at 10-20 mph during the evening and overnight. Relative humidity values are expected to fall into the teens this afternoon. Fuels will remain very dry and conducive for rapid fire growth.

The countywide burn ban will remain in effect until rescinded. For more information about the burn ban, contact Osage County Emergency Management at 785-828-3323 or Osage County Sheriff’s Office at 785-828-3121.

Osage County’s burn ban continues for Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Update: OCEM has extended the Osage County burn ban through today, Tuesday, March 9, 2021. Windy conditions continue today, with gusts up to 40 mph.

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The National Weather Service at Topeka has issued a red flag warning for the north central and east central Kansas for Monday, March 8, 2021, and Osage County Emergency Management has continued a countywide burn ban that was put into effect Sunday.

Also today, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly declared a state of disaster emergency due to a high risk of wildland fires and red flag warnings in several Kansas counties.

The burn ban for Osage County remains in effect until it is rescinded, with extreme fire danger expected through this afternoon. The red flag warning is in effect 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. this evening. In Osage County, no outside burning is permitted and all burn permits are suspended.

NWS has forecast that winds will be out of the south today at 20-25 mph, gusting to 35 mph, with relative humidity around 20 to 25 percent. Fuels will be critically dry and could support rapid fire growth. Areas impacted include all of north central, northeast and east central Kansas. Winds are expected to remain strong into Tuesday, but increasing moisture should temper the fire danger.

The governor issued the state of emergency due to elevated or critical fire weather expected over the next four days. Tuesday and Wednesday a storm system is forecast to move across the state bringing strong winds that make fire more challenging and dangerous to control. Fuels are extremely dry across the state. Fire behavior has been erratic over the last several days, making suppression difficult.

“It is because wildfires can spring up so suddenly under these conditions that I have put this disaster declaration in place,” Kelly said. “Placing resources such as these helicopters and other resources on standby help the state respond more quickly if a fire begins to spread.”

The declaration authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties that meet certain criteria.

During a red flag warning, citizens are advised to avoid any outdoor burning, and take precautions to not accidentally start wildfires such as by throwing cigarettes out the window.

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

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

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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].

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.

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].

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.

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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.

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.

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 www.ready.gov.

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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